/*sidenote tool from arc90 */ /* end of Google Analytics code */ A Random Pattern: July 2005

A Random Pattern

Monday, July 18, 2005

Geek Speak Radio - Podcast of the week!

When I first tried out this show, I wasn't instantly hooked. However, I soon found myself listening to each new episode, and now I'm a devoted fan. This is one of those podcasts that really makes my commute fly by. Not only is it good, relaxing, and entertaining, but it's informative. Check out Geek Speak Radio, see if it fits you.

What it is: A long format show (around one hour normally), with a rambling, technical format. It's primarily aimed at geeks (No!!! Who would have guessed?!), but covers a lot of entertainment and media type items as well. There are a few hosts, and sometimes they do guest interviews also.

Why it's so good: Lots of topics, loosely related, good conversation and interaction between the hosts. I like that they're not strenously trying to "get anywhere", but just talking about the things they like. The show news and game station news is also good for me, since otherwise I'm not very plugged in to those worlds.

Hmmm, I suppose one of these days I should add a "Why it's not so good" or "What could be improved" paragraph to my writeups. Then again, maybe not. What do you guys think?

DRM is coming! DRM is coming!

Look, if this article doesn't scare you, then you're either a record exec or a hermit (or maybe just not a geek). The article Microsoft Courts Hollywood Allies talks about the exciting, cool new world of dowloadable content (read: like iTunes, but for Movies and TV shows), and the toys that will give us access to it. However, as I began reading about how the content is being locked down, a disturbing picture began to form. I won't rewrite the article, and there are numerous like it, but this is definitely something to be aware of, especially as you consider new purchases of electronic gear. In this largely undefined fields, many large businesses are going to see how much they can get away with. And we already know how ethically-inclined Microsoft is......

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Party Time and a Sick Munchkin

Guess who? If you read the previous post, you are probably guessing right...it's Sara of course. I know you were all waiting anxiously to hear from me! :)

Today we were invited by Uncle John and Aunt Emma to a party for one of his employees. She turned 40. Her husband threw her a huge party with lots of food. He happens to be deaf...so UJ invited us to meet him. Evidently, he's talked to Toni (the birthday girl) about Tessa a lot...and she's talked to him about her husband quite a bit as well. We went and got to meet quite a few deaf people. It was amazing to watch how fast they signed. When they were signing to each other, I couldn't catch very much of what they were saying, but when they signed with us, they were slow enough that I understood most of it. I'm still far behind on fingerspelling, but I'm not surprised. That will take us a while to master. Tessa had a blast! It was VERY hot, so she played in the sprinkler with the other kids there. We ate lots of good food and had some good conversations. We spoke with one guy, Anthony, about how being deaf was like being in the Matrix. We needed to help Tessa "crack the code" so she could communicate with both cultures. We also received many compliments on our desire to communicate with Tessa through sign. It's a hard thing for the Deaf culture to feel like it's going to be gone because of the cochlear implant, so I think it gives them hope when they see a family that has a child with a CI signing relatively proficiently (well...better than most parents, I suppose) with their child.

I'm happy to say that Selah is feeling much better today, which made the party much more bearable I'm sure. Since the beginning of this week, she's been feeling pretty miserable. I took her to the dr. on Wednesday becuase she wasn't eating much (maybe 6oz. a day) and slept the entire day on Tuesday and Wednesday. They said she had a virus as well as a slight case of anemia and a moderate case of eczema. Poor girl. We've been dealing with pretty gross diapers, but I am happy to report that those are done with (which is a good thing, because it was getting old VERY fast). The amazing thing is that until yesterday Selah wasn't acting cranky at all. She's slept through the night every night this week, but one. I'm wondering if she'll keep that up now that she's not sick anymore. One can hope, right?

Well, suppose that I better be hitting the sack...because I wouldn't be surprised if Selah wakes me up in the middle of the night tonight. Can't say I'm disappointed that she has her appetite back, though it does have it downfalls. Enjoy the rest of the weekend!

Sara

Friday, July 15, 2005

Exciting times - Improvements at the Random Blog!

Hey everyone!

If everything works properly, my lovely wife will soon be posting here as well. She's joined the blogging team, and will be sharing pics and news on the kids. She'll still be maintaining Tessa's CI site and Selah's Paige, but will be able to more freely post pics and general family news bites here.

Also, I've opened up the comments, to save my family from the necessity of yet another unnecessary username and password. So please, comment on any post you want - I'll see it, and will be happy to respond. I might even bring the post back to the top if it becomes the focus of discussion.

Love and Peace,
Step

Thursday, July 14, 2005


alright, she is looking WAAAY too grown up in this pic - remind you of anyone? (Probably not unless you know my family).
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Let Sleeping Babies Lie...

Here's a collage of recent naps - note Tessa's strange choice one afternoon. She woke up shortly after going to sleep here, and was ready to stay in bed after that.

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Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Just what I've been searching for - Ha!

Now this is cool. If you're anything like me, you suffer from information overload. I think it will become a defining characteristic of the current generation. I've been watching for the "perfect" solution, and have been bemused by the lack of even a decent attempt. (Ok, that might be a little harsh.) Over the last few years the situation has gradually improved, due to a variety of products and solutions. A big factor (in my mind) has been PDA's that sync with email programs - but these still aren't enough. Enter A Dynamite Personal Information Manager, Evernote. I haven't used it yet, but am installing it now. I'll let you know how it goes, but the reviews (and it has apparently been extensively reviewed) put it near the top of the class for current solutions.

