Wednesday, June 30, 2010


I took it easy at karate, or tried to. I felt myself getting into some combinations, but tried to slow down. Tried not to push too hard, and just work technique.

I thought I did OK, but near the end I could feel my ankle was sore. I must have worked it, twisted it, or extended it more than I expected. It was sore walking around the store afterward and I need some ice.

I did manage to work up a good sweat, this after a late (3:30pm) run. Even pushed myself to do the ab workout afterward even though the teacher released us without it.

Delaney did the kids’ class before me and he looked good. They had to do a 5 round kick set, no lowering the leg and he had great concentration and balance. I was impressed.

Book #47 – 61 Hours

65194550[1] I was excited to get the latest Jack Reacher novel, 61 Hours, ever since I had seen advertisements in the UK back in March. It was released in May, but with a $14 price for the e-book. Economics, for me, meant that I’d wait for the price to come down since I didn’t think it was worth it. It did, and in June I got the book.

It’s an interesting book, one where Reacher finds himself in a new situation. It’s a countdown to an event that will occur 61 hours after the start of the book, and we get reminders at the end of chapters, often every few hours.

Reacher is in a place where it’s hard for him to operate. His bus traveling through South Dakota when it crashes. It’s a blizzard, and the local police are slow to respond and then acting strangely. Reacher realizes something is wrong and is taken into their confidence. A witness is in danger. She’s testifying against a drug gang outside of town and the police are trying to protect her.

The book moves slowly, with relatively little action from Reacher as he tries to puzzle through things. Once again he figures most things out, but misses a crucial piece of information, one in this case that gets the witness killed. That’s not the incident, and it ends on a quick pace, with the words seeming to flow faster as the book nears the end.

However we don’t know what happens to Reacher. I can’t imagine that this is the end of the series, and I wonder how we’ll get the explanation in the next one. Definitely an important book in the Reacher series, but it needs the next book to achieve closure. I don’t like that.

The Kitty is Loose

We've slowly introduced the kitten to Deuce over the last few days, and we've had the dogs in our room when the cat was on the bed. So today when Tia got home she thought it was time for the kitten to be loose a bit while we were home. Kendall was thrilled, and has been alternately playing games on the computer and walking around with the kitten playing.

Very cute.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A No-Run

Delaney didn’t eat enough lunch. I could tell and he struggled through a part run/mostly walk down the trail today. He just didn’t have the energy to get going, and didn’t really pick up speed at all. I tried to keep him motivated, encouraged him that it was OK to have a bad day, and keep pushing when he could. He managed some jogging stretches, and kept going, not complaining, and getting back to the start.

A Quiet Day

Up early, working alone for a couple hours before Kendall came down. Delaney was up before 11, and when I came back from feeding horses, I made some breakfast burritos (lunch for me). That was actually productive time with me taking a conference call while I was walking around throwing hay out for the horses.

Now we just need to run before Scouts tonight. And I need to get motivate Delaney to work on his various tasks.

Well, I need to do a bunch of work as well.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Left Handed Third Base

Lots of sore arms yesterday, so I got placed at third base. My right arm was sore, so I went out there left handed, which is supposed to be a no-no. I thought I'd be OK, and since I don't have a rocket arm either side, I figured the extra half turn to throw would be countered by a stronger throw from the left arm. Anything close I wouldn't make anyway.

The first batter, on my old team, grounded to me, and I muffed it. Actually I pulled up early and it trickled below my glove, earning me a lot of cat calls. The rest of the afternoon was fairly uneventful. I made two plays on line drives, catching them easily, a good thing. I chased one down into short left, but was running back and looking up and couldn't reach it. Not really a play I'd make anyway and I was only even close since I'd been shifted over almost to short for a left-handed batter.

At the plate I wasn't better. A weak grounder to first that I topped. A hard hit, but too high curve to deep left. 0-2 when I came up in the 7th. I fouled off a few, but then jerked and let one go that I was thinking was too high, and slightly outside. Strike 3. After not making any good plays in front of the old coach, I felt a little embarrassed, and disappointed a lot.

I got a grounder in the bottom of the 7th, 2 outs, and threw too far on the left to first. I'd been pulling the person over there all day in warm-ups and this was no different. It would have been 3 outs, but a couple hits, a couple other errors, and all of a sudden we were down 11-1 and the game was over. That was annoying.

A quick game, 2 hours, and not much fun. No one on our team hit well, and once again we lost. This one was more annoying playing my old team, and because I didn't have a good game. Still, it was fun, I watched an inning of the next game, and was glad that I at least got to play. Now two more weeks to rest up.

Healthy and Poked

Delaney need a physical for his Boy Scout canoe trip in a few weeks, so I scheduled him for today. Since he was up until 2am, he struggled to get going, but we managed to get down there and see the doctor.

This is the same pediatrician we’ve seen since Delaney was about 1 year old, and it’s nice to have that continuity. He relates well to Delaney and checked him out. He’s healthy, no issues, and about 90% for his height/weight. 105lbs/60.75” now, and supposed to come in at 6’1” or 6’2” when he’s done. Looking good overall.

The only downside was a couple of shots Delaney needed, and since he’d volunteered at the Food Bank last year, the doctor recommended a TB test to be sure he didn’t contract that.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Just the Boys

Tia and Kendall left last night, heading up to their race and a weekend of horse camping. So Delaney and I went out, a boys night. We stopped at On the Border for dinner. Delaney wasn’t thrilled, wanting somewhere quicker since we were both hungry. There was a wait, but since Tia had mentioned it on Thur, I had a craving and I was driving.

We got drinks from the bar while we waited and chatted. It was fun, and I think he started to enjoy it. When we got our table, we both both fajitas, a first for Delaney. He has been trying a few more things that I do, and it’s been interesting. Out of the blue, on a suggestion, he tried the moonshine hot sauce I bought a few weeks ago, and now he picked fajitas when he saw me order them.

We had a good dinner, talking about things and eating. He enjoyed it, and then it was off to a movie. We saw “Killers”, which isn’t great, but isn’t horrible either. It’s a spy spoof, a thriller/comedy, that could never be true, but had some funny moments. Delaney was laughing out loud a few times.

A good night, and we’ll have a guys weekend with the girls gone. Not sure what we’ll do, but it should be fun.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Struggling to work

Not sure what is wrong, but I’m tired, hungry, and struggling to concentrate today. I was working through the day, but slowly. When I went to shoot podcasts this afternoon I had one that needed some rewriting and I couldn’t think through what to say, so I gave up.

Tia and Kendall are off for a race this weekend up North of Fort Collins, so it’s just Delaney and I. Likely we’ll go see a movie tonight, but not too late. I am tired.

Loose Horses, A Photographer, and a Fire Truck

Tia had booked us with a professional photographer last night. She contacted Monica Starr Brown, who a friend of hers used, to come by and shoot the family. So we tried to finish work, and then get everyone clean and dressed in clothes that would look good in a picture.

The photographer was late, so we were rushing to get outside before the light went down. Tia wanted some with dogs and horses, and so we had a whole crew outside walking around in the front, using the fields and the light to get some pictures.

It was going well, we had kids on horses bareback, shooting a variety of shots, when things started to go south. Tia didn’t have anyone holding horses while we shot some with kids and dogs when they started to walk away. Deuce gave chase, and all of a sudden they were running in the distance.

We weren’t sure what to do as the sun was slipping over the mountains, but decided to drive out there and get a few more. So everyone piled in the pickup and we drove out there. While we were shooting, I saw a fire truck come down the road. Not too fast, no lights on, but I had a feeling.

Sure enough they stopped by our gate and the lights came on and they proceeded down to the house. Apparently our fire alarm had done off and since no one had answered the home phone, they deployed. No fire, no hint of one as they searched the house manually, and with a thermal imager.

Not sure what happened, but it was a hectic night between that and the photo shoot. To top it off, a friend of Tia’s was dropping off a horse last night late for Tia to take to her race tomorrow.

