Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-05-30

  • my work dodgeball team wants to make team uniforms for the league we're going to be playing in. what have i gotten myself into? #
  • need to come up with a good work-friendly team name for our dodgeball league. any suggestions? #
  • just heard from the dodgeball organizer that across both campuses, there are only two teams (including ours) that have signed up to play. =( #
  • kyden smirking. christi says he smirks like i do. i don't know what she's talking about. -photo by eric #
  • Either Kyden or I has been crying for the last two hours. Time to go out to find some sanity. #
  • Who would have thought that the Home Depot would have been my salvation? Took the car seat w/ me to not wake him #

youtube’s copyright infringement algorithms

so youtube is doing its due diligence by checking to see if your videos have audio that infringes on any WMG content and if they detect that your video is using their content, the audio will be muted. this really hampers casual use of audio content from various sources.

on the one hand, it’s great that there’s this technology that protects artist’s content, but it sort of sucks for me who wants to use that content for videos. even if i have bought the track on itunes, it seems that if i have bought i should be able to use it however i want, but i guess there’s this notion of rebroadcasting when publishing to youtube.

so either i try to host my videos elsewhere or i have to find content that has a generous creative commons license.

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-05-23

  • It almost looks like a cupcake. #
  • someone aliased "ls" to "ls -lrt" by default on the servers i work on. who messes with the default behavior of basic system commands?? #
  • *sigh* romantically challenged got cancelled. was meh about the show, but loved seeing alyssa milano on tv again. #
  • just signed up for a dodgeball league at work. finals is the best team from each campus competing for the glory of dodgeball champion. #
  • OMG- left my ATM card in the machine. went back to the bank to get it and the ATM kept it safe for me. bank staff opened it up to get it. #
  • ugh, i think i got christi and kyden sick. 🙁 #


no, not my recent entry into the foray, but rather the NBC tv show is what i’m talking about. the show is SO GOOD. and sure, the show does have its share of some attractive people, but what is really surprising is that the show does not lean on its attractive cast to carry the show.

the acting is good. what’s more important is that the writing is good. and it is this marriage of good writing and good acting that makes this show so good. the storyline of each of the families is compelling and i love that i really feel for each of the characters. there are no one-dimensional characters that are predictable. i’m constantly surprised by these characters and how they cope with the situations that they are thrust into.

the drama in the show feels believable. maybe there’s a lot more dysfunction in this family than usual. maybe there’s more drama in an episode than most people have in their lifetimes. and maybe, just maybe it feels a little too convenient at how quickly things move along, but there’s something about this show that is just so interesting. the show explores the trials of parenthood. sure, there are moments of comedy, but family life isn’t all fun and games. there’s plenty of that, too, but being a family is about living through the times of good and surviving through the times of bad. it’s seeing this voyage play out on this show that draws me to it.

who knows, maybe it’s just because i got the rest of the family sick and we’re muddling through our own little rough patch, but i do like the show and am glad that it got picked up for next season.

mi pueblo food center

i just discovered mi pueblo food center. it’s a mexican supermarket chain near my house. their storefront is far, far nicer than the safeway that is close by our house. i haven’t had the chance to do price comparisons yet (i went to visit the bakery and food court), but i am so impressed with the store.

the next grocery run that i have to do, i will probably go to mi pueblo and see how the prices compare. what surprises me about the store is that it is super clean, very well laid out, and huge. lots of open space, lots of very good looking and well presented produce, it made me want to buy vegetables because they all looked so good. that, coming from someone who doesn’t particularly care for vegetables, says a lot.

but it was because of the bakery that i came. i was told that the bakery here was good and indeed, it is very good and cheap. i just ate an empanada and i am positive that i will be back for more.

i also had lunch at the food court. the burrito i had was fantastic and i’m definitely going to go again. i hear other locations aren’t as spotlessly clean as this one, but the location on capitol ave is quickly becoming my favorite place to go for lunch near home.

and so it goes…

so it looks like i’ve managed to get the rest of the family sick. *sigh* i was even in quarantine after the doctor’s visit yesterday, but apparently the damage has already been done. christi reports that she has a sore throat and that kyden has a runny nose. all symptoms that i had earlier this week. ugh. hopefully they won’t have it as bad as i have and it’ll all blow over soon.

sick and scary

i went to the doctor’s office today because i haven’t been feeling well all week. i developed a cough two days ago and yesterday i decided it was time to see a doctor. after drugging myself up with some nighttime comtrex, i fell asleep around 9 and didn’t wake up until 7 the next morning.

so after the doctor visit, i went to get some food for lunch. the restaurant wasn’t open yet, so i deposited a check that i had been holding on to for a while. in my haste, i neglected to retrieve my ATM card from the machine and i went to get lunch.

after shopping around a little bit, i was about to pay for lunch when i realized that i did not have my ATM card with me anymore. in a panic, i rushed back to the ATM and went into the bank to ask if anyone returned my card. questions raced through my head like:

“will someone be good-natured enough to return a card if they saw one in an ATM?”

“and even if they did return it, would someone copy the numbers off of it and place a charge later?”

“do i need to cancel the card?”

it turned out that after some period of inactivity, the ATM will automatically take the ATM card and store it for safekeeping. the bank staff opened up the ATM and my card was there waiting for me.

that’s more stress than i need while sick…heck, that’s more stress than i need even when i’m healthy!

how has fatherhood been?

people ask me this all the time. it’s been 7.5 months since kyden has been born and the transition from being a carefree married man to a father has been quite the journey so far.

i have always had an idea of what fatherhood would be like, but you just never know until you live it.

things i did not expect:
the first few weeks were the hardest. the lack of sleep, the newness of it all was something that was just a little bit overwhelming. was kyden eating enough? why is he not burping? is his poo supposed to look like that? (sorry, that might have been TMI :P)

things i did expect:
it would be great. i had this fuzzy notion that it was going to be tough, but i have always thought that fatherhood would be great, rewarding, fun, and exciting. my energy level sometimes may not necessarily reflect how much i enjoy watching kyden grow up, but it really has been a joy.

sure, waking up at 7AM (compared to 10AM) is tough. chasing after kyden now that he has learned how to crawl can be exhausting. but still, it’s been a blast.

so, fatherhood? it’s fantastic. exhausting. rewarding.

