Our Days at Disney

We have had several wonderful days in Florida, even though it rained off and on yesterday at Epcot and this morning at Magic Kingdom. We have now been to all 4 parks, though not much in MGM yet. We are going there Friday. In between we are taking 2 days at Sea World and going back to finish up Disney for the end of the trip. The girls had lunch with the Princesses yesterday and loved every minute of it. The didn't eat anything, but they got to meet Jasmine, Belle, Mulan, Ariel and Aurora. They also have met Mickey, Pooh, Woody and Jesse, Turk from Tarzan, and CHip and Dale. They've seen Pocahontas' show, Katie and Carrie even rode a mini roller coaster, we've eaten at the Sci Fi Drive in, and played in every country at Epcot.

We are tired, but having a Wonderful time and looking forward to tomorrow. After Sea World tomorrow we go to the Arabian nights show with 60 horses, and Thursday after Sea World we go to the Polynesian Luau christmas special. Today we rode Peter Pan, It's a small world, Stitch, and buzz lightyear's space ranger spin and saw Cinderella's coronation. Too much to write it all here, but I've taken about 300 pictures, so I'll get those up when we get home. I don't have the program on this computer to do it, so I have to wait, unforunately!

There's more to do here than can be done, even in 8 days. Today we laughed to hard. There was a talking moving trash can in Tomorrow land called Push (obviously so named for the "push" label on his flap) A lady tried to put trash in him, and he moved and thanked her. She freaked out. he was talking to the girls and asking for hugs and wanted to know where they were from. It was really fun. There was a little boy who kept trying to look inside it to see who was controlling it, but it was just a trash can.

Oh well. Getting tired so going to bed. Can''t wait to see everyone, even though we don't want to go. The weather is gorgeous- today was around 70 after the rain cooled everything down. It's been close to 80 and a little too hot, but it's great now. we have the air conditioner running all the time and the girls are enjoying their "fort holiday" where there little room is.


Sony's DRM Debacle, or Why You Can't Trust the Man

There's been so much written about Sony's draconian foray into hacking. (I love that word, "Draconian". Has a nice feel to it. First time I've really gotten to use it, go me.) It would be difficult for me to put into words the utter disbelief I am exhibiting at the moral misbehavior of a giant corporation. Yes, companies do this sort of thing all the time. I'm not a conspiracist by any means, but yeah they're all out to get us. Right in the pocketbook. But this was so blatantly obvious, and showed such a callous disregard of not only the consequences but if we users would even CARE what they were doing... it just boggles the mind.

Userfriendly.org has had some nice cartoons running that, as usual, hit the nail right on the head. Illiad is a genius. But I was also just reading a lengthy article posted on Datamation called "Where was Sony's Privacy Officer?" The author, Ray Everett-Church, has some interesting points and nice summaries. So, if you've been wondering what the hype is all about, and why you should even care (not just in this case, but regarding corporations in general and what they think they can get away with), go give it a read.
As this month's controversy over Sony's distribution of music CDs with flawed digital rights management (DRM) software continues to play itself out, the whole mess is already primed to become a classic case study in why corporations need competent Privacy Officers to keep them out of trouble.
And, my new favorite quote:
When interviewed on the radio, the president of Sony BMG's Global Digital Business, Thomas Hesse, said, "Most people, I think, don't even know what a rootkit is, so why should they care about it?"

Note to Mr. Hesse: "Who cares?" is seldom a good response.
Good stuff. Indeed the upper echelons most likely did not, and continue to be ignorant of, the issue at hand. They proclaim "Make it so!" and leave things in underlings hands, but then are surprised when it blows up in their faces. Does Hesse even know what a rootkit is, or the consequences of installing such on unwilling consumer's computers? Unlikely. "Unfortunately for him, the gross tonnage of what he doesn't understand about how his company screwed up only now is coming to light."

Planes, Cats and Automobiles

...plus other modes of transportation...

So both of my kids now, primarily my youngest, have gotten it into their heads to be terrified at the prospect of flying down to Disney this coming Friday. My youngest has used it as an excuse for awhile now not to go to sleep on time, but now the date looms closer and they're both more than a little nervous. Does no good explaining what all is entailed in flight itself, nor does it help to talk about past flights people have taken. I've talked to them (heck I just flew halfway around the world!), my Mom talked to them (and she was a stewardess at one time), nothing has helped. Need to find one of those books like "Brother Bear Goes to the Dentist" or something, but for airplane rides... hmm, that's actually a good idea, just popped right into my head, guess it helps to talk these things out...

