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Musings and Meanderings

Saturday, February 26, 2005

15 days later and what do you have to show for it?

Umm well not much...

We can do little blurbs. How's that?

Alex has been in NH all week with Sunny and Poppa. Brought him out on Saturday last and stayed overnight, did the Country Club, church and a talk about the Middle East to the "adult forum" at their church. I certainly had a great time. One of the ladies from Christmas was there, always nice to meet her.

Been spending much more time on the phone than out cold canvassing last 15 days, seems to be paying off. I've got three more appointments this week, new ones. Last week I did a second visit (this business is at least a two if not three visit close) and got a few pre paid labor hours. Also had a first appointment and sold a "site survey" which is our entree into a business.

Started working out again on Monday the 21st. Right now I'm doing 15 min on the cross trainer and 15 min on the bike machine. Then I do two sets of upper body weight machines. I'm trying to avoid aggravating my knees and hips so I'm trying the weight regimen only upper body, leaving the aerobic to tone the lower body. And now I don't have to lug magazines and music to the gym. Just take my trusty Tungsten E PDA and listen to music while reading. Ah technology.

And I have been playing a bit more of the Ultima Online recently, having basically finished the core parts of the Lord of the Rings game I talked about a few weeks back. Lots of really nice people who want to help you out when you get started in the particular "city" I'm in now "Haven in Trammel" and on the shard I play on "Catskill". Found the Prima Guide to this version of Ultima Online for all of $2.88 at CompUSA so it's been some help.

When I am work I use launchcast to stream music to the laptop and then my speakers when I'm making calls. During lunch one day, lo and behold an old friend whom I had thought had blown me off (and who had thought I had blown off) replied to my "hello". This definitely brightened my day.

I take time to completely "spider" the Economist every week now from the web site so that 1) I can then put it on my PDA and 2) send it to brother Andrew who let his subscription lapse. However I'm on my last issue till I renew and I'm not sure how long that will take. It's not cheap. But it is good reading. They have a refreshingly progressive almost libertarian view, most opinions are one that make economic sense, even if they don't fit a political agenda.

Also I am trying a trial "subscription" to the New York Times Online edition. I put it on the laptop via their news reader service. Basically it gives you the whole damn paper canned and searchable. Not sure what the technology is that does it. But you get the paper in the format it is printed in, pages pics and ads etc. It's different reading a paper that looks like a paper on a computer, but after some getting used to it, it's comfortable. The problem is the time factor as usual. Great intentions etc etc.

Well I'll do my best to go back to every other day. Not sure how two weeks flew by but they did. Thanks for tuning in.
posted by Mike 8:33 AM

Friday, February 11, 2005

Fun with Computers

Ok I'm putting my geek hat on for a moment here.

Remember those great games I told you about a week or so ago? Back after I installed them I noticed that for no apparent reason, they would occasionally lock the computer up solid, so I had to cold reboot. Now with XP this is fairly unheard of as you know.

Talked to Brother Greg (my compliment in computer knowledge, btw the two of us we know a lot). He suggested a few things to stop this but the one that made the most sense was to put the "clock" back on the AMD processor to its correct 1.1Ghz speed instead of the 1.4Ghz speed it was over clocked at. Apparently this is how AMD does things.

So I did that, and everything worked perfect. No freeze ups. Fast forward to today, I got a refurbished HD from work, fresh and not needed (80Gig). So I swapped out the old "f" drive and swapped in the new one. And then I formatted it at NTSF, as the old one was still FAT32. Lightenting struck!

What if it was a problem with the two file systems, as the games files were on the FAT32 drive, and the OS was running off of an NTSF drive. So I tried it, put the processor back to 1.4 and VOILA, no freeze ups, and the computer is running faster than ever.

Gosh I'm really getting to like this new OS, from Mirco$serf.. go figure!!
posted by Mike 11:01 PM

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Edwards still has "it".

This is from a speech by John Edwards on Feb 05 of this year. A nice clear concise telling I think:

You know all these political experts out there question what you and I and the Democratic Party believe in. They say that we don't believe in anything. That we don't stand for anything. Well, tonight I want to talk about what we believe.

We believe in hope over despair, possibilities over problems, optimism over cynicism. We believe in doing what is right even when others say it can't be done. And we believe in fighting desperately for people who don't have a voice. That's what the Democratic Party has always believed in and that's what we will always believe in. That's what you and I believe in.

What more could I possibly add
posted by Mike 11:57 PM

Monday, February 07, 2005

Try saying this outloud fast

"Reports that say something hasn't happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knows; there are things we know we know.

We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know.

But there are also unknown unknowns - the ones we don't know we don't know"
-Don Rumsfeld

Problem is Rummy, you think that you are catagory one, but usually you are catagory three.
posted by Mike 2:54 PM

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Some Great PC Games Cheap

Ever since brother Greg gifted us with a newly built computer running with an Athelon Chip (1.1Ghz) and a hoopy motherboard (along with a great Video Card donated by sister Laurie) I have been exploring what it's like to be in the 21st Century of computing. The previous incarnation of the family computer was a P2 Celeron running at 450 Mhz so it is quite an improvement.

