Thursday, January 31, 2008

WHOO WHOO - MacBook!!!

I will keep this short, but here is the first official post from the MacBook!  Dawn took lots of pictures of me opening the box etc, so I will post those when I get a chance...

BTW - Dawn not only let me get it, she insisted on purchasing, so I have to say Thanks to the Best Wife in the Whole World Wide Web :)

Friday, January 25, 2008

The past few days & MacBook

On Wednesday night, Tommy and I went to the Reese park, and shovelled some snow off the pond, so we could do some skating. We had a blast, and Tommy has named himself my coach, and is teaching me how to stop etc...

Yesterday, I took Austin to Ann Arbor for some appointments (just regular follow-ups), and everything went pretty well. I told the Physical Medicine Doctor that we are trying to get him ice skating, and she said it was ok to proceed... My Mom went with us, and we went to lunch at Bennigan's. Last night, Tommy, Austin, and I went to the pond and did some skating... Tommy got to use his new skates, and Austin actually made some progress (after whining, and whimpering a little).

So, on the way out of Ann Arbor yesterday we stopped at the Apple Store. I have been wanting a Mac for awhile, but it is official now... I looked at the MacBook Pro's, but they are just too darn expensive. So, I started looking at the MacBook's, and I think this small profile could suit me nicely. I will probably be taking this along with my work laptop, so it would be a nice complement to my computing scene. The only concern on the MacBook was the ability to play World of Warcraft (WOW). Of course a little search on Google was enough to find this blog, and ease my mind.

The only thing left is to convince my wife that I deserve it. So, I decided that this important decision should be left to you my blog readers... After all, this is the era of Reality TV, and with shows like Survivor we should let the public decide. So, please vote on the poll to the right...


EDITED AT 9:27 PM on 1/25/08 to spell "poll" correctly. Thanks Julie :)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

FeedBurner & Email Subscriptions...

I am still figuring this part out, so I may add some more later, but Google has recently purchased FeedBurner, and they will do several things including telling you how many people are subscribed to your feed after you register your feed with them via these instructions. In addition, they have some other features that you can use to Publicize your feed, and one of them is via email subscriptions (which is what Angie asked for in the comments of my blog). I have added the email subscription on the right as a link. You can use FeedBurner to add it as a link (like mine), or as a form that visitors can populate. I chose the link, because it requires a person to enter the "jumbled letters" to subscribe, and that should help with SPAM.

Let me know if you have any questions...

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Blog Mania & Google Reader...

It is apparent that we are in a state of Blog Mania with regards to my friends and co-workers... Don't get me wrong I think it is great, but it is hard to keep track of all the latest posts on every individual blog. I have been using Google Reader for awhile. I took some time, and added all the blogs to it today, so now I get a nice consolidated view of all the blog postings. In addition, I can add a star to any that I find extra-exciting (like my birthday posts etc).

You can get to Google Reader by going to, and signing in with your Google Account. Then you can add blogs to it by clicking Add Subscription, and then inputting the blog url. It will bring in all the posts, and you can browse through them very easily... Here are a couple of links with tutorials for your reading/viewing pleasure...

A Beginner's Guide to RSS and Google Reader
Getting Started with Google Reader - a Video Tutorial (click view this tutorial on the page)

I also had somebody ask me about blogging privately, so if you are concerned about public information on the internet you can get some additional info here.

Last but not least... I started playing around with, and so far I am hooked. You will notice to the right on my blog that I have some new links of exciting web pages that I have found. I installed the browser extensions for, and now I can click a button to add "bookmarks" to my account. I am still learning about this, but right now it is like a "blog for bookmarks", and it is extremely easy to reference cool sites. I am way behind on this technology, but now that I am older and wiser I guess I might as well figure it out. You can add my delicious bookmarks to your google reader, by adding this feed:

Whew! I know that was alot, but take it piece by piece, and you will hopefully be happy with the results :)

Monday, January 21, 2008

WHOO WHOO - Another Year!!!

Today is my 32nd Birthday, so I have updated my "about me" section to have the right age... It is bittersweet for me this year, because it was a month ago today that we had Autumn's Funeral Service.

I did have a pretty good year otherwise though... Here are some highlights & lowlights...

