Thursday, December 31, 2009

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Looking back at... Something

Are you a "graph" person? Evidently, I am not. For the proof, check out the masterpiece I created below:
What are you looking at up there? That is a chart showing the number of posts per month for this blog, colored by year, sorted by month. Yeah, did you get all that? The goal was to show something of a comparison chart. I don't really know if that is what I accomplished or not. I started this blog in August 2006, so there is no data for 2006 before August. Looking at the chart, I have no idea what it is telling me, except for one glaring fact: 2009 was a weaker year for posts than the previous years. Look at how small those brownish bars are there!  I actually started out strong last year, but then fell off during the summer and really never recovered.

In case you are as confused by the chart as I am, the numbers shown reflect the bar height for the bar BELOW the numbers.

I considered writing a "Hey, let's look back at what I talked about last year" kind of post, but I decided I won't get off into that unless the urge hits me very hard.  I don't think it will.

To those that stop by to see what pops into my head, I say, "Thank you!" Hopefully 2010 will hold plenty of posting action.  I guess we'll see, eh!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Post-Christmas Shopping

Before I get too far into this post, let me say that I will be posting a "Christmas" episode here soon. For now, though, you get to enjoy my current ramblings:

One of the things Shan and I do when we go shopping is to comment on the various "misplaced" items we see during our trip. You know, those items that other people left on shelves, presumably in favor of the item(s) actually on the shelves? Sometimes, we find a shirt on the bread shelf or candy on the fruit roll-up shelf.

Well, today, I decided to bust out the camera in my HTC Touch and snap some of the things we find. I am sure each misplaced item has a story...

First up, we have FOUR, count 'em, FOUR, Banquet Salisbury Steak FROZEN dinners.  My guess is that they are no longer frozen!  Next to those, we have a box of pasta, which I believe is lasagna noodles:


The made-up scenario: Someone decided they wanted to have salisbury steak for supper one night.  This means they started in the frozen section and worked their way BACK to this aisle.  They came down this aisle from the main passageway, bringing them passed the pasta, where they spotted the GV brand noodles.  They picked them up, and just as they were about to place the box into the cart, they saw the EasyMac.  Ahhh, EasyMac.  Mac-and-Cheese in under 4 minutes.  Why mess with steaks and noodles when they could just add some water?  So, rather than carry the steaks back to the frozen food section (which they have to pass anyway in order to get to the check-out), they simply dumped their goods here.  The real question is whether or not a store employee does the right thing (throws out the now contaminated food) or the wrong (returns the food to the freezer)....

Up next, we have something of a mystery in the baked cookie area:
 
The colored cups are mini plastic shot glasses.  Someone had been planning a night of drinking games.  The red you see on the shelf below is cherry or strawberry soda.  It's hard to say if that was part of the same basket or not, but for the sake of the story, we'll assume it was.  So, the shopper has already been drinking and now has the munchies.  She puts the shot glasses down in favor of some cookies.  Why "she?" Because no real man would pick up colored shot glasses!  Panic strikes as she can't decide WHICH cookies to grab, and thus a torrent of box-slinging yields the mess you see, boxes lying askew all over the place.  At this point, she is so mad, she not only puts down the box of cookies, but realizing that she no longer has the shot glasses in her cart, she puts the bottle of soda on the shelf below the cookies.  She tries to hide the item, afraid someone might catch her.  Hurriedly, she walks away confused and empty-handed.

I almost didn't take a picture of ths last one, but just couldn't resist:
 
What could the possible connection be between pre-made mashed potatoes and a Glade candle?  I had to know.  Let's go to the (mock) videotape...  We see a man pushing a cart full of various groceries and other items.  He has a list that he glances at every once in a while as he shops.  He rifles through several candles before choosing this one to toss into his buggy, then he uses a pen to cross an item off the list.  As it turns out, this is the LAST of the Glade candles.  He finished his shopping and is headed toward the check-out when he spies packages of pre-made mashed potatoes.  He glances at his list.  He starts counting oon his fingers, presumably adding up the cost of the items in his cart.  He stops, picks up a package of taters and reads the label. He turns the package over and reads the back.  Glancing into his buggy, he reaches in, snags the candle, then places it on top of the other packages of potatoes.  Smiling and nodding, he drops the treasure into his cart and wheels himself toward the checkout lanes.  He can always tell his wife they were out of the candles.  After all, that *was* the last one anyway.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Professional Learning/Linking Communities/Networks, Christmas Shopping, Ironwood Grill and more

As usual, here are a few of the things bouncing around between my ears as of late:

The first is a reply I gave to an educator that has just started creating her digital footprint. That is, she is just now joining online sites such as WordPress, Facebook, Plurk, Twitter, etc.

I know many of you like to have context, so my reply (below) was in response to this post: http://debsdebits.wordpress.com/2009/12/22/social-networking-cautiously-getting-started/

My Reply:
I also too a log time before jumping into Facebook, Twitter and the like, though I have been blogging before there was such a thing. I think the essential phrase is "Professional Learning Community." Facebook is not solely one, not to me. It's a place to hang out with friends, talk about whatever, though there are professional organizations on there for sure.


I'm sure there are folks on Plurk that are not educators, but I haven't found them yet. And that is what I love about it. I not only choose whom I follow, but who can follow me. Yes, sometimes we get into the 'banalities' of life, but more often we have amazing discussions about education, technology, blending the two and more.


As you said, the key is always (or at least often) remember that everything is added together to build a picture of oneself. I tend to be the class clown with nuggets of (hopefully) useful tidbits thrown in.


The biggest 'bonus' for me about PLC (or PLN, if you will) is that I can toss out a question and generall within minutes have suggestions from around the world, all from people *I* trust...


Welcome to the big show. :-)


Jess and Nick (Shan's sister and brother-in-law) have been telling us about this place called "The Ironwood Grill."  Yesterday (Monday), Shan and I decided to go there for lunch.  The place is not easy to find and how anyone finds it without first being told about it boggles my mind.  It's located in Texarkana, TX just off Richmond Road.  Basically, pass the Sonic and keep going to the next light (I believe).  There, one will find a series of fitness centers on the left.  Down the road to the left, there is a wooden house-looking building.  That would be the Ironwood Grill.

We got there a little after 1pm and had to wait 20-30 minutes for seating.  That seemed a bit much for a place that was not easily found.  I will say, though, the parking lot was full.  There were empty tables as we waited, but they seemed to be short-staffed.  Perhaps they did not anticipate so many people being off this week for Christmas.  Who knows.

The inside is pseudo-rustic with iron ornaments around the place mixed with wooden designs. I say "pseudo" because it does not look like you are stepping into something out of an old movie or TV show, but rather like you stepped into a restaurant that someone had thrown up with stuff on the walls.  That is not a complaint or a negative, just an observation.  The place was surprisingly quiet once you got seated.  The waiting area is small, and with the tin and wood and iron, sound bounces all over the place and you can barely hear your name being called over the conversation of other waiting patrons.

Their menu (which can be found on their web site) offered an array of choices: steaks, various fish, veggie plates, sandwiches, and more.  Shan and I both opted for the Turkey Bacon Cheddar sandwich.  We ordered their "queso" as an appetizer.  The chips were warm and crispy - nearly perfect!  We added salt, though the chips at the bottom of the pile had been dusted with what appeared to be sea salt.  The top chips had no seasoning, which is why we added our own.  The queso was bland despite having onion and some kind of green stuff (cilantro, parsley, something) in it.  I'm not sure what the cheese needed but it was missing something for sure.

