Thursday, December 18, 2003

Installed two new toilets this week. I'm turing into a pro. I replaced the older toilets in the house with new Kohler 1.6 toilets. They are basically paid for with a rebate from the water company and we save on our water bill with each flush. They are also part of a SmokeBreakTV bit.

Sunday, November 30, 2003

Last post before the month is up and I have to get at least one post in November. We've had Janet here this last week. The project continues. This week was lighting. We also recycled the top cap blocks from the old wall. They are much thicker than the modern cap blocks - about 4x4x8. We painted them three colors - a dark lavender, a light lavender & a cream color. We've stacked them around the flower garden and Jen is filling in dirt to raise up the bed. I bought some stucco, but have not gotten around to testing yet.
Last pos before the month is up and I have to get at least one post in November. We've had Janet here this last week. The project continues. This week was lighting. We also recycled the top cap blocks from the old wall. They are much thicker than the modern cap blocks - about 4x4x8. We painted them three colors - a dark lavender, a light lavender & a cream color. We've stacked them around the flower garden and Jen is filling in dirt to raise up the bed. I bought some stucco, but have not gotten around to testing yet.

Friday, October 31, 2003

Took our introduction to Access Tucson last night.

Thursday, October 30, 2003

It's started. Not for the faint of heart. Watch at your own risk. This should be fun. Smoke Break TV at

Sunday, October 26, 2003

I've been doing some more work on the backyard project. We're making great progress. I built a retaining wall on the inside of the circle to allow a planter bed next to the sand stone patio. This was also necessary due to the slope of the yard. The wall is built, but not capped yet. I also dug (by hand) trenches for the irrigation. Yesterday morning I installed the irrigation sprinklers and hooked everything up. As usually, I got to the last connection and was short one 3/4" tee. Off to Home Depot and back, then hooked up the final connection and turned on the water.

YEA! Sprinklers. I covered up most of the pipe, but I still need to do another rack through to remove rocks. We should be able to order grass this week.
I've been doing some more work on the backyard project. We're making great progress. I built a retaining wall on the inside of the circle to allow a planter bed next to the sand stone patio. This was also necessary due to the slope of the yard. The wall is built, but not capped yet. I also dug (by hand) trenchs for the irrigation. Yesterday morning I installed the irrigation sprinklers and hooked everything up. As usually, I got to the last connection and was short one 3/4" tee. Off to Home Depot and back, then hooked up the final connection and turned on the water.

YEA! Sprinklers. I covered up most of the pipe, but I still need to do another rack through to remove rocks. We should be able to order grass this week.

Sunday, October 05, 2003

JDC Tech Tips: October 21, 1999. Another example of Java code to create thumbnails.

Saturday, October 04, 2003

Web Album. Yet another program doing something very similar to archives. - Load an image, scale it to thumbnail size and save it as JPEG Some source code to create a thumbnail using plain java. I might use this to replace the Fireworks scripting I use now if the quality is still there. We'll see.

Monday, September 29, 2003

Apache Tutorial: Introduction to Server Side Includes Some stuff I need to figure out for the Archive. I'd like to have the picture and info as an include for both the photo hierarchy and the calendar pages.

Sunday, September 28, 2003

Worked hard on the yard project this past week. My neighbor and I also chopped down a lot of desert broom to clear out the space along the side fence. I'm also hard at work on the Friends of Music brochure. As usual, we're late, and I'm doing all the work. It is giving me a chance to learn PageMaker so I can get a new job as a documentation specialist.

Monday, September 22, 2003

Leaking Sprinklers

Repairing Solenoid Valves. One of my new irrigation valves is already leaking. UGH!

Sunday, September 21, 2003

Printing to Windows from MAC OSX 10.2 Printing to a Windows printer is not as easy as it could be on the iMac, but this web site sure did help.

Best tips:

Net View on the Windows box to check the share.
smbclient -L servername -U username on the iMac

Note that under Windows XP - the username "Mark Famous" is seen as "MarkFamous" under the iMac. Spaces are removed.

Saturday, September 20, 2003

MIT OpenCourseWare |
OCW Home
This web site was featured in wired last month. It's a very interesting site with full coursware from MIT on-line.
Froogle Search: bar faucet We're trying to find a 1-hole faucet to replace our faucet in the bar. Froogle is doing a nice job. We'll see if we can find a reasonably priced faucet.