It appears to match or exceed Microsoft's OneNote application in most areas, with the obvious advantages of 1 - not being Microsoft; and 2 - being free.

May this make one of my dreams come true, and allow me to actually use more of the vast amount of information I handle. Well, we'll see - and here's to progress.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005


South River Falls - get the picture?
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Podcast of the week

Once a week I'll share a Podcast that has caught my ear amid all the noise, and that I think might be a worthy listen for you too (especially if you have a long commute like I do).

This week's pick is Slashdot Review. SDR is an excellent example of a quality podcast. Many other podcasts I listen to, and even recommend, could learn from this gentleman's efforts.

What it is: 10 minute daily summary of news articles culled from Slashdot (news for geeks). The last 2 minutes are a song from an independent artist. I don't always like them, but I have yet to hate one, and I've even stumbled upon a new artist that I really like.

Why it's so good: Concise, focused, and consistent. I know what I'm going to hear each time, it's information that I want to hear, the sound quality is good, the volume is consistent, the filler music is used appropriately, and it's family-friendly. If you're interested in techy news items (he includes a brief smattering of world news at the beginning also), give it a try. He even has a bit-torrent feed, if you're a big-enough geek. :)

Monday, July 11, 2005

Guitar tool for Firefox

For you guitar players out there (that also use Firefox), check out this new extension!! It looks cool, but I can't use it yet (I'm running Deer Park, which is an Alpha of Firefox 1.1, the next release, to help test it, and a required plugin, jslib, won't run on my version). As soon as I do give it a try, I'll blog again (at least if it's any good!) So get it here, Mozilla Update :: Extensions -- More Info:Guitar Toolbar - All Releases: "http://jslib.mozdev.org" make sure to follow the instruction (yes there's only one), and comment back on your thoughts.

Safer (and Better) Browsing

An independent security firm's look at browser vulnerabilities in 2004. This is a big part of why I use Firefox, not IE (the biggest reason for me is actually tabbed browsing and other tools that are more easily and safely used with Firefox than with IE). A Year Of Bugs For those of you complaining that Firefox might have as many issues if it was as popular: Maybe, maybe not. Doesn't really matter, now, does it? Right now it is undisputedly safer, and it is very trivial to switch between the two. So why not just run Firefox, and click the fox instead of the blue E? It's recommended by every security expert or PC magazine or site I've seen, and it really couldn't be much easier. If you need help, ask your geeky relative (or ask me in the comments).

Of course, those of you using a proprietary dialup client may be stuck in an IE derived browser. If so, keep the product and your windows software up-to-date (and good luck).

"Windows" maintenance and protection

It must say something that 8 of the top 25 downloaded applications exist solely to help protect or repair Windows from applications that take advantage of the many security and design flaws. It's a little sad that so much energy is spent maintaining something that was supposed to make our lives easier. At least for now, Apply computers are safe from the spyware, adware, and viruses that require us Windows users to reformat our drives or just buy new computers so frequently. Hmmmm....there's plenty more speculation that can be done along these lines. Anyways, check out the top 50 freeware and shareware apps on CNet's site. (I only counted through the top 25 b/c I'm lazy, feel free to append your count in the comments).
Reviews and free downloads at Download.com

Sunday, July 10, 2005

UFO:Aftershock - coming soon

The follow-up to the popular UFO-Aftermath, and in the vein of the X-COM series, UFO-Aftershock will reportedly be out in September!! UFO:Aftershock

I've been eagerly awaiting this since I first heard it was in the making (shortly after Aftermath was released). I've been following the website since it was first created, and was just a single page with no information or pictures. The latest pictures finally give us a taste of what in-game play will actually look like, and they've done some awesome work on the interface. It looks like it will be much easier to navigate and KILL ALIENS (which is how you save the planet). 'Course I still haven't finished Aftermath - maybe one of these days....

CG Rocks!

This is my church's site. It just got a major upgrade, thank goodness, and looks much better! Check out the recent tubing pics, and if you're in the area, drop by the Theatre Sunday mornings!!
Common Ground Christian Church -- Home

Saturday, July 09, 2005

.heretoday. is AWESOME!!!!!

Go to .heretoday. and check these guys out (they've got a link to some of their music on purevolume). I just went to one of their shows, and these guys are AWESOME live!! They had lots of energy, and very accessible, powerful rock. Definitely give Breakout a listen - these guys are taking off in a big way!

UPDATE: I still love "Breakout", but after repeated listening to their demo I have a new favorite - "Neverland". This song is destined to be a big radio hit (at least in my humble opinion).

The Japan Times Online

Here's an interesting snapshot of where fuel cell technology stands today. I've followed transportation improvements for awhile, and we seem to be gaining ground. There's still a lot of hurdles to overcome, though. Is this the way of the future? Where do you think transportation is headed?
The Japan Times Online

Friday, July 08, 2005

7 July 2005 London bombings - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

7 July 2005 London bombings - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Sad. And Sobering - let this bring focus and purpose to your worldview. We so often get wrapped up in the details of the daily grind, we forget there is a bigger picture. My prayers are with the families and the wounded.

God save us.

Still More Cool Firefox Tools

Still More Cool Firefox Tools

I found and added several cool extensions today. This article mentions a few of them, and also explains a little about why, and how, to use Firefox.


We conquered South River Falls, near Skyline Drive! (June 2005, the summer of the turtle)
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Family Portrait Summer 2005
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First Collage!
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