The first day of the rest of my life

The waiting is over. Today we close on our new house… home. I’m excited and anxious and nervous and… well, a lot of things. Apparently I should be resting my arm right now as I’ll be signing a veritable crapload of paperwork this afternoon. Yippy-ki-yay! Adulthood, here I come.

NewsGator, FeedDemon, and LJ Friends-Only Posts… Oh my!

As I mentioned in my previous post, I’m now using FeedDemon to successfully read my friends’ LiveJournals – even ones that are friends-only. You may wonder why I refuse to just use the Friends page for my account, but I assure you that it’s more than just laziness. It is contempt! The setup of the Friends page is awkward and annoying to me, and causes me to miss a lot of posts. Paging back to catch up with things from yesterday because another person decided to write 10 entires today is rather irritating.

Using FeedDemon for all of my feed reading makes it far easier to switch between reading everybody on LJ, or just checking out one person – and I don’t miss anything I don’t want to. I’ve already been able to catch up on things people wrote weeks ago, but slipped through the cracks. Especially those whose journals are friends-only, period. I’m not complaining about how much any of my friends write, or those who wish to keep their journal private. On the contrary, I think that’s just fine and dandy – but the LJ interface feels so primitive even for someone with only 20 people on their list.

Anywho, for those who want to try this out, I’ve got this working with FeedDemon and the complementary NewsGator Online service, although the setup can only be done directly in FeedDemon. To start with, the new subscription must be created in a folder that is not synchronizing with NewsGator. Create a new subscription, and enter the URL as – FD will automatically find the actual feed. Next, go to the “Feed Properties” and change the feed URL to Now when you refresh the feed, it will prompt you for the username and password again. I think you can just cancel it, and then restart FeedDemon and all shall be working. You can now also choose to synchronize the folder.

I’m going to post this to the NewsGator Forums, and hopefully that will help the staff figure out how to make this process easier.

Feed me!

For some time now I’ve been struggling to keep up with all of the feeds that interest me. It wouldn’t be a big deal, but that also includes a lot of friends who write on Livejournal – and I’d like to keep up with them. For awhile I’ve used SharpReader, but working on three different computers makes it difficult to sync what I’ve read over the course of the day. So I started to look for alternatives, including some web-based readers. Since it’s initial announcement, feedlounge has peaked my interest as a very likely candidate.

Unfortunately I couldn’t get into the alpha or beta testing, so I continued to use SharpReader with varying degrees of success. Now that feedlounge has gone live, however, the price is keeping me away. I’m not about to diss the service or say that it’s overpriced, but it is more than I want to spend right now – I was hoping it would be in the $25-$30 range. I got an e-mail yesterday saying that I could get a free month since I waited so patiently on the mailing list, so I might give it a try anyway.

In the meantime, though, I’ve begun using FeedDemon (actually the first feed reader I ever used) along with the NewsGator Online service. The synchronization features are still in beta, but the intent is to let you have multiple installs of FeedDemon as well as the web version that will all keep up to date with each other. You can even identify locations so that only the appropriate feeds show up on certain computers.

The interface is different from what I’ve come to expect, but I’m getting more accustomed to the “Surfer”-style interface which places all posts on a continuous display. It’s kind of like a neverending friends page – only far easier to navigate. Plus, I’ve even got it working with “Friends-Only” LJ pages! (More on that later)

Even with all of those features, it’s priced at the $30/year point that I was hoping for. I’ll be giving feedlounge a try, too, but with money getting tighter around here I can’t alway pay the price for the “premium” services anymore.

That new machine smell

It’s not technically mine, but since I am the head of IT I ordered for myself (and the new guy who starts next week) as sweet of a system as I could manage. And since I am the administrator, I can get away with a lot more personal use than the average employee. Shhh! Don’t tell any of my co-workers. 😉 In all honesty, I’ve always said that the line between personal and business machines becomes very blurred for us techies in small companies; so pardon me if I celebrate like I just bought myself a new laptop.

Oh, you want to know what it is? A Dell, of course. The Latitude D610, to be more precise. I bumped it up to the 2.00GHz processor, 1GB of RAM, 80GB hard drive (7200RPM!), DVD burner, SXGA+ screen with the high-end Intel video card. It’s also got a lot of little added bonuses like a secondary battery, travel power adapter, and even a cool messenger bag for transport. Oh yeah, this baby is sweet!

The main reason I’m psyched (yes, some of us still use that term) for the new laptop is that I want to centralize more of my communications. I need to keep track of work e-mails at home more easily, as well as connect to admin tools for the network and servers. It’s been a long time since my consulting days with NetTech, I’ve forgotten how much easier it is to keep all of your work on a machine you can carry around.

Nutz and Boltz

Last night I finished the most difficult task in the packing process – my CD collection. While this might not be a big deal for most people, I’ve probably spent more on storage for CDs than most people do on the CDs themselves. This culminated in the purchase of a wonderful CD-600×2 from Boltz a few years back. Without a doubt, my best furniture purchase ever – even if it only holds about two-thirds of my collection.

The only drawback to the Boltz units is the assembly and, consequently, disassembly required. Since the rack stayed in the same spot for about three and a half years after the initial purchase, this is only the second time I’ve had to move it. And while the assembly is rather easy, it also happens to be very time consuming. Take another look at it:

  • There are 11 rows on each side.
  • Each row uses 3 rods.
  • Each rod has a nut at both ends.
  • Both sides must have caps on the ends of all rods.