Life is never slow at the ranch.

Thursday, June 24, 2010


I was laying in bed last night, watching Wipeout with Kendall. Actually she was watching Wipeout and I was reading on my phone since I’d seen the episode. I got a text on my phone, and it was my oldest son, asking if I was watching the Rockies game.
I said no, was with his sister, and I get a text back that the Rockies hit 3HRs to win, beat the Sox and that Giambi is awesome.
My son, Kyle, isn’t much of a sports kids, never really played much as a kid (he’s 18 now), but apparently something rubbed off. I’m sure he was with friends watching, or having the game on, but still cool that he noticed and sent me a note.

AV Security – It’s a Virus

My computer started popping up anti-virus warnings yesterday. At first I thought that my system had kicked in, but then I realized that I hadn’t installed Anti-virus on this machine after the last time I rebuilt it. However something was fishy.

I tried to do some searching and discovered that it really is a virus that mimics a security program. It’s called the AV Security Virus, and it is a pain. It tells you that your security program is out of date, and then pops up  website if you want to activate it that looks like a real software vendor site.


Don’t click on anything and don’t try to activate it. I found my computer to be almost useless, with every program showing a virus error. Including Task Manager! These are all generated by the virus, so you think that it is helping, but it isn’t.

Fortunately I had a second computer from which I bought the Norton 2010 Anti-virus program and downloaded it. I then rebooted my desktop into Safe Mode with Networking (hit F8 during boot) and installed the program. It rebooted and is scanning now.

Fingers are crossed.

Traveling with Steve

I don’t travel a lot, but with the success of SQL Saturday, I find myself heading out on the road more than I have in the past. I’m not what you’d call an experienced traveler, and Brad McGehee, who travels a lot, constantly tells me I’m doing it wrong when he sees what I’ve brought.

I read through Buck Woody’s travel tips (blog | Twitter), Brent Ozar’s (blog | Twitter), and Paul Randal’s (blog | Twitter), and I’m definitely not like any of them. My wife travels a lot and I’m not like her at all, though I have learned a few things over the years.


My trips are a strange mix of 1 day events like SQL Saturday, and long conferences, often with a meeting before/after. No real schedule for me, but I do tend to travel 6-7 times a year sporadically.

I use Expedia to book travel almost exclusively. They have returned great prices for me and the iPhone app works great now that I can add in notes. The SQL Saturdays tend to get deals with local hotels, so I use their rates to support them, and book that separately.

I try to fly United as much as I can. It adds up for my wife and I, and we can usually get some free tickets for family travel each year. My wife is almost always a Premier flyer, and sometimes Premier Exec. She nominated me as a “guest” last year and I got the Premier perks for a year.

They were cool, but if you ask me, it’s not worth it. I’d rather not travel. If you are forced to travel, you probably want Paul or Brad’s tips instead, but I have found it worthwhile to stick with one airline. It has helped with better seats or upgrades a few times. Not often, but all airlines suck to a large degree, so every little bit helps. I actually just checked my miles, and with my trip to London, I actually have 23k miles this year, so I’ll likely end up with Premier status for next year (very small Yea).

I try not to rent cars since it’s a hassle, costs money, one more thing to deal with, but I look at my trip. If I’ll have an uneven schedule, and need to be on my own, I’ll get one. I got one in Charlotte since I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to get a ride to the SQL Sentry offices, and I wanted to hit a Bobcats/Laker game on my schedule. I didn’t get one in Pensacola since I hitched a ride with Brad McGehee to New Orleans and then cabbed to the airport. Depending on the trip, I weigh the cost. It can cost more with cabs at times, so if I’m going 2-3 places on a trip, I’ll usually get a car.


I don’t pack light. I don’t roll my clothes like the military does, and I don’t like doing laundry. As much as I dislike being on the road, I do try to take advantage of my time and spend it out of the hotel room and with people. That’s why I go to these places, to meet and talk to people.

I also run, 650+ days in a row when you read this.. Unlike most of these other travelers, that’s important to me. So I need a change of clothes for working out. I have tried to wash a shirt in the sink and letting it dry, but since I tend to keep my room cool, it doesn’t dry well. While a smelly shirt doesn’t usually bother me, I try to respect the person trying to work out with me. They might not like it.

I do think about what each day will entail from a clothing perspective. I pack a shirt for each day, usually a pair of shorts or pants for every 2-3 days, socks and underwear for every day. I can re-wear lots of stuff, but I like clean whites each day. I try to use some t-shirts for conferences that I can also run in. That adds up to a decent amount of clothes, but a medium rolling case usually works for me. I add in a pair of shoes, travel pillow for my neck to prevent issues and a toiletries bag and that’s done.

I’ve learned to wear my running shoes on the plane as I have had luggage issues a couple times. However wearing running shoes while walking around an event, after you’ve run in them, sucks. Second pair of shoes needed. I usually just check this bag and take my full size containers of contact lens solution and shaving cream. Just easier to clean off the shelf in my bathroom and drop stuff in my bag.

I check this so I don’t have to hassle with space on the plane, carrying two bags through the airport, and dealing with my shaving/contact stuff. With a smartphone, I can usually call someone, check email, tweet, etc. while waiting for a bag. Not a big deal for me, and I usually have spare clothes. I’d rather have extra than be short.

Plus I can take a couple of Friday shirts to wear around ;)


I used to carry a lot of crap. I mean a lot, laptop, Kindle, camera, video camera, iPod, chargers, cables, yada, yada. I stuffed a laptop bag pretty well.

A couple years ago I saw Kalen Delaney wheel a laptop bag around with a lot of stuff and liked it. So I got Patriot wheeled laptop bag. It’s big, and I’ve even used it on an overnight trip as the only bag I took. In it I know carry:

  • Lenovo laptop
  • Acer tablet as a spare
  • Flip HD Camera
  • Two laptop chargers
  • Spare iPod battery
  • iPod Nano for running
  • 2 iPod charge/sync cables
  • running headphones
  • noise cancelling headphones (over ear)

It’s less than I used to have, but this allows me to work on the plane if I like (Acer tablet). I have my iPhone, on which I read lots of books and listen to music.

I use Live Mesh and Drop Box to sync my home desktop with both laptops for presentations, SQL scripts, Live Writer blog posts, and my writing. They work great, and it ensures that if a laptop dies, I do have a spare copy I can get to. I had a laptop die last year and bought a netbook on the road. It was too slow for me, so I invested in an 11” tablet that runs SQL Server and Powerpoint much better than the netbook.

I have tended to standardize on Apple iPod-type products. That means I share chargers, cables, etc. My apps are on my iTouch and iPhone. I have my travel plans on there, email, teleprompter, and more available to me. I am tempted to try and iPad as a spare instead of the iTouch, but we’ll see.

I have started keeping a spare toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, and socks in my laptop bag. Those things mean a lot if you miss a connection or get stuck somewhere late at night. That’s happened a few times and the hotel did not have the latter two.

Busy Days and Nights

Unlike Brad and Buck, I enjoy a few adult beverages from time to time. Unlike Brent, I don’t go to bed early each night on the road since the main reason I travel is to see people, meet the community, and find out what’s on their mind.

Twitter and Facebook are great, but they’re no substitute for face to face time. So I’m out and about. Not as crazy as some of the #sqlkaraoke folks, but I’ll have a couple drinks and stay out. I have to balance some fun with the idea that I need to get up early to run and work the next day.

I don’t want to hassle with laundry. I don’t want to worry about searching for clothes. I don’t want to worry about power. I charge up both laptops, the iPods and the spare battery in the hotel each day. I carry them all around at many events in my wheeled bag, switching to a new device when I need more power.

I try to make the trips as fun as I can, and while I might go to see a museum or a game, but try to remember that most of this is business travel and my business is meeting and talking to people.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

You Rock Guitar

Why is the You Rock guitar cool?

