Friday, July 31, 2009

My camera is coming! My camera is coming!

My camera is coming!  UPS says that my package containing my camera is out for delivery!

Did I ever mention how much I love UPS quantum view?  I find myself checking the UPS website nearly every day for all the stuff I get via the Internet...

Anyway... so, what does the picture have to do with my camera?  Well, it does show how the good of USA is anything but remote.  The people over at The European Commission's Joint Research Centre created this graphic to represent the distance of any given point from an area with a population of at least 50 people.  FYI: I am pretty sure the darker the color the more remote... just a guess... that is unless Greenland is the most densely populated place ever!

Anyway, I think it's just a pretty cool graphic.  It also makes me think that if I were to get stranded in an ocean, I would prefer to be stranded in the North Atlantic Ocean.

Anyway, I'm sure I'll be super excited when I get home to try out my new camera and stuff...  So, I'll probably post again later tonight.

Later,
     SteveO

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The cooling Jaani project continues...

So, as a little update to how things are around the house; it is 84 degrees in the house still, and that isn't too bad. It's still hotter than I would like, but compared to the 98 degree temps when I got home yesterday... I think Jaani can take it.

My air cooling device seems to be very good at melting ice, and it seems to be preventing the temperature from rising in my apartment. The only problem is that I can't freeze ice fast enough to keep the copper coils cold. When I went back at lunch, the water in the cooler was fairly warm (as far as water is concerned.)

I checked the temperature outside, and it's 100 degrees! Which means that I'm able to keep the apartment about 15 degrees cooler than the air outside, which seems to be am improvement from yesterday, when the apartment was only 6 degrees cooler than the air outside. We still have 2 more hours of heating up before the temperature peaks out and begins to fall again, and I am worried a little because of a class I have tonight. Jaani will be alone until 8PM. I will stop by and visit him before running off to class, but it will be a brief visit. I think what I'll do is just buy a couple bags of ice to throw in the cooler. Maybe this weekend I'll have to get a bigger cool that can keep the apartment cool the entire day... anyway.

On a side note, the website I purchased my camera from actually requires you to confirm your purchase over the telephone. A guy from the company called and left me a voice mail or two, and then I ended up calling them back at my lunch break. They wanted to tell me about the battery and memory card that the camera comes with. Apparently they wanted to sell me a 5 hour battery for $150, a 4GB High Speed SD card for $100, a $50 3 year warranty, case, and miscellaneous other stuff. I wasn't having it. The memory card is worth like $30 and the battery can be purchased for about $75.

anyway... more later

Later,

SteveO

Update:

The temperature is about 103 degrees right now in Redmond! It's as high as 111 in some areas, but that's probably due to someone putting a thermometer over an asphalt driveway or something... I wish I had an excuse to check on Jaani, but I don't have one...

One hour of worrying... then I can make sure he is ok, but then I have to go sit in a classroom for two hours. No AC and a south-western facing window. It really sucks... the sun comes down into that window and just makes it super hot in there. I hope they find a new room for us today... or even outside (Monday it was cooler outside.) OK, that's it for now.

It's already hot outside...

When I woke up this morning, it was already 80 degrees outside. It was 80.4 degrees in my apartment... now it's 88 degrees in Redmond... and some areas are as hot as 90 degrees.

My "Air Conditioner" doesn't really cool off the entire apartment, but it does a great job of cooling off who ever it is blowing directly on (Which at the moment is Jaani.) The poor little guy is in that hot apartment... but I did wet him down this morning, and I even made sure to give him fresh cold and ice water. (that's right, I give him two temperatures of water to choose because he likes cold water, but not ice water.)

Another thing that happened is my power adapter for my laptop is not working... I had started experiencing problems last week, and I ordered a new battery, but it turns out that the problem is the power adapter, which means I have to spend even more money on stuff. Last time I replaced my power adapter, I purchased one from a local computer shop, and that was a bad idea. This adapter didn't even last a year... it lasted about 6 months. So, I guess I'll go over to the Lenovo site and get a new one... it's like $80, and when I think about the fact that I need to get a new camera... I'm looking at spending somewhere around $300 on stuff that I had not planned on getting. Which sucks, because I've already spent like... $200 on stuff I didn't plan on getting.

Grr.

anyway... I'll figure it out. Money grows on trees right? I think I remember someone saying that to me...

so, that's where I'm at. More will come soon.

