Blog Archives

Got the Jetta

Last night we took a drive past Lakeland to pickup my Jetta.  We had put down some money on the car on Saturday so the seller would hold it for me.  I then got money from the bank on Monday to pay the rest of the cost of the car.  After a quick trip to WalMart (another story in itself), we went to pickup the car. 

Its really nice and in great shape, but I am going to have a mechanic check it over on Thursday just in case.  I’ll post some pictures soon…

Better fitness

On Saturday I joined a local fitness club.  I have been entertaining the idea of getting a membership to a fitness club for a while now, but when I started out looking for one, I didn’t want one of those professional performance places where its a bunch of hulk hogans running around and all that.  So I found a family oriented club and went to check it out on Saturday morning.  I was a little intimidated by the size of the place, but once the manager started showing me around, it was really quite nice.  Everyone was friendly and they offer a lot of cool programs that come as part of the membership.  It is a bit expensive, but my plan is to stick with the club for about a year, get myself in better shape and then try to get some equipment that I can use to maintain my fitness level at home.  I need to go at least 3 times a week which is going to be tough with my schedule.  I realize that if I am going to do this, its going to cost something besides money, and that is my family time.  I’m going to have to go at night twice a week and once on Saturday morning. 

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Crazy night

Last night was absolutely crazy from the time I got home, until I went to bed. It all started when I walked in the door and found the house to be almost 85 degrees inside. Liz had just left, and so I started checking out the system, resetting breakers, etc. Nothing I did would work, and so I resorted to checking the phone book to find the numbers of a good after hours A/C contractor. I found one of the ads for one of the companies we had out before A-Able. I called and they said someone could be out in a few hours. I gave us messing with it myself, and decided to make myself some dinner. I baked up one of those frozen pizzas from the California Pizza Kitchen. I must say I’m not a fan of frozen pizza, but the ones from the California Pizza Kitchen are really good. They are actually pretty close to the originals you can get at the restaurant. I love the Marguerita pizza, and its really good, even for a frozen pizza.

During all this commotion with the A/C I notice a car parked next door that looked suspicious. I saw some people going through the gate and they were playing with the pool supplies, and opening shed doors and stuff. As far as I knew this house was still vacant, and the kids in the neighborhood have been screwing around with the for sale sign for months, so I did notice it was missing, but it could have also been taken by the kids. So I called the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office to report something suspicious. I explained what I saw and that I thought the house was supposed to be vacant. About an hour or so later, a deputy finally arrived, and I met him at the garage door of my house, told him what I thought and he went to check it out. A little later he came back by my house and explained that they were the new renters and everything was on the up and up. I was concerned because we’ve had kids breaking into that yard through the fence to swim, and they mess around with the for sale sign, and we are afraid something will happen while they are back there, and no one would know they were there and someone could get hurt. So I assumed it was the same situation here, and was just trying to make sure this wasn’t someone breaking into the house. Especially since I didn’t see anyone use the front door, only the door in the fence (which the lock is broken). I chatted with the officer for a few minutes and then he left. I felt aweful calling the cops on my new neighbors. What a terrible first impression. And they knew it was me I’m sure since I was talking to the officer in my driveway.

Then the A/C guy gets to the house and walks in and I tell him about whats going on, and he says that its nothing but a clogged drain. He pulls out the end of a sensor and empties some built up water, and then we turn the air switch back on and the pump kicks on and the unit starts cooling. I felt like an idiot! At least I know there are two drains now, there is one outside and one inside, I had checked the outside drain, but didn’t know to check the inside one. The system still won’t cool properly, so he came again today and checked it out and agrees with the other two opinions we’ve had. Everyone is telling us we need to replace the pump outside. The bad news is that this is going to cost!!! I got a quote from a guy on craigslist offering to install a 4 ton pump for $1500 everything included. So I am going to follow up with that, make sure he can accept credit card payment, and then see about getting some prices from one other place.

Then Liz’s mom called me and I helped her with some issues with their new computer.

During all of this, I was also running around the house with the hand vac chasing down little winged insects that somehow decided to swarm in my house. I’m not sure what they are, but there were a lot of them and I had to go around the house several times sucking them up with the hand vac. I’d get done going around once, empty the hand vac outside, put it down for a little while, then I’d walk out in the play room and find more, so I’d have to repeat the whole process again. I finally got most of them I guess, and then shortly thereafter Liz and the kids got home. They were late and didn’t get home till after 9pm. We got the kids to bed, and talked about our crazy days for a few minutes, then it was off to get ready for bed. What a day!

Monitor upgrade

Over the weekend, I received a free upgrade to an HP w2007 20″ widescreen LCD flat panel monitor for my home PC. Its a long story which I’ll comment on soon. This is a nice monitor, perfect for multi-use and the things hat we do with our computer. Its got a nice glossy black finish, which I was a little concerned about because it will be used in a shared area of the house, but after some use and testing its actually not bad. It gives images a nice shiny look. It has a 5ms response time and has a 1000:1 contrast ratio. Retail cost was $269.

