Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Long weekend

Family was in town this weekend. Didn't see them much as I worked 13 hour days each day they were here. I didn't dare complain as my sister in law is a nurse and brother in law a cop. Thirteen hour shifts are a cake walk.

Baby shower was Saturday. Also was our 8 year anniversary of us starting to date. I spent the day flying to Cleveland, Ohio and back. Just as good. Didn't really want to be in a house full of women. We got some good stuff. Kelli says there is $800 more to buy! Ouch.

I was home after the party. Eric, Angela and Marin came over. Marin had a great time playing with my niece Haley.

Kelli and I swapped cars while the family was here. I increased her gas mileage by .3 MPG. She dropped mine by a full 4 MPG. Seeesh.

I'm off for 4 consecutive days this week. Payback for working 6 days in a row last week.

Almost missed my second allergy shot of the week last week. Going to be a slight challenge getting there twice a week....even though it's 2 miles away. I have to go twice at least two days apart. Closed Sunday and Saturdays after 12PM.

Kindle App for Android is out. Free. Bought my first book Samantha Bee I Know I am, But Who Are You ? . Very legible even on the small screen. I can read the book on my phone, computer or Kelli's Kindle.

Fixed my Zune broken glass this morning. Broke the LCD.

Looking forward to a day off that line's up with Kelli being off. Should happen on July 10th.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Screw you AT&T!

Family in town. I picked up my sister in law and her girlfriend along with my niece last night. I stood in baggage claim for the first time in years. They only brought one huge bag. Less than they brought for the cruise. I still think they could have gotten by with carry on. Time will tell how Kelli and I will do.

Along with them is my mother in law and another sister in law. Six people means Kelli's Prius is inadequate. Gave her my car for the day. I'm a little worried. Hopefully she parks way far out in parking lots.

AT&T UVerse support can kiss my shiney brown but. Horrible. Service went down yesterday. No biggie. It happens. I tether'ed my phone to my phone and looked up the support number. When I called I dealt with a new automated system. Not only does it take your information....It tried to troubleshoot the damn issue. After 5 steps it passed me to a human.

I used to work in high speed internet support. I know a few things. The problem was the router/modem was not getting an IP address from AT&T. Tried to reboot it. Nothing.

The first human was nice and I let them know what I had done. She had me do the same things again. I complied. She then wanted me to default the Uverse router. I asked why this was needed if the service stopped working after months of being fine. She insisted . After letting her know I was certain it would not fix the issue I again complied. Service still down. Then the phone call ended. Nice.

I called back. Automated system again. New tech. More troubleshooting. Finally agreed the problem WASN'T with the router and they would have to send out a tech. Ugh.

Appointment made from 4-9. I gave them two phone numbers to call prior.

Kelli and I had an appointment at 3PM two miles from our house. Dr. was running late. I called AT&T at 3:45PM to check on our status. I figured it would be quick so I stepped into the lobby. Turns out they had our home number on file to call not the two numbers I gave them. Fifteen minutes later they have the correct numbers and stated they would call prior to coming. I walk back in and Kelli is walking out. I missed everything.

We get home at 4:30PM. The Internet and TV started working again. At 5:10PM the phone rings the guy is on his way. Two minutes later he is at our door. Thanks for the heads up. Worthless. The problem was NOT at our house.

Because I defaulted the system my network is all screwy. I could and maybe should, use another router for my network have connect it to the Uverse router to avoid this issue. Eh. Annoyed.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Fixing it myself

I like to fix things myself. Sometimes I screw up....sometimes I get it just right.

Owning a house means I have attempted quite a few repairs/upgrades on my own. Before the Internet people would buy a book and figure things out. Nowadays instructions are a Youtube search away.

I've watched videos on how to install floors, replace lighting, install home networking, install a car stereo and more. There are several great guides on gadget repair over at IFixit.com. I used that site to replace the hard drive in my Macbook Pro and more. Love it.

Yesterday my Zune HD had a glass shattering fall yesterday. I was trying to carry too many things at one time. Ouch. It had fallen a few times before. Always survived. I was worried it would be an expensive tumble. Nope....$25 for the part and about an hour of my time.

Family coming in town tonight. I might be in Cleveland. Eh.

I was up in the attic this week working on a project. After just 4 minutes I was drenched in sweat. Rethinking installing new cameras this summer. I'm a house geek not a field geek.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

My father in law is a…….geek?

