Sunday, May 30, 2010

Darren isn't happy. The move from GoDaddy to Hover for Byrdintheoven has gone bad. Won't go into detail. Not sure when it will be fixed. Hover is CLOSED on the weekends. For now Byrd in the oven can be reached via

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Developers makes life better

Years go I would get excited about a new device/gadget. I would buy it and accept that it would never get better. No longer.

I bought my T-Mobile Dash the day after Thanksgiving in 2006 in Oregon. At the time it was an awesome phone. A few months later the Iphone came out. My phone started to suck.

October 2008 I bought the T-Mobile G1....the first Android phone. At the time it was an awesome phone (still is amazing). A little more than a year later better phones came out. About a year into owning my phone I "rooted" the phone and installed custom software. The original Android operating system is open source, meaning anyone is free to modify and redistribute the software provided they openly release the changes. The software I installed was developed by Cyanogen. Cyanogen is a nickname for a developer who (along with a team of others) works on cell phone software and makes it better. It made my somewhat stale T-Mobile G1 awesome.

March 2010 I bought a Nexus One, the first Google Superphone (their words not mine). At the time it was an awesome phone. Less than a day later it was better....thanks to Cyanogen.  My Nexus One is the best DEVICE I have ever owned. I am still in awe of how great a world we live in. My "phone" has a faster CPU than my computer did just a few years ago.

My top computer in 2000 was a 500 MHz AMD Athlon. I remember being excited buying a 30 gigabyte hard drive at Office Depot that year. My Nexus One runs at 1000MHz and can hold more than 32 gigabytes of memory on a chip smaller than your pinky fingernail. I LOVE TECHNOLOGY!!!!!

I got bored a few days ago and found  new software for my T-Mobile Dash made by other open source developers. I installed it and played a bit.  I doubt I will ever go back to that phone, but it's nice to see it updated.

The latest version of Android is called Froyo (like Frozen Yogurt). T-Mobile and Google announced that the T-Mobile G1 will NEVER get Eclair (previous version of Android) due to device limitations. Well Cyanogen thought otherwise. It took all of 10 minutes, but I now have Eclair on my G1. If I had never bought a Nexus One, I would be perfectly happy with my G1 now that it runs Eclair. The enhancements are amazing.

My child will never know the heft of a CRT monitor, the weird goo that collects under a computer mouse (mice no longer have balls....ha) or, and this is most alarming, she will never know the soothing sounds of a dial up modem. Bet I can buy computer themed mobile to hang over the crib.....

It's Thursday.....and I'm still a geek

Went with Kelli to the OBGYN yesterday. I always feel like I'm the enemy there.

Seems like Penelope is going to be huge. Kelli is measuring at 30 weeks.....she is only 27 weeks. Kelli also failed her gestational diabetes test. Has to go in for a longer one. I think she didn't prep correctly as she didn't eat much the day prior. She had lunch around 1PM and nothing until the test the following day. is an awesome site. Ordered a set of AC/DC drumsticks for Rockband/Guitar Hero for $2.80 shipped!!!

Our grass is looking better. Need to do something with the bushes.

Still one the fence about cameras. I might bite the bullet and get traditional cameras. Going to decide by the end of next week. Of course I should have done this in winter...going to be hot as hell...probably hotter....up in the attic.

Got a rock chip repair kit for my car. The chips are mostly from when I leased the car. I didn't do a proper inspection..shame on me. The car had 800 miles on it from being transferred between dealers. Never again will I buy a car without a super detailed inspection.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Not that there's anything wrong with that

Not sure what's going on but my appetite for processed food has dropped dramatically. I've been cooking a lot more. Still on my low carb (not no carb) diet along with avoiding high fructose corn syrup and sugar. Doing very well. Content. Who knows how long it will last. I do like cooking. Lots of chicken breast and veggies....some beef as well.

Having Aldi so close is nice. I can stop in for a few basics....nuts....blackberries....super ghetto koolaid (private label Crystal Light...20 packets for $1.59!!!! Walmart brand is the same price for 10!!!!).