Friday, September 19, 2003

I worked on the Archive programming last night. There were some tricky things to deal with deletes. I had seen a bug where someone disconnected early and ended up deleting their pictures. I fixed that, but I also made the delete smarter. The delete does not delete the file on the server but just renames it to start with an underscore. The new version is smart enough to find the "deleted" photo that starts with an underscore and rename it back to normal if the person undeletes the photo.

I've also been working on Java Servlet's to support the development of the feature that allows the archive viewers to add comments. I'm thinking of a blog style comment support for archive photos.

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

We had some boring meetings yesterday at work. Most of the topics discussed were discussed at least 3 years ago in other conversations. My boss also has the tendency to invite people to the meetings who should not be there. These are people who need to know about the topic, but not this early in the discussion. I makes the whole thing rather boring because we're discussing things I have already thought about and already understand. The fact that I had meetings at least 3 years ago discussing the same things is also frustrating. So...

I made the best of it and read through the Apache Tomcat documentation. I had not had a clear understanding about deployment, configuration, and the integration with Apache HTTP server. I still have some confusion, but I think I have enough information to do some more exploring. Automatic Deployment

Monday, September 15, 2003

I wrote my first Java Servlet last night. Instead of "Hello World" it displayed "Mark, you're the man!"

I'm working on setting up some ways to edit the comments on the pages of the picture server.

This morning Jen found a leak in the irrigation system. It is near all of the valves in the back yard. It's going to be a mess to fix. Yuck!

Works sucks.

Monday, September 08, 2003

We had much fun in Boston and Connecticut at Tod and Holly's Wedding. See Emma's Take on the trip. We all wish them many happy years and send out love.

Thursday, September 04, 2003

Big News. Google has finally figured out that my page it the first link for "Mark Famous". Yea.

Tuesday, September 02, 2003

Tonight I set up Janet to publish her pictures to the archive. She did her first sync. It took a while. I also set up a blog for her. Janet's Blog.
I called Linksys about my BEFSX41. They sent me a beta firmware update - 1.44.11t, Apr 16 2003 - that finally fixed my problem. The problem was interesting. The port forwarding was working, but only outside the router. worked for the technician on the phone, but when I tried that address on my network, it did not work. It appears as if the router was forwarding the port to the external network, but internal requests were not returned back to the computer on the network forwarding the port. This was no good because I could not test my forwarding. I also have some programs that are hard coded to look for and I wanted to use the same version for both internal network and external network access. The firmware update fixed this. I'm surprised it is not a more important problem.

I replaced the old router with the new BEFSX41. Next step is to set up the VPN connection with Tod, but that might take a while.

Thursday, August 28, 2003

So I got another BEFSX41 from LinkSys, and I tried port forwarding. It doesn't work either. UGH! I'm not sure what to do now.

Monday, August 25, 2003

My boss asked for some feedback on how we can improve overall company quality. I wrote up 13 pages and turned it in at 4:30pm before sneaking out of the office. There should be some fallout. Some of the problem is his own doing. The pages basically said what needed to be said. We'll see...

Sunday, August 24, 2003

Today we started taking advantage of the new wireless network. I moved the iMac into the living room. We bought a really hip looking small desk to put in the foyer to use with the iMac. It should arive next week.

I moved the main computer upstairs. We were concerned about the noise, but actually it is quite compared to the linux box. (I installed extra fans in the linux box because it has 3 hard drives.) I think this is going to be nice. From where I am sitting upstairs, I can see out the window from our bedroom and glance over and see most of the city of Tucson. Nice.

Saturday, August 23, 2003

So today we spent some money. We bought a dining room table and chairs and a new desk for the iMac. We're going to start clearing out the second bedroom and put the computers around the house there they belong. The iMac will be our main machine and reside in the living area, probably next to the front door. The Windoze XP machine will go upstairs and be used when I need to do bills. The Linux box will go in the garage. We'll see when this happens.

The new table should be nice for the dining room. We've used an Ikea table for about 8 years. About time to buy a real dining room table. We'll post a picture when they arive on September 2.

Friday, August 22, 2003

After I shipped my router back yesterday, I got an email from Linksys. UGH!

Dear Linksys,

Too late. I already shipped the other unit back.

