February 28, 2005

I Can Receive Calls Now

I had a text message waiting for me on Sunday after snowboarding telling me that I can receive calls now. I tested it and I'm now up and running with my new cell phone and service. I also got my phone connected to my laptop via bluetooth. It didn't work right out of the box, mostly because my laptop isn't made by Apple, but after a little playing and tweaking I was able to get things going. A really cool thing is that since I use Lotus Notes for my work email and calendar, I can sync that up with my phone and know right away any time when my meetings are and what my schedule for the day is. That is really handy if I'm coming home on Sunday night from snowboarding.

Posted by troutm8 at 04:42 PM | Comments (199)

9 Out Of 10 Vegetarians Don't Eat Here

We did end up snowboarding with J&R this weekend. Saturday we went snowboarding at Sugarbowl which had pretty decent (packed powder) conditions. The groomed runs were pretty nice but the off trail conditions were a little hard and crusty, which made me want to stay on the groomed runs. Saturday night we hit Kopelli's inside Silver Legacy for a sushi buffet. I normally wouldn't think that Reno would be the place to go for sushi, but in this case I highly recommend people try this place out. They had rolls that I had not tried or even heard of before, the pieces were big, and the quality of the fish was high. I would totally go here again. After that we walked over to the Nugget, which is the home of the awful-awful($3.25) and got a chocolate milkshake. That's where this photo comes from. On Sunday we hit Northstar and had a day long snowball fight across the mountain, and the conditions were pretty good. The weather came in as we were departing, and with the rain, darkness, and traffic, it took us about 5.5 hours to get home. It was a tiring but fun weekend, and best of all neither Timber nor I had to do any work.

Posted by troutm8 at 02:19 PM | Comments (81)

February 25, 2005

Snowboarding On Tap

Well it is time to make another attempt at snowboarding this weekend, and it looks like Timber still does not have to work as of 9:30 PM. We are going to hit Sugarbowl tomorrow and Flatstar on Sunday. We are staying at the Silver Legacy again. Maybe this time we'll try the all you can eat sushi made to order inside the hotel this time.

Posted by troutm8 at 10:11 PM | Comments (47)

Are effeciencies Worth It?

I find myself writing scripts, agents, batch processes, and sometimes programs at work to help me get more done in a shorter amount of time. I find that if it is something repeating and redundant then there is probably a way to automate it so that I can work on things more interesting yet still get the boring part of my work done. But the problem I am running into is that no matter how much of my time I free up to do interesting things, the amount of boring stuff just grows and grows. I wonder if other people run into this problem? Maybe I say yes too much when people ask me to do thing... I don't know.

Posted by troutm8 at 09:26 PM | Comments (86)

February 23, 2005

Cannot Receive Calls

Just in case you have tried to call me in the last day or so I just switched service providers from Sprint to ATT/Cingular/SBC/Behemoth and got a new phone. I can make outgoing calls right now but cannot receive any calls yet. I'm not sure when I will start receiving calls, so in the meantime if you want to contact me I recommend either calling my home or work and/or emailing or IM'ing me. In case you don't have my cell phone and other numbers here they are... Sike! The phone I got was the Nokia 6820. The story behind my switch is that my contract with Sprint was up and I was planning to renew with another contract, but I wanted the phone that I get to have both speakerphone and bluetooth. Sprint only has 2 phones with bluetooth, one that does not have speakerphone and the other that would cost me $400. If I'm going to pay around $400 for something, it will probably be a mac mini. At any rate, I started looking at what other carriers my company got a discount with (typical cheap American) and I found out that I get a decent discount with ATT/Cingular/Big Brother, so I checked to see which phones had bluetooth and speakerphone. To my amazement they had a few. After that the rest was history. Start to finish from starting looking to receiving my phone was about 3 days. The funny thing is I'm currently have difficulty connecting the phone to my thinkpad via bluetooth. I'm sure I'll get it to work soon...

Posted by troutm8 at 08:43 PM | Comments (152)

February 22, 2005

Iowa's Children Of the iPod

Timber sent me this article about how people in Iowa are using their iPods. I thought it was pretty cool in that it was showing people across ages and boundaries and how they use their iPods. I know I use mine so much that the battery will probably die in about a year or so. When that happens I'll just have a 20 Gb firewire hard drive and get a bigger one for my music.

Posted by troutm8 at 11:19 AM | Comments (148)

February 21, 2005

Avalanche Kills Skier Near Where We Were

When the snow really started to come in late Saturday afternoon we were thankfully on our way out. On Sunday morning an avalanche killed a woman a few miles south of Castle Peak. You can see an article about it here. Make sure to check out the video. It just goes to show that these things can happen and that people should be as careful as possible. We were very deliberate in our route to the top of Castle Peak and because we didn't feel comfortable with any of the other routes we found and the snow was starting to fall, we decided to go back down the same, relatively safe route.

