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This page contains a running record of all the older items from my home page. I would like a more nifty blog-type interface, but haven't really made time to put something together. So for now this is it! :D 

Grandma Back In Hospital (12-29-2007)

Well, it seems that after getting released from the hospital and going home, Grandma took another spill and this time is showing signs of cranial bleeding -- possible concussion, though whether from this fall or the first isn't clear. She's been going through cycles of incoherence and memory loss. The worst thing, though, is that the doctors don't feel she could survive the surgery required to address the bleeding.

We'll know more Saturday morning... but for now we're hoping she makes it through the night.

Merry Christmas! (12-25-2007)

Just wrapped up Christmas festivities, and it was a pretty fun time. I didn't get to see some friends and family I would have liked to, but that's how it goes. We did manage to party hard with the hockey group, had a enjoyable time at a work party, and coasted to the finish with a couple of relaxing family events. I would have enjoyed extra fun with the bear or kink families but thy plate runneth over with things to do and there was no chamber boy to mop of the mess until after. ;)

The only off key note to the season was that grandma landed in the hospital. An injury free fall left her unable to get herself back up. It's looking like she'll be transitioning into a care facility soon, though we won't know for sure what's happening until after she goes into rehab to try and build up her strength.

I do hope that the holiday season has been an enjoyable time for you! Please drop me a line if you have time. I'd enjoy hearing from everyone who I didn't get a chance to spend time with.

Merry Christmas! And here's to an even brighter 2008!

Gift Ideas (12-15-2007)

My Wish ListI had a hate-hate thing going on with Amazon a bit ago, when I made a change to my email settings and lost access to my Wish List. What a mess. But I just checked and things look happy again. So I've sifted through it and removed items I either have or are no longer relevant. I may go back and add more, but you should find a pretty healthy smattering of things to give you some ideas in case you're having difficulty in finding something you think I'd like.

Now I just have to get going with my own shopping list! Ho Ho Ho Merry Christmas!

SLK Enthusiasts Drive (11-17-2007)

I missed the September (Pigeon Point) and October (Apple Valley) drives, so I definitely wanted to make this one (Santa Cruz Mountains). Alison led today's drive from Los Gatos up through the Santa Cruz hills into Davenport. Our drive took us through the Big Basin Redwoods State Park; I don't honestly remember if I've ever been to it! It was spectacular, if a bit cold... those trees provide lots of shade. As we proceeded from there to Davenport, along some lovely twisted roads, we did lose our way a bit. Radio's helped, but so did navigation computers. Smiley In the end, we all made it to lunch at the Davenport Roadhouse. The food was great, the company superb. It's definitely worth a visit if you're going through this area.

The drive back took us on Bear Creek Rd toward Lexington Reservoir where we stopped to say our goodbyes and head home.

As drives go, this had high fun and twisty factor and wonderful scenery. I definitely recommend it if you're looking for a nice way to spend a day. You could include a longer stop at the state park (Big Basin Redwoods or Henry Cowell Redwoods) or pop up or down the coast to one of several other destinations.

Pictures should be posted by Steve Motzko on his SLK Enthusiast Webpage in a few days.

The Las Vegas Frontier Falls (11/13/2007)

Mike was in Vegas and just happened to learn that The Frontier was scheduled to be demolished at 2:30am on 11/13/2007. He captured this video with his Treo and shared it with us. Watch an icon make way for the new (and better?).

Customer Support Humor (11-12-2007)

A friend shared this with me today and I just couldn't resist sharing it with you here as well. I think a great many of us have been on the receiving end of this kind of... well, it sort of speaks for itself. Smiley

Web Stats Back Online (11-10-2007)

I had thought that I would wind up splitting up the web logs for each domain before running statistics tools against them. But it turns out that this is harder to do than I thought with the shared hosting environment. Thankfuly, the AWStats tool I'm using has features to deal with combined logs like this, which is very handy. So rather than keep full log history for each domain separately, I am instead just retaining the statics for each. It's not what I intended, but it's functional and still results in giving the statistics that we're used to.

