Thursday, November 27, 2008

New Logo!


So, after a really good thanksgiving dinner, I decided to make a new logo for my blog. So, first thing I did was searched for a picture that gave me a good idea... I came up with this picture of Evelyn standing on the peir near Alki... I took the strip of the skyline and decided that would be a good backdrop...

So, I opened up GIMP, and tried applying some gradients... then inverting the colors... removing the sky... a whole bunch of stuff... then I just ran an edge detection filter. I thought it was great! just the siloette of the city would be just what I wanted...

Then I decided that I didn't like the Neon edge detection... so my final decision was to go with the image that is at the top of the blog. Then, I just opened my old logo as a layer... it just so happened that the resolution of my old logo was really close to what I wanted for this one... bam!

Now I have a new logo... but I might change it to a different view of the city. I was thinking about getting a good picture of the city from Gasworks park.

However, that's all for now...

BTW, Evelyn did a fantastic job with the turkey. It was so good that I only think I'll have leftovers for a week!


So, hope your holliday was awesome, I know mine was!

Later,
SteveO

P.S. I saw dad reading my blog...

It's Thanksgiving!

It's turkey day!

Ev and I got up this morning, and went over to Jet City to get out coffee, and Brandy was there to make it for us!

After we got out coffee, I went home to check the Houghton Lake web cam and saw that Datura apparently rotated the camera about 120 degrees counter clockwise, but Uncle Don was there to post a sign that was right side up.
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It is still kinda fun to peek at the webcam and try to figure out what everyone is doing.













I could also see that the kids build a snowman out in the yard for the occasion, and it looks like a lot of fun.



Out here in Washington, we are just putting the turkey in the oven as they are getting ready to eat, and it's a great day outside... at least there isn't any rain, so that makes it a pretty good day.

Jaani is having fun running all over the place playing with Babli, and Ev is getting ready for dinner.

So, that's a holliday update for you.

Happy Thaksgiving everyone!

Later,
SteveO



Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving in Renton!

So, today we went out and got a bird... and Ev preped it with spices and herbs and stuff... then we put it in the fridge for tomorrow. We're getting everything ready, but I still plan on calling mom to figure out what to do with the neck and heart and... I don't really care about the rest... well, I guess the drumsticks. I care about those.

I'm sure everything will turn out just fine. Ev has instructions. (and I can read them.)

It will be fun. I think the best part is she doesn't even let me in the kitchen, so all I have to do is stay out of the kitchen.

In all honesty though, I realized today that every Thanksgiving I've been out here for, I've had Ev at the table... so it really wouldn't be Thanksgiving without her.

And if I can get a video call over to Houghton tomorrow, I might even be able to hang out with the family while they have dinner.

So, off to the holiday!

Later,

SteveO
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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

New and improved Webcam!

So, before I had this problem, that if I were to disconnect my computer from the internet, my webcam would go down with it... well, now I've almost completely eliminated that problem.  Thanks to dropbox! 

Now, I have a public folder that I automatically synchronize my webcam pics to every 1, 5, 10, 15, and 30 minutes.  I have also started replacing my home web server with google sites... not perfect, but ok.  with the exception that I can't run a real time streaming web camera... but I never really had the bandwidth to support multiple users on that anyway...

so yup.  That's my story about the webcam...

The other thing that I really wanted to have set up correctly was a good way for me to turn off my web cam, and use skype.  I have been playing with this setup that will allow me to have skype running, and when someone calls me, it kills my webcam server, and frees up my webcam to make a video call.  Then when I hang up, it restarts my webcam server... at least in theory.  I still have to make it work right. 

In the mean time, I'm listening to last.fm... and I think I'm going to eat.

Later,

     SteveO

Monday, November 24, 2008

So, I went up to Seattle today for a couple of interviews.  I had one with a staffing company, and another for a full time position.  However, I had a bit of a break between the interviews, so I went to the park next to the Pike place market... it's right near the waterfront, and I sat under this tree.

There was a really nice view this morning, as I could see Mt Rainier clearly (the mountain is in about the middle of the picture...)

I sat there for a while, and looked over at the Port of Seattle.  I always love the way all the cranes look lined up along the entrance to the Duwamish River.

It was a bit cold on the waterfront though, however I found that I have a way of dressing for the weather.

I also looked across toward the Olympics, which were out and showing clearlly in the background. 

It seemed like a perfect day to be in Seattle.

I found myself hanging around in the park for a while, until I started to feel the chill of the wind comming off the sound.

