Intel's Ronler Acres Plant

Silicon Forest

Friday, November 18, 2005

James Bond

My life is becoming a James Bond movie...

I took Dad to the eye doctor this morning. Farthest he's had to walk since he got back on his feet. Drove to the doctor's office, Dad used the walker to walk into the building and down the hall to the exam room. It was clear in the back. He was moving slowly and I was following close behind in case he lost his balance. The exam room was clear in the back, so it took a long time to get there. I am doing this very slow swing step, trying to see if I can move smoothly and continuously at this slow rate, and I realize I have seen this in a movie somewhere...

It was an early James Bond film that was set in New Orleans. There was a funeral procession coming down the street, band was playing, ladies were wailing, and they were all moving very slowly, very similar to what I was doing moving down the hall.

Yesterday they were hooting and hollering up at the front of the office so I went to investigate. They were laughing at some clips from "You're the man now, dog" website. Seems there was an outtake from "Finding Forester" where Sean Connery points at his black co-star, and says "You're the man now, dog", so some guy used the phrase to found a web site. Their version of the Llama Song doesn't have the original images, a very poor copy it is. The original can be found here: http://www.albinoblacksheep.com/flash/llama.php

Previously Dad had been using two kinds of eye drops to control the pressure in his eye. The doctor says they do the same thing but work through different mechanisms. Dad has only been using Timolol for about a week, but the doctor says the pressure in his eye is fine. We only got the Timolol, because Dad mentioned that his vision was getting worse. Doctor asked him to
come back in four months for a more thorough exam. Dad's vision isn't great, but he claims he can read newsprint with his reading glasses. I don't know if that is true, but it might be.

I'm talking to some of guys at work today and Neil, our accountant, comes up and starts doing this side step thing. I'm not quite sure what it's about but it looks just like Odd Job from Goldfinger. There is the fight scene at the end of the movie where Mr. Bond and Mr. Job are locked inside Fort Knox with all the gold and the nuclear bomb. Odd Job is beating the tar out of James until James picks up Mr. Odd's hat. All of sudden Odd Job's demeanor changes. Before he was a contemptuous bully, now he is wary, stepping very carefully, and that is exactly what Neil looked like.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Sales

I for one like Budweiser, or at least I did before I lost my taste for alcohol. These days I drink a shot of cheap white wine in a full glass of water. I used to drink micro-brews but it gave me terrible gas (blue smoke paint peelers, as an acquaintance in Phoenix termed it).

There was a parable circulating back in the 90's, maybe in the 80's, that said if you wanted to succeed in business, you had to be like a duck: all calm and serenity above the water (where it shows), but paddling furiously beneath the surface. I thought it was a stupid idea. I still think it is a stupid idea, but now I am beginning to understand.

Communicating with people can be difficult and time consuming, especially if they are you superiors. If people think their status is higher than yours, then they don't have to listen to you, you have to listen to them. They may want to tell you a long story, or just deliver terse comments. If they are polite, they may listen to you for a short while, or they may ignore you completely. They are not going to sit patiently while you go on and on about something that bores them, and anything you say will be boring because you are not as important as they are.

So if you are trying to get your superiors to do something, like approve your project, it is going to be very time consuming and tedious on your part. You will have to listen to them drone on as long as they like, and pitch your project whenever you get a chance. If their status, real or imagined, is much higher than yours, you will get maybe a minute to speak for every hour you spend with them. So if may take weeks to get your idea across, and then it will probably get rejected because of something their girlfriend/boyfriend said over the weekend.

Saturday, October 1, 2005

Roman, Saturday

Anne and I took Roman for a ride in the van today. All that fuss about technique for loading him in the car was for naught. They got Elfinish (a 95 pound Ethiopian woman) to help me, and she had never loaded anybody into a car before. It was a bit of a struggle, but we managed. Using the van made it a little easier because there was room for her inside so she could pull while I pushed. Drove over to Cornelius, checked the house, picked up the trash in the yard (there are always a few small pieces of trash in the yard. The wind blows it in), picked up his mail, his address books and a pair of shoes. Stopped by two foster care houses. The woman at one of the houses came out and talked to him. Took him to Burger King for a Whopper Junior. He called Uncle Lee from the parking lot using Anne's cell phone (free long distance). He looked up the number in his address book and I dialed it. Took him back to Rehab.

