Thursday, August 18, 2011

HP Killing webOS Devices

This is really a drag. I've been a Palm fan since the m125. Sadly, this looks like its really the end. HP says they are going to explore other options, but its hard to imagine anyone stepping up to run up against the Windows Phone, iOS, android gauntlet.

HP Killing webOS Devices: HP had the muscle to do something great with webOS, but it never did. And of course it's sad to see the company that essentially created Silicon Valley folding up its tent and packing it in like this.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

How to Get Spotify Free Without an Invite

How to Get Spotify Free Without an Invite

If you'd like to try spotify and you don't want to wait for an invitation, this method from Lifehacker is a great option. I used this method and it worked perfectly and easily.

The Rabbit Room — Harry Potter, Jesus, and Me

The Rabbit Room — Harry Potter, Jesus, and Me

Excellent post from Andrew Peterson on Harry Potter. This is a good read to get you excited for Deathly Hallows Pt. 2. Or if you've never read Potter before, this lets you know a little bit about what you've been missing.

Monday, July 11, 2011

New sellout king: Single-A Dayton Dragons - Video -

New sellout king: Single-A Dayton Dragons - Video -

This is crazy. When I was a kid, my hometown baseball team was the Rockford Expos. They became the Rockford Royals, then the Rockford Cubbies, and finally the Rockford Reds. I went to a bunch of their games at Marinelli Field in Rockford, and I don't remember any of them having a sellout crowd.

In 2000 they left Rockford to become the Dayton Dragons, and they've sold out every game since the move. I actually went to a Dragons game in 2002, so I guess I can take a tiny bit of credit for this record.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Two Vastly Different Experiences at Texas Water Parks

If your forecast looks like this:


you have to get creative when it comes to spending time outside. In central Texas this year we’ve had over twenty days above 100 degrees, so it’s easy to stay inside with the air conditioner and get cabin fever.

My two boys (ages 1.5 and 4) are generally happier, better behaved, and more prone to take a better nap if they’ve had a chance to have some physical exertion outdoors. We can all use some vitamin D right? But the only way to stay outside for any amount of time without being totally miserable is to be in the water.

With that in mind, we took the boys to the Falcon Pointe Splash Park in Pflugerville on Friday afternoon. The boys had a blast. It’s not quite the same as a pool, but it’s so convenient!







Falcon Point Splash Park -


- Close to home.

- Kids love it.

- Play in the water with no drowning risk

- Cool and refreshing water

- Free!


- Not totally submerged in water – but this is not so much of a con, because the kids are able to play in it by themselves with no swimming ability

On the 4th of July we went to Granger Lake in Granger, Texas. This experiment was much less successful.


As you can see from the picture, there is hardly anyone on the lake’s beach. This is because the water is bathwater hot and extra muddy, and the covered picnic areas are totally infested with strange looking bugs. We didn’t actually get in the water because we arrived about ten minutes after our relatives, and they let us know the water was totally disgusting and too muddy for the boys to walk in without getting stuck in the mud.

Granger Lake, Friendship Park – Swimming Beach


- Cool views of the lake on the drive to the park


- Hot, muddy, yucky water

- Bug infested picnic areas

- Costs $4/car

I understand the lake’s terrible conditions can be blamed on the extreme drout conditions we’ve had in central Texas. In any other year it might be a decent swim destination, but do not go here in 2011. It is a total waste, and it cannot provide a good experience.

Google Should Open Google+ to Everyone, Today | Lance Ulanoff |

Google Should Open Google+ to Everyone, Today | Lance Ulanoff |

"Google+ will not become the social network it wants to be until Google lets everybody in. Open the doors, Google. Take the heat. It's going to take some time to reach three quarters of a billion users."

I'm not totally convinced this is the right thing for Google to do at this point, but Lance is totally right when he says it can't be much of a social network if everybody can't get in. At this point it's not so much of a social network as a limited field trial network. 