My father in law owns his own business up in Oregon. He repairs and occassionally designs industrial machines. Lots of welding and metal work. Rough job. He knows it well.

While waiting to get one of my twice a week injections of concentrated itch he called me. One of his computers was down.

After a minute of troubleshooting I concluded it was likely a bad power supply. I told him how to take the old one out and what kind of power supply to buy to replace it. I then stated if it was a truly dead computer it wasn't hard to pull the data off the old hard drive. He then came back with, "Oh I'm not worried about the data, I have Carbonite." I was silent. He just shocked me. "Wow, you're all set then."

I just started using Carbonite a few months ago. Carbonite is an off site backup service with unlimited data storage. Very easy to use. It's currently backing up over 90 gigs of photos and files for our house. It's dead easy to use. Simply tell it which folders to monitor....that's it. Recovery is very easy as well.

Turns out it was just a power supply. He swapped it with another computer. I'm still amazed that he KNEW about Carbonite. I am curious if he has it installed on more than one or two computers as it can get expensive at roughly $55 per computer per year. There is a new Carbonite Pro designed for business. It's cheaper if more than 3 computers are signed up for the service.

Think I'm going to get an Nook. Makes the MOST sense with a baby on the way.

Cell phones are amazing. I'm still in awe. In my hand I hold a device that can connect to a tower MILES away to then connect to the Internet to do any number of things.  And the damn thing makes phone calls!!!!!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Let me inject you with everything you're allergic too

Allergy shots make me laugh in an evil way.

"Hey we're going to take all the stuff you're allergic too and inject it into your arm. You cool with that?"

Yeah. Itchy. Over time though....should feel better.

Amazing world we live in. In response to Barnes and Noble dropping the price of the Nook to $149 for Wifi and $199 for 3G, Amazon dropped the Kindle (which is 3G only) to $189. That's $70 off the price on Sunday and $210 off since the original debut in 2007. True over 3 years the price to produce the Kindle has gone down. Still at under $200....both ereaders provide a great reading experience. My nod goes to the Nook though....more advanced and less proprietary.

I have had a few bites on my Macbook Pro. It's up on Craigslist for $950. I paid $1700 for it 2 years ago. If I can sell it for $950 I will be happy. Apple computers have the same crazy high resale values that Lexus and BMWs enjoy. By comparison a 2 year old ultra premium ($1500+) HP or Dell computer barely holds 1/4th the value and has a much smaller market.

Almost traded my netbook for an Ipad yesterday. Guy on craigslist wanted a netbook. Over a few emails I thought we had agreed  on trading my HP 5101 for his 16GB Ipad. I would include $250 cash. Then he stared wanting more cash since my HP only has a license for Windows XP Home and not Pro. I backed out. My 5101 is much nicer than the average netbook. He wanted to meet and check it out. In order to do that I would have to wipe my 5101 and put XP back on it. That's about an hour or so of my time for something that may not happen. No thanks. I'll keep my netbook.

Stopped by a day care yesterday. Not trolling for kids. Looking for some place to watch Avantika. It was a franchise from La Petite Academy. It was okay. I didn't get a good vibe. We will visit more. They charge $227 a week. Only half if we are on vacation. In the future we would be able to save money if I can move my schedule around to be off one full week a month. Very possible.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Man cave

Our house is roughly 2000 square feet (1960 to be exact). Off that 2000 square feet I have 110 square feet as my "Man Cave". It's full of computer parts and stuff. My stuff. Kelli is fine with whatever I do in there. She never has to go in there. As long as my stuff fits in my man cave....and the door can close....all is good.

At first my stuff occupied space in every closet in this house plus two rooms. Getting down to just one room is quite a feat. My room. Kelli has never attempted to clean or organize my room. All is good.

My room. Less than 5% of the house. My room. Man cave. No one else is welcome in there. No one. My room.

The Barnes and Noble nook WILL be $149 this Wednesday at Best Buy and Barnes and Noble. The catch? WiFi only. The 3G/Wifi model will be $199. Interesting. I don't think 3G is REALLY needed. Useful yes...but wifi is everywhere. I want an ereader, but I resist because it's ANOTHER device to carry.

Right now I carry a laptop (Macbook Pro most of the time), Zune HD, Digital Camera and my Nexus One. Increasingly I am leaving my Zune HD behind as my Nexus One can play music and downloads all my audio podcast without issue. I watch my video podcast on my laptop.

