Saturday, December 31, 2005

Now this is a really "zen" machine...

In keeping with my artistic geeky side, Here are some pictures of a computer case mod that I just loved.
So, I plan on copying this concept for a machine of my own.

Japanese case mod view #1 Posted by Picasa

Japanese case mod view #2 Posted by Picasa

Japanese case mod view #3 Posted by Picasa

Japanese case mod view #4 Posted by Picasa

More details on the original version of this mod can be found at eXtremeTech

Is it time again to look back over another year?

Dang, that went fast!

2005 flew by. So in keeping with last year's review and look ahead here goes.

2005 was an interesting year.
- Storms ravaged. (repeat from 2004, not as deadly, thankfully).
- War continues. (crap, another repeat from 2004).
- The World Series, I have no idea who won nor do I care.
- My son turned 17 (he moved in with us) and his sister turned 12 (still at her mom's).
- personally survived several run-ins with real life. Embrace change.
- Continue to be loved by (and in love with) the most incredible woman on earth. (I think this is a repeatable process... woohoo!)
- No more sleepless nights but some really early mornings (yes, there's a difference!)
- still blogging
- not much TV, creating videos and watching/listening to podcasts
- built/rebuilt some PCs
- learning, enjoying every moment (what? another repeat! how boring!)

So, what is in store for 2006? I thought 2005 would be "a year with hope, love and peace". Well on some small scale this was true. I have hope that the people connected with my life will find love and peace. World-wide, it isn't lookin' so good.

Being the eternal optimist, I still hope that 2006 will bring hope, love and peace.

My personal plan is to create and publish some videos. Make a difference where I can. Just be in the moment. oohhhhmmmmmmm....

On a personal note, I am writing this at 7:30 AM (not 4 AM). Now, I call that progress! Are you still reading this? Well..... Thanks.

Here are my wishes for you (and me)...

live well, laugh often and love deeply

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The next chapter?

It looks like both this blog and yours truly are at a crossroad.

The blog has jumped around from personal images, words and musings to "digg" stories to reviews of products to whatever came to mind in the middle of the night. Perhaps it needs some focus.

As for me, well I am getting much older than I ever expected. Most likely this sense of age is influenced by my ever increasing forehead and a spot on the top of my head which appears to be racing forward to meet the new forehead real estate. It brings up an image of two lovers running towards each other across an open field (you know the perfume commercial moment). However, in this case when the lovers meet, all that is left is the open field... geez, thanks grandpa!

With the aging process, my thoughts turn more towards things like the Gates or Google Foundations and video blogging than the striving and stress of career and corporate "level ups".

So as an experiment, I will try out a more focused approach to both the blog and myself. If I can find an inexpensive way to provide a video journal on what is going on in and around me, then perhaps that will focus on what is important.

You know what? I think that What's Important Project is already having an affect on me.

Thanks for reading, listening and commenting.

film at eleven

Recently, I met a very interesting person by the name of Ken Chan. Ken lives in Australia. Specifically, Perth, Western Australia. The reason I contacted him was by sheer chance. The things that came together to produce this meeting are varied; scattered and yet all spliced together like a some unique tale.

First, I have a long term attraction towards Australia. Since way back in the 70's, I have wanted to live there. However, a lifetime of changes and other adventures have prevented that from happening.

Next, I have always had a goal of getting information, understanding or an awareness, to everyone about everyone. Yea, I know, cure world hunger while you are at it. Once again, you would need Sherman and Peabody's "way-back" machine to know the moment when this came into my life.

Next, way more recently, like so many people, I have been bitten by the "media" bug to produce video and share it with anyone, everyone. Of course, I am a noob on this front and as with most things will be self taught.

Next, video podcasting arrives on "my" scene with Rocketboom; Steve Garfield; Eric Rice; Michael Verdi and Ryanne Hodson. Michael and Ryanne provide inspiration and technical "how to" via freevlog.

hang in there! there really is a point to all this!

Next, Apple provides the video iPod (I know, Apple iPod with video). iTunes provides video podcasts. I am hooked. Searching for video content, I find an Australian podcast about what's important to people around the world.

Okay, as you can now understand, I was going to subscribe to this one!!!

So, of course onto the iPod it went. Later that same night, I watched each of the three videos. The subjects were entrancing and I replayed them over and over again to learn why they had an impact. Was it the content? Was it the split clips? Was it the fact they were made in Australia? Whatever it was I needed to contact the author.

Video 1
Video 2
Video 3

Since I had no idea how the multiple video images got put together into a single video, I asked Ken Chan how he did it. I figured he would blow me off. Clearly he was a professional and wouldn't have time for some guy from the States just out of the blue sending him an email, asking some stupid "noob" question.

To my surprise he wrote back AND answered my question.
In final cut pro using a lot of key-frames

I, of course, had no clue what the answer meant. But that's okay, I had a starting point.

There were two other lines in that same first email:

Are you interested in being a part of the what's important project? Or know of film makers who'd be into the idea?

Well, there you go! Yep, I was interested! I contacted Ken via Skype and have started lining up folks to interview, as well as telling everyone I meet, email, talk with or see about this project.

IF you are interested in this project, feel free to contact either me or Ken. If you feel so inclined, stop over at and follow the "The Process".

Who knows what will happen?

The guideposts for this project are:

  • We want to have the experience of Fun, Sharing, Professionalism and Creativity.

  • When we conduct the interviews, we want to feel related to the interviewee and have them enjoy the experience and continually remind them of what is most important to them.

  • The Experience of the interviewee - enjoyable, reflective, awakening, perspective.

  • The process should be easy to implement and consistent.

  • We want to maintain respect for our interviewees, what they want to omit and what their original intention in communication was.

  • The project is inquisitive, and explores the connections humans have, and the commonality we share, regardless of age, locality, race, culture.

You may not have the same connection with this project that I did, but

Think for one minute without speaking

- What is most important to you?
- What are you happy with?
- What upsets you about the world as it is?


Monday, December 19, 2005

Putfile - Susan Buice Fischerchicks

Susan is one half of the FEM (Four Eyed Monsters) duo. Her video is a better version of the Fischerspooner "Emerge" then the one the group produced.

Putfile - Susan Buice Fischerchicks

Simply put, it is quite captivating!


P.S. Susan and Arin's film project at Four Eyed Monsters

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Official: access gmail from your mobile..!!

yeah i know there have been other althernatives.. but now its official from google..!

read more | digg story

Sunday, November 27, 2005

World Time Zones are tough on meetings!

Recently, I had the opportunity to meet online with some folks in Perth, Western Australia. The biggest difficulty was the 16 hours separating are relative existences. However, I found the following online service that helped with finding a time to schedule our meetings.

In particular, the two items that I will be using on a regular basis are:

Not sure if there are better ones, but these made things really easy.


Got an Apple iPod with video? Now what?

Like alot of folks, I was lucky enough to get an Apple iPod with Video. But now that I have this wonder, what can I do with it?

First, and foremost, get iTunes and install the iPod software. This alone lets you now sync up your music on your computer with your iPod. For those Mac users, this is a DUH! For Windows users it may not be so apparent. The basic way to include your music, etc. is to use either "Add File to Library" or "Add Folder to Library". I prefer the "add folder" option because it allows new files to be included in the sync as they moved into these folders. Then create playlists and drag the desired files from the Library list into the playlist.

This method works for music, but equally well for any other media forms. I have additional playlists for Movie Trailers; Movies; TV Shows; Personal Videos; Videos; and others.

The biggest question I had was how to get "content". iTunes offers music; movie trailers; some TV shows; podcasts and more.

