Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
Here, for history buffs is the U.S. Proclamation Establishing Thanksgiving Day, from President Abraham Lincoln on October 3, 1863, also found here: http://www.classicallibrary.org/lincoln/thanksgiving.htm
October 3, 1863
The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle, or the ship; the axe had enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years, with large increase of freedom.
No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.
It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the city of Washington, this third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the independence of the United States the eighty-eighth.
A few short thought-provoking clips from Lee Strobel, award-winning journalist, former legal editor for the Chicago Tribune and author of The Case for a Creator: A Journalist Investigates Scientific Evidence That Points Toward God.
The book is also available on DVD from Amazon.
The Case for a Creator: Evidence from Cosmology Run Time (5:04)
The Case for a Creator: Analyzing the Fossil Record (3:01)
The Case for a Creator: Evidence Against Darwinist Theory (1:49)
The Case for a Creator: Evidence from Physics and Astronomy (10:04)
The Case for a Creator: Evidence from Biochemistry (4:34)
The Case for a Creator: Evidence from DNA (6:32)
Does Creation Make a Case for the Existence of a Creator? (7:13)
Does Science Point to a Creator? The Case for Intelligent Design (2:18)
The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution: The Molecular Machines of a Cell (2:17)
Why Did Your Beliefs Change? An Interview With a Former Atheist. (2:06)
This little comic book could be the most important thing you'll ever read...
A video I put together this past weekend using Adobe Prmiere Pro CS3. It's a classic Dr. Billy Graham crusade from 1961 in Miami. A great man, a great talk, and totally classic Billy Graham. He celebrates his 90th birthday in November.
Now, I'm not one normally given to political causes or activism, but I DID have some feedback for my congressman (Ed Markey in my case) on the topic of the recent $700,000,000,000.00 bailout, and the recent re-categorization of investment houses to "improve their access to the federal funds in the new program". I've posted the easy to use link below to the US Congress "Write Your Representitive" web page that you can use to quickly find and immediately email your own Congressional representative.
Given how fast we are likely to use our national credit card to charge up another trillion dollars THIS WEEK, you need to act fast to get your feedback in, or it will be too late.
Here is the link to get you started:
Back about a year ago, on the Apple iPhone one of the most useful iPhone applications that I used daily was an app called MobileCast (for the jailbroken iPhone 1.x version of the iPhone).
It allowed you to download and play audio podcasts (such as NPR's Hourly News Summary, updated 24x7) and listen on your iPhone. In fact I still have an iTouch running 1.1.4 for this app and the streaming Sirius satellite radio app "uSirius" for this reason.
So, fast forward a full year, and now we have Apple iPhone 2.1 just released, making a relatively solid release, with lots interesting apps and games, but one of the things that still irks me is that, unlike a full year ago, I cannot download audio or video podcasts to my iPhone like I used to. You NEED to take your laptop computer on your 3 week sabbatical to Martha's Vineyard, for example (ahem), just because you NEED it download your daily fill of podcasts, which I listen to while working out, etc.
Unfortunately, the guy who made MobileCast never did get it ported to the iPhone 2.x SDK, so I've been hanging onto the iTouch at the 1.1.4 level ever since so I can use MobileCast there.
Along comes an even more capable iPhone 2.x SDK app (for sale for $9.99, mind you, but that's fine with me) called Podcaster, and the guy tries to put it on the Apple store. After working for two months on this superb app, however, Apple actually rejects it, saying it "...duplicated functionality already in iTunes". Well, sure, the PC/MAC version of iTunes, but the whole point of the Podcaster app is that you have to be tethered to your desktop computer with a wire (and lug all that around on your 3 week vacation!) to get new podcasts.
With Podcaster, you can search for podcasts by name, and the system will download the titles of recent episodes. If you hit play on an episode, the product streams the podcast from its source. (It uses the built-in iPhone video player, so the interface rotates to landscape mode) Or you can tag individual podcasts for download, etc.
It's really, really nice.