So, what you’re looking at is 66 rods, 99 hex nuts, 33 coupling nuts, and 66 acorn (cap) nuts to connect the 3 panels together. Yup, that’s a whole lot o’ screwin’. The end product is completely worth it, but the process certainly becomes tedious. You might ask, “Why don’t you just move it as is, dumbass?” And I’d say, “Please don’t use such language on my website!” Actually, a big part of it is dealing with the size of things these days – we just don’t have enough room to store everything. The house will end up having enough room, but I don’t think I’ll be able to put up the CD rack immediately as I have a master plan.

That’s right: A Master Plan.

The basement (thanks partly to Jeff and Sara’s inspiration) will be redone as a bar/entertainment center. And will hopefully be used to display both my CD and DVD collections – but a lot of work will need to be done before they can go up. Plus, I want to get another expansion unit… and possibly an entertainment unit

Anywho, at least all of my CDs are boxed now – in many heavy boxes. As much as I’m looking forward to the new house, there’s so much moving that I’m not looking forward to.

Two years later

Me Lisa and a beer

Originally uploaded by Thom Slattery.

Another year gone by. Yesterday marked the second anniversary of my oldest sister, Lisa, passing away. We did not spend he day wailing or gnashing our teeth. Instead, those of us who could make it joined my parents for a nice lunch at home, laughed at my adorable nephew and neice, and enjoyed each other’s company.

I had planned to write more about reflection and family and all that, but it was more important to just get together and spend the time away from the hustle and bustle of regular life. No reflection necessary, just appreciation of what we have now.

I love my family, and wish I got to see them more frequently. But at least I can enjoy the times I do.

I’m not listening

It has begun – and I swear it won’t sucker me in this time. You should all know by now of what I speak. Lisa insisted on watching the first show, but fortunately the need to begin packing the bulk of my CD collection kept me out of sight and sound. I just can’t stand these stupid reality show anymore – especially because I know just how wrapped up we all get, no matter how much we think we are above it.

I just can’t deal with another season of arguing over mediocre singers and stoic performers for those couple of gems that actually do shine. And the few snippets I managed to catch clearly indicated that the same sterile voices will be pushed forward, while many with far greater potential are left by the wayside. No matter the number of talented singers the show can find for me (not that many so far), how can it be worth the agony of watching through so many banal renditions of corny pop songs. Not to mention, I refuse to have a repeat of the infamous Rockstar: INXS debate.

So this time around I simply must say no – and really mean it.

Dry Drunk Emperor

I mentioned TV on the Radio before, but haven’t pushed them enough on people. After the rather mind-blowing performance they put on in support of Franz Ferdinand, the album I got seemed a little disappointing at first. But Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes is definitely a record that requires repeat listening. And time after time I find myself popping it back into the CD player over whatever new purchase I’ve made. I just don’t think there’s anybody out there right now doing such amazing and original music as TVOTR.

One of their recorded tracks that did grab me immediately was a freebie off their label’s website entitled “Dry Drunk Emperor.” It’s mesmerizing, haunting, captivating, all while being somewhat morose. Not too surprisingly I found out that it was inspired by the events surrounding Hurricane Katrina. With the opening lines speaking of death in the sun and broken promises of salvation, one can’t help but feel the anguish all over again. But it wasn’t until tonight that I really tried to dig into the lyrics, and suddenly found myself overwhelmed with emotions. When I heard the call for a march on Washington, I realized that these musical poets are filled with both strong words and convictions – ones that resonant inside of myself, too.

The song is a available as a free download on Touch and Go’s website (here is the easier direct download link). Please download it, and read along:

Continue reading “Dry Drunk Emperor”

Just got paid…

…friday night. Whoops, it’s actually Saturday morning. But I did get paid yesterday – so the song still holds true. Normally such a regular event would not be worthy of celebration, but this paycheck was different – it contained my raise. You see, I’ve been with Unigene for two and a half years, and have been putting off my first review for a year and a half. That’s right, I’ve been putting it off.

It’s a little weird, but there’s a tendency for my fellow co-workers to avoid their reviews for extended periods. You’d think that we would want to get more money, but apparantly not. In the end, it doesn’t matter, because I’ve learned of a very important and powerful term: backpay! Wow, those additional checks sure do help right now – especially with our closing coming up in just two weeks. For the first time, I’ve got REAL money in my bank account. And then just like that, I’ll have NO money in my bank account. That part sucks, but I just have to keep reminding myself about that house (just flip back a couple posts) and all will be right.

On top of my own successes, my department is about to double in size. Yesterday, one of the applicants accepted our offer for an Assistant IS Administrator position. With Unigene expanding, and the tech demands increasing, I’ve needed someone to take over the other facility for awhile. While having the help with be great, it also means that I have to supervise someone for the first time. That’s a rather intriguing development – but it’s about time I moved ahead professionally. And with everything else going on this year (house, wedding, etc.) I guess it all just makes sense to dive into adulthood with reckless abandon all at once.

Fruit of my desire

Coming Apart

Originally uploaded by Dr Momentum.

One of the greatest tastes of the Fruit World is the Pomegranate. Of this, there can be no denial. But the 45 minute it usually takes me to unveil said fruit’s lushish seeds can be rather frustrating – even if it is clearly worth the wait (oh yes, it is!) But now, thanks to James (of Aces Full of Links), this process is a mere 10 minutes of foreplay before devouring can commence. Behold: The Illustrated Guide to Opening Pomegranates!

Thank you, James, for your wonderful work in the field of Pomegrantology and the messy dissections you have suffered through for its progress. If only there was a service that could instantly deliver this grand delicacy directly to your door, I would be sending you one in thanks at this very moment.