I was at Electronic Boutique recently and I grabbed to great games very cheap. Because the movies are over and new titles have been published the EA Game Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King is out there for $9.95. Once I got the right drivers running for 3d rendering I discovered that this game is really amazing. The graphics are astounding, and there are some neat interviews and other quick bonus' that you unlock as you progress through the game.

I also picked up the 7th Anniversary version of Ultima Online (the most recent code is called "Age of Shadows") for just $19.95. I had a much earlier version a while ago, but it just didn't play well on my old slow computer. Now with the fast chip and RAM this interactive game plays great. In Ultima Online you enter what is called a MMORPG, which stands for Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game. There are servers all over the world called "shards" which allow for great responce time and you play a character and live in this online world. I've just started so I'm sure there are hours of fun and entertainment in store.

So if you are into amazing 3d rendering and good "hacking" go get the LotR: Return of the King, or more staid online play, then Ultima Online.
posted by Mike 11:56 AM

Friday, February 04, 2005

Another Great post from SJG

This story describes how 75% of the students currently in high school don't even know what the First Amendment is; many think that the government should be able to censor publishers; and almost half think it already can censor the net.

The full findings are here. Be very afraid - and support student media in your local schools, because there's nothing like BEING a publisher to teach you about the rights . . . and responsibilities . . . that go with First Amendment protection. Administrators need training too. For instance, 99% of high school principals agree with the general idea that people should be able to express unpopular opinion, but fewer than half think that student media should be able to report freely on controversial issues.
posted by Mike 11:51 PM

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Breaking news

Am at work now, just got out of the monthly employee meeting.

Walked in this am, Bill's dest was empty of all personal possessions. Apparently he gave two week notice yesterday, and his services were no longer required so he was done as of yesterday.

Problem solved I guess. Now we just find someone who actually wants to be a telemarketer....
posted by Mike 9:40 AM

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Some Updates


Had a long and what I feel final conversation with the aforementioned Bill the "telemarketer" on Friday in order to clear the air between us. I feel it went well in that we were able to lay out on the table how each felt about the job, each other, etc. Privately it was very clear to me that he was not understanding what Randy had said to him on that week's Monday Sales meeting.

This Monday's sales meeting went quickly and I explained privately to Randy that I felt that Bill was not really on the program. To say that Randy is setting up Bill to fail as an outside sales person is a bit harsh, in that I think Randy would of course be happy if he was able to reach his quota's. But I know too that Randy does not think he is capable of meeting his quota's. He feels it will get the situation out of Bill's system and allow him to concentrate on making the appointments. It would be nice if this "crisis" had been resolved before I came on board, or at least it was explained to me at the second interview, but that is how things go sometimes.

So with that in mind I reflected to Randy that it was in MY best interest to just get out there and sell, and so that's what I'm doing. Well not selling yet, but definitley out there prospecting. Spent the last few days "cold knocking" business' and today it finally paid off with a possible new account.

Home and family

All is well on that front. Had a marvelous late Christmas with Liza's cousin's from the town of Amsterdam (which is about an hour west of us) at Aunt Sue's. Spending time with this krew is always fun, they are warm and funny, and it is quite fun watching the kids grow up as well. One positive note was over a random conversation I garnered a lead for work via Liza's cousin Lukie.

Alex got his latest report card and it is slightly better than his last marking period but still 3 points below his best GPA (83 vs 86). However it is a far cry from the midquarter report which was just abysmal. These quick snapshots (the midquarter reports) allow us to micromanage his time so that he is maximising his academic potential. The change I made was simply haveing him stay at school an extra hour and taking a later bus home. I feel his very prescence at the school adds to an air of learning so his head is in the game more. Still over all his grades are not at the potential they should be.

The World

Have not been talking much about the political or world area recently. Still recovering a bit from the disappointment of the election, but more than that, as a vehement voice of opposition (albeit to a small audience) I wanted to give the Administration a chance.

So just for the record I'm not impressed. Condi Rice as Secretary of State, Albert Gonzalez as Attorney General, not exactly my list of upstanding bureaucrats who will show the best of America.

It goes without saying that the Iraqi election was a pleasant surprise, but in a way this puts much more pressure on the Administration. Polls show that a majority of Americans don't like what we are doing there and do not like seeing the body counts. I think that there will be much more call for pulling out of the country now that they have a properly elected government. You won't hear that from me though. If we start something we should finish it completely, and not bow to political expediency, no matter what lies and deceit were woven to get us into this.

Bush's domestic agenda for his second term has even the pundits scratching their heads. The normal thinking goes that second term's are usually less radical. No need to go into the details, as they are plastered all over the evening news and newpapers. It is somewhat heartening to see the Dem's digging their heels in over the most aggregious of these programs, the so called Privitization Scheme for Social Security. And now that the GOP don't have to rally behind the President to assure that he is re-elected, it is interesting to note the hidden fractures in the Republican Senate and House.

No I didn't watch the State of the Union address. Really can't listen to the man speak. I'll read it tomorrow night online.
posted by Mike 9:55 PM

The musings and meanderings of an overworked and underemployed mind