Jim's Pond - Go, Explore, Contribute
"The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits."

-- Albert Einstein

Saturday, January 7, 2006

Golden Anniversary

Fifty years ago today my parents were married at a little church in Las Crusus, New Mexico. They are still together after all these years. I've just come from their anniversary celebration. All but two of their nine children were in attendance along with 25 or so of their 31 grandchildren. It was fun.

What struck me was all the old stories that were part of my childhood. We heard many of the old standards like how my parents met, moving around many times as a young family getting established, skunks under the old rock house in Farmington. The usual. But now they are part of our heritage and somehow take on more meaning.

Dad and I sat out in front of the restaurant waiting for everyone to arrive. He said, more than once, how amazing it was to think back over the last 50 years and how it seemed impossible that 50 years had passed by so quickly. I have a better appreciation for Mom and Dad now than I ever could have imagined at any point when I was growing up. That they are together after 50 years is difficult enough. That they still love each other and enjoy each other's company is a real tribute to them. It isn't easy for two people to stay together through all of the crazy events that accompany them along the way.

Thanks, Mom and Dad, for everything. I'm glad I got to spend some time with you today. I'm glad that I'm part of your history. And I hope you have many more happy years together.........

9:49:42 PM    comment []

Friday, January 6, 2006

Friday, again

"Youth is when you're allowed to stay up late on New Year's Eve. Middle age is when you're forced to."

--Bill Vaughan

10:37:36 PM    comment []

Wednesday, January 4, 2006

Joshua Tree

Earlier this week I was in California and fortunately had my bicycle with me. I took a ride from Twentynine Palms into Joshua Tree National Park. What a grind! Perhaps I wasn't so fortunate after all. It was 16 miles from lovely, beautiful, Twentynine Palms (motto: what the moon would look like if it had palm trees and bunny rabbits) to the top of the hill in the park.

I've since looked at a map and now realize that I wasn't that far into the park. I did get past Jumbo Rocks but not quite to the Ryan campground. There was a brief respite of cycling on some flat ground. But that wasn't great. I realized after going an extra mile or so that I'd benefitted from a tailwind and struggled into the breeze to get back to the downhill return.

I did have that 16 miles of coasting, hitting a top speed of 39 MPH (plenty fast on a bike) and staying above 30 MPH most of the way. Once back in Twentynine Palms I had a short ride back to the hotel. Nothing to complain about. Except the cold. Down hill isn't all breeze in your face and easy coasting. Sometimes it's bugs in your teeth and sometimes it's frozen fingers...........

3:05:26 PM    comment []

Friday, December 23, 2005

Friday, of course

"And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled 'till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more."

--Dr. Seuss

10:37:06 PM    comment []

Thursday, December 22, 2005

The next Johnny Long book

For the past several months I've been enjoying learning about Google hacks from Johnny Long's book Google Hacking for Penetration Testers. Good book, good information.

Now I want another Johnny Long book, Penetration Tester's Open Source Toolkit. This book includes a Linux CD with a suite of powerful penetration software, a.k.a attack tools. I'm not expert enough to fully understand the importance of this book. I'll need to get an opinion from Troy, The UEN Security Geek.

Either way, this will be one of my next book purchases..........

7:37:20 AM    comment []

Worth a look

Yesterday while doing some pre-Christmas shopping at Smith's I picked up January/February issue of Bicycling Magazine. The editor, Steve Madden, does an article in each issue. This time he had a sidebar suggesting a visit to Dave Zabriskie's web site. DZ is the Utah native who won the Tour de France Individual Time Trial (ITT) and also the big Giro d'Italia ITT. He's pretty funny and is known for his unusual sense of humor.

Dave conducts a series of one question interviews with some of the best cyclists in the world. So check out DZ's site when you get a chance...........

7:19:53 AM    comment []

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Xitel INport

This is one of the cool things about my Dad.

I got a call from him at about 9:00 Saturday night. He said that he must be getting old because he couldn't remember how to import music into iTunes. I asked a few questions and found out that it wasn't really a problem. He was trying something new. He went on to tell the story something like this:

Earlier that day Dad went into Best Buy and told the first employee he ran into that he wasn't leaving until someone showed him how to import cassette tapes into his Windows PC. The first answer was that there were some products available. Dad asked if the employee had used them. "No," was the reply. But this employee seemed to understand and gave it a moment of thoughtful consideration. "But I have a geek," was the next response.

So the Best Buy geek was sought out. And this Geek directed my Dad the the Xitel INport product. Dad headed home and began by digitizing one side of one cassette. This amounted to five songs. Now he was trying to figure out how to get them into iTunes and convert them from .wav to MP3 files.

We talked and I told him that he would probably need to use the Add to Library feature under the File tab. Before I could finish the exlanation he was saying, "hey, the files are there." By that I understood that he had completed the move and that he was looking at the newly digitized files in his iTunes libary.

The next question from Dad was how to convert the files to MP3. I told him that would be under the Advanced tab and before I could say more he was laughing and telling me that the conversions was underway. Then he wanted to know how to tell if the file had been converted. I directed him back to the File tab and the Get Info selection. And right away he asked, "What's MPEG?"

Dad turned 70 last March. By September I think he was finally retired. He had one last job to do; install laptops, PCs, LAN, Internet and firewall for a business that one of his friends, Daren, was starting. Dad told Daren that he probably wasn't qualified to set all this up, but Daren laughed and told him that he was confident that Dad would figure it out. He did.

As far as INport goes, it looks like a pretty cool product for those of us with vinyl and cassettes that we don't want to or can't purchase in digital form. It's also possible to record from the radio and digitize those recording into a PC. The file quality is very good. I listened to a few of my Dad's imports after a Christmas party at his house on Monday night. By that time he had digitized 188 songs. He'd been busy...........

8:48:15 AM    comment []

Friday, December 16, 2005

Friday, of course

"It is not necessary to change.  Survival is not mandatory."

W. Edwards Deming


"All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another." 

--Anatole France

and finally

"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts."

--Winston Churchill

11:03:00 PM    comment []

© 2006 Jim Stewart
Last Update: 1/7/06; 9:52:33 PM

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