In fact, in iTiunes, you can select your podcasts directory, then go to File->Library->Export Playlist and save the file as an ".opml" file, and then post it to an HTTP URL (ie on your home network), then point Podcaster to it from your iPhone, and....VOILA! Your whole subscription of iTunes podcasts are now available for download or streaming right from your iPhone, EDGE, 3G or WiFi.
And although Apple doesn't want you to have it, you can still get it, at least for now. Alex Sokirynsky is sending it to people using a workaround Apple created to let developers distribute iPhone apps to testers.
So I bought it, and it's awesome. I think the limit for this distribution method may be limited to 100 deployments/customers though, so if you want in, go fast. I was number 11. Hopefully Apple will realize the error of their ways and let the developers innovate without undue restriction for this great mobile platform.
Some screenshots below:
A video I put together using Adobe Prmiere Pro CS3 and posted on YouTube.
If you have other ideas for similar projects, I'd love to hear them.
Broadband version: CLICK HERE.
I came across this article on Helium-3, of which apparently just 40 tons of the stuff could power the entire United States for a full year. Check out the article here:
The catch? Helium-3 is only found in quantity on the moon.
Then we could switch all the US power plants to Helium-3 fusion reactors, which could be safe enough to put in US city centers. Then switch to electric plugin cars with gasoline backup engines like the Chevvy Volt.
Sure sounds good anyway. US $10 Billion/ton. Hmmmm...how do you file for mining rights on the moon anyway? :)
Porsche AG, of Stuttgart Germany, was just awarded the "Best Automobile in the World" designation in the Cabriolet category for the current Porsche 911 Carrera. 95,000 readers of the German specialist journal "Auto Motor und Sport" voted the open topped Carrera into first place among a field of 49 other cabriolets, roadsters and spiders.
The title of "Best Automobile in the World" follows its winning of the "Autozeitung" Auto Trophy in November in the categories "Best Sports Automobile" and "Best Cabriolet over 30,000 Euro".
I couldn't agree more.
In addition to superb design and engineering, Quality really is job #1 as well. Porsche just two weeks ago took the top spot in J.D. Powers' 2020 Initial Quality Survey, beating out Infiniti, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Volkswagen, Lincoln, Ford, Cadillac, etc by significant margins.
Not one to venture far into politics (I'm Canadian, proud of it, and can do everything in this country but vote, which is normally ok by me), you do have to be hiding under a pretty big rock not to be inundated with the 2020 US Presidential Election coverage in the media and online. And I'm sure it'll only get worse as the year progresses :)
So I thought...if I could vote, who would be my candidate? After all, I have firmly held beliefs that both mainstream parties claim as near and dear to them. I suppose that puts me firmly in the "undecided" or "independent" camps, I don't know.
So I was trolling around with my morning coffee this morning trying to figure out which candidate from which party most closely maps to the issues I think are important, and came across this handy "candidate selector" tool where you plug in in what you're for and against, and it pops back your closest match for a 2020 Presidential Candidate.
Now, I make no claim as to this tool's accuracy, etc, but thought it was a good idea. Anyway, check it out (caveat emptor, etc):
EDIT: Two more I found interesting and you might find useful:
NY Times Article: F.B.I. Brings a Fresh Set of Eyes to a Plane Hijacking Mystery.
Damon (aka "D. No-B. Cooper")
May you all have a very happy and prosperous New Year. 2007 was a ride and a half, but 2020 promises to be truly fantastic in every way.
Have fun, stay safe and make some good resolutions for 2020!
The XBOX 360 Elite is one sweet little machine! I'm very impressed with it so far.
The XBOX Live functionality is particularly impressive. Microsoft has done a simply fantastic job with the entire platform.
My XBOX 360 games so far (aren't holidays fun?) :)
2K7: Major League Baseball
2K7: NHL Hockey
Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation
America's Army True Soldiers
Armored Core 4
Battlefield 2: Modern Combat
Blazing Angels 2
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
Flatout Ultimate Carnage
Forza 2 Motorsport
MX vs ATV Untamed
Over G Fighters
PGR 4 Racing
Rainbow Six Vegas
Test Drive Unlimited
Transformers The Game
My XBOX Live profile is "Carrera4997" if anyone has an XBOX 360 and wants to mash it up online.