I found this cozy little book store near the corner of Pike and 1st.  It is right at the enterance to the Pike maket, and after entering, I found it had an interesting collection consisting almost entirely of books you would never find in a Barnes and Nobel or Borders.  The section on Femminist studies was most of a wall, and the section on antidisestablishmentatianism was larger than I thought possible.


anyway... after walking across half of down town Seattle to get to my second interview, I walked over to West Lake Center (It's a mall with a subway/bus-tunnel station in the basement.), where I stopped at the Starbucks to use the rest of the money I put on my starbucks card...

It seems I need to use the card once every 30 days just to make sure that I have free internet access when I go to the airport on the 17th...

so anyway then I had to go down to the subway...
AKA. bus tunnel.  I find it pretty funny that there are train tracks on the road...  It's part of Puget Sound Transit's light rail link.  Apparently there will be a light link system that goes from Everett all the way through Seattle to Tacoma eventually... so far they have the tracks laid out from the U-district (North Seattle) to Sea-tac Airport... every once and a while you can see one of the trains being tested on the tracks... either that or it is a train operator taking a test.  Either way, you see the trains (which are only one or two cars long...) just traveling and stopping all over the tracks...

After waiting at the station for about 10 minutes, I took the 550 out to Bellevue, then had a third interview.  I think all the interviews went pretty well, but I won't be happy until I hear back from someone about where I am going to work.

I hope that a decision will be made soon, and I can get back to work because I don't like being unemployed... I will have plenty of time off when I go to Michigan, and probably work half the time I'm there, but for now, I don't want to be a worthless pile that can't even get christmas gifts for my neices and nephews.  So, that's my first day without a job.

So, wish me luck with the job search.  I'll keep everyone up to date.

Later,

     SteveO

Saturday, November 22, 2008

A heck of a day today...

So... Yesterday I went down and picked up Evelyn... she was all excited to go see Twilight in theaters... I had really mixed feelings... somewhere between the horrible acting, and the interesting twists on vampire lore... apparently in twylight vampires can't go in the sun because their skin sparkles in direct sunlight... as opposed to bursting in to flames or turning to dust... and every vampire has some sort of power (reading minds or seeing the future...)  They even went so far as to say that a local Washington Indian tribe made a deal with the vampires to not tell the white man about who the vampires really are... it seems the main family of vampires that the story is about doesn't feed on humans (but feel incomplete merely feeding on animals.)

So... that's what we did last night...

Then today, we got pictures developed at Wallgreens, did some basic shopping that needed to get done... I got my ears lowered... and for the first time I'm not happy with the way the person cut my hair!  I am not picky at all about that stuff... but she cut it about 2 inches shorter than I wanted... and it isn't cut even at all.  I'm not too happy with it.. but oh well.  In a little while

  Then went to go eat at the Olive Garden near Southcenter Mall... however... when we got to Southcenter, we noticed that there were no cars in the parking lot... then we saw police cars blocking the entrances to the parking lot... finally, we heard on news radio (good old KOMO AM 1000) that there was a shooting at one of the southern main entrances to the  mall.  A man was killed... I guess there was a fist fight and then the whole thing ended in gun fire. 

I guess we lucked out that we didn't get there an hour earlier (even though we would have been going to a separate building on the other side of the parking lot...)  Plus it was good that we went to go see the movie yesterday because today's viewing at the same time was canceled.  I don't know how the online refunds would have worked for that.  But even then, to see a movie in that mall and eat at the Chicken Now Seattle restaraunt in the food court... we would have never been on the first floor where the incident happened.

So... because we couldn't go to the Olive Garden, we went to Mizu Japanese Steakhouse for dinner... it was pretty good... and we had a fun cook at our table.  And now I'm back home.

Oh well... oh, and in breaking news, I just took an ear away from Jaani and gave it to Babli because Jaani growled at Babli for sitting near him... then he growled at me when I touched his ear... so he lost the ear for being mean.



So, Ev went home... Well, she is going out with her sister and a couple of their friends for the evening, and I don't have to take her home.  I have to say it was a really good day for me.

I got out of the house and away from my computer for a while... I got a hair cut for my interview... I got some food and stuff for around the house... I got some pictures that I have meant to get developed for about 6 years... and I went out to eat at a nice restaraunt... however, the best part about all of it: I didn't pay a dime!  Well, I insisted on paying for some of the food and my body wash... plus I payed for coffee because Ev was spending way too much money... but still... I only speant like $20... which is really good!  donsidering that the hair cut, pictures, and dinner were all individually more expensive than that... which is awesome.

Anyway... that's about it for today... Jaani and I are going to watch a movie and go to bed.  No more spending money until I at least get a new job.