- Trip to Disney World with my Father-in-law in April - his first trip
- My Dad and his family were down there at the same time, so we ran into them a couple of times.
- I completed my Cisco CCNA Certification finally - I should have done this years ago...
- I attended Cisco Networkers in Anaheim - I have gone 2 years in a row, and it is always a good conference
- While at Networkers in Anaheim I was able to go to Disneyland for the first time. It was neat to be in the park that Walt actually walked around in :)
- Trip to Disney World in August for our Anniversary
- Celebrating 10 years of Marriage to my wonderful wife :)
- The excitement of being pregnant again :)
- I started this blog...
- My Thanksgiving Turkey Dinner was awesome
- We had a great Christmas including Tommy and Austin doing great at the Christmas Program
- Austin started to work on ice skating
- Tommy won his Tournament last weekend
- I made it to my physical - it has been several years...
EDIT: 1/21/08 @ 1:08 PM EST - I made Level 70 with Taustin in World of Warcraft (WOW)

- The ordeal with Autumn...
- Dawn's grandma passed away near the end of our spring trip to Disney
- My Dad has Parkinson's, and I can tell that it is progressing, and that is sad for me
- Watching my Austin struggle (although it is a blessing how great he is doing, I know that he struggles with tasks that most of us take for granted)...

Well, I am sure I have forgotten something, but I have confidence that Dawn will remind me :P

Let's see what this year has in store for me...

Friday, January 18, 2008

A month goes quickly...

It was a month ago today that we learned of Autumn's passing... They told us when we left the hospital that we would experience "shadow grief", and it must be true because I have thought about her quite a bit today... We have been really busy over the last month, so I think that has helped me move on, but I still find it really sad that Autumn isn't with us anymore.

I think she will be on my mind alot over the next few days, and especially on Monday which will have been a month since her funeral...

Happy Birthday Lance!

I wanted to take a second, and wish Lance a Happy 27th Birthday!

We are all going to Tiffany's after work for a drink to celebrate his Birthday today, and mine on Monday!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Not much going on...

Things are going kind of slow lately, but wanted to throw out a quick post...

We are trying to get Austin to sleep in his own bed, and I just got this link in my email from ParentCenter. That was timely, because I am going to move out if he doesn't :P

Austin is going on a field trip on Friday, and Grandma Karen is going to join him, so hopefully she will have some fun with that.

I have to wish my brother Jeff a Happy 32nd Birthday Today! We are getting together with the family on Friday at the Rocket for Beer, Pizza, and Bowling.

Our old Babysitter has started blogging, so I am going to add a link to her blog, and a few others...

Well, that's it for now :)

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Friendship Tournament Champions

Tommy's Team won the game this afternoon, although it was a battle and went into sudden-death overtime. Tommy had an assist on the tying goal, and the game winner. I am so proud of him. They had a trophy for all the players, so he was excited. We went to Hooter's afterward to celebrate! He had a ton of fans at the game, so thanks to all of you for coming :)

Hockey Tournament...

Tommy is playing a Hockey Tournament this weekend, and I can't believe how intense it is to watch a group of 6, 7, and 8 year-olds play in these games... We have won 4 games so far this weekend, so we are in the Championship Game at 3:20 PM Today. Tommy has played Defense every game, but has played great, and I am really proud of him and the team.

Sorry for the short post, but I have to relax, and get something to eat... I am so nervous, and I am not even playing...

Monday, January 07, 2008

Am I A Bad Parent...

So, my buddy Adam who is single, starts this conversation today at lunch... He asks whether or not I would take my children to Tiffany's at 6 PM on a Friday. I say sure, why not, and he says that it is a bar, and that it isn't a place for children. We spent the entire lunch hour discussing this, and I determined that I am ok taking my kids to the Bar Restaurant Combo scene prior to let's say 9 PM, but after that I would probably avoid it. I would not however, take them to a Bar only scene. He thinks I am in the wrong, because I am exposing my children to the "bar scene". I think he just doesn't like the waitress slapping him for swearing, because kids are around... I am curious your thoughts on this, so am I a bad parent for even considering to take my children to a Restaurant/Bar on a Friday evening?

BTW - during the research for this I looked up Tiffany's website, and I cruised through the pictures carefully... I don't have a choice, because if there is a picture of me on their website Dawn will find it, so I figured I was better off exposing it myself. Luckily, there were no pictures of me, however, I did find the following...

