Friday, July 31, 2009

Nomad Does His Best on Friday

Eating comfortably for $36 a Month

Nick and I have been having a little debate over whether it is hard to eat healthy when one is poor. I say that the poor have a hard time eating well, because they have to shop sales, eat at fast food, and are dependent oftentimes on the corner store instead of a farmer's market. Nick says it is merely a matter of priorities, and it is possible to eat well on little money if you make it a priority. So, I found this article to be an interesting addition to the debate. It discusses how to eat for about $0.33 per meal, by shopping smartly and choosing your foods carefully.

My own experience, and those of my family, still indicate it is hard for the average person of low means to eat well. But this article certainly makes the argument that it is possible, if you have the time and energy.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

CRChair is mighty!

CRChair is mighty!
Originally uploaded by nomad7674

The Return of Soda Milk?

When I was growing up, I went through a few phases where I didn't want to drink ANYTHING but soda ("pop" to you midwesterners). My parents were understandably upset about this, since they wanted me drinking healthy juices and milk so that my little body didn't wither away for lack of vitamins and calcium. Rather than set up a direct battle of wills - my family is renowned for our stubbornness - Mom came up with a novel plan of attack. She invented "soda milk", a drink made from lots of milk and just a little bit of cola or root beer. It gave the milk a slightly sweet and fizzy texture, but made sure that most of what I was getting was the healthy stuff. Brilliant!

It now appears that Coca Cola's industrial espionage people have been listening in on my childhood stories, as they have now released Vio, a fizzy milk alternative drink. With no artificial flavors or sweeteners, it might not even be too bad for you. Although, I think I'll stick to the real stuff - juice and milk - now that I am a grown-up.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Treat Fatty Foods like Tobacco?

Hat tip to Mod-blog reader Nick for this one.

Regular readers know that I have been fighting my own "battle of the bulge" for a over a year now, and have lost 75 lbs through a combination of diet changes (portion control, no sugar, few carbs) and focused exercise (bicycling). It was hard work, and I am not sure if I would have had time or the extra energy/money to pursue all of this if I had been married or had children. (Although, hopefully now that the habits are established, it won't be a problem to take into a marriage, if I should be so fortunate.)

But policy-makers right now don't see obesity as a personal challenge for individuals. They see it as a monetary black hole sucking up health care dollars, just as the President is trying to pass health care reform. "Obesity-related diseases" (mostly heart disease and diabetes) are on the rise, and lawmakers are looking for any way to cut cost and raise money to pay for their proposed health care plans. Now, they are turning to the model of the wars on tobacco, and are considering taxing fatty or sugar-laden foods in order to pay for universal health care. The idea is if you make it expensive to buy sugar, either people will stop eating it or they will be paying for their own health care thru taxation.

It is an interesting idea, but we also need to look at the other lessons from the tobacco wars. To this day, the government both taxes tobacco products AND subsidizes the growth of tobacco in America. Government is fundamentally two-faced, and we need to be ready to face this fact as we look to increase health.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Two Different Kinds of Schedules

I've known for sometime that an ill-timed meeting or interruption could throw my schedule off for an hour or more. As a programmer, I tend to work in blocks of time. It seemed that short of turning off e-mail and IM and hoping for no phone calls, I didn't have a good solution. Enter a great article about the difference between a "Maker's Schedule" and a "Manager's Schedule". A manager's schedule is broken into 1 hour segments. Meeting with someone is just a matter of finding a free spot. A maker's schedule is broken into tasks that can talk half a day or even a day. The solution? Plan meetings at the end of work day.

First win of vacation

First win of vacation
Originally uploaded by crchair

A Thirteen Year Old Reviews a Walkman

The Walkman reached its 30th birthday this year. I remember really enjoying my Walkman as a kid. In an article that is sure to make those who remember having a Walkman feel old, the BBC has a review of the Walkman by an iPod-toting thirteen year old as he trades in his iPod for a week.

