Tuesday Nov 06, 2007

Comments are back, I guess.

    Apparently, although I have always had comments turned on in my settings, they haven't been working for a while. A friend of mine recently asked why she couldn't comment, and since I thought she should be able to, I checked the setting. It was set to allow comments, but I unset it and reset it to see if that resolved the problem. It appears to have done the trick, as several folks have now been able to comment. Not that I necessarily have a lot of content worth commenting on, but feel free to indulge. Also, feel free to let me know if comments aren't working. :-)

Monday Nov 05, 2007

Mr. Hai Karate

    Not long ago, I was at a friend's parent's house. I had brought my oldest for the birthday party of my friend's oldest son, and there was much pool and other fun, including much enjoyment of birthday gifts. It was a nice warm day, and all involved had fun.

    Towards the end of the day, the number of kids dwindled, and I was hanging out with the few adults there. As I recall, the discussion worked it's way to theater, i.e. doing performing arts, and my friend's father mentions that he did Hai Karate commercials. Suddenly he starts looking familiar. Being the geeks that many of us are at this party, one of my other friends brings up YouTube on a handy gadget and does a quick search. Sure enough, he discovers this, amongst others.



    And yup, it is easy enough to recognize my friend's father. I've seen some of these ads, not when they originally ran, but in re-runs and a few years back when I picked up a cheap, at the time, CD of old TV commercials. Brings back memories of my childhood TV watching days. I always thought the Hai Karate commercials were fun, and was thrilled to find out the star is someone I know, who is a friendly, down to earth person. In a word, cool. He made several, although not all of the, ads for Hai Karate, but I haven't found any of the others he was in.

    I did some searching for that CD, as there were other fun commercials, but so far I haven't found it. I remember uploading it to a server at work, but I think that server died a few years back, so I doubt I'll find them there either. Makes me wonder how many other secrets are out there waiting to be discovered and enjoyed. \^-\^

Friday Nov 02, 2007

Thumbs up to Jim's Deli

    I recently presented to a customer in Portsmouth, RI, and since this was an early afternoon presentation that was a bit of a drive away, my co-workers and I hustled down to make sure we avoided traffic delays. We then had a few minutes to grab a quick bite of lunch and get to the customer. As we continued down the road past the customer site, we kept our eyes open for something quick and reasonably healthy. I remembered having gone to a deli nearby, and we pulled in, having found nothing else by then.

    We ended up in Jim's Deli, which was the same place I had gone before, but new management. I don't often pay much attention to places like this, but this one is different. They had signs on the wall for each of their menu items, with easy to read fonts for us aging boomers, and a wide selection of items. They were very friendly and helpful, prices were good, and they even had a mission statement. For a small deli, they were tops in customer service, which impressed me enough to write this post. If you are ever in the Newport/Middletown/Portsmouth RI area looking for a quick bite, I highly recommend Jim's Deli (957 W Main Rd, Middletown, RI 02842). I had the 'Big Cheese'. \^_\^

Tuesday Oct 30, 2007

Lotsa Loss Lately

    I seem to be going through a phase of loosing stuff lately. Not to say that I couldn't use a little loss of stuff, as I have way too much. But I've been loosing stuff I use somewhat regularly and really didn't want to loose. Maybe I'm getting old and not paying as much attention, but that doesn't explain all of it.

    A little over a month ago I went to Charlotte, NC for a 2 day business trip, which went fine. But somewhere on the way back, I lost a farbic glasses case. It had 3 slots for pens, and I had at least 2 of my favorite pens in there, as well as a pair of reading glasses with clip-on sun glasses on them. I carried it hanging off my fanny back by a small carabiner, and I know I lost it after leaving Charlotte, as it fell off when I got out of the rental car and I put it back on. I'm pretty sure I remember it being in the way while driving home from the airport, but the most likely place for me to loose it was in the crowded airplane. Bummer.

