Some Older Pictures

I was cleaning off my laptop from work and ran across a set of pictures from several years ago. All of them are from Mother I’m sure. One set appears to be from 1994 and the second from 2000. The 1994 photos were taken in Kentucky at Tom and Carol’s. The 2000 photos were taken in a hotel room somewhere – I believe. There were only five in total. Let me know if you would like the full-size shots as these have been skinnied down to consume less space and download faster.

Christmas in Dayton? in 2000

What I take for granted is how much the kids have grown. I’ll see if I can find a picture with all five kids in it for a comparison shot. I could be wrong but it seems as if the girls and Matt have changed more then Joey and Marky. The teenage years…

My Next Car

I’ll confess – I’m a little envious of everyone driving the Hummers around these days. I want a vehicle which looks down into every other car and truck on the road (but not drive a semi). So I was thrilled today to find out that the Army has another future consumer ready vehicle in the pipeline. The Army’s brochure (250K PDF file so be forewarned) doesn’t describe the fact that the Stryker comes with a 40-pound computer and Ladar system capable of driving itself. I will so be in the lap of luxury when this baby goes mainstream in several years….

URL Spoofing

Pardon the post title. This falls into the category of technically obscure, but I ran across a handy tool and wanted to make you all aware of it.

First of all some background. Internet Explorer is the browser most of us use to browse the internet. I’m not a big fan of the browser, but the reality is that many websites are designed to work exclusively with it. OperaMozilla, and Netscape can’t display some web pages. Unfortunately, because IE is so prevalent, hackers and online con artists have found ways of deceiving web surfers by disguising websites. There is a hole in IE’s security which allows individuals to set up web page links that look innocent but that take you to their own sites. Once there they attempt to deceive you in to disclosing personal information or worse, sending them money.

Microsoft has published an alert on the topic attempting to heighten awareness. They should fix the browser, but until then they have some weak and feeble advice. The best of the bunch is to copy the following script into the address bar of IE and then hit enter.

Highlight the following, copy the text, paste it in to the address field and hit enter:

javascript:alert(“The actual URL is:\t\t” + location.protocol + “//” + location.hostname + “/” + “\nThe address URL is:\t\t” + location.href + “\n” + “\nIf the server names do not match, this may be a spoof.”);

Update: Microsoft has issued a secuity patch which renders this script only interesting – but not necessary.

New House / New Blog

I’ve put pictures of Mother’s new house up on the web. Like everything else this is a bit of an experiment. The blog software I use for this site is MovableType. I would guess that it is the most popular self hosted blog software available. I have been very pleased with it. The feature set is better then any other package or service I have found.

Unfortunately, the underlying technology does not always play well with the web hosting environment I have. MovableType is a LAMP kind of product and I’m running in a Windows server environment. File management especially regarding the photo gallery has been a continuing struggle.

So I have installed a .net based blog package called .Text. It is no where near as mature a product. I won’t go in to a critique in this posting. One thing it does well though is upload pictures to a photo gallery. The link above steps out of the MovableType News From Troy blog and in to the .Text News From Troy blog. The new blog will remain empty for now except for pictures. If and when I decide that the new version is worth using full time I’ll move everything here over to the new version.

The jury is still out.

Portland Trip

My Grandmother’s 90th birthday was on January 1st, 2004. Since most of us don’t get to see that milestone, Mother organized a ‘surprise’ birthday party. By the time I arrived, it wasn’t much of a surprise – I won’t go into my flights to and from Portland (I hate O’Hara airport). Mark, Lisa, Tom, Mother and I flew into Portland to help her celebrate her birthday with her friends. I’ve put up a photo gallery for the event available here. I’ve put the pictures inline below.

Unfortunately, I am still not the photographer many of my relatives are. I discarded as many as I took. For a variety of technical reasons, I have been unable to get the better pictures taken by Mother transferred to my PC and then on to the web. Mother, when you get a chance, it would be helpful to get those pictures on CD and mailed to me. I’ll put them in the gallery. If anyone else has pictures they would like included, please let me know.

The trip was a success. I think the residents greatly enjoyed the party. Most importantly Al and Adalene looked like they enjoyed the party.

Online Political Parody

I was just rumbling around and ran across the “official” White House web site. I’ve got to admit, it looked real long enough that I had several moments of disbelief that the White House would publish this kind of thing. If Rush is your hero don’t go here. The establishment is definitely the target here. If you can appreciate the humor without regard to the politics then I highly recommend the web site.

Christmas 2003

Merry Christmas everyone. Indulge me as I put up some shots from one of our Christmas celebrations this season. (My standard disclaimer bears repeating – I promise I will misspell everyone’s name eventually. If I do so repeatedly, that means I need to be corrected. Otherwise, consider yourself lucky.)