I stopped by rehab on Thursday and talked to the occupational therapist about Roman. She said he was the most motivated she had seen. The have a set of parallel bars, like railings, about 12 feet long. She said he had managed to walk the length three times, which is a big improvement for him.

He is still a long way from living on his own, but he might be walking again in a few months.

If I had known back in July what I know now, I would have voted against using a general anesthetic when they tried to relocate his hip joint.

He has a roommate who has the same doctor (Kuklinski). This guy is wearing this frame on his shoulders that holds his head in place. He told me today that they are planing on fusing 6 (or was it 8?) vertebrae. He was supposed to have an operation yesterday, but they postponed it two weeks. Too much risk of loss of life. He is much younger that Dad, might be 60 something.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Better Medical Billing

I have an idea for an accounting related business that I think has good prospects.

Basically the idea is that I hate having to deal with medical bills. If I
hate it, that leads me to suspect that there are other people who hate it
too. It's something many of has have to deal with, any many of us hate. So
maybe there is a business opportunity here.

The idea is collect all of a persons medical bills and insurance statements
and verify that they agree, and then send one monthly bill to the person for
them to pay.

To make this a viable business you would need to be automated as possible,
which would mean computers and someone to keep them operating. You would
also need someone who knows the ins and outs of medical billing.

How would you make any money off of this? One way would be to combine it
with a credit card. As soon as the bill is verified as correct, we would pay
the Doctor's. They might be willing concede one or two percent for prompt
payment.

On the other hand, people who have to deal with these bills might be willing
to pay a monthly or annual fee to have these issues resolved.

The big question is how many people would be interested, and how many would
be willing to pay a fee?

Friday, May 20, 2005

What's happening

Took the boys to see the latest Star Wars movie last night. We all enjoyed it thoroughly.

Mutual Materials (what kind of name is that?) is delivering 6 pallets of concrete bricks to the house today. Landscaper is finishing the base (4 inches of gravel) today and laying bricks tomorrow.

Owner where I work is scurrying aroung trying to get ready for a trip to HIF next week. HIF: Hydrological Instrumentation Facility, government operation in Mississippi. They have a working scale model of the Mississippi river basin.

Manufacturing is trying to find a printer that will print labels with individual ID numbers for some BlueTooth radios we build. Tried to find one once before, but couldn't get a printer vendor interested in talking to us. Owner said he was going to take care of it, but it's been three months, and he hasn't done diddly, and now the situation is getting critical. I expect we will have an explosion here before the end of the day.

Went by Aaron Brothers art supplies last weekend and picked up a do it yourself metal frame for a poster of "Middle Earth" a vendor dropped off at work. It's a cool poster, 160 degree panoramic view of New Zealand farms and mountains. Picture measures 36" by 8". Had to go back to the store and exchange the rails because I got the wrong size the first time.

Anne & Ross & I saw "Kingdom of Heaven" last weekend (two weeks ago?). Tremendous movie.

Reading "Blood of Victory", spy novel about trying to disrupt the supply of Romanian oil to Germany in 1940.

War, war and more war. If you have too much peace, make up a war, war on drugs, war on poverty, war on education.

Subscribed to the Wall Street Journal and the New Yorker. Interesting reading.

Still don't have a real good idea just how the world works, but I'm working on it.

Ross is rehearsing a play.

Kathryn has rehearsal today and performances tomorrow (dance).

Monday, May 9, 2005

Kingdom of Heaven

Saw "Kingdom of Heaven" this weekend. I enjoyed it. Problem I have, as I have with many historical films, is I want to know just how accurate it is. I spent a few minutes searching the web this morning and this is what I found:

From imdb.com: All characters, except Godfrey, existed in real life. In reality, Baldwin, the leper king, died in 1185 at the age of 24, a year before the start of the story.

