Blog Archives

So busy!

I am normally pretty busy, but lately its just been crazy!  Between some website development I’m doing in my spare time, my full time job and stuff going on with Liz and the kids; its rather hectic. 

We realized the other day that our washing machine was starting to leak, so we jumped on craigslist and found a nice newer set for a great price and the guy even offered to deliver.  They were dropped off yesterday, so after work I installed both a new washer and dryer and tested them out.  Then it was off to web work land for me, which I got carried away with and was up way too late!  I skipped my normal gym night in hopes of going tonight instead.  I don’t like to mess up my schedule, but this won’t be too bad, since Liz and the kinds will be busy on thursday night, so I can go thursday after work and it won’t be a big deal. 

With the web work I’m doing, I am finding all sorts of neat little tricks with flash and other cool tools.  I think I am going to integrate some flash stuff on my personal sites soon, once if things slow down for me. 

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Problems with Category Access

I’ve been running 0.8.2 of the category-access plugin by David Coppit for a few weeks now and its been working fine on the web interface of WordPress.  I’ve been busy lately and haven’t had a chance to post anything to my blog in a while, so I hadn’t used any of my windows apps to post to WordPress.  Upon trying I found that I got some error messages relating to XML parsing. 

w.bloggar and blogdesk would generate this error:

“Unable to parse the XML response.  Parser Reason: Only one top level element is allowed in an XML document.”

BlogJet would generate this error:

Invalid payload received from xml-rpc server.  Please check your host and page settings for this account.  Server said: “,br/> <b>Fatal Error<b>: Call to a member function on a non-object in <b>/home/myaccountname/public_html/mybloglocation/wp-content/plugins/category-access.php</b> on line <b>373</b><br/>…”

Disabling the category-access plugin corrected the issue and I was then able to blog with my windows apps.  I sent the information to David via e-mail and also made a post on the wordpress forums to help anyone else that might be using category-access.  Its a great plugin and does exactly what I want, with only a few minor things lacking.  For now I’ve left the plugin disabled, but plan to re-enable if David comes up with a fix. 

Update to TILT review

Ok, I did more testing this weekend and have found the following relating to the TILT by at&t. 

 1. I thought the camera was pretty bad, but found that if you give the room proper lighting, it actually works well and takes ok pictures for a phone.  Same goes for video, the video was choppy and really bad with the frame rates, until I discovered that if I had good lighting in the room I was recording in, the video also looked pretty good. 

2. The HTC Home plugin was causing my phone to switch to vibrate on its own at what I thought was a random schedule, however it turns out that any time I had a calendar items that marked me as busy, it would set the device to vibrate even if the “auto” setting wasn’t being used.  This was very annoying, and I was able to find a different build of the HTC home plugin in the xda developers forums to get rid of this issue.  Only now the plugin seems a little hesitant to start up after a reboot, I have to go into my today settings and tap ok again to make the plugin appear.  Minor complaint, since the vibrate issue is fixed.

 3. I highly recommend the Kaiser Tweak app from xda, it quickly lets you apply many tweaks to the phone.

4. The HHC Home plugin customizer is a must!  It makes configuring the home plugin much easier and quickly helps you customise your icons and other options. 

Catching up

Its been a busy two weeks and I have not posted much to my blog lately. So here is an update starting with the weekend we went to Orlando…

On Saturday October 6th we drove up to Orlando and stayed at the Hilton resort at Disney. My aunt and uncle put us up at the hotel to spend some time with them while they were in town for a conference. We got to the hotel sometime around 4:30 or so. We grabbed some dominos pizza for dinner and Liz’s sister Christina came over to visit for a while. My aunt and uncle arrived later that night and we visited for a while until after midnight.

Sunday we got up and went out to breakfast at a waffle house. Once we were done eating we headed back to the hotel to get ready to go to Downtown Disney. On the way back to the hotel, we saw an IHOP which we would have all preferred, but didn’t know was right there. We got back to the room and got ourselves ready to go and walked over to the Downtown Disney marketplace. We walked around a little and let the kids play at the lego store and checked out some neat things they had setup on the street.