If I bought an ereader it wouldn't replace anything. A tablet PC could replace the laptop and Zune HD. Thus I would be carrying 3 things at most. Which tablet PC though?

I've been an Android champion from day 1. I ordered The T-Mobile G1 sight unseen the first day it was available for order. Android tablets are supposed to be on the horizon. My employer has an Iphone app that allows me to connect to the software I use for work. Currently I have to use a "real" computer to access the software. No app is in production for Android. Soo....Ipad?

I poo poo'd the Ipad back in March. I want one. Can almost justify it. My attempts at tricking Kelli into buying me one failed.

Over the weekend I kept thanking her for buying me an Ipad and posted that she bought me one for Juneteenth. I was hoping a Jedi Mind Trick would result in her thinking, "I guess this pregnancy is messing with my head because I bought Darren an Ipad." Didn't work. Hmmm.

With the application for accessing software for work coming out I could travel 3-4 days with just an Ipad. Hmmm.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Shootin' Up

Got my first allergy shot today. Arm started to fell itchy...then I remembered....I am being injected with stuff I am allergic to!

T-Mobile unleashed the HSPA+ network. What does this mean? Our cellphones have nearly as fast download speeds as our home AT&T Uverse. I love the world I live in.

The Captain I sit airport standby with bought a fancy new Macbook Pro Core I5 yesterday. Spent the morning helping him set up Windows 7 and just getting around Mac. Damn sexy machine. Thinner than mine. I had Mac envy.

Hung up the curtains in the baby room. Still pondering where to put "A Princess Lives Here" sign I bought.

Years ago Kelli and I flew to Sacramento as "real paying passengers". Round trip from Dallas it was $290 a person. From Austin it was $160  person...and we flew through Dallas. Back then we bought one way tickets to Austin, ate breakfast, hopped back on a plane, flew to Dallas changed planes and flew to Sacramento. On the way back we got off in Dallas and went home. We saved over $260. I say that to say the following.

A ticket round trip to Portland from Dallas is $540. From Austin....going through Dallas....$260.  Why am I looking at airfare? Well Kelli might need a "real" ticket to fly with the rib kicker as standby can be rough. I do get 10% off the lowest fare I can find. Eh.

One of Kellis dogs is over 7 years old. That got met thinking....Kelli and I have had a social agreement going on 8 years...as of next week. Eight years. Over 2900 DAYS.....wow.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Too slow

I was ready to pull the trigger on a refurbished Macbook Pro. I clicked select to put it in my cart, then went to get my credit card. Less than 2 minutes later I clicked the button to buy....then I got an error. "Some items in your cart are no longer available. WTF?!?!?! Apparently refurbished computers are popular as someone else bought the one I wanted faster than I could. Boo. Back to waiting.

Kelli somehow broke her down arrow on her Macbook. No idea how. Spent 30 minutes trying to get everything back together. It works...but she might need a new key.

After that I decided to replace a few heavily worn keys on my Macbook Pro. For some reason the 'A', 'S', 'E' and 'D' are all worn so badly the letters can no longer be read. After they are replaced I'm pretty sure I'm going to sell my current Macbook Pro. Models like mine are easily getting $800-$1000 on eBay. Might try Craigslist first. Might.

Hell of a day on Monday. Damn long day.

Lots of family coming in next week. Gonna need two cars to get around.

Blood pressure hovering in the normal range for a while now. Good times.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

It's Monday

Went to the allergist for a test. My back was on fire for 20 minutes with 64 allergins on it. Verdict: Dogs, Cats, Dust, Grass, and Pollen. Taking weekly shots, daily pills and twice a day inhalants...for a long time.

Flying today. At first I was going to avoid passengers till the end of the day. Not anymore. Now I am deadheading to Abilene, test flying a plane, then (if it passes) flying that plane to DFW empty, the flying another empty plane to Abilene, then deadheading back to DFW. Boo.

We bought a new printer yesterday. No more inkjets for us. Network Laser printer/fax/copier on sale at Fry's for almost free. Getting rid of the current ones.

Kelli stated if the rib kicker was born today it could survive on it's own. Good to know.

Saw Precious last night. Good movie. Sad knowing kids live like this everyday.

Debating on spelling the rib kicker's real name as Natali or Natalie. Natali is of course patterned after Natali Del Conte.

Installed Ubuntu Linux again. Getting better. Still not consumer friendly as I can't figure out how to install flash on Chrome. I love Google Chrome by the way. Syncs all my bookmarks to every computer I use.