Posted by troutm8 at 11:03 AM | Comments (73)

February 19, 2005

Castle Peak Bagged, Kind Of...

First I want to say that Timber's employer totally sucks. We were planning on snowshoeing on Saturday and then snowboarding on Sunday. She has to work on Sunday, so that napalmed the plans for a weekend in Tahoe. Plan B was to do a day trip today to do some snowshoeing at Castle Peak. The mission was accomplished. We got to the snow park near the Boreal Ski Resort, got our parking pass, and hucked it to the trail. We were planning on just taking the trail around the Castle Peak area and not necessarily climbing the mountain but time and the conditions were on our side so we decided to go for it. When I say Kind Of in the title I say that because we did make it to the top of Castle Peak and we could see around in all directions, but we did not make it to the very top (9103 ft > 2775 m) of the highest spire. That being said we didn't feel there was any need to do that, instead we started to feel the need to get back to the truck before it got dark. The rest of my photos from the trip are here. All in all I think it was quite an enjoyable day, and on the way back we ate dinner at Sizzler in Auburn. I can't remember the last time I had gone to Sizzler but I think it was sometime in the early 90's. But from my experience this evening I would go back and I would recommend people try it. The food was good and the service was excellent. High marks across the board. Now I have to figure out what to do tomorrow while Timber is working...

Posted by troutm8 at 11:23 PM | Comments (82)

February 18, 2005

Snowshoeing and Snowboarding

We are going to hit the slopes this weekend. Our itenerary includes snowshoeing near Castle Peak tomorrow, staying at the Silver Legacy tomorrow night, and on Sunday snowboarding at either Alpine Meadows, Northstar, or Sugarbowl. Tahoe has been getting snow all week so the conditions should be great!

Posted by troutm8 at 09:14 PM | Comments (159)

Baby Names App

Check out this baby name app. It shows the popularity of names from the early 1900's through today.

Posted by troutm8 at 08:56 PM | Comments (765)

February 15, 2005

Goal Met: Start Planning Skyline to Sea

When I weighed myself this morning I realized that I had met my goal set a little over a month ago. My delivery date was March 8th. So that means I can start planning the Skyline to Sea backpacking trip. Hey Forrest, are you still interested in going? I think it will be sometime in March.

Posted by troutm8 at 04:39 PM | Comments (102)

How Did You Spend Your V-Day?

I spent my V-day evening playing soccer. I'm not sure why Off The Wall decided to schedule games for v-day, but I guess that is old news now. I scored a goal and had an assist in my first game (12-4) loss, and I played goal keeper in the second game (6-3 win). I'll take Timber out for a V-day dinner sometime this week.

Posted by troutm8 at 02:19 PM | Comments (44)

Open Water = Waste Of Time

Timber and I watched Open Water on Sunday, and it was a waste of time. I was only interested in finding out how two divers that got left on their own far from land got out of it. Well they didn't. And there were many parts of the movie that were not needed and made it a big fat waste of time. Yahoo! users give this movie a C- rating. I would probably give this a D.

Posted by troutm8 at 01:50 PM | Comments (136)

February 13, 2005


We went to SF yesterday to have dinner at PPQ and check out some of Mary's photos at a coffee shop. First, let me say that PPQ was most excellent and you should really give it a try if you are going to have dinner in SF. We got the dinner for 4 which included a dungeness crab, garlic noodles, sea bass, pork, soft shell crab, salad, string beans, and fried banana with ice cream for dessert. Every dish was excellent. After dinner we went to pick up Mary and head over to the coffee shop where her pictures were hanging. Forrest dropped by but could only stay for a few minutes because he couldn't find parking. The theme for our time in SF was the lack of parking which really illustrates to me that if you are going to try to go places in SF you would be best served by taking public transportation. After checking out the pictures and then walking around for a little bit we took Mary back home and then departed to head back to San Jose.

Posted by troutm8 at 02:41 PM | Comments (66)

February 12, 2005

More Bloggers Getting Dooced

Here's a link about more bloggers getting "dooced". It just goes to show that you should be careful about what you blog.