The kids rode a train around a little, and we got some cute pictures of that. They also rode a merry-go-round which they always love. Then we headed over ot the Rain Forrest cafe for lunch. That place is really neat, and has a unique atmosphere and awesome decorations and effects. Every 30 minutes there is a thunderstorm and the animals go wild and they flash lights, etc. Its a lot of fun, the staff are friendly and the food was good.

We walked around a little more and ultimately headed back to the hotel to go swimming. The kids and uncle David beat us all down to the pool, and when I got there, they were already in the water. I tested the water with my toe and found it a little cold for my liking, so I took advantage of the cool breeze and occasional sun to get a little rest on a lounge chair. I had just started to doze while the kids were playing in the pool, when I was awaken by the sensation of rain drop on my face. We got our stuff together and herded the kids under an umbrella and got ourselves ready to go back into the hotel. We got back to the room and changes and visited a little more, and by this time it was after 5pm, so we decided to get ready to go soon. I think we left close to 6 or so, and the rain actually stopped which was good, because traffic would have been slow if it had kept raining. We were home before 7 and got to crash for a bit before getting all the kids off to bed.

Then this past weekend, the 13th and 14th, we actually had a nice productive time at home. Liz and I got a good amount of yard work done and trimmed bushes and cleaned up, which was good. Sunday we spent the bulk of the afternoon at Bonnie Brae park in Temple Terrace, hanging out with friends and letting our kids play. It was a very nice evening and the weather was perfect! The kids played on the playground, and the adults visited and played with their kids. It was very relaxing.

Sunday morning I had a problem with my new phone (the tilt). I set my phone to vibrate in the morning and later it went off so I pulled it out of the holster to check and the screen was all washed out and practically un-usable. I tried to call AT&T about it, but the office I needed to talk to was closed until Monday. So Monday I called and they are sending me a replacement, which I should have by tomorrow (Wednesday). I hope this is not a bad batch of phones and just a strange fluke with the individual unit I received.

The long weekend

This is going to be a long post, so be prepared for some reading…

Firday I took a personal day from work to stay home and watch the kids while Liz went to a conference in Orlando. She actually left on Thursday afternoon, but her parents came earlier on Thursday to help with the kids. So I got home on Thursday evening and she was gone 😦 After some settling in, we decided to have soup and grilled-cheese sandwiches for dinner. This is a simple meal, but very tasty (I make a great grilled-cheese sandwich). I had a bit of a crazy time trying to time everything just right, making soup and sandwiches for so many people at once. It turned out good, which I was a little doubtful about since we were one package of soup short of what I thought we’d have. There was plenty for everyone and it was good.

We got the kids in bed on Thursday night and had some fun beforehand playing the wii. Once the kids were in bed, Liz’s parents played the wii and after a while we shut the wii off and watched a movie. We put on Eragon and stayed up late.

Friday morning, after the kids and I had breakfast, we had a wii tournament. I played a few games with the girls, and then Liz’s parents started a bowling competition. They both achieved pro status and had some very good games. They were beating me and I lost some of my pro points.

Then we decided to run out to a store to try to buy a computer for my brother-in-law’s fiance’ We went to Circuit City in New Tampa and looked around (this was while Sarah was in school). We were there for about 2 hours with Michael and Abby actually being pretty good. We found a computer we all agreed was a good one, for about $400 but it didn’t come with a monitor. They had a package deal with it, but the monitor it came with was a bulky CRT.

Kind of kidding, I said they could buy me one of the nice HP flat panel monitors and I would give them my 19″ dell FP at home and give them some money for the upgrade. They agreed and the rep checked inventory, but found they didn’t have any of the computer we picked out in stock. So my mother-in-law asked if they would sell them the display model. The rep agreed and came back with a price around $330 something. We went to check out and they were going to keep the computer for a few hours and re-image it and then have us come back to pick it up. We were about to leave when Liz’s dad found a problem with the receipt. After probably an hour of waiting and adjusting, they just couldn’t get it right. They ended up getting the computer for about $185 and they got an additional $30 discount on the monitor. All in all, they paid around $460 or so for the computer and monitor, which is an awesome deal!