It’s almost like a real guitar, but not really. Unlike the new Fender guitar for Rock  Band 3 that’s a real guitar which you can use with the game, the You Rock guitar seemed like a better fit to me.

From the You Rock blog: “the goal is to get people to stop practicing music, and to start playing it”

I agree with that. Learning to play a real guitar is hard. Even someone like me, someone that enjoys it, and has spent hours, across years developing some skill, doesn’t feel that competent. And it’s hard to make music by yourself, much less with a band.

I want to just play, and that’s one reason I enjoy Rock Band. I can just play music, with some skills involved, and enjoy it. I can even sing and play, and have a good time.

I’m hoping that the Your Rock guitar will combine a little of both, plus I can play with my iPod on it. That was one reason I went ahead and confirmed my order, even though the new Rock Band 3 will have a real Fender option.

Here’s another quote:

“The default mode makes so, even if you’re on the wrong fret, it will play the right note. That’s kind of cheating, but I think that makes you play more, because you sound cool”

Maybe now I’ll be able to play some songs during camping that everyone will enjoy.

Justin Bieber

I bought two tickets to the Justin Bieber concert in Broomfield July 8 tonight. I am thinking that I might not really enjoy it, but this was really a present for Kendall. She is smitten with Justin in a way that I haven’t seen before. She loves listening to his songs, to the dismay of Delaney who doesn’t like it.

I remember being excited about concerts, and my first one (Andy Gibb) around the time I was Delaney’s age. Or was it Kendall’s? In any case she was so excited when she heard he was coming to the area, so I had to get tickets. Not great seats, but she’s 9, and it will be an adventure for her.

Tia had been looking to take people to a concert this summer, and I think she’s taking Kyle to see Chicago at the end of the summer. Delaney wants Eminem, though I’m not sure that’s the concert to take him to see at this age. But Kendall will get her Bieber concert in a few weeks, and I’m sure it will be a memory for her to treasure.


I needed a shower tonight. Delaney and I went running yesterday afternoon and then we had karate last night, 90 minutes two classes. I knew my gi was sweaty, but I wasn’t expecting it to still be wet tonight when we went to the next class. Plus I ran this afternoon with Tia, all of that without a shower.

Whew! (and not the good kind).

I lay down last night, tired, watching Wipeout with the boys and Tia. I had dried off after karate (and changed shirts) since Delaney and I had gone grocery shopping. So I didn’t shower, thinking that I might do it this morning, but didn’t.

I was glad to get clean tonight.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Why I Write

I have a great job. Actually it’s a fantastic job for me. I have flexible hours, I can work almost anywhere, which means that I can do things like go with my kids to events, even trips out of town and still work. I get to express myself, and talk about interesting things.

However there are hassles, it can be a grind, and there is pressure to come up with something interesting on a regular basis. I do enjoy it, but I have had times where I thought about going to be a DBA somewhere and letting someone else point out work for me to do.

Then I get notes like this:

I've been in this business since 1980, starting with CDC punch cards, so you can see how much 'experience' has accumulated in what seems like the wink of an eye. I don't get the chance to read all your editorials, but from the ones I have read, you have the gift ( because it is a gift ) of seeing the whole picture!

... Your insight and knowledge of not just 'work' but of people and careers is the best, more so than any other I've read. Don't lose that deep appreciation of life/work, care and intelligence your editorials have come to be.

That’s cool. It arrived in my Inbox recently and made my day.

Monday, June 21, 2010


I am stiff and sore today. Running around after balls that got by me at first yesterday, the dive into third, and then hard running at the end of the week left me stiff and sore.

However my feet feel good. They didn’t take a pounding or ache after baseball. It’s the hips, knees, and back that is sore. Plus the road rash on my left arm makes typing difficult today as I usually rest the forearm on my chair arm.

I do feel invigorated with the day, and after a couple cups of coffee, I’m ready to head outside soon for a run.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Back to Baseball

Not a great game today. I missed the game two weeks ago, and last week we were rained out. So I was looking forward to today, especially after the team won the last one. We were still working out way through the teams and went out thinking we’d have a good game. We opened with a 1-2-3-4 inning, a triple and 3 people, including myself making outs (ground out for me).

In the field, we had an OK inning, but then fell apart the next 2 innings, giving up over a dozen runs. Our pitchers were better, not walking so many, but we just didn’t make plays. We had a lot of hard hit grounders that either got through or were bumbled. I played first, and didn’t pick up a couple of bad throws, but there were quite a few bad throws my way.

At the plate, I hit one to right that was dropped, got to 2nd, but the guy at first stepped off when a throw was made over there. He was dead, so I moved and got myself into a rundown. He made it to second,and I almost made it to third, but got tagged as I dove in. I ended up scraping up my left arm pretty good, which annoyed me as the game went on.

In my last at bat I struck out on a good curve that died down on me, and then a mid letters fast ball that I couldn’t get up on.

It was just a tough game, few hits on our side, lots of bad throws, and just frustrating. Not one I enjoyed that much.

Another Early Morning Run

We started Father’s Day by getting the little kids and Tia up and heading to the high school track for another karate run. It was warmer, not quite hot, with a nice breeze, as we did a 2mi run with Delaney. Kendall abandoned us immediately and played on the field and in the sand with a friend. We made it a bit past a mile before Delaney needed to walk, but he was much better than the last time. He did the 2 miles, running the last quarter mile with a good kick and quick finish.

It was a good run, and then we stopped by McDonalds for some breakfast from the kids. They played, we relaxed a bit, and the lady next to us said we were the first family she’d seen today with the Dad spending time with the kids. I think she was a little bitter, but who knows.

A good start, now a few chores and then baseball.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Targa Tops and Conference Calls

I was heading to town to run a couple errands today and my plan was to get a couple done and then call my business partner for a call to talk about a few things while I ran some non-thinking errands. I can’t keep a call as I drive into town, and I thought I’d enjoy a fairly quiet ride in.

So I took the top off the 911 as I headed into town.

And promptly got called just about the time I got back into cell service in Parker. Grr. My dreams of some topless time in the car took a dive, and I had to pull over, put the roof on, crank up the AC, and get to work.

I have a headset, but I can’t hear very well, and can’t be heard, with the targa top down. It’s too loud, with lots of wind. Oh well, at least I got the car out for a few minutes. I’ll have a little more time Sunday to enjoy driving around topless in my car.

Lakers Win

I haven’t seen the whole game. Lakers down 12 in the 3rd and my little girl came home and wanted to lay in bed with me and watch TV. So we watched Glee together, stopping it in a few places while she told me about her day and we talked about a few things.

After that she went to brush her teeth before we watched one episode of Scrubs and went to sleep, catching the celebration just starting in LA. So we backed up to watch the last minute of the game, and it was exciting.

Not a great game early, horrible Laker shooting, but great intensity. Always a good day for me when the Lakers win or the Celtics lose. A double dipper last night.

Speaking and Presenting Tips - Handouts

I’ve given quite a few presentations, one keynote with another to come, and attended many more. I’ve read a few books on how to get better, and then in an Edward Tufte seminar recently, I got another one.

Dr. Tufte mentioned the idea of a supergraphic, an image with a ton of information in it. I think that some BI systems are starting to think of this as something to display to users. Dr. Tufte said that most screens, especially with projectors, can’t really put up the resolution, and I’d agree. Here’s an image I found online:


This is the idea. A ton of information on one piece of paper that you can give out to people. He said that as a presenter if you find one of these, you can likely “dine on it” for years. Here’s another example he showed from the course.


It’s actually about Napoleon's march into Russia in the early 1800s. There were other examples, but I didn’t see any online and didn’t want to play with a scanner.

The idea here is that you give people a bunch of information. Most of it might not matter to each person, but each person will look at something. They’ll also begin to process the data themselves, and let you highlight, talk about, or even encourage debate on the material.