Job satisfaction is down. Pretty bored lately.

This is the year of the tablet. Still no Ipad for me. Very interesting ereader coming out next month. A full color ereader that can buy books from Barnes and Noble for $199. No 3G..but there is wifi. Runs Android (my favorite Operating System). Comes out next month.

Maybe it will be for me.

Still thinking about a laptop replacement.

Started seriously looking into security cameras. Not cheap. Wired cameras are inexpensive, but the controller cards that allow true 30fps per camera are not. Network cameras are semi-affordable, but not the outdoor variety.

If I keep with network cameras I can easily move the server around the house whenever I want. Also I can easily integrate them into my current software. Choices.

Penelope is the name of the week.

Monday, May 24, 2010

She's flying for the last time....really

Friday night The Bridges came over. Marin bought an outfit for Natali. We have met Marin several times over the years. She finally got comfy with us I guess as she said more words Friday night than over the last 3 years combined. Probably helped that Kelli put her dogs away and out of the room.

Saturday we took the trip to DC that we wanted to do with my father in law the week prior. Flights were very open all day. We took the 7:10AM flight out and arrived at 11AM. I wrongly assumed Kelli researched and planned on how to get from the airport (DCA) to the Newseum. I finally broke down and used my phone...same phone Kelli find the way. She tried to use the maps around the airport...which were of no help. We have Google Android powered phones with GPS and Google Maps....a few clicks. Seeesh.

Subways in DC are crazy cheap. It was $2.90 per person round trip! The Newseum was very nice. It did bother me that a private company had so much memorobilia. They kind of control history. Eh. Took a few photos. The 9/11 area got Kelli a little emotional. This was the only place where tissues were available. One would think they would have been out around the Berlin wall...nope.

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After about 3 hours we were done. Lucky for us an Asian festival was going on right in front of The Newseum. We walked around and found lunch. Kelli had Indian food while I had Chinese. I'm glad I grabbed some cash the night before for my slot machine AND took it out that morning to take with me. We then walked around a bit and found our way to the History museum. Pretty tired. Wanted ice cream. Found a Ben and Jerry's (again via our awesome Android powered phones!). As we walked up a group of 11 (mostly kids) walked up...all wanted ice cream. We didn't have time to wait. Back to the airport.

Kelli was really beat. I mentioned we should J-walk and cut across the street to the subway entrance. Kelli said it was a bad idea to J-walk in the nations capital. A few moments later she was J-walking as she was tired.

As we got off I noticed a very small purse sitting across the aisle. The lady who is belonged to got off two stops prior. She was likely distracted by her MP3 player she was listening to music on. I picked up the purse and gave it to a subway employee in the ticket booth who didn't seem to care and tossed it on her desk. Hope she gets it back.  I squeezed the purse hoping there was a phone inside that I could have used to call someone to let them know where the purse was. No luck.

We sat down on the 6:30PM flight and were driving home by 8:10PM. Last flight for Kelli until August. Really!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Couldn't fix it

Buddy of mine has a busted Dell Inspiron laptop. The screen went out. I offered to look at it. After opening it up I found a burned out backlight bulb. When I say burned out, I mean it was physically burned. Something arched bad. I hoped it was just a bulb as the LCD is at least $150 and the inverter board is $40. So $190 in parts for a 2 year old laptop that was $500 new. Eh....not a great investment. I put in a new bulb, not the issue as it turns on...then archs. Instead of spending more money he's going to turn it into a desktop and buy a new one.

Still mulling over a replacement for my Macbook Pro.

Washington D.C. this weekend? Maybe.

My in laws are interesting...much like Kelli and I, my mother and father in law are different. Having each one come visit separately showed how different they are.

Today is my 5th day of "work" all week. I haven't flown anywhere the last 4 days. Would like to fly at least once this week. Just sayin.