Posted by troutm8 at 03:05 PM | Comments (107)

Carly Out

I guess I'm a little behind the times, but when I found out the other day that Carly Fiorina was forced out at HP I couldn't help but be a little happy for HP employees but at the same time worry about my own company since HP is one of our competitors. When looking back on what she brought to HP here is what I see:
1. She changed the company culture for the worse, making it colder and more brutal, which is especially chilling that it happened to HP who used to have a reputation for being a very family-like atmosphere.
2. She engineered the merger with Compaq which didn't seem to do much other than make a select few people very rich.
In all I think HP is moving in the right direction by getting rid of her. Oh, by the way, she is walking away with a $21.1 M severance package. So I guess she can't be too upset by that. But I know if I were an HP shareholder I would be very upset that my company just got fleeced.

Posted by troutm8 at 12:50 PM | Comments (62)

February 10, 2005

Tivo To Go

I finally got the update to my Tivo box which means I can use TivoToGo and write my own Tivo applications. I'm currently in the process of copying a few shows over to my laptop to see how the experience goes. I'll write a review later.

Posted by troutm8 at 01:08 AM | Comments (63)

February 08, 2005

Change To Front Page

I changed my front page over the weekend. I'll make more changes as time goes on. I didn't test it against all browsers and all screen resolutions, so hopefully it looks decent across most.

Posted by troutm8 at 11:27 AM | Comments (57)

Super Bowl And Things Of That Nature

My weekend started by a soccer game on Friday night. My team lost 15-5, which has to be one of the worst beatings I've ever suffered. On Saturday I decided not to go to the Science Extravaganza because I wouldn't be able to get back to check on the dogs and let them out for a potty break and I wasn't really feeling up to showing up there at 7 AM. I'll try to volunteer for something that allows me to catch some decent shut-eye beforehand. For most of Saturday I did things around the house and did some work. Timber came home on Saturday night. On Sunday we went to M&Z's for their Super Bowl party. There was lots of food and it was good. They had hawaiin pork aka kalua pig, general chicken, some tuna sashimi, and other assorted good stuff. We left at halftime to go to Timber's parents' house to have some pizza. After that we went by to visit her brother and the baby.

Posted by troutm8 at 11:18 AM | Comments (64)

February 03, 2005

It's About Time

Tivo is having a developer challenge now that they have released their HME SDK. The only apps I've seen thus far are for checking weather, playing games, listening to music, crap, crap, crap... I'm not all that impressed (can you tell?). Where is the web browser for Tivo? Having a decent web browser that supports flash and all sorts of other crap would be a huge step forward. How about getting keyboards and mice to work with the Tivo? I'm guessing if that isn't done already then it would be pretty simple. Now for some killer apps. How about a video conferencing system for Tivo, or incorporating VOIP with it? Or getting a bluetooth module for Tivo? If you havve a 50" HDTV wouldn't it be cool if you had a little camera that follows you as you walk around your living room while you have you video conference with your mom? How about being able to control any computer in your house from your Tivo (VNC)? How about being able to sync up your Tivo watching with your calendar that is on your desktop but not on the web. Or how about setting up a webserver on your tivo box that you can log into from the web to see your todo list? I still don't know why Tivo doesn't show that stuff on their website, it must be a privacy issue. There are tons of other apps that could be created or made better.

Posted by troutm8 at 10:56 AM | Comments (84)

February 01, 2005

Interesting Article About Tsunami Relief

How They Really Feel -- Ed Stanton, Thu, January 27 2005, 6:32:39
It has been three weeks since my ship, the USS Abraham Lincoln, arrived off the Sumatran coast to aid the hundreds of thousands of victims of the Dec. 26 tsunami that ravaged their coastline. I’d like to say that this has been a rewarding experience for us, but it has not: Instead, it has been a frustrating and needlessly dangerous exercise made even more difficult by the Indonesian government and a traveling circus of so-called aid workers who have invaded our spaces.

What really irritated me was a scene I witnessed in the Lincoln’s wardroom a few days ago. I went in for breakfast as I usually do, expecting to see the usual crowd of ship’s company officers in khakis and air wing aviators in flight suits, drinking coffee and exchanging rumors about when our ongoing humanitarian mission in Sumatra is going to end.

What I saw instead was a mob of civilians sitting around like they owned the place. They wore various colored vests with logos on the back including Save The Children, World Health Organization and the dreaded baby blue vest of the United Nations. Mixed in with this crowd were a bunch of reporters, cameramen and Indonesian military officers in uniform. They all carried cameras, sunglasses and fanny packs like tourists on their way to Disneyland.

My warship had been transformed into a floating hotel for a bunch of trifling do-gooders overnight.