FIOS Update

So now that I’ve had FIOS for several months, I thought I would post an update. Here are my observations so far…

1. I love the ActionTec wireless router that comes with the service. It is a very flexible and fully featured with a firewall, MAC address filtering, port forwarding, and more. I took a little while to adjust to the settings on the router, as you have to click save in more than once place for your settings to be saved and applied, which is a little different, but once you figure out the little neuances of the router, you are good to go! It will do anything and everything I need and more.

2. My only gripe so far, is something that happened when my IP address changed. I had the service for probably over 2 months before my IP changed for the first time. When it did change, my home network lost internet connectivity and my dynamic DNS client was unable to connect to the internet to update my IP. This caused several hours of outage for my home e-mail and internet connectivity. I have not yet had another IP change, so I’m hoping the first time was just a fluke. (NOTE: This won’t be an issue for most people, unless you run DNS for accessing services on your home network like I do).

3. The speeds are consistent and fast, every time I run the Verizon speed test, it comes out over 20MBps down, and nearly 5MBps up, with only slight variations. The bandwidth is exceptional, very fast, and reliable. I have had not real service outages at all and am very pleased with the quality of service I am receiving.

4. In order to optomize the speed your computer will see on the FIOS network, it may be necessary to run the FIOS connection optomizer. This basically changes some TCP/IP settings in the registry to optomize throughput on the FIOS system. These are the same type of settings people have been adjusting since the internet was created, I’ve done it with dialup before, and this is just the most modern way to optomize the connection. Its no big deal, but you will see lower than advertized speeds unless you run the optimizer.

5. The price of the service is comperable to service with other providers in the area, but the speeds are much faster without increasing the cost of the service.

I am overall very pleased with Verizon FIOS service. I highly recommend it to anyone currently using a cable provider. I’ve been a cable user for years, and took a long time to make the decision to switch. I am happy that I did, and will never go back to cable. I would also point out that Verizon offers a 30 day money back guarantee, so you can always give it a try and test it out to see what you think. You can cancel at the service if you don’t want to keep it. Plus then your home will be wired for the service should you decide to use it again in the future.

Copernic Desktop Search

I really love Copernic Desktop Search, and wanted to post a personal recommendation for this software. I’ve tried several other desktop search applications, including Windows Desktop Search, Yahoo desktop search, Google desktop, X1 and more. Out of all of these, I found that Copernic had the most attractive user interface that made for a better end user experience, ease of search and I like the way it displays the search results.

The best thing about this software, is not only that its fantastic in appearance, functionality and ease of use, but its also totally FREE for personal use. Its been around for a while, and I can’t wait to see what improvements are made to it over time, but I can’t immagine it getting much better than it already is.

I use this software for searching my personal Exchange mailbox, PST files, internet favorites, and local documents. You can also index files on a network drive. You can save your searches for handy future use. This is top notch software, that has a very attractive interface, great features comperable to the other big names in search and costs nothing! There are no pop-ups or annoying advertising, its just great free software. Click the link at the top of this post and download Copernic Desktop Search today and try it for yourself.

Miata door speaker

Noticed recently that the driver side door speaker in my Miata is on its last leg. I started to look into the options to replace it, thought about going to Circuit city or sound advice, but thought I’d ask around. A friend suggested I try the miata.net forums/classifieds, which I should have thought of right away. I went online to miata.net and didn’t find any of the Bose speakers I need, so I posted a wanted ad. Within 2 hours or so, I had several e-mail replies, and one guy offered to mail me a few of his spares (since he said he had at least 6 spares), then I could just reimburse him for the shipping. Basically he is giving me a few of his spare bose speakers so I can fix my Miata. All it will cost me is shipping. I was excited to read that e-mail and Liz was happy too because it means we don’t have to spend much money to get this fixed. The guy said he would mail them today, so I should have them by this weekend. I also have someone who can help me install the replacement which is also nice. Now if I could just get a CD player for the van!

New Speakers arrived

I got my new surround speaker system last night, but was very disappointed to find that they were as cheap as you can get.  The website with their description was very mis-leading.  I managed to combine them with my TV speakers and got it to sound half way decent.  But I am going to have to upgrade to a more expensive and better sounding system in the not so distant future.  Its frustrating because these things are so expensive and I don’t even want the top end major name brand or anything, and it will still probably cost me at least $300 for the speakers and sub that I would want.  GRRR.

This is for Chris and Mary!

I just couldn’t resist. This is Chris and Mary at the Fall Festival last night. Love the costumes!

Chris and Mary

Fall Festival

Last night we took the kids to the Fall Festival. I couldn’t leave work until 5, so I got home and Liz and the kids were just leaving. Jason came over and went with them as well. I ran in the house and got changed and ate something, then got in my car and met them at the festival. Sarah and Abby rode the ponies again like last year and they played games and got candy. Michael had this really cute lion costume on and Liz painted his nose black with whiskers on his cheeks, he was SOOOO Cute! I’ll try to get Liz to offload the pictures from the camera and get them uploaded to the website soon. I spent most of the night holding a fussy tired Michael, and bashful Abby, but I think they all still had fun.