We went to Wendy’s after that since we are all starving and it was around lunch time anyway. I was in a hurry because I wanted to hook up the new monitor. We got to Wendy’s and got in the drive through line, but the line was moving slow. Liz’s mom suggested it would faster if she just went in and ordered. So I pulled out of line into a parking spot. We waited in the car for what felt like 30 minutes, when finally Liz’s dad went in to check out what was taking so long. Turned out they were out of chicken right at noon (go figure) and had to cook more on the spot. We finally got out of there after 12:35pm and made it home to sit down and eat. I fed Michael and got him down for a nap and started setting up the new monitor on the computer desk. At first, it worked, but was blurry, and didn’t have the software installed for the proper resolution or settings. After installing the right software, the DVI output stopped working. When set to the right resolution, the monitor would go into standby, and the display would just stop. I tried everything, uninstalling, safe mode, new drivers, new ATI software, etc. Nothing worked and I ended up taking the video card out of my multimedia computer and reloading my home computer’s OS. Once reloaded with the other video card, there were no problems and things were fine.

So now my multimedia computer is stripped of its video card and is non functional. I ordered a new video card from TigerDirect online, and it should be here sometime mid-week. I got an HIS Radeon 512MB GDDR3 Pro card, with nice specs and enhanced HD support. This should be a major improvement! I was sad to find out later that my power supply in my multimedia machine is only 250W, meaning that the new video card won’t have enough power in that computer. I may end up for now putting the new card in my main computer and taking the original video card that was in the playback computer and put it back in since I know that works. But ultimately, I want to get new power supplies for both computers, a 500W for the main PC, and a 450 for the multimedia computer.

After spending most of the afternoon working on the computers and getting things setup, I began working on setting up the new computer that my in-laws bought. I managed to re-image the computer to factory, and do all the updates and install needed software. Then I moved all their files and settings off the old computer to the new one. Then I cleaned up the old computer and removed all the clutter and made it like new. (Liz’s mom ran home once we got back from CC and got their existing computer). The arrangement ended up being that they got the new computer, and my monitor. Then my brother-in-law’s fiance’ got their computer and exsting 17″ flat panel monitor. So the arrangement worked out well for everyone.

We had Pizza Hut dippin’ strips pizza for dinner, and I also ordered a large half cheese, half pepperoni pan pizza. It was sooooo good, we love the dippin strips, which is only a seasonal thing from what we can tell. I ordered online and had it delivered.

Friday night, we started watching Spiderman 3 and didn’t finish because it was late and the movie was long. So I went to bed around 12:30 something or close to 1am.

Saturday morning we played more wii, and I finished final touches on the computers. Then we started cleaning up the house in preparation for Liz to get home that evening. We had lunch after Liz’s parents left that morning. We got to play more wii and relax a bit before Liz got home. We had the left over pizza for lunch which was still good, we had just enough left to have enough for lunch.

I was just putting the kids to bed when Liz walked in the door. Must have been after 7:30pm and I had just put Michael to bed. So I went and got him back out of bed to say hi to her. I put him down on the floor in his room, and I think he already knew she was home. He ran out of his door and into her arms and just held her for a while. He is such a sweet little boy!

Got all the kids to bed Saturday night, and Liz and I sat on the couch and chatted about our weekends and relaxed a little. It was nice to catch up and fill each other in on all the goings-on of the weekend. She had a great time at her convention and told me all about it. I told her the long story of the computer work for the weekend.

Sunday we had Amanda and her kids over for lunch and the kids got to play for a while and Lizzie and Lina got to play bowling on the wii. Amanda finished a turn for Lizzie, and said it could definately get addictive.