We waiting an insane amount of time considering we just ordered sandwiches, but it was worth the wait.  My only complaint about them centers on the fact that the menu's description made no mention of tomatoes or lettuce.  That would have been handy to know so that I could've told the waitress to hold the 'matoes.    Other than that, the sandwich comes on a grilled flatbread wrapped around a healthy serving of turkey, a couple strips of bacon, and a lot of cheese.  This was topped with a tangy bbq sauce.  I even ate most of the tomatoes and lettuce.  Yes, it was that good.  The plate also featured a pickle spear and chips.

Our waitress did a great job of keeping our glasses filled, too.  That is a huge plus for me, as I can easily down my own pitcher of sweet tea.

So, if you're ever in Texarkana and want something sorta rustic, but with great flavors, head to the Ironwood Grill for sure!




Shan and I went Christmas shopping after the Ironwood.  Eventually, we made it to the mall where Shan hunted for items for her brother.  As we passed Spencer Gifts, she asked me about it.  She had never been in one before.  I grew up with Spencer Gifts in every mall I ever went in, so I am accustomed to some of the things they sell there.  If you are not aware, Spencer Gifts sells a mix of movie-related items, usually quite bizarre (like a life-sized Chucky doll), and a mix of adult-themed items.  As we entered, the first item hanging on the rack was a T-Shirt with a list of things for Christmas.  The first item on the list involved a very intimate act which is oral by nature.  Shan's eyes grew to the size of grapefruits and her mouth hit the floor with an audible THUMP.

Now, even though I had been in Spencers many times before, even I was not prepared for some of the very vulgar items for sale.  I don't think many places would display drinking glasses, t-shirts and the like with the "F dash dash dash" word on it.  They were here for the taking everywhere you looked.  We quickly made our way through, hoping to find some cool movie poster or figurine or something.  No such luck for the movies Casey likes (Rat pack-era), which really surprised me.  A lot of Bob Marley, Jimi Hendrix, and Marilyn Monroe in addition to the horror-film items, though.

As we walked around looking, the expression on Shan's face changed from shock to disbelief and back again.  I had a blast watching her and listening to her amazement at the wares, games, and gadgets on display!

Now, as a good husband, should I have at least warned her?  Of course, but where is the fun in that!?


Monday, December 21, 2009

The iPhoneBook has reaching implications

What would happen if someone married traditional picturebooks with the technology of handheld computers? One company has proposed just that:



I like the idea of having the interactive features tied to the book the child is reading. Basically, it's the same kind of thing we've seen in the past, but updated with video and interaction as opposed to simply reading the book aloud when a page is turned. To me, that natural extension of what is shown in the video would be a text-and-picture book with the text in the actual book. Keep the "window" there for supplemental features, but let the book stand on its own for those times when the device is not available or when the child does not have access to the device (i.e, his/her parents do not own one).

Taking this further, what about coffee table books? You pick up a book on travel to Europe, slide in the iPod, and in addition to the author's notes and musings, you are presented with video, interactive photos, music from the area, etc!

A NASCAR book would not only depict and discuss the history of the racing, but also have 'bonus' features available when the reader inserts an iPhone/iPod Touch into the book's window. How about a book about your favorite sports team with info and highlights at your fingertips - why mess with DVD's when you can have it right there *IN* the book!?

Let your mind go wild with the possibilities!

(thanks to Teacher_Rick from the Netherlands for sharing the video on Plurk!)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Been keeping busy! WHEW!

Wow, I had no idea it has been nearly a week since my last post here. As many of you may well be, I have been busy with Christmas stuff and other happenings in general. So, here is a random-thoughts version of what I've been doing:

I cleaned my office at work. I wish I had taken before and after pictures. Basically, I have an L-shaped setup with my computer up on the desk next to my phone. With no bit a exaggeration, you could not see ANY part of my desk at all. It was covered with magazines, sticky notes, miscellaneous papers, folders, CDs, computer parts, and other flotsam and jetsam that had found its way onto my desk.

Add to that the floor surrounding my desk. I essentially had stacked boxes, binders, you-name-it around the floor near the walls. It was bad. It was awful, really. It was also about 3 years in the making.

So, on Friday before our Christmas break, Emily helped me clean things up! It will be so nice coming back to a VERY clean office after the break!




I have also been working with Kevin Honeycutt (http://kevinhoneycutt.org) and HowieG (http://www.dinosaursandrockets.com) on a theme song for D-and-R. They had some of the lyrics down, but I was asked to take it a step further. Once that was done, Kevin and I used Skype to video chat live together one night. He worked out the song on his guitar and we reworked a few of the lyrics in Google Docs. I'm looking forward to watching it grow as we add other collaborators (percussion, vocals, etc).

The kids and I did a little Christmas shopping today (Sunday). Shan and I are going on Monday and then I will be going out myself on Tuesday. Well, maybe. I might be able to sneak some of Shan's shopping while she is off at Payless Shoes, Bed Bath and Beyond, or some other store she loves. I'll let you know how that goes.





I also spent some time playing around on JibJab (the "Elf Yourself" guys). I put our faces in an abridged version of "A Christmas Story!" Watch it here! (I used Sarah Hartman's photo because I needed five people and it's always fun to include her in our goofiness... Well, fun for me anyway!)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Robert Frost Challenge

On Plurk, the gauntlet was thrown down in a challenge to me such that I was to write a song based on the following excerpt of a poem by Robert Frost:

"But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep." -Robert Frost

In my defense, I did this in very little time. So, take it with a grain of salt, and my apologies to any Frost fans out there that get offended at my turning his poetry into something of a country song:

"Miles to go before I sleep"
lyrics by David Henderson

I tried my hand at poker
I tried my luck at love
I even tried my hardest
To find the Lord above

I left it all behind me
Set out on my own
Found the beer and women
Then found myself all alone

I swore that I'd come back
To this place once again
And I've been drivin' ever since
To where the story did begin

CHORUS:
I've been Missing for days
And gone for weeks,
But I have promises I have to keep,
There's a long road ahead of me
And miles before I sleep,
Oh, I got miles and miles to go
before I can sleep


I know she doesn't love me
Wouldn't take me back no more
But girl I left that summer
Gave me a baby boy

I don't have a dollar
Even to my name
But I know I gotta get back
To my son all the same

I've been Missing for days
And gone for weeks,
But I got promises I gotta keep,
There's a long road ahead of me
And miles before I sleep,
Oh, miles and miles to go before I can sleep

The white lines have grown so long
And I've got a long way to go
They don't even know I'm coming
What he'll say, I don't know,

I told her I would hold him
When my luck came around
But I got tired of waiting
So I'm heading back to that town

But I've been Missing for days
And gone for weeks,
And I got promises I gotta keep,
There's a long road ahead of me
And miles before I sleep,
Oh, I got a long road ahead of me
and miles and miles to go before I sleep

And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Monday, December 14, 2009

12 Days of Christmas (80's version)

Like on the first day of Christmas, the 80's gave to me
A cartridge for Atari


Fer sure the 2nd day of Christmas, the 80's gave to me
Two rainbow brites and a cartridge for Atari


On The third day of Christmas, the 80's with a spoon gagged me
Three sequin gloves, Two rainbow brites and a cartridge for Atari