Think  I'm going to get my dad a Roku box for fathers day. Speaking of my dad. I bought him a Paul Simon DVD from Amazon. He called stating it wouldn't play and that he was getting a wrong "region" message. I looked at the product page at the comments. Several people were shipped a DVD intended for a different country. Not cool Amazon. The Roku box will allow him to stream movies and TV shows over the net to his TV easily. It has a very basic remote which is good as he is not techy.  I do the same thing thru my Xbox 360.

Our Ooma service is 9 months old. We paid $200 for the box. We have now recovered our initial investment. Previously with Vonage we were paying $23.76 a month. So going forward we are truly saving that much per month. Issues? None. Service quality? No one knows we don't have a "real" phone. Anyone looking to save money should switch. It's truly easy any one of my in laws could do it.....and should.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Aldi is a new grocery store....well new to North Texas. A store opened up less than 1/3rd of a mile from our house becoming the closest grocery store by more than a mile.

Aldi has low prices which is helped by mostly private label foods. They have VERY low prices on produce, milk and meat. How low? Gallon of milk for $1.62. Most produce is 10%-30% lower than Wal-Mart. Of course being private label...if you don't cook...probably won't find much.

I bought a weeks worth of food for meals. Kelli bought Starburst, Strawberries and Bananas. She said she will start day. Total bill...$30. We normally spend $80 a week. Having fewer options means less money spent. Also having Kelli just buy Starbust, Strawberries and Bananas helped lower the bill.

Guess we are keeping the TV. Kelli put her foot down on me doing anymore TV swapping.

The Macbook Air is an interesting computer. Lots of rumors flying around that a new model was coming last week....then today. Nope. Apple did release a new Macbook today. Faster CPU, better graphics,  better battery...same price...$999. Very competitive. The specs match the Macbook Pro base model except for the Pro has 2GB more RAM, a SD card slot, backlit keyboard and a aluminum case. The base Macbook Pro is $1199. The only true performance difference is the 2GB of RAM. I thought for sure Apple would lower the price of the Macbook. Didn't happen. One thing of note....the previous gen Macbook is under $750 via the refurbished section of the Apple store. Apple refurb's have the exact same one year warranty as new models. Very good price for students or people with common computer needs. was updated 3 times yesterday! Crazy!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Swagger Wagon

My Mazda5 is officially a Multi Activity Vehicle.....with sliding doors. My friend Angela gives me grief over sliding doors. Deep inside I know she is jealous.  She will never be able to rolldown the street in a Swagger Wagon.


Absolutely hilarious. There is a whole series of videos that Toyota produced that are all very funny....and sadly only online!

I'm serious about electronics. I really liked the first Viewsonic TV I bought for the guest bedroom. Nice picture and size....too bad it died. Next up was a 24 inch Dynex TV from Best Buy....720P....just $209. It had a 8 second boot up and crappy picture. Back it went. Now up is a 26 inch Vizio LED TV...very thin. Already found at least one dead pixel. I will give it a few days. Yes I know it's a guest TV....but I don't want my guest watching subpar TV.

Weather screwed up our plans to go to Washington D.C...or anywhere with my father in law. Flights Saturday were VERY open as of Thursday night. Bad weather on Friday cancelled tons of flights Friday. All those passengers were pushed to Saturday flights...overfilling them. This also killed my plans on buying a laptop tax free. Oh well.

I work 6 days in a row this week. Ugh.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Shame on you Compusa

Boo bad weather. Bad weather caused us to cancel our trip to Philly today. Bleh. Penciling in Washington, D.C. for tomorrow.

I am really good at talking my way out of stuff I want. I'm cheap. I spend hours trying to save an extra 1%...ridiculous.

The new TV my mother in law bought for the guest bedroom lasted about 30 minutes. I watched a 30 minute TV show Wednesday night on it. Great picture. Thursday I was getting ready to mount it and decided to test it one more time. Dead. Just kept rebooting. It's on it's way back to Amazon.

My father in law arrived last night. We needed a TV...bought a 1/2 way decent Dynex TV from Best Buy. Not really happy with it. Pondering if I want too keep it.