I'd just like to be able to get into google+ to play around with it. I received my google+ invite on Saturday but I keep getting the "temorarily exceeded our capacity" message when I attempt to log in. I understand the exclusivity is part of what is driving the demand, but I know a lot of people are getting frustrated at not being able to get into the "limited field trial".

Saturday, July 02, 2011

My first photosynth

We took the boys to see a fire engine today at Hutto Baptist Church. I had checked out Microsoft's photosynth shot a couple months ago, but I hadn't got around to taking a ton of pictures of something yet to put one together. The firemen did a fire safety presentation and as it started to drag on, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity for me to cut out and take a ton of pictures of the fire engine for my first photosynth.

I tried to follow the advice that I remembered from the how to photosynth video. I probably walked around the fire engine three or four times, shooting overlapping shots from various angles and perspectives. I ended up taking 99 shots. Loading the photos into the photosynth tool was super easy, it just takes a while for all the photos to upload. I think it took about an hour for the whole process.

The site uses the term "synthy" to measure how well the process was able to fit all the pictures together, with a range of 0-100% synthy. My photosynth came out at 76% synthy. I saw a lot of photosynths on the site at 100% and they looked pretty great. At the same time, I saw a number of photosynths below 50% and they weren't so special. I was kind of disappointed with this one, I was hoping it would have more of a 3D effect. After reviewing the how to video, I think my problems were not taking enough overlapping wide angle shots, and the fact the subject was very shiny and not particularly textured. Even though it isn't perfect, it was still a fun experiment.

The boys also had a ton of fun checking out the fire engine, so it made for a pretty good morning.

Monday, June 20, 2011

BBQ Sauce?

I’ve been pretty happy with my Sony Cyber-shot WX-1 that I got a couple weeks ago to replace my broken Cyber-shot W350. I’m not much of a photographer, so I usually just let auto mode do its thing.  It seems to be pretty smart and the pictures generally turn out pretty good. This one is kind of funny, though. The auto mode thought that this was meant to be a picture of the bbq sauce bottle, so it took the shot in macro mode and left my son out of focus in the background. It wasn’t what I was hoping for at the time, but I think it actually turned out kind of cool.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Josiah’s generation thinks every screen should be a touchscreen


By the time he’s a teenager every screen probably will be a touchscreen. He just won’t need a stylus.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Cameron Park Zoo

We went to the Cameron Park Zoo in May and we had a ton of fun. I’ve been to a couple zoos, but I hadn’t been to one in years. The Cameron Park Zoo in Waco is definitely worth the trip. It’s a great value, and the layout of the zoo is great. When you live in Central Texas, the heat can be oppressive even in the spring. Cameron Park Zoo is great because there are lot of indoor exhibits sprinkled throughout the park, so you can avoid being totally overwhelmed by the heat.

I took about a half hour of video on my old Canon ZR800 before the battery gave out. I’ve never been too excited about the quality of my ZR800, but the 35x zoom really came in handy on this trip to the zoo. My only regret is I used up too much of my camera’s battery life on the exhibits at the beginning of the park. I didn’t get to take as much video as I’d like to in the African savanna, and I didn’t have any battery left for lemur island, the tiger habitat, and the Asian forest.

I rendered all of these videos except for the otter video in Windows Live Movie Maker on my Dell Studio XPS. I’ve really enjoyed Windows Live Movie Maker for uploading to youtube. I own Corel VideoStudio 12, and I’ve been evaluating Sony Vegas Movie Studio HD 10. These products have some advantages over Windows Live Movie Maker, but Movie Maker is better by far when it comes to uploading to youtube.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Chillin’ Brothers

Payton and Josiah were in a pretty good mood this afternoon, so I figured it was the perfect time to take some pictures. Josiah got his hair cut tonight, so this will be the last we’ll see of his spiky ‘do for quite some time.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Payton’s Kevin McCallister Impression

My son Payton watched Home Alone for the first time this past Christmas and this was definitely his favorite line from the movie.

Sometimes we have to remind him that characters that are being funny on TV or movies are sometimes actually also being naughty. The scene above was all in good fun though, he was just being funny, not actually throwing a tantrum.