On The fourth day of Christmas, check it out dudes,
Four slap bracelets, Three sequin gloves, Two rainbow brites and a cartridge for Atari


On the fifth day of Christmas, trippin as could be
Five John Hughes films, Four slap bracelets, Three sequin gloves, Two rainbow brites and a cartridge for Atari


On the sixth day of Christmas, the 80's grody to the max
Six Hungry Hungry Hippos, Five John Hughes films, Four slap bracelets, Three sequin gloves, Two rainbow brites and a cartridge for Atari


On the seventh day of Christmas, the 80's chilled and gave to me
Seven Apple IIe's, Six Hungry Hungry Hippos, Five John Hughes films, Four slap bracelets, Three sequin gloves, Two rainbow brites and a cartridge for Atari


On the eighth day of Christmas, the 80's barfed and gave to me
Eight BBS lines, Seven Apple IIe's, Six Hungry Hungry Hippos, Five John Hughes films, Four slap bracelets, Three sequin gloves, Two rainbow brites and a cartridge for Atari


On the ninth day of Christmas, the buggin' 80's gave to me
Nine Teddy Ruxpins, Eight BBS lines, Seven Apple IIe's, Six Hungry Hungry Hippos, Five John Hughes films, Four slap bracelets, Three sequin gloves, Two rainbow brites and a cartridge for Atari


On the tenth day of Christmas, tubular 80's gave to me
Ten Commodore 64 games, Nine Teddy Ruxpins, Eight BBS lines, Seven Apple IIe's, Six Hungry Hungry Hippos, Five John Hughes films, Four slap bracelets, Three sequin gloves, Two rainbow brites and a cartridge for Atari


On the eleventh day of Christmas, my 80's homegirl gave to me
Eleven "Where's the Beef" shirts, Ten Commodore 64 games, Nine Teddy Ruxpins, Eight BBS lines, Seven Apple IIe's, Six Hungry Hungry Hippos, Five John Hughes films, Four slap bracelets, Three sequin gloves, Two rainbow brites and a cartridge for Atari


On the twelfth day of Christmas, an 80's hoser gave to me
Bob and Doug McKenzie's 12 days of Christmas, Eleven "Where's the Beef" shirts, Ten Commodore 64 games, Nine Teddy Ruxpins, Eight BBS lines, Seven Apple IIe's, Six Hungry Hungry Hippos, Five John Hughes films, Four slap bracelets, Three sequin gloves, Two rainbow brites and a cartridge for Atari



(c)2009 David Henderson, for what it's worth. :-)

When social networking and professional learning communities (pln) pay off

Here are a few points to ponder that came across my PLN just today, and all within minutes of each other:

A new Kindle-killer is in the works:  http://www.eschoolnews.com/news/top-news/index.cfm?i=62152

Microsoft allegedly rips off Plurk, including very MINOR changes to actual coding! (http://www.atypical.net/archive/2009/12/14/stunned-at-ms-plurk-ripoff)

Other countries are dumping all their testing and various other practices to try and catch up with US creativity and ingenuity, while the US is hellbent on emulating the countries that realize "their way" didn't work: http://tannervision.blogspot.com/2009/12/if-youve-never-failed.html

As I have said before, sometimes social networking is not about YOU but who you READ...

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The 12 Daves on Christmas (technology edition)

Okay, so I have been playing with different display names on my Plurk account.  Lately, I've been using "12DavesOChrsms" (you can only use 15 characters).  That sparked an idea:

Oh, the first Dave on Christmas shared technology:
An emulator of Atari.

Oh, the second Dave on Christmas shared technology:
Two turtle programs and an emulator of Atari.

Oh, the third Dave on Christmas shared technology:
Three Flickr Flicks, two turtle programs, and an emulator of Atari.

Oh, the fourth Dave on Christmas shared technology:
Four Commoncraft Creations, Three Flickr Flicks, Two turtle programs, and an emulator of Atari!

Oh, the fifth Dave on Christmas shared technology:
Five Spicy Wings, Four Commoncraft Creations, Three Flickr Flicks, Two turtle programs, and an emulator of Atari!

Oh, the sixth Dave on Christmas shared technology:
Six games for playing, Five Spicy Wings, Four Commoncraft Creations, Three Flickr Flicks, Two turtle programs, and an emulator of Atari!

Oh, the seventh Dave on Christmas shared technology:
Seven Dino-Rockets Downloads, six games for playing, Five Spicy Wings, Four Commoncraft Creations, Three Flickr Flicks, Two turtle programs, and an emulator of Atari!

Oh, the eighth Dave on Christmas shared technology:
Eight iPhone Band Apps, Seven Dino-Rockets Downloads, six games for playing, Five Spicy Wings, Four Commoncraft Creations, Three Flickr Flicks, Two turtle programs, and an emulator of Atari!

Oh, the ninth Dave on Christmas shared technology:
Nine Worcester Workbooks, Eight iPhone Band Apps, Seven Dino-Rockets Downloads, six games for playing, Five Spicy Wings, Four Commoncraft Creations, Three Flickr Flicks, Two turtle programs, and an emulator of Atari!

Oh, the Tenth Dave on Christmas shared technology:
Ten Linked-In Lead-ins, Nine Worcester Workbooks, Eight iPhone Band Apps, Seven Dino-Rockets Downloads, six games for playing, Five Spicy Wings, Four Commoncraft Creations, Three Flickr Flicks, Two turtle programs, and an emulator of Atari!

Oh, the eleventh Dave on Christmas showed his family




Eleven Plurkers Plurking, Ten Linked-In Lead-ins, Nine Worcester Workbooks, Eight iPhone Band Apps, Seven Dino-Rockets Downloads, six games for playing, Five Spicy Wings, Four Commoncraft Creations, Three Flickr Flicks, Two turtle programs, and an emulator of Atari!





Oh, the twelfth Dave on Christmas shared technology: Twelve Honeycutt Hotspots, Eleven Plurkers Plurking, Ten Linked-In Lead-ins, Nine Worcester Workbooks, Eight iPhone Band Apps, Seven Dino-Rockets Downloads, six games for playing, Five Spicy Wings, Four Commoncraft Creations, Three Flickr Flicks, Two turtle programs, and an emulator of Atari!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Rockin (er, blues-in') on the iPod

I met Kevin Honeycutt (http://kevinhoneycutt.org) at the TIE (http://tie.k12.ar.us) conference earlier this year.  He is a wild, enthusiastic educator who loves to have fun bringing technology into schools, SHOWING how to use it.

Last night (Thursday), Bob (from Western Co-op in Branch, AR) and I met up with Kevin at a nearby Waffle House.  Kevin had never been to one before and he decided that was where we would eat supper.  The night started out like this:



And when things start out like that, they can only get nuttier.  After supper, we headed back to Kevin's room where he had several iPod Touches, a guitar, amp, and wiring to hook it all together.  Using the "Band" app on the Touch, along with other apps we tried, we managed to pull together a bluesy song and our own rendition of "Wipeout" (appropriate, given how it sounded!)

Kevin is a fan of streaming anything and everything, so he recorded us practicing last night.  Here are the two videos:

We started the night out just trying to figure things out.  We played different songs, letting ourselves get a feel for the software and trying to help Bob and me find rhythm.  It was not easy.  Eventually, though, we were so goofy that we kind of forgot about what we were doing, and things (sorta) came together.  I am hoping to do something similar in a workshop for teachers next summer!  It is going to be a blast!!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Are you a cold-calling salesperson? Then act like one.



