CPR Training at Red Cross

Tammy and I had our first of two sessions getting CPR certified last night at the Twin Cities Red Cross. The class was a lot more than just CPR. It really went into general emergency response practices. The 3 C’s — Check, Call, Care.

Tammy at CPR Class

The last time I took a CPR class was probably 20 years ago and a lot has changed. We’ve been planning on doing this since Mazie was born, so we’re only about two-and-a-half years behind schedule.

Upcoming Office Holiday Party

Our annual holiday party at the office is coming up this weekend. It has been a tradition for many years to have a theme. There was a black & tie year. There was a year you came as a favorite figure in history. There was even a cowboy year that didn’t go over so well.

This year the theme is 70′s Disco — and Tammy and I are going all out. Here is a sneak peak!

brandsonsale-store_1974_536071968.jpeg

Get ready to boogy!

iTunes Ecosystem

itunes-devices-small.jpgI mentioned in another post how much I’ve been enjoying iTunes. A few weeks ago I extended my Apple TV coverage to the family room and it just hit me as I was looking at my iTunes window how fully evolved the iTunes ecosystem has become. From one application I have all of my music, podcasts, home videos and soon all my DVD’s available on iPods, iPhones and couches. This convergence has been promised for so long, and it’s great to see it finally delivered.

The ecosystem is not without warts. iTunes needs to get much better at sharing my library with friends and family ala the Social Edition I wrote about earlier. I also think that the entire ecosystem does a very bad job with video. It makes no sense that I would subscribe to an “Apple TV version” of a podcast, and separately to an “iPod version”. C’mon guys! Figure out a way to put multiple bit rates and file sizes in one package. It’s akin to putting Intel and PowerPC, 32-bit and 64-bit applications in one package. Do this for my videos in iTunes and then just put whatever version makes sense for that device on it.

I expect there will soon be a 3rd Apple TV in this world, and hopefully something for my car too. Once movie rentals are added to this and I finish my massive winter DVD ripping project it should be almost entirely complete. Oh, and I need Lightroom to automatically expose collections of photos to iTunes please. :-)

Apple, Please Make This – Apple TV + iPhone = iCar

The iTunes ecosystem is pretty amazing. It spans my exercise routine (iPod Nano), entertainment on a flight (my iPhone) and kicking back on the sofa for a movie (Apple TV). But there is another frontier that remains unserved. A frontier that is a prime media opportunity. The car.

There were some rumors a couple months ago about iCar. Apparently Apple met with Volkswagen to discuss who knows what. Perhaps we’ll see a black and silver VW bug coming out in future years that matches the iPhone aesthetic. (Just kidding, that’s ridiculous.) But the car is a media platform, and there are few good options.

I’ve had a Phatbox in my Audi A6 for a while now. I love it, but it’s a bit quirky. It also lacks two key features that really make it suffer. There is no WiFi so you have to undock it’s hard drive to add music, and no ability to integrate with iTunes. In fact, it doesn’t even have a Mac loader. A huge shout out to Cameron Silver though for creating PhatMac for us Mac users. PhatMac even integrates with iTunes Smart Playlists which is a start.

My proposal is simple. Take the guts of the Apple TV and shove it into a DIN unit for installation into a car. Then, on the front of the panel put a touch interface with coverflow like the iPhone and iPod Touch. Voila! Done. Really, there isn’t much more to it than that. This is what it could look like.

icar-small.jpg

The Apple TV has the hard drive brains to sync with iTunes via WiFi. The only thing it lacks in a car is an interface. The touch interface of the iPhone is an ideal solution for the car. Fling, press, listen. Awesome. You can even have the touch interface itself easily snap off to protect from theft and maybe it could have 8G of storage locally to listen to something while your running an errand. How beautiful would this be? Pull into your garage and your car would show up in iTunes and get the latest podcasts and purchases copied to it. iTunes would also get new information to update play counts and last play times. I get excited just typing this stuff.

I know what your thinking, just dock your iPod with your car. That’s a hack. Seriously. When I shut my car off it’s crazy that I should then have to manually stop my music. The car platform is different and needs a couple of specific functions.

Apple has all the ingredients. It seems like a simple weekend project to tie it all together. But the market may not be big enough to care. I’d line up for this product myself.

I Made a Pie!

I made a pie! That’s right! A whole pie, from scratch, the whole deal. I made the crust. I steamed the pumpkin. No canned pie filling here! I ground my own fresh nutmeg!