Later,

     SteveO

P.S. for those of you who may not be completely in the loop... as of yesterday at 5PM I am officially unemployed.  However, I'm not too worried about it... I doubt I'll have much more than an inconvienience from it.

I found a whole bunch of old pictures...

So, I found these old disposable cameras, and Evelyn was getting some pictures printed at Wallgreens, so I said, I need to get these developed before the film goes bad... Anyway... she paid to get all of the pictures put on to a CD for me, and now I have all the pictures that I took when I was at Bonaroo, when I first came out to Seattle, and when Scott and I drove back to Michigan, then came back out to Seattle... Basically, a bunch of stuff from before I got a digital camera... so anyway... I think I'll put some of them up online, but I don't know when I'll get around to it...

So just keep an eye out for the pictures I found... and I'll leave you with a picture of one of the things that made me want to stay in Seattle... the Olympic Mountain range as seen from the Seattle waterfront.
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Monday, November 17, 2008

Timelapse of 11/16/08 Renton Sky

Jaanicam 3.0 Works at work and in IE!

So, one of the many things I did this weekend was improve the Jaanicam! So, Jaanicam is now in version 3.0!  with new features like:

  • 4 times the original resolution
    I upgraded from a mere 320X240 resolution to an incredible 1280X960 resolution! That's 1.3 Mega pixels!
  • You can now watch real time videos from any computer with port 80 open!
    Have a nasty corporate firewall blocking port 8081?  No problem!  Jaanicam 3.0 now uses the magic of Java Applets to handle jpeg streams from my live camera server to avoid using port 8081, and allow Internet Explorer users to view the latest images!
  • Added Scenery!
    Jaani's world is not just a cage in my apartment, there are also doors, cabinets and a refrigerator that surround his cage.  You can be the first to know when someone walks through my front door!
I know it's exciting to think about all these great new features that can help you relate to Jaani, but please try to contain yourself.

Other than the Jaanicam, Yesterday's daytime time lapse video should be up shortly on youtube... assuming everything goes as planned.  Check back later to see how things went.

Later,

     SteveO

Friday, November 14, 2008

Jaanicam 2.0!

so, for today's webcam, I have Jaanicam 2.0... why 2.0? because I just installed new software that allows me to do a whole bunch of new stuff!  for example:

  • Create time-laps videos of what my webcam saw each day
  • a 2 frame-per-second refresh rate
  • It only saves images when motion is detected
  • supports multiple webcams
  • and if I ever get a camera that has a motor, it can use the motor to track objects
What wonderful software can do all this?  it's called motion.  a totally awesome open source app that not only adds new functionality to my webcam, but still preserves my old way of doing stuff... and it even does the old stuff better too!

So, that said, now you know why today's web cam is the Jaanicam 2.0

There is just one problem... and it is kind of a stupid thing I did wrong.  you see... when I was configuring the program to copy the video for the previous day to the web server folder... I accidentally named the file .swf... because I thought it was going to use flash video format... however, it turns out it the program makes an mpg...

so if you download this file here ... you have to change the file extension to mpg of windows will freak out! (linux really doesn't care what the file extension is... well, maybe I should say totem/gstreamer doesn't care.

anyway... so, If you download today's time-laps video of yesterday, then you will have to rename the file to something.mpg (instead of TodaysTimelaps.swf)


Anyway, that's my update for today.  remember to check back here... later tonight I'll add a link under the webcam picture to the properly named mpg file...

Later,

     SteveO

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Todays Hurricane Ridge Sunset


And as an extra bonus, here is the Seattle Sunset for tonight:

That's all for now...


Later,

     SteveO

Two more webcam sites...

So, in an effort to maximize the number of ways you can look at my web cam (BTW there are 3 so far...) so that makes more way for you to look out the windows of my apartment... or watch Jaani sleep... or if you check out my webcam at around 10pm EST you may even be able to watch me sit around...

However, the two sites I am talking about are my Web Cams Google Sites page and my Commute Cams Google Sites page.

Web Cams page: this page watches the Mountain passes, Seattle, and Hurricane Ridge.  Which has looked beautiful all day!

Commute Cams page: this page shows all the traffic cameras between my house and my work.  So, you can see what kind of traffic I am dealing with any time you want, but mostly so I can see what traffic is looking like before I leave to go either to work or home.

In addition to that, you may have been wondering what my web cam has been looking at... well, I am going to use my twitter feed to document what the camera is looking at and when... which you can read my twitter feed on the sidebar at the right.

So, I guess all that being said, I will call this an entry!  Later tonight I want to try and get a sunset picture of Hurricane Ride.