A sandwich at a real Jewish Deli

Human Nature


Monday, July 27, 2009

Genius Bear in the ADK?

While my idea of "roughing it" is to stay in a hotel without internet access, Mod-Blog friend Bowhunter often regales us with tales of his hikes and explorations in the Adirondaks. One of his favorite things to talk about is the ever-present danger of bears amongst the many peaks. It is not that the bears themselves are often dangerous to people - they usually tend to be shy and dislike the smell and sounds that humans make. But they are dangerous to a hiker's food supplies, as they can smell food from miles away and can easily tear thru most of the standard coolers and backpacks in seconds. So-called "Bear Canisters" are now required gear for all hikers. These canisters are made to be very tough, and have complex locking mechanisms to make it nigh-impossible for a bear to break into. But apparently hikers are now reporting a genius bear who breaks into canisters that even humans have a hard time getting open. It's like the old Information Technology saying, "If you make your system idiot-proof, they'll simple make better idiots."

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Solar Powered Trash Cans in Philly

The City of Philadelphia has chosen a novel new way to reduce man hours spent on trash pick up. They have installed 700 solar powered trash cans/compactors in the city where regular trash cans used to be. The new combo cans are solar powered and will need to be emptied only 25% as often as the normal cans. This will save the city $845,000 a year.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Biking Update - July 25, 2009

Biking by the Stratford Shore (7/18/2009) - 05A very good week for bike riding, but a very poor week for weight loss. Started off last weekend with a long ride along the Stratford Shoreline with CRChair. It was a gorgeous day after several days of rain, with blue skies and high clouds. Then, on Sunday, I did my first "real" ride from my home in Shelton, CT to church in Trumbull, CT. ("Real" because I actually attended church after riding down, then rode back home. Thanks to pastors for helping arrange a shower before services.) If you are from the midwest, a ride of about 8 miles each way might not seem like much. But that is with SIGNIFICANT hills every mile or so the whole way there, and long (but more gentle) uphills all the way back. Then, on Wednesday, we had a good ride up to Captains for Guys Night Out - which may be Bowhunter's last regular GNO with us, as he is moving in August and we are away on vacation next week. Sigh.

GNO 7/22/2009 - 6The weight-loss front was not good this week, however. After the Sunday ride, I spiked up almost back up to 210 lbs, and never got much farther down over the course of this week, despite eating almost perfectly. Not sure if the extra weight is muscle building (which would be good) or if my body is "off", but it was discouraging. Especially in light of the fact that this next week is a "free week" where I eat what I want, which means guaranteed weight-gain. Still, I am not in this for a sprint, but a marathon, and these setbacks will occur. As Bowhunter reminded me and Nick seconded, it can be dangerous to focus on a single number as a guide for your life. Weight gain is not always fat-gain, and you want to watch your overall health.

This next week will be one of vacation. I plan to ride the bike every day, but also eat pretty much what I want. Don't plan to gorge on sugar or anything, but I do plan to leave my worries behind for a bit. We'll see how it all goes, and I will keep weighing every day. Be watching Mod-Blog for photos of the trip!

Weight Log for July 24, 2009

Friday, July 24, 2009

Minimum Wage Increases Today

The federal minimum wage increases to $7.25 today. Many champion minimum wage increases a a way to help the poor. Unfortunately, some get helped while others may lose their job. In the current economic situation, companies are unlikely to raise prices to cover this increase, so they will have to cut costs instead which probably means layoffs. Here is true example of how this worked for Neal Bortz when he was in high school.

"When I was in high school I got a job bagging groceries at the A&P on 9th Ave. in Pensacola, Florida. I was being paid the minimum wage. After a few months on the job the minimum wage went up by 25 cents. The manager of the store fired me. He said that the increase in the minimum wage increased his bag boy budget over the limit, and since I was the last hired I would be the one who had to go."

Yeah, this is me

Whither the Nomad?

