The Solar Decathlon

The Spanish Entry
The Spanish Entry

Yesterday was a fine warm sunny day and I went down to the Mall to check out the 2009 Solar Decathlon. I waited on line and went inside the Germany entry, the University of Illinois entry and to support the home team – the VT entry.

About the VT entry – the interior is very elegantly outfitted. I would be very happy to have their design team do my apartment over.

The Solar Decathlon – Check it out. You can find all the teams and follow the scoring.

The VT Entry – It looks better in real life.

Our hospital got some pig flu vaccine yesterday. Not enough to go around.

new neighbor

We have a new construction crane in the neighborhood.
We have a new construction crane in the neighborhood.

Nice day today.

I went down to the Mall to take in the Bi-Annual Solar Decathlon.

Watching the evening news. Now I am mad. I always knew that congress persons had darn good health insurance – mostly paid for by us kiddies. But, what I didn’t know, and hope isn’t true, even after the bastards get out of office – being voted out, scared out, or run out – they and their families continue being covered. Until they reach 65. Isn’t that wonderfully self-serving behavior? I hope this is just poor reporting. I hope we are not still providing health insurance to losers from the past. Bad enough we have to pay for the incumbent crooks.

More about the Solar Decathlon later.


Gay Rights March
Gay Rights March

Repeat after me – Macs Replace Folders, PCs Merge Folders. Macs Replace Folders, PCs Merge Folders. Macs Replace Folders, PCs Merge Folders. Macs Replace Folders, PCs Merge Folders. Macs Replace Folders, PCs Merge Folders.

I wonder how many more of these gotcha’s are hiding in my new machine?

But, The Time Machine thingie worked as advertised. So, only one photo got lost. And it was no loss.

I still haven’t decided how to catalog, cull, process, organize, etc etc images on The Airness. A whole bunch of images are cataloged using Photoshop Elements over on the XP part of the Dell Box.

I really liked my 30 day trial of Lightroom last summer. I would spring for my very own copy. $299. But, I am in lust with an as yet unavailable camera. It is supposed to ship with a copy of Lightroom. I could use getting a copy of Lightroom to help justify the cost of the camera.

Photoshop Elements for PC used to have vastly superior cataloging abilities over the Mac version. But, I haven’t checked out the current release. PSE is a fine enough program – but it is long on cute scrapbooky features. And, it has a distressing habit of needing frequent expensive upgrades.

I really really miss Irfanview. That would be the great freeware swiss army knife PC image viewer/editor/tweaker. It doesn’t work gracefully with WINE. Someone should take up a collection and pay Irfan Skiljan to port Irfranview to the Linux/Mac world.

I have poked around with iPhoto which comes with The Airness. I didn’t feel the love. At least not yet. Maybe it will grow on me being “free”.

And, I just installed Picasa. The Linux version was some sort of strange package that come with a special version of WINE and the Windows version of Picasa. I think that the Mac version is “pure”. Don’t know. Just guessing.


The "Gay Rights" March
The Gay Rights March

OUCH, I just learned a valuable Mac lesson. In Windows and Ubuntu Land, I pop my camera memory card into the computer and drag the folder with the photos onto the desktop. I did that with The Airness. Then after I take more pictures, I do that again. Well, boys and girls, in PC/Linux Land – your old pictures remain. Not so with the Mac. It REPLACES the old folder with the new one. Completely and totally deleting any other pictures that were in the folder. So, I just lost 15 pictures. I am thinking that 14 of them are in “The Time Machine” – but one in lost forever. It was today’s Fall View from the balcony. No big loss. Big lesson learned at little cost. And, we’ll see if that time machine thingie works.

But, today’s main event was a trek downtown to take in the Gay Rights March. I am sure there were some ugly homophobic protesters somewhere. I only encountered thousands of cheery marchers.

Fall Watch…

fall - oct 10 - old fx01
fall - oct 10 - from the balcony - old fx01

Four weeks from now – we will be on our way to Kona. But, until then… Let us enjoy fall in the mid Atlantic.

Adventures in technology-land. For years I have used the very simple, very cheap “TaxAct” software. It doesn’t hold your hand. It doesn’t offer advice, hints or tips. It sort of assumes that you know WTF you are doing. It only works on PC’s. Last year’s version ran OK with WINE. I was hoping it would again this year. But, no luck. Not with Linux WINE, not with Apple WINE. So, I’ll just use XP on the big dell box for taxes in the spring of 2010.