    Next up, the major loss, and not really my fault, although the lesson is hopefully learned. Although I am getting better, partly due to the fact that I have been doing more travel the past year, I still bring too much stuff with me when I travel. I get this idea that I'll have free time while in transit or after hours to play with my 'toys', etc. and it never turns out that way. But with the CEC 2007 being more of a geek fest than most of my travels, I loaded a few more toys in my checked bag. Sadly, this list of 'toys', see below, was no longer in my checked bag when I opened it at the hotel in Lost Vegas,.. er Las Vegas. Most, if not all, of this can be replaced from eBay, but that requires the 'justification' exercise all over again. \^_\^ I have had the TSA inspect my checked bags before, but they usually don't take anything, and usually leave a nice note saying they took a peak. I immediately called Delta and reported, but don't expect much of a result. Yup, I'm already trolling eBay for some replacements. >Rant Alert< And I blame the GOP Administration for the fear mongering TSA restrictions, that remove the ability of ordinary citizens to fight back like they did on the 911 flight over Pennsylvania against the terrorists who will get weapons on board anyway, >End Rant Alert< for the loss of my Swiss Army Knife, which I have had for 25+ years. Interestingly enough, the Swiss Army Knife was in a separate compartment from the rest, so whomever took the stuff went through several compartments.

  • Power-to-Go battery in green fleece glasses case
  • T3 w/aluminum case
  • Sharp Zaurus SL-5000 w/power cord
  • Nikon binoculars in case
  • T3 charger w/AA batteries
  • Victorinox Swiss Army knife - Red Swiss Champ model
  • Dlink WAP
  • USB mini hub
    And most recently, I lent a Fisher Bullet pen with PDA Stylus tip to my youngest at a restaurant, so he could amuse himself with drawing on the paper placemat. This is a lesson I should have learned before, but taking hungry, energetic boys to a restaurant can be distracting. Needless to say, I no longer have the pen, and don't remember getting it back at the restaurant. Unfortunately, the restaurant is an hours drive away, and probably wouldn't have it anyway, which is what happened 2 months ago with a different pen I lent my son at a different restaurant. Well, it was still a Fisher bullet pen, but with out the stylus tip, and this one was a purple one I got for my birthday. I called that restaurant, but they hadn't seen it. :-(

    I'm trying to stem the flow at this level, by paying more attention, and not bringing so much stuff with me. And then there is that one time when I needed the such and such from my fanny pack...... :-)

Tuesday Oct 23, 2007

Pictures from CEC 2007



    The Paris, as we are driven from the airport to the Paris/Bally complex.
    The Project Blackbox tour rig, on display in the main eating hall.



    Some of the 4000 engineers attending CEC 2007, eating lunch. I'm at this end using one of the rare electric outlets, so I could Skype video with my family at home.
    The UltraSPARC T2 product launch, with Andy Bechtelshiem, John Fowler, and ? on stage. Can't you tell?



    My room is behind that 'The Producers' sign somewhere. Explaines the funny screened view from my room.
    One of the video balls at the CEC Party. Live video of the band was displayed on this ball.



    A fire eater at the CEC party. Smart doing it by a pool.
    My view for most of Wednesday, as I spent the day going home.



    Bye bye, Egypt, no wait, it was Las Vegas, yeah that's it.
    A disappointing attempt to capture some of the amazing scenery I flew over on the way home to Boston.

All pictures courtesy of my Motorola RAZR V3xx. Explains a lot, don't it. :-)

Monday Oct 22, 2007

Newton, the sequel?

    Here they come again, rumors of Apple delivering a new PDA, ala Newton, per this Slashdot article, Newton II. I've owned a Newton for several years, including my 2000 upgraded to a 2100. Great little PDA, with a dedicated community still going strong. Would a new PDA from Apple do everything the Newton could and can? Doubtful. Would it need to? Probably not. Despite protestations to the contrary, a new Apple PDA would not, and probably should not, need to follow in it's Newton predecessor foot steps. The broader consumer market prefers things that fit in a pocket, and that was just not one of the Newton's design points. Yup, there are people still using Newtons for just that reason. It had a healthy amount of screen real estate, and I admit that at times I find that nice. But I'm amongst the vocal minority, who have pretty specific and demanding wishes for a PDA, which the general populous does not. And if I want a device with a retail life longer than a year, it is going to have to appeal to the unwashed masses.

    As an example of the size direction devices are taking, Palm recently announced their newest entry in the Treo family, the Palm Centro. Kinda cute looking, but clearly not aimed at the aging baby boomer market, as the screen is smaller than previous Treos, as is the keyboard. Another small step in Palm's turtle paced evolution of their products. Many faithful Palm owners continue to wait for the kind of innovation and compelling features that were the usual norm for early Palm devices. I'm one of those still waiting, and looking to replace my stolen backup T3 with another eBay purchased T3.

