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Month: May 2006

AJAX – It's For More Than Cleaning

I have to admit that I've been getting really curious about all the AJAX technology going on around the web (there's just some dang cool stuff you can do with it), and I think I'm going to give it a shot soon. I've already been wanting to try and redo the photos page because it's a lot slower than I had originally planned, so that will probably be my first experiment. I guess we'll just see where it goes from there!

The Dog In The Oven

Shortly before we were heading to bed last night, Jake hopped off of our couch and started walking tenatively into the kitchen where the light was turned off. He was walking towards our oven, which has the standard black glass front to it. As he got closer, he started to growl (and much deeper than I thought a little dog could) at the shadowy reflection he saw. Marci and I were nearly rolling on the floor laughing as he repeatedly approached the oven, growled, and then trotted back towards us. This went on for about 20 minutes, with the growls getting longer each time. I even managed to capture one of the trips on our video camera, but the sound picked up more of the TV sounds than Jake’s rumble.

Finally, he got to a boiling point and started barking at the oven and got all riled up. In front of a mirror, he has no problems, but the dark and menacing image in the oven seems to bother him. He must have been pretty spooked to because when we went to put him to bed he spent a while whimpering in his cage before I got back up to try and settle him down. I even had to move his cage back into our room to keep him quiet.

But the oven monster was quite a hit! Well, at least with Marci and I.

Doggie Update

One weekend in and we seem to already have grown close to Jake's heart. He's been behaving very well and even picked up on a few commands. Heck, he even seems to be housetrained as we've had no accidents at all. Today's his first long day by himself with both Marci and I working, so we'll see how he does in his cage.

Saturday, we took him over to some friend's house where they were having a yard sale. There were a couple of young girls there who he had to qualms with, and even their dog didn't phase him (well, except when the other dog, which was much bigger, started playing a little rough, and then he growled a little bit). Even with all the commotion of people coming and going, he didn't seem to care much. That night we went bowling with a group from church, and he made it through for a while in his first cage test with no problems.

Yesterday, my sister came by and got to meet Jake, and he had no fear of her at all. He was all excited to see someone new, and not too much later he fell asleep in her lap. He seems like a very trusting fellow now that he's beginning to realize that he's in his new "forever home", as many of the shelters like to call it. And we're very happy with him.

Welcome Home Jake!

A big welcome home to our new dog Jake! He’s a 1-and-a-half-year-old Jack Russell Terrier we brought home from the Western PA Humane Society this evening. He’s pretty mellow so far, like he was when we visited him yesterday, but today it might be because he was put under to be neutered today only to find that he’d already had that done! At least he doesn’t seem to be a barker.

And this was all possible because our landlord, who had told me around Christmas that she was phasing pets out of the building so we couldn’t get a dog, changed her mind and let in a new renter with a cat, so she said we could get a dog. Just a few days later, we found Jake!

So now we’ve got a dog! Yay!

Fun Links

Just a few interesting links today:

  • The RAV4EV, and electric car made in 2003 that got the equivalent of 166 MPG, had decent range, could travel at least 75 MPH, and didn't make people think you were gay.
  • There's a new Web2.0 application coming along called eBible. It's in beta testing right now, but it looks like it could become an interesting application.
  • Why 'Bunker Buster' weapons are typically ineffective.
  • An interesting story about a first year teacher in Boca Raton, Florida who posed for pictures for the "USA National Bikini Team" which were recently found. So far, the school district has decided not to punish her, but the local parents are pushing hard that "something be done". It's interesting because she doesn't appear to have done anything wrong, but many parents are not agreeing with their ethics (I can't say I agree either, but it's nothing that changes how she does her job). The funny thing is that the parents would probably have no objections if she was boozing it up and sleeping around, as long as it didn't get posted online. I guess it's the wrong message to send that a woman can have both looks and brains by having her teach.

Busy Few Days

Boy, it seems like it's been a busy few days. Let's recap, shall we?

  • Work – Work has been crazy the last week as I've been learning our old system in order to add a new client. It's the same reason I spent Saturday working, and it's just drained me a bit. Haven't been too motivated to hit up the computer and accomplish much more than checking my e-mail.
  • 24 – Still easily my favorite show on TV today, and this season is heading for an all-out finish over the next 3 hours. The president's up to no good, but the only evidence they had to implicate him was seemingly just destroyed. Miles Papazian would have secured his place in hell if he wasn't just a TV show character.
  • The Amazing Race – Another great show, and about the only CBS ("America's #1 Network", somehow) show I watch. Was very relieved to see JoMo (my pet name for the MoJo couple that seems to have everything backwards) relieved of the stress of the race. I'm not sure how Joseph can stand the constant whining sounds coming from Monica, but he doesn't seem too bright himself. Well, that was the end of teams I really disliked (after Lake got tossed a few weeks ago and the whiney homosexuals got bounced in the first leg of the race). BJ and Tyler rebounded again and hopped into first, which Marci and I were both relieved to see. It should be an interesting race to the finish as it looks like they'll hit up both Japan and the frozen tundra of North America.
  • PS3 and Wii – A lot of gaming announcements going on this week with E3 going on, but it's really interesting. The more I hear from both Sony and Nintendo, the more I'm convinced that Microsoft made a huge mistake by rushing out the Xbox 360 last fall. That console has turned out to be little more than Xbox+, just an Xbox with better graphics. Meanwhile, Sony is building a killer system that will wow most hard-core gamers (even though it comes at a hefty price of $600, the technology it's using is worth much more than that) and Nintendo is breaking the mold with the Wii and it's potential revolutionary controller as they target current non-gamers and try to get them involved in the fun. This will be a very interesting development in the video game world, as Microsoft stares down the same road that Sega took years ago.