The number one reason I got the iPod was for audio and video podcasts. Most of these are free and run the gambit of topics. Podcasts are available from iTunes, but not all. (Who knows why not) You subscribe to the iTunes podcast from the Podcast Directory and this could not be easier. To add a podcast not offered by iTunes, you use the Advanced --> Subscribe to Podcast menu item and enter the "feed" URL.

Movie Trailers - I love the Apple movie trailers and with QuickTime Pro, it could not be easier to watch a trailer and then say "save as movie" or export to iPod format directly. Other trailer formats will require conversion. More on this later.

Movies - you can use the instructions at to convert DVDs for your iPod. Check out the section below to see what I purchased for this purpose.

TV Shows and Videos - There is a free converter called Videora which takes any MPEG and converts it to iPod format. It can be found at

However, all this said, I went over to and purchased PQDVD. For my needs it converts everything I have to iPod format. In my case, I use the Windows Media Center (format:dvr-ms) which PQDVD handles well. The resolution and speed are exceptional. This allows you to convert almost any format to the iPod, so various trailers can easily be converted.

The "vipod" {Apple iPod with video} is great for standard TV and your videos. Music is of course its focus and it does this quite well. But movies are not yet a "pleasure" to view on this model. Full screen movies might work fine, but not widescreens. The image is simply too small to be satisfying.

I have 4 movies; 100 podcasts and videocasts; 300 songs; 30 TV shows; calendar; contacts; 300 recipes; 500 photos and miscellaneous files transferred from my computer stored on my iPod. Having received the 60GB model, I have yet to come close to filling up the space.

One warning, battery life sucks when viewing high quality video. I bet they will get this corrected eventually, but for now it looks like about 2 hours of video display is the max.

Last word, I love the vipod. Unexpectedly, it has become my "viewer" of choice since it has everything I need in one place. The only 2 things that it lacks is network connectivity (this can be added) and widescreen (AKA PSP). But I leave that for Apple to resolve in the next gen of the iPod.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Google's Secret Plan For All That Dark Fiber?

Google hired a pair of very bright industrial designers to figure out how to cram the greatest number of CPUs, the most storage, memory and power support into a 20- or 40-foot box. We're talking about 5000 Opteron processors and 3.5 petabytes of disk storage that can be dropped-off overnight by a tractor-trailer rig.

read more | digg story

Friday, November 11, 2005

The Best Mods in the World

7 pages of awesomeness. An archive of all the modding stuff from Bit-tech. Lots of good stuff in there. Check it out!

read more | digg story

Friday, October 21, 2005

Is this the shortest post ever?


Rocketboom included this as a casual Friday broadcast. Odd, but you just won't stop watching it.

Rocketboom broadcast:


Saturday, October 15, 2005

You don't have a GMail account! Why not?

Although many are against having GMail accounts, there are others who really want one.

If you have a cell phone, you can request a GMail by using your cell phone number to validate your existence. I yak, therefore I am.

Now for me, that sounds like a really bad idea. They (the G-men) are already going snag information about me from everywhere. They don't need my cell number, although they probably have that too from some other source.

So, if you still want a GMail account, I have quite a few invites. Just send me a request at and I will send you one until I run out.

No need to rant why you don't want one. No need to rant why I should not give these out. I know all the reasons and the benefits outweigh any downside.


finally, the vipods are here...

Normally, I don't do ads, but in this case I have been awaiting the arrival of a gadget that would do music, photos and video in a stylish package. Previously, I talked about the Creative Zen unit because of its linkage to the Windows MCE OS and the ability to download videos. However, given my usage, it really did not have enough storage, so I waited.

Enter the new Apple iPod (aka vipod). The screen is smaller than a Zen, but it has 30 or 60 GB of storage. Now that is in the range of my needs. 120 GB would be better, but price is a concern and that form factor is not yet in the price range of average consumers.

Steve Jobs said that the new iPod was directed towards music first, then photos and oh by the way, it does video too. He really does not believe that the screen size will be the best for video (as stated in a previous interview). However, I think he may have underestimated the demand for this type of content. I would like to predict that video downloads to this small screen iPod will far exceed his expectations. Nope, it doesn't have the screen size of a Zen or a PSP, but I don't think that will matter initially. An iPod is an icon of our culture. They are fashion.

BTW, I think it will not take long for Apple to bump up the size of the screen and still retain the same iPod footprint. You can turn the screen sideways and stretch it to 16:9/4:3 dimensions quite easily, just reduce the size of the controls. Not a big leap for the "nano" creators.

All in all, this holiday season will see the iPod sales go through the roof. They basically have no competition with the style advantage they hold.

Opinion: I have not been an Apple fan. Way back when, I loved Apple computers. They were the only machines I would use. Apple lost me when they continued to obsolete the machine I owned without providing an upgrade path. I finally vowed that I would never again be suckered in by Apple's business model. Well, they got me with the vipod. It didn't hurt that they announced the new direction for their computer business either.

I'm back, Apple!

I bet others in the crowd are back too. Don't screw us over again. That would be a really bad idea.

Final words: Hey Apple, guess what!? Expand your video/TV downloads to the geek oriented channels and shows such as the SciFi channel. I have to believe that this is a huge (relatively) untapped market.

Quietly drooling, awaiting delivery of my Apple iPod (vipod)...

Added test video blog (vlog) entry of this blog . For now, just click on the link. Later will provide real image clickable link.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

It IS a digital life!

It once again it has been quite awhile since the last entry. In this post I wouuld like to tell you about a great replacement for one of my favorite TV shows that went away ... or actually tranformed into one of the worse shows I have ever seen...

The Ziff Davis production of Digital Life TV is the best replacement for the old TechTV Screen Savers show that was once a great tech oriented production.

Digital Life TV features ex-ScreenSavers Patrick Norton and Robert Heron, who host the show.

Unlike other Internet video casts, they don't offer BitTorrent download so you will need to download directly. They may be adding BitTorrent in the future. They do include adverts which aren't difficult to skip over after download.

The unique niche that this show resides in, is the "streaming" realm. Apparently, they live stream the show.

DigitalLife TV streams live over the Web every Tuesday at 9pm Eastern (6pm Pacific), and brings you hands-on product reviews, news, tech help, special guests and lots more. You'll need a fast Internet connection and the Windows Media Player loaded on your system to view that live stream. There is a link on the main episodes page to the live stream.

If you miss the ScreenSavers, want to get really reliable tech information or you want to know about the latest gadgets and toys give Digital Life TV a try.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

So why can't I find my blog in search?

This question is asked by countless numbers of people with blogs.
Even the almighty Google just didn't seem to have it together when it came to finding blogs.

Of course there are those blogs that do show up, but what about us common folk that just ramble on about who cares... no wait, who knows what?

Well once again the rainbow hued deity comes to the rescue...

Google Blog Search

Can I get an AMEN ???!!!!!

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

Well it has been quite some time since I have been able to make an entry here. Surprisingly, the wakeful nights have subsided and this has really cut into my writing time. Lots of changes have happened since I last wrote a personal entry.

First, my son, who is 17, has moved in. Until, the end of June 2005, he was living with my ex-wife. Due to an array of reasons {not to be discussed here} he moved out of her house and has come to live with us. It has been a joy to have him around full time. Although I must admit having a third person in the house definitely changes the dynamics.

Along with this change comes a new experience. We have been attending sessions based on Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). Thus the title of this blog. It is a fairly old method, first used with Vietnam vets and rape victims. It targets Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). I won't go into details here, but be sure to check out EMDR for more information.