Later,

     SteveO

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The closest web cam of all!

So, I have my own web cam now... I set up an Apache server to host a page, and set up cron to backup the current photo in 1, 5, and 15 minute increments.

The camera updates every minute, and if you click the link for older pictures, then it will reload the most recent photo every 10 seconds.

It took me a bit longer to set up the camera than I expected because if I type in my external IP address, my actiontec router just routes me to the internal setup page... rather than forward me to my web server... in short I had to use a proxy site in order to check that my blog would look right.  However, I took this picture once I saw that the camera worked right... then I moved the picture for the web cam to the top of my page.

It was a bit more work than I expected... and I have yet to see if the javascript that I wrote is only having issues because of the proxy, or Blogger's html/javascript gadget... but I guess I can test it at work tomorrow.

So, that's all for today.

Later,

     SteveO

P.S. have fun watching the cam!

Web cams near me!

So, if you go to This Page I have provided four web cams near me... the link is also over on the sidebar to the right...

So, you can always see what Snoqualmie pass (East), Steven's Pass (North East), Downtown Seattle (North), or Hurricane Ridge (North West) look like today.

ok... I think I am officially calling today Webcam day.

Later, 

     SteveO

Email pictures to me!

ok, so, I added this link over to the right side of my page that says Send Pictures to me!!!

Everyone should send me a picture.  send as many as you want... my picasa account can support like... 20,000 more pictures in it... and then I'll start looking for cool pictures to put up on my blog.  Sound like a good idea?  I think so...

So send me your pictures... the link will stay over on the right side... and everyone should be able to see it.

I don't care what the pictures are... as long as they are family friendly in nature... or at the very least not pornographic or anything like that... good clean pictures... family pictures... pictures of me... pictures of you... pictures of the sunset or some cool mountain.... or a random village in Australia somewhere... 

anyway, so leave a picture.

Later,

     SteveO

Web Cams and stuff

So, it looks like we are starting to get snow up on Steven's pass.  This is what it looks like up on Steven't Pass today, which is good because it's more snow than there was yesterday.  The Army Core of Engineers has been saying we should expect more flooding in the low lands, snow in the mountains, and land slides on steep hills.  This is because of the large amount of rain we are getting... combined with the strong winds.
However, that doesn't change the fact that I am at work... and Jaani is sitting at home... just waiting for me.
I also found this other web cam of the Olympic Mountains from Hurricane Ridge (just south of Port Angeles).  It sure looks nice pretty over there.

Anyway... I guess I just wanted to put up a few pics from different web cams in the area.  I wish I could have found one of Renton, but there was no such luck... at least aside from traffic cams.

Other than web cams... it is raining... again... so, I guess that means Steven's pass might have more snow tomorrow.


Anyway, I guess I'll just call that a post.

Later,

     SteveO

Monday, November 10, 2008

A bigger update...

So, anyone who has been paying attention on Facebook or twitter would probably know by now that I have arranged my flight to Michigan!  I have the dates listed on my calendar... (December 17 - 31).  I just payed for Jaani to come on the plane with me... and everything else is just falling into place.

Also, I've been meaning to write about the fiasco that I had last Thursday trying to get home from work... it was a crazy day.  The whole thing started with my bus home.  I though I would be clever by showing up for the 5:30 bus so I could get home a little early... So, as I was walking to the bus stop, I saw the bus sittiing at the stop when I got to the interstection neighboring the bus stop.  I had to wait for the light to change, and the bus was already stopped, which is usually a clear sign that I'm about to miss the bus.  However, the bus did not move as I waited for the light... and as I started to approach the bus stop, I saw a large number of people standing around in the rain.  I had a bad feeling, and I didn't feel that I needed to run to catch up with the bus.
    
By the time I got up next to the bus, I could see that nobody was on the bus, and when I got near the front of the bus I saw the 564 parked in front (FYI I usually ride either the 564 or the 565 because they take the same route from Renton to the Overlake transit center, between the two busses it gives me an option to take the bus every 15 minutes).  So, I asked the driver if the bus was out of commission, and she informed me that the headlights had gone out on the bus (and the sun had just set).  So, I walked up to the other bus, and asked what was going on, and that driver said that there was a problem with the breaks on the bus, so that bus wasn't going anywhere until the service truck got there to check it out. 