The other day, while working on developing our agency's Continuity of Operations Plan (yes, that would be the Co-op's COOP), I received a cold call from some sales guy.  Looking back, I wish I remembered the dude's name because I would steer you far clear from this guy.

The phone call started off about as normally as most cold calls do, he introduced himself and told me he worked as an Oracle solutions provider.  Here is basically how the conversation went:

Him: "I'm so-and-so, and I'm an Oracle solutions provider.  I was wondering if you had any need of our services. I was told you are the person I should talk to about IT."

Me (knowing that Oracle is a database company, but wanting the guy to work for his pay): "Yes, I'm the IT person here.  What do you do?"

Him (a bit agitated): "Well, we're Oracle."  He pauses as if that should be enough explanation, then continues, "We do database management for companies."

Me (unable to resist the urge to pester the guy): "I'm not sure how that would help me.  Why do I need your services?"

Him (really agitated or confused, it's hard to tell): "Well, do you have anything you're doing with databases?  Like financial records or personnel or backend web data?"

Me: "We run Microsoft Office Sharepoint Services 2007 with SQL 2005."

Him: "Well, with your Office, do you run any databases or anything?"

Me (shaking my head because MOSS 2007 is not 'Office'): "We have a few Access databases, but that has nothing to do with our MOSS solution."

Him (either really pissed or very flustered): "Well, okay, yeah, I guess I'm not sure I'm talking to the right person then."

Me (VERY pissed off): "Whoa!  What do you mean 'not the right person?'  I told you I am THE technology person here.  We're running MOSS 2007 with Microsoft SQL. How am *I* the 'WRONG' person?"

Him: "Well, I don't think you understand -" He breaks off his thought and instead finishes with, "Well, thanks anyway." (or something just as banal)

Now, the moral of the story is this: As a salesperson, your job is to SELL me on your product or service.  Know why you are calling BEFORE you call a prospective customer.  He or she may still not buy from you, but you will be much more well-received if you know what you're talking about.  On the other hand, if you aren't sure, DON'T fake it.  How hard is it to say, "I don't know what that is" or "What is that" when you encounter a potential customer in his or her own environment.  And, last but not least, NEVER, and I mean NEVER talk "down" to a customer, especially one that isn't even a paying customer yet.  Granted, I pushed the guy a bit.

I have no idea if I will ever need services that Oracle offers or not, but rest assured, I will think long and hard before I ever even think about using them.  Yes, based on this one experience.  I don't have time to cottle and cuddle with some salesperson I don't even know, and I sure don't have time to play "catch up" after being treated like *HE* was doing *ME* the favor of his calling.  Next!

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Giving Blood - A first time donor probably won't be a repeat offender

The other day, and don't ask me which right now, I have blocked as much of the incident out of my head as possible, I gave blood for the first time.  Well I *donated* blood for the first time, let's put it that way.

Emily has a "Project Hero" program at school and asked if anyone wanted to sign up and give blood in her name.  Being the good daddy I sometimes can be, I wrote name on the paper and prayed there would be a storm or an earthquake or maybe the blood-taking people would end up at the wrong address so I could escape the fate I had sealed for myself.  Alas, it was not to be.  Everything went as planned.

The day before I was to show up, I received a call from the organization confirming my signing up to give blood.  I should have said, "I'm sorry. You have the wrong number."  But I didn't - again playing the 'good daddy' role.

Though my appointment was set for 4:30pm, I could not give right away.  There was a line of people ahead of me.  The woman at the desk handed me some literature to read and told me to sit at the table and wait.  So, I waited.  And waited.  And waited.  As I waited, Emily and her friends played with my iPod Touch while made several notes on Plurk. 

Finally, my turn came and I was ushered to a small desk behind a blue partition off to the side.  In there, I was asked all sorts of questions regarding my drug use, sex life, sex during drug use, family history of various diseases and whether or not I participated in sex with trees within the last 12 months.  Okay, maybe not that last one.  I don't remember.  I blocked it out, or am trying to.

The woman pricked my middle finger with a small needle and took a small sample of blood.  Those little pinpricks don't bother me at all.  Some people can't stand those but to me, there just isn't much to them.  I guess I passed.

After the interview, the woman took me to a chair and sat me down.  I was not thinking straight, and therefore my right arm was the one to be offered up to sacrifice.  I am right-handed.  Not smart.  The nurse (or whatever profession the people who draw blood hold) tied my arm off with the rubber tourniquet of death.  This was followed by the rubbing alcohol pad made by 3M sandpaper division.  Or maybe it was just the 1500 lbs of pressure used to rub off the first three layers of skin.

I am not a needle person.  As a kid, I had a very bad experience with a nurse that decided it was easier to just dig around inside m arm rather than remove the needle and just try again.  That incident lives deep with my psyche.  As you might imagine, the needle pit scene in Saw II or III or whatever did not sit well with me. I digress.

The nurse pulled out a little plastic thing and a moment later, I was watching blood flow into a little bag.  She explained that they collected several samples for research and the like.  Actually, I think the first woman said something about that, too.  After the few vials were filled, she used what looked like a curling iron with a slit cut in it to seal off the tube in three places.  She then hooked up the tube that ran into the donor bag.  All I had to do was hang out and let the blood flow.  Easy Peasy.

I looked down at my arm and said, "It's a good thing you guys hide those needles until they're in the arm.  Otherwise, I would have been outta here."  She laughed.  I didn't.  It was a big round as one of those little promotional screw drivers you get in the mail sometimes.  This was not a think, little needle sticking out my arm.  We're talking mechanical pencil here, people!

After a bit of time - I don't really have any idea how long I gave blood - the nurse came over and removed the tourniquet and the needle.  Actually, I am not sure which order that was in, and I'm not sure it matters.  For some reason, though, it seems like it should matter.  Well, as soon as she removed everything, my head started spinning.

"I'm a little loopy," I said as the Elementary school cafeteria began to lose its reality in my world.  Immediately, she put my feet up.  Another woman brought two ice packs over to me.  One went on my neck and the other on my throat.  The first nurse came over and handed me a bottle of water.

"Drink this," she said.  That was followed by, "When you finish that one, I'll get you another and then we'll see how you are."  I looked at the juice boxes on the table to my left.  I was pretty sure I was supposed to get juice, not water.  Who wants water!?  Dang.  After I finished the bottle of water, she took it and gave me another. 

"Didn't they call you yesterday and tell you to eat a big lunch?"  She asked.

"Yes, ma'am," I answered.

"Did you eat today?" she asked.

"Yes, ma'am," I answered.

"And did they tell you to drink a lot of water?"

"Yes," I said, drinking a swig of the nasty water.  To be fair, the water was branded bottled water.  But to me, *all* water is nasty. UGH!

"Did you drink a lot of water today?" She followed up.

I shook my head.  "Um, No," I confessed.  Then she shook HER head.  After I drank half the second bottle of water, I got up and handed her the ice packs.  I was still a little loopy but not near as bad as before, and I was ready to get out of there.  On the way out, I had a cupcake.  I should have grabbed a box of juice, but I didn't.