Needless to say, things are looking up and this family is definitely moving forward.

Happiness does not depend on outward things, but on the way we see them - Leo Tolstoy

As Tigger says, "TTFN"

Saturday, July 30, 2005

old news - Google "portal", new news RSS feeds

Bet you already know all about the Google portal. Well if not, you probably should.
They call it the Google Personalized Home. But it looks just like a portal page.

If you already have a Google account, which you do if you have a GMail account. You can go over to and sign in. Customize the content on the page, move things around, and add new content. This is all old news.

The news is that you can now select specific RSS feeds or add any of your favorites feeds directly to this portal page. Now, it is not a cool RSS reader with a bunch of bells and whistles. It just displays the latest RSS feed links for what feeds you pick.

For me the attraction is using it for all those feeds I regularly monitor. Ones like, the Google blog;; videoblogging at Yahoo; and my partner's blog.

But wait there's more...

- stock quotes
- top news stories
- NY Times
- movies
- weather

and much more...

Oh by the way, you can use Google Search from there too.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

quasi-haiku: Present

years passed.
challenges faced.
enjoy now,
and the best to be.


As Yoda said,

All his life has he looked away...
to the future, to the horizon.
Never his mind on where he was.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

new post to blog feature used at

As you may have noticed the last 2 posts came from the social bookmarking site of I wrote about and back on July 8th, 2005. Since then I have "dugg" quite a few entries. Recently the last 2 posts just interested me enough to also include them on this blog.

From time to time I will post some entries. Just wanted to let you know what and why the change.

BTW, the why is because there are some really, really interesting stories over on that I just need to share here for those of you who haven't subscribed to {don't know why you haven't subscribed, it's free; it's interesting; and you actually get to participate in what is news.}

Well, that's enough selling for now. Enjoy!

A Scanner Darkly Trailer

This is a new sci-fi interpolated rotoscope "animated" movie directed by Richard Linklater (Waking Life) based on the Philip K. Dick's novel, starring Keanu Reeves; Robert Downey, Jr; Woody Harrelson; and Wynona Ryder.

Not a new concept, but in this movie trailer it indicates that the roto-scope look will actually be an additional character.

Check this out!

read more | digg story

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

our brain's Mirror Neurons

A recently discovered system in the brain may help explain why we humans can get so worked up watching other people. This is a NOVA PBS 14-minute broadcast segment on the discovery and significance of mirror neurons.

read more | digg story

Saturday, July 16, 2005

receiving podcasts just gets easier and easier

For all of you who have discovered the iTunes 4.9 Podcasts feature, there is yet another new interface to subscribe and listen to your favorite yackers!

Enter Odeo. Up until recently this site was by invitation only (similar to the way the beta GMail was setup). Odeo is now open to anyone to sign-up and enjoy.

Odeo is an easy way to get to your favorite podcasts, etc. It is a social network, tagging system, podcast host, podcast catcher and you don't need to be a geek.

Check the following links to find out more about Odeo:

About Odeo

Odeo FAQs

Odeo client not a must, there is iTunes integration information

How Odeo happened.

I now use iTunes after using a variety of podcatchers for both audio and video podcasts. Since iTunes does both video and audio downloads, it has become my catcher of choice. However, given the newest features offered in Odeo, I may eventually switch over to this catcher (okay, it is far more than just a catcher).

One great thing about Odeo is that it does not require you to use their client They provide information about how to use your existing catcher (which should be iTunes 4.9) to integrate with Odeo. This is great. My favorite complaint is that the various software packages force the user to change their behavior rather then the software confirming to the user's preference of operation.

The interface is simple. The creators of Odeo are the same folks that created Blogger and later sold it to Google. For those folks that are not skewed to the geekie side of their brain or could care less why a phone works but only care that a phone works, the interface should be right up their alley. But it is not so simple as to turn off the geekoids.

One warning though! I figure I am just your normal consumer. If that is truly the case, then I warn you, you will get engrossed in the podcasting environment. You will subscribe to more and more casts. You could literally spend every hour of the day going from cast to cast and never see the light of day, your relatives, your friends or break for meals... perhaps a little obsessive, but just be aware.

Last word. If you are new to podcasting (either the receiving or the creation), Odeo should be your first choice. If you love the iTunes interface and only care about listening, then iTunes is the way to go. This area is rapidly expanding since iTunes has made it "mainstream". So expect more and more easy to use players, catchers and creators to appear on the scene. Who knows maybe next you could see your favorite podcasts on your cable provider or satellite dish.

This is Rich Hand babbling from Kent, Washington

Friday, July 08, 2005

digg, dugg, dung!!! What?

Get with the program folks! Kevin Rose has done it again!
Once again, he brings you Follows digg up with diggnation. These two sites kind of work together.

The digg site is:
What is digg?

Digg is a technology news website that gives editorial control back to the community. Most technology websites allow users to suggest content by submitting links or stories to an editor. If the editor believes the story to be relevant to the masses, he or she moves the story to the homepage. With digg, users also submit links for review. But rather than allowing an editor to decide which links go on the homepage, the users do.

The diggnation site is
The official Vid/Podcast w/Kevin Rose & Alex Albrecht

My suggestions are:

- Get an RSS feed reader such as RSSReader or Sage for your Firefox browser. Subscribe to the feed and enjoy the hour by hour updates of "news" in all sorts of areas

- Download and install iTunes (version 4.9 or higher). Click on the Podcasts item and search for diggnation; subscribe and wait for the weekly summary. Note that at the time of this writing, the video version has to be downloaded separately. They need a Feedburner enclosure feed.

- Sign up on and start "storying" and commenting. Get friends to sign up and combine your "feeds". Check out how digg works.

Of course this sounds like a commercial for Kevin Rose Enterprises... well maybe but as Andy McCaskey of Slashdot review might say
This is Rich Hand, I have no affiliation with or Kevin Rose except as an avid reader of

I really dugg digg this past week. All news, no dung! I would bet that once you digg you just won't stop.... dude! {inside video joke}

Reporting from Kent, Washington, I'm Rich Hand.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

once again, I blog, therefore, I am

You may recall, {okay, this may be the first time you are reading this blog so you don't recall!} that I wrote about changes. Well, there have been an avalanche of them recently.

First, my partner is changing jobs. She has come to the understanding that there is more to life then just work, work, work... I can't imagine what else there is, but if she says so, then I'm a believer. This job change has placed an enormous amount of stress on her and by proxy on me. She hopes that this will free up some time for her to enjoy more of life versus work. BTW, after 13 months from when she eatablished her very own blog, she made a second post. As you can see, things are changing.

Good thing, bad thing.
Good thing: my partner is taking care of herself.
Bad thing: extreme stress.
Good thing: my partner is finally doing those things she has been talking about doing.
Bad thing: my partner is taking a new job, change is alwasys stressful.
Good thing: my partner is taking a less stressful job.
Bad thing: my partner is a planner and right now she doesn't have a complete plan.
Good thing: my partner is writing again.

But wait there's more...

Recently, my job changed. There I was quietly doing my normal work thingie when off goes my boss. Sure, she took a new job. Always thinking only of herself. {please note humor indicator is suppose to be high here} Leaving me to fend for myself.

Good thing, bad thing.
Good thing: I really enjoyed working for her.
Bad thing: she left.
Good thing: I got promoted.
Bad thing: more responsibility.
Good thing: More interesting opportunities.
Bad thing: spending more time on work.
Good thing: work is getting to be fun again.

But wait there's more...