From the Christian Science Monitor: The two university scholars who read the script did not agree on its historical accuracy. Father George said that the 12th-century Crusader state was, as shown in the film, relatively tolerant, and that Saladin did in fact order his troops to give no quarter in the fighting in Jerusalem, an order he later rescinded. But Mr. Fadl said the Crusader state was by its nature discriminatory and oppressive of other religions. He said that the Muslim knights took the idea of granting quarter very seriously, and that the notion that Saladin would thank Balian for teaching him chivalry, as the script had it, was laughable. "Pick up any book on chivalry, it's exactly the opposite," he said. "The whole idea of knighthood and chivalry came from Muslims and was exported to Europe." He noted, as did Father George, that at the time of this Crusade, science and scholarship were far more advanced in the Islamic world than in Europe.

Tuesday, May 3, 2005

Computer Business

I see two big problems in the business world today, and that includes the computer industry.

The first is the Republican free market fixation on driving down costs. Witness Bill Gates request for more visas for foreign engineers, and the outsourcing of code development to India.

The second problem is boss's. I used to give people who were in charge the benefit of the doubt. I assumed they knew what they were doing, because the people who put them in charge knew what they were doing. It took me years to realize that most of the people I worked for were terrible managers. Maybe I have had a string of bad luck, or maybe I haven't been as discriminating in where I work as I should have been.

Maybe there are a few companies around with some good managers, and maybe some of these companies reward their employees with compensation commesurate with their worth. I would like to find one of these companies. I certainly have never worked for one. But then I can be "difficult to work with". Among my troublesome characteristics is that I "don't suffer fools gladly".

I find it very difficult to evaluate a prospective job from an interview, even a lengthy one. And it usually doesn't make any difference. If they offer me a job, I'll take it.

Recently I was thinking that I needed an agent, someone to promote me and my skills. It used to really bug me that employment agencies got these huge commissions for doing virtually nothing. But now I am beginning to understand.

I recently came up with the idea of using a 32-bit microprocessor for our next product instead of the 8-bit processors we have been using. I am the only developer here. My rational is that it is easier to develop an application using a cpu with a larger address space than having to manage exteneded memory using a small chip.

There are numerous reasons from the standpoint of software development to use a bigger, faster chip. If we were building millions of units, it would probably be worth it to expend the extra effort to write the program to run on an 8-bit chip. Since our total volume can be measured in hundred's, the development cost will far outweigh the extra cost of the bigger processor.

Big Idea

Last night Kathryn's dance team had their end-of-season banquet. A video of their performance at the state competition was shown. The senior girl's moms put on a dance/skit lampooning the teams that placed above Glencoe. It was hilarious.

But back to my idea. The problem here is that the camera aspect ratio is all wrong for this kind of show. The image needs to be 3 or 4 times wider than it is tall. If you zoom out so that you can get the whole show in the image, the people are tiny. If you zoom in so the performance fills the screen top to bottom, it cuts off the edges.

Seems to me there are a lot of performances that are like this: stage shows, concerts, half time shows, some sporting events, etc.

So what we need is a camera that takes a picture with an extremely wide aspect ratio. Or maybe you could do it with three cameras and special computer software. Then when you play it back on your TV you could select which portion of the complete image you wanted to see. If you want to see the whole thing, you might want special playback equipment.

Is there a market for this? I am sure there is.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Weekend

DVD Player, Part 1

Friday night (or was it Thursday night? I really don't remember and it doesn't make much difference anyway) the remote control for my DVD player quit, or at least I thought it was the remote. Changed the batteries, no help. So Saturday morning I start looking into the problem. Maybe it has fixed itself (remote controls are notoriously flaky in my house), but no, and the new batteries check out. So I look on the Internet, and Philips has replacement remote control that goes for $10. The also have a remote control that goes for $400. The blurb I read about them claims they have sold hundreds of thousands of them. I was stunned and amazed.

http://www.remotecentral.com/tsu3000/index.html

Eventually I realized that the remote controls for both the TV and DVD could be programmed to run the other one. So I tried it. I tried a dozen different codes in the TV remote but none of them enabled it to control the DVD player. Then I tried programming the DVD remote and got instant control of the TV. So it wasn't the remote after all.