So, I just stood around in the rain (which didn't bother me much because of the totally awesome rain gear mom got me for christmas last year)... and the next bus came for my route.  Although, there was something that made me decide not to get on that bus... 1) the route I usually take is about 1/2 full from OTC to Bellevue, then a half a bus worth of people get on at Bellevue to go to or past Renton... 2) there was a full bus worth of people already waiting for the next bus.... 3) there was an accident on the WA-520 (Evergreen point floating) bridge which had WA-520 and I-405 at a stand still until you got south of I-90 (about 1/2 of my trip home.)  So, I decided that rather than stand on an over-crowded bus for two hours, I would wait for the next bus so I could sit down.  So, I waited, and let the bus go... and good thing two.  By the time the next bus came at 5:55 (Which was my normal bus anyway), I was able to get right on and find a good seat to sit down for the ride.

Although, it took a whole hour to get to Bellevue (usually 15 - 20 minutes).. then once we got past I-90 on I-405, things started to move.  I didn't mind too much though.  I was able to watch 3 episodes of Monk on the bus, and I listened to a bunch of music on the bus ride.  

So, that's the story of my crazy bus ride home last Thursday.

Friday, I finally got a hold of Scott to celebrate Scott Day (Scott's Birthday) and I told him that I would also be going to for a Sushi dinner, however I would be honoring Scott Day on Saturday because it was better timing for me.  So, Ev took me out to dinner at this Sushi place in Federal Way which was pretty nice, then she came over for the night to look for hindi songs to dance to for some wedding she is going to this weekend. 

Then... that brings me to now.  It was a nice day, the sun was out but it was still windy and rainy (a weather condition that I feel is uniquely Seattle) and now I'm home... getting ready to watch a little TV before going to bed.  So, that was my last few days.  I should have taken a picture or something... but oh well.  Maybe soon I'll get better at keeping all the pictures up to date.

so, that's it for now.

Later,

     SteveO

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The news called it!

After a mere 10% of the Country's votes were counted, the election was announced in favor of Barack Obama. I guess all the media outlets are lucky they didn't get it wrong again. It must be a big gamble to guess like that, but that's the kind of news quality we expect in this country... 10%. Anyway, I was still happy to hear it.

Here in Washington, only 45% of the polls are counted, and Gregoire is being declared the winner by a margin of a couple percent.

I was happy to hear they will be building new light rail systems to serve the Seattle Metro area. I really hope the 405 corridor is high on the list... I know that Renton and Overlake Transit Center are high traffic bus routes, and traffic on 405 always sucks... even the carpool lane is slowed down to about 45mph.

It's now legal for assisted suicide in Washington; under the conditions that you are terminally ill, and three doctors agree.

Most of the parks in Western Washington are going to be re-designed.

Same sex marriages are illegal in California.

It seems like a really big deal... Democratic Senate and House. Democratic President... it seems like things may be a little different for the next few years. Hopefully.

Last but far from least is the Free the Airwaves project got the Thumbs up from the FCC! This is an issue that I have really been excited about for like 6 months! It will pave the way for a whole bunch of new wireless technology.

Anyway, I guess I'm telling most of you stuff you've heard too many times... and will probably hear a lot in the coming weeks, but I just wanted to say it.

Anyway, I must get back to work.

Later,

SteveO

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

2008 Election Results Map!

My favorite coffee shop! Thanks to Google Street view Seattle!

Here, you can see Jet City Espresso, it's the palce I go to when ever I want some coffee and I'm not at work (because there it's always free...)

I also can show you where I catch the bus after work (with the new Entertainment and Devices campus that MS is building... we move in January(ish))

I can show you the loading dock for my building...

Plus I can show you the totally awesome Renton Public Library (which is built over the Cedar River)


And, most importantly for today... the place I voted at this morning!

You can click and drag on any of the pictures to rotate the camera, plus you can zoom in/out and click on the arrows on the street to move the camera along the street. The view Larger Map link will take you to the location on Google Maps.

So, that's another update on Election Day!

Later,
SteveO

I am patriotic! I got my sticker!

So, I went over to the carpenter's Hall and I got my sticker!  I had to wait for it too.  There actually wasn't a line, I just walked right in, and signed up.  Then, the person who was in charge of the Diebold voting machine was having trouble.  Apparently they didn't know that the votes were stored on the machine's removable memory card, and the card that each individual uses is merely used to track the ballot number.  They also didn't know the voting machine prints a paper copy of each person't vote at the time of voting.  Oh boy... anyway, so after the guy spend a half an hour trying to set the card for my ballot, I finally got to vote.  Then they gave me my sticker... because you know, that's the only reason anyone puts up with this stuff... for the sticker!

Anyway, so I'm happy.I was so happy that I took a picture of myself, and now... I'm late for work, so I gotta go catch the next bus to OTC (Overlake Transit Center) and go get some work done.

Later,

       SteveO