My son was having a difficult time at his mom's. He moved in with his grandparents and shortly after that we all decided he should come live with us for the summer. Or maybe longer. After, 8 years of it being just my partner and I, we have a new voice in the house. New issues to deal with. New boundaries to realize. New approaches to daily life.

Good thing, bad thing.
Good thing: My son is out of a situation that wasn't working.
Bad thing: He was in a situation that wasn't working.
Good thing: We get to be closer.
Bad thing: Another new life change that by its "change" adds stress
Good thing: we are all going to learn something new.

But wait there's more...

I have worked at my current employer for a long time, 20+ years {okay, all those years weren't in a row}. And some times, after a long time, the various goofy ways things work, well, they just get to you. {this is probably why all those years weren't consecutive} So here I am with a philosophy that I have lived by for so many years -

When faced with a problem, you have three choices -

1 - you can attempt to change it


2 - if you can't change it, then you can attempt to "live" with it


3 - if you can't change it AND you can't "live" with it, then you must leave it!

Once again at a crossroads.
Too old to start over.
Too poor to retire.
Too energetic to just stop working.
Too tired to fix the all problems.
Too stressed to add any more things on my plate.

But Wait... oh no, just kidding. That's about it.

And that's just about enough.

I am sure that my stress is far less than others. I mean folks are still dealing with the long road to recovery from the tsunami. But you know what, as terrible as that was, it didn't happen directly to me. So, as much as people talk about it and how it has bothered them, they will not know exactly how those who lived it felt. To feel it, you must live it. My stress may be small compared to what others have gone through. But I am living it and it is really close to me. Like when you use binoculars and you see that lion so far away, but he seems so close, he isn't. When he is standing next to you, well, the feeling and "sense" of the lion is oh so very real and "personal". That's stress! That's my up close and personal lion. I have no idea if I am lunch or just some strange animal to be ignored. I can tell you that worrying about it doesn't help. It just is.

So here I am. Once again. Another late night, early morning. Thinking. Writing. Wondering.

But wait there's more...

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Apollo Pony - is this really Earth?

Okay, I bet the rest of you already know about this site. You probably have been monitoring its activities for "years".

Well I just found it... this is the problem of being from another world, everything is brand new.

apollo pony, you figure it out!

Thursday, June 09, 2005

the original "podcast", not really!

I recently came across this site that hosts downloads of old radio shows. Originally, I am from New Jersey and the thing that attracted me was the availability of the War of the Worlds radio broadcast.

Although from New Jersey, I had never listened to the radio broadcast. With the popularity of podcasts, I think old radio show may have a comeback...

From Grover's Mills, this is Rich Hand reporting...

Saturday, June 04, 2005

the sonic "boom" in cyberspace

As I mentioned previously, I recently fell into the world of listening to podcasts. I have rather odd taste, but on a main stream level I listen to:

The DV Show
SlashDot Review
Slacker Astronomy

Podcasts are the online experience of listening to short (well sometimes short) radio broadcasts which are downloaded to your favorite "player" and listened to at your convenience. So far my player is my laptop, but wouldn't it be great to have a combo audio/video player that you could haul around... hmmmm, perhaps the Creative Portable Media Center could do the trick?

However, the casting that I really, really enjoy is the video podcasts (or screencasts or video blogs or vlogs). These are clearly new enough that the name has not defacto'ed out as yet. Once again, that Creative PMC might be the call here.

My taste is a bit odd, but on a normal level I listen to:


Michael's site freevlog introduced me to the making of vlogs and the basics behind making the videos themselves. Although as yet I have not been able to duplicate the quality he gets while maintaining a small file size. His productions are Mac based and I am primarily PC based so that might be a factor {sorry, I am neither a PC nor Mac bigot, so no holy wars here}. If you are interested in this topic be sure to drop by the freevlog site for the best "freebie" tips around.

But the one "cast" that I look forward to each weekday is the RocketBoom broadcast. For those unfamiliar with featuring Amanda Congdon. Rocketboom apparently started up in October of 2004. Since then, the partnership of Amanda and Andrew Baron have produced a series of topical shorts that sometimes make you think; sometimes make you smile; sometimes make your jaw drop but always entertain. BTW, Michael Verdi and Joshua Kinberg provide editing and advice to the production. In addition, Rocketboom has expanded their staff to include remote correspondents. Now, beware, not everyone is normal in this space! Thank goodness!

My personal opinion is that as the mainstream media moves forward, they will miss the "casting" opportunity and small operations such as Rocketboom will become BIG operations. RB, and the like, will fill the void of honest, grassroots reporting/enterainment that the geek community is seeking. {previous entry on Jeff Jarvis's vlog makes a good point}

Oh, here's a possible future trivia fact... who was the first commercial TV video logging entity... {Jeopardy music inserted here}...

Okay, it is just my opinion and it could be that no one will remember, but Max Headroom was the first to broadcast video from within a computer. So, now, everytime I watch someone's vlog entry, images of Max come up from the recesses of my brain.

Well until next time, see ya "Twenty Minutes Into The Future" max

Friday, May 27, 2005

Rosario Resort Review or how we spent 3 days on Orcas Island

Lately I find myself doing reviews on a variety of things. This is one of those reviews.
In a spur of the moment, no planning moment, my partner booked us a short vacation on Orcas Island in the San Juans.
She usually plans about a year in advance, so making reservations 2 weeks in advance was definitely a spur of the moment.

The San Juan Islands are located between the U.S. and Canada as part of Washington State.
The location provides weather that is not always typical of Washington State's reputation. This trip was no exception.
The weather was spectacular!

We stayed at the Rosario Resort.

{Author's note: my mother always said if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all. Sorry mom!}

Rosario Resort should be an excellent place to stay. Perhaps because we are not part of the yachting set, we didn't appreciate the nuances of the place.
To better know our point of view, we are...

My partner is a curvaious artist/writer type, while I am an older computer geekish painter/writer type.
We work for a living and have some disposable income.
Our tastes in food, art, music, and activities vary from refined to common place.
I figure we are your average, non-millionaires.

Back to the review.

Expectations are everything when considering and evaluating what you get.
From Rosario, we expected a very nice room with a view of the Rosario Mansion across the inlet.
What we got was a very large well appointed room that had the sound proofing of a cardboard box and the view of a very own personal evergreen tree.
And this was one of the upscale hillside rooms.
To cap off our stay, on the last morning, we were awaken to the gentle humming of a CHAINSAW!
When asked how our stay was, my partner didn't mention the ability to hear our neighbors walking around, flushing the toilet or whispering to each other.
No, she only mentioned that she didn't appreciate the chainsaw wake up call. To that, the desk clerk said something like, well they didn't start until 9:35!
Like the 5 minutes after 9:30 had some significance!
For my partner that was the topper to our stay at Rosario Resort.

My recommendation is if you want a better view, nicer people and quieter rooms, stay at the Cascade Harbor Inn.
They are located just below the Rosario hillside rooms and the folks were far more friendly.
We even got a tour of one of the rooms because we had stopped to take the picture we wanted to take from our Rosario Resort room.

Be assured that the small fact of our room "sucking" was not the only whine we had with Rosario Resort.
We received a $50 credit for the restaurant when we registered. Thinking that this was a pretty good deal, we had dinner in the Mansion's restaurant the first night.
I must admit the food was great! Expensive, but great! The menu is limited. But even that was not the biggest drawback.
Our dining experience started out with the host and hostess heatedly discussing some scheduling issue as we approached...
After a few moments, they realized that we were serious about having dinner there, anyway, and seated us at a view table.
The service was very good and we never wanted for anything. except for the host and hostess to NOT continue their "discussions" several times during dinner beside our table. Clearly, they were aware of my partner's desire to help people and were indirectly seeking her out. Unfortunately, the only thing they were invoking from us was annoyance, which they were of course obivious to and entertained themselves without our assistance.