All weekend I had meant to cut the grass, but never found time, I was busy all weekend and never got around to it. Then I took a sick day on Monday because I was getting over some stomach problems that I seemed to pick up over the weekend. I had thought I could try to at least mow the front yard on Monday, but it kept raining on and off all day. It was a weird weather day, it would be sunny outside, but a rain cloud would be over our house, and it would be raining. Sometimes hard rain would come down and it would get grey outside, but then it would stop and the sun would come back out. All day it was like this, so I didn’t get a chance to cut the grass.

Productive weekend

We had a busy but productive weekend! On Friday I had some work to do which took me until about 9:30pm; on and off a little after that or so. We watched a little TV before going to bed. Then on Saturday Liz went to a yard sale while I got the kids breakfast. We got done and loaded into the van and tried to go meet her there, to visit some friends and also for me to give Liz her cell phone which she left at home. We passed her in the Miata on her way home, but I waved her to follow me. We drove to a gas station and got some gas which both of our vehicles needed. Then once we got home we started doing some work, Liz got started on the playroom roof, scraping up the existing cauking and putting down a new layer of roof sealer. We talked to our neighbors a little while working on that project and then headed inside. We got some lunch and then headed off to Wal-Mart to buy Liz’s long overdue birthday present. We went to the New Tampa Wal-Mart and got her a nice new bike. It was pouring down rain while we were in the store, but fortunately, by the time we left it had stopped. We got home and I dropped her off at the curb by our house and she got to ride her new bike back to the house. Later that evening, I decided to start cleaning out the garage, partly beacuse it needed it and partly because we need a place to park her bike! Liz helped me and we got one side almost completely cleaned out. I’m putting out a bunch of trash tonight and we can continue working on the other half of the garage another day. Sunday we got to rest some in the afternoon and just spend time together. Liz is painting the girls room today so last night she broke down the kids bunk beds and hopefully when I get home, I’ll see a nice finished room.

weekend update

Another busy weekend is now complete. Friday I had to work late from home to fix some server problems. Liz and I had been planning a date night all week to go out and spend time together, but since I had to work, we ended up going grocery shopping instead while her sister watched the kids. Not exactly what we had in mind, but its always nice to spend together. We didn’t leave until 9:30pm, and got back just before midnight. We went to the Citrus Park Wal-Mart and managed to grab a quick snack from Dariy Queen while we were out that way.

Saturday, Liz had a fund raising event to go to, so I stayed with the kids and her sister to clean the house and get ready for Sarah’s birthday party. I got the grass cut, the house work almost done and had things mostly ready for when Liz got home. That morning for breakfast I made Sarah belgian waffles (her request) and I picked up her own little personal (sarah) sized watermelon.

Her party was around 2, but we didn’t really get started until later. Liz and I cooked up a nice lunch/dinner, we had some grilled chicken salad corn on the cob, and of course cake and ice cream for dessert. Sarah got some nice gifts for her birthday including new polly pockets which she loves, and we got her some nurf guns which we all had a good time with while on vacation. We’ve already lost one of the darts. Its been raining a lot lately, so we didn’t get to do anything outside.

Sunday, Liz and I got some exterrior house work done. She got up on the play room roof and re-flashed some seams that are still leaking even after our last attempt. Then I got the front gutters cleaned out so that the water would stop destroying the landscaping in the front of the house. I need to get some mulch and re-do some areas. Liz also was kind enough to trim some of the bushes in the front yard for me, and did a nice job of shaping them up a little. Now we can see much better through our front window where we have our Bistro table. Its a beautiful view from that front window, we’ve even started eating breakfast there just the two of us, and make it a frequent reading spot at night before bed.

Again, I’m amazed that Sarah is now 7 years old. I was recently reminded by several sources how quickly time passes. First by Sarah turning 7, and second by my phone. It just happened to chime every 5 minutes for the last 1.5 days (long story) and each time it would chime, I was reminded that another 5 minutes had passed. It reminded me how valuable time is, and how sad it is that between work and sleep, I get to spend so little of it with my family.