Books

Saturday afternoon Johnny and I walked to downtown Hillsboro. He was very angry with his brother. He steamed and stewed and fussed most of the way. But then we went to the used book store and he forgot about his troubles. He found five or six "Star Wars" paperbacks. I found a mystery by Sue Grafton ("L is for Lawless"). You've probably seen her books in the supermarket. She has a whole series. They are not great, but they are entertaining. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I was finished by Sunday evening.


Fund Raiser

Saturday evening a friend of mine (Bob Coussens) invited Anne and I to join him and his wife at a fund raiser for the Hillsboro Schools Foundation. They fund educational enrichment programs for the Hillsboro Public Schools. It was held at the "Tiger Woods Center" on the Nike campus in Beaverton. A very bizarre experience for me. There were some real heavy-weights there. Three former Intel employees: Keith Thompson, Luis Machuca and Steve Packer.

I didn't get to speak to Keith. He and Luis were VP's at Intel. I actually couldn't remember his name till several hours later when it finally popped into my head. The only time I talked to him was 15 or 20 years ago when I was working at Intel's Deer Valley facility in Phoenix, Arizona. There was a big meeting with all employees and Keith was the speaker. Something about Intel making CPU chips for PC's and selling them to people who were making motherboards, and not wanting to be in the motherboard business because we would be competing with our customers. I stood up said it sounded like Intel was afraid. What's the difference if we sell chips on our own motherboards, or we sell chips to other people to put in PC's? Every PC is going to have an Intel chip, it doesn't matter who makes the motherboard. Anyway, before that, Intel didn't make or sell motherboards, and after that they did, and it was all because of my conversation with Keith (ho, ho, ho).

I had never met Luis before. He asked whether I was with "the labs" and I said I couldn't tell, we were being reorganized every two weeks when I was there. He said that was his doing. He is now running Kryptiq:

http://www.kryptiq.com/

Steve Packer was a manager in PCEO (Personal Computer Enhancement Operation) when I was working with the "SatisFAXtion" faxmodem there. He has forsaken computers and gone into politics as a liberal and I believe he is fervent about his cause. Time for men of good will to step up the plate and squash these neo-conservative fascists.

http://www.washcodems.org/



DVD Player, Part 2

Sunday we went to Costco to pick up a new DVD player. I wanted to get a DVR (digital video recorder), but the only one they had was a Tivo and it comes with a subscription requirement, and I continue to be opposed to monthly payments if I can avoid it. We picked up a Toshiba unit for $50. It is much smaller than our four year old Philips model (also purchased from Costco for $190). The old one barely fit in the new box with all the foam packing material removed. The TV and DVD player both support three kinds of video signals:
  • Composite
  • S-Video
  • Component or Chrominance/Luminance
Composite uses a single cable with "RCA" phone plugs, similar to an audio cable. S-Video uses a special cable. Component uses three cables, similar to the composite or audio cables. I had hooked up the old DVD player using the component connections, as it promised the best picture. While I was fooling around with the old DVD player I must have plugged some cables in wrong
because component video no longer works. When I tried it with the new DVD player I get a picture, but it is completely red. Must have blown something on the blue input circuit. Hard to imagine, these are just low level signals, no current to speak of, but something bad happened. So now I'm stuck with composite video, not that I can tell the difference.


Coffee

While we were at Costco we also picked up a "Senseo" coffee maker. It uses little premeasured packets of coffee and it only makes one cup at a time. It says it will make two cups, but the cup size they are talking about is four ounces, so two of their cups only makes one of my cups. Anyway, I thought it might be a good idea. Quick, easy, good cup of coffee. Turns out it's not that much quicker or easier, you still have to fill the reservoir. It's made by Philips, one of my least favorite companies. While I was hemming and hawing about whether we should get it or not, Anne picked it up and put in the cart and walked off down the aisle. I made a cup of coffee with it when I got home, and it was pretty good. But the unit leaked a little bit. I could have lived with that, but it was horribly noisy. It has some kind of pump inside it makes a horrible racket. Anne couldn't abide with the leak, so we packed it up and she took it back. I'm glad to be rid of it, but I still need to find a new coffee maker.