Hmmmm... Perhaps clicking the image will give a clue as to his whereabouts... If not today, perhaps on Tuesday...

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Some churches changing the Eucharist for Swine Flu

You know that people are really getting worried about H1N1 (a.k.a. Swine) flu when churches begin changing their practice of Communion and putting into place rules first enacted during the Black Plague.

Somehow I think this is an overreaction, but then Christ merely said to share the bread and the wine. There is already a diversity over how the sharing is done - for example, my church uses grape juice instead of wine - so these changed practices are well within the established practices of the Church. Still it is interesting to see how we are adapting to this new disease.

Wildwood, NJ: #30 of Time's "Authentic American Experiences"

Wildwood NJ (Brothers) Vacation 2006We love Wildwood, NJ. My parents vacationed there before I was born. My first visit was somewhere around my second or third birthday, and one of my favorite memories is my older cousins coming down while we were on vacation and taking me out for a long walk on the boardwalk with "the big kids". I love the long boardwalk, I love the deep beaches, and I love the smell of the salt air. So, it is nice to see the Wildwoods getting some love as #30 on Times 50 "Authentic American Experiences".

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Surgeon General challenged for her Weight?!

Apparently, a large number of critics have come out against the president's pick for surgeon general, because she appears to be overweight. They content that in a nation of the obese, the surgeon general should be an example of excellent health.

This seems to me like insisting that the president be a great political philosopher or that the Secretary of Defense be able to beat any soldier in hand-to-hand combat. The surgeon general is supposed to be an expert on health issues, able to guide policy and advise the president effectively on health-related issues. They are NOT supposed to be the healthiest person in the land.

Here is hoping this particular issue blows over quickly, and we can get back to debating her qualifications and political positions.

Gas prices

Gas prices
Originally uploaded by nomad7674.

We all need affirmation from time to time

Raising Duncan Classics

Monday, July 20, 2009

What's Good for the Team, Can be Bad for the Sport

Sometimes, being a good teammate can be bad for your sport. Take the current situation at he Tour De France. Lance Armstrong, who is in second place, has basically decided to give up trying to win the race because his teammate Alberto Contador is in first. Here is the Quote from Armstrong:

"This is a team sport," Armstrong said. "I think now is the time for me to put my chances aside, and focus on the team."

Contador and Armstrong both ride on the same team for the same major sponsor. So his decision makes sense from a team standpoint, but it is bad for the sport of cycling as you have the sports biggest name now saying that he is not trying to win. Sports thrive when they have drama and good rivalries. The current situation at the Tour De France now will have neither.

The Amazon Kindle & Big Brother

On Friday, some strange news broke: all copies of George Orwell's 1984 and Animal Farm were being remotely deleted by Amazon from customer's Kindles. This seemed like a huge invasion of privacy - revoking already-completed sales just because they could due to the digital existence of eBooks. And it was made even more troubling by the choice of books being revoked - classic books about abuse of power and control of thought.

In the meantime, CNET has put up an explanation of the situation that is more balanced. Essentially, the books were being sold thru Amazon illegally. The publisher was claiming the books were in the public domain, when they were not. Thus, when the legitimate publisher found out, they objected and demanded all existing copies be repossessed.

While I agree with CNET that this puts Amazon in a slightly better light, it still leaves open the question, "Who is protecting the customer?" A more customer-sensitive decision would have been for Amazon to compensate the true publisher, punish the fraudsters, and allow customers to keep what they paid for.

Amazon has pledged to do better in the future. Here's hoping they do. Otherwise the Kindle may very well go from trailblazer to footnote.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Time for the Megapixel Wars to End?

I have owned a large number of digital cameras, all the way from when 640 x 480 was state of the art to a new 12 megapixel Canon camera that I picked up to shoot a wedding in the Spring. And something has become obvious as megapixels have multiplied like rabbits - the number of megapixels in a camera has very little to do with the quality of pictures you get. It is not just that we've exceeded the human eye, but rather that after a point the expanding number of megapixels simply shows up the flaws in the lens. Consumer Reports has noticed the same thing and is finally calling for an end to the magapixel race.

