Monday, January 31, 2005

TivoToGo Finally!

Four weeks ago, I was very excited about the announcement of TivoToGo. That night, I got everything set-up, signed up on the priority list, and sat back to wait. I got finally got the new Tivo enhancements pushed to me on Friday night, January 28.

So far, everything works as advertised. I was able to trans­fer a program from Tivo to my PC. I could watch the program on my PC.­ I downloaded a trial version of some sonic dvd creator software designed to work with the TivoToGo transfers. Using thi­s software, I burned a DVD with the program on it. My DVD player in the entertainment center was able to play back the DVD. We have­ a TV in the bedroom with a built in DVD player; this unit was also a­ble to play the DVD. Overall, the quality seemed good, but I would need to watch more including different types of material to be sure.

The only downside is the transfer time from the Tivo to the ­PC. A 30 minute program took about 30 minutes. My Tivo is attached w­irelessly; although it is a G USB adaptor and the access point is A/G/B­, Tivo only supports B.

Given the everything else seem to work so far, I don't view t­his as a major issue; I will just start large transfer at night.

I also successfully set-up my laptop. I transferred a program from Tivo to the laptop and could then play the program on the laptop. This will be good for traveling. I can load up a couple of programs that I can then watch on a plane or in a hotel room.

TiVo Home Media Engine SDK

TiVo Home Media Engine SDK

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Cub Scout Go See It 3G

One of the requirements for the Tiger Cub Badge is learning the rules of a game and then going to watch a amateur or professional sporting event. One of the parents from the den coaches a youth hockey team. Jack's den went to Skateland in Roseville and watched the team play.

King's Record

The Kings' 29-13 record is one victory behind last season's 30-12 through 42 games.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Basketball Game 3

Jack played in his third little dribbler basketball game. The game was played at their home court at St. Joseph.

I am still suffering from the flu...

Friday, January 28, 2005

Splinter Cell

Avoid this book: Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell. While the plot and action have some interesting spots, the writing is subpar and simplistic. The writing style switched between first person and third person when it moved between characters; I felt that the first person style used in the book was particularly ineffective.

Intellectually, I continue to buy and read most of the Tom Clancy branded novels. In some ways, it is like watching a train wreck. The quality of the books has decreased over time. It think that this is true even of the ones that he has written.

Rather than Splinter Cell, I would recommend The Bourne Identity. I read the book years ago, but watched the movie while I have been sick over the last few days.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Tactical Error

After feeling pretty good on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday (I ran on the treadmill Tuesday and Wednesday evenings), I made a huge tactical error. Starting Thursday morning at 12:30 a.m., we were performing a major upgrade of the network in the data center. This is was a high risk change. If the upgrade had problems, it could quickly turn into a catastrophe of biblical proportions. I had committed to the teams weeks ago to be on-site to run incident command.

The upgrade went exceptionally well, but the staying up all night was not the right thing for my body. The flu symptoms started to take hold of my body again.

After we completed the change, I went home and slept for a few hours and then went into work in the late morning for meeting. By the end of meeting, it was all I could do to crawl home and go back to bed.

While Sharon went to the floral school night session, I dragged myself out of bed and took Jack to the Cub Scout Pack meeting.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Global Catastrophe!?!

At the end of December, I finished reading Crichton's State of Fear. The book argues in part that we do not know enough to make sweeping statements about where the global environment is going.

I ran across an article today that claims we are on a countdown to a global catastrophe. In as little as 10 years, or even less, their report indicates, the point of no return with global warming may be reached. After having read Crichton's book, I have to admit that I am skeptical of the science behind these claims.


From the Inforworld's Notes from the Field By Robert X. Cringely

Patent Medicines: Readers continue to share tales of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s generosity to fledgling inventors. Dubious patent holders include a unique method for using a child’s swing (side to side, instead of to and fro), an animal toy (otherwise known as a stick), and a toy missile powered by human gases (don’t ask). Also on the list: An automated device for kicking the user’s buttocks.


Sunday, January 23, 2005

Another Perfect Storm [Celebrating Sharon's Birthday!]

After three plus days of being flat on my back with the flu, we swept into Sunday as one of those days that feels like a perfect storm. It was Sharon's Birthday, Jack's Cub Scout Pack's Pinewood Derby and Drew was appearing in a theater production. I spent the morning racing around both working with Jack on putting the final touches on his pinewood derby car and pulling off the first parts of Sharon's birthday.

Sharon took off to see the The Vagina Monologues with Liz at the Wm. J. Geery Theater. This is a small theater in downtown Sacramento in the basement of a Victorian.

About the same time, Jack and I took off for the Pinewood Derby. Not knowing quite what to expect, I got there a little before regristration was set to start; it turned out to a long afternoon. They had a track where the timings were measured by lasers and the results collected and organized in a computer. Unfortunately, they had trouble getting the system up and running and problems keeping it running once they started.

The races started about 45 minutes behind schedule. Jack's car ran four heats (once in each lane) and finished second twice and third twice. It was quickly apparent that I had made at least one key tactical error with Jack's car that caused it problems.