Later,

SteveO
******************************************************************
*************************** UPDATE *******************************
******************************************************************
I ordered a new camera... I couldn't wait any longer. I chose the Canon Powershot SD970 IS.
Why? Well, who doesn't want a 12.1 Megapixel camera with an accelorameter (for image stabalization and menu features like tilt to rotate image and shake to change image) , face detection (set the timer, and it will wait until the number of faces in the picture doesn't change for 10 seconds!,) blink detection, red eye correction, intelligent contrast correction, DIGIC 4 image processor, and it records High Definition (720p) video... a lot of technical stuff, but the link kinda explains it if you care. It's $300 bucks, but it's a really nice camera... the kind of camera I'm not going to just toss around as much as other cameras I've had... Plus it takes an SD card, which both my netbook and my laptop have SD card readers built in. Take that Sony and your stupid "I have to have proprietary everything" attitude. Your cameras suck! (which should be common knowledge... and not just because they use the Memory Stick Duo cards.)

I also ordered a power adapter for my laptop. $23 and it has a 2 year warranty. Which is good, because it implies a statistical trend for this particular adapter to last at least 2 years. Otherwise they wouldn't offer the warranty because it wouldn't be cost effective.

******************************************************************
************************* End UPDATE ****************************
******************************************************************

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I may beat the heat yet!

So, I have good news and bad news. 

I'll start with the bad so I can end on a happy note...

My camera has passed away.  Apparently my camera suffered some sort of blunt trama to the top of it... or the back of it... or something, and the LCD screen on the back was cracked.  Which normally that wouldn't bother me too much, but the camera won't do anything anymore.  It just turns on the screen, which is mostly white with a big ugly LCD crack in it... So I can't take pictures of the good news.

The good news, I built an "air conditioning" unit.  I used zip ties to hold a copper tube un against the front and back of one of my fans.   I then purchased an aquarium pump, 5 feet of vinyl tube, and some miscelaneous parts.  I put the aquarium pump in a cooler filled with ice water, and pump the water into the copper tube and then it drains back into the cooler. 

The result is a fan that cools and circulates the air.  Tomorrow is the real test, but right now it is really nice. 

Anyway, I've gotten the temperature in the apartment down to about 78 degrees, and that feel really cool compared to earlier today.

anyway... more to come... but no pictures :(

Later,
     SteveO

An update on Jaani...

It's now 88 degrees in Redmond, and almost 100 degrees everywhere else!

So, I checked the temp when I went home for lunch...  The Apartment was 82.9 degrees!  That's too hot for Jaani!!!!!!  bad stuff.

Well, Jaani was ok, and I dipped him in the tub for a little cool down... and I even left the water in the tub in case he gets too hot, and because just having cold water in the tub will help keep the heat down a little.

Last night, I froze a fairly large block of ice in my freezer... about 12 gallons worth of water.  So, when I went home, I had a ice block to put in front of the fan.  in about a half hour, the temperature went from 82.9 to 82.5 degrees.  So, that's doing some good.  I also realized that the largest source of heat in my apartment (before about 8pm) is my kitchen window.  The only window I didn't cover with a blanket.  So when I went to make my lunch, I could feel the heat coming through the window.  I went and put a moist towel over the window to stop the heat from coming in.

Today is hot, but tomorrow is supposed to be hotter!  So, I'm going over to Home Depot tonight to pick up some copper tubing, a water pump, and a cooler... maybe not all of that stuff will come from Home Depot, but some of it will.  Then I'm going to make an "air conditioner."  The basic premise is the same as the block of ice, but the device will pump ice-cooled water through the copper tube (exactly like a radiator) to increase the surface area of the cooling element.  The ideal solution would be to find someone who is throwing out an old refrigerator and remove the radiator from that, but this will have to do.  I wonder if my good friends at Jet City have an old freezer that doesn't work anymore... hmm.

So, an update about the heat...

     So, today isn't the "hot one" for the week... that's supposed to be tomorrow... however, it was 78 degrees in my apartment this morning, and the temperature just gets higher during the work day.  I'm a little worried about the little man, but I think it's a healthy type of worry.

When I look at the weather right now, it's about 85 degrees in most places and some places are as high as 100 degrees already.  It says it's 78 in Redmond, but I think it's going to get really hot quickly.

When I left this morning, I filled up both of Jaani's dishes with water.  One has cold water fresh from the pitcher in my refrigerator, and the other is almost completely filled with ice (so he will have something cool to drink later.)  I also sprayed him with some cool water before I left for work because the little man can't sweat off the heat.  I'll go home at lunch and check on the little guy.  I'll let him outside because he is hopefully drinking more water than usual, and he will... you know... get rid of the water.

Other than that, Microsoft issued a heat advisory because most of the buildings are at capacity, as far as cooling power, and they request all employees to turn off all non-essential electronic equipment as lights and to close the blinds on all Southern and Western facing windows. (Which is really good advice for everyone.)