The problem isn't the sensor. It's the glass. Writer Ray Maxwell points out that lenses will at some point reach a limit and that simply adding more pixels to a sensor will not result in more detail or better images. So, while and laptop and desktop computers may continue to follow Moore's Law, cameras with glass lenses will not. And that limitation is why the writer ends the article with "If someone produces a 35mm full frame camera with 100 Megapixels, beware. Given the limitations of the wavelength of light, no lens can live up to that resolution."
We're already seeing this transformation in the computer industry, which used to focus on CPU speed. Now, they are shifting to multiple threads, power efficiency, and other measures of excellence.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Gas prices

Gas prices
Originally uploaded by nomad7674.

BJs in Derby, CT

Biking Update - July 18, 2009

Riding with CRChair along the Shoreline in Stratford, CT - 01Bad week for weight loss, but great week for biking this week. I started off last weekend by riding all the way from my home in Shelton, CT to my church in Trumbull, CT. The ride there and back took up 20.1 miles, which is definitely not my longest ride as far as distance goes. But unlike riding by the shore, I was working up and down significant hills the whole time. Some were mild, but many were good old New England roadways which are crumpled like a pair of pant thrown on the floor. It was a good ride, but exhausting. But it has cured me, for now, of most of my road fear. If I can ride that distance on real roads, I can certainly go farther and have little fear of what the local roads can offer. Later in the week for Guys Night Out, we rode up to and back from Captains Pizza (5+ miles accrued) and then on Thursday night, CRChair and I rode 12.1 miles along the Stratford Shoreline at sunset, which was a gorgeous ride. Perfect weather and glorious skies with the run setting behind the storm clouds from earlier in the day.

Biking with CRChair by the Shore at Sundown (7/16/1009)The weight story was less good and somewhat inexplicable. Despite the extra riding, I was actually on an upward trend all week until Friday morning when I was back down to where I ended out last week - about 206 lbs. I was not eating differently, except for a new brand of sugar-free candy that I bought last week. Looks like I won't be picking up any more of those, and we'll see if that helps. Or it is possibly just a burst of muscle-building after the long rides.

Not sure what the next week will bring. I am inspired to try and bike outside every day, since the weather is beautiful and a vacation is coming up where I plan to bike every day. But I also just got a new exercise bike, which I will probably set up tonight, so it would not be a bad thing to spend some time on that to break it in. We shall see. And we shall see if I bike to church again on Sunday. If I can work out a way to clean up after the ride, and before walking into church, it may be the beginning of a new tradition!

Weight Log for July 17, 2009

Friday, July 17, 2009

A Milestone in the Nuclear Age - A Cure for Radiation Sickness

If you have done any reading on the Manhattan Project, then you have read countless stories about the horror experience by the scientists there as they began to understand the phenomenon of radiation sickness. The atom bomb was originally engineered to simply be a VERY LARGE conventional explosive, but the radioactive fallout from the bombs caused unexpected side-effects. Days or weeks after the bomb, survivors began seeing hair falling out, teeth and fingernails rotting away, sores and burns appearing spontaneously, etc. Some believe more died from radiation poisoning after Hiroshima than were killed directly by the explosion. Scenes from these events have become emblematic of the nuclear age, and movies such as THE DAY AFTER have burned images like this into the collective consciousness.

But now, faced with a future nuclear Iran, scientists in Israel have developed a cure for radiation sickness!!! Using a protein found in human gut bacteria, they found a medication that could be ingested anywhere from 24 hours before exposure to 72 hours after. Animals treated with the medication showed an almost 100% survival rate, and in many cases showed no evidence of radiation sickness at all.

This is a game changer. Here is hoping that in the Age of Terrorism government will be loading up stockpiles ASAP.