I’m not sure how I’d do this in a tech presentation, but I definitely can see that if you are presenting a lot of information, especially some type of report to others, this would make sense. I’m going to keep this in mind for future presentations I do, and perhaps even build a Modern Resume supergraphic.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Replacing the Prius 12V Battery

I went and bought a new 12V battery from Toyota today since my check showed that the voltage was low. I picked it up and it was in a great cardboard package that made it easy to carry. Too often I get car batteries with no packaging and nothing to hold.


I got it home and stuck it in the garage until I had some time after work. Once I did, I grabbed these tools to get started.

  • 10mm socket
  • 12mm socket
  • socket wrench and 2” extension
  • utility knife
  • screwdriver

I read someone else’s instructions that mentioned these two sizes. I eventually grabbed a 6” extension as well for the sockets.

The first step is to clean out the trunk.


Then open up the flip floor where the spare is and remove the box from the car. There also is a panel on the right that is above the battery. It has a tab under the left bottom (front) and there are two behind the plastic panel in the rear. I broke the front tab trying to loosen it. No help here, just work with it.


This will expose the battery and the 12V regulator assembly. In the image below, I’ve marked the regulator in front with a red arrow and a green arrow shows where the battery is behind.


There are a mix of 12m and 10mm bolts. I didn’t remove things in this order, but this is how I’d recommend it.

Unhook white plastic connectors from assembly on top of battery and to the voltage regulator. They are all easy clips that have a part that pushes in easily with you fingers and they slide out. There are 3.

  • Unscrew the 10mm screw from the negative side of the battery that goes into the rear of the car.
  • Undo the 10mm on top of the voltage regulator
  • Unscrew the two 12mm bolts holding down the voltage regulator and remove it.
  • There’s a 10mm and a 12mm, or 2 12mm bolts holding on the vent in. It’s below the green arrow above. Once you remove the bolt, wiggle it out
  • A 12mm bolt holds down the inside of the battery
  • A 10mm bolt holds down the outside of the battery item
  • Pull out the battery and then you can unscrew the two terminals.
  • On positive terminal, I had to use my screwdriver to widen the connector to get it off.


Here’s just before removing the battery.

When I had the battery out of the car, I transferred the positive and negative connectors to the new battery. This took a minute, and reinstallation, the reverse of pulling it out, took less than 5 minutes.


I connected everything back up. One warning, when I went to screw in the negative terminal and the bolt touched the metal, it sparked. I dropped the wrench when that happened. Be careful, but expect the spark.

I have always worked on car batteries as negative terminal off first, and on last.

Once everything was screwed down, before I reinstalled any trim or boxes, I started the car to see what happened. It started right up. I went into maintenance mode and checked the voltage


14V. Success!

I then put the trim in and the box and closed up the car. I checked tools to be sure that I hadn’t left anything in. I then drove down the road, and everything seemed to work.

Except the auto-driver’s window.

I checked online, and it’s easy to fix. With the windows working, take it down halfway. Then pull the switch so that it rolls up and continue holding up the switch for a couple seconds. It will work again.

I’ve seen a bunch of “keep your settings” instructions. If you are electrically inclined, you can hook up another power source to keep things working. I didn’t think it was worth it.

One other thing. This car is just low enough, and the bolts deep enough that you will be bending over. I’m 6’ and my back was aching a bit halfway through this. I had a stool to work on the battery outside, but it was useless in the car. Be prepared for that.

Running with Delaney

Today was one of Delaney’s scheduled runs, so after a conference call this afternoon, I got him to get dressed and we headed out. Once again we drove up to the mailboxes so that he wouldn’t be fighting the hill when he starts. He could do it, and we might start soon, but for now that kind of kills him.

I took him down the horse trail, a run I did with Tia earlier this week. It’s relatively flat, with a couple of good hills, but none too long. We go from our street, behind properties to the next street and Delaney liked this more. He thought it was pretty easy halfway down, and told me this was a good run.

Then we hit a hill and he struggled a bit, but not too much. He walked two times while we did our 1.4miles. Once halfway, once on the way back. Both times he just wanted a 10-20sec breather and then kept going. He even kicked it up a notch on the last hundred yards.

A month in and I can definitely see improvement. We’re getting close to pushing for a continuous two miles, and I wonder how he’ll do on the track. That will let us know if we need to work more on speed.

Check 2007 Prius 12V Battery

The Prius has seemed to be running the hybrid battery low quickly, and then charging quickly as I drive. It’s just a feeling I have from driving this car for 3 years. I posted a note on Prius Chat and someone suggested that my 12V battery might be low, which wasn’t something I suspected. I thought I might have defective hybrid batteries.

So I ran a quick check by turning on ACC mode (press power, no brake) and opened  the windows. Sure enough, they were really, really slow to go down. I then found this procedure as well:

  • Get your Prius into "Accessory Mode" - Press the power button without touching the brake pedal.
  • Put the MFD into "Maintenance Mode" - Press and hold the "Info" button on the MFD while turning the headlights on and off 4 times.
  • Press the "Menu" field on the screen.
  • Press the "Display Check" field.
  • Press the "Signal Check" field.
  • The 12v battery voltage will be one of the items listed, it should be above 12 volts. If it is lower, either the battery needs replacement or the charging system is not functioning correctly - see step 7.
  • Put a small load on the battery by pressing the power button again without touching the brake pedal. The voltage should stay above 12v. If it drops significantly, you need a new battery.

    My battery was reading 10V, so a replacement is needed. I called the local Toyota dealer and they have them for $174 in stock. A bunch of online places have recommended eLearnAid for low prices, but their sale is $165 (list $240). I guess Toyota realized it’s not worth overcharging for parts.

    So I’m off to get a new battery.

  • Wednesday, June 16, 2010

    A Wind-eee day

    I am debating about running outside. It’s certainly hot enough, in the 80s today, but the wind is blowing.


    As I drove down to Castle Rock today the Prius was being buffeted by winds, moving side to side and while it wasn’t hard to control, you had to pay attention.

    I could see it affecting gas mileage as well, not getting nearly the coast that I would on slight downhills.

    I got home and the flag outside it blowing hard, bending the pole slightly. I think I need to pull it down.

    And here I was thinking that I might take a few minutes this afternoon and try to hit some balls for baseball practice. I guess that’s out the window in this wind.

    Police Brutality: Not a Good Day for the US

    I would love to see a survey. Go get 2,000 people across the US, various races, economic classes, a good sample, and get good demographics about how they fit in the US.

    Then show half of them this video:

    For the other half, stage another video of this. Get actors to do the same things, say the same things, but make everyone white.

    I wonder how the reactions would be different.

    I saw this posted on Facebook by a friend, from this news story in Seattle, WA.  My friend was outraged, and while my response was more muted, this was bad. In my mind, there was no reason for this girl to get punched in the face. She deserved to be arrested, and she obviously did not comply with the officer. She might have been on drugs, but if you’ve ever been struck, not a lot of you would be very rational afterwards.

    What was more distressing were a few comments from people. Someone asked “what should the officer have done, tase her?” and another added agreement saying that this girl had no respect for authority.

    It’s amazing how different the same image, or video, can appear to different people. How the takeaways can be completely different. I’m surprised that people would side with this officer, who obviously was not being threatened when he hit the girl. I shouldn’t be, but I am.

    Like I said, I’ve like to see a survey here. I wonder how many white people, GOP-leaning, would see this differently if the troublemakers were white. And I wonder how many would say, or think, to themselves, “she deserved it”, “typical”, or “dumb n*****” while watching this version.

    There is less racism in the US today, but it’s still there. I don’t really think this was a racist incident. I think the officer lost control, but I do think that the comments to my friend’s post were distressing.

    I’d buy an iPhone4, but ….

    I don’t trust ATT.