Migration Complete (11-08-2007)

Hooray! I have at last moved the last of the web sites that were still running from home to the hosting provider I set up about a year ago.

Resuming Idle Efforts (11-06-2007)

Maybe it's just me, but sometimes it seems like I can get so many things going... or at least have so many things I want to do... and never seem to find time to get to all of them. Well, I'm trying to make an effort at starting to get back to a few that I'd made some progress on and then stalled.

About a year ago, for example, I began an effort to migrate all of the email and web services I was running from home onto some form of hosted solution. I actually did complete the migration of email services. But when it came to the web stuff, I got stuck on trying to solve certain back-end technical issues and left several of the domains still sitting on my Solaris box at home. So, I'm trying now to nibble at these and at least get them moved with all of the browsing and editing stuff intact. I can worry about stats reporting and log splitting later on.

Another item I seem always to want to stay on top of is refreshing and adding content to this web. There are LOTS of things I find interesting. I want to keep track of what resources I use to help others or simply want to keep knowledge base of sorts so that I can either refer to it myself or share it with others. Again, rather than try and tackle it all at once, I am trying instead to (constructively) nibble at it. So, you may start to see pages or content pop-up and shift around in here. While I appologize for the dynamic nature of the thing... well, it's just gonna be dynamic.

And I guess this post is a case in point. Rather than wait to have an actual blog extension ready to manage these postings, I'm just doing it the quick and dirty way for now. So live with it... and when something better is ready, I'll translate all of these old postings into it so that I'll have some history too.

Life with Leopard (10-31-2007)

Let me say that the out-of-box experience with Apple products is sublime. One of my friends, upon hearing I'd just purchased a new MacBook, asked how the setup was going. My reply was "what setup? I just turned it on, followed instructions, and I'm already happily using it." After all, I hit the power button, up came the migration assistant asking me if I'd like to copy stuff from my old system. I did, so I followed the prompts to boot my PBG4 into target disk mode, connected it to my MBP via firewire, and let it do it's thing. When it finished, I simply logged in just like I hadn't left. Like I said, it was sublime.

It took about 5 seconds to realize, though, that Apple had only pre-installed Mac OS X 10.4.10. The Leopard CD was indeed included in the box, but I'm guessing they hadn't quite got to the point where they were imaging systems with Leopard by GA time. Oh well, so I did have to wait through an hour of Leopard upgrade before I could embark on that. After all, I wasn't going to fully enjoy my new product experience without a new OS too! Smiley

So far, I can't say that I've been blown over by Leopard... as I know that some of the things I'm experiencing as new are in fact due to the new MacBook as well. But this sentiment has been shared by others who question the incremental value of a Tiger to Leopard upgrade (200 new features or not). I am also a little perturbed by the semi-translucent menubar and dock, though in practice they haven't been so distracting that it prevents me from doing what I need.

I was equally thrilled when I downloaded VMware Fusion and started running Linux and Windows without too much trouble as well. Being that I manage a lab based on Virtual Infrastructure, I am a little stymied that the "workstation" products don't offer some of the enterprise features I'm used to. But when all is said and done, when I can run Windows on top of my Mac faster than my desktop at home or my old Dell laptop at work, I'm impressed. When you throw in features like Unity, though, it just gets even sweeter (since we all like that integrated experience goodness).

Overall, my experience so far as been quite good. I did decide that with the bigger disk I'd pull my iTunes library off of my home WebDAV share and run it locally -- gosh 120GB fills up fast with all this media and VM images! I'm still smiling like Mona Lisa and the Happy Mac icon... and I doubt that will change as I go forward.

Leaping Leopards! (10-30-2007)

Well, Apple's Mac OS X 10.5 (more affectionately known as Leopard) released to the public last Friday. As I started considering the upgrade I learned also that it had some minimum hardware support requirements -- chiefly that the system had to be a PowerPC G4 @ 867MHz or better. This completely ruled out my LCD iMac (700Mhz) but my PowerBook G4 (12") qualifies.