Sigh. My childhood is weeping.

From ExtraLife.Com. You know, some of us did enjoy these things as MORE than a toy commercial.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Obama Plan would outlaw "New" Private Insurance?!

Thanks to @AaronKlein for pointing out this article. This is outrageous and unmasks the true intend of the Obama plan. Hopefully, this will kill it as dead as HillaryCare.

It turns out we were right: The provision would indeed outlaw individual private coverage. Under the Orwellian header of "Protecting The Choice To Keep Current Coverage," the "Limitation On New Enrollment" section of the bill clearly states:

"Except as provided in this paragraph, the individual health insurance issuer offering such coverage does not enroll any individual in such coverage if the first effective date of coverage is on or after the first day" of the year the legislation becomes law.

So we can all keep our coverage, just as promised — with, of course, exceptions: Those who currently have private individual coverage won't be able to change it. Nor will those who leave a company to work for themselves be free to buy individual plans from private carriers...

What wasn't known until now is that the bill itself will kill the market for private individual coverage by not letting any new policies be written after the public option becomes law.

The legislation is also likely to finish off health savings accounts, a goal that Democrats have had for years. They want to crush that alternative because nothing gives individuals more control over their medical care, and the government less, than HSAs.

Who Chooses the Church?

The news about the Episcopal Church formally lifting the ban on ordaining practicing homosexuals as bishops makes me wonder if Americans are losing their ability to sense hypocrisy. Americans demand the right to customize everything to our tastes. Don't like a black or white iPhone? We can recolor it. Don't like the standard burger? Have it your way! Don't like the way your house looks? We can match any color you do like! But when God makes a claim about how He wants His Church to work, we feel a right to contradict Him and decide He can't have it the way He wants.

I am sick of debating the biological/psychological origins of homosexuality, the political implications of it, and the comparative studies of homosexuality in ancient Israel versus today. They are beside the point. The Bible is quite clear on how God wants the Church to work.

Here is a trustworthy saying: If anyone sets his heart on being am overseer [a pastor or elder], he desires a noble task. Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God's church?) He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil's trap.
1Timothy 3:1-7
Please note, heterosexuality is not the only qualification in this list. A pastor must also be shown to be gentle, not a big drinker, a good father, a long-time believer, and must have a good reputation (which even disqualifies anyone who has a bad reputation that is NOT EARNED). But heterosexuality and monogamy are clearly qualifications. Ordaining practicing homosexuals is ignoring this prescription (as would ordaining an alcoholic or someone with a child who is a criminal or even someone unwilling to entertain in their home).

But does God really care about this "fringe issue"? Doesn't He give people a lot of latitude in their styles of worship? The Bible shows Him giving latitude to the masses, and not to those who would be leaders. Consider the death of Aaron's sons who God killed for worshiping Him in a way other than He had prescribed. It was not that they were being disrespectful, not that they were worshiping other gods, not that they were even coming with some unconfessed sin. They simply worshiped in a way other than God required. Or in the New Testament consider Ananias and Sapphira who were killed for lying about the offering they gave to God. It was not that the offering was insufficient, it was not that the money offered was in any way "bad", it was not even that there was some other defect in them. They simply lied about the offering, presenting it in a way that was other than God required.

The ordination of bishops is the selection of leaders for God's church. Doesn't He have the right to decide who gets to serve and who does not?

Heads I Win, Tails You Lose

Honestly, I have been having this same thought. From here.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

World's Oldest Mother Dies. (I'm Shocked!)

A Spanish women who lied to doctors to get an in vitro fertilization procedure done has died 2 years after giving birth to her twin boys. She was 69 when she died. Every few years we have someone break this record of "Oldest Mother". When will people stop being selfish. Even if these boys have a loving extended family to raise them, they will miss their mother. Some of us lost a parent who died at a "young " age. That is hard enough.

From the department of "Who would EVER want this?"