I'm sure you hear this all the time, but I have a large problem with you RMA policy. If the unit self implodes due to a manufacturer or quality control defect and the unit is under warranty, then you would expect the manufacturer to pay for the exchange. I find it troubling that I had to pay for a Linksys manufacturing or quality problem. I would urge you to change that policy and ship a return label with all RMA exchanges.

I have a Cannon printer. It broke after 8 months. They shipped me a new one and paid for the return shipping. Kudo's to Cannon.

I will have to start using the RMA return policy to influence my buying decisions. I also have a lot of friends and family that rely on my advice for buying decisions. Again, I would urge Linksys to change their policy or I will have to recommend buying from someone else.

As far as my issue --- We're too late. It cost me 8 bucks and I'll eat that rather than pursuing this further.

Thursday, August 21, 2003

The saga of Linksys continues. I got a replacement router. My Zaurus now works fine. I updated my post on Zaurus DevNet Forums. I got the router configured last night as a second router on the nework. (I needed to turn off gateway, assign it, disable DHCP.) I also got the iMac working again through the wireless connection. I also enabled WEP. Yea!

Next LinkSys saga item is to get the VPN router working or replaced. It was not port forwarding last time I tried. I will try again this weekend, but give up and send it back if I can't get that working. I plan to use it as the gateway because it will support the VPN to Tod and also support the port forwarding.
I'm now in Windows Update heaven. I check Windows Update every day. I'm an adict.

Lately my computer at work is greeting me each morning with a message from Automatic Updates saying that Windows Updates has downloaded something for me and wants me to install it. The cool part is that it's the same patch. Morning after morning after morning. This is a good thing because it gives me my Windows update fix daily.

So I'm posting this from my pda tonight. I figured out the problem with my wireless card. It was not the PDA. It was the Linksys router. UGH. They sent me a new router when the old one blew up. The new one works fine and now my wireless PDA card works. Yea!

Monday, August 18, 2003

Linksys routers are giving me a headache. I bought a WRT54G. It worked OK for a while, but then the Diag light came on and would not go off. Sigh. Red Diag light not going out on the Router. So much for that router. I signed up for an RMA, but then realized that Linksys was going to make me pay to ship the old one back to them. I only bought it less than 30 days ago so I plan on returning it to BestBuy. We'll see if my email and phone calls stop LinkSys from sending my the RMA exchange. I'd rather return it at BestBuy because Linksys is the one who can't make a working product and I don't want to pay shipping for their problem.

Which leads me to the second router headache. I got a BEFSX41 for VPNing with Tod. It worked OK, but Port Forwarding does not work. UGH! I send Linksys a support email. We'll see where that goes. Hopefully Cisco will get involved here and clean Linksys up. That's the only reason I will stick with them. I can give Tod grief.

Saturday, August 16, 2003

Peanut Butter Jelly Time Flash

This is the best that the Rodeys could show us when they visited. Apparently they think this is cool.
Jim Hightower: "Thieves in High Places: They've Stolen Our Country and It's Time To Take It Back "

I need to get a copy of this book. I wish he would run for president. Electronics: Segway Human Transporter: " Great product, August 3, 2003
Reviewer: Matt from San Luis Obispo, CA United States
I was out drinking beers one night and I found one with the keys in it and I took off on it and had no problem keeping my balance.
When i was pulled over, all the cops said was, how much is that thing? Have you fallen off? Is there a spot to hold your beer can.
It was pretty cool.
MAtt "

ha, ha, ha. I can't believe Amazon posted this review.

Friday, August 08, 2003

I posted a not on Zaurus DevNet Forums -> WCF12 not Working about my WCF12 and Zaurus SL-5500 not cooperating. UGH! I have note given up yet, but it's still not working.

I did get the iMac working through the wireless router. We now need to buy a cute little table and set it up somewhere else in the house. The next big project is getting the wireless PCI card up on the linux box. That should be fun - editing conf files and crap. Linux sure is dependable, but not very easy to configure.

We're off to MD this weekend for Emma's Great Grandmother's 90 year old birthday party. We will also be going to the beach in Ocean City and getting in the water. Should be a fun, but exhausting trip.

Wednesday, August 06, 2003

Work is a real drag. They brought in some consultant to validate our direction from a technical perspective. I didn't get to talk to him. Oh well.