We had to wait until the end to see the results. Jack did not finish in the top three in his den and was bitterly disappointed. I did not feel so bad; clearly some of the parents had done this a number of times.

Afterwards, Jack and I raced home, changed clothes and headed downtown to meet Sharon and Liz for dinner. The four of us had dinner at The Melting Pot. This was a unique dining experience that we all enjoyed.

As Jack was crashing and burning, we ended the day back at home for birthday cake.

Pinewood Derby 1

Pinewood Derby 2

Pinewood Derby 3

2005 Pinewood Derby Car


Saturday, January 22, 2005

Back from the Dead

After three days of being flat on my back with flu sypmtoms, I finally was able to start to get my feet back under me.

Jack and I spent the afternoon working on his pinewood derby car, while Sharon shopped for her parents and took them food.

Sharon surprised Jack and I with a new pet when she came home! Sharon and I have talked off and on about getting an aquarium; a salt water aquarium has always been on my long list of presents. Sharon brought a home a small 12 gallon fresh water aquarium and a large goldfish.

Friday, January 21, 2005


Getting up and ready for work and helping to get Jack off to school, I felt like I might make it through the day. By the time I dropped Jack off, I was back where I started with my flu symptoms. I went home and spent the rest of the day in bed.

Thursday, January 20, 2005


Sharon had floral class in the afternoon and then a Kings game in the evening. After spending all day down with the flu in bed, I went and picked Jack up from school. Sharon ended up giving her ticket to her nephew Kevin. I finished the day thinking that I was on the mend.

Mobley, Christie in new duds Mobley, Christie in new duds

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Down and Out

This morning about 9:45 a.m., I had the experience of feeling like someone dropped a couple hundred pounds of bricks on me and then kicked me in the stomach a couple of times; bad flu symptoms. I crawled home and slept all day.

JibJab's Second Term

JibJab's "Second Term"

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

L' Image

Sharon is having a great time with floral school! She particularly enjoyed working with tropical materials today.

Sharon and Holly Chang had dinner at L'Image, Ana Divac's restaurant at Pavilions.

Fourth Floral Arrangement

Monday, January 17, 2005

Even more Surround Sound

After a trip out for some more cables, I finished up connecting the A/V receiver to the all of the components: DVD player, multi-disk CD Player, TIVO, DIRECTV HD Satellite receiver, VCR and a casette tape deck. I also got the subwoofer hooked up and running. Without dedicating most of a three day weekend to this project, I am not sure that I would have ever gotten it done.

To test the A/V receiver and the speakers, I used the Omaha Beach and Rallying scenes of the Saving Private Ryan DVD. The surround sound works great!

Jack and I started working on his Pinewood Derby car. The Cub Scout Pack is holding their Pinewood Derby race on Sunday afternoon.

TiVo faces threat

TiVo faces threat as options multiply

Sunday, January 16, 2005

More Surround Sound Install

I spent almost the whole day working on my project to install speakers and an A/V receiver in the bonus room. I finished up installing the last two speakers and cleaning up the wiring in the attic. Installing both of the back speakers required squeezing on my belly into some narrow spaces in the attic.

I then worked on wiring the speakers into the receiver and cross connecting the Tivo, DIRECTV HD Satellite Receiver, DVD Player and TV with the Receiver. By dinner time, those components were working. I still need to connect the subwoofer, VCR and CD player and get the room cleaned up and back together!

Changes in Attitude

After just over a year in Tanzania, the Rob and Barb Nooter and their kids are moving back to the states. Barb has posted a letter titled Changes in Attitude that looks back over the last year, including things that they won't miss and things they wish they could take with them.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Celebrating My Birthday

Saturday night, we celebrated my birthday.

I spent most of the day installing some surround sound speaker in the bonus room. Several months ago, I bought the speakers and the A/V receiver and just have not had a chance to get everything set-up. When we built the house, I had speaker wire put in the walls and ceiling. I worked in the attic organizing the wiring and mounted three of the five speakers on the ceiling.

Basketball Game 2

Jack played in his second little dribbler basketball game. The game was played at their home court at St. Joseph. I helped referee the game.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Tiger Cub Den Meeting

Jack and I went to the Tiger Cub Den Meeting. The kids practiced the Pledge of Allegiance and pack flag ceremony [Requirement 2D]. They also played "Tell It Like It Isn't." [Requirement 4D] A scout whispers one sentence to a second scout. Each one takes his turn whispering the sentence to the next boy. The last boy repeats the sentence out loud.

Like a year ago, Sharon and I are keeping Erin and Eileen for the next two nights while Tim and Kathy head up to Reno for the weekend. The five of us had dinner in La Fuente in Elk Grove. This is the restaurant where Jack coined the infamous "Roar, the People" phrase.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

IT Planning Retreat Day 2

I spent a second day at The Lodge at Sonoma in an IT Strategic Planning Retreat. We started Wednesday morning with seven people, grew to about 20 for late Wednesday afternoon and dinner and then jumped to more than 60 people in the late morning on Thursday.