As I started to review recent desires and requirements I found myself also wanting to run either Parallels or VMware's new Fusion (to run Windows apps I need w/o having to have a separate box). And although I love my PowerBook dearly, I have started to long for better performance and more screen real estate.

So... I started looking at Apple's newest MacBook (oh, how we long for PowerPC) offerings. At 13", I quickly ruled out the non-Pro versions; why continue to suffer without enough screen? But I equally disdain the aircraft carrier that is the 17" model... it's just too big to describe with words like "portable" or "laptop," in my opinion. So that left me with the 15" models... where my biggest decisions were:

  • matte or glossy display finish -- I choose matte because I don't want to have to worry about glare or reflections
  • how much memory -- I went with the default 2GB since I couldn't see allowing Apple to rape me for $700 more when I can purchase and install 4GB myself for more like $300
  • how much disk -- I decided, again, that for the cost of the "bigger" versions that it was fine to go with 120GB
  • how much video memory -- I don't do gaming or use huge displays, so 128MB is fine

And Tuesday night it happened. Even after setting up a shopping day with a friend (which I still plan to do since she's still shopping and I'm looking for accessories still since Apple Valley Fair still hasn't finished it's rennovations!) my super-instant-gratification drive took over and I stopped by the local Apple store on my way to an evening discussion group. And I walked out with a 15" MacBook Pro (2.2GHz, 2GB, 120GB, matte).

Since I was there, I did poke at the MacBook (13"), just to see if maybe my expectations might have been off. They weren't... I need a bigger screen now. Also, what is up with that flat keyboard!? It might look pretty, but I don't think I could stand typing on it. It has almost no tactile feedback regarding placement of hands on keys. ick! ick! ICK!

I tell friends that I purchased a copy of Leopard, but it came in a really big box labeled "MacBook Pro". Smiley

Al Gore (10-09-2007)

Was supposed to go hear Al Gore speak as part of the Celebrity Forum series. Work unfortunately intervened and I missed it. I understand he gave a fairly familiar presentation about global catastrophe and made quite an impression.

Birthday Wishes & Fond Rememberances (09-24-2007)

Yeah, I turned 37 this weekend. Not quite feeling old yet, but getting there! Smiley Spent time with family and friends to celebrate. No pictures to commemorate though... which maybe is a good thing?

We also said goodbye to Morgan Decker-Stone, 22, this weekend. He died in the early AM of Saturday, September 15 when a drunk driver going the wrong way on Northbound I-5 in Chico collided with Morgan's car head-on. Both of them died, but I still can't escape the feeling that this was a tragic and unfair end for Morgan.

The services were lovely and I was so touched at not only how many people came to pay their respects, but also how many felt strongly enough to overcome stage fright to stand and share their memories of Morgan. Particularly poignant was Eric's (Morgan's dad) recognition that there was so much about Morgan he didn't know until so many came to remember him. Afterwards, a few of us agreed that waiting until someone is gone is the wrong time to celebrate them. We should celebrate each other every chance we get.

If you'd like to read about the accident and the services, here are a few links:

Karen Brings It Home (09-10-2007)

This just in. Karen's got her board results back and she PASSED WITH 87%!!! YAAAYYYY!! We knew you could do it Karen... you are a radiation therapy stud!

You can see pics from her graduation, but I suspect there will very shortly be another much more raucous celebration where cameras are not allowed. Smiley

Go Team!! (09-09-2007)

This weekend marked the pre-season kickoff of the SIAHL (Sharks Ice Adult Hockey League) Winter 2007 season. The teams I'm keeping an eye one, and try to attend games whenever I can are Cisco Metros, SubZero, and the newly formed Absolute Zero. It was a long weekend, saw some good hockey, and had a basically good time. For my own purposes, I have established a simple syndication of the schedules and results for these three teams on my Friends | Hockey page.

I did manage to get a few other things done over the weekend, too... but it was a very hockey weekend!