Friday, April 15, 2005

April 15

We still have lunch at the Panda most every Thursday. Yesterday, Don, Dennis, Elliot and I were there. Topic at lunch was 13 year old girls. Dennis brought a friend from work. He has a 13 year old daughter. She had 3 friends over for a sleepover a couple of weeks ago. They snuck out of the house about 3 in the morning to "go pick some flowers". Mom found out and rousted Dad and daughter was grounded for two weeks: no phone, no TV, no computer, no going anywhere.

Don has a 13 year old niece who is a meth addict, she ran away from home and hasn't been seen for I don't know how long. Her mother, Don's sister, lives somewhere in Southern Washington. She recently got a divorce from her marijuana dealer husband. The whole town, including the mayor and the sheriff, are in on the dope business.

My son John (12) has gone out for track, but his ankles hurt when he runs, so I don't know if he will continue. Kathryn (14) is still dancing and hating school. Her dance team came in 5th at the state competition about a month ago. Very disappointing after coming in 1st for the last three years. Ross participated in a mock trial a few weeks ago. Grumbled all the way, but I think he actually enjoyed it. He finally got his driving permit this week.

My mother-in-law wants to give us her old car. All we have to do is figure out how to go get it. She and it are in Iowa. Do we drive out and drive two cars back? Or do we pay round-trip prices for a one way ticket? Decisions, decisions.

Finally got my taxes done this week. Never again. Every year I say I am going to get started early and finish early, and I hardly ever do. Problem is that I just hate it. I don't want to do it, I have no interest in it, and if it weren't for the death penalty, I would probably blow it off completely. So I've decided I'm going to hire an accountant to do it. We are going to meet and get her all the information she needs, and we are going to get a list of what she will need from us next January and that will be the end of it. No more digging through old records, no more reading pages of instructions (did you buy a hog this year? did you get stuck in a bog? did you form a partnership for getting hogs stuck in bogs? did you dissolve a partnership for .... gawd, it's just endless).

I've been saying I need a new job for years, but what I really needed was a new boss, and I finally did, almost. They announced a new guy would be running the company and concentrating on sales, which is what we REALLY need. He moves up here from Texas (ride up North, coast back South), is here for a few days, and then he ends up in the hospital with a burst appendix. He got out a couple of days later and is now recuperating at the old boss's house. So the old boss is still around, hopefully for not too much longer.

Sunday, April 3, 2005

Melvin Paisley

The boys and I went to Fred Meyers (local big box retailer) yesterday and Johnny found a DVD for $8 that had a bunch of WWII era movies. I suspect the movies aren't any good, but they might be interesting. I showed it to Dad when he came over today to deliver his "Advance Directive". While he was here he told me a couple of things.
Dad's Uncle Stanley was in both wars: WWI and WWII. He was in the Army in the first war and signed up with the Navy for the second. He was working in the shipyard. One of his jobs was unloading bodies from ships.
When Dad was at Boeing (that was when we lived in Seattle) he met a guy by the name of Melvin Paisley. Melvin had been a P-47 pilot in Europe in WWII. After his first encounter with the enemy in the air, his ear had developed a tick. Dad put his ear up to Melvin's and he could hear it: tick, tick, tick. No explanation for it.
Melvin bought a P-47 when he was at Boeing. He had a friend who became secretary of the Navy, who then asked Melvin to be his assitant. Later Melvin was convicted of taking bribes from military contractors and was sent to prison.
It took some digging on Google, but I eventually found this:
In some cases, Pentagon officials were thought to have agreed to rigging the bidding process to favor certain companies, in exchange for a position after they left government service or even personal favors; indeed, Assistant Secretary Paisley, who left the Department of the Navy in March 1987, later plead guilty to providing classified and proprietary data to free-lance military consultants, many of whom were later convicted or plead guilty. (Among the "personal favors": a major defense contractor bought Paisley’s vacation condominium in Sun Valley at an above-market price, reselling it in a year for a loss.)
on this web page:
and this:
1991 Melvyn R. Paisley (d.2001 at 77), a former assistant Navy Secretary, pleaded guilty to conspiracy and bribery as part of "Operation Ill Wind," a 7 ½ year operation which investigated corporate executives, defense consultants and government officials.
(SFC, 12/27/01, p.A19)

on this page:
Regarding the noises in the ear, I found this:

Can Other People Hear the Noise in My Ears?