Our collective circumstances resulted in an interesting Christmas celebration this year. Mother has moved to Berea Kentucky since we last celebrated Christmas together down in Kentucky. Although Tom and Carol still live in Danville, it is not central for all of us – and we also have the added complication that we would need to rent hotel rooms for everyone. Becky and I are fairly central to all of the families, but we live in such a small home we aren’t able to entertain everyone. Mark and Lisa’s homes are spread across three cities and two states. We’re a very complicated extended family. For all of those reasons, we celebrated Christmas on Friday, December 26th in a local Residence Inn.

Lisa and Marjorie
Lisa and Marjorie

Mother rented one room and Mark rented another. We all brought food. We all brought too much food. That’s something we’ll do better next year. We had a whole turkey, ham, several salads, mashed potatoes, yams, several pies and (my personal favorite) cheesecake.

Marky
Marky

Christmas is a special time for all of us, but Christmas is magical if you’re four. You either believe in Santa or (if someone has spoiled it for you) seriously question the person who told you otherwise. As you get older, you expect the gifts to be bigger and better then the previous year. A tub full of crayons, markers and papers stole the show for Marky. The first gift he played with and probably the one he will use the longest. Of course, like all of us he got really cool toys as well. I’m certain that Marky’s memory of this Christmas will be one he holds special for many years.

Stephanie
Stephanie

Stephanie and James were able to celebrate Christmas with us as well. We really enjoyed their company. James, I’m sorry but somehow I didn’t get a good picture of you. Of course, I have three times as many pictures as these in which you can’t tell who the subject is. I’m a seriously bad photographer. Fortunately, Becky’s very good. James might have gotten the coolest toy of the day. His radio controlled – and customizable – cars were very entertaining. I have a whole new gift giving category.

Joey
Joey

I started out on a good foot with Joey and somehow during the course of the evening I stepped on it. He did his best to avoid the camera all evening. I must have six or seven shots of his back and/or hands – but not his face. I’d about given up when Mark asked him to turn and smile at the camera. Good as gold he gave me this smile. I was impressed. As a side note, both Marky and Joey are wearing the official LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers game jersey (#23). Now I know many of us don’t remember that they still have a professional basketball team in Cleveland, but don’t tell either of these guys that.

Matt

Matt, as photogenic as his father, was pretty elusive. I don’t have a good picture of him – so I’m publishing this one instead. I believe he’s either helping Marky with his arts and crafts or he’s helping to put together Joey’s race track. Matt’s big present was the Lord of the Rings – Return of the King video game for Playstation 2. It should surprise no one that he has spent every waking hour since leaving the hotel to beat it. Today, three days later he’s done just that. I’m thinking Halo might be in his future after spending time playing with James on Sunday.

Mark
Mark

You’ll notice that both Michelle and Melanie have no pictures here. Although I made an effort, I wasn’t able to get a good picture of either of them. Michelle was pulling her classic “I will close my eyes every time you get close” ploy. Melanie was a good subject but the photographer was inept. Hopefully, someone else got a good picture. About everyone was jumping off of one wagon or another. The evidence is sitting in front of Mark that his diet was abandoned. Becky would probably dispute the idea that she jumped off the wagon, but it’s safe to say she was dragging a foot.

So what does next year hold for us? Probably more of the same – don’t know. But things will change between now and then. Mark and Lisa will be married and potentially living in only one home. Mother will likely be back in Danville. Hopefully, we’ll still be back here – but a lot can change in a year. A lot changed this past year.

Webcam

Ok, I’m good to go. I have installed my Christmas gift from Mother. The webcam is up and operational. For a monthly rate of just $5 (US) you can watch me parade around my house (just kidding). No, seriously though, it was pretty easy to install. I have a USB port available. Per the instructions, I put the installation CD in, followed the instructions and then plugged the camera into the USB slot. The only wrinkle is that the installation warns you about the device drivers as you are installing them. For whatever reason, they are not identified as XP certified. The instructions tell you to acknowledge the warning and continue. I was a little hesitant to do that at first since I had only recently recovered from a driver issue. After some consideration, I took the plunge.

The camera takes still shots (as you can see). Don’t judge the quality of the camera based on this shot though. Most everything on it is adjustable. My grey shirt and neutral colored background don’t show the camera off well. The video feed is pretty good. You can adjust the size of the shot but the bigger the picture, the slower the refresh rate. With some experimentation, I’ve settled on an intermediate size.

So I’m left with the last piece of work. I will need to set up a teleconference with someone. Who wants to go first?

Further Research Material for Mother

Ran across the following totally by chance. I’m trying to get the code for a new book I recently purchased. I spent some time on the Osborne website and was greatly disappointed. I expected to find a link with a download script like you find at so many other websites. Instead, I found no reference to the book. That was disappointing – especially since I purchased the book for the code and the book cost $50.

So I decided to go look the book up by ISBN. I went to Google thinking I could set some switch there to search by ISBN. I did a search in Google and found the following link by John Udell. It’s an interesting junction of a couple of topics. Not sure what it all means but it looked valuable.