The dogs are still alive.

I think my dad has watched 100 movies in the past week. Glad he is enjoying Roku.

Time to go to work.

Friday, June 11, 2010


I have allergies. Mostly to cats....dogs....and dust. Cats are the worst.

Over the years I have coped by downing allergy medicine. It does enough. Recently I have had really bad allergies. Annoyed.

Stopped by an allergist yesterday. Great Doctor. Crappy office staff. Took his time with me. Discussed my job and other factors. I learned that people who are allergic to cats should steer clear of people who own cats and their houses. Simply putting a cat away isn't enough. My sister in law Jami was really good about keeping her cat away. My sister in law Jenny...not so much. Nonetheless cats are evil.

Going in tomorrow morning for a full allergy test. Going to get 64 allergans placed on my back and see what pops up. I have to be very careful with what I am given drug wise. Lots of stuff for normal people isn't allowed for pilots.

Dijon is 3.5 pounds. Slightly above weight. My bet....at birth...9 pounds 10 ounces.....minimum.

I was ready to pull the trigger on a Macbook Pro yesterday. A refurbished model that is more than $380 off sticker. When I went to the product page. Sold out. Reason? Because I think too damn much and other people bought them. I am sure they will be back in stock soon. Boo me.

Almost down 17 pounds over almost 3 months. I'm on a modified low carb diet. I eat no/extremely little refined sugar. No fructose corn syrup. Low fat. Very little processed foods. Lots of fresh vegetables and fruits. Lots of lean meat. I feel great and will soon need a smaller belt as the current belts are starting to look silly as they wrap around my left side.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Everything I need to know I learned from a coke can

Apple computers are expensive. They do give price breaks by selling Apple refurbished models. Right now they have Macbook Pro's with the Core I5 CPUs for $250+ off. Free shipping. Exact same 1 year warranty as new models. Hmmm.

Still waiting for the Pandigital E-reader to come down to MSRP. I don't get the $60 markup at Kohls. JCPenny has it for $199...but not shipping until 6/23???

Made a wonderful lunch yesterday....curry chicken....from scratch. Today is Ginger Pork Tenderloin.

The new IPhone is sexy. I almost want one....until  I think of all the limitations compared to my Nexus One. The Iphone will be great for many people though. Maybe my sister in law can get one while she is here and save on California taxes. That way I could see one in real life. Just sayin.

My brother in law has a Droid Incredible. His wife got a Droid. They upped their cool factor with me. Not that they care.

If it weren't for the fear of what Kelli would do I would so own an Ipad and a top of the line Macbook Pro right now. She wouldn't do much more than give me THAT look and a guilt trip. That's enough. I'm still putting money into a baby account....in addition to a house account....and savings...and 401K. True we could have one big savings account, but by having labeled accounts we can easily see how much money we have set aside for "what ifs."

Watching Parenthood. Great movie. Steve Martin seems to never age.

Kelli is getting worried about her size. More to come on Byrdintheoven.com.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Lavatory Navigation

Waking up in the middle of the night to use the restroom sucks. Kelli does it often now that Dijon is using her bladder as a trampoline.

Turning on lights when you were sound asleep sucks. Bright lights screw up your internal clock. Dark = sleep. Light = wake up. I hate turning on the light to use the restroom. Shooting in the dark is dangerous. There had to be a better way!

There are no power outlets next to the toilet in the master bathroom. What to do? The Lav Nav!

I heard about the Lav Nav on the Daily Giz Whiz podcast. It's a simple device that attaches to the back of the toilet that monitors the position of the lid as well as provides a soft light for navigation. If the seat lid is up the light is red (for Kelli doesn't get a back end wash). If the lid is down the light is green (cleared to land). The Lav Nav has a proimity sensor so it only turns on when you walk up.

The light is plenty bright to see whats going on, but not bright enough to cause eye pain and wake you up. Perfect. Just $19.95 on Amazon....free shipping.

New Iphone is out. It's awesome. I would like it. But won't get one. My sister in law should get one....think she is up for an upgrade....she's currently getting by with a 3G.

My food palette is shrinking. I am sure it's 100% mental, but I have little desire for fast food or processed food. I think I feel better than I used to. Belt is getting bigger. Need to buy a smaller one.

People walking around with bluetooth headsets on all the time are dorks.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Will Kelli have Macrosomia?

Nice weekend. Having weekends off makes me feel like I have a "regular" job.