Not usually, but sometimes they are able to hear a certain type of tinnitus. This is called "objective tinnitus," and it caused either by abnormalities in blood vessels around the outside of the ear or by muscle spasms, which may sound like clicks or crackling inside the middle ear.

on this page:
All this searching turned up some weird stuff, like this:

Monday, March 28, 2005

Weekend

Actually used to my truck to do some real work this weekend. Went to home depot and picked up two loads of timbers and blocks for the retaining wall we are planning on building in the back yard. I figure each load weighed about one ton and cost $200. There are basically two sizes of blocks made for retaining walls: Manor stone, which weighs 60 pounds each, and cottage stone, which weighs 30 pounds each. In the spriit of family cooperation, we elected to use cottage stone, because they are small enough that Johnny can carry them, and if he can carry them, everyone else in the family can carry them to.

The timbers are another matter. The are 6 by 6's, eight feet long. The must weigh at least 100 pounds. I carried six of them by myself around to the back of the house. I got help with the others. Johnny helped with a couple and Kathryn helped with the rest. I probably shouldn't have had Kathryn helping me. They were very heavy, and it was wet and if we had slipped, somebody could have gotten seriously hurt. But we survived.

Ross and Kathryn got back from their trip to New York late Friday night. Johnny and Ross immediately started in on each other, just what you would expect. Sounds like everyone had a good time in NYC.

Thursday, March 3, 2005

Software Consulting

Friend on mine runs a software contracting shop. They charge by the hour. Rates run from $50 to $90 per hour to the customer. Guys who do the work get %70 of that.

He told me a story about two people he had working. One was very methodical, organized and efficent. Went in, figured out what to do and then did it with a minimum of fuss. The other one was sloppy, inefficent, and disorganized. Constantly consulting with the customer over all kinds of problems. Project finished up, contractors went home. Time goes by. Customer has another
project. They call the contracting house again. Who do they ask for? The methodical, organized, efficent one? You want to put money on that? They asked for the sloppy, inefficent, and disorganized one. They remembered him. They had spent so much time talking to him. Stupid customers.

So I'm thinking that I need to form a tag team with a publicist. I need someone to sing my praises and advertise my accomplishments. Someone who depends on me getting the work done.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Auto Options

I want to build a better city. A city where you walk where you need to go without having to look out for cars. A city where you can drive without having to look out for pedestrians. A multi-level city is what we need. Put heavy transportation on the ground level, things like trains and heavy trucks. Put auto transportation on the next level and put pedestrian walkways on top. Use automated parking garages. Provide entrances to the parking garages at the pedestrian level. Drive up to the pedestrian level to park. Elevator takes your car away and you are on people level. Automated parking garages are being built in many cities. Google it.

We aren't going to get rid of cars anytime soon. But we could build better cities. It will not happen overnight, but large redevelopment project could start a trend.

People are continuing to move to cities because that's where the jobs are. Agriculture has become so efficient that there just aren't that many job opportunities in rural areas anymore.

The technology that supports our society has become so complex that it requires thousands of different specialists to keep it running.

Public transportation, the CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) law, and low gas prices are all designed to keep transportation costs down for workers so business owners don't have to pay them very much.

Of course if the workers lived where they worked their transportation costs would be nil, and business owners could pay them even less. But then the employees rent would go up, so employers would have to pay them more.
I am still puzzled why so many businesses locate downtown. Intel didn't, which has caused a huge population explosion/building boom in Washington County (Beaverton and Hillsboro, just to west of Portland and Multnomah county).