Windows 95 running on an iPhone via emulator. It is an "interesting" proof-of-concept in the same way that putting the engine to a Toyota Prius into a Forumula 1 race is "interesting".

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


I am used to the word "unstoppable" being used in comic books or science fiction films to describe the "big bad" in a story. I am NOT used to seeing it applied to anything in real life. But now the WHO has declared the swine flu/H1N1 virus "unstoppable" and is calling upon countries to quickly produce and stockpile vaccines in anticipation of a global pandemic.

While I am glad that health authorities are taking this seriously, I hope they can find a way to temper the rhetoric and have some level of optimism. I also hope that when President Obama is working on his health care reform, he doesn't try to use the H1N1 virus as a political weapon to force it thru. But somehow, I think that move is inevitable.

It's all in how you say it.

Raising Duncan Classics

Gas prices

Gas prices
Originally uploaded by nomad7674.

Just one more tweet! Please!!!

twitterlogoIt was not long ago that I valued the complete escape that a vacation offered. The office couldn't reach me by hook or by crook. I was completely free from anyone I did not choose to contact in some way. Nowadays, I find myself seeking out hotels with internet - wired or wireless. And add to this an iPhone that connects to 3G 24/7, and a Skype connection that I can check from any network-connected computer.

Is this a network or connection addiction? I am not the only one I know who is this way. I am not even the most prolific tweeter I know. Is this a sickness, or just the usual human proclivity to overdo everything?

Monday, July 13, 2009

Trumbull, CT makes 100 best small towns

I went to school and still go to church in Trumbull, CT. It is a great town to raise a family, and I am happy to see that CNN has recognized its excellence. I am nearby in Shelton, CT these days, but still think of Trumbull warmly.

Congratulations to Trumbullites everywhere!

Our Last Dog

This comic could have been written after knowing our last dog Biscuit.

It's a Brave New World

From here.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Gas at BJs Stratford

Gas at BJs Stratford
Originally uploaded by crchair

Invasion of the Lady Bugs?

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Kiteboarders at Long Beach

I had no idea, but apparently there is a whole club in Stratford, CT that meets at Long Beach pretty much every week. I shot this on my iPhone 3GS.

Biking Update - July 11, 2009

Guys Night Out (7/8/2009) - 3This was both a good week for biking and not a great week for weight loss. I started off the week on Independence Day with a solo ride along the Stratford Shoreline and rode a new high of 25.3 miles. It was quite tiring, but quite satisfying. It is nothing like the 75 miles that Bowhunter rode on the Ididaride or the 100s of miles of the Great Divide Race, but it was my personal best. Then, on my birthday on Monday (July 6) I rode another 26.9 miles solo by the Stratford beaches. Finally, I rode up to Guys Night Out with Nick and CRChair. That is over 57 miles in a single week! Not bad.

Biking Solo by the Shoreline in Stratford (7/4/2009) - 15But at the same time, on my birthday I took a "free day" and ate what I wanted. No sugar - despite early plans to have some ice cream - but I had potato chips for the first time since New Years (I think) and a good pasta dinner at Bertuccis. That caused a major spike in my weight that is clearly visible on the graph below, but the weight has been slowly coming back down over the course of the week. I am confident if I can keep up the riding that I'll be back down shortly. I also purchased a new stationary bike to replace the old Wal-Mart cheapo that I destroyed in a little under a year, which should help me to get a better workout on nights when I am not biking outside.

Weight Log for July 10, 2009

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Power of Photography

Amazing stop-motion animation video produced by Olympus for their new camera. Really captures the wonder and beauty of photography in capturing a life.

First-Aid Mythbusting

Urban legends are generally harmless, if annoying. But there are some bits of "common wisdom" that can be extremely dangerous. Take all of the anecdotal "cures" that you see on television? It is important to know the facts so that a minor injury doesn't become something worse.

A child pulls a pot of boiling water off the stove or sticks their hand on a hot burner

Do you put butter or mayonnaise on the burn? Hurriedly remove the child’s clothing because it is stuck to the burn? Get out the ice?