That said, the trip was very enjoyable. When we were awaken in the middle of the night (room notes above), we were able to view a beautiful full moon gleaming on the water across the Sounds. We had absolutely gorgeous weather. And the other people and places we visited made the trip to Orcas Island a memory worth the remembrance.

In particular, the points worth the trip were:

Mt Constitution is 2409 feet above the Sounds and provides a 360 degree view of the Olympics, Cascades, Puget Sound and in particular on the day we were there of Mount Baker and Mount Rainier. Simply spectacular!

The town (I use that term loosely) of Olga. We stoppped at Cafe Olga for lunch. To our surprise it also housed the James Hardman gallery and a place for the Orcas Island Artworks members to show their varied art. I was entranced by James Hardman's music and Rita McKinney's watercolors. Purchasing pieces from each.
Now, onto lunch. If you are on Orcas Island, go out of your way to stop and eat at Cafe Olga. You will not be disappointed. A more pleasant place to eat can not be found and the food we had was world class. Low snob appeal, sorry.

There is a small cafe on the main drive through Eastsound, that I am sorry to say I forgot the name, where we went each of the 3 days we were on the island. Twice for ice cream cones (a summer vacation tradition for us) and once for breakfast (on the chainsaw morning, which saved that day).

Other things of interest were the Deer Harbor herons, Orcas Island Pottery (this is a must see for the electic pottery displays and the beautiful view of the Sounds)
If you are into things like kayaking, hiking, whale watching and bicycling (in particular bicycling) there are lots of activities and opportunities available.
We are into beach walks, folksmarching, art and quiet. Art is definitely here on the island. But the beaches are mostly private, marching wasn't scheduled while we were there and quiet... well you heard the room story so that overshadows any quiet memories.

We will explore the other San Juan islands next time and maybe hop the ferry over to Cafe Olga for lunch and the art. For us, Rosario Resort was the low-light of that 3 day jaunt.

As with all reviews, these are my opinions. It would be best to form your own. Just be warned, I told you so!

Monday, May 16, 2005

Still playing around with Video postings

I recently came across a site explaining more about how to do video blogs. This entry is an attempt at posting an embedded video. Hopefully it does not take to long to load. {but you my need to be a bit more patient then I am}

The site contains a step by step tutorial on how to create and post a "free" vlog entry here in Blogger.

I did things a little different then the tutorial explains, so don't blame them for any lame behavior that I created in this post.

Click to play

This is my first attempt, so setup and video quality will improve as I learn more.
Note, that the video display box will change color from black to blue when ready. Also the "play" control button will become active when the video is ready to play.

Arlene and I are a little goofy some times, but boy do we enjoy ourselves.
Hopefully, you will enjoy this too.


Sunday, May 15, 2005

Feeds from Space... part deux

Later the same evening another broadcast came through. Not much substance in this one. I thought I would just let you see what we saw.

What the heck could this be?

Feeds from Space

Feeds from Space... the original

As odd as this may sound, I have discovered a little known, abandoned radio space telescope in of all places Kent, Washington. I know, how can this be? Got me, but there it was. To my surprise, all I needed to do was flip the switch and everything came alive.

I have decided to keep its location a secret, because it always seems that anything of substance gets turned in a commercial venture. It is extremely difficult to tune the station so that anything gets through. But as I find a way, I will share what is received.

To that end, I am sharing the first transmission.

Feeds from Space - May 14, 2005

click here to download

Feeds from Space by Handmade Enterprises films - Satellite broadcast "captured" on May 14, 2005
Music by BeatFreak via
Images via NRAO VLA collection additional attributions provided via VLA images page 1 and page 2
Creative Commons: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5


Friday, May 13, 2005

Firefox videos show the impact to users !!!!

Firefox is getting a "word of mouth" advertising campaign.
The videos listed below are humorous and attention getting.

Even with these ads being spread throughout the Internet, IBM is still promoting the use of Firefox internally.

The Office

The Mobile

The Notebook


Tuesday, May 10, 2005

podcasting, so what!

Up until last night I just wasn't really interested in listening to the various podcasting content that was available. That is until Kevin Rose posted about the latest TWIT (This Week in Tech) podcast.

If you happened to follow TechTV awhile back, you probably know that G4 (aka Comcast) purchased TechTV and morphed the two in a demographical targetted, pain in the brain. There are several shows that held my interest even after the merger, but they are now succumbing.

The ScreenSavers, now named Attack of the Show, was one. Bottom line on this one is that it moved from a tech savy, fringe info, intelligent show to your basic babble and high school level production quality.

Another is X-Play. This was an entertaining banter and reviews of the two hosts. Now recently just blah, blah, blah.

Could it be that intelligence is on the way out and only the mindless drivel (oh, wait, that's redundant) that connects with junior high level bathroom humor is what sells on TV?

Someone in marketing missed the point... think about all those folks that are age 35 and older. With all that disposable income. Forget marketing {WHAT!!!???} Let's just talk ratings. Clearly, something is changing. Can the ratings be higher now that G4TechTV is feeding us? If the ratings show that I am wrong, well then so be it. I would doubt they have increased. But if they have, then let's take a step back to radio... wait... no, how about a podcast!

Yep, I would rather be listening to a scratchy, lispy, radio broadcast of an intelligent set of techies talk about whatever comes to mind then switch on G4TechTV.


Saturday, May 07, 2005

New deck with Arlene attached

She actually wanted to spend the night outside

Monday, May 02, 2005

LadyMissTree's Blog

One of life's little mysteries is the coincidence. You know those things that happen from time to time, making you say hmmmm, I wonder why that happened? or How interesting! Just such a coincidence occurred to me while searching for the definition of blog fodder.

Somehow I found my self reading the blog entries of LadyMissTree. I really have no idea how I got there. I could not backtrack my steps. But there I was reading and enjoying her turn of a phrase.

I have learned that there are really no coincidences. I believe that these so called coincidences are connection attempts that are fulfilled or not. In addition, I have learned that they should never be overlooked. So, to that end, I wrote LadyMissTree for permission to include her blog in my links.

I am writing this at my usual wakeful period of 2 AM. Which is of course 7 PM in Melbourne, Australia. Did I mention that LadyMissTree is located in Melbourne?

Thinking that I would probably not hear back from her, since in today's world random emails from someone unknown are most likely are spam-canned, I decided that I would publish her link and then remove it when she wrote back and said not to include it. pretty lame justification, don't you think?

Given that premise, here is the link to LadyMissTree's blog

In addition, here are some of my favorite entries:

No Weddings & A Funeral

Trip Diary #3-American Gods

A dummy's guide to Australia part 2

A dummy's guide to Australia part 1

BTW, the trip diary finally gave me the reason why I am awake at 2 AM writing blogs. Everything is coming into focus!!

can't sleep, clowns will eat me!

Well, that's about it for now. Hopefully, the circuit completes and I find out why the coincidence. Hooroo!

P.S. while I was writing this, I received a note from LadyMissTree giving me permission to publish her links.

Probably just a coincidence, that she wrote back and I was up at the same time.
Don't you think?

Friday, April 29, 2005

Blog Fodder

Once again our van rides have given birth to what we thought was a new phrase.

blog fodder

Unfortunately, I have found that we did not originate this particular one nor the general meaning.

Here is the definition I found out on the "ether" -

BlogFodder is a daily email for weblog authors. It's usually a single line of text that could ignite a post on your own weblog.