- A picture of Diana on her 21st Birthday - I was there earlier that night, and actually got ridiculed by Dawn a week later when we were at another party and one of Diana's aunts recognized me from Tiffany's.
- I am disappointed that Todd and Adam don't have their pictures on Tiff's website, because I know they both have spent plenty of money there, so I am looking for them to correct that :)

If you don't know me that well you might wonder how I go from Talking about Internet Safety for Children to discussing my excursions at the local hang-out... I am just the person who usually has a few beers on hand in the fridge in case I get thirsty, or someone comes over, and likes to go out with co-workers on Fridays after work to wind down a couple times a month. Dawn and I have a very open relationship, and I respect it when she tells me it has been too frequent, because she is usually right. In all reality though... I don't really need to explain, because this blog is all about me, and this is who I am :)

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Children and Internet Safety - Web Browsing

My Catholic School Teacher Wife mentioned today that somebody should put together a seminar for parents with regards to Internet Safety, and Security... I worked for an Internet Service Provider for 9+ years, and have been to what I call the "end of the internet" (I got to the point where there was absolutely nothing else that I wanted to look up anymore). So, I thought I would start by putting together some resources for today's parents to get them started...

I am going to start with Web Browsing, because I think this impacts the largest group of users... I allow my 6 year-old to browse the web to play some games etc, but he isn't into email or chatting just yet...

Web Browsing Safety
You will quickly learn that if something is on the internet once it could probably be on there several times. The topic of Web Safety has been written about on several sites, but here are my personal recommendations, and a couple of websites that every parent should spend some time reading...

- Take Safety for granted anywhere - if you are on the internet then you are at risk. I learned this when a picture of a squirrel standing on its hind legs was referred to inappropriately by a group of students. An internet filter is not going to stop a picture of a squirrel that is just being taken out of context even though the overall situation became inappropriate.
- Click on random links from a search engine without reviewing the "summary information", or knowing that it is a reputable link. It is always wise to start the search of a topic with a known site such as Wikipedia, and then move on to the links that they cite as sources for additional information.
- Click on advertisements, or links that are provided by the service the webpage is using without knowing the risks. An example of this is the NavBar at the very top of this page. If you click "Next Blog" you will get to some adult material very soon.
- Click on links in email and fill-in information unless it is something you have requested. I like to use the analogy of receiving an unsolicited phone call. If they call me without me asking then they are not going to get my Credit Card information. "Feel free to send me some information in the mail about your Charity and I might be interested". is a normal reply. The same should be thought of with regards to email, and login (and/or cc) information.
- Assume that the information I am providing is complete, but know that it is a good start...

- Setup your computer in the middle of a high-traffic area in your house, so that you can review frequently what is being viewed.
- Specify times that your child is allowed on the computer utilizing the internet, and enforce those rules.
- Check the web browsing history on your computer regularly. If it is normally populated, and suddenly becomes empty then that should be a "warning sign".
- Talk to your children about the dangers of using the internet, and how you are going to work together to ensure their safety.
- Acquire a filtering solution to provide an additional layer of safety for your family. You wouldn't allow your child to go over to another person's house if you knew they were dangerous, so why would you allow them on the internet without taking some precautions.

Websites for additional information

A comment with regards to software solutions... There are several internet providers including an "online protection suite" with their broadband services. Here are links to two that providers that are popular in my area, but check with Customer Support at your local provider.

Charter High Speed Security Suite

ATT Yahoo DSL - Try both of these links Link1 Link2

That's all for now, and I would appreciate any comments on problems you have experienced, or additional tools you recommend...

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Application of the year!

Dawn is still playing Guitar Hero 3, so here is a quick bonus post...

I checked with Adam at work today, and we decided the App of the Year was Password Safe... It is a great little program that lets you track all your passwords, and the corresponding websites. So, if you are sick of losing passwords check it out.

Another program I found this year is Display Fusion. It is a great little app for managing dual monitors by allowing you to move applications between monitors without resizing them first. It also supports some background configuration stuff, but I just use it to move my apps around.

Feel free to post comments on any little programs you have found useful this year :)

Wiimote really is high-tech!

I was browsing the internet and came across this link, and had to share it.

I can't believe what he is doing with a wiimote, and a couple of infrared LEDs...

I know I am a geek, but I was thinking it would be cool to play WOW on my TV from my couch with a wiimote :) Of course, a quick search on Google, and here is a link to somebody doing it already!

I need more free time...

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year!!!

I will keep this short, but wanted to wish everyone a Happy and Blessed New Year! I have been sick for 2 days, and am finally feeling a little bit better this morning. We got quite a bit of snow, so I need to go out, and do some snow blowing today. We had Austin at the ice arena the other day, and I am going to try some public skating for today also if I can... I would like him to play hockey in Spring league...

Back to work tomorrow... It has been a nice vacation though...

See ya,