Sarah's pre-birthday weekend

We had a semi busy, but nice weekend. On Friday we had Mike and Renee over again, and had dinner and talked. We played the wii again and had a good time watching Liz go nuts with boxing again. I had a few bad games of bowling, but I think we were tied at the end. Everyone got tired around 11 something but we stayed up talking until just about midnight when our guests left. Abby went ot bed on Friday almost normal time, and Sarah stayed up until midnight with us. Michael would have stayed up if we would have let him, he seems to have unlimited energy and does not “konk out” at all.

Friday night, Abby woke up a few times and caused Liz and I to only get a very few hours of sleep. Michael woke up early and we needed to get up a little early anyway as we planned to go to the Rec Center for the Family Fun day. So we got up, ate breakfast and got ready to go. I think we got to the Rec Center by 11 or so. I got the kids to the pool and when they were all set, I left them with Liz and went to hit around in the racquetball courts a bit before Mike and Renee got there to warm up a little. Well I ended up hitting my only ball out of the court into the parking lot, so I had to leave and go to Wal-Mart to get a new can of balls. It took what seemed like forever, and I didn’t get back until almost 12:30. At that point, Mike and Renee just got there, but the Rec Center had run out of food, so Mike went to Wendy’s to get something. When he got back, I was back out on the court hitting around a little more, and shortly thereafter it started to rain. At first, it felt nice, cool water hitting my hot head out in the sun. Then a few minutes later it was pouring! I walked back into the pool area to find the family and they were closing down the pool area, forcing all the people inside because of the thunder storm moving over. So we stood under a walkway for a while talking but decided just to go home. It rained hard and we got soaked getting out to the van. Mike drove me to our van from his, and it was coming down the hardest right about the time we made a run for it. We had a nice relaxing day indoors after that due to the rain which makes a lovely sound on the play room roof, and is ideal for napping on the couch.

On Sunday, I took Abby out on a daddy date to the Brandon mall. I’ve never been but had heard it was a nice mall. We went in the miata together, and had a nice ride, but left the top up and used the A/C as it was very warm! We got to the mall and went to a cookie shop and got a small bag of cookies. Abby rode a small train ride before we left for the food court to sit down and eat our cookies. We found that just like the Citrus park mall, they also have a large indoor merry-go-round and so Abby just had to ride that too. We got on and rode around for a while and then headed back to the car. It is a nice mall, but not as nice as Citrus Park. I did find some stores in there that I’ll keep in mind the next time I need to go shopping…

Experts Exchange update

Sadly, my account with Experts Exchange has been downgraded to a free account 😦 I’ve been busy lately and took a vacation and did not maintain enough expert points each month so I am now only a free member. I have to answer a few questions to get my membership restored, which won’t be a big deal, but still a pain. Whats funny is the same day my account was downgraded, I received my Experts Exchange t-shirt. The shirt was free to commorate my achievements at EE as a Master level Exchange expert.

Family Update

We have been so busy lately, there is so much going on its going to be hard to give an update…

We had a great weekend this past weekend, we went to visit some friends of ours on Sunday afternoon and stayed until almost 11. We had a great time, great conversation and I got to try out their wii! The kids had a blast and got extremely dirty, so they had a great time!

We are getting ready to be busy with last minute plans for our trip to visit family. We have packing to do and final arrangements to make. It should be an interesting time.

Last night Liz had her papmer night for MOPS, so I stayed home with the kids and we had a nice time. They watched a movie and had popcorn and brownies! I went to bed around 11, and Liz didn’t get home till around midnight.

I have again discovered how lonely summer mornings are when Sarah doesn’t have school and we don’t all get up together in the mornings. Normally I get everyone up around 6:20am and we get breakfast and get ready to go about our day together. But in the summer, Liz doesn’t have to take Sarah to school, they get to sleep in and I end up alone in the mornings getting ready by myself. So I like the summer in that we save on gas money, and the rest of the family gets a break, but for me its the same old schedule, just all by myself.