George Pataki (09-06-2007)

Went to hear George Pataki speak as part of the Celebrity Forum series. I found his views on the origin of our government, our recent failed foreign policy, the power of a focus on solutions and not political polarization, amongst others very interesting. The thankfully brief bits where he chose to sell us on how well he did as Governor of New York didn't interest me nearly as much.

I also found Mr. Pataki engaging in the sense that I actually didn't agree with everything he had to say. But as long as someone presents their case in a reasonable manner, I find it interesting in that it offers another perspective. One case where I felt Mr. Pataki just didn't "get it" was his reply to a Q&A question about gay marriage.

Without getting too far up on my soap box, the important thing to remember is that most of us really aren't interested in marriage in and of itself... we're interested in the legal, financial, and familial protections that it brings in our society. If we could come up with a construct that divorced marriage from these elements and was available to all citizens then I think we'd have that issue solved. Let marriage be the institution that some need it to be but let that be all that it is. And let the law recognize that marriage is not the only vehicle by which legal, financial, medical, and family protections are bestowed... and that there should be no distinction between the legal protections offered by marriage versus any other mechanism. For any distinction would belie inequality and would thus be an affront to the personal liberties our government is supposed to uphold and protect, yes? Smiley

Al Gore is next in October. Looking forward to that one.

Hooray Karen!! (08-31-2007)

A good friend, Karen Siegle, graduated from Foothill College's Radiation Therapy program today. I took a few pictures to capture the moment.

A Shiny Golden Ticket (08-20-2007)

Got a link to a humorous article about one of Karl Rove's close relatives. It's quite an interesting read. Enjoy!

Party Hockey (08-18-2007)

First off, YES... it has been a huge amount of time since my last big updates on the site. I may be back filling at some point, but I just haven't had a lot of spare time to devote to it lately. Hoping to weasle in more time now.

Attended a fun hockey party on Saturday and captured some pictures for posterity. Enjoy!

A Move and an Upgrade (03-26-2007)

It's been an awful long time since I've been actively updating the site, but the most recent build-up has been about selecting a hosting provider and migrating this, and other sites I've been helping to manage, to that solution. There may be a few things in the site that don't behave quite as expected for now, but I'll be working on that as time goes on.

The other item to note is that I'm also in the process of bringing the TYPO3 sites to version 4.1. I can't say it's a major change, but it's got a few nice things they've done to it.

August SLK Enthusiasts Drive (08-19-2006)

Well, I finally made it to a drive event since my last in January! We started in Livermore, visited the Silent Film Museum in Niles, and then took a leisurely drive up Palomares Rd to Oakland for lunch. It was a wonderful drive and day spent with fellow SLK owners. Visit the SLK photos page to view all the lastest slideshows.

Adsense no more (08-07-2006)

Wow I got tired of staring at those things fast! I expect most casual browsers to the site would have felt similarly. Advertising goes bye-bye.

A little advertising? (08-03-2006)

I was searching for some other tidbits on the web and came across a reference to Google AdSense. After reading about it a bit, I thought "what the heck, let's try this". So you will now see featured Google links to web sites in the right column of these pages, in addition to all my other stuff. If they do their work right, those links should be relevant to the topic on the page you're browsing.

I'd be interested in feedback on this, since I am hopeful that adding this won't detract from the enjoyment of the content on the site. Let me know!

N. CA SLK Enthusiasts Drive (06-20-2006)

I was a bit worn down from a few very long weeks, so I wound up oversleeping on Saturday the 17th and missed the drive. SmileySmiley But Steve, as always, promptly posted a Quicktime slideshow of the event. Enjoy!

Site Changes (06-17-2006)

Since I've pretty much decided that TYPO3 is the CMS I'm sticking with for my site, I've begun looking for ways to help make it perform better. By simply enabling query caching in MySQL and installing eAccelerator for PHP, I've noticed serious improvements.

Other site-related changes include the addition of a comment at the bottom of every page indicating when that page was last updated -- consider it a sort of freshness dating -- and the beginning of changes to the photo galleries. Up until now, I'd continued to keep the HTML-based galleries I'd extracted from iView MediaPro and even older tools. But I have been augmenting an existing gallery extension to serve my needs.