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-05-16

  • Christi just left for Texas for two days. How are Kyden and I going to manage? Oh yeah, Koda too. #
  • Crap. Christi went away on a business trip and she took the car seat with her! #
  • haven't had a diet coke all day. what is going on? time to make things right in the world. #
  • just got manager approval for a laptop lock so i can leave it at work when i want to bike to work in honor of #BikeToWork day. #
  • need to sync google calendar to your iphone without Exchange ActiveSync? #
  • the more i get to know python, the more i dislike it. it must be that i just don't get it. #
  • I think Christi is intentionally taking the car seat with her to strand us at home. Kyden has cabin fever! #
  • Kyden really wanted donuts so we broke out of car seatless jail. Car seats? Who needs car seats? #
  • Uh oh. I'm the cat that climbed the donut tree, but can't get down by himself. How are we going to get home? #WishIHadACar #

media center #2

the original modded xbox is starting to show signs of its age. one of the greatest things about the original xbox was that it was a hackable device that you could do all sorts of great things with. it was my very first media center and it was great. i’m happy to say that it still works great. where it is starting to show its age, though, is that it is starting to have problems decoding video. i’m not sure if today’s codecs are more CPU-intensive or if videos are being encoded at higher bit rates, but there’s stuttering of video with the xbox. i’m pretty sure it’s not network-related.

so it was time to replace the xbox for the upstairs tv. i don’t watch tv often upstairs, but it’s nice when i want it. i had a spare laptop and though it is overkill for this purpose, it is a spare, so i decided to repurpose it and make it an HTPC.

there are several options when it comes to HTPC software. on windows, the popular choice is just using windows media center. i tried windows media center in the past and it’s not bad, but the interface still didn’t feel right to me.

boxee1 has a very interesting product (free!) as well. the software has come a long way since the alpha release, but my biggest pet peeve with it is that you have to click a video twice to view it. once to select it, once to tell it to play. that’s annoying enough for me to not use it.

and the classic, XBMC for windows. it works great, the confluence skin is beautiful, and it’s familiar. it’s what i’m currently using. the biggest downfall to XBMC is the lack of tv tuner support, but my tv is connected to cable, so if i want to watch tv, i just watch it straight from the cable.

the upstairs tv is a super old, rock solid sony trinitron CRT tv. these things are ultra heavy, sturdy, and just won’t break. it’s old and doesn’t have HDMI or VGA inputs. so converting the VGA out from the laptop into something usable by the TV was a big challenge.

it turns out that there’s this great little product that does just that. it is a device that will convert VGA to S-Video/Composite. it’s $20 and i can attest that it works as advertised. it supports up to 1024×7682. it accepts a VGA input and will output to S-Video, Composite, and has a pass-through VGA out as well. you can also move the image on your TV and adjust the horizontal and vertical size to best fit your display. pretty handy and works great for a cheap little device.

the next piece of the puzzle was the remote. i wanted a remote that would work in windows media center, but also XBMC. i wanted something that would work in windows vista or windows 7, and i wanted something that would not be hard to install. Wake from USB functionality was critical, i wanted to be able to turn the HTPC on and off via the remote. after reading positive reviews about this remote, i decided to get it and it is very easy to use, indeed. i just had to plug it in and it was immediately picked up by the laptop and worked out of the box. now, the usability of the remote is a different issue. it’s a little awkward in the hand and does not light up, but i think that i will most likely be using a universal remote anyhow. we’ll see.

all in all it was about $50 to get a fully working media center by reusing an old laptop. the laptop had to be configured to not power down when the lid was closed and to wake on USB. now it just sits closed and seems to work great.

in case i ever need to get into the laptop, i also installed tightvnc for remote desktop access and i have also installed a remote keyboard/mouse iphone app so that i can control the HTPC via the iphone in a pinch. this *should* mean that i should never need to open the clamshell to the laptop ever again. actually, i think if we have a power outage i may have to open it.

after talking to people about their various media server solutions, i still don’t know if i like anything better than the PS3. XBMC, boxee, and even windows media center come close, but it just doesn’t quite hit the mark yet. there’s no perfect solution. it almost seems like there’s a good market for someone to figure it out and do it right.

with all of the set top boxes that are coming out, support for DLNA streaming directly from your TV, and the like it seems like media streaming is starting to get mainstream. all we need is an easy way to access content (i’m still not convinced that DLNA is the way, but it’s close)3, a great UI to navigate our content, and easy setup.

for now, though, i’m pretty happy with what i’ve got. now i just need to figure out what to do about the home office’s tv…i don’t have another spare laptop and i’ve been thinking about the dell zino hd, but i’m not completely sure which configuration i need. if i could get away with the $199 model, i’d do it in a heartbeat.

  1. i hear that boxee has a set top device as well. that might be a cost-effective solution when it comes out. i think it’s going to retail for around $200 []
  2. just because something supports a resolution doesn’t mean that it will look good on your TV. on my CRT, 1024×768 is pretty fuzzy, the captions for icons are hard to read []
  3. ps3mediaserver is by far the best DLNA server available. if you need a DLNA server, check it out. []