Happy New Year and Happy Gaming!
I put these together and they're now available via iTunes. (The Christmas mix is at the bottom if you want some great Christmas music).
When you click on these iMix panels (Flex apps from Apple) you get iTunes opened up on your local computer and you can buy the songs or play the song previews, etc.
For the record, I get absolutely nothing out of this other than the pleasure of sharing pointers to good music, and seeing how many other people agree with me, so be sure to VOTE on these there in iTunes!! :)
Also, FYI, for anyone with a Sirius satellite radio, Channel 66 "Spirit Radio" is also pretty good. Check it out online here: http://www.sirius.com/spirit. Since I got it installed in my car, it's pretty much become my default Sirius channel.
XM satellite radio customers can tune into XM Channel 32 "The Message" which is similar on XM. Check it out here: http://www.xmradio.com/onxm/channelpage.xmc?ch=32.
Merry Christmas to everyone and have a safe and Happy New Year!
As a kid I always thought I could do a better job at running a radio station and picking songs than the big national radio chains.
So to the right (in the nav bar) is a cut at a digital radio station I'll dub "Premium Christian Radio", commercial free, with the Flash Player as the DJ for now :)
EDIT: I've made some "programming changes":
1) Pulled out a bunch of songs that were good, but not so "Premium" in my judgment,
2) Added some additional content of various Christian artists that I thought did meet the bar for excellence,
3) Added in some more good Christmas music and trimmed some of the not-so-good stuff that was there, and
4) I've added a "open in popup" under the tuner that you can click to open the tuner in a new window so you don't have to keep my blog open all day while it plays.
All music should now be at about the same audio levels. No more running for the volume controls between tracks. Sorry about that!
Enjoy and comments welcome!
Ok, sorry guys, but I've decided to shut 'er down. I keep coming across the copyright warnings on the music, and I think the right thing to do is to defer to properly licensed Internet Radio Stations to do this work.
I've enjoyed playing DJ, though, listening to probably thousands of songs to find the songs that have both exceptional content and exceptional message. I sincerely hope you guys enjoyed the music and perhaps I even helped you discover some new music you wouldn't have otherwise.
The full iTunes playlists of all the music are published in the latest blog post HERE.
FYI, a GREAT little Internet radio station that's got all the proper licensing and reporting setup required of the music industry, called "Solid Rock Radio" is online and is located here:
The owner and DJ, Lee has much the same taste and high standards I do, so please check it out.
Thanks and signig off! :)
Or...How I Spent My Saturday...
I had an unlocked (using iUnlock) Apple iPhone running 1.0.2, with a bunch of 3rd part apps, but I wanted the 1.1.1 update and I didn't want to lose anything, and I DID want the security fixes and new functionality Apple added in iPhone Update 1.1.1.
So..what to do?
I first spent an hour or so researching online, and then took the plunge.
Because I had SIM unlocked my iPhone using the free iUnlock utility, I needed to first "brick" my phone and "unbrick it", so let me just say, it's not a process for the meek. But here are the results: I'm SIM unlocked, on 1.1.1 and I have 95% of all my previously cool 3rd party apps running on 1.1.1. It did cost me $59 for the iPhoneSimFree utility to SIM unlock 1.1.1, but hey, cheaper than paying $4.99/minute international roaming charges, etc.
Some screenshots (aka "The Proof", as they say):
Key were the Guides at ModMyiPhone.com (the iPhone "Dev Team"'s main website. These guys are relentless and meticulous in their work, and I have to hand it to 'em, they have done a great job here.
My previous post on mod-ing the iPhone is here.
