Monday, April 25, 2011


Finally starting to feel better.  This cold has been one m-fing misery.  I'm not used to being sick - can't imagine how I would react to developing a chronic condition of some sort.  Not very well, I'm afraid.

A few weeks ago, I asked my SO how he felt about being 60.  He said, it did not bother him, but the prospect of turning 61 next month does.  What a difference a year makes.

I won't reach 60 for another 18 months, but I already dread it.  It feels like the beginning of the end.  No longer will I be able to cling to middle age.  I picture the final third (if I'm lucky) of my life as being a slow but steady decline.  I wonder if this cold signifies what is in store for me.  Bah.

One of my brothers is a financial advisor, and his advice it to work as much as you can for as long as you can, so you won't run out of money.  My goal is to retire as soon as possible, while I can still do all the things I want to do.

A head hunter contacted me a week or so ago, and I was tempted by his offer.  If I were inclined to follow my brother's advice, I might be interested in a new job.  But I'm interested in having no job.  My current employer is plumping up my 401k, so staying put seems like the best choice for me right now.

We'll see.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Snot nosed kid

I cannot believe how sick I have been this week, can't remember the last time I had such a bad cold.  One disadvantage of being able to work from home is, as bad as I feel, I can still manage to get something accomplished but no one sees just how big a sacrifice that is.  During conference calls, I can hear others sniffling as well, so I am not alone.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

New 'puter and a new vector

After a certain amount of dithering, a little bit of research, and a frustrating hour with my old laptop, I treated myself to a new HP Pavilion.  My old PC is a Pavilion as well, so I felt comfortable with the quality.  And I think (hope) I got a good price.  I won't know for sure because once I purchase what amounts to a big ticket item for me, I stop looking at advertisements.  No sense torturing myself.

Originally, I looked at the 17" ones, but they are HUGE.  I don't watch movies on my computer (that's why I bought a big screen TV), so I went with the 14" model.  Why the 17" one was less, I don't know - most of the features were identical.  Maybe small is preferable when the public shops for laptops.  Who woulda thought?

Meanwhile, I managed to catch a cold from my granddaughter.  The past several years have been relatively illness-free for me, but now there is this drooling creature who sticks everything into her mouth, and sneezes so hard her pacifier flies several feet, and does not cover her mouth with the crook of her elbow or wash her hands AT ALL.  Oh, well.  My immune system needs to be exercised.  Just wish the cold had hit during the week instead of the weekend.

Speaking (obliquely) of work, the past few weeks have been difficult.  Part of the problem is a looming deadline on a big project where a lot of smaller projects all need to interact.  People are getting a little tense.  From my perspective, I find myself NOT invited to meetings and NOT `cc'd on memos, and yet expected to know what is going on.  Goes hand in hand to having a role for which I was NOT trained (just expected to magically know what to do).  My current project is winding down soon (it's part of the looming deadline pastiche), and there has been talk of a subsequent release, but no one is keeping me in the loop.  My line manager has discussed what I may be working on next, and it involves a role I liken to being the guy with a shovel who follows the elephants in a parade.  So, yeah, a little stressful.

And I'm at that awkward age:  too young to retire, too old to start over.  And there is the money and the benefits and the green building and relatively nice co-workers and the ability to work from home, etc.  A lot of perks.  Too bad the work itself is so stultifying.

Poor me.  I have to work for a living.  Wah.  Wah.  Wah.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Apple lost a potential customer

As I reported earlier, I had trouble purchasing an iPad 2 from the local Best Buys.  I thought the claim that they were all sold out was legit, but apparently not.

Oh, well!  Best Buy lost Apple at least one customer.

Regarding my NookColor, I am discovering there are things I like about it and things I don't.  As a reader (which is its main purpose in life), it is fine.  I have not yet purchased a book, but I have subscribed to a couple of magazines.  Also, I downloaded a sample of a cookbook to preview.  Unfortunately, the sample was not large enough to include any actual recipes.  Maybe that was on purpose?  I wanted to see how I liked using the Nook as an electronic cookbook, but I guess I will have to do that another way.

The Gallery (where photos are stored) is kind of whacky.  Sample photos that come on the device cannot be deleted, even though there is a delete button; I will try it through the PC interface.  Once you enter the slide show, there is no obvious way to exit directly back to the Gallery, either.  Still, I like using it as a photo album.

The fact I can load my own files onto it is another plus.  So far, I have loaded PDFs, although it is supposed to support MS Office documents as well (in view only mode).  I should try that feature, although I doubt I will carry the Nook out to the garden while viewing my gardening spreadsheet.

I tried downloading an audio book from my local library, but it was in WMA format, which the Nook apparently does not support.  All the audio files on my laptop are also WMA, so no downloading them, either.  I have not tried listening to Pandora or any other Internet radio on it yet.

B&N provides a few free books, including three for children.  Only one will download; the others have "technical difficulties".  Maybe I will call their help line and see just how helpful they are.  The one that did download, a simple Richard Scary one, entertains my granddaughter.  The Nook will read it for you, if you so desire.  One negative thing about reading picture books is, if you touch the screen to point something out, sometimes you end up turning the page or changing the mode.

One area of frustration is the Web browser.  I finally realized that I could upsize the text size easily, so now I can read and select items on the screen more easily.  And some sites (like FB) have Android-specific versions, which makes it easy to navigate.  But the Google Reader does not, plus while I can scroll the screen up and down, I cannot scroll within the feed display window.  Then I read about NookFeed, so I tried that.  It can be synced up with Google Reader (yay) but the navigation buttons do not appear on my Nook screen (boo).  I sent NookFeed some feedback AND left a note on their FB wall, but no answer.

Officially, there are no apps for the Nook - at least, not yet - but there is a way to "root" it and download Android apps.  I have not tried this because 1) I don't want to void the warranty, and 2) I don't want to screw up my Nook.  After the warranty runs out and/or I find some guts, I may try it.

The NookColor is a little heavy for carrying around in my purse, but using it to look something up on the Web is faster than my laptop (which admittedly is really old).  One of my coworkers has a cell phone that can act as a WiFi hot spot, so we tested it with the Nook, and that worked well.  Said coworker is the guy I go to with questions about new technology, and he was favorably impressed with the Nook.  That says something right there.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Resolutions - March recap

As I struggled just to maintain my weight loss this past month, it occurred to me that the dead of winter is NOT the best time to resolve to eat less and exercise more.  Maybe we should make April Fool's resolutions instead?

DST helped and hurt.  The change made it difficult to get to bed on time to get enough sleep and get up in time to meditate before work.  However, the extra daylight at the end of the day makes it easier to get out and walk.

My right hip has been bothering me in the "it hurts when I do this" kind of way.  Additional walking seems to help, yoga class sometimes aggravates it.  It is not keeping me from everyday activities, though, so I'll keep self-treating it for a while.

Even though I gained back two pounds this past month, I can't fault what I eat, just how much.  I have been on a soup-making orgy - the freezer now contains three different kinds of lentil soup - but I also have noticed my appetite decreasing as the days lengthen.  Not sure how I am going to deal with hot weather, though - ice cream!