November 2008 Archives

Last week I got the xbox 360 update which included streaming netflix. Here is a news release about it. The way it works is if you have an Xbox Live Gold account and a Netflix account you can download a little applet (about 3 Mb) and then go to Netflix on your xbox 360 and stream some movies. If you have decent bandwidth like I do the picture quality is pretty decent. Unfortunately you can't watch all Netflix movies this way, and you also have to browse Netflix via your web browser and add supported movies to your "instant queue". But they will show up on your xbox 360 about 5 seconds after you add them to your netflix instant queue in your browser (I tested it). So overall it is a good example of two services "leveraging their synergies". Some improvements I would suggest include:
1. Having all Netflix movies available for streaming.
2. Allow users to browse the movies from the xbox 360.

Houston Trip

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Earlier this month (November 8th) I got word that my father died. It was an unexpected thing and my brother and I got to Houston as soon as we could. It was a tough trip, but the good thing about it was that we got to see family that we had not seen in a long time. I am going to make sure that I do a better job of staying in touch from now on. Here are the photos I took while in Houston.

October Photos

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I forgot to add a link to the photos I took in the last entry.  You can find the photos here.

Parents' October Visit

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My parents came to visit in October, and while they were here we did quite a few things. Here are some of the things we did:
1. Went to the Leonado Da Vinci exhibit at the Tech Museum. Inside the exhibit were lots of models of things that Leonardo Da Vinci invented along with some of his original notebooks. His skill in drawing, writing, and inventing were extraordinary, and he truly was a genius. It was a real eye opening experience for me.
2. Sharks Game. We got good seats to watch the San Jose Sharks beat the Columbus Blue Jackets. It was a good game made even better by really good seats.
3. Golden Gate Park. When Mom and I went to Golden Gate Park we checked out the Conservatory of Flowers, the De Young Museum, and the Japanese Tea Garden. We were thinking about coming back later to check out the Academy of Sciences, but since it newly opened, people were standing in line for hours to get in. Hence we decided to come back another year.
4. Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival. We got to Half Moon Bay just as the pumpkin festival opened up (9 AM) and were shocked to see droves and droves of people that also thought they would beat the crowds by coming early. It was difficult to walk around because there were SO many people. I think we will skip this even for at least the next few years.
5. Wine Tasting. My mom and I spent a day doing wine tasting at wineries in Morgan Hill and San Martin (really close to where I live) and it was a really nice and enjoyable experience. I'll definitely spend some time checking out the wineries that we missed.
6. Concerts. While my mom was here we went to an Amy Grant concert and the Bridge School Benefit Concert (which included Neal Young & Friends).
7. Pumpkin Patch, Haunted House, and Scary Cornfield Ride. We went to a pumpkin patch in Morgan Hill that also had a carousel, haunted house, and scary hay ride. It was a lot of fun, and we got chased by guys with chainsaws. :-)

tiny * prints news

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Things have been busy at tinyprints. Here are some of the things we've been up to:
1. Flickr welcomes Tiny Prints to 'Do More' family
2. We also integrated with SmugMug and Picasa.
3. We partnered with several celebrities to create new card designs to benefit charities.

My Election Choices

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In an unprecidented move I am making the things I voted for public in case I'm ever foolish enough to run for public office in the future.  I talked to my mom earlier today, so she knows who I voted for, so here goes:

President - McCain
US Representative District 16 - Lofgren
State Senator District 11 - Simitian
Member of the State Assembly District 23 - Coto
Superior Court Office #8 - Liroff
Member of City Council San Jose - Karla
Santa Clara County Open Space Authority - Kennett

Ballot Initiatives
1A - High Speed Rail -> Yes
2 - Better Treatment for Farm Animals -> Yes
3 - Children's Hospital Bond -> Yes
4 - Kids Abortion -> Yes
5 - Nonviolent Drug Affenders -> No (because of Judge Manley)
6 - Police & Law Enforcement Funding -> No, not entirely sure what this is
7 - Renewable Energy Generation -> No. too restrictive
8 - Eliminate Same Sex Marriage -> No
9 - Victim's Rights -> No
10 - Alternative Fuel Vehicles -> No
11 - Redistricting -> Yes
12 - Veteran's Bond Act -> Yes

Santa Clara County
A - Hospital Seismic Retrofit -> Yes
B - BART extension -> Yes
C - Advisory Vote -> Yes
D - Ordinance -> Yes

San Jose
J - 911 fee reduction -> No
K - Telecommunications User Tax Reduction -> No
L - First Station Construction -> Yes
M - City Parks -> Yes

Good Day to be an American

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Even with all the problems we have in this country, days like this make me hopeful and grateful to be an American.  It does not matter if Bush wants to stay in office or not, he is leaving and we are selecting our next President today.  We also have lots of other elections and ballot measures.  I'm not revealing who I voted for just yet since I want my mom to find out via the package I sent her in the mail, but after she finds out I'll reveal all my choices here.  Whomever wins will face lots of challenges both at home and internationally and I hope they can rise to the challenge and provide solid leadership.  And if you haven't gotten out to vote yet its not too late.  Get out there!

Happy Halloween!

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This was my costume at work. My new workplace really gets into the Halloween spirit. They had a costume contest and a pumpkin carving contest, and a big party. My costume (a tiny*prints card) didn't win anything, but I got lots of complements. After work Timber and I went over to her parents' house and went with them to take Dio trick or treating. He really enjoyed dressing up like Buzz Lightyear and knocking on doors. It rained a little bit, but that didn't seem to keep people from going out trick or treating. All in all it was a really nice Halloween.

September 2010

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Contact Info:
email: tom.carroll[at]
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AOL IM: parb0y77
Skype: troutm8
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Adventure Race
Desolation Wilderness
Eastern Sierras
Half Dome
Hetch Hetchy
John Muir Wilderness
Lost Coast
Mount Shasta[2][3]
Mount Whintey
Prairie Creek Redwoods SP
Skyline to the Sea Trail
White Mountain Peak[1][2]
Clouds Rest