I Made A Pie

I realize that many people do this all the time without thinking of it. However, I have tried to make a pie crust before and if you haven’t done it yourself try before you dismiss it. Rolling out that dough into a thin crust is tempting disaster. At any moment it may stick to the rolling pin and fold in on itself, like space collapsing in an episode of Star Trek. You may not get it quiet right and think you can just finagle it a little more here or there, and boom you have a torn wreck in front of you. I nearly lost this one at the end, trying to get fancy, and was able to save it and roll out enough dough to make it work.

The pie is baking right now. I’m so proud.

Can't I Buy Overpriced Gas In Quiet?

The other morning I pulled into SuperAmerica [link removed] on my way into work to fill up the tank. I got out and started to fill up and was greeted to a marketing experience.

Gas Pump

Yes, that’s right. There is 89 cent coffee inside! Not only was I treated to several marketing experiences they even had sound and audio tracks going with it. It seems I can’t even simply get gas anymore without having something thrown at me. I need to find a new gas station.

The Office Men's Bathroom

At our office we have a long running joke about the men’s bathroom. By long running I mean several years. There is always something wrong. Flooding. Broken knobs and handles. Atomic flushing. I’ll leave it at the pleasantries. A couple weeks ago I walked in and saw a nice note on the door to one of the stalls.

Bathroom Stall Door

The sign on the door reads

STOP USING HAND TOWELS TO WIPE YOUR ARSE. THEY DON’T FLUSH!!!

Really, it’s a privilege to work with people that can throw out an “arse”.

Butterball!

Tammy and I had a great time last night at the Butterball! Through the generosity of my friend Dan Grigsby, Tammy and I as well as the Tangen’s got on our best Black & White and headed out for a night of fun. The evening was packed. The Butterball sold out and raised a nice amount to help get food to those who need it.

butterball.jpg

The evening began with a silent auction. There were probably 50 items up for auction with a great variety of things. We put our name on a number of items and after surveying the area a bit decided to get serious about the live art. There was an artist on the stage who was doing a painting right there while everyone mingled. The artist was Chris Allen and he was doing a Graffiti piece. I really liked it for a bunch of different reasons so we focused on that and happily when 9:30 arrived we were the highest bidder. Great art, and for a great cause.

This is the piece that we got before framing and in really horrible light.

20071118-082714-3287.jpg

We ran into so many people that we knew at the Butterball. It made a fun evening even more enjoyable! After the auction ended Soul Asylum took the stage and put on a really amazing show!

soul-asylum-051026.jpg

I haven’t listened to much Soul Asylum for a while now and it was really fun to hear some of the great songs. The energy was great — really a fun show.

After a few hours of mingling and having a great time, we headed home in the chaos of Saturday night frenzy in downtown.

Check out more pictures.

One Laptop Per Child, and Me

olpc-logo.jpg
Technology has the promise of being the great equalizer, or a great divider. I don’t think enough is being done to make sure that the benefits that the “technological have’s” enjoy are available to all. I think this is going to be a big problem in the US particularly. In developing countries it’s even more basic. One Laptop Per Child has the mission of bringing technology to kids in an affordable package to help bridge this gap. They have been working on developing a $100 laptop for a while now that could be given to kids in developing countries (they didn’t quiet get to $100 on this one). I’d suggest they send a few million around the US too! They’ve just released their first computer, the XO-1. I think it’s pretty cool looking!

olpc-green-white.jpg

The goal of this machine is to make something that is cheap, rugged and very usable for kids in developing countries. It has WiFi and a basic web browser to hop on the Internet. In fact, it forms it’s own mesh network whenever more than one is present, allowing kids to collaborate in ad hoc settings. It’s power use is very modest, and a solar panel can be attached to the back of it to allow for permanent off-grid use. I’m also ecstatic that they include a number of different development environments. Hit a few buttons and your writing your own programs for it. Great! David Pogue did a really good video review about the XO-1. It’s worth watching.

OLPC is running a limited time special where you get one, and give one. The only way to buy one is to buy two, and one goes to a kid. I’ve ordered mine up and am looking forward to playing with it. A friend also ordered one so it will be fun to play with the networking features. I even noticed a CTO acquaintance of mine has purchased one. My friend Chris suggested that this may be the new status symbol. Like owning a Prius. Go hang out at the coffee shop with your XO-1. Can’t wait. Offer ends soon, go order one!

After I get mine I’ll post some reaction to it.

Chipai Fishing Trip Video

It’s been a long time since June when my father-in-law took all the brother-in-laws fishing in Canada. I made a video from the trip and it was really difficult to get it online. It’s just under 15 minutes and I wanted something that could deal with the size. I finally found Vimeo, more on that later.

Without further ado, enjoy the video from the trip.


2007 Chipai Fishing Trip from Jamie Thingelstad on Vimeo.