Puget Sound Energy and Seattle Light (The two major power companies in the area) both said that we expect to have enough electricity to compensate for all the extra fans and very few air-conditioning units, but they expect the heat to cause electrical equipment to fail... they say they are planning to keep all available people on alert... whatever that means.

We have set a few records this week in Seattle.  Last night we had the highest night time temperatures ever recorded.  We have hit the second hottest temp in Seattle (104 degrees!!!) the hottest was recorded in 2007 at 115 degrees.

I am really getting the feeling that global warming is happening a little faster than we are being led on to believe.  We are talking about a region that usually rarely gets above 80 degrees, and we are getting 100 degree temperatures that are lasting for days.  Every year I hear on the news that we are having another record breaking summer... higher temperatures, less water, and longer summers.  It leads me to believe there could be a reason that European global temperature figures are not being released to the public.

Anyway, that's enough blabbing about the weather.  I'll tweet Jaani's status when I get home or something.

Later,

     SteveO

Friday, July 24, 2009

Power Usage update

So, I determined that long term, it's better for me to include all of my power updates on this blog.  I don't need another blog just to handle a once and a while type of update.

Anyway, here is my power usage for the past 2 years.  As you can see June of this year, I set a new record for the least amount of power I consumed in a single month (229kwh).  This is about 1/3 of what the average person in my area with an equal type of home uses.

Anyway, that's just me being happy about my power consumption.

     Oh, and one other thing, it appears that my apartment consumes about 3kwh per day without me.  Which means that my normal electricity usage is around 6 kwh.  Which is based on my my house consuming 3kwh per day when I'm not there and all of my stuff is unplugged, and a total average of 9kwh for my entire house (average of the past 4 months.)

Anyway, there is a power usage update.

Later,

     SteveO

So, I'm taking a couple of classes.

I decided that I would give up sleeping in on weekends to a Project Management class. I think it will be kinda fun, but I have to admit I love sleeping in on weekends. In addition to that class, I'm taking a 2 day class about programming with WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation.) It's actually this thing that would have become much more popular is Windows Vista didn't have such a bad reputation. In Short it's a tool for creating software for the .NET framework. I'll leave it at that.

Anyway, once I finish these classes, then I'll have 2 certificates and one certification on top of my Associates degree. With a little luck this winter I will go back to school once my contract is up. The odds are pretty good that I will start classes when my contract is up. That will do me some good at finishing my Comp Sci degree.

Anyway... just a little bit on my mind about the whole class thing, and Google Wave really rocks! it's just so awesome! I'm still playing with it to try and get a good review of what it is for the Tech Blog, but I can't wait until it's public and I can use it to talk to people in the real world... as opposed to the dev world which is a bunch of people trying to get something done.

It's awesome, I'll have more on that up on the tech blog in a few days.

Later,

SteveO

Thursday, July 23, 2009

First Impressions of Google Wave

http://frizzletech.blogspot.com/
So, I got an invite to the Google Wave Developer preview, and it's pretty cool.  It looks right on track for a beta at the end of September.

It was a little funny at first because you just get this information overload right away.  Everything everyone was talking about flooded my inbox.  This was because of a special dev channel that you can subscribe to right when you sign up for your developer account.  Basically it's a constant stream of what the devs think is important to get done.  There is a lot going on.  Linking Wave to Google's App engine works pretty nice, and you can get a lot done with robots.

So, dealing with the information overload lead me to use the search box a lot.  There was no way for me to read all the waves, they all just kept going.  Each wave would have a dozen or so people doing all sorts of things.  One wave was a group of people collaboratively creating a book, and another wave was a list of robots.  The most common waves I found were titled "test"  because that was what the channel was for.  Testing stuff that you are writing for Wave.

Once you get used to the information just streaming in from everywhere, you start to like it.  You can search for anything you want, and real time results of waves on your channels start flowing in.  You can reply to waves, play games of chess, and even add hot spots to a map.  The conversation really just flows smoothly.

Now that I'm getting in my groove, I started to wonder what kinds of cool stuff I can do with Wave.  I started looking for bots, and the robot wave just popped right up.  I saw the Twitter bot, Tweety the Twitbot, and then added the email address (tweety-wave@appspot.com) to my contact list.  The whole process to this point was just like any other bot (like smarterchild on AIM...)  Now I can start a wave, and include tweety.  From then on, anything you say in the Wave will end up on twitter.  So it's important not to use multiple bots in one wave... like I just did... you end up tweeting things like $MSFT... anyway, that tweet was supposed to be a wave for Stocky (stocky-wave@appspot.com) who actually changes the text you enter into a stock quote (like you type "$MSFT" and Stocky changes it to this "MSFT (25.56)".)

The bots are awesome!  You can embed pictures, maps, surveys, polls, real time weather, HTML, and all sorts of stuff into a Wave.