    Another example of the size matters state of affairs, and a rather sterling example to boot, is the Apple iPhone. I thought about linking to the iPhone, but if you haven't heard of it, and likely seen and played with one already, you're reading my blog from under a rock. This little gem is another case of superb design and engineering from Apple, and another one of their products I am dreaming of getting. I'll probably wait until it gets a few more of the kind of handy little functions I like, or opens up more to someone else adding them, but I expect sooner or later to own one. While it's size is small, Apple still appreciates the need for screen real estate, making the iPhone front mostly screen. It's a small device, I would estimate at least 1/3rd the size of a Newton, and sports a lot of functionality, including some that goes beyond what the Newton could do and some that feels like a step backwards to some.

    The handwriting recognition engine in the Newton was both ridiculed and praised. Early on it got a tarnished reputation, but those who used it regularly, particularly with the later units, swore by it. As for me, by the time I got a Newton, I had been a long time Palm user and well trained in Graffiti, so rather than spend time with the Newton's HWR, I got Palm's Graffiti for the Newton and continued with what I knew. Neither of these are available on the iPhone. It does have a built-in on-screen keyboard, which is a bit different from most and so takes getting used to. Because of the multi-touch technology in use on the iPhone, it requires the use of a finger, and so stylus based text entry technologies like the Newton's HWR and Palm's Graffiti just don't make sense. Is this a step forward or backward?

    So, would an iPhone based PDA from Apple make everyone happy? Would it sport more of the Newton's functionality than the iPhone itself? Is the iTouch that device? time will tell, but for reasons stated above, there will never be a device that satisfies the Newton loyal and the new markets. The real question is whether there is a compromise device that will satisfy enough of a market, without feeling like a compromise device to us pickier types. Either way, I plan to keep my Newton for a long time.

Thursday Oct 18, 2007

More TDHing

    In this installment of my version of This Damn House, I do some minor work in a bathroom. My wife suggested we take baby steps, to at least make progress rather than procrastinating until we had 'time'. So, in that spirit, here is the before :


    And after a quick bit of putty work, and some warm water to wipe of the old wall paper glue, et voila :

    Naturally, nothing is as simple or quick as it should be. The tile cement I had from several years back, that I had used on another towel rack and a few miscreant tiles, was hard as a rock, oddly enough, so I had to work a trip to HD into my schedule. This gave me time to wipe the glue off the walls in small time slots, so as not to overwork my mouse using arm. Oh yeah, and I figured the kids wouldn't be using that bathroom until the towel rack had time to cure, but within 5 minutes my oldest was in there and for some reason found he needed to lean on that towel rack, which of course gave way. Doh. All in all, it worked out OK. What's next?

Wednesday Oct 17, 2007

It's a Lady Bug Day


Lady Bugs on the ceiling
Originally uploaded by Dr. Agonfly.


    In the Spring or Fall, when there is an unseasonably warm day, we have what my family calls a 'Lady Bug Day'. sometimes it will be a dragonfly day as well, but the Lady Bugs are more obvious. I noticed them through our kitchen window mid day, and forgot until I went into our bedroom, to see this on our ceiling. We are used to them, as for years there would usually be a half dozen or so Lady Bugs handing out in a corner of the ceiling all year long. They don't usually get in the way, and eat other less appreciated bugs, so they are welcome to stay. Besides, since I usually try to capture and release any insect or other living thing that makes it's way uninvited into the house, I'd have my hands full with this mob. And yes, today was unseasonably warm.

Monday Oct 15, 2007

Blog Action Day - Environment

    Seeings that it is Blog Action Day, an effort devoted to testing the solidarity of bloggers world wide to speak out on a single topic in a single day, and the topic is about the environment, I decided to blog about something going on in my life right now. Very dynamically too. In some of my previous blogs, I have commented on cohousing, and more specifically my current involvement in Mosaic Commons, a cohousing community that is buuilding in Berlin, MA.

    One of the usual values of cohousing is an interest in environmentally friendly design. There are a number of ways that various communities express this, including pedestrian focused access, tight heat envelopes for the homes, wood pellet heating, solar heating, all the way to more devoted efforts like the EcoVillage at Ithaca, NY. We are doing as much as we can, and are currently dealing with the difficult balance of cost cutting with enhanced green design, or more specifically, do we cut the number of windows in our units to help defray the cost of going to triple pane windows.