Another headache has been our poor old cat Athos. We got him when we got married, so he's going on eleven and a half years old now. Still very energetic and healthy as an ox, at least until recently. Been having trouble keeping stuff down, and not much appetite. Taken him to the doctor's twice, xrays and medicine (and a cramp in our wallets) but can't seem to find out what's wrong with him. Going to be tough, we're going out of town so we won't be there to make sure he's doing ok. But, the last time we took him on Saturday he got a shot of antibiotics and some uppers, plus got his system flushed out. None too happy with us, but he seems a lot perkier and is eating again. This is the last of our original family, before we had kids, and though I know his time will come eventually, it will just kill me when he passes away.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

On a final note... I am really diggin' my car. I mean, I've never been one to drool over cars, or treat it like a baby, or even understand how some guys can get together and jut talk about... cars. Now however, I can boast with the best of 'em. I love my Prius. Not just the fact that it's a hybrid and gets awesome gas mileage. Not just because the insides look like something out of the future. Not just because I can boot my car up without using a key. Not just because of the spankin' audio system, or the comfy seats, or the climate control, or the cute little fact that the radio will now pick up extra signals from radio stations that broadcast their id and song title now playing. It's all that, plus it is SOOOO FREAKING COOL!

'Nuff said. For now anyways.


Off to the Movies

"Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" opens today. Our ops group at AOL is taking time off to see the 11:50am show, caveat being the "expectation is that those who go will come back to work afterwards and complete their workday." However, significant others are welcome, so Donna's driving down to see it with me, and she'll have time to get back to pick the girls up from the bus. Heh, I actually get to go on a date, cool beans. Tickets already bought online, so I'm off to the Regal Countryside 20 in Sterling VA soon...


Fun BF2 Videos

Mario Kart Spinoff


"Mine" (this one is the best)

Site Update

Been tweaking my site a little bit. Updated my Gaming page with a review of Star Wars Battlefront II, and moved the older reviews to an archive page. I had added a weather banner to my front page, but that seems to be timing out now, wonder if they went offline... I really should do some updating of my Computer and Book pages. I've been rereading some of my older novels (the ones by David Eddings are always favorites) but now I've moved to the Narnia books in preparation for the movie coming out... oh yeah, that will be sweeet...

Oh, and speaking of movies, tomorrow (Friday) I'm going out on a work-sanctioned (but not sponsored, tickets are my own purchase) trip to see the new Harry Potter movie. Fortunately it's at 11:50am, whcih means Donna will be able to meet me there, thereby avoiding much maritial dissention... lol


Worst Job Ever

WARNING: Some major cussin'. If that doesn't bother you, go ahead and click after you crank your speakers up. Definitely worth a good laugh.

What's in a (Pirate) name?

My pirate name is:

Mad Sam Kidd

Every pirate is a little bit crazy. You, though, are more than just a little bit. Even though you're not always the traditional swaggering gallant, your steadiness and planning make you a fine, reliable pirate. Arr!

Get your own pirate name from fidius.org.


The Open Source WRT54G Story

The story of the Linksys Wireless-G Router (model WRT54G) and how you can turn a $60 router into a $600 router is a little bit CSI and a little bit Freaks & Geeks. It’s also the story of how the open source movement can produce a win-win scenario for both consumers and commercial vendors. What’s especially exciting is that tricking out this router doesn’t require any eBay sleuthing or other hunt for some off-the-wall piece of hardware. Instead, grab it off-the-shelf. The WRT54G is stacked high in every Best Buy and Circuit City across the country and, of course, most online retailers — Amazon.com sells it for $55. It’s ubiquitous and, some would say, a diamond in the rough. Or a wolf in sheep’s clothing.


New Logitech G15 gaming keyboard

This is awesome, just found this from a post on BBR.
The Logitech® G15 keyboard offers gamers an unprecedented level of in-game information, programmability and control. Its adjustable-tilt, backlit LCD display shows you crucial information during game play, and lets you set timers to keep track of game events.
Oh this looks sweet. If it weren't for the $80 tag I'd run out and get one, even though that's an insanely low price for a keyboard with these features...
The 18 programmable "G Keys" allow you to execute macros—like casting spells in World of Warcraft—with a single button press, and the backlit keys are great for lights-out play. The G15 also features a switch that turns off the 'Windows' key, so hitting that button accidentally won't end your game.