However, this is not exactly how we use the phrase. In our daily interactions there are literally dozens of statements, events, goofs and ignaseconds that generate an idea that just must be "blogged".

By the way, since I am laying out definition, let's define ignasecond. An ignasecond is the moment in time when you realize you have locked your keys in the car.

Examples of blog fodder that recently presented themselves are:

Talking about my grandfather who had only used horses on the farm, yelling "whoa, damn you, whoa" during one of his first encounters with attempting to stop his new tractor.


The moments in Final Fantasy - The Crystal Chronicles when my partner says "I have a map" {when everyone has a map} or my son says "let's go shopping".


Butterflys in space; headless cock roaches; space-time; galactic particle accelerators to name a few.

Simply the fact that the term blog foddder is now in our family vocabulary is amazing to me. 50% of our family actively blog and 75% have blogs. Okay that's only 2 out of 4 and 3 out of 4, but still, it is significant.

Monday, April 25, 2005

follow-up on what dangles from my cellphone

Yes, I can truly say that I am hooked on this cellphone danglie thing.
And of course I now have several different ones. Presently, the two shown below are on the phone. The flashing penguin was the one I picked as most unusual. It was a gift from my partner {who also went overboard with these}. Anyway, the penguin flashes whenever the cell is receiving or sending a signal. Which I was surprised to see happens fairly often.

actual packaging for the flashing penguin

3D crystal flashing penguin - close up

feng shui symbol

In addition to these I also have a portrait of three Japanese women (one of my favorites), a world globe and some beads. My partner also brought some generic hangers so that we can create our own glass bead versions. She is in to glass making and this should produce some interesting art. More later as it develops.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Mutant Spawn

Today, I write to explain a phrase I stole for my son's vocabulary.


Yes, it may sound like the latest video game or a SciFi thiller or perhaps the name of a gang some where.

No, none of those!

In our "travel time discussions" many ideas sprout; new words and phrases creep into our vocabulary. Mutant spawn is just such a phrase. We were discussing ... I have no idea what we were discussing, that led to this. This is the usual. Multiple twists and turns in our conversations usually leave little hope of retracing our steps. Perhaps, this is how it should be.

So, the definition of "mutant spawn" is "your offspring". Hence my son, my daugther are mutant spawn, as am I, of my parents. We are the result of centuries of former mutant spawn having the ability to produce yet another crop of mutant spawn and so on and so on.

Although not as attractive sounding as son or daugther, it is none the less accurate. We all are the mutations of our predecessors, some good, some bad but all different.

I wish to thank my son for all the words and phrase that he has created or repurposed for our entertainment.

Another: "A procrastinator's work is never done!" {he would know!}

Yes, I think my daugther may be correct. We are a weird family. But, we are never dull! I like weird, it makes life far more interesting than "normal" and adds to the enjoyment as long as you don't take your weird too seriously.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Sunday, April 10, 2005

How many languages does your family speak?

As part of our normal routine, I go pick up my children at their moms on a regular basis. The ride to and fro has become an important part of the Dad Time. During the 20 minutes to 1 hour drive(depending on the traffic), we discuss just about any topic on earth (however, we are not limited to just earth).

Subjects might include:

- butterflies in space
- the life span of a headless cockroach
- time travel; the space-time continuum thingie
- music discussions, such as the song "I'm a Hanukkah bush!"

As you can see, we talk about, and some times make up, just about anything. If others were to over hear these conversations they might think... never mind about that, we are still "on the outside" for now... back to the languages.

On our last ride, I discovered that our family is multi-lingual. I originate from Southern New Jersey (AKA South Jersey), therefore I speak Jersey. Which is very fast with a hint of an accent and of course we have our own phraseology. Be aware I speak not of the North Jersey accent that dribbles (no, torrents) over from New York.

My daugther on the other hand (smiles) apparently understands Canadian best. It is significantly slower paced and always confirms the ending of a sentence with "EH?". This way, there is a confidence that the other person has completed a thought and you can now respond or better yet, start listening. Rather like in the radio communication style of "over" without the static (most of the time).

There is also a blending that results in most of the house occupants speaking Washingtonianese, off and on. This comes from the combination of my South Jersey accent lightly blended with the Oklahoma twang (from their mother's side) and the purely Western Washington accent that arrived from the midwest with all those Norweigans. Can't imagine what that sounds like? Well, try this, a Norweigan grows up in New York and moves to Cape May, New Jersey where a drawl is aquired, then moves to Washington and attempts to speak without any accent at all. That's the Washingtonianese that is heard in our house.

I am sure we speak many more languages. I will attempt to document them as they arise. This cultural blending is so wonderful. I think my daugther is learning Japanese. Go ahead! Try to figure out what that will end up sounding like!!! Just makes your head spin, eh?


Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Where was I when all this happened? vlogs?

There I was, quietly doing my job, when in comes this email from a co-worker. Always the bearer of some informational tidbit, I will put down whatever I am doing to read the links he sends.

As is normal, there were several article links on blogging and such. However, one in particular caught my eye. It had to do with a thing called a vlog. Reading into the article, I learned that a vlog is a Video bLOG. There was also a link over to where this bald guy (AKA Karl Miller) is talking on just about everything from armpits to the next band that will make him wealthy beyond his… oh never mind about that.

The bald guy is from a company called Serious Magic. They make the software that makes it easy for anyone (maybe even me) to create vlogs. Not just any webcam’ed, fuzzy image and crappy sound vlog. Oh no! We are talking about near broadcast quality stuff here. Granted his is a solution looking for a problem to solve with the vlog approach, but wait there’s more. Serious Magic makes incredible (if his pitch is to be believed) software for creating vlog, training videos, news items, video journals and the like. And it does it with extreme ease and professional look. This does not come cheap (at least not for my wallet). But I just can’t say enough about the capabilities that are available for the basic “home” producer.

The products are Visual Communicator, Ultra, DV Rack and Vlog-it. I don’t usually go off the deep end on software, but you must see this to believe it.

BTW, in my job I was recently tasked to put together a self-serve video production station. Given a pre-purchased set of parts and scrounging of other stuff, we ended up with a pretty good video station. But still lacked the ease of use for the customer to come in, sit down and just do a video. We have talked about scripts and the like to get this going. Well, Serious Magic has bypassed all that and provided an easy to use production environment including a teleprompter. Did I already say this… it could not be easier or look more professional (unless you went to a professional studio).

Okay, enough said about that. The real reason for this early morning babble is the following vlog I found by Jeff Jarvis. He talks about the power that anyone can have to do video “journalism”. He is using the Serious Magic setup, but doesn’t really go into detail or promote it. Good thing, right? Rather he talks about the evolution of journalism and what news agencies, etc. can do to take advantage of this new found source of information and “reporting”. Not everyone cares for Jeff Jarvis, but if on nothing else, he is right on target with this “journalism to the people” concept.

I know this will sound corny. It did long ago in high school, when I told someone that one of my goals was to help get information to everyone whenever they wanted it. The response was “right, and cure world hunger while you are at it”. Currently, I have not made much progress on the world hunger front, but I am making small steps in the information delivery. {Not counting my blog of course. That’s not information, just babble}. I feel that this video log capability is the next big step towards the information to (and perhaps by) everyone.

I don’t know if I will produce a vlog. In reality, I believe I am a bit camera shy. Although in the recent past I have had a live cam for broadcasting my fuzzy image to thousands of unsuspecting co-workers and produced just as fuzzy videos that were presentations converted to a talking head and presentation sourced in web form. All-in-all, I really don’t like doing that, but I do love a challenge and what more of a challenge then to try something that you aren't comfortable with and probably do it pretty darn lame and then expose that to hundreds, possibly dozens of others. Sounds like I didn't get enough punishment as a child or something.