Earlier, Emily had told me to get a RED video game.  So, I grabbed one on  my out.  Yes, I gave blood, nearly passed out, and had to drink (gasp!) water.  What did I get? A sticker or something that says I gave.  What did my daughter get (who left some time before I was done so that she could play in her mother's classroom)?  She got a handheld videogame.  How did THAT happen!?

Friday, December 04, 2009

You just never know...

On Thursday (yesterday), the Arkansas school technology coordinators covered a plethora of topics.  One participant shared what he learned, and I thought I would share it with you.

Things I learned today:
  • Looking for aliens at school can get you fired.
  • There are computers in heaven.
  • XP can look like Windows 7.
  • Erate windows open a portal to the past.
  • The naming of Windows 7 was a rounding error.
  • Apple is to Microsoft as CNN is to FOX.  Or was it the other way: Apple is CNN as Microsoft is to FOX.
  • All those who have seen a pinwheel of death are dead and can't talk about it.
  • Google may put OpenDNS out of "business."
  • Piracy pays.  (Both for Apple and  Somalia.)  :)
  • There are no luke-warm opinions when it comes to mixing government and religion.
The various discussions took place throughout the day via email.  People responded to the various posts/topics as they could throughout the day while putting out the fires they had to deal with in their daily lives.  Also, everything listed here actually was born from only three separate emails, so far as I can remember.

It just goes to show you that you never know where a conversation can go, especially with as a diverse group of folks as we have in that which makes up the Arkansas school technology folks!

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

40 Favorite Christmas Songs

Oh you knew it was coming! In my year-long goal to post lists of "40 Things" in honor of my 40th B-Day, here are 40 of my favorite yuletide ditties (not in any order than how they popped in my head, and some are not "Christmas songs" per se):
  1. I'm Gonna Email Santa
  2. Silent Night
  3. Merry Christmas from the Family
  4. Away in a Manger
  5. Joy to the World
  6. Santa Claus is Coming to Town
  7. Silver and Gold
  8. Heatmiser/Snowmiser song ("I'm Mr. Heatmiser... I'm Mr. Sun...." classic!)
  9. I Wanna Hippopotamus for Christmas
  10. Bob and Doug's 12 Days of Christmas
  11. All I want for Christmas is You
  12. Blue Christmas
  13. I'll be Home for Christmas
  14. Rockin' around the Christmas tree
  15. Sleigh Ride
  16. Christ is born in Bethlehem
  17. Go tell it on the mountain
  18. Do you hear what I hear
  19. Do they know it's Christmas
  20. Grandma got run over by a reindeer
  21. White Christmas
  22. Winter Wonderland (and the hilarious spoof "Walkin 'round in women's underwear")
  23. What child is this
  24. Snoopy vs Red Baron ("Metty Clistmas, My Fliend!")
  25. Silver Bells
  26. O come, all ye faithful
  27. The Christmas Shoes (How do you not tear up?)
  28. Have yourself a merry little christmas
  29. Holly Jolly Christmas
  30. Jingle Bell Rock
  31. The first noel
  32. Where are you Christmas (from "The Grinch...")
  33. Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow! (as sung in "Die Hard" haha)
  34. Mary, did you know
  35. Hark the herald angel sings
  36. Santa Claus is coming to town ("The Boss" version, of course!)
  37. Jolly old Saint Nicholas
  38. Carol of the bells
  39. We wish you a merry Christmas
  40. The Christmas Guest (oldie but goodie!)
I had to look up the last one because I knew what it was about but couldn't remember the name, which is goof given it's about, um, oh, I dunno... a Christmas guest!?  Yeesh.

Feel free to add your own! :-)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Where would YOU look for a letter opener?


I got the handy dandy letter opener you see above from one of the conferences I attended a long time ago.  It's been a good little opener for many years.  A few months ago, it disappeared on us.  We searched and searched, but could not find our bill-opening gizmo no matter where we looked. 

Fast forward to Sunday night.  Shan asked me to help print out an oversized mailing label.  That went without a hitch because the labels we have that are 4x6 are inkjet-only.  So, into the Lexmark it went, and after a trial (and error) run, I inserted a new label with the correct orientation and *poof* we were good to go!

She then asked if I would print out a regular label with a return address on it.  No problem, right? I inserted the laser labels into our HP 1012, set up a standard 8169 Avery label and prepared to print.  Since that requires the paper to go into the manual feeder, I loaded the label, pressed the green "GO" button and watched the paper go into the printer.  There was a very distinct "CLUNK" as something inside the laser printer gave way.  When the label came out (yes, it did come out), it was way off center vertically.  I copied the text to a new position and printed a new label.  Or tried to print a new label.  The printer would not take the manual feed!  What the heck?

Oh, you know where I am going with this, but come along for the ride anyway, would you?

I printed the label through the "regular" paper tray and it worked fine.  Once I was done with the task at hand, it was time to start troubleshooting.  I removed the paper tray and looked inside the printer from the front.  I didn't see anything out of the ordinary.  I moved some things around, and tried to print again.  No luck.  It still wouldn't take the manual feed.  I pulled the printer out from its little cubby hole on the desk and opened it up.  Everything looked good.  I reached in, removed the toner cartridge, and there it was - our little letter opener.  I stuck my fingers in to get it, but it was wedged in there pretty well.  I tried to use a pen to dislodge it, but that was only making things worse, and I knew that if I kept going on this route, I'd be buying a new laser printer.  No thanks.  That is *not* on my Christmas list this year!

I got two butter knives from the kitchen.  Oh, I know what you're thinking.  Yes, I turned off AND unplugged the printer before using my makeshift tweezer-tongs anywhere near the electronic device! 

Now, it is usually about here that I talk about how easy it was to remove the object from the place it wasn't supposed to be in the first place.  Yeah, not so much this time.  I struggled to get the opener into a position that would let me extract it from the printer.  In case you weren't aware, there is not a lot of room inside one of these desktop laser printers, and what room there is does not accomodate foreign objects without a fight.  It also does not release said object without one either.  After a bit of experimentation, I decided that I could push down on the manual feed tray, forcing the opener to pop out of it's place, then pull the opener through the same tray opening I was pushing down on. 

I was half right.  The opener did pop out of its place.  But, instead of falling into place, it wedged itself into a weird angular position that I then had to fight to get it out of.  But, I did manage to eventually free the thing from that position and then slide it out of the manual feed opening. 

You may remember not long ago, I posted about geting baseball card plactics sleeves stuck in and melted onto the innards of the printer.... You may also recall my advice to keep ALL objects AWAY from your printer's openings...  We see how well (and how long) I listen to my own advice.

By the way, the printer still works just fine - manual feed and all.  It has nothing to do with me.  That is all about the Lord above smacking me in the head and giving me a bit of that "life experience" I seem to be lacking (since I seem to get so much of it).

Saturday, November 28, 2009

I won!! Wahoo!!

Well, it was a long, hard month of writing, but I broke through the 50,000 word barrier this morning to win the 2009 NaNoWriMo banner!  Even better than that, though, I pushed my novel from a short story into the book I've been wanting to write for some time.

Actually, it turned out to be a completely different story than I thought it was going to be.  I have a lot of clean-up to do with it as well, but I am not feeling any pressure for that.  I would like to get it edited and assembled to publish it before next year's NaNoWriMo, though.

I can already tell that it will take a lot more discipline to finish next year.  I started this year's with a story I had begun many years ago while working on my Bachelor's degree.  It took more shape during my Masters, but was still never breaking out into a full-fledged novel.  It took an article in a writing magazine for me to find the NaNoWriMo program and finally get my butt in gear to move it along.