Our little company draws it's employees from the four corners of the Portland Metro area.


Sunday, February 13, 2005

Dance

Yesterday Kathryn's dance team performed in a large competition at Tigard High School. There were two rounds. One started about noon, the second started in the late afternoon.

There were three classes. Kathryn's group competed in the "Large Show" class. All teams in this class brought their own "floor" and props. The floor is a large piece of vinyl that covers the entire gym floor. Unfolding this and spreading it out before the performance and then folding it up and loading it back on the cart is a big project. Most teams employed their dancers for this task. At least one team employed their props crew, which were the dancer's dads.

The dancing was a blur. Hundreds of girls leaping, twirling and gyrating. Kathryn took a bus early in the morning. Anne was there for both shows. I was there for the second show. Afterwards, Kathryn and some of the girls went to Red Robin (a restaurant) to celebrate their first place finish. Anne and I went to a pub to eat and drink with the coaches and some of the other muckety-mucks of this dance team. A very different little world they have. Finally got home a little before midnight.

They have another competition next weekend and then the state competition in mid-March.

Ross's basketball team had their final game of the season yestrerday. Only four guys from their team showed up. They were able to draft a guy from Glencoe Junior Varsity who just happened to be hanging around. They played hard but lost by six points. They have one guy on their team who can be an exceptionally good player, when he wants to. Most of the time he doesn't want to. Yesterday, for the first time, he actually played hard for most of the game. Curious.

Thursday, January 6, 2005

Christmas

Dan got me a copy of "Alone in the Wilderness". Haven't watched it yet. Hoping to get my family to watch it with me, but that may be futile. The kids got me the Clint Eastwood spaghetti western trilogy (Fistful of Dollars, etc.) so we watched that last week.
Last weekend Anne & I took the kids out to dinner and then to Lemony Snicket ("A Series Of Unfortunate Events"). Not great, but entertaining. The house perched on the edge of the cliff was fine. That was the family event for the week/month/year. We seldom do anything all together anymore. John has his video games and his friends, Kathryn has dance and her friends, and Ross has basketball and student council and his friends
Watched a Jean-Claude Van Damme with Anne last weekend. "Death Wake". Jean-Claude is getting old. It was better than most of his films, I think. Haven't seen much of him lately, but from what I remember, they were pretty poor. Lots of action, but not too smart. This one was a little better.

Also watched a weird Japanese sword and sorcery movie "Onmyoji". Setting was several hundred years ago when swords and sorcery held sway. Very different.

Heard a pleasant song on KBOO radio on the way back from lunch today. The band is Shantala and the album is "The Love Window" and the song was "Nataraja".

Kids also got me the latest Lenny Kravitz CD. The song I wanted "Where are we runnin'?" was the shortest song on the disc, and the only real rocker. This was one of the songs Kathryn danced to at her Christmas recital (?!?). But I listened to the rest of CD and it has started to grow on me. Then I heard one of the songs on an ad for "Alias", and I think heard another one somewhere else.

Monday, January 3, 2005

Firewall Router

I think I finally have the computer problems sorted out. One needs four levels of protection:
1) Firewall
2) Virus scanner
3) Adware scanner
4) Spyware scanner

The last round of problems started about a month ago when I couldn't connect to the Internet. Finally called my ISP/DSL supplier. They suggested I remove the router from the circuit. I did, and low and behold, the Internet started working! Wonderbar!

Not so fast Bucky. When I pulled the router, I also pulled the firewall, and all our computers that got connected to the Internet immediately got infested with a load of stuff.

So I bought a new router. And then a friend of mine gave me a router. And it was the same model as the one I just bought, so I took the new one back. Finally get around to setting things up and the borrowed router doesn't work either. Go back to the store for a third time and buy the router again. Take it home, plug it in and everything works fine.

Except the printers, but we'll leave that for another time.

So I am impressed with electronics. I am collecting quite a pile dead electro-gizmos. I would like to build a monument to some sort out of dead electronic gizmos. A pyramid, or maybe a building.