I know, I know, I am supposed to be this fan of cloud computing. BUT, I’d rather not have my taxes in the clouds. And, I REALLY don’t want to have Carlton’s taxes in a cloud. Imagine trying to explain to Mr C how “the cloud ate your tax return”. If my computer catches on fire or if it gets stolen – that he could understand. He wouldn’t like it. But, he would understand it. A problem with “the tax cloud” – well – that would be ugly.

Upgraded the iPod Touch s/w from 2pointwhatever to 3.1.2. But, I did decide to leave well enough along and keep it attached only to the PC version of iTunes. The old iPod – it can be the switch hitter. But, like all of my technology decisions – this one is subject to change.

hawai’i calls

halloween bugs on butterfly weed - with old fx01
Halloween bugs on butterfly weed - with old fx01

A couple of weeks ago, I decided to stop complaining about not being able to sleep at night. So, last night when I was awake, I fired up the Mac and snagged a pair of frequent flyer tickets to Kona. Leaving November 7, 2009 returning March 2, 2010. Actually, the tickets are just on hold until Sunday night – the routing is cruddy. But, the price is right.

Strange day. Warm, even hot. Our President wins the Nobel Peace Prize. Our NASA bombs the moon. A strange day. A good day.

bora bora anyone?

The Computer Altar is looking a little unsettled
The Computer Altar is looking a little unsettled

Dueling iTunes. The latest version of iTunes makes it really easy for two or more computers to share iTunes libraries and to copy music from one to the other.

Note to Peg: Last night’s Chubby Chicky was really good. I am sure I’ll forget what I did by the time I buy another whole chicken. So, here it is for me.

  1. Wash and dry a whole chicken. A chubby chicky if you will.
  2. In the pot that Carlton found in the trash room – brown up any veggies that need using up.
  3. Stick any herbs that are lying around inside the chicky and season up the out side with pepper, cumin, etc. Lots of seasonings.
  4. Brown the breast side of the chicken. Then turn it over and brown up the backside.
  5. Seal up pot with foil.
  6. Put lid on top, and put in 260 degree oven.
  7. Put iron skillet on top of lid.
  8. Cook 4.5 – 5 pound chicken about 90 minutes.

I am now in tropical mode. Carlton was interested in going to Tonga this year and I was interested in Samoa. But, they have both been hard hit by earthquakes over the past week. Bora Bora anyone?

mac-ing right along

Mac’s have a thing called the “time machine”. It is supposed to be a wonderful backup system. Well, I have had nothing but BAD luck with any backup system except me personally shipping my personally selected files off to a floppy, cd, dvd, thumb drive, external drive, whatever. No microsoft based “system recovery”, ghosting scheme, backup software ever saved my butt. For a couple of years – I had an automatic cloud based backup system. And, at the very same time as my HP Vista Whore Machine melted the motherboard – taking the disk with it – my cloud based backup system had a massive server failure – and nothing could be retrieved. I was still backing up to dvd and/or the external drive – so, I didn’t lose very much.

Son-in-law encouraged me to give The Time Machine a try. So, I dusted off the external drive that I consider the most trust worthy and turned it into my Time Machine. Sooner or later, I’ll try to get some sort of wireless Time Machine going. Using my existing parts. One can buy a cute little Apple box for $499 that will do the job. But, where is the fun in that?

I am trying to be modern. I started using WordPress – no long doing a roll your own website. Now, I am trying out Time Machine and the whole Mac-thing. Progress.

Chicken for dinner tonight. A chubby chicken is in the oven.

it’s deja vu all over again

To quote Yogi – It’s deja vu all over again.

In Vietnam we could have gone to ask the French “Hey, how did things work out in the Indochina?”

In Afghanistan – maybe we can round up some old Soviet Generals and ask “Now, how did the Soviet-Afghan war turn out?”

a little more mac every day

seed pod - nature conservancy lot
seed pod - nature conservancy lot

After a morning designing forms at the hospital – paperwork is my life – I decided that is was time to get The Airness connected to the rest of the computers in the house. It now happily plays with the elderly XP systems and uses the XP’s old HP printer. I did have to download a new printer driver – but nothing to that. I suppose I’ll try to get it connected to the Ubuntu system next.  Should work fine – since the Mac is really a Unix system is designer duds.

Speaking of designer duds. One of the downsides of losing 20 pound is that I now give a shit what I am wearing. What a pain that is! At my time of life, I should be heading off to polyester and elastic waists – or at least The Talbots and Chicos. It isn’t easy to be stylish with my requirement for shoes that you can walk five miles in. And my refusal to frequent the dry cleaners. And my reluctance to shop anywhere except at thrift shops.