    That’s saying something. AT&T, the company that built US telco, that gave us innovations from Bell Labs, including Unix. They got an exclusive deal for the coolest phone I have ever used, and I don’t trust them.

    Their network, despite upgrades, still has me worried. There are so many people I know with iPhones that hate the company. They have constant issues with both voice calls and data access. If I had even 50% of my ATT friends happy with the service I’d order an iPhone 4, switch to ATT and be happy.

    Instead I’m at a bit of a crossroads.

    Not that T-Mobile is that great. Last night I had to turn airplane mode on/off to get a data connection to sync up. There have been issues with T-Mo in my area at times, and I don’t get data access most of the time I’m near the house. Not a huge big deal as I have wifi at home, but annoying at times.

    I have an iPhone 2G, jailbroken and running on T-Mobile. I’ve had it over a year, after having a Google G1 (Android 1.5, 1.6) and a T-Mobile Dash (WinMo 6.0) and the iPhone blows them away. In terms of what I use it for, I have email (so-so), calendaring (crappy), music (excellent), reading (excellent), camera (excellent), lots of special purpose apps for things like banking, travel, etc. that I use. Trying to do things in a browser, even a mobile site on a cell phone sucks. Many times it’s not even usable.

    The iPhone wins for me, mostly because of the platform. Music/reading/apps that work for me. Android is getting close, with the Kindle app coming, and (hopefully) Google Music with a desktop sync that works. Android 2.2 looks interesting, but until the platform gets more mature, with more useful apps and capabilities that I need, I won’t move.

    So the rest of you, please, please, please, order your iPhone 4s now so that I can pick up a used 3GS, crack it, and upgrade to iOS4 :)

    One Eyed Martha

    Tia left this morning, so it’s extra quiet in the house. I couldn’t sleep, so I got up early and got the day started. I had planned to make this for her, but she left too early. A couple weeks ago I noticed a recipe on the Novice Chef blog that caught my eye. It’s written by the wife of a friend, and I found it interesting that this one was tagged “ass-friendly”. I loved that.

    One Eyed Martha, a variation on One Eyed Jack made with toast. I bought a red pepper Sunday, but forgot the cheese, so I got that last night. I cut the pepper and tossed it in the pan


    While this was going, I grabbed eggs and a minute later cracked them inside. It didn’t work out as well as expected


    To be fair I wasn’t sure how to easily hold down the red pepper sides while cracking the egg.  Still it was fine. They cooked up with some salt and pepper:


    I cut some asiago cheese and then added that on top with a little drizzled balsamic. It’s just for me so the glaze doesn’t really matter.


    And of course, my moonshine hot sauce:


    I think if I did this again, I’d scramble the eggs a touch first and them scoop them inside. I like scrambled better than fried eggs. It was yummy.

    A Strange Twist in my life

    As the plane was landing the other day for SQL Saturday in Pensacola, I was struck by how amazing my career has gone. 19 years ago, working in a cube in a power station, programming dbase and Clipper applications. A geek at a desk.

    Now I’m flying halfway around the country to give a couple talks to database professionals.

    That’s amazing to me. Never in a million years when I left college did I see myself as someone that would be giving talks and presenting to people. I did a shared keynote in Charlotte earlier this year, and I’m doing another in Baton Rouge (SQL Saturday #28). When I was younger, these were only for famous people, for people I looked up to. I can’t believe that people are coming to see me at events.

    And there are a lot of us. The SQL Server community is amazing, and more than a few other technology niches are looking with awe at all the database professionals that are taking the time to give presentations and go to events like SQL Saturday.

    I think it’s cool, and I’m still awed by the place I’ve gotten to, and all the company I have with me. I’m proud to be associated with the rest of those speakers that are out there helping everyone learn more about SQL Server.

    Tuesday, June 15, 2010

    Taking it Easy

    Trying not to hurt my shoulder more, I decided to take it easy, go slow, no power, and just work on technique. I didn’t really even hit the pads, and was slow to get through some techniques.

    But I didn’t get hurt. A good thing. Even on the 2-10 punches I didn’t hit hard, or fast. Just steady, trying to be sure that I turned over the fists and got them back to my face.

    In sticks class I was hoping to work with Delaney again, but didn’t get to. We did a few new things and I struggled, but I was moving slow, trying not to hurt anything.

    Lakers Effort

    Watching the game tonight, there was much more effort from the Lakers tonight, from the beginning. A few bad shots early on, but then they settled in and despite not getting poste down low, they made some good shots.

    Lots more work rebounding, lots more effort on defense, and I think more inconsistent refereeing. There are less calls going for Boston on tacky fouls, and a few more calls against the Celtics down low. They are also letting the Lakers play a little more.

    Couples Exercise

    Tia and I used to exercise together all the time. When we started dating it was tennis, then we had lots of gym time together, aerobics classes, etc. Over the years we’ve done a lot together, but ever since she got horses, it’s been fewer and fewer exercise times. She came to karate last week for family night, and she has asked me to run with her a couple times.

    Today she asked again, and so we went out in the early afternoon, a nice couples run up the road and down the horse trail a bit. About 3 miles round trip from the house. A nice way to spend an afternoon.

    Soccer v football

    I saw someone post this, after calling football “handegg” since in the US we typically don’t use our feet in the American football game.


    That might be true, but would you rather have this hard tackle?


    or this one?


    Too Hard

    A sore shoulder last night after karate. Lots of boxing drills, and ended up pushing a touch hard. Still it was a good class and I enjoyed it. I really like those moving around drills, but I need to get healthy to really have fun.

    Ice on the shoulder, and a long night’s sleep helped.

    Monday, June 14, 2010

    I feel much better after a nap. Maybe I should take one every day
    My eyes hurt. Up too late tonight, and this morning and coffee hasn't helped. I am tempted to go nap

    Sunday, June 13, 2010

    Double Rain Out

    Tia left Friday afternoon, driving down to a town near Pueblo for some horse race early Saturday morning. I had baseball scheduled for 4:00 this afternoon, but we’re both rained out.

    It stinks since I was in New Orleans last week and missed our baseball game then. The only win we had this season, and it must have been something. I saw the score was 20-7. I guess everyone started hitting. Maybe it’s good I missed it since I might not have done well with everyone else hitting. I’ve had days like that. But with Memorial Day, that means I’ve 3 weeks without a game.

    I guess that’s OK as the right shoulder has been sore. Definitely improved over the last few weeks, but I would have avoided throwing with it this week anyway. I would have liked to play, however, and get some fielding/throwing in on the left side.

    Tia drove 3+ hours each way, spent the night down there, and they had a short ride, but her race was cancelled because of the weather. Rainy, upper 40s/low 50s the last few days, not really a June type of weekend in CO. We wore jackets yesterday, and I think I’ll crank up the heater in the garage and do some work out there. Haven’t done that in a long, long time.

    Split Movie Night

    We told the kids that we would take them to see the A-Team last night after Tia got back from her race. Everyone seemed interested, but then we had a wrinkle. Our karate school made an announcement that they’d take all the kids next Saturday to see the Karate Kid for free. The kids seemed excited, but the Kendall got extra excited. She told me yesterday that she wanted to see it right away and didn’t want to wait a week.

    So we ended up splitting the family last night. Tia and Delaney went to the A-Team, and they loved it. Said it was well done with non-stop action. I always liked that tv show, so I’d like to see that at some point. Kendall and I went to the Karate Kid, and I enjoyed that. It’s similar to, but different than the original, and Kendall really enjoyed it. I’d look at her face in some parts and there was always a lot of an expression. Joy, excitement, laughter, something happening. They did a good job having Jaden Smith evolve as a kid that learns to respect others, a much bigger change than the original.

    It’s a long movie as well. We started 15 minutes before  the A-Team and Tia was waiting for us. We headed home, and then we slept in, waking up at nearly 10 after I got up around 8 and decided not to do the karate run in a windy, cold, drizzly day.