The story follows one kid and his friends as they share fun, laughter, fear and adventure growing up in Western Pennsylvania.  The setting is based on where I lived as a kid, and the characters are composites of many people I've known over my lifetime.  While some of the trouble they find came based on my own childhood adventures, the novel is fictional.  I dare say, it would also make a fun movie.  Who knows, right?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Eight Days a Week...

Eight Days.  That's how long it's been since I lasted posted an update.  Yeah, I know I explained what's been going on, but still, I know some folks check back here to see if I've done anything, and I need to let you in on things!

First of all, I'm up to just over 35,000 words out of the 50,000 required to "finish" the NaNoWriMo contest.  I anticipate hitting the 50-grand mark by the end of Monday.  I would have Sunday, but I have to work on Saturday, so that shoots that in the foot, or the butt, or where ever you'd prefer to shoot.

I also got a NEW CAR!

Yeah, it's a 2009 Dodge Charger SXT.  It is one butt-kickin buddy!  I hated getting rid of my truck.  I have never enjoyed a vehicle as much as I enjoyed the truck.  I loved driving it, playing in it, putting goofy decals on it.  But, I am a "sporty" car kinda guy at heart, and this was much more in my price range.  I have been having a blast tooling around in it, too.

On Tuesday night, I drove four hours to Ft. Smith to stay overnight in a hotel for a training on Wednesday.  On the way up, I drove the Interstates because it was already dark by the time I left the house.  On the way back Wednesday, though, I decided to take Hwy-71 to Hwy-270 to Hwy-7 then grabbed I-30 home.  Basically, I went for a joy ride through the Ouachita hills and mountains.  I have one thing to say about it:  HOLY COW!  The pit of my stomach tried to turn over a couple of times because I am so used to driving the truck.  The truck could not take the turns in the manner that the Charger cut through them like soft butter.  Hugging curves, running on the straight lines, enjoying the ride... 

I was in Ft. Smith on Wednesday because Apple came in to tell us about integrating Macs with Netware and to talk to us about imaging the Macs.  Basically, you set one Mac up the way you want all the others to look, then save an image of that machine.  After that, you push out the image to the other computers so they all have the same stuff, set up the same way.  Very handy!

Today (Friday), I hosted a "Mac Party" day at work.  We had about 15 people come and learn how to use their Macs plus get a look at LOTS of software apps to run on their Macs (some useful, some just for fun).  I think everyone walked away learning SOMETHING new!

Tomorrow (Saturday), I am leading a group of teachers in a technology session.  I will be quickly covering PowerPoint and helping them work on their group projects.  They will create content with links, Arkansas Standards and Frameworks, the PowerPoint, and possibly videos/images.  It should be lots of fun!  I am going to share many of the resources that I've been exposed to for the last few weeks and months.  Very cool stuff indeed!

Things should return to "normal" for me after the Thanksgiving break.  Thanks for checking in on me!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Do you hear the crickets chirping?

Can you see the cobwebs hanging from the corners of my blog?  Yeah, I thought so.

So, what the heck have I been doing for the last week or so?  Mainly concentrating on getting to my 50,000-word goal for the www.nanowrimo.org contest.  That is to say, I have been working on my novel.  That is not all, of course. 

I have also been running all over southwest arkansas trying to help schools with their technology problems. Oh, I know, that has nothing to do with taking some time out to jot down a few words here. 

I have a confession.  I've been Plurking.  What is "plurking?"  It is a very cool social network tool like twitter or FaceBook.  I'm not sure how other folks are using it, but I have connected with a lot of education-related folks who enjoy incorporating technology into the curriculum.  I have also connected with folks that seem to talk about anything.

What I like about Plurk is that the conversations appear in a time line and that people can respond to the posts.  There seems to be a camaraderie on Plurk that is different than connecting with old friends (a la FaceBook).  The ability for response and to scroll back through posts easily makes it more relevant than Twitter. 

I also like that the posts and comments are limited to 140 characters like Twitter.  This forces the author to either limit their thoughts or to created inventive posts spanning several responses to their own posts.  It is a strange thing to see play out.

Then, there is karma.  You post, you respond, you boost your karma.  At certain levels, you get to 'unlock' smileys depending on your karma score.  The real fun comes in when you put yourself up against fellow "plurkers" in a contest for who has the higher karma and who can maintain their level.  A bit childish? Sure. A lot fun? You bet!

Really, though, if I expect folks to stop by here and see what's popping in my head, I need to keep on posting.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

The memory-lane side of reconnecting on FaceBook

I recently reconnected with a childhood friend, Kim Smith, on FaceBook.  It thought it was pretty cool to get back in touch with someone I hadn't seen in who knows how long.  What I didn't know is that she seems to have a never-ending collection of photos that were taken at various times during our lives.  For example, I am the skinny kid on the left in the photo below:



If memory serves, that picture was taken between her grandparents' house and my grandparents' house.  You may be able to see the date: July 1979.  I was ten.  We played nearly every summer together whenever her folks would come over and my parents would take us to grandma and grandpas, which was pretty often.  There are two memories that really stand out about us being kids and hanging out together back then.

The first is when we lived in my grandparents' basement.  They had converted the basement into an apartment - living room, dining area, two bedrooms, kitchen, bathroom.  Brian (on the right above) and I shared one room as our bedroom.  I remember listening to the "Grease" album with Kim in our room.  It was a lot of fun, and was one of those things that always stuck with me.

The other one is of us hanging out with her sister in her grandparents' basement listening to, don't shoot me (though I expect some laughter) "The Village People."  I think we even had roller skates on, skating around their basement to the music.

Of course, she doesn't have just one picture from our younger days...

This one is from my older teen-aged days.  This would be around 1986 or so, during my "messy hair" days.  Others prefer to call it my "mullet" days.  I don't even think I knew that word back then.  I liked to wear my hair short in the front with a lot of gel to make it messy.  The long hair was being grown out to eventually have a 'tail' made out of it.  I had also planned to have the longest earring I could find.  I am thankful THAT never materialized.  
Some people have bashed FaceBook for being some kind of place that only desperate "would-have/should-have" dreamers and wishful thinkers hang out.  I even know of one tech that blocks FaceBook at school based on the sole reason that his/her teachers don't need to be trying to rekindle old flames on school time.  I agree with the last part, but FaceBook (or any truly 'social' network) is much, much more than that.  For me, the images you see above are just two of the million reasons why I think the ideas behind sites like FaceBook make them incredible tools in today's world.
If you have pictures from your childhood and you've reconnected with folks on social networks, post the picture(s) out there and tag the folks.  Trust me, they'll laugh, cry, and most importantly THANK YOU for doing it.  But, mostly, they'll laugh at themselves.  And, that is a wonderful gift.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Right place, right time


I drove down to Fouke, AR, to work along side fellow techs in helping to set up a new Mac XServe server.  While we were there, the National Guard had the Dale Jr NASCAR vehicle there.  Naturally, we took a break from working on computers to have pictures made by the servicemen there.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Life after Michael and novel writing

To paraphrase Kermit the Frog, "It ain't easy being Michael."

Today was the first day back to work after "David Being Michael" came about.  In the aftermath, I left many "fans" sorely disappointed.  It turns out that many folks at the Elementary School had anticipated "Michael's" arrival.  I had not known this, so when Emily's classroom party was over, we went home.  MANY people told Shan and emailed/ texted/ facebooked/ etc their disappointment that I did not visit each of the grades at the school.