Working on the yard project. Most of the dirt is moved. We organized the garage last night. Lots of shelving and lots of stacking. We're going to need room for all the baby things as Emma grows older.

Saturday, August 02, 2003

TTDPatch Rules!
We bought an Airport Extreme card for the iMac today. This should be fun. We are not able to put the iMac anywhere in the house we want and since it's so quite, it can go just about anywhere.

I'm going to try to make some progress on the wall project this week. We should be renting a jack hammer this weekend. The picture should be entertaining.

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

TTDPatch - OH YEA! I got Transport Tycoon Deluxe working last night on XP with the patch. I'm so excited. I love that game. I wish I could write software the inspired stuff like this - The frequently-holy Church of Transport Tycoon
Aunt Janet was having problems with Windows Messenger Service dialogs. UGH! I can't believe M$ doesn't turn that off by default in XP, at least home addition. There is no reason for it to be on. I turned mine off at the office 2 years ago because it was anoying. The email:

I can take a guess that these are dialogs from the Messenger service. (Not MS Messenger chat program - this is a different "messenger".)

Go to the control panel. (Start Menu -> Settings -> Control Panel)
Open Administrative Tools
Open Services
Find the service Messenger in the list. Double click on it.

If Startup Type: is not disabled, change it to disabled and click OK.

That will turn of the messenger service. This service was used historically to allow network administrators to send messages to users like "I'm going to reboot the server in 10 minutes". Lately spammers and other hackers are using it on computers that are on the internet with no firewall to cause problems.

Monday, July 21, 2003

Today was the kind of day at work that makes me want to just come home and play Return to Castle Wolfenstein with a Martini with extra olives. Fun.

I continue my project to dispose of the old concrete block wall. Tomorrow is garbage day. I'm able to dispose about a wheelbarrow's worth of broken blocks each week. I estimate I have about 30 more weeks to go before it's all gone. I'm too cheep to hire a dumpster.

Sunday, July 20, 2003

I did some more work on the archive. The biggest visual difference is the new cow folder. I thought that would be cute. I also made several internal changes including the most significant, adding code to only update HTML pages when they need to be. It's kinda a poor method, but it works. I generate all the pages as before, but prior to writing them to the file, I load the old file and do a comparison. The comparison checks to see if the file and the generated output is identical --- except it ignores the first 160 characters which include the date of generation, and ignores the final 240 characters which includes the "last updated" content. This seems to work.

Tod has official taken over his folder through the use of the client program. I wrote a FAQ on this and other topics.

I'm working on compiling a DVD of Emma video and also adding more Emma video to the site. Lots to do here. We're using the iMac, but I think iMovie isn't going to cut it. We're looking into Final Cut Express.

Thursday, July 17, 2003

Sent out the Famous Family Archive client software to Tod and Jonathan last night. They both tried to get it working, but no luck. Both had user error issues. Hopefully they will get that working and we can start having family members send their own photos to the Famous Family Archives.

I worked on some Eclipse & Java programming on the iMac tonight. Eclipse runs pretty well. I was playing around with building an Ant script and integrating that into Eclipse. I was not able to get the class path working properly. I also realized that I didn't know how to run an Ant script from the command line on the Mac under OS X. I did get cruise control installed and running with log4j source running. My plan is to try to figure out how log4j decides what to log when running cruise control.

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

I had my birthday lunch today. We had lunch with the "guys" from the office. Emma and Jen joined me. I got metal skewers from Emma for cooking bacon wrapped shrimp on the grill. Jen gave me a cat toy I took back to the office. (She got cat toy's for her birthday last year.)

I bought a new video card today. A AIT Radeon 9600 Pro. It worked pretty good on a game I had. The old card overheated. Avoid Gain video cards at all costs --- although it was just a spec Nvidia ti 4200. I don't think I'll Nvidia anytime soon.

I guess I'm getting pulled back into the Stewardship Committee at church. I enjoy that work, but I had not been involved most of the year. They have already thought out a lot of the campaign for this year. I guess I'll help out the best I can.

Sunday, July 13, 2003

So I'm refinancing our car through E*Trade Bank. 4.40%. Yea!
Why does Great West suck - let me recount some more ways.

