Tuesday, December 29, 2009

New Computer

Our main present to each other this Christmas is a new computer. It is a Gateway laptop. Top of the line 17" screen dual core P8700 with INVIDIA Geforce GTX 2600M video card with 4gb DDR3 Memory. Good enough graphics for gaming, Extended life battery (6 hours), built in web cam with Windows 7.

It has taken me most of a day to set it up and get it running. It will take a while to get used to Windows 7. Just when you get used to one way of doing things, they change it.

The Old laptop is now more or less dedicated to being an Audio Studio. I have started converting my old vinyl to MP3. Then they need to be edited and stuff. Some of the really old stuff has so much hiss and pop that the software can't tell where one song stops and the next one starts, so I have to go in later and divide the tracks up and title them.

We went and saw Avatar today. Quite the Movie. Incredible Computer Generated Imaging. I've
seen some great stuff in games, but it is pretty much static background with a figure moving through it. Three dimensional continuous CGI. I can't imagine how much computer time went into making the movie. I give it four starts on a one to five star ranking.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

I Hope everyone's Holidays are going well.

It was our turn to host the Christmas Eve. So we had a whole house full of Warrens telling lies and solving the world's problems. Everyone brought wonderful food, and we ate and drank until we couldn't eat any more. What I love about Christmas Eve is that there is never a sit down meal, just all buffet all night.

Little quiches, eggrolls, my home made salsa (killer!) with crab eat and cream cheese or shrimp and creme cheese. Chili cheese dip. Chinese sweet and sour meat balls. Deviled eggs. Crab dip. Chicken wings. Wild huckleberry cobbler.

Crown Royal, Tanqueray of Pyrat Rum. Fat Tire Amber Ale. Horneby's Hard Cider. for those who drank. Knudsens sparkling Cider for those who didn't.

We don't do a gift exchange any more, we just give a collection for the poor. We did have a $20 gift exchange, complete with stealing and all that.

Our two daughters and the kids spent the night, so we did have the Christmas Morning present opening and madness.

Mrs A got me a Sony Turntable that converts old vinyl LPs to PM3 files, so I may next surface in a couple of weeks, as I have around 400 old albums to convert to digital files. The turntable comes with a pretty complicated suite of software, so I have to figure out how to run everything, how to run the editing software, set the titles and separate the tracks. Then convert it over to itunes so I can load it on my ipod.

We still plan to get a new laptop after the Holidays, but no rush.

On a sad note, my Aunt Mary Rose passed away at 11:00 in the morning on Christmas eve day. She was my favorite aunt. In fact my daughter, Rose is named after her. She had been failing for a couple of years, and her passing comes as no great shock. My mind is ready to accept her passing, but my heart is not yet ready to let her go.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

787 First Flight

Everything went quiet in the factory here in Renton, starting at about 10:00. All the big screen monitors were tuned in to the same site:
The live broadcast of the 787 Dreamliner, set to take off on it's first flight.

There had to be a lot of sweaty palms and tightened sphincters around Boeing. This had been a long and difficult birthing. It had already caused several careers to flame out. It had cost a huge pile of money and resources. It had tried the patience of stockholders, corporate officers, and the work force. It had cost the image of The Boeing Company to take several hits to it's credibility.

Things had started out so spectacularly. The competition didn't have a ready answer to a light, versatile, fuel efficient people mover. Sales went through the roof, anticipation built, the stock went up and up and up.

It didn't take too long to show the near fatal flaws in the business model. No one had tried to put together an aircraft in quite this way. State of the art all composit construction divided among several stake holders, to be assembled somewhere else. Admittedly, the bottom line looked like an Ebebezer Scrooge wet dream, but was built on such a happy path plan, that it couls not succeed as planned. A product of this complexity could not be initiated by multiple stakeholders in multiple countries and assembled. The basic rules of Chaos Theory warn us that complex systems accumulate error probabilities in a way that makes first try success impossible.