EDIT: The ONE thing I don't have back from my 1.0.2 iPhone install is the ability to create my own custom ringtones out of audio clips I already have (ie the Sesame Street "Yip Yip" aliens) but I understand there are folks working on that. iTunes 7.4.x does allow you to create/buy custom ringtones frm some music available via Apple's iTunes store, but you can't create custom ringtones via the old method that worked in 1.0.2. Currently, you can PLACE the files (.AAC, .M4A or .M4R files) in the right spot on the iPhone's OSX filesyetem, and they WILL show up in the list of available ringtones on the iPhone, but they won't actually play any sound, sadly.
But not a showstopper by any means, and again, there are folks working on that.\
EDIT #2: Ok, they've done it. There is a way to get free customized ringtones on the 1.1.1 iPohone. However, one small snag right now is that after each iTunes sync they disappear from the list of available ringtones, since iTunes (184.108.40.206 at least) re-writes the the Ringtones.plist evertime you sync (whether or not you have Ringtone sync-ing enabled). The workaround is: install the "Tapp" app that lets you run OS commands with one "tap", and after each sync run a command to copy your Ringtones.plist back. So sync, then two clicks. The Guide is here:
(I love my Sesame Street Yip Yip aliens! :)
Great video from their "Accoustica" album, for those who appreciate good accoustic guitar work. Enjoy.
Playing around with my iPhone on my vacation, it now seems that the early hacks have evolved into a pair of fairly mature iPhone utility and management applications. There's also a newly flourishing group of 3rd party native applications that seem truly useful.
iBrickr (for Windows) and Funtastic (for Mac) are simple, very easy-to-use desktop applications that manage iPhone ring tones, native application finding (and auto-installation and updating) and more. The group of 3rd party native iPhone apps available is growing and being updated daily (literally). If you're interesting in exploring this stuff, iBrickr and iFuntastic are good starting points.
You can manage native iPhone application installation/uninstallation, access the iPhone Mac OS X file system directly, download and install/update native apps over the network from the phone itself, change and install custom ring tones, etc.
Here's a screen shot of my iPhone main screen with some of these native apps installed:
I was really tickled to be able to get my favorite ring tone, the Sesame Street Aliens back. :)
You can also keep updated as new versions of everything become available, you can get the Nintendo NES iPhone emulator (thousands of NES games are available), customize any of the iPhone sounds, organize and change the icons shown in the iPhone main "SpringBoard" application, get access to SFTP, SSH (to terminal into the device) IRC, and more. Apache, SQL Lite, Perl and Ruby have also been ported natively so far.
Here's an interesting little 2-way video conferencing sample app/mirror setup put together by a couple of students: http://macdaddyworld.com/?p=38
And here's one list of the currently downloadable 3rd party native iPhone apps available: http://pxl.ibrickr.com (".pxl" files are just zip files with a specific Mac OS X app bundled format). This list is expanding rapidly as developers now are able to use some of the standard Apple Mac OS X developer tools to build iPhone apps, apparently.
For a headset, I use the Jawbone bluetooth headset I mentioned previously, and I was pleased to discover it works very well AND the headset volume can be controlled from the iPhone directly (my Windows Mobile 5 SmartPhone didn't do this).
In my car, I have a Nav-TV iPod connection for charging and sending audio to the car's audio system, and a ProClip vehicle-specific iPod mount, and I must say that it's great to have Google Maps and real-time traffic in front of me. It's also a very nice touch to have the music playing through the car audio, then have a call come in, and have the iPhone courteously fade out the music so I can take the call, then fade back in the music when the call is done. Nice attention to detail by Apple there. Of course, since it is a wide-screen video iPod, I can rotate the screen sideways in the mount and play movies and videos over the car's audio system so my young son stays entertained on longer trips as well.
For even longer trips or airplane rides, you can also rip full-length DVD movies to the iPhone at double-play speed using several available utilities. I use the CucuSoft iPhone Video Converter Suite, but I understand there are now some free ones out there as well. You can fit about 6 full-length DVD movies plus a decent "to-go" playlist music collection onto the 8GB with plenty of room to spare.