Those are the common reactions in the case of a burn, but all of them are myths.

Butter, mayo or other types of grease may cause even more damage to tender skin and pulling clothing or other materials stuck to the burn could damage the tissue or pull the skin off completely.

The correct action is to rinse gently with cool water and coat the burn with antibiotic ointment.
I know we have nurses, mothers, and outdoorsmen who read this blog. What other tips do you have for the RIGHT ways to treat injuries that are counter-cultural?

I think He prefers Facebook, anyway

Speed Bump

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Night Owls vs Early Birds

A new study suggests that early birds are tortoises and night owls are hares. It appears that morning people start strong, and slowly lose energy throughout the day but generally keep up the same ability. Whereas, night people start slow but achieve a higher level of activity after 9 PM. So, morning people have steady output, but night people are capable of amazing sprints of activity.

This may also explain why great entertainers tend to be night owls. It is not just that the shows have to be "after work," but that night people are capable of much more excitement, energy, and concentration for evening acts.

Personally, I am a morning person. How do I know? As an infant, I would get up at 5 AM and play until my parents were ready to start their day severa hours later.

For my friends, who like banana on their cereal...

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Suddenly, United Airline is very concerned...

...about the broken guitar in the video posted earlier. They have contacted the songwriter and are setting up a call "to resolve the matter." Apparently, customer service is CENTRAL to Unite Airlines... if and and only if you embarrass them on YouTube and Twitter.

Lesson learned - don't underestimate the power of song and the blogsphere.

Never tick off a songwriter

Because when all is said and done, they might just produce a music video that is published all around the Blogsphere. And you probably deserve the bad publicity.

Did Apple or OLPC make a better mobile device?

I had a lot of hope for the OLPC (also known as the $100 laptop) when it was announced. It was a visionary concept - an inexpensive computer which encouraged interaction and which used Wifi for ubiquitous networking. But when I got my hands on one, it was a huge disappointment and essentially unusable. On the other hand, I love my iPhone. One blogger asks, is the iPod Touch what the OLPC should have been? I think he may be onto something here.

And it gives me little hope for the OLPC2. Unless, of course, they wind up sub-contracting the work to Apple... or Sony... maybe Nokia in a pinch.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Blocking Text Message SPAM

CNET has done us all a great service by putting together a summary of the ways to block text message spam for all of the major cell phone providers. Text message spam is worse than e-mail spam because most users are paying for each one in and out. And advertisers know the value of text message spam because it is hard to ignore. Click on thru to see how to deal with this plague on your provider of choice.

What is the problem with banning incandescent bulbs?

They keep getting better and better, so any ban may not really help the environment in the end.

Not to mention that many environmentalists and doctors are concerned with the amount of mercury in every CFL bulb.

To be clear: I am not against CFL bulbs. We have many of them in our house. I am against limiting consumer choice when companies have the ability to fix the problems that made a product problematic in the first place.

US National Team Player Onyewu Joins AC Milan

For the first time in over a decade a United States National Team player will join a team in the Italian Series A league. Oguchi Onyewu, who is a full back, played extremely well in the Confederations Cup and peaked the interest of AC Milan. He had been playing for a Belgun team. It is nice to see some tangible benefits from the US teams run to the finals in the Confederations Cup. AC Milan is also the team the David Beckham is currently playing for.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Gas prices

Gas prices
Originally uploaded by nomad7674.

Happy Birthday Nomad!!!

Happy birthday to the best brother and blogger in the world...Nomad!

Sunday, July 05, 2009

So proud to be an American!

Yes, this is real. So very cool.