    Kyle had other plans, heading to a rave with friends, which is likely to be the norm for most family outings from this point on. He’s got his own life, which is good. I know I was that way when I started driving.

    Friday, June 11, 2010

    We’re Well into Q2

    I saw a post from Seth Phelabaum on SQLServerCentral reviewing his goals as of Q2. About 20 days premature, but it’s a good reminder that you ought to review your goals periodically. Take a few minutes today to see where you are and if you can make some progress towards getting halfway through by the end of the month.

    I know I have some work to do. Definitely need to spend some time over the next two weeks on a couple things.

    Thursday, June 10, 2010

    Family Karate Night

    Once or twice a year our karate school has a Family Month, and every Thur night, instead of the adult class, we have a family class. It’s mostly for kids to bring their parents, but a few parents that don’t have kids involved will get them in there. It’s a big, busy class, and kind of fun. We’ve done different things, but tonight Tia and Kendall joined Delaney and I.

    After a short warmup and a short set of leg exercises (knees, kicks), we did a little pad work. I had Kendall, and she struggled a bit at first, but I tried to get her to relax, not try too hard, and have fun. When we kicked pads, she as having fun.

    After that everyone say down and our instructor had students do some demos of whatever they wanted. Lots of work work, and it was pretty cool. Most kids did things and I wondered what Delaney would do. Finally he raised his hand and wanted to do Shodan I, the Black Belt form for his demo. He was the first person to do it, and a couple people joined him and they ran through it. Pretty cool.

    We closed with more exercise, squats, push ups, sit ups, mountain climbers. Kendall was next to me struggling with most of them, but she loved the mountain climbers, racing through them.

    A good night. Tia remembered a lot and had fun. Kendall had fun I think, but she said she doesn’t want to do it as a regular thing. A fun night.

    Just completed a 1.6 mi run with Delaney as part of the training for his black belt test. He's getting much stronger after just 3 weeks.

    The Referees in the NBA Finals are inconsistent

    I saw most of Games 1 and 2, and about the last 8 minutes of Game 3, and then read Doc River’s criticism of the games yesterday. I like Doc, liked him as a player, and think he’s a great coach. I do agree with him in ways that the referees missed some calls. And they made some silly calls.

    I’m rooting for the Lakers, having been a fan since I was a kid, so I’m a little biased. I didn’t see all the calls in Game 3, but I saw some at the end and I think the refs are struggling with the stars. The calls on Ray Allen in game 1 were mixed. A couple were good, in my mind, and a couple were bad. I’d say the same thing about Bryant, and I wonder if there were some make-up calls there.

    That stinks. Two wrongs don’t make a right, especially across games, and it makes for poorer basketball for fans.

    I have seen quite a few moving screens, and I’ve seen some pushing/banging, that I think should be called. By both Odom and Garnett especially. There have been moving screens on both side, and that’s hard to call. The refs have been inconsistent on those and I wonder what will happen tonight.

    I did like them reviewing the out of bounds calls at the end, though I’m not sure why the Rondo pull on Odom’s arm wasn’t a foul there. In either case, they did a great job of getting the correct call, despite slowing the game down. I’d like to see them smooth that process, and then I’d like to see more separation between the NBA and the refs in terms of administration. I guess I’d like to see some third party companies, maybe even a few, training and hiring referees and then the leagues contracting with those companies to hire refs for games.

    Playing with Ping

    I realized over the last couple of weeks as I’ve been traveling that I do a lot of Facebook/Twitter communications with people. And I end up posting a lot of stuff to those services, thinks I’m thinking or doing, and don’t often get those over to the blog.

    So I started to try and fix some of that. I have a account, and use that to post to Facebook and Twitter together sometimes, but I decided to try and use it for the blog as well. So some of the things that I’ll post here will be shorter, likely coming from a consolidated post to other services.

    Watching the iPhone 4 video here: I. Want. One.
    Playing around with, seeing if I can integrate posts from one spot to many.

    Wednesday, June 9, 2010


    Glad to be home. An early flight back from New Orleans, with me up at 5 for a ride to the airport and a relatively short flight. I am tired, but I finished a run, and I feel better after cleaning up. The lack of humidity is amazing and I'm enjoying it. I wasn't too bothered in the south, but it's definitely nicer without it.

    Kendall was feeling sick this morning, but she got up to hug me when I got home, and then wanted me to lay in bed with her a bit, so I worked on the laptop awhile next to her. She then came up to me after I showered and wanted another hug. She's cute.

    Less than 30 days - 61 Hours

    65194550[1] The price changed quickly on the new Reacher novel, 61 Hours. and I wonder how much of it was people being annoyed at the pricing. As Tobias Buckell would say, that’s economics. They changed the price, and when it appeared on the Amazon home page today, I bought the Kindle Edition.

    I’ve been thinking about this ever since my communications with Tobias, and I have changed my mind a little in that Amazon and publishers can charge what they want. However I’ll “vote” with my wallet, and let them know that I don’t think that an ebook is worth a $2 or less discount from the hardback. I realize they want to capitalize early on some of the cost of building the book, just like movies go to the theater first, and then elsewhere.

    That’s OK, and if they want to delay ebooks, they live with the annoyance of fans, many of whom might just wait a few months for the paperback/ebook release. I guess publishers need to determine what business model works, and what works best. Personally I think if they’re going to spend on advertising/publicity, they ought to just throw the ebook out there, for $4 less in terms of where I’d value it, print less hardbacks, and cash in the short period of time.

    Monday, June 7, 2010

    A Long Day

    At TechEd, and not done. Working a bit now before going out to meet some people, have some dinner and a few drinks. It’s hard, but it’s great to catch up with friends, many of whom I only see 2-3 times a year at events like this.

    Sunday, June 6, 2010

    Red Eyes and Tired

    Not even a late night, coming back from the after event party at 10, sober, reading for an hour and then crashing. But I’ve really struggled to sleep on this trip, and so my eyes are quite red this morning. I need to get some sunglasses and eye drops for the trip over to New Orleans.

    I do feel better after forcing myself up at 7:00 and going for a short run.

    Saturday, June 5, 2010

    Book #46 - Bloody Mary

     17114713[1] A game changing book for Jack Daniels in Bloody Mary. I’m not sure where this falls in the series, but I found it to be a great book. It’s a mystery, sometime after the Gingerbread Man attack. The book seems to be long, covering  a lot of activity in Jack’s life and it enthralled me for a weekend.

    We start with a killer, as expected. However in this case it’s just a pair of arms that show up in the morgue, extra arms that don’t belong to a body. When Lt. Daniels goes in, she discovers they are bound with her own handcuffs.

    The book then segways down to Florida where Daniels’ mother has broken her hip. Jack goes down, telling her mother that she needs to move back to Chicago or go to assisted living, and leaves with the situation unresolved. However later, the mother comes back to Chicago, moving in with Jack, and disturbing her life when the mother’s boyfriend comes to visit and they can’t seem to get enough sex.

    Meanwhile we get clues, and realize early on that the killer is a cop working with Lt. Daniels. He’s stealing things from JAck and Herb, her partner, and using them on bodies. He kills a few people before Jack figures it out and manages to trap him in a department store with his wife. She bursts into a dressing room, where the cop is killing his wife. He fires through her body, hitting Jack. She fires back, nicking his head and knocking him out. She lays there, watching the wife die as cops burst in.

    The book the cuts to months later. Jack is recovered and almost about to go back on the job, but the killer has a stroke of luck. A brain tumor was discovered when his bullet wound was treated and he’s claiming insanity and amnesia because of the tumor.

    The book spends it’s second half dealing with this situation, Jack trying to figure out how to get around this insanity plea that might let the killer loose. At the same time she has the turmoil of her ex-husband in town, and the offer to move in with Latham, her boyfriend. Herb is changing as a result of his Atkins diet and looking to leave his wife, and Jack must race the clock to stop this killer from being released.