At least that's the interesting stuff I can think of right now. I'll check y'all later!

The Real Mission Impossible

Your mission, should you choose to accept it:

  • Make a movie that is actually worth the $9 I’d have to pay and go see.
  • When you make a movie that isn’t worth that, then don’t complain that people like me didn’t go see it.

This industry will self-destruct in 10 years.

This has always been one of my pet peeves with the movie and music industries. They have this bizarre sense of entitlement, and when we don’t buy a poor product of theirs, they always blame the consumers. So when I don’t throw down $15 for Brittney Spears screaching into a microphone, it’s because I’m a fickle consumer and not because the music is terrible.

So, in a year when gas prices are already through the roof, movie companies can’t understand why that might make me less likely to go see a movie of questionable quality (especially now that Cruise has publicly proclaimed his insanity). As far as Mission: Impossible goes, I really enjoyed the first edition of the movie with Cruise because there were a lot of mind games going on along with the action. Unfortunately the sequel became Ethan Hunt Goes To The Special Effects Show with no plot. After that, I have no interest in a third edition.

Oh, and if the studios believe that Cruise and his scientology antics have had no effect on the ticket sales are kidding themselves anyway. He’s alienated a large number of his fans over tha past year.

But the industry as a whole needs to adjust, or it will find itself as a dinosaur in a progressively modern world.

Saturday Afternoon Fun

Still at work!Office

However, I've finished most of what I need to do. I just need to stick around for “support” in case anything goes wrong while others are doing testing.

It's days like today that are motivators to strive towards self-employment. At least then I'd get something out of putting in these extra hours.

Ah, such is life…

It's much better than being unemployed, I guess…

Saturday Morning Fun!

Here it is, a nice spring morning and I’m at WORK! Yea, it’s a bit frustrating at times, but when things need to be done, they need to be done. Wouldn’t want to company going under because we don’t meet a deadline, ya know? At least my boss pitched in for breakfast!

Anyway, last night I finally rolled an updated site for my church, South Pittsburgh Assembly of God. It took about a week to convert it into a similar system to this blog with a few tweaks for the layout and additional blocks for content. I’m pretty happy with it, but there’s always minor fixes to be made.

Check it out, and let me know what you think of my efforts!

The Plethora Of Online Tools

What tools do you use online? With the explosion of web 2.0, it’s easy to get lost amongst the commotion. There are new web applications for doing almost anything you’d like to do, but it’s almost impossible to keep track of them all with new ones popping up each day (or is that hour) and the funny names they like to use. However, there are a few that seem to rise as the cream of the crop.

Here’s some of my favorites:

  • Bloglines – Easily the best news aggregator I’ve used so far. If you’re not familiar with news aggregators, they collect RSS and ATOM feeds (like the one in the right-hand column under Syndication) and almost create a custom newspaper. The stories from the feeds can be grouped into categories, which makes for easy reading. I prefer Bloglines to aggregator programs because I read my articles both at work and at home, so that portability is great.
  • Last.FM – If you’ve wondered where I get my music updates at the top of the page, it’s through this great service. By adding a plug-in to iTunes, Windows Media Player, or a number of other media players, you can have songs you’re listening to submitted to a profile where statistics are kept on your listening habits. My page can be found under GuruGreg. There’s lots of other features there as well, but those are my favorites.
  • Kiko – An online calendar tool which I use to keep track of the events at South Pittsburgh Assembly of God (and will have on their website this weekend if all goes well). After experimenting with several options, including SpongeCell and Google Calendar, I settled on Kiko because it provides the best RSS feeds that can then be read and formatted into another page easily (which is how I intended to use it).
  • Intention Cloud – This is a great tool for SEOs and webmasters alike. When given a search term, this tool gathers information from a number of search engines and displays similar terms that a searcher may actually be looking for. A great way to see if your selected keywords actually reflect how people are really trying to use them.
  • – Can’t forget one of the leaders of the web 2.0 revolution. Through the use of social bookmarking (a.k.a. marking pages with keywords you and others found most relevant), has become a great way to alternatively search the web. You’ll get different results from Google, Yahoo and MSN, almost guaranteed. I like using to break up my boredom. If I’m at my computer and I’m not sure what I want to do, I can just open up the main page or the popular page and find interesting stuff to read or watch.

So, that’s my core set of online tools? Am I missing something totally awesome?