Well now, off to do some online cruising for cheap prices on this software. I will let you know what, how much and where I find anything worth blabbing about...


Sunday, March 27, 2005

cell phone geekiness moment

As surprising as this may seem, it is not 2 AM and I am actually writing.

Yesterday, I sent several hours cruising through various web sites after reading an article on what's up with cell phones in Japan. The article came from Molly Wood who writes this time for the CNET AnchorDesk. The article was entitled Dispatch from the road: the future holds flip phones. Hopefully, the article is still available at this location. Google the title, if not.

Anyway, the story detailed (briefly) the kinds of things she saw while looking for trends in cell phones, at the center of the cell phone universe, Japan .

The biggest impression it left with me was the politeness of the cell users. She said she never heard a cell ring in a public place nor did she see people actually talking on cells where it would annoy people. You will read in the article that the folks in Japan apparently know what the "silent" mode is on their cells and, get this, they know how to use it!!!! OMG, that would be a revolutionary idea here in the U.S.

Also implied by the article was that it was kind of a status symbol to not be talking on your phone but rather be messaging. Completely 180 degrees from the U.S. market, where we must be talking in the most inappropriate locations in an effort to show how important we must be. It was at this point, I realized why so many people from other countries dislike us. We proclaim our higher than you status via rudeness. There's a study to be funded by a government grant!

Well back to the hours of surfin'. In this same article it talked about, and I quote,
Everyone--and I mean everyone, from the girliest schoolgirl to the grimmest businessman--attaches some sort of cute, dangling charm to the corner of his or her phone.

This is what got me going on a surfin' crusade. I needed to find out what the attraction was for everyone to have these little danglies hanging for their phones. In addition, I wanted to find out why I had not seen this here in the U.S.

Bottom-line: the reason everyone has them on their phone is because (this is of course from my perspective) in one fell swoop these danglies make the owner both an individual and part of a group. And they are just too darn cute. Everything from dragons made from beads to Feng Shui symbols; from Hello Kitty to Mickey Mouse; from train station lunch boxes to your favorite vegetable. Yes, pretty much anything you can think of has been resin reproduced, beaded or braided and is hanging from someone's cell phone lanyard hole. (You U.S. readers, yes, the little pass-thru hole in the side of your phone actually has a use!)

Now, one of the greatest locations for picking up this cuteness is It is of course located in Japan. There are some locations in the U.S. but none compare to the completeness of a fad as this site. Enjoy the hours of browsing through aisles and aisles of, what else can it be called but, cuteness!

Yes, we both brought items from Yes, we both went overboard. But you know what? With all the sameness of -

everyone having a cell phone,
everyone talking at this most inappropriate time,
everyone allowing their phone to ring where silence would be the better course,
everyone's ringtone blasting out the latest hip-hop, country, classical or oldies music,

wouldn't it be a wonderment to look over at this abnoxious American and see...

a Hello Kitty dangle hanging there?

Yes, it might even channel some of the anger to a sweet little awwwww. Just for a moment mind you. But even the biggest revolutions start with the smallest of moments.

So if you hear someone being annoying with their cell, be sure to check for the dangle and cut them some slack. They are trying to start a revolution, but aren't quite there yet!


Friday, March 18, 2005

Another early morning

This parody of a Sam Cooke song is entitled, "Another early morning".
For those to don't know the tune, here is a sample

Another early morning and I sit here writin,
I have some thoughts cause I just woke up.
How I wish I had not had that coffee,
I'm just writin this blog.

I woke in bed a time ago,
I ain't shut my eyes since then.
If I could close em I could rest em,
but as yet I haven't shut em,
That's why I'm in the fix I'm in, ohhh...

Another early morning and I sit here writin,
I have some thoughts cause I just woke up.
How I wish I had not had that coffee,
I'm just writin my blog.

Another fella told me,
he had a weblog that looked so fine.
Instead of bein my deliverance,
it had a strange assemblance
To a blog from Gertrude Stein, ohhhh...

Another early morning and I sit here writin,
I have some thoughts cause I just woke up.
How I wish I had not had that coffee,
I'm just writin more blog.

Its hard on a fella
when he don't have his head laid down
If I don't find me some sheep
To help me get some sleep
I'm gonna keep a writin this log.

Another early morning and I sit here writin,
I have some thoughts cause I just woke up.
How I wish I had not had that coffee,
I'm just writin a blog, ohhh, I'm just writin my blog.

Friday, March 04, 2005

another wakeful night

So, if you were wondering, like so many other “blogs”, yes this one is all about me. No politically charged issues. No controversial discussions. No porn, sex or drugs.
If that is what you stopped by for, no need to read further. I am actually surprised you got this far.

This is but a journal of what I am doing; what might be happening in my life; and the thoughts in my head.
Since each of us is connected to the whole, it can never truly be “all” about me.
But given the envelope that I occupy, it does feel like an appropriate place to focus.
Once again another early morning finds me here before the screen and keyboard.
As is usual, I have hundreds of thoughts scurrying about. They play their various sports -

The ADD dash.
The distraction decathlon.
The “was that a chicken” high jump.
So many sports, so little time.

I find myself thinking about change again.
This time it will be a change in job.
Not sure where that will lead.

With my boss taking a new job, I don’t believe I want to “lie down on the tracks” (as my partner puts it) for my current job.

Where I work it some times feels like everyone is “out for a pass”. Unfortunately, no one appears to have the ball to make the toss.

We all look pretty darn good, running our patterns. But as an observer you really need to know some context to makes sense of the actions.

If an alien (from another planet, rather then merely another country) were to look upon all of us dutifully dashing about, ready for our pass, it might say…

What the hell are they doing?
They all seem to be working very hard at something.
They look to be very passionate about their effort.
But, where are they going?
What is the point to this activity?
Are they just trying to get in shape?

{"chicken jump", see sports above}

Not sure if everyone gets to experience this, but I hope so.
There are times when you come across people and they just happen to be the person you work for or work for you that:

- are a joy to be around, they generate and share their energy
- give you freedom, while watching your back
- take the impossible and from what seems to be nowhere, make it happen
- can be trusted
- give you their honest, un-tethered opinions, thoughts, advice
- listen

I have been lucky enough to come across a few bosses, several peers, a couple friends and one partner who fit this bill.

It always felt like when I went out for a pass, the ball arrived at the exact moment, with the correct angle and velocity.
Or when I sent the pass flying, they were at the exact spot and ready to embrace the ball and run with it.
One doesn’t always know how to express the great feelings that accompany the interaction with these individuals.
When their presence no longer influences your envelope, there appear to be a lot more “out for a pass” patterns then normal.
This of course (not normally a given with an ADD dash) leads back to changing jobs.

I consider myself an agent of change.
I love to seek out difficult problems and apply unexpected solutions.
So far, I have been able to learn whatever I needed to accomplish this.

For now, I will scan the horizon to see the next new land, once located, will set out on yet another new adventure.

And hopefully enjoy it as much as I have enjoyed this recent set of people, places and challenges.

And of course I will report back here, because as everyone knows it IS all about me!

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

insomniac session #2

Hello again, well this is the second issue of the insomniac sessions.

Actually, it is not the second time I have been awake "early" in the A.M. There have been several other times, but with those the timing was closer to the time I normally get up, hence, I qualify them as "waking up early".