    She does, but he escapes and we have a bloody finish, one that I’m sure will carry over into the next book (which I’m trying to track down). A great read. Get this one, but read one Whiskey Sour first.

    Friday, June 4, 2010

    Prepping for SQL Saturday #22

    In Pensacola, the Hampton Inn, and bandwidth sucks. I remember this from last year. Adding a few notes to my PPTs, have both computers linked to the Internet, hoping that Live Mesh works since most sites, including Google News, aren’t.

    Back in Pensacola

    I arrived in Pensacola this afternoon, after relatively smooth and easy flights from Denver and Houston. I had to get up at 5:00 this morning to head to the airport, leaving my lovely wife alone in the house. All the kids were gone, sleeping over with friends and family. It was strange, and sad, to kiss my wife goodbye and head out for a work trip.

    I got here, got my 2 minute shuttle ride to the hotel and went for a run. It’s warm, not hot to me, but humid. I enjoyed it since I don’t get to run at sea level, in humid weather very often, and it brings back memories of my youth.

    It’s funny being back here. The same hotel where I was last year with Kendall. She was getting ready to leave last night, heading to her Aunt’s and I was watching Celtics/Lakers. She came up to the room like 3 or 4 times to say good bye, give me hugs, and seemed a little sad that I was leaving. We enjoyed our trip last year, and talked about it a bit. She told me a few times that she was going to miss me, and it would be sad to come home today and not have me there. It somewhat made me sad, but it was tempered by Delaney and Kyle not really caring I was leaving. They’re too old, and too used to both Tia and I leaving.

    It is cool to be here. I was reflecting on the drive over that here I am, flying halfway across the country to speak at an event. That’s pretty cool.

    On the Road Again

    sqlsat22_transparent[1] I’m leaving today for SQL Saturday #22 in Pensacola, FL. I’ll be there tonight and tomorrow, leaving Sun morning for New Orleans and a few days at TechEd. This is a long trip, taking me away from home for 5+ days, which isn’t something I like to do too often.

    This is the second year I’ve been to this event, enjoying last year with my daughter in tow. I’m all alone this year, and likely this is my last trip to Pensacola for a couple years unless the family wants to come next year.

    If you’re going to be at the event, please stop and say hi tomorrow. I’ll do an early morning, Basic SQL Server session. Please feel free to attend, even if you’re an expert, and let me know if I’m explaining SQL Server basics well to people. I’m also doing my Modern Resume presentation again, with some tips on helping you stand out from the crowd.

    At TechEd I’ll be hanging out with an expo pass on Monday and Tuesday, so again, please feel free to stop by and say hi. I’ll likely be near the vendor booths and the Ask the Experts areas all day.

    Thursday, June 3, 2010

    Two Tuners Isn’t Enough

    I have an HD DirecTV TiVo in the bedroom. It’s been great, and I love TiVo and the ability to watch things when I want. I don’t often watch anything live. In fact, even sports I typically start recording and then watch the recording. Partially to get through things quicker and not watch so many timeouts and non-action plays, but also since I might walk away and finish it later.

    My device has 750GB of space, which is a lot, and it has two tuners. So I can record two shows at once, or watch one while I record another. Or I can record two and watch a third recording. That sounds like a lot, but I’m finding it’s not.

    “Saving Grace” is a show I enjoy. I’ve gotten a little hooked, and I was looking forward to the last season. I got an episode a few weeks back and was trying to find time to watch it, but I haven’t seen anymore come up in the list. I thought perhaps there were some production issue and searched for news, only to find I’d missed two episodes.

    I was wondering what was wrong and went through the programming to figure out why. It’s because there are three shows I already record on Monday nights, and one of them bumped Saving Grace from the list. Since they’re shows (Two and Half Men, Rules of Engagement, The Big Bang Theory) that Tia and I both watch, I don’t want to bump them.

    The same thing has happened on Tuesday. Wipeout is starting up and it’s bumped up against Glee and Justified. So I’ve moved Justified down the list, lower priority, and I’ll have to follow it online.

    I hadn’t worried much about Hulu or watching things online, but I think this is something more providers should consider and work with people to get them shows when they want them. Heck, if I could get more shows delivered to me TiVo, not my computer, when I wanted to watch them, even if it were after the release date for the show, allowing me to get all the “good” shows that I think are good, I’d even let them prevent me from skipping commercials. I’d still need to pause, but I think all providers would be better off.

    I know I’d watch more shows.

    Tobias Buckell

    62608277[1] I stumbled on this blog entry recently while reading about ebook pricing Tobias Buckell. You know that I think publishers are screwing people around, but I do understand what Tobias is saying about it being economics. If you don’t want to pay the price, don’t. I’m not, and I’ll wait for 61 Hours until the price comes down.

    However after reading the entry, and scanning a few more, I sent an email to Tobias, telling him that I’d be curious if he felt differently 6 months later. I mangled my message slightly, but he wrote back to me, sending me a nice long email, easily 1000 words.

    We ended up exchanging a few emails last night, going back and forth on a few things, and I like his openness, and his willingness to communicate with someone across the Internet.

    So I bought one of his books, Ragamuffin, and told him that I couldn’t get the first one of his series, Crystal Rain on Amazon. He said he’d look into it and I ended up buying his collection of short stories as well, Tides of the New Moon. He’s not normally the author I’d pick, but I appreciated his communications and time, and decided to support him. Even if I don’t like the books, I’m happy to support him.

    Look for reviews of the books, coming soon.

    Multitasking for the iPhone

    I didn’t think that multitasking was a big deal for my iPhone when I got it. I’d had it on the Google G1, but didn’t realize that it was a big deal. After all, I really only “see” one thing on the phone at a time. And having come off Windows Mobile 6.0 before that, I was leery of draining resources that are very limited on a phone.

    However as I’ve used it more and more, often going from the camera to upload a photo, to Twitter, and the Kindle app to read, I have become frustrated by the time it takes to start up apps, especially for reading. I’ve been interrupted by text messages, and while I can ignore them and continue reading or tweeting or something, if I respond, the app closes.


    That was one reason I didn’t but an iPad right away. It would have made a great work tool for me, especially for travel, but the lack of multi-tasking, even limited multitasking like on Android, would be necessary since I often want more than mail running in the background.

    My iPhone is jailbroken and unlocked. After all, how else could I have a little “T-Mobile” text note in the upper left.


    I had heard about Backgrounder, an application for jailbroken phones that allows them to multitask, but had been wary of applying it. I had an issue once before and had to re-jailbreak my phone and I’ve been nervous about making too many changes. However the battery is dying and I’ll need to replace it or the phone, soon. I am tempted by OS4, so I’m willing to take a chance here. The worst thing that happens is I go back to my G1 temporarily while I decide on something else.


    I downloaded Backgrounder the other day and turned it on. It’s a separate app that you configure on the phone, with various options such as the defaults for how a background app runs, but it hooks into the phone OS so it’s always available.

    I used the defaults, which means that when you run an application, if you want it to run in the background, you hold the Home button down while the app is running and you’ll get a message that background running is enabled. Something like this:


    I was wary of using it on Twitter, since there are API limits and I hit them at times. If I’m on the road, I might, but instead, I used it on the Kindle and Barnes and Noble apps, since I have a book I’m reading on each one of them.

    It. is. cool.

    When I do something else, I can come back to either book instantly. The downside for the Kindle app is that it doesn’t sync by default, so I need to mark a sync spot if I move to another device.

    However it’s very, very calming to not have to wait for the Kindle app to initialize and then sync every time I want to read. And it means I’m more likely to switch between my reading apps more often, and finally get back to War and Peace.

    This truly is something that needs to come to the iPhone OS, and I’m looking forward to the announcement by Apple this weekend.