Another set of "fans," those with whom I work either directly or indirectly, missed seeing me dressed up and thus were not happy that I did not come visit.  I actually had a school visit scheduled for Friday, but other things work-related came up and I could not get there.  I have since been told to re-dress as Michael and come to the school this week.  As tempting as that is, I cannot bring myself to dress as the King of Pop at a school without a true, semi-valid reason.  Perhaps next year's getup will warrant such demand and admiration - or humiliation - whichever.

So, today, I heard MANY shouts of "Hey, There's Michael!" and "Hey, Where's Michael?"  It was flattering and strange all at the same time.  I never understood the "problems" of celebrity, and for a few days, I have had a chance to experience it.  It's great and scary all in one.  The scary part is the folks running up to you.  I'm talking grown adults running up shouting, "I need a picture! Can I have a picture with you?"

In a way, I suppose, it was a chance for some folks to connect with someone that many of us grew up knowing, admiring, scratching our heads over.  Would I do anything differently?  Actually, yeah, I would.  I would visit each of the grades at the Elementary building.  I would have also at least tried to get back a few of the "Michael Moves" just to give folks something to see.  Oh, I did a little side-stepping and moonwalking, but I used to have many of his moves down pretty well (or at least *I* thought so).  I suppose what I am trying to say is that I would have "showed out" a bit more, much like the King of Pop would have done himself.

As weird as it sounds, I did not dress like Michael to make fun of him. Not in the least.  Well, okay, maybe a little.  I mean, it *IS* Michael, after all.  But, aside from his wackiness, he was one of the greatest entertainers of all time. This was my little way of making him, "A Part of Me."



I am working on my novel, and am on day two of the National Novel Writing Month contest.  I have 8010 words written out of 50000 so far.  I am not sure if my program and their program counts words the same way, so I am hoping to have at least 51000 or so by the time it is said and done.

The "secret," so I have read, is that you can't go back and edit anything. You basically start writing and let the muses sing.  Edit later.  Make inline notes if you have to, but keep writing.  It's harder than it sounds.  In some places, the story takes a weird tangent or you see where a paragraph would work if it were in a different place, but you keep pushing through it.  In just two days, I have asked myself things like, "Am I being too wordy here? Am I not giving enough detail there?"  I have decided that I am going to go way overboard with details.  The story will have more information and description than anyone in their right mind would want to endure.  This serves two purposes: 1) It gives me a better chance of hitting the goal by being so wordy, and 2) You can always cut things out of a story but trying to add stuff in afterward is tough.

I'll keep you posted on and off about my progress, but you can always click the "NaNoWriMo" icon over there on the right side at the top of this blog if curiosity gets the best of you. :-)

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Happy Halloween!

I know it has been a long time since I've posted anything, but the week has been filled with getting ready for Halloween and other all-important such stuff. My offering to you is below:

Monday, October 26, 2009

Tribecards Trouncers (Weeks 6 and 7)

Yeah, so I fell way behind this past week in posting my team's update.  I guess it was part business, part just sulking over the steady decline in the fantasy team's overall performance.

The Trouncers fell last week, stretching their streak to a L3 - that is Lost the last three. Ouch.  In week 6, the Trouncers fell to 8th place out of 10, and since the team I am playing this week already beat me, it is safe to say the Trouncers will drop another place to 9th.  That depends on how the teams below my team do, but I am not holding out hope.

I was hoping the football fantasy team would fair better than the baseball one, but it is not looking so good. Of course, I am not THAT involved or else I would swapping people around, dropping bum players, etc.  Instead, I barely think about the thing until Sunday rolls around and sometimes it is too late by then to make any changes.

I'll let you know the official standings some time after the Monday Night Football game tonight.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Trouble with Troubleshooting

Warning: This is techie in nature.  I'm just telling you know so you don't get to the end and say, "Well, thanks, Dave!  I didn't need to know all that!" :-)  Of course, even if you aren't techie in nature, you may either learn a little something along the way or get a chuckle or two.  You just never know with me.




About a week ago, I looked at a Dell computer that had been hit by lightning.  I brought an extra power supply with me to the person's house, hoping the power supply in the computer had taken the brunt of the electroshock therapy.  No dice.  Something on the motherboard was fried (and I'm not talking the good kind of "corn dog fried" here).

I ordered a replaced computer for under $240*, figuring I could swap out parts and call it good.  I was half right.  I swapped out parts, but calling it good was still many, many hours away.



Here is what was happening: I could get the computer to boot in Safe Mode but get a blue screen of death if I tried booting into full Windows mode.


I knew part of the problem was the fact that the old system board was an Intel board and the new one was based on the AMD chips.  I installed the drivers for the AMD board, figuring that would solve my problems.  Nope.  So, I started disabling (or trying to disable) various devices, services, etc.  Nothing I did was working.

Now, I figured the problem had something to do with the fact this drive came out of a Dell.  I happened to have a Dell computer in my truck that has been riding on the rear floorboard for months because I keep forgetting to take it out at work.  I put the drive into that Dell and the computer cam right up, no problems at all.

Mind you, by the time I had even tried this, I had already spent at least two and half hours trying to get the new parts to work together.  So, now I had a path.  I knew the issue was Dell-related.  Or there was some Intel-related issues still running amok.  The truth was somewhere between, or a combination of both, however you want to say it.

I looked in the Windows folder for anything Intel or Dell related, then renamed those items to prevent them from loading.  I rebooted and still had the same problem.  So, I dug deeper.  Turns out there are all kinds of places Dell and Intel hides system files.  In every case, though, I renamed those files and rebooted.

Eventually, I hit the right files in the right place and the machine booted to the desktop with no errors or blue screens!  Well, almost.  I evidently renamed the file that lets Windows know it has already been registered to the user.  Because the new network card wasn't working yet (needed drivers, but I could not install them because windows was not activated - it's a nasty cycle I hope Windows 7 does not have), I had to call Microsoft for activation.  I tried the automated system, but it did not like the numbers I gave it, so I talked with some guy in India (or who had an Indian accent anyway).  After I typed the Windows Product Key from the case, I got a new set of numbers and had the system activated in no time.

After that, I also had two Intel-related error windows pop up.  The system was not happy that it could not find those two files (because I had renamed them, remember?).  Once I knew which files were causing the problems, I removed those from the registry such that Windows would no longer be looking for them.



From there, I installed the correct video, network and sound drivers.  This also let me remove the old network, video and sound drivers that had been in the Dell and were making Windows do all kinds of crazy things since the Dell was no longer a part of the active computing community.

So, where is the trouble in all this?  Mainly in that I am not exactly sure which files were the trigger to let me use the hard drive in the new system.  Does it really matter?  Not to anyone but me.  But, should  come across this again, I would like to know where to start in order to greatly shorten the amount of time involved, you know what I mean?



Sidenote: The End User License Agreement most likely says something about Windows staying with the  hardware on which it was originally installed.  The way I see it, the software was installed on that drive.  I am still using that drive.  Original hardware.



*I ordered an AMD Athlon 2 x2 245 (2.9 MHz dual core), case, power supply, 2 GB RAM, and motherboard from http://www.eCollegepc.com and thought it was a good deal.

(almost) 40 Favorite "Scary" Movies

Call them horror, scary, gory, whatever.  I am only including movies that I have actually seen.  There are a lot of scary movies that have been made, but I just haven't seen them.  These are 40 of my favorite scary movies:

  1. Poltergeist (yeah, it's the clown. Sue me)
  2. Embryo (freaked me out in 4th grade)
  3. Cube - The first time I saw it, I was captivated and freaked out at the same time. I knew then I had to have DVD. One of my all-time favorite movies, though I think I forgot to put it on that list. LOL.
  4. Friday 13th (the original, and only the first one. After that, they were stupid)
  5. Halloween 3 (the only one I saw and the music always reminds me of "every little thing she does is magic"  Seriously, listen to both and tell me it's not there)
  6. Saw (I am lumping them all together here. They are awesome scary/gory)
  7. The Day After (I was a kid when this came out and it freaked me out. Nuclear war fallout. scary)
  8. Carrie (freaky bloody chick. 'nuff said)
  9. Pet Semetary (Shan had a cat that looked just like the one in the movie)
  10. "The Doll" - not a full movie, but scary enough for me. Freaky!
  11. Funny Games (the original, not the remake. scary neighbors are freaky!)
  12. The Blob (80's version) - Another reason to stay out of the lake.
  13. Nightmare on Elm Street (the first one, original only. Remakes suck, as do sequels in most cases)
  14. The Omen
  15. Brainstorm - Christopher Walken and a bunch of guys make high-tech sensory playback "tapes."  It scared me to think of what people could do to themselves with computers. I loved it!
  16. Amityville Horror
  17. The Brood (I saw this on HBO or something as a kid late one night.)
  18. Videodrome (As an avid television watcher, it just freaked me out)
  19. The Ring. Who knew a sealed well could scare the tar out of you?
  20. Jaws. Again, as a kid, I wouldnt swim for months after this.  I just realized I saw most of these as a kid.  How did THAT happen!?
  21. The Shining. Jack Nicholson. 'Nuff said.
  22. Child's Play. Yeah, I have a problem with freaky little dolls that attack.
  23. Alien. Holy cow that was a big scary monster.
  24. The Grudge - one of the weirdest movies I have ever seen. Freaky kids.
  25. Psycho - The original. The fact it was black-and-white only made it scarier.
  26. The Birds - something about animals turning tails and attacking people is just scary.
  27. Henry: Portrait of Serial Killer.  Two guys get off on watching the people they videotape killing.
  28. American Psycho. I actually liked this a lot.  It was bizarre.
  29. Blue Velvet. Yeah, it was sexy, but man it was outright crazy!
  30. Cabin Fever - I saw this on IFC or something. It is "B" for sure, but the whole "dogs-eye-view" things was just priceless horror.
  31. Fatal Attraction. I had gone out with a girl that I was pretty sure the movie was based on.  Of course, most guys think that.
  32. Single White Female. In the same vein - freaky chicks, man.
  33. House of Wax - the remake. Okay, yeah, that one bugged me.  Wax figures are freaky. Period.
  34. The Sixth Sense - I made the mistake of watching the extras on the DVD before the movie, so a lot of things were 'spoiled.'  The girl who had been poisoned by her mother though... The first time I saw it, it freaked me out.
  35. Ginger Snaps
Okay, well, I came close.  I'm sure I could come up with the last five, but I see now it would be really stretching it.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Notes from the E-Rate Technology Summit in LR

These are my (very) rough notes from my recent visit to Little Rock for an E-Rate Technology Summit:



John Ahlen, Director, Arkansas Science and Tech Authority - 


Abilene Paradox - people do things as a group they would not do as individuals.  


Stockdale Paradox - it was the optimists who died in war prisons - we must never confuse our faith that we will prevail in the end with the brutal facts we are faced with in reality.


world is flat, blah blah.  "Did you know?" video.


Beloit college mindset list.


Stuart Elliot whitepaper "Projecting Impact of Computers on Work in 2030" - workforce skills for 2030 - language, vision, reasoning, movement - speaker is talking about a PC that will do this. He is saying things based on the whitepaper.  Theoretically, 60% of all occupations will require computer experience for employees.


EAST project.  Tim Stevenson, creator of EAST.  


john.ahlen@arkansas.gov (http://www.asta.ar.gov


---------


Rick Martin


Wireless with Erate.  Networking, etc.


Be sure if you pay for installation of cable, specify that all cables are labeled!  Document the wiring in addition to labeling.


DIS can help spec out cable jobs, determine quality of job.


Switches - Managed is ideal


Stack-type switches are generally well-to-do in schools.  Most stacked switches have a proprietary cable for the back to perform stacking without taking up ports on the front.


In managed environment, you can view stats on the switch and find problem areas on your network.  Also can look at your configuration of ports - speed, up/down, duplex, etc.  Can also use command line interface to see information.


Layer 2 - 1 large flat network with one broadcast domain


Layer 3 - divide your network into smaller broadcast domains, ability to subnet IP's and manage multiple gateways (like what Doug /jeff?/ is doing on his network).


Power over Ethernet - used mainly to power remote devices (IP Phones, WAPs, Cameras, etc).  


Building to Building connections
--Fiber is best
--Wireless bridging
--Copper (direct connect is bad choice because of electrical issues)


New Building
--Get Network Infrastructure in the plans early
--Wiring closets
--Switch infrastructure
--Cabling ducts
--Wiring Infrastructure
--Cheaper to build into plan than to add later


Refer to Arkansas Utilities Commission requirements for space requirements, ventilation, etc.


------
CISCO


The connected generation sees technology as their oxygen.


Wireless more secure than the jack in the wall at most places.  


Unite all services into one network via IP.  


Wireless virus protection and intrusion detection options.


802.11n - more streams and multipaths


Cisco M-Drive with ClientLink - delayed dual transmission provides better signal strength to legacy wireless clients (a/g).  


Detect rogue APs and clients.  Secure guest access.


RFID - passive and active types.  


------
TANDBERG


Tandberg Content Server - videocasts converted into mpg, etc for on-demand, delayed playback on various devices.


kc3 - kids creating content - tandberg contest.


http://kc3.cilc.org - registrations open to nov 20 - get your kids to participate now!


-----
DIS - broadband optimization
Don McDaniel, DIS


Three sites in pilot:
--Governor's mansion - frame relay t1
--Vilonia School District - 4.5 ATM IMA
--DHS Pine Bluff - 3M ATM IMA


Cisco was chosen for WAAS


(note pricing removed for public consumption)


Schools may go directly to DIS for this if they are willing to pay for the service.


-----


Tech plan addendum and deadline - Dec 11, 2009 deadline
--new products or services reported in the funding year 2010 eligible services list.
--new construction or renovated that are not listed in 2009-2012 approved plan.
--Non-instructional facilities not listed on the approved list


Must be completed online, but signature page must be mailed in.




Form 486 08-09 due 10/28/09


471 LAB Dec 1-3, register online


Form 479 - Feb 2010


Tech plan 2012-2015 start in january 2010 for submission online spring 2011


9-12 november 10th, advanced e-rate video conference.  


-----


Erate P-II
--equipment
--end user equipment not eligible
--two-in-five rule
--pro-rate ineligible portion 


sld products list
py 2009 eligible services list


what is discount?
-district
-group of schools
-individual schools


where is district in 2-in-5? Watch this! Only get funding twice in five years.