Posted in General, Mac | No Comments »
Life has been so busy with work and family that I hardly ever have time for recreational computer time. My RSS reader shows 264 unread messages, and it’s only that low because I occasionally go in and invoke “mark all as read” for the less-interesting feeds.
Right now is an exception to that rule. The planets are aligned and Hong, Maggie, and Oliver are all asleep. It has been a long while since I’ve been able to sit in front of my Powerbook without the pressure that I could be called away at any minute to tend to a crying baby or pay attention to a hyperactive toddler. Eric Dolphy is playing on my headphones, and I got a full nine hours of sleep last night. A steaming cup of coffee is the only things that’s stopping this moment from being a perfect dream.
I realize that I miss using my Mac. I use Windows at work, and without trying to get into any holy wars here, my Windows machine just doesn’t have the elegance, the consistency, or the fun that my three-year old Powerbook has. I don’t suppose there are any programming jobs out there that would let me work on my Mac? (short answer: yes there are, they just don’t exist in Indiana.)
Now, it’s time to see if I can make that cup of coffee a reality without waking up the baby…
Posted in Maggie | No Comments »
In years past, Christmas hasn’t been a large holiday for us. It’s partially because of me, who has grown tired of the crass commercialism of the holiday and the perfunctory gift giving associated with it. Don’t get me wrong; I love giving gifts, but only when I see something that I think the givee would really enjoy, not because I’m obligated to buy something for that person. (If you really want to be a Scrooge, read Is Santa a deadweight loss?, which explains that gift-giving is bad for the economy at large.)
This year, that’s all changed now that Maggie is two years old. Hong and I are very excited for Christmas morning, not for what we’re going to get but to see Maggie’s reaction. Meanwhile, Maggie is aware of the upcoming holiday, but I don’t think she fully knows what’s going to happen yet. We’re trying to hype it up, but our efforts are only paying off moderately so far. I fully expect she’ll be a lot more excited next year.
We’ve managed to play the “be nice or Santa won’t come” card with her a few times. Well, only once, really. She’s such a sweet little girl that threats aren’t necessary most of the time. We’ll also try to play the “go to bed early on Christmas Eve or Santa won’t come” card. We’ll be tracking Santa’s progress through Google Earth that evening.
Shortly after Maggie was born, my friend Alexis wrote to me to “be prepared for Fun!”. I think my fun is about to become a lot more fun.
Posted in General | 1 Comment »
We recently received in the mail a notice showing us the most recent assessment value of our house, which was made on March 1, 2006. The previous assessment was made when we bought the house in October, 2001, roughly four-and-a-half years prior. Want to guess how much our home’s value has appreciated in that timeframe?
Almost 14%. Over four-and-a-half years, that works out to slightly less than 3% compounded year-over-year. Historically, that’s an average return, but nowhere near the 20% annual increases that have been recently reported in other parts of the country. There’s no real-estate bubble to be found here.
Practically, what this means for us is:
- If we wanted to sell our house and buy another house in the area, we can feel confident that we won’t be overpaying for the new house.
- It would be extremely foolish to sell our house here and buy a house in another part of the country, or at least not in any places where real estate has skyrocketed (like Seattle).
Looks like we’re stuck in Indiana whether we like it or not.
Posted in General | 2 Comments »
Several months ago, I read an article on Wal*Mart’s initiative to push fluorescent lights to its customers. Their goal is to sell 100 million compact fluorescent (CF) bulbs within 1 year.
I don’t shop at Wal*Mart very often, but the article got me thinking about CFs again. I had used them about 10 years ago, when they cost up to $20 a pop, although they promised to last as long as 10 regular bulbs and save you $40 in energy costs over its lifetime. They also had the annoying habit of flickering for a few seconds before they would turn on. My bedroom had two light sockets connected to the wall switch, and I had a CF in one of them and a regular incandescent in the other just so I could see my room as soon as I flipped the switch.
My experiment with CFs ended when I tried to change out a regular lightbulb for a fluorescent one and dropped my $20 bulb on the sidewalk in the process. At least when you break a standard bulb, the accident only costs you 50 cents.
I finally bought an 8-pack of CFs at Costco today, for about $12 or about $1.50 each, and installed them throughout the house. Boy have times changed. These bulbs don’t flicker and come on instantly. I can’t gauge any difference between these bulbs and their incandescent brethren, except for the swirly look to them. And at 1/4th the energy use, they’ll probably pay for themselves within the first year. Amazing.
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On Friday, the cable company upgraded the speed of my Internet connection to 6/Mbps download and 1/Mbps upload. Yay!
Unfortunately, today the cable company effectively “downgraded” my service because it keeps going out every 5-10 minutes. They won’t have a guy out to look at it until tomorrow. Bummer…