In June, they decided to stop offerring a few choices for their 401k plan and change them to another fund. This is great, except for their inability to explain to me how they converted my old shares of the old fund into the new one. I looked at a report they sent me in the mail. It lists the amount of money for sell of the old fund, but does not list the shares or the sales price. ARG! I went into Quicken and looked up the number of shares I had of the old fund. According to what I'm seeing, there is something wrong because the number of shares I had, at the last known price, doesn't match the amount of money they list as them selling for. ARG! I went to their web site, but there is no report of account activity. They list account contributions, but that does not list other activity like this transfer. I am able to pull up account balances (the only report that actually lists the number of shares) by date. This means I could view the balance on June 2 and June 3, and try to deduce what they did. When I did that, the number of shares still don't match. Now I'm going to have to sit on the phone with them next week and try to figure out if they are screwing my or not. I hate Great West 401k.
So, the Aspen Fire is about over.

We had a thunderstorm this afternoon. It was kinda bad because the wind was really going and there is a lot of dust and ash in the air. Even though the fire is over, there is going to be a lasting impact on the weather. It also smells outside. I smells like damp, burnt things. Yuck.

Saturday, July 12, 2003

We went an saw Howard Dean speak at a rally in Tucson today. We all had a good time. Emma didn't like all the noise, but I liked what he had to say. I couldn't find anything that he said that I didn't agree with. There was a lot of Bush bashing, but it's not too hard to bash Bush. I also liked how Dean added how he contrasted with Bush instead of just bashing him the whole time. I agreed with Dean's stand on Iraq, his ideas about taking the $600.00 check and using it to support programs that really matter. Best line was about some guy who went up to him in Vermont and said he would gladly return his $600.00 check if he could get the $60,000.00 he's lost in his 401k. True point. I also agree with his point that the U.S. need to join with the world community. We can't be a leader through force only and not also be a leader in the world community. He might have my vote.
Howard Dean

Wednesday, July 09, 2003

Cool. A web site that will setup a letter to all three of my federal representatives at the same sitting. This should come in handy.
Consumers Union

Tuesday, July 08, 2003

It's 8:00pm, dark and 96 degress outside. UGH! Too hot to do anything. This is delaying my progress on the wall. I deleted the old photos web site tonight. The Famous Family Archives replaced all that a while ago. Hope there aren't any links still out there.

I got my review today at work. Pretty good. There are no raises this year so it really doesn't matter. I also handed out 4 reviews to other people. Reviews are often such a waste of time. I hope the good comments at least gave people a little boost, but since there are no raises and nothing else to celebrate, I imagine they were just filed away. I also had a "management" meeting with HR. I ranted a little bit. The biggest problem with our company is that we have a bunch of managers who think they are good managers, but they really suck really bad at management. There are also a bunch of people promoted into management who have no idea what they are doing. A number of people from both of those categories are on our senior management team that needs a lot of work. Oh well, I don't even know if you can train someone to be a good manager.

The problem is that many people look at management as top down thing. They act like a father of a toddler. They are never wrong. They ask for things to happen. I think a good manager does hardly any of those things. A good manager works to make sure their people are productive and motivated, happy and empowered. The trouble is the worst managers don't know it and think they are just doing a great job. It's depressing.

We meet with the lawyer tomorrow to setup our estate plan. That should be fun.

Monday, July 07, 2003

I updated my page. Boy it was old. Removed a few dead things. Updates some links. Hopefully that will hold for the next couple years. I should update the home projects page. Maybe later.
Wall project update: I bought some caps today and more concrete to fill the wall sections where the rebar is. I also checked out a rental of a jack hammer to tear up the old foundation of the wall I removed. That should make some good photographs.

E*TRADE Financial - Home

This is where I do our banking. They have been pretty good. My only complaint would be their banking web site redesign, but v2 is getting a little better. I like their bill pay options and the ease of transfering between brokerage and bank accounts.
E*TRADE Financial - Home
Working on the Famous Family Archive client piece tonight. The purpose of this is to allow another family member to use the client against their My Pictures folder and have all of their content uploaded to the Famous Family archives automatically. I'm still working on it, but it works. I did a lot of refactoring tonight. I still need to work on the move functionality. If the family member moves a photo, I don't want to have them re-upload it, especially if they are on dial up. This should be ready shortly. I still need to do more testing with Tod and Janet's machine.
I do all of the programming and development for the Famous Family archives using Java and Eclipse. Eclipse has been a great tool for developing Java applications. Main Page
Hi. This is my blog's first post.