Kelli and her dad are at the Bodies exhibit in Dallas today. I have no desire to see that kind of stuff.

Really worried about the longevity of my current Macbook Pro given the known video card issue. Eric has the same laptop....his is chugging along fine. Hopefully mine will last.

Compusa built a store 3 miles from my house. I was happy at first. I needed an HDMI cable for the new TV. There is a "value" cable on their website for $7. I stopped by yesterday only to find "performance" cables for $35! Boo on them. I went to Fry's about bought 3 "value" cables for $9 total. Shame on you Compusa.

Still enjoying my new coffee maker.

Think my geek buddy Kerry is up to something with domain names. Sneaky sneaky.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Best coffee ever

I love coffee. That's no secret. Kelli hates that I love coffee as I make a mess while making coffee.

A few months ago I started grinding my beans fresh....better tasting indeed. Recently I bought an Aeropress Coffee Maker...holy better non bitter coffee! I love it! And it's "green" since it uses no power. Best tasting coffee I have ever had.

A little worried about continuing to play games on my Macbook Pro after the video card failure. My computer gets crazy hot during game play. Not good.

Saved a little more than $100 this month by taking my lunch to work/not buying airport food. I could have saved 3X that if not for a few one off payments (tickets to and from NY, CD's my dad wanted from Amazon). Hoping to have a better May.

I love the Google Chrome browser, Evernote, Lastpass and Google Voice. Everyone should use these applications/services.

Odd to see a bed in the front bedroom that used to be my office. Just so used to seeing that door closed or, if open, full of stuff.

Played $40 on my slot machine...lost it all in 10 minutes..won at most 20 credits.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Missed it by one

Kelli mailed...errr non-reved her mom home yesterday. We listed her for 1st class....and she missed it by ONE seat. I hate when that happens. Kelli and I have missed 1st class a few times by ONE seat. I would prefer to miss it by 10 seats rather than ONE seat. That ONE passenger had a confirmed seat on a later flight at that. Oh well....she got an aisle seat. Better luck next time.

Kind of odd to walk into the old guest bedroom and see a crib there....and lavender walls.

Our TV is free of "old fashioned" tube TV's. Sold our 32 inch TV and 20 inch TV for $55 total last week. Took a loss...hell I even through in a free DVD player. New 24 inch Viewsonic LCD arriving today for the guest bedroom. Father in law arrives Thursday night.

Need to work on my man cave. Planning on moving the slot machine in there.

Sister in law looking for flights here in June for Kellis baby shower. The summer travel season means high prices. Maybe one day Haley can get a part time job as a flight attendant.

Easy work day today. Woke up at 5:10AM. Rode to the airport at 5:45AM. Talked on the radio and pressed buttons from 6AM till 7:30AM (Captain flew home as I flew to Little Rock)....then was done.

Monday, May 10, 2010

If I had hammer.

Peggy kept me busy over the last few days. Before she came I built a bed. When she arrived I built a baby crib. I thought I would be "smart" and build the crib in the living room so I could watch my Revision3 and TechTv shows and relax. Over 3 1/2 hours I built the crib several times. Damn chinese to EngRish translations. When I was almost done Peggy did ask if it would fit through the doorway. WTF?!?!?! I finished it then posted a photo on Facebook of my accomplishment. More people questioned if it would fit. A few mentioned how when they built their crib it didn't fit through the door. Sonofa....yeah it didn't fit. Took it apart again. I told Kelli that when Natali outgrows her crib I will destroy said crib with a hammer....a sledgehammer.

I also built a dresser.

Crazy Peggy (that's an endearing name) painted two complete rooms, organized a closet full of crap, 5+ years of magazines that were thrown into a storage bin and more. She never sat down from Thursday morning thru Saturday night. Crazy. Think she should be tested for drugs.

I have a burning desire for technology. Can't help it.

