Storm Front

I finished reading Storm Front, the first book in The Dresden Files series. It’s about a freelance wizard who works as a private detective solving supernatural crimes. It was a good, quick read that kept my attention throughout the book. I’d definitely recommend it and will be picking up the rest of the series after I get through the big stack of books I’ve got already.

Nascar At Texas Motor Speedway

Today was a lazy day since I’m trying to rest up for my trip back to Dallas tomorrow so we just hung out at Joi’s apartment and watched NASCAR. The race was at Texas Motor Speedway and was really good. Casey Kahne was doing really well until a wreck late in the race took him out, but he won the Busch race yesterday so it’s not all bad.

Robots Again

We took Reese to see Robots today and he loved it. It kept his attention riveted to the screen for the entire movie, which surprised me. I’d expected him to fidget and maybe hop down and run around the theater a little, which would have been fine as well.

We also played a couple video games and a game of air hockey. Reese’s hand-eye coodination is really good, so I’m thinking I may have to pick up an air hockey table for the useless room down stairs. Oh darn!

Cable Modems and Family Reunions

Unloading the van wasn’t fun but I did get my exercise in.

After that I decided to set up Joi’s cable internet connection. That was an interesting experience! Insight Broadband doesn’t make it easy to run a hardware firewall on their cable connections and we all know just how long an unprotected Windows PC is expected to survive when directly connected to the internet. I finally had to admit that I was beat and call Insight. We got it running after a little fiddling around. But I still had to tweak the DNS servers that they used because they’re just too flaky.

After that we headed out to pick my mother up from the airport. She flew in to see Reese for the first time and brought some coffee syrup and clam chowder with her. Yum!

Driving to Illinois

In order to haul a bunch of stuff up to Peoria I rented a full size cargo van from Enterprise. That thing was a beast, with a huge blind spot to deal with and no cruise control. But it had a 30-something gallon tank and got as good gas mileage as my Jeep so I only had to make two gas stops. 12 hours and 30 minutes total time to get there.

A Wizard of Earthsea

After watching the SciFi channel’s Earthsea miniseries and then reading what Ursula LeGuin had to say about it I decided to read the book to see just how badly it was tweaked. Well, it was bad. The first half of the book and the miniseries are similar, but from then on it’s completely different. The book is a lot better and I really do wish that SciFi had stayed with the real story line instead of making a mockery of it. So, if all you’ve done is see the miniseries, go pick up the book and enjoy it!

LCD Flat Panels Rule!

Fry’s had a sale on 17″ LCD monitors this weekend so I picked one up. $170 after rebate is a heck of a deal! It does 1280×1024 and looks really good with only one pixel stuck on and no dead ones. The coolest thing is that the power consumption, as measured by the UPS, is a lot lower. The old CRT monitor had it at 50.1% of max load when on, and 30.8% when off. The LCD is at 31.2% when on standby and 32.8% when turned on. That translates out to 6 more minutes of on-battery time which is significant.

Configuring X11 to run with it was painless and even watching full motion video looks good.

The other plus of this is that I got to redo the layout of the desk and have it a lot more ergonomically arranged now.

Master And Commander

I just finished reading the first book in Patrick O’Brian’s Master And Commander series. That was a little tougher of a read than I was expecting, mostly due to the 19th century naval terms, but with keeping a dictionary handy it was no problem. I’ve got the next one, Post Captain, waiting in the wings.

The New UPS Is Up

I got the SmartUPS 700RM installed today and now have a bunch more run time. Where the old one would keep the machine running long enough to do a clean shutdown as long as the monitor was turned off the new one gives me about 10 minutes with the monitor on and 16 with it off. This is a good thing!