This however, is truly an insomniac moment. It is 2 A.M. That is too late to qualify as "I can't get to sleep" and far too soon to qualify as "I just woke up early".

My last documented insomniac moment (from this point forward I will refer to insomniac moments as IM's) was a nothing is bothering me moment, just wide awake time. Not so with this IM. This time I am thinking, worrying, and stewing about one thought after another.

Describing what is going on in my head would provide good evidence that I suffer from Adult ADD {} But I assume that this is just the IM talking and I am really a normal adult that is up at 2 A.M. typing a considerably public journal entry just like everyone else.

Everyone else does this right? Right?

Moving on.

It appears that the spark which set off this IM session was "change". Not just any change, but significant and unexpected change. In a previous note I mentioned of the unexpected changes that happened to some friends.
There was of course the unexpected world-wide event of the tsunami.
But now, a bit closer to home and on a personal level, there comes change to my career.

Segue alert!

I currently work for a company that makes airplanes and other aerospace stuff. They do many other things but basically that is their claim to fame. I work in the information technology arm of this company. My hobby is computers. My job is computers. I really enjoy doing anything with computers. So bottom line is my job and my hobby match. It is fun, interesting, some times exciting AND I get pay for it.

I have worked on the IT side of electron lasers, satellites, military planes, commercial planes, accounting (Okay, that was pretty boring, but it was computers!), portals, video productions and most recently search engines. There have been many other IT jobs, such as data center manager for educational institutions and some time with an online book seller, but the majority of my career has been with one company. A company where you can change interests as desired. {perfect for that ADD part that pops up from time to time.}

Segue off!

As you may be able to tell, I am comfortable with change. However, not all change is comfortable. Unexpected change is the spark for IMs. My company, as may be the case with many large companies, is one Dilbert moment short of being their own comic strip. It is one of those moments that has me awake this time.

Remember, IMs are personal. What seems large and overwhelming to the IM sufferer may appear as a trivial moment to just "buck up" to by the outsider. This is one of those.

My job, my management and those around me are experiencing unexpected change. My unexpected change is that my job is moving organizations and thus the person I work for will most likely change. Not a big deal. Well, no. The unexpected-ness was how I found out. A leadership position was vacated and a job opening notice was published. Normally, I blow by these announcements because the politics of work do nothing for me. Besides there should be no politics in your hobbies. That's what makes them enjoyable.

However, this notice highlighted because it contained information about my current job. I read in surprise that the service I currently perform was now part of the responsibilities of this leadership position. Hence, this would mean a new boss. Of course this is probably the perfect alignment for this function and some time in the
future this change will make perfect sense. At this time, I am lost in the lizard brain moment of the change, so it does not appear all that clear.

The points about why this change occurred and how I found out about it are the reasons I sit in front of this screen at 2 A.M.

That's silly you say? Why would that make for an IM? Well, if that was all, then right you are. But those were just the sparks to ignite the myriad of other "fears" held safely but rather tenuously in their container.

Everything from getting older to worrying about my children; from will my relationship last to how bald I am going to get; from can I retire soon to what if I don't do... whatever. One after the other. Back and forth. Major and insignificant.

It was as if all these thoughts were held back by a huge dam and the job thingie was this little kid that walks up to the dam and says "hey, what's this loose stone?" You can figure out what happens next.

So hear I sit, worried/thinking about huge things as well as every other little thing in the universe (getting better at drama, don't you think?). Creating a public diary. What the hell was I thinking?

Oh, never mind, don't get me started!

Sunday, January 16, 2005

have you ever wondered why things just don't feel right?

Once again an early morning finds me sitting in front of my laptop and wondering.
Wondering about purpose. Wondering about getting older. Wondering about love.

Of course, wondering can be taken at least two ways.
The first is the questioning or the inquisitive side.
The second is the sense of awe or to marvel about something.

Well, this morning it is both. Events happen that involve others and sometimes you can only wonder why.Catastrophes occur and we are found wondering why them; why now; or just why. Fortune smiles and we are found wondering why me; why not me; why now;
or again just why.

However, there are times when unexpected events come to light that shake our core and you are left just wondering. These events sometimes don't directly involve you, so the surprise is more intense. Such an event occurred yesterday.

Because this life changing event occurred to others and is of a sensitive nature, I will not detail it here. All I will say is this occurred to and about some friends.
My expectations (more about these later) were pointed in one direction and reality shocked me into a temporary left turn.

I thought I knew what love, friendship, and purpose was all about until this surprise. For a little while I wondered, if this can happen to people I thought
were so connected, how would it be possible for my partner and I to succeed.

A uneasy sense hovered around me and it was as if someone had disappeared. They had not. Yet, I was "missing" someone, something. It was definitely gone. But exactly what was missing?
Everyone involved was still here.
Circumstances had changed.
Life would not be the same. But that's not bad. Right?
Change is good. Right?

My wondering brought me back on track. Trying to decide what was gone, I found only more questions. It looks like it comes down to expectations. Yes, it is that simple.

Watch out, segue alert!

My partner and I were coping with her having to work late, when I stumbled across a class at work that talked about expectations. The example given (which I have probably used before) was one which matched our situation. Let's say that Harry needs to work late and calls home saying that he will work longer but will try to be home by 6 PM. Let's also say that Maggie too needs to work late and calls home saying that she will try to be home by 8 PM. Now they both arrive home at 7 PM. Unfortunately, Harry is now late while Maggie is early. The receptions at home may be quite different, though each arrived home at exactly the same time.


We found that this worked for us.
Creating realistic expectations removed the tension, stress and guilt in dealing with this current situation.
Okay, it isn't perfect, but we are new at this... things will improve.

Segue off!

I had expectations about relationships both for mine and for others. The thing that was hovering was my expectations. Since my expectations no longer matched the reality , I was left wondering.

Wondering why this happened.
Wondering what was going to happen now.
Wondering if the same thing could happen to my partner and me.
Wondering why we are so happy together.

Perhaps we are not meant to know all.
Perhaps the wondering is the path to knowing that has no real end.

From time to time, it is good to have your core shaken.
It helps reset expectations.
I am sadden by recent events. I offer whatever I can provide, if it is needed or desired.

Now, I am wondering why the woman sitting next to me, IS sitting next to me.
I have reset or remembered my expectations.
Live well. Laugh often. Love deeply.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

the perfect example of Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle (HUP)

Today I read an article about Google whacking.
GW is the ability to enter 2 words into the Google search box and have it return only one result.

Thinking that this was a pretty darn cool thing to play with, I tried one of the examples in the story.
To my surprise, the first example returned 3 results not 1. I thought "how lame", the article was wrong.
However, undeterred I entered the 2nd example and sure enough multiple results came back.

Now, of course, I am thinking that this reporter really did not do her research and was just publishing hear-say info.
But wait, I looked at the results and what do my wandering eyes spy, yes the results now hold references to the very article on Google Whacking that I am reading.

Ahhhh, enlightenment beams its warm glow. By measuring or in this case writing about a subject, the reporter has affected the results.
I have heard this somewhere. Oh yea, high school physics. The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle roughly stated says -
~ the experimenter's measuring, changes the results of the experiment ~

So in this case, Google has indexed these new items as well as the original reference, now causing the Google Whack to disappear.

Some say Google has a god-like influence. Well, I don't know about that... but I figure that any mere search engine that can prove a scientific principle is pretty darn amazing.

So, the result of this is the perfect challenge. Google Whacking is perfect! You can play but don't tell of your success. If you brag to the universe, "god" will find you and put back in your place amongst the rest of us. ;-)