The Logitech® G15 keyboard is completely customizable to help you play better. Try it and you'll never go back to a standard keyboard.
It is getting good reviews and a site has already been setup to discuss this keyboard and scripts that can be used with it.

The Next Big Thing in Online Type

Vista, the upcoming version of Windows, is getting lots of ink. To learn all about the fonts that Microsoft used in Vista's interface, read Anne Van Wagener's "The Next Big Thing in Online Type":
Bill Gates wants computer users, well, Microsoft users, to have a more enjoyable on-screen reading experience -- so much so that he made improving reading on the screen one of his top five priorities.

Beginning in 2006, Microsoft says it will ship with its operating system and other software products six brand new typefaces created especially for extended on-screen reading.
Personally, I really like the Calibri font, it looks like a cleaner version of Helvetica, which is one of my favorite web fonts. Corbel is really nice too, touted as a "nice alternative to Arial, Trebuchet or Verdana."

PC World's "Windows Vista Looks Slicker, Safer" gives you three pages full of its new features. And if you've just got to stay up-to-date on every Vista announcement, you can check in with PC World's Windows Info Center.

If you have a LCD monitor or a laptop, you can substantially improve the look of your on-screen fonts. They'll be sharper and clearer than ever before. All you need to know about is ClearType. It's a feature built into XP that's turned off by default, oddly enough. You can fiddle with XP's settings to get ClearType, but it's way easier to use Microsoft's online wizard to change the setting.

Steve Bass' favorite tool for this is ClearTweak, a cool, free utility that lets you fine-tune ClearType, or turn it on or off. Haven't tried it myself, so I can't really comment on it. The guy has good instincts though, and I tend to trust his opinion (even if he does tend to stick with a non-web-standards-conforming, dinosaur of a browser like IE).

Much of this post, BTW, was taken from Steve's newsletter, "Steve Bass's Tips and Tweaks". Definitely worth signing up to get weekly tidbits.


The Birdcage

There once was a man named George Thomas, pastor in a small New England town. One Easter Sunday morning he came to the Church carrying a rusty, bent, old bird cage, and set it by the pulpit. Eyebrows were raised and, as if in response, Pastor Thomas began to speak..."I was walking through town yesterday when I saw a young boy coming toward me swinging this bird cage. On the bottom of the cage were three little wild birds, shivering with cold and fright. I stopped the lad and asked, "What you got there, son?" "Just some old birds," came the reply.

"What are you gonna do with them?" I asked.

"Take 'em home and have fun with 'em," he answered. "I'm gonna tease 'em and pull out their feathers to make 'em fight. I'm gonna have a real good time." "But you'll get tired of those birds sooner or later. What will you do?"

"Oh, I got some cats," said the little boy. "They like birds. I'll take 'em to them."

The pastor was silent for a moment. "How much do you want for those birds, son?"

"Huh?? !!! Why, you don't want them birds, mister. They're just plain old field birds. They don't sing. They ain't even pretty!"

"How much?" the pastor asked again.

The boy sized up the pastor as if he were crazy and said, "$10?"

The pastor reached in his pocket and took out a ten dollar bill. He placed it in the boy's hand. In a flash, the boy was gone.

The pastor picked up the cage and gently carried it to the end of the alley where there was a tree and a grassy spot Setting the cage down, he opened the door, and by softly tapping the bars persuaded the birds out, setting them free.

Well, that explained the empty bird cage on the pulpit, and then the pastor began to tell this story.

One day Satan and Jesus were having a conversation. Satan had just come from the Garden of Eden, and he was gloating and boasting. "Yes, sir, I just caught the world full of people down there. Set me a trap, used bait I knew they couldn't resist. Got 'em all!"

"What are you going to do with them?" Jesus asked.

Satan replied, "Oh, I'm gonna have fun! I'm gonna teach them how to marry and divorce each other, how to hate and abuse each other, how to drink and smoke and curse. I'm gonna teach them how to invent guns and bombs and kill each other. I'm really gonna have fun!"

"And what will you do when you get done with them?" Jesus asked. "Oh, I'll kill 'em," Satan glared proudly. "How much do you want for them?" Jesus asked

"Oh, you don't want those people. They ain't no good. Why, you'll take them and they'll just hate you. They'll spit on you, curse you and kill you. You don't want those people!!"

"How much?" He asked again.

Satan looked at Jesus and sneered, "All your blood, tears and your life."

Jesus said, "DONE!"


Quote of the Day

Those who can laugh without cause have either found the true meaning of happiness or have gone stark raving mad.
- Norm Papernick