As the assembly completion and first flight dates slid further and further to the right, it became all too clear that the business plan was flawed. Boeing's reputation has always been that if they promised something, they delivered. It now became a minefield of delays and excuses. The stock fell, Heads rolled, the stock fell.

But today, for one all too brief moment, all of that became past history. All of the false starts and disappointments became part of the past. It flies.

Oh, it's not done with yet. There are still lots of things to iron out in the assembly process, the supplire chain, and the final design. But the first major milestone has been passed.


Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Still Freezzing

Since Sunday, the temperature has not gotten above freezing. In places today, it got down into the single digits. It set all sorts of records for low temperatures.

But tomorrow starts the beginning of a warming trend. They predict the high will get up to maybe even 34 degrees. We may get a chance to remove at least one layer of clothing. Don't worry, that won't expose any skin. By Friday it may warm up enough for it to rain, or maybe the "S" word.

Right now it is too cold for even frost, except for frost stars on the windshield in the morning. This morning the frost stars were about a half inch in diameter. They really looked nice. they weren't heavy enough to have to scrape the window, just there enough to refract some of the light from the street lights.

Of course I turned on the defroster as the car warmed up. After a few minutes suddenly the windshield cleared. It was as if someone suddenly scraped the windshield clear all at once. One minute, frost stars, next minute none.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Baby I't's COLD Outside

The temperature was in the low 20's this morning. It is supposed to maybe get UP to freezing this morning.
I know there are people that think this is nothing to complain about. Having spent most of my adult life here in Latteland, I have to admit I have never seen it get below Zero.
But we Lattelanders are poorly adapted for the cold. Admitted, a percentage of us have a fatty layer of insulation that would seem to insulate us from the cold, but I think if you gave it some study you would find that the fatty layer is not evenly distributed, and therefore of little value.
At home, our domiciles are poorly insulated, and out pipes tend to freeze often and with disasterous results. I have attempted to oversome this by redirecting a heat vent down into the basement. After all, you don't need a great deal of heat to keep the pipes from freezing.
The next several days will follow the pattern of frigid nights and freezing days, with no sign of respite until maybe Friday.
At least the sun is shining.
But all that does is lull you into a false sense of security so you will go outdoors, where the wind and chill will freeze your face off.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Way Too Much Crap

On Sunday, a career criminal went into a coffee shop in Lakewood, South of Tacoma frequented by Police, pulled out a gun, and murdered four Police Officers. One of the officers managed to get his weapon out and return fire. This is the single worst attack on Police in the history of the State of Washington.

The gunman hopped into a waiting car and sped away. All four of the Officers had family: husbands, wives, kids, brothers, sisters, parents. All were respected members of the Lakewood Police Force. They were not known to the gunman. The cowardly viscous unprovoked attack seems to have been entirely random.

Maurice Clemmons was out on bail from charges of child rape and assault. He had had a lengthy prison sentence commuted by Gov. Huckabee in Arkansas, where he was in prison for multiple counts of burglary and one for assault on a police officer.

At 2:45 this morning, he was shot and killed in South Seattle, a short distance from where I live. Having murdered four Police Officers, there was little hope he would be apprehended alive. My personal opinion is that the human gene pool has been improved by his removal from it.

There is no way that this scumbag should have been walking the streets. With his extensive record and the pending charges against him, he should have still been in jail.

It was quite evident that he had been helped by several people to evade police. He had been woulded in the abdomen by the one officer that managed to get off a shot before being murdered. The wound had been dressed and treated by someone. He was driven away from the crime scene by an accomplice (who can be charged with accessory to Myrder of the four officers) he was hidden, and moved from place to place. Conspiracy to aid a fugitive, aiding and abbetting a fugitive and other charges are being filed. I believe they currently have four people in custody on a variety of charges. I hope they all get apropriate sentences, if found guilty.

This comes a couple of weeks after two Seattle Police Officers were murdered in their patrol car.

Way too much tragedy, murder, violence and death.

A tragedy of major proportions. No one wins and there is NO happy ending.