    I like natural light the best, and feel that personally and for others in my family, the amount of natural light has a real effect on our moods. Can I quantify it, no. Doesn't make it less real, nor any less important to me. So I definitely don't like the idea of cutting the number of windows. And I have trepidation about triple paning as well. I have done just a quick bit of Googling to get a better sense of what I already basically knew, that the more panes of glass, the less light that is getting through. How much of a difference is what I didn't really have a sense for. According to one paper I found, it can be up to as much as a 44% reduction in the amount of light, depending on what coatings, etc are used on the triple pane window. Wow. So to reduce the number of windows on top of that kind of potential light reduction really makes me nervous.

    Another aspect of cohousing that is interesting is the decision making process. I have to admit that, despite it's challenges and occasional failings, the consensus process we use at Mosaic seems to work pretty well. It is based on certain principles, including only blocking a decision when it is for the good of the group. Kinda odd when you think about it. If everyone else (i.e. the group) wants a certain outcome to the decision, a single person can basically block it for the good of 'the group'. I'll have to puzzle on that some more, but suffice it to say that I have accepted and tried to work within this framework.

    Which means that even though I have what I think is good reason to not want to reduce windows and triple pane, I have to consider what is best for the group if I want to block that decision. OK, particularly at this stage of development, we need to be sensitive to costs. But there is value in long term investments like triple panes that will save us money over the long term. but if the group thinks this is best, how do I justify saying it is best for the group not to do this? Is the loss of a sale, should I back out because of this decision, something bad for the group, bad enough? Is my unqantifiable sense that this will be less good for everyone's mood in the community defendable enough? What about the fact that I may be able to restore the windows in my unit to their original design locations and sizes, but that would not help other households who could not afford to do that? Will I even be able to afford to do that myself? When do I stop asking questions and tell my wife to make the decision? :-)

    Not an easy process, but one that I hope shows the true metal of this community, as that is the primary reason my wife and I are doing this. We have a great home, with a nice piece of property, but we want to give that up for the comfort and strength of a community of friends that have similar values and that we will enjoy living with. It's during difficult times that you get to see more of what people are like behind their social faces, and I hope this will be another opportunity for the community of Mosaic Commons to grow and prosper.

Wednesday Oct 10, 2007

Open Standard I/O

    I changed roles at Sun, and am now a Technical Specialist focusing on our x64 technologies. While there is always an element of time spent on both customer relationships and technical skills development in pre-sales engineering roles, I prefer a balance more weighted towards technical depth and skills development/maintenance. I've always felt that as a technical professional, you have more credibility if you have spent at least some time working with the technology and products.

    Part of coming up to speed in a new role is getting a better understanding of the available resources. An important resource for sales is the ever present presentation. And while I appreciate the efforts of marketing to help promote our products, I need to be prepared to avoid potential rat holes by knowing the details of the background material used in developing the slides. If I'm hemming and hawing when presenting because I don't have confidence in the slides, I loose credibility. I get particularly wary when ambiguous or overloaded buzz words are used, such as 'open', 'free', 'grid', 'utility computing', 'blade computing', etc.

    Can you believe it, it took me 2 paragraphs to finally get to the meat of this post? :-) Sun has an impressive family of modular computing systems, or blade computers as they are commonly characterized. Among the many values of our modular computing family is the use of industry-standard open I/O. Ah, buzz words. What does that mean, industry-standard open I/O, and what is the benefit? It means that our compute modules use the same industry-standard open I/O technologies that our rack servers use, PCI-Express (PCIe). Instead of having I/O daughter cards on the compute module itself, that then need to connect electrically through the backplane to an I/O card in the chassis, making maintenance and reconfiguration more difficult, we pass the PCIe lanes through the passive backplane to PCI-SIG industry-standard PCIe Express Module slots at the back of the chassis. Simpler and more reliable.

    What is the benefit? There are several. Since the PCIe Express Module slots are separate from the compute module, you can easily hot swap PCIe Express Module cards, without needing to power down and remove the corresponding compute module, enhancing tool-less maintenance. Instead of having to remove the compute module, swap a daughter card and also swap an I/O card in the chassis, you can just swap the I/O card in the chassis. Fewer steps, less chance for human error, quicker. Sounds good to me.