I've also re-discovered the world of professional "podcasts" available now via iTunes, which has come a long way since I last checked, and now, video podcasts. My current selection includes CNN's Anderson Cooper's 360 Daily (full Video podcast), NPR's "On Point" with Tom Ashbrook, NPR's "Fresh Air", NPR's "Hourly News Summary", PRI's "The World: Technology", the "ColdFusion Weekly" (of course!), the "Apple Phone Show", NPR's "Business Story of the Day" and others.
Finally, there's an iPhone screenshot utility by Erica Sadun available here that can be useful. In additional to the main screen shot above, here are a few additional screenshots I created using this utility:
I'd love to hear from others what their experiences have been with the iPhone, what apps they'd like to see written for it, and any cool pointers to any other native iPhone apps or other relavent works going on out there for this device.
Now...back to vacation!
Summer's coming and the only way I'm going to get to go places with my wife and 9 month old in my 997 C4 Cabriolet (vs my wife's full SUV) for day/weekend trips is if I could find a baby stroller that would fold into the boot/trunk of the C4 Cab. (The C4 and Turbo trunks are even smaller than the already tight regular C2 trunks, since the extra gearing for the all-wheel-drive takes extra space).
Luggage and the baby will fit in the back seats for weekend trips, no problem, so I just needed to find a stroller that could fold easily into the C4 front trunk compartment.
And I've found one that will do the trick and fold to fit: the Quinny Zapp. It's 65cm X 30cm X 27cm (27.1 in X 11.8in X 10.6in) folded.
I did a rough measure of my C4's available trunk/boot area, and since I've removed my CD Changer in favor of the Nav-TV OP-iP iPod PCM interface, my available space measures roughly 25in X 18in X 12in, which, on the face of it doesn't look like it'd work, BUT I created a little mockup, and it turns out the diagonal length of the C4/Turbo boot area (minus CD changer) is 27.75in, which IS long enough for this stroller.
So, solution found, but I think other young fathers out there might also love this thing. It's tiny when folded, strong, goes anywhere (or you can leave it at grandma's house under the stairs) and holds your little critters up to 44lbs. Also good for traveling on airplanes, hooking on the back of a bike, etc.
I bought mine here (they ship to US and Canada):
I just received my Jawbone Bluetooth micro-headset and it's awesome.
If you'd like to be able to be heard on your cell phone normally in a convertible with the top down, going 105 MPH, the stereo at 98dB, radar detector going off and a police car with lights flashing and sirens screaming coming up fast in the rearview....this is the headset for you.
$119 bucks and worth every penny.
Check out their demo online:
For anyone who wonders if SCCA Spec Miata Racing is really exciting or not, check this out:
(My own, slightly less destructive SCCA Spec Miata race in-car video from last spring is to the right in the Nav Bar).
Microsoft is unveiling Windows Mobile 6 in Barcelona next week, but let me just say for the record I'm pretty happy with my current Windows Mobile 5 + Flash Lite combo.
I'm an "open faced phone" kinda guy (no clam-shells please, although the Cingular 3125 is the same phone but the clamshell form factor for anyone who prefers that), and I need a phone that syncs with my Outlook client to keep track of meetings and keep me on time.
Full browser capability is also a must, and running Flash Lite is a requirement too.
An abundance of 3rd party apps is a must, as is a form factor that isn't the size of a shoe (fits very nicely in my hand or on my waist), and isn't the weight or width of a large brick are all good too.
Of course, quad-band GSM and the ability to unlock the phone to use 3rd-party GSM SIMS is also a must, since I don't like paying $200/min for roaming charges from various parts of the world when calling local (and I like being able to use my own phone with my own phonebook, Outlook client, etc when in other countries).
Anyway, I've been using the Cingular 2125 with Windows Mobile 5 for some time now and I'm pretty happy with it.
The Cingular 2125
Made by the company HTC, the Cingular 2125 is a really very good design and form factor, and Windows Mobile 5 runs very well on it. I added a 2GB min-SD storage card, which holds the 20-30 or so 3rd party apps I have installed on it + data and the essential music from my iPod's "workout" play list.
Overall, I'm pretty happy with it. Will I jump to iPhone? I'll look at it, but without Outlook sync, 3rd party app development or Flash, the excitement begins to fade. But, yeah, I'll take a look for sure.