My father in law is flying into town on Thursday. Friday he is going with Kelli and me to Philadelphia for this day. This will be Kelli's last flight until August. Just 30 minutes south of the airport is an Apple store in Delaware. Delaware charges no sales tax. I get an 8% discount at Apple. Just sayin.

We are mailing....err...non-reving Peggy home today. This will be her first non-rev experience. She was nervous about going First class. Eh...might not be an issue as First Class is filling up. She will get on though.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Me and my Macbook

Me and my Macbook Pro are back together again. Pretty quick repair as I dropped it off late Saturday and it was ready Tuesday afternoon. They had to order in a part which meant it didn't arrive until Tuesday morning. Very happy. Best of all it was free.

I was on my way to the Apple store to ponder buying a new Macbook Pro when they called. Good timing. I narrowed down my wants to a 2.53 GHz Macbook Pro with the high definition screen. I get a 8% discount on Apple products (except IPads!!!) which saves quite a bit of money. Of course taxes are 8.25% so....yeah. I did that math and it would be cheaper for me to fly to Philedelphia, rent a car and drive 30 miles to an Apple store in Delaware than for me to buy a Macbook Pro from the local Apple store. I would come out ahead by $80 if I did the fly and drive route. Just sayin. and offer great prices, but they don't offer the high definition screen option. It's tough being a geek.

My mother in law Peggy is in town. She's going to paint to offspring room lavender. I had no say. If I did I could paint the room a nice deep red on all four walls except for one two inch strip that would be black....because the offspring will be taking us from the black and into the red. Insightful eh?

Started a baby savings account last night on ING. Peggy seemed concerned as I was asking Kelli for her ING security details (in order to link the baby savings account so she can access it). She didn't get why we have so many savings accounts....well it's all for organization.

I have one main savings account as does Kelli. We share an account we each contribute $20 a month to for unexpected household issues (fence blows down, Air Conditioner fails...etc). I have an old savings account that was used to hold money from when I was a flight instructor and didn't have taxes taken out. Now we will have a baby savings account for baby stuff. We might never use it....but if we need money in a hurry for something, we have it set aside. Since all ING accounts are free and earn more interest than regular banks....why not?

Headed to the Doctor today for my annual FAA exam. Starting at age 35 I will have to have an EKG.....then at age 40 I get an EKG every year. Something to look forward to. Bleh.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Beverly Hills dreams on a Ghetto Budget

I like money. Don't have a lot. But I like to think I do.

Growing up we were never rich. Like most, my parents struggled in the 80's. Both worked for oil and gas companies. My dad spent time at Texaco as an engineer, my mom was at Shell with gas exploration. Toward the late 80's times were rough for oil and gas.

I remember my dad being gone a lot as engineer jobs in Houston weren't plentiful. My mom dug in and started her own business. She started Prince of Peace adoption agency first. Things went very well. Then they lawyer she was with and her had different ideas. She split and started Blessed Trinity Adoptions on her own.

My mom grew Blessed Trinity into the second largest adoption agency in Texas.  Toward late 1999 she was placing over 100 babies a year. Life was good for her and of course our family.

When I asked my mom what financial status we held she always responded, "Upper Middle Class". In the 90's I wasn't spoiled....well maybe I was. I was never without. My mom instilled a strong work ethic in me (along with my sense of humor and distinct laugh) that continues today. With the exception of my first year of college, I have had a job continuously since I was 16. I was the only kid in my family to work from age 16 and almost all the way thru college.

Today I don't earn a lot of money. If it weren't for Kelli I would likely still be working for NCR making a decent living, but not happy. I sometimes think about all the small life choices I've made and how each one affected who I am today. Kelli and I are likely only together due to me moving to Dallas and deciding to reconnect with my best friend from High School and her deciding the to whore me out by placing an ad for me on I'm only in Dallas because my exfiance dumped me and I moved here from Houston to chase her.

Kelli and I live a decent life. Kelli lives a very simple life. Mine is a little more complex. I like toys. Toys cost money.

I go back and forth between keeping my car and getting something new. Same between keeping,my current computer and getting a new one. What to do...what to do.