    By sticking with industry-standard I/O, compatibility with 3rd party cards is enhanced, as is design and testing. PCIe is a well established standard, developed by a group of companies, and based on years of experience with previous generations of I/O interfaces. There are chip sets implementing the PCIe standard from several companies, and a well developed ecosystem of people and resources with the skills for designing it into systems. This makes it easy for 3rd party companies and partners, like QLogic, to develop cards for use in these modular systems, and the cards are compatible with other vendor's systems. For instance, I understand that NEC and Fujitsu use PCIe Express Modules for some of their systems, and others are planning on using this standard.

    Another benefit of using an industry-standard I/O technology is that as technology gets enhanced, and it inevitably does, maintaining compatibility is easier. Our implementation of the PCIe industry-standard I/O technology is forward-compatible with PCI G2 and IOV, adding to the investment protection provided by Sun's modular computing platforms. Building systems that take advantage of the well established design and years of testing experience of industry standard open PCIe makes for higher reliability and more choice, something I can talk to customers with confidence about.

Tuesday Oct 09, 2007

US T2 Server Launch

    I am attending today's product launch by Sun at CEC 2007. John Fowler is leading the launch with Rick Hetherington and Andy Bechtolsheim showing the new products, and Ichiro Hirose, VP, Global Marketing, Fujitsu representing Fujitsu.

    The products launched include :

  • The T6320 modular server for use in the Sun Blade 6000 chassis with the US-T2 CPU, 64GB RAM, 176Gbps I/O, and built in ILOM.
  • The X5120 server, using the US-T2 CPU, 64GB RAM, 2TB of storage, 80Gbps I/O, and built in ILOM in a 1RU form factor.
  • The X5220 server, using the US-T2 CPU, 64GB RAM, 2TB of storage, 80Gbps I/O, and built in ILOM in a 2RU form factor.


    Next, Marshal Choy came up and did a demo of LDOMs, including a mention of the Solaris 8 Migration Assistant for running Solaris 8 in a zone. Just one element of the great virtualization technologies built into these new servers.

    A customer, Jason Turner of Mediasite, spoke of the kind of needs his company has and how these systems help meet that need. And these systems are available through Sun's Try and Buy program, so go try one out. Q&A and Andy B. is moving at his usual speed. :-)

CEC 2007 Day 3

    Another day, another General Session. Today's started with a neat drumming act. Color of the day is green, representing an Eco Responsibily sub theme of today's Our World theme.

    Dave Douglas was the first presenter, talking about Eco Responsibility including some of what Sun has already done to reduce GHG, carbon footprint, power usage, etc. Some nice progress, like a new Bay Area data center that increased compute resources by 450%, while reducing power usage by 60%. More needs to be done, and it's happening.

    Next up, Jonathan Schwartz. He covered 3 questions on the $2B+ we invest annually in research and development - For whom?, In what?, And how? Some other topics : side comment on his ZFS in Leopard statement, NetApps lawsuit, Solaris download in Antarctica, lack of EA games on iPhone (Java), open sourcing Sun Ray.

    I like the interaction enablement through email, sms, and IM, particularly for a large group of 4000 folks interacting with a single presenter. Let's you write and ask question when you think of it. And it's easier than walking to a mike. While I haven't tried out Second Life, it is being used to make these sessions available to the thousands of engineers not here, and they show the Second Life conference room sometimes, where there is an avatar wearing a Batman costume.

    I'm looking forward to the product launch later today. More to come....

Monday Oct 08, 2007

CEC 2007 Opening General Session

    Day 2 at Sun's CEC 2007 is the first full day of content. Soul In The Machine is the act that started the session with Vegas style entertainment. I was interested in the stunt kite one of the performers was flying, which did seem to be real, as I saw the 'strings' collapse when the performer exited.

    Dan Berg starts the content describing our new CE 2.0, web 2.0 based social networking, content and collaboration service, for Sun's Customer Enpineering community. The CE community includes Field Engineers, Systems Engineers, Technical Specialists, etc at Sun, as well as Sun's partners.

    Hal Stern took over discussing scale, direction, etc. This is in line with today's theme 'Our Universe', including his interest in astronomy as a young man, and his view of Saturn through a telescope.

    James Baty is now delivering a talk on 'Red Shift', as Greg Popadopolous describes the fast changing massive scale opportunities taking place in the world today.

    More to come ......

Saturday Sep 29, 2007

Midnight excitement



    At just before midnight last night, I was awoken by the squealing tires, scraping and thud of an accident. I got up in an anxious state and made my way down the hall to the front of the house and saw headlights aimed into my yard. Quickly making my way back to my bed, I realized that calling 911, as my wife was suggesting, was what my brain was trying to figure out to do, and called. I couldn't really answer many of their questions, except that there had been an accident and my address. Even before I finished putting my pants on, which I immediately did, 911 called back to confirm I had called and to ask how many cars. Again I could not answer.