Got a nice phone call yesterday from my former flight school. Two years go I scored an awesome job teaching in their CRJ simulator for $300 a day. It only lasted a month or so as airline hiring stopped. The director called yesterday and offered me a session THIS Friday as well as hinted that things might be picking up again. Perfect timing. I can earn way more there than I can at work. Hope it continues.

Kelli drug me to Get Him To The Greek yesterday. I thought it would be bad. It was. A true train wreck. Ugh. Save your cash.

New Pandigital ereader is on sale today. MSRP is $199....Kohls has it for $259!?!?!?! I'll wait for $199.

Decided on our security camera system. Going for a proprietary dedicated system. This will allow me to put it in the same closet as the current switch. Now to order and start installing cameras. Still fine tuning a baby camera. I don't want to buy an off the shelf baby monitor as they are NOT secure.

My dad loved the Roku box. The remote has very few buttons....non-intimidating. He was amazed at how easy it is to use and how fast movies start. I piggybacked the device onto our Netflix account so no monthly cost. Only negative is he has to start with our "intant cue" versus his own. I don't think he would go online and line up movies anyway. I did add  few movies I thought he would like. He refuses to get cable, so this is a great option for him. He can search for movies on his own via the device. At just $99 it's a steal!

Visited one some extended family while I was in Houston. An Aunt and Uncle I haven't seen in...10 years?

Due to genetics, Kelli is susceptible to Macrosomia. Gonna find out how bad it is this Thursday.

I bought some basic RAM at my local Compusa last week. Same brand (Corsair) as I have used in the past. I replaced the RAM in my old office computer with new Corsair RAM. Tried to install Windows 7. Got continuous BSODs (Blue Screen Of Death). Put the old RAM in....installed fine. Tried the new RAM in another computer. Worked fine. Thought about returning it to Compusa as it didn't appear to work for me....until I saw the ridiculously high restocking fee!!! Fry's has no restocking fee (unless it's a new change). I will have to be very careful about Compusa. It's much closer than Fry's.....but is it worth it?

The baby shower is in a little more than 2 weeks. I work that weekend....which is probably a good thing. Lots of estrogen will be in the house.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The results are in!

Kelli passed her glucose test...the second time.

We are up for renewal on auto insurance from Progressive. Next time we are saving up to $111 on our next policy. We pay in full so we will save $67.  Kind of convoluted but if we were normal people with our current (very high CYA coverages!) we would pay $644 every 6 months if we paid using installments. By having MyRate and paying in full we are only paying $466 every 6 months. Total "savings" over a year is $356. Take that to the bank!

Kelli is getting 18% off while I am only getting 16% off. I thought I would save more since I drive less....dunno.

The Roku box I bought for my dad came yesterday. Damn easy to setup. A lot more content is on there than I thought. Heading to Houston on Saturday to hook it up.

The dogs are still alive.

Less than two months to go on the baby front. Name of the week updated. Sugarbaby.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

What's in a name?

Byrdintheoven is still down. Even my temp link is screwed up. After several phone calls yesterday things are supposed to start working today.....maybe.

Byrdintheoven is just a name. The Internet is based on numbers.....like a phone number. The current problem is when you type in Byrdintheoven there isn't an IP Address or phone number attached to it.

Last night Kelli and I went to dinner with a friend of mine who works for a different airline. Went to Stratos. Half price dinner. Good food. Kelli was surprised to hear things are crappy all over.

Bought my dad a Roku box for fathers day. Plan on hooking it up for him this weekend. The Roku is very easy to use. He can now stream movies over his Internet connection. He doesn't have cable so this will greatly expand his TV experience.

Heard some horrible news concerning a fellow pilot. She is 5 months pregnant. She had a 35 hour layover last week and her parents planned on driving down and visiting with her. She had trouble getting a hold of them. While on a layover she found out her parents were in a rollover accident and her mom was thrown through the windshield. Pregnant and alone she had to travel from Cleveland to Chicago to Kalamazoo. Her husband also works for the airline but couldn't leave right away. Feel horrible for her. Police report her father fell asleep. Niether were wearing seatbelts. He had serious, but not fatal injuries. Her mother died.

I bought a new wifi adapter call a Wi-Fire. In my crewroom the "linksys" wireless connection is spotty. I get free T-Mobile hotspots but the signal is weak downstairs. Not anymore. With the Wi-fire it comes in just fine. I was skeptical, but even at home I can pick up 3X as many wifi routers. Crazy!