thingelstad

Jamie Thingelstad's personal website

Month: April 2005 (page 1 of 2)

Living Green Expo

Tammy and I went to the Living Green Expo today. This is the 3rd year that we have went to it and the 4th year for the event. It was particularly great this year. In previous years it has been held in smaller buildings on the Minnesota State Fairgrounds, but this year they moved it into the grandstand and expanded it substantially. Attendance was also stellar. All the exhibitors were commenting on how busy it was, many were out of materials due to overwhelming traffic. It’s great to see such attendance for a great event like this.

Attached To Baby

I got a great email today from someone that used to work at our company. I haven’t seen her for years, since she worked with us. We have emailed back and forth, mostly about baby stuff since she has one and we are expecting one. Anyway, her email today was telling me about her new website/business.

Without further ado, check it out at Attached to Baby. It seems that in addition to running the business she’s also a model in a number of the pictures. :-) Buy some stuff!

This is great. It’s awesome to see people putting out their own shingle and taking a chance. I hope she’s immensely successful. Now, I need to go figure out what carrier we are going to get.

D.I.Y. Mosaic

Tammy and I have taken a couple of mosaic classes in the past. It’s a surprisingly approachable and fun activity. It’s amazing how you can turn pretty mundane things into these amazing looking mosaics. Today we went to Mosaic On A Stick. Mosaic On A Stick just opened about 6 months ago and they sell mosaic supplies and teach classes. Additionally, they have an open workspace where you can just come in and work for however long for a fixed fee. It’s a really nice place and the people that run it seem great.

Try it out! You will enjoy it.

Happy Birthday!

Today is my lovely wife’s birthday! Happy Birthday!

I learned very quickly when Tammy and I started dating that her birthday is a Big DealTM. Don’t get me wrong, I like my birthday and all. It’s fun to get together with people, celebrate another year and maybe get some cool gifts. But for Tammy it’s an entirely different level. I joke with her that it should be declared a national holiday.

How about a birthday haiku.

A birthday for you
Another year for fun, love
And then, a birth day.

Satellite Operators Devolving

A while back we upgraded to a HD TiVo for our DirecTV setup. I’ve been loving the new TV (amazing!) and everything has been working pretty well. My only complaint is that broadcasters still seem to be working the kinks out of their HD broadcasts. It’s not that uncommon for the sound levels to be off, for some reason almost always affecting the center channel, and then come back. But I’m sure this will all be smoothed out before too long. I still had one step left to finish though. We needed to upgrade our satellite dish to a triple-LNB dish. We previously just had a dual-LNB oval.

I called up DirecTV and ordered the “Sat C Upgrade Kit” and scheduled a visit. They asked when I wanted to schedule the visit and indicated they could come the next day. I was a bit surprised they could come so fast, but pleased to have it done quickly. The next day the guy shows up looking for our part. Turns out DirecTV was so brilliant as to schedule the guy to come the next day when they had to ship me the part! On top of that, the guy didn’t have any spares to do the work since he was there, so we had to reschedule.

We got the part, and I also took the liberty to order a mount for my ChannelMaster 4221 over-the-air HD antennae. He returned and put the upgrade kit on the dish and mounted the antennae. I was at work so I’m not sure exactly what he did, but when I got back there was no signal from satellite C. Nothing.

I tried to call the installation company to get it fixed. No surprise, they can’t schedule anything. I had to go back through the 800-number maze at DirecTV and schedule another entire visit. He was supposed to come yesterday morning. After rescheduling twice for that day, they finally showed up at 5pm. We had plans to go to dinner, but I really wanted to get this thing done right. The guy had to put up a whole new dish and run new cables down because they were too short to reach the new LNB. He was here for over two-and-a-half hours!

Our story ends well, everything is working really well now. But it required three house visits and probably ten phone calls to get done. Why is it that providing service to your television devolves into this horrible customer service nightmare. Oi!

Edward Tufte

Yesterday I attended Presenting Data and Informtion taught by Edward Tufte. A number of people that I work with had gone to this one-day session and come back raving, so I finally decided to attend this myself. After attending I can see why they were raving!

If you are unfamiliar, Edward Tufte is one of the leading world experts on visualization of data. I’m pleased to say that not only is Tufte an excellent academic, he’s also a wonderful speaker. He could do a radio program in no time flat. He’s got a great presenting style. I thought the class was going to give him a standing ovation at the end.

I’m not going to repeat the class contents here, I could not do it justice. Check out the website and see for yourself. If you ever have to give presentations, I would highly recommend attending this session.

Baby Stirs

We are now in the 35th week of the pregnancy. Of course I say we in the modern husband way that really just means Tammy is in the 35th week. I’m cheering along! We’re entering into the time where the alien is stirring. You can see the baby reaching out, punching, kicking. There is no need to feel, you can just sit there and see it!

The clock is ticking down!

Intranet for Home

A couple of weeks ago I deployed my first intranet application for home. If your not familiar, an intranet application is just a website that you cannot get to generally on the web unless you have specific credentials. I was combing through my documents one afternoon and realized that I had a ton of little text files with notes on them. Things like information on my cable modem and home network to reminders about trips I’d like to take.

It dawned on me that this is just screaming for a Wiki. So I deployed OpenWiki in a restricted website that is only accessible in our house with the right authentication. I was able to better organize information and move a lot of other information onto it, like what is our contract number with the plumbing people.

Pretty fun. I named the site Spiral. The idea being that it is a big spiral notebook for all in the house to share.

Forget-me-not

I’m horrible at remembering certain things. At the top of the list is remembering to change the filters in the heater. I have no idea when I did it last, none. Finally it hit me that I can easily have my computers help me out. In about 5 minutes I created a quick Scheduled Task that will send me a reminder every month! I’m using blat.exe to send the email via a command prompt.

(If you just see a big blank space below this you are using Internet Explorer and have a fairly narrow window, make your browser wider. Not sure why the style sheet does this.)

I am sharing this immensely obvious solution since I think others may find this worthwhile as well.

Name Voyager

Tammy and I have been working with the name issue. The responsibility of giving another person the moniker that they will carry for their entire life is daunting. I got a pointer to NameVoyager from a friend. Go to the site and then launch the Java application. It’s very well done, and shows cool information about the popularity of names over time.

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