Biking Update - July 5, 2009

Biking by the Shore in Stratford with CRChair (6/27/2009) - 04This was a good week for both weight loss and biking. CRChair and I started off the week biking down by the shore in Stratford, and racked up another 10 miles or so. It was a beautiful day, and one of the first in WEEKS without thunderstorms. I am not sure if our friends are aware of the weather in New England, but it has been almost 3 weeks since we last had a full day without rain or a thunderstorm (until July 4). The upside to all of the rain, though is beautiful cloud formations and the air only gets so hot. And we were again Biking by the Shore in Stratford with CRChair (6/27/2009) - 07reminded of how every ride brings about some new experience, as we saw a number of fisherman on the Sound catching large, beautiful fish. On the weight loss front, it was also a good week as I saw a new low of 205.2 lbs! This is the lowest I have weighed since high school, and the closest I have ever come to my new goal of 205.0 lbs. It is possible, but unlikely, that I will reach that goal by Monday, which is my birthday.

Of course, that also means that Monday is a "free day" when I am going to eat whatever I want. I do plan to have sugar for the first time since Thanksgiving, as I have a small ice cream from a nearby shop that makes it themselves. Then I am probably done with sugar until next Thanksgiving (we'll see about that, but I have been a lot happier without it). And I will be back to the diet on Tuesday morning. But I am taking the day off on Monday to celebrate, so there is a good chance I'll get an extra bike ride in.

Weight Log for July 3, 2009

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Friday, July 03, 2009

CRChair says hi

CRChair says hi
Originally uploaded by nomad7674.


Mod-Blogger gets a mention

The fireworks videos were mentioned by the Valley Independent Sentinel Newspaper!

Maybe this will mean a little good publicity for Mod-Blog.

From the Derby/Shelton Fireworks

For those not in the know, most towns in CT do their Independence-Day-related fireworks before or after the 4th. This way (1) each town has their own day for the event, allowing more people to see fireworks, and (2) each town can schedule the fireworks around their budget. Last night was the night for Derby and Shelton.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Not so long ago...

Raising Duncan Classics

Shameless Plug: VChe Glass Fusions

There is an old saying on the BlogSphere, "Why have a blog if you can't give your family members a boost now and then?" My aunt has opened a new business online - VChe Glass Fusions - which produces one-of-a-kind fused glass jewelry and wall hangings. A snippet from her bio follows.

My unique designs and attention to detail are the hallmarks of my work. The hand selected pieces of dichroic glass are cut, arranged and fused to display dazzling bursts of color. The eye is drawn to the sunlight bouncing off each piece like a kaleidoscope. My aim is for the wearer (or giver) to be recognized as a discriminating person of taste and elegance. Order a custom piece and I will be glad to design a piece to enhance your individuality.
We seem to have missed the Mother's Day window, but birthdays and anniversaries are always just around the corner. Take a look and see if it is something your significant other might enjoy.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

CT Weight Loss

Apparently, I am not the only guy in CT who has been losing weight. :-)

Go Connecticutters! (Or Nutmeggers, or whatever we're called.)

Supremes decline to kill Cable DVRs

Television and movie companies have always been nervous about consumer recording systems. There was a huge fight over the VCR - which the studios lost. Then, a battle over putting television shows online. Now, the studios are trying to kill network cable DVRs. But the Supreme Court has refused to hear a case that could have shut them down entirely.

The justices declined to hear arguments on whether Cablevision Systems Corp.'s remote-storage DVR system would violate copyright laws. The end to the closely watched case allows the Bethpage, N.Y.-based company to proceed with plans to start deploying the technology this summer.

With remote storage, TV shows are kept on the cable operator's servers instead of a machine inside the customer's home, as systems offered by TiVo Inc. and cable operators currently do.

The distinction is important because a remote system essentially transforms every digital set-top box in the home into a DVR, allowing customers to sign up instantly, without the need to pick up a DVR from the nearest cable office or wait for a technician to visit.
It is always a bad thing to fight the future, because it is coming whether you like it or not. Here's hoping this decision - or lack thereof - forces television and movie studios to engage digital device makers to bring about the best experience for consumers, while keeping things profitable for artists.