Third Floral Arrangement


Wednesday, January 12, 2005

IT Planning Retreat Day 1

I spent the day at The Lodge at Sonoma in an IT Strategic Planning Retreat. We ended the day with dinner at Restaurant Carneros. The web site for the restuarant suggests that it was voted one of the top 50 restaurants in the bay area by San Francisco Magazine. I agree with this review in the San Francisco Chronicle; although the seafood soup was good, the entrees were nothing to write home about...

Monday, January 10, 2005

Winter Storm at Sea

Sharon spent part of the afternoon serving as the Art Docent for Jack's first grade class. The lesson discussed how artists use cool colors and perspective in their artwork to depict storms at sea.

The class learned about four artists and their paintings: Gustave Courbet and Cliffs of Etretat After Storm; Winslow Homer and The Fog Warning [first picture shown below]; Marsden Hartley and Fox Island, and; Eugene Delocroix and Frightened Horse [second picture shown below].

For their art project, the kids used watercolors, cotton, and sponge pieces, to create a storm at sea.

Bad Girls

Sharon went to met Janie and Jeana for dinner at Mace's (although Jeana bagged), while Jack and I watch the Lakers roar back from 16 down to beat the Timberwolves and then the Jazz beat the Spurs for the first time in five years on NBA League Pass on DIRECTV. I am predicting that the Suns will win the Western Conference.

Christie-for-Mobley deal - Kings, Magic complete Christie-for-Mobley deal: "The Sacramento Kings traded Doug Christie to the Orlando Magic for Cuttino Mobley on Monday in a swap of starting shooting guards."

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Taking Down Decorations

Sharon, Jack and I went to Mass at Good Shepherd and Sharon served as eucharistic minister.

Before and after Mass, I worked on taking down the rest of the Christmas lights outside. I packed up everything and put stuff back into storage until November. In past years, I have had some sadness when we started to take down the Christmas decorations. Sharon has done a great job decorating the house for Christmas; I enjoyed the decorations and hated to see them come down.

This year, those feelings were less intense. This is probably due to two reasons. First, we have so many balls in the air that we are very busy. Second, we have added to the furnishing and detailing of the house so much over the last two years that it does not seem so bare when we take the Christmas decorations down.

Running on the treadmill, I watched the Phoenix Suns sprint out to a 40 point lead on the Indiana Pacers, eventually winning 124 to 89. Phoenix is definitely the best in the west at this point; in my opinion, they are a better team than the Spurs.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Friday, January 07, 2005

Wednesday, January 05, 2005


born. eat. shag. die.There's nothing like summing up the last year of your life to make you re-examine your priorities, or refocus on what has affected you.

The mayfly project is a web site that asked people to sum up the last year of their lives in twenty words or less. Click on the button to the right!

My 2003 summary can be found here!

My summary for 2004 will be up in the next couple of days.

Second Floral Arrangement

Major Storms Converging

The Seattle Times: Three storms threaten to strike U.S. at once

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Monday, January 03, 2005

TiVoToGo transfers

I was very excited when I saw that Tivo had released TiVoToGo transfers. This enhancement allows you to transfer programs from your networked TiVo DVR (digital video recorder) to your desktop or laptop PC so you can watch programs on that PC. Tivo has also partnered with Sonic Solutions to offer DVD burning of these transferred shows.

I started through the instructions. First, I had to download and install a new Tivo Desktop client. After this, I had to find the right codecs to support play back on the PC and download and install these. I also had to download and install Windows Media Player 10.x. After doing all of this, I still could not get the desktop software to see programs on the Tivo. Although music and pictures files were transferred from the PC to the Tivo DVR, I could not transfer programs back to the PC.

Continuing to read the on-line documentation, I realized that the software on the Tivo DVR had to be upgraded. There is a web page where you can submit a priority request to have the system software upgraded. The web site says that due to the large number of customers who are eligible for this software release, it will take several weeks for you to receive the software after you put in your request!

urrgghhh. So after spending a bunch of time getting everything configured, I have to sit and wait for some undetermined time until the system software is upgraded. This seems like really poor planning on the part of Tivo. I am sure they announced today because the 2005 Consumer Electronics Show starts on Thursday.

Gotta Get My Stuff Done

Gotta Get My Stuff Done

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Kings versus Spurs Game

Jack and I went to the Sacramento Kings versus the San Antonio Spurs game. The Kings won by a score of 86 to 81. This is the best game I have seen in a long time that was not a play-off game. Kevin Martin had a remarkable behind-the-back bounce pass between Brent Barry's legs to Darius Songaila for a layup that was unbelievable; they showed the highlight on the big screen about a dozen times.

While we were at the game, Liz came over and Sharon fixed her cornflake chicken.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Peter Pan

Sharon, Drew, Morgan, Jack and I went to see the matinee showing of Peter Pan at the Community Center Theater. Although I guess that we should not have been, Sharon and I were both pleasantly surprised to find the role of Peter Pan played by Cathy Rigsby.

Afterwards, the five of us went to P.F. Chang's China Bistro for dinner.

Sharon, Jack and I ended the evening by stopping at Kim and Brun's for a visit.