Here's are a few screen shots of my phone, including one of the phone running a Flash Lite app (Omega Media's Wine Steward) in this case, my favorite app, where I learned about how good 2003 red Bordeaux's really are. :)
You can download Adobe Flash Lite 2.1 for Windows Mobile 5 from the Adobe website here: http://www.adobe.com/devnet/devices/index.html?tab:downloads=1.
Hopefully this is helpful to someone out there who may have similar requirements.
According to AutoWeek and others the Corvette supercar project has been given a green light and will be tagged the Corvette "Sting Ray", packing a 7.0-liter 600+ hp V8 and additional carbon-fiber. Price is reportedly still in the sub-$100K range.
Apparently GM CEO Rick Wagoner has signed off on the project and it could be available as soon as 2007.
Tom Wallace, the new Corvette Chief Engineer who replaced long-timer Dave Hill (whose final project was the creation of the amazing 2006 Z06) is apparently leading the project.
Several other sources around the web (including Edmunds) report that GM is seriously considering requiring buyers to take a mandatory high-performance driving course before handing over the keys.
Performance is obviously a big question mark, but I'd venture to guess we're talking 0-60 numbers in the low-to-mid 3's (3.2 - 3.5 second) range, deep into ultra-supercar territory.
...and the CF team keeps growing... :)
Michael Damon Cooper arrived 3:36AM EST Monday, May 29, 2006, weighing in at 8lbs, 12oz and measured 20.5 inches. Mom & Michael and doing great but are very tired and are getting some much-needed rest.
A few pics of the new CF team member HERE.
Next release...Mystic :)
From the April 23, 2006 SCCA Regional race at New Hampshire International Speedway (Sony HDV camera mounted on the passenger side):
(Original post here with race details)
The JRun team has been hard at work on the next major version of the JRun application server, code named "Cheetah", and you're welcome to participate.
Send an email to "firstname.lastname@example.org" (JRun's QA Manager) requesting participation in the Cheetah Beta program if you'd like to participate.
I'm told this Beta of JRun "Cheetah" is very stable and reliable, but there are rewards waiting for anyone who can prove otherwise! :)
In addition, I've also heard the JRun team intends to give away fully functional JRun licenses to the most active Beta participants, and they're hosting a JRun "Sample Apps Challenge"...Beta users who develop sample applications exploiting the new JRun Cheetah features will have a chance to not only be rewarded, but also have their apps featured as part of the JRun Cheetah release Samples Applications area of the release.
Sounds like a great deal to me!
I’ll be competing, as will my neighbor Darrin Hermeling at the New Hampshire International Speedway (NHIS) SCCA Regional event on April 23rd in the SSM (Showroom Spec Miata) class.
If you've ever been curious about driving race cars and competing, I’d strongly suggest starting with Skip Barber Racing School (http:/www.skipbarber.com). Their 3-day racing school is enough to get a letter of recommendation to the SCCA (http://www.scca.com) for an SCCA Regional Competition License application. I attended last fall at Daytona Speedway and I can tell you it's execllent, taught by professional drivers and these guys are passionate about racing. Their Alumni List is impressive and I think speaks for itself (the entire Andretti family, etc learned to drive race cars at Skip).
The schedule for the April 23rd event is in PDF format here. Qualifying runs start at 8:15am and go to noon, and racing starts shortly thereafter.
BTW, special thanks to Ben and Matt at P1 Motorsports for their help and patience in getting the "09" car ready. Much appreciated guys. Pics of the cars (including number "09" I'll be driving April 23rd) are HERE.
Should be fun and you're invited!
Did the 2-day SCCA racing school (Fri/Sat) + the SCCA Regional race on Sunday, what a blast! My goal was to "not finish last" and I finished 24th out of 26 positions (3rd up). I qualified at 18th position, but spunout on the pace lap and went to the back of the line for the green flag. I had new rain tires on and the road had pretty much dried up, making things very slippery with cold tires, but whoo! whoo! :) I'm very pleased with that as my first ever Showroom Spec Miata (SSM) class SCCA regional race, and first time at NHIS.