In particular, I've been using iView MediaPro to manage a growing library of images I've taken. This is nearly 7000 images now, taken with three different digital cameras over the last few years -- HP PhotoSmart 850, HP PhotoSmart 945, and now a Canon Rebel XT. Beyond this, I have categorized and annotated these images, and those annotations were exported to the HTML galleries I was previously posting. For a more integrated experience, my target was to export these annotations directly to the image files themselves... and then find a gallery extension that would read these directly from the file in it's original location on my disk array. This way, no extra copying or manipulation of the files would be necessary to publish them online. Smiley

I have finally achieved this result and you will begin to see more and more of my existing image galleries move to this new format. This will, sadly, mean that some of the direct image links people may have taken will break. But I am working to be sure that the gallery URL remains the same, or at least will correctly redirect to the new path. Since my site is configured to keep rolling back incorrect URLs until they match, this should at least result in your finding a gallery you previosuly had an image link to, rather than just having it fail completely.

Refreshed SLK R171 Doc List (03-31-2006)

While I was trying to push myself to make the CMS transition on the site, I had some updates that lagged. One of those was updating the list of documents for the SLK R171. I've now published the last set I retrieved, which was about the middle of January 2006.

The Frogman Cometh (03-30-2006)

Sue and I recently went to have our Frogman pieces signed by the artist, Tim Cotterill. It was very exciting to get to meet him, though there wasn't much time to chat with everyone else who wanted to get their turn. Smiley Needless to say, we had a fun time. The event inspired me to start a collecting page, in which I'll add details of the different items I've been collecting over time.

Meanwhile, I've been keeping an eye on various cached and spidered links from the old site that have been coming into the new setup. I've managed to fix virtual all of the original references, so that they cleanly map to the relevant spot in the new interface. There will be some old links that are going to break just because I've decided not to continue keeping those pages (commercials that required a login and some defunct HDTV pages are two that come to mind). If you do find any links that fail, let me know.

SLKs on the Delta (03-20-2006)

I've added links to pictures of the February and March drives of the SLK Enthusiasts group. I actually had a hand in planning the March drive, and was supposed to lead the drive on March 18. I did not wind up being able to attend the event, so I get to enjoy the pictures like the rest of you. I had actually driven the route a few times in preparation, so I certainly didn't miss out on the route itself! Smiley

New Site Emerges (03-13-2006)

Finally got around to rolling my own site out on a new CMS. TYPO3 is a great tool, if not one of the simplest to configure! But at least as I learn and decide to do more, I won't get constrained by a "simple" tool that doesn't allow extension.

Older Items

  • Posted pictures and links to the January 2006 drive of the No. CA SLK Enthusiasts Group. We had a great back-road drive from Livermore to Tracy, and then to Discovery Bay for lunch. A smaller number of us caravanned back to Livermore. Steve has also posted pictures and a Quicktime slideshow.
  • Caught up on various random updates. Mostly these include new links added to the Mercedes and SLK link pages. Also added info regarding the music in The Love Never Fades commercial from the Love Mercedes campaign.
  • Had a great time at the Gibbons' new year celebration. In a moment of horror, I realized I'd forgotten to post the pictures from last year! So, you will now find the pictures from 2004 and 2005 online. Enjoy!
  • Had Thanksgiving this year at Renee and Shawn's.
  • The November drive of the Northern CA SLK Enthusiasts was great fun!
  • Found a group of SLK enthusiasts in the SF Bay Area, and got my car just in time to join them for their October drive. I unfortunately forgot my camera, but I did manage to capture a few images with my Treo. Must remember camera next time!
  • Started a new set of pages to document my travels with the new Mercedes SLK (R171). I expect to receive mine in October, so you can expect to see lots more show up in these pages! :-)
  • Visited my mom and Ernie for my 35th birthday. Captured lots of pictures of the clearing they've done around the house and some of the fun we had while I was there.
Page Updated: Saturday, June 06, 2009