Another cool thing I noticed right away is that everything can be minimized.  With the announcement of the Google Chrome OS, I can see Wave as evolving into some sort of live desktop.  You can have multiple waves open at once, and just switch between them.  The full screen reading mode will also be pretty nice for my netbook.

In final, my first impression is that Google Wave will revolutionize the way people communicate on the web.  Everything is so easy to do.  Want the weather?  tell the weather robot where you want the weather for.  Stocks? Directions?  Microblogging?  Actually that makes me think, how will this effect twitter?  You have real time search, and a more interactive way to communicate with your friends!

Anyway.  I was really excited about Wave before, and now that I've gotten a taste of it, I don't think I can stop.

I'll have more on this, but I'll have it on the tech blog.

Later,

     SteveO

Google Wave is Comming!

So, yea, I'm really excited, I just got an invite for the Google Wave Developer's Sandbox!

I'm just excited about it... now I just have to wait for my account to be activated.  They said 1 to 3 days or something, but I bet everyone is trying to get a preview account.

Anyway, more to come once the account is active!

Later,

     SteveO

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

My Oregon Country Fair picture album is growing...

Right now it seems like I only get about 5 pictures a day... however bit by bit the album is growing.  I added a few pictures including one where Scott is driving the Gondola/Rickshaw/Pedicab.  I also found a couple pictures from just before we went down to Oregon, and Scott and I went up to visit Lloyd.

Anyway... more are comming.  bit by bit.

Later,

     SteveO

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Ok, here is a picture for now...

I took this a few days ago, and just wanted to share how nice the city looks.  I admit it would have been better if that tree weren't there and you could see the mountains, but still, it's a nice picture.

Monday, July 20, 2009

First round of pictures.




As I sort of said I would do... here are some pictures... however, there are more to come.


Later,


SteveO

So... umm... yea, My assignment was extended...

Ok, I admit that I have been severely neglecting my blog.  It's not that I haven't had time to update the blog, but rather I am just not in the mood to update my blog.  When I look back, this has kinda happened to all of my blogs.  Live journal, Myspace, Wordpress, the first time I started using Blogger, and a few other blogging clients that don't exist anymore.  Anyway, I think the difference with this blog is that I actually keep updating it... even though sometimes I neglect it for extended periods of time.

So, what's the title about?  Well, technically, when I sign contracts for jobs at Microsoft, they are always 3 month contracts.  Then they get extended to 6 months... 9 months... a year max.  Today was the day that I was notified that my contract has been extended until October.  To be honest the date means nothing.  My Zune contract got extended from October to January a week or two before they let me go in November.  I am convinced the whole thing is just set up to make us contractors feel unstable in our position... a trick to try and improve our performance so we can get our contract extended.  It doesn't matter though.

This leads me to exactly what it is that my blog readers are missing out on over the past... while.  I went to Oregon... I have pictures to put up still...  I need to get some pictures from Scott... I guess I'm waiting until I get pictures from Scott (which I just need to ask him for.)

Scott came to visit!  He showed up on Wednesday (2 weeks ago... jeeze I have fallen behind.)  and we went to visit Lloyd Thursday... which by the way I should really call Lloyd, it was fun hanging out with him.  Anyway...  So, yea... where was I.  Umm... OK, so we ended up dropping Jaani off with my friends Ricky and Elly... which I kept hearing from everyone in Renton about how surprised they were to see Jaani with someone else... I think Jaani loved visiting with them.  He didn't want to leave.  Anyway... Off to Oregon we went.

It was exciting in Oregon!  We stayed in Portland the first night, then we went to the Honeyman dunes in Florance Oregon the second night... The third day we were at the Country Fair, which is like a huge ren-fest with live music and concerts all day... and the third night we stayed in Portland again.  The final day before we left Portland, we went for a bike ride to check out the stores and other cool stuff around where James and Emerald live... finally we managed to get back into the Seattle area at around 9PM to pick up Jaani and take him home.  We finished off the night with Sushi at Nijo... which is one of my favorite sushi places... Mainly because they have good saki.

The following day, Scott and I got up and went to Beth's Cafe... I really think of places like Beth's as authentic Seattle cuisine.  Lots of bacon, eggs, and hash browns.  Anyway, after that we made a quick stop in Fremont, and then it was off to the airport.

ok, so that's what happened in a nutshell.  I'll have some pictures and more details soon.

Later,

     SteveO

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

It's 12:34:56 7/8/9!!!

That's right folks, it's 12:34 and 56 seconds on july 8th of 2009 (also known as 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9).  A special second that only happens once every century!

So, even though in the east cost it's like 3:34... yea, I'm celebrating this second.

By the way, the next interesting date is 11:11:11 11/11/11...

Later,

   SteveO