I've already switched my mind set to a "gotta feed another mouth" framework. Kelli and I haven't struggled yet. Don't want to put us in a situation where we have to struggle. Of course doing so means I can't have ALL my toys.

Kelli makes fun of me for the silly financial struggles (to buy or not to buy!) I go through. I make fun of me for the silly financial struggles I go thr0ugh. One good thing is I am really good at talking me out of things. Talked myself out of the Ipad (spent about an hour using one while in New York). Still talking myself out of a Venza.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Attata boy Apple!

My Macbook Pro has more airline miles than all but the most seasoned travelers. My Macbook Pro has been to 4 different countries in addition to 1000's of miles in the sky. It's been placed in well over 100 security bins going through security. It's been around. I love my Macbook Pro.

Thursday night for the first didn't turn on. Black screen. I had been working in Windows 7 playing MLB2K10 (a brand new baseball game) for hours and needed to work in Mac OS X. When I rebooted. Nothing. After a few presses. It came on.

Friday I was sent to Little Rock, Arkansas for the night. I closed my Macbook Pro and put it too sleep. It would never wake again.

When I got to Little Rock it wouldn't turn on. I would get the "chime" but no video. I tried and tried. Nothing. Thankfully I had my Nexus One.

I used my Nexus One to learn about a known issue with the Nvidia chipset in my Macbook Pro. Apple agreed to fix any Macbook Pro that failed within 2 years of purchase. I bought my Macbook Pro March 2008. The basic warranty expired last year. Not good.

Thankfully part of the extra money spent on my Macbook Pro came in handy. Apple is known for fixing problems even though the equipment is out of warranty.

I brought my Macbook Pro to the "Genius Bar" (I HATE THAT NAME!) Saturday. The "Genius"...same guy who gave me a new battery under warranty last year, inventoried my well worn Macbook Pro, and said it would be fixed free even though I was way out of warranty and passed the 2 year mark for the extended warranty on the video card. Nice.

I had another problem on Saturday. I was tired. Drunk tired. I had never felt so drunk/high/loopy before. Everything seemed to be happening in slow motion and I had problems concentrating. After a bit of thought I tracked down the problem. Low blood sugar.

I haven't had sugar in over 3 weeks. Seriously. None. Zero. Nadda. I had been eating low carb including many salads and veggies...but no fruit. Turns out my vigelence was a bad idea. I had some sugar....and a nice Thai spicy, carb filled dinner. Still felt loopy.

Called in sick Sunday morning. Still feeling odd. After a super sugary breakfast....I felt much better.

Sunday we cleaned out the baby to be room (mother in law is coming in this week to paint and decorate). We then headed out to IKEA and bought a new bed frame for the guest bedroom. The current frame was a bare metal frame that would cut your legs if you walked too close.

The bed frame was long (that's what she said)....80 inches long. My Mazda5 swallowed the whole thing (that's without a fuss. On the way home I got gas...recorded the highest MPG ever....29.24 MPG!!! Over the past 6 months I have AVERAGED 26.16 MPG. I use an application for Android called Mileage. Crazy easy to use and spits out lots of data. The lowest MPG average I've recorded was 23.24 MPG. After getting gas Kelli questioned me, "You want to get rid of this car why?" I sighed. I had no answer. The best I could come up stereo bluetooth. Logic came with a thundering slap. Keep the Mazda5 Darren.

No way that bed would have fit in any compact SUV (ahem Honda CRV...ahem) or even a midsize SUV. My Mazda5 has never failed to carry whatever we have purchased.

So maybe I will keep it. I need to work the numbers too see if it would be more adventageous to buy it now or wait till the end. If I wait till the end the leasing company could offer me a lower price. Hmmm.

Tax return came in. Kelli and I differ on what to do with it. She wants to pay off debt. I want to save it. The debt we have is nearly all on 0% interest credit cards. Eh.

Oh and I want a new Macbook Pro. My current one will be retired and rechristened to stay at home. It's done it's job well.