December 30, 2008 – just a couple of feet to the left

For quite a while now Pam has had to suffer with crappy network cosmetics or crappy bandwidth on her desktop PC.
 
In our old house when we upgraded to Vista, the USB-based wireless device wasn’t Vista compatible at all, so I ran an ethernet cable from my office into the kitchen – down the hall and across the kitchen floor. (The house was on a slab, and the attic wasn’t really set up to run wiring thru it into the kitchen.) Very ugly. But it worked. Bandwidth was great, we could kick the cable under the edge of the cabinet overhang, and completely disconnect it when company came over.
 
When we moved into our new house in August, I checked online and sure enough, the wireless device manufacturer had an updated driver posted. I downloaded and installed it, and kazam! it worked. No ethernet cable stretched across the house. But the performance was still lacking. Sometimes absoluely horrid. As in, is the house still connected to the internet? and, we’re paying how much for 20MB up/ down, and this is the crap I have to put up with? Pam wasn’t very happy.
 
So this week, in honor of Pam’s birthday, I decided to be Mr Fixit, and run an ethernet cable from my office to the kitchen. In this house we have plenty of open attic space, so the job would be doable. And Pam would have her high speed internet.
 
But, just a few minutes ago, while procrastinating the wiring job, I decided to set up our Xbox 360 as a Media Center connector. Trouble is, I needed to connect it to Pam’s computer in the kitchen – the one with the crappy wireless connection. The Media Center setup even showed me graphically what a crappy connection Pam’s computer has. It wasn’t capable of analog TV, much less HDTV. Probably wouldn’t even be able to play music thru it, or watch a slide show.
 
In disgust, I grabbed hold of the USB wireless device, intending on yanking it out by its wires and throwing it in the pool, and suddenly – the graphical display for the connection speed jumped up into the HDTV-capable range. Very interesting. Problem solved: Pam, all you have to do to get a good internet signal, is hold your hand right here on the wireless device. And keep it there.
 
But I knew that wouldn’t work. So I moved the device around a little bit, held it by different parts of the device, and found that if I moved it to the left about 3 feet, I didn’t need to touch it at all, and the computer still had an excellent signal. Hmmmm! I draped the USB cord over a little whiteboard that’s mostly hidden behind the monitor, and it still worked great. And it was out of the way.
 
I finished the Media Center extender setup, opened up a web browser, and it was like magic. I could surf the internet from Pam’s PC at the speed of light. Ahhhh. She’s going to love it!
 
Happy Birthday, Pam!

December 28, 2008 – 10:52 PM

Watching the Chargers beat up on the Broncos for the final playoff spot. The Bucs lost a lousy game earlier today and are out of the playoffs.
 
Taking down the Christmas tree. Almost done.

Sunday, December 28, 2008 – foggy morning

I just love the scenery around here, don’t you?

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This morning it was foggy again, so when I went out to feed the horses I grabbed the camera and snapped a few photos. I covet that tree in the picture on the left above. It’s on my neighbor’s property. It’s huge, and it’s gotta be pretty old. Nice shade tree for their cows. My horses would love it. And my neighbor on the east side also has a nice large oak tree. My dinky one is there in the foreground. Give it a few years and the shade will be wonderful.

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OK. So after admiring the trees for a while, I finally gave the horses some feed. There’s something about a foggy morning that makes things so peaceful. The sounds are muffled and the colors are muted. And when the fog burns off and it’s a clear, sunny day, there’s nothing more beautiful.

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Louie likes to come out with me most mornings. He thinks he’s king of the farm (except when the neighbor’s older cats come over for a visit). At horse feeding time he’ll hide in the hay and peer out at the horses when they come up to eat. He’s such a clown, but the horses don’t mind.

Anyway, life is so peaceful out here.

December 28 – foggy morning

I just love the scenery around here, don’t you?

054 056

This morning it was foggy again, so when I went out to feed the horses I grabbed the camera and snapped a few photos. I covet that tree in the picture on the left above. It’s on my neighbor’s property. It’s huge, and it’s gotta be pretty old. Nice shade tree for their cows. My horses would love it. And my neighbor on the east side also has a nice large oak tree. My dinky one is there in the foreground. Give it a few years and the shade will be wonderful.

059

OK. So after admiring the trees for a while, I finally gave the horses some feed. There’s something about a foggy morning that makes things so peaceful. The sounds are muffled and the colors are muted. And when the fog burns off and it’s a clear, sunny day, there’s nothing more beautiful.

062

 

065   066

Louie likes to come out with me most mornings. He thinks he’s king of the farm (except when the neighbor’s older cats come over for a visit). At horse feeding time he’ll hide in the hay and peer out at the horses when they come up to eat. He’s such a clown, but the horses don’t mind.

Anyway, life is so peaceful out here.

Fishing report

What a perfect day to go fishing yesterday. The sky was brilliant blue, and the temperature climing towards the upper 70s.
 
Healy, Keith and I loaded up around 11:00 and hit the inside spots for a while a couple of hours. We could see schools of nice looking mangrove snappers swimming around, but nothing was biting. We worked our way out into Tampa Bay and headed down to just off the rocks near the St Pete pier. Bingo. We caught a few mangrove snappers, and action was quick. Some put up a pretty good fight on our small tackle. Joe also brought up a nice-sized sea bass, which gave Joe an idea.
 
After a couple of hours on the rocks we moved on out into the main shipping channel to do some bottom fishing. That was the best ever. We motored across to the east side then let the breeze drift us back across to the west side. Repeat. We each had a line in the water – Keith was using two. We had a couple of double strikes one triple, and for a moment had 4 fish on the lines at one time. (Was fun to watch Keith with that juggling act.) Joe brought up a pinfish & Keith substituted that for shrimp on one of his big rods and threw it over & forgot about it.
 
The sun started sinking low in the sky, but the fishing was too good – an occasional snapper but mostly sea bass. We even had the luxury of being picky – they were all over the size limit, but we tossed back anything that wasn’t a couple of inches over.
 
Then the big rod took a big bend – something huge hit it. Keith almost lost the entire rig. We’d forgotten about it with the sacrificial pinfish swimming in 40 feet of water. . . But it wasn’t meant to be. A strong hit, a couple of good pulls, but then nothing. Keith pulled in the line & the pinfish was still there without even a scratch on it. We’d like to think it was a giant grouper that hit the line then spit it back out whole. Probably 50 pounds and a couple of feet long. At least that’s what we’ll tell everyone.
 
By the time we got back to Joe’s dock the sun has set, the winds were calm, and the cooler was full of fish.
 
Good times.

Wow! New stuff in Windows Live

it’s been a while since i checked out hotmail directly from hotmail.com (i’ve been using the windows live mail interface) and it’s fast now! and i was able to set it up so i can write & read email that belongs to my snowstormlife account from inside hotmail.com. pretty cool.

then i started poking around some of the other new / updated live stuff. pictures are integrated with the skydrive. messenger / contacts / people are now integrated.

time to take advantage of what’s available here.

and also time to get back to my fishing poles. heading out with healy in a little while & i need to load up some new line & get all my tackle ready.

80 degrees and a cool breeze

The weather the past couple of days has been absolutely amazing. I have a bad case of spring fever. I hope to take some vacation days starting tomorrow and get outside & enjoy this while it lasts. One conference call on the schedule in the morning then school’s out!

I got outside around lunchtime for a little while today: warm sunshine with a light, cool breeze, partly-cloudy but mostly blue skies. Now this is the way it should be all the time.

Looks like we’re in store for a couple more sweet days. Time to hang up the “gone fishin” sign.