    I slipped on shoes, grabbed a flashlight and headed out to see if anyone needed help. I found several cars already pulled over, and one of my neighbors already there. The scene was a 2007 Chevy Silverado Z71 on its roof and half off the road. One rear wheel and axle were off, and the other rear wheel was torn off. Fortunately, the driver was alive and being kept company by his brother-in-law. He was back side partially out the passenger window, with minimal bleeding, and talking. Within minutes, police cars arrived from both directions, as this was on the town line. Before long there was an EMT ambulance and several fire trucks as well.

    I went back inside to let my wife know the status, then went back out, as the sound had me sufficiently shaken up that I didn't expect to get to sleep again any time soon. The driver was carefully removed and taken to the hospital, and I had a chat with the driver's brother-in-law. The driver had come from his brother-in-laws house, and had been alone. I had been concerned that a passenger might have been thrown clear and be needing help with no one knowing they were there. The firemen swept up much of the glass and debris, and when the tow truck arrived and moved the vehicle, they sprinkled some kind of powder over the area, and cleaned that up as well.

    For a while, it looked like the tow truck wasn't going to be able to take the vehicle. It was a flat bed tow truck, and after pulling the car out onto the street, tiping it right side up and turning it so it could be approached from the front, the tow truck driver angled the bed and attached the winch cables. When he started the winch, the tow truck slid to the accident vehicle, then started to pull the vehicle onto the bed. it got part way up and couldn't get it higher. He enlisted the help of a fireman to rev the engine, but that didn't seem to help much. The fireman told him to angle the bed less, move the bed forward, while using the winch to keep the vehicle from sliding, the angle the bed down and slide it further under the vehicle. It took some doing, but he eventually got it mostly on the bed, with it hanging some over the end. A heavy vehicle with flat front tires and no rear tires is much harder to pull than one with wheels.

    I went back inside when everything was done and the police were leaving, about 2 hours total time, but still had trouble sleeping. The sudden sound and it's nature really caught me off guard. I did chat with both my neighbors again, one at the scene while this was taking place and the other the next morning when I went out to see the scene in daylight, which I haven't done in several years. Not a very neighborly neighborhood. :-)

Saturday Sep 22, 2007

Back to BI

    I blogged last June about the Surf Hotel on Block Island changing hands, and suggested I might try to get back there in the fall. Well, here it is the fall, and here I am on Block Island again. This time the kids are with us, and our room is in the Surf Side annex to the Surf Hotel. It is a separate building just a few buildings down from the main hotel, and you still have easy access to all the amenities of the main hotel.

    We really lucked out this weekend, as New England weather can be unpredictable at the best of times, and down right chilly. Add to that being by the ocean, with breezes and generally lower temps than our inland abode. But not this weekend, which is just about the best weather you could ask for on a fall New England day. It's nice and warm, maybe a pinch muggy, and partly cloudy to sunny. Perfect for outdoor activities, which the kids seem bent on avoiding. Grrr, I could just stay out doors all day, on the beach, walking some trails, reading and writing in a nice quiet spot. OK, with the kids along, nice quiet spots are non-existent. :-)

    The boys were thrilled to see the large chess set in the lobby area of the Surf Hotel. Mischka has been playing chess with Sandy and Alexei lately, and knows the moves well, although he prefers to play in an equitable way, trading equivalent pieces, and he can get whinny or uniterested if he feels the capture balance is weighted to his opponent. Alexei can play with some planning, and will go along with Mischka sometimes, but he also wants the chance to win sometimes too, which can lead to 'loud discussions'. Mischka lead the way to the beach this morning, and played in the water, then wondered the beach with Alexei looking at the dead crabs, starfish, etc and collecting stones, wood, shells, sand dollars, etc. Seems he was thinking of selling some of the stuff.

    Right across the street from the Surf Hotel is the Island Free Library, a nice little library which always has books and videos for sale. I tried to resist, but finally succumbed to buying 'How to do everything with your PocketPC, Second Edition', and 'Bone, Out from Boneville'. We've read the complete Bone graphic novel collection and enjoyed it, so I was only minorly annoyed when I had to pay $1 instead of 50 cents