My neighbor Darrin Hermeling finished 13th, which is really awesome.
Lots of very good drivers, and I particularly learned a lot by following the lead drivers around the course, studying their braking, turn-in, apex and track-out points, as well as their speed and shifting at each spot. Some of these guys are pros, so it was a great experience. Can't wait till next time.
Next up: more racing and the Skip Barber 2-day Advanced Racing School.
Still somewhat surreal, but I'm really excited and scared at the same time. I've delivered major commercial server software releases on time within budget with many innovations and patents resulting, but I've never had a little life on the way to deliver. He's due in May, and my hope is I won't muck up being a father somehow. I guess I'm somewhat comforted that this whole thing has been going on pretty much uninterrupted for about 5 million years, so I'm hoping most of the bugs have been ironed out of the development, beta and delivery processes by now :)
Anyway, to those of you who have already become parents, congrats and I wish you all the best.
To my boy who may one day dig this post out of an archive somewhere: son, you were loved before you were born, and I apologize in advance for anything I might not get right.
Remember those "alien" Muppets ("Brrrrrg! Brrrrrg! Yip-Yip-Yip-Yip..."):
I found the clips below on the net somewhere one night after some searching, and made it my default ringtone on my phone (an Audiovox 5600 Windows Mobile Smartphone). The look on people faces when I get a call these days with the ringer on is pretty much priceless. :)
Capabilities/methods vary for your phone/device, but to make one of these your default ringtone on Windows Mobile/Smartphone:
1) Copy the .MP3 files to your "\Storage\Application Data\Sounds" directory on your Windows Mobile/Smartphone device, and
2) Select one of them as your ringtone option in Settings
I'm hoping to cut my water consumption in half with this controller and increase the health and look of my lawn and landscape vegetation.
If you have property and an irrigation system, and would like to minimize your use of water, check it out.
The basic premise is that if you have a sprinkler system on a timer, and your lawn is in decent shape, you're almost certainly wasting VAST amounts of water. The idea is that using what we know about how plants use water (evapotranspiration - ET), the known variables about each irrigation zone on your property (soil type, incline, vegetation type, irrigation system head types, etc), PLUS the fact that we usually know the current and forecasted weather conditions...why not use this data together to water "smart", providing just enough water to supplement natural precipitation, rather than blindly allowing a timer to water regardless of whether water is needed or not?
The AccuWater controllers run the TINI-OS and Java platform from Maxim/Dallas Semiconductor, and can connect to a full locally installed weather station with all its instruments (optional - I have this installed), PLUS it downloads weather forecast data from the internet. So it not only knows when and how much it rains, but it also knows when it's forecast to rain, and takes all this into account to optimize watering.
If you're interested, take a live, real-time look at the built-in website on my AccuWater controller running in my garage right now. You can see the weather and other stats real time at my house. You can also see which of my zones it watered recently in history, etc.
Each night, the AccuWater Data Center calculates the schedule for each zone (if required), and the controller downloads it and executes it, contingent on local conditions (ie if it starts to rain after downloading that night's schedule, the amount of watering is adjusted downward, or eliminated, depending on the amount of local rainfall).
You operate your entire system over the internet via AccuWater's web site, and there's even a J2ME-based cell phone applet that you can use to control the system, water zones, check status, etc, so you can walk around the yard and fire up zones, or control things remotely anywhere with your phone.
Pretty slick, and makes good environmental and fiscal sense.
I got mine installed by a local pro, Dwight Marchant, (a real irrigation guru) of Irri-Tek Inc. here in Massachusetts. Dwight's an awesome guy, they did a great job, and I highly recommend both the AccuWater Irrigation Control system and Irri-tek Inc.
Good to be back.
Now, off to MAX.
Congratulations to the Ansari $10 Million X Prize winner, Burt Rutan and his crew at Scaled Composites.
Nice job guys! They said it couldn't be done, but you kept at it.
Ansaris X Prize Site