    Book #45 - The List

    51LWYGOGTrL._SL500_AA266_PIkin2,BottomRight,-18,34_AA300_SH20_OU01_[1] Definitely on a JA Konrath kick lately. In The List, which was the book that was recently published and got me to the author’s blog, we start with a murder. The victim was tortured and his head cut off by the murderer. The detective on the case notices one very interesting thing: the tattoo of a number on the left heel of the victim. It’s interesting because the detective has a similar tattoo as well, just a different number.

    Apparently there are a number of people with number tattoos on their left heels. As the detective realizes that there was a murder recently in another state of someone that had a tattoo, he suspects something might be happening to him. He finds another victim in Chicago and goes to talk to him with his partner, finding out what’s going on.

    Meanwhile we have a Hollywood producer that is attacked in her home, her dog stabbed with a stake and the attacker threatening to do the same to her. She escapes and goes to the police. When she returns to her house later, the attacker is back, and again she survives, breaking his nose, but having her boyfriend killed.

    The book becomes a techno-thriller here. We find that all of the tattoo’d people were clones of famous historical figures. Thomas Jefferson, Albert Einstein, Joan of Arc, Robert E. Lee, and more. Seven in total, along with 3 “evil” clones like Attila the Hun. The clones are hunting the others, and the detectives try to figure out why.

    It’s a mix of conspiracies, technology, action, and mystery. Totally unbelievable, but if you accept the premise, it becomes fun. The characters struggle, they get hurt, they don’t always succeed, but they get through the book. The end felt a little sudden and crazy, but we the final chapter revealing that there might be 9 more clones out there, I’m hoping for a sequel.

    Wednesday, June 2, 2010

    Extra Sore

    I went a little hard at karate and the right ankle started to feel sore. So I slowed down, but it’s still a little achey now. Put some ice on it, and I’ll need more in a bit and tomorrow.

    It was a good karate workout, but I ran right before, while Delaney was in class, and I realized I hadn’t eaten enough. I ran out of gas and struggled through the class.

    Pubilshers and EBooks

    The publishers say they want a universal format, but they don’t work together. That’s problem one. Problem two is that most people say they hate DRM, but that’s not the issue. The issue is that if I buy a book, like Drive, it needs to be portable. I bought it from Barnes and Noble yesterday and it’s on my iPhone. I can port it to my PC, or my iTouch, all of which share the BN reader. But if I moved to an Android device, what then? What if I had a Kindle?

    The issue is that publishers ought to be setting up accounts for users, and getting sales information back from retailers. Then if my Kindle dies and I get a Nook, I can easily contact the publisher, and have them send me a Nook version, or have BN do it. Heck charge me some nominal amount, $0.25, to get it in a few format. It’s my account, make it a purchasable account so I won’t be tempted to give the account info to other people, and we’d have this problem solved.

    I can’t believe that Amazon or BN think their their devices are where the money is. It’s got to be in the content, which means you need to make it more valuable for all devices, not just your own. Especially as you are getting into hardware wars for no reason.

    I’ve noted it before. Amazon has a great headstart, but if they sold books for the Nook and Sony readers, they’d double their market. If BN sold for the Kindle, same thing. Heck, make it possible for in store transfers. Work to make things more open and you’ll all benefit.


    I am a wreck lately. The entire right side of my body is sore: right ankle, right knee, right shoulder. And the severity keeps changing. The knee, the one I crashed snowboarding on Jan 2, is actually feeling the best. The ankle next, and the shoulder worse. I think I hurt the muscles throwing at baseball a month ago, and then I think I made it worse last week playing third base. Next time I play third, I’ll be left handed, just to give my arm a break.

    Sleeping on it doesn’t help, and I can’t seem to completely get away from it. I try, but at some point I can’t get comfortable and roll onto that shoulder.

    Ice, heat, and more rest. No baseball this week, which will help, and I really had to take it easy at karate last night.

    Tuesday, June 1, 2010

    Book #44 – Shot of Tequila

    61661090[1] My second JA Konrath after I enjoyed Whiskey Sour. Shot of Tequila is silly, unbelievably, and not that connected to reality, but kind of funny. A mob collection guy named Tequila turns out to be the good guy, getting framed for robbing his boss. With almost superhuman abilities, he manages to outwit the mob chasing him as well as Lt. Jack Daniels.

    It’s not a great piece of literature, but it’s fun. I enjoyed reading the book, with enough stereotypes among the various criminals and enough plot lines that magically sync up to be a good read if you don’t take it too seriously. It’s not quite as silly as Tim Dorsey’s novels, but it’s not that far off.

    Instead we have a wild ride as we have groups chasing each other, running into each other in contrived, but humorous situations. Not at all like Whiskey Sour, but I enjoyed it, especially the time inside Tequila’s mind as he tries to reconcile his job and past with his own moral code.

    Book #43 – Whiskey Sour

    23489294[1] I grabbed Whiskey Sour after reading the author’s blog, which has a great take on ebooks. What started as support for the author became a little fandom. The hero of the book is Chicago police lieutenant Jack Daniels, which is funny in itself.

    In this one we have a serial killer, who starts with a killing that is found stuffed into a trash can at a 7-11. Jack Daniels is on the case, and the book alternates between the killer’s mindset and the Lt’s work on the case. As the killer stalks and kills more victims, Jack Daniels works through her own issues, her insomnia, her dating situation, and the case.

    Like some of the more humorous mysteries, this one focuses more on things outside the case, though the scenes and actions revolve around the case. It’s not realistic, but it’s not trying to be and it was fun for me to read it. I got done wiht this one and immediately bought a couple more.

    Why I Won’t Buy 61 Hours (Jack Reacher)

    65194550[1] I love the Jack Reacher novels. I’ve read them all, quite a few more than once, and eagerly look forward to each new installment. I heard about 61 hours months ago, and even saw ads in the Underground in London, getting me excitement. I was ready to plunk down my money in late May when it released.

    However I haven’t purchased it.

    And for the time being, I won’t. It’s priced at $16.38 for the hardback and $14.74 for the Kindle version. Barnes and Noble has it slightly less at $13.49, but still that doesn’t seem fair, or right, to me. When I’ve looked up the costs associated with a hardback, I’ve found similar numbers in many places. About $2 for the physical book and about $2-4 for the author. Where’s the rest? Obviously some publisher profit and some costs like editing, etc. The distributor has a touch in some cases, but I’ve also seen between $3 and $5 for holdbacks and returns.

    But those don’t exist for the ebook. There are no “returns”, no “inventory”, no “damaged or destroyed” books. So in my mind, if the publisher sells his book to the retailer for around $10, the ebook ought to be sold for less, perhaps $7.

    The content matters, and that’s what ought to be priced, with the physical book costs being taken out for ebooks.

    I do understand that companies want to sell the hardback for more, and make some extra profit for a few months before releasing the paperback. Some people want the latest book, and some want a hardback. That’s OK, and I suspect that when the paperback of this book comes out in September, at $9.99, the ebook will drop as well.  Again, it ought to be less than the paperback, though I can accept the desire on the completely convert so many people to ebooks that it becomes hard to publish in paper.

    For now I’ll just wait. The content is worth the money to me, and $3 isn’t the end of the world, but I feel that publishers need to understand that they’re not the business. The authors and editors are. I’ll withhold my money until the price comes down, and maybe I can help influence Lee Child to go the JA Konrath route and self-publish his books instead. I’d rather see him get $4-5 a book and have his own editor.

    Trading Massages

    Tia and I like watching Rules of Engagement. It’s a funny show, and I’m glad it got back on this season. The writers have really hit it well this year with some funny episodes. A few weeks ago they had one where the couple tried to trade massages, but the guy kept initiating sex or not really doing a good job. It was a funny show, but the premise was a good one.

    So we traded massages last night. I worked on Tia’s shoulders for 20 minutes, and then she did my lower back. It felt good, and I almost fell asleep while she was rubbing on my sore muscles. They’re still stiff this morning, but starting to loosen up.

    We need to do that more often.