As I went through the breakfast line, I overheard one of the U.N. strap-hangers, a longhaired guy with a beard, make a sarcastic comment to one of our food servers. He said something along the lines of “Nice china, really makes me feel special,” in reference to the fact that we were eating off of paper plates that day. It was all I could do to keep from jerking him off his feet and choking him, because I knew that the reason we were eating off paper plates was to save dishwashing water so that we would have more water to send ashore and save lives. That plus the fact that he had no business being there in the first place.

My attitude towards these unwanted no-loads grew steadily worse that day as I learned more from one of our junior officers who was assigned to escort a group of them. It turns out that they had come to Indonesia to “assess the damage” from the Dec. 26 tsunami.

Well, they could have turned on any TV in the world and seen that the damage was total devastation. When they got to Sumatra with no plan, no logistics support and no five-star hotels to stay in, they threw themselves on the mercy of the U.S. Navy, which, unfortunately, took them in. I guess our senior brass was hoping for some good PR since this was about the time that the U.N. was calling the United States “stingy” with our relief donations.

As a result of having to host these people, our severely over-tasked SH-60 Seahawk helos, which were carrying tons of food and water every day to the most inaccessible places in and around Banda Aceh, are now used in great part to ferry these “relief workers” from place to place every day and bring them back to their guest bedrooms on the Lincoln at night. Despite their avowed dedication to helping the victims, these relief workers will not spend the night in-country, and have made us their guardians by default.

When our wardroom treasurer approached the leader of the relief group and asked him who was paying the mess bill for all the meals they ate, the fellow replied, “We aren’t paying, you can try to bill the U.N. if you want to.”

In addition to the relief workers, we routinely get tasked with hauling around reporters and various low-level “VIPs,” which further wastes valuable helo lift that could be used to carry supplies. We had to dedicate two helos and a C-2 cargo plane for America-hater Dan Rather and his entourage of door holders and briefcase carriers from CBS News. Another camera crew was from MTV. I doubt if we’ll get any good PR from them, since the cable channel is banned in Muslim countries. We also had to dedicate a helo and crew to fly around the vice mayor of Phoenix, Ariz., one day. Everyone wants in on the action.

As for the Indonesian officers, while their job is apparently to encourage our leaving as soon as possible, all they seem to do in the meantime is smoke cigarettes. They want our money and our help but they don’t want their population to see that Americans are doing far more for them in two weeks than their own government has ever done or will ever do for them.

To add a kick in the face to the USA and the Lincoln, the Indonesian government announced it would not allow us to use their airspace for routine training and flight proficiency operations while we are saving the lives of their people, some of whom are wearing Osama bin Ladin T-shirts as they grab at our food and water. The ship has to steam out into international waters to launch and recover jets, which makes our helos have to fly longer distances and burn more fuel.

What is even worse than trying to help people who totally reject everything we stand for is that our combat readiness has suffered for it.

An aircraft carrier is an instrument of national policy and the big stick she carries is her air wing. An air wing has a set of very demanding skills and they are highly perishable. We train hard every day at sea to conduct actual air strikes, air defense, maritime surveillance, close air support and many other missions – not to mention taking off and landing on a ship at sea.

Our safety regulations state that if a pilot does not get a night carrier landing every seven days, he has to be re-qualified to land on the ship. Today we have pilots who have now been over 25 days without a trap due to being unable to use Indonesian airspace to train. Normally it is when we are at sea that our readiness is at its very peak. Thanks to the Indonesian government, we have to waive our own safety rules just to get our pilots off the deck.

In other words, the longer we stay here helping these people, the more dangerous it gets for us to operate. We have already lost one helicopter, which crashed in Banda Aceh while taking sailors ashore to unload supplies from the C-130s. There were no relief workers on that one.

I’m all for helping the less fortunate, but it is time to give this mission to somebody other than the U.S. Navy. Our ship was supposed to be home on Feb. 3 and now we have no idea how long we will be here. American taxpayers are spending millions per day to keep this ship at sea and getting no training value out of it. As a result, we will come home in a lower state of readiness than when we left due to the lack of flying while supporting the tsunami relief effort.

I hope we get some good PR in the Muslim world out of it. After all, this is Americans saving the lives of Muslims. I have my doubts.

[Ed Stanton is the pen name of a career U.S. Navy officer currently serving with the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group.]

Posted by troutm8 at 11:59 PM | Comments (97)

Out Of The Basement

I joined a fantasy NBA league with some friends, and while I started out pretty well but I did end up trading away some of my best players (doh!). As a result of my NBA ineptitude (haven't watched an entire game all season), I've been in the basement (last place) nearly the entire season. I was pleasantly surprised to see that I am no longer in last place! It's time for the comeback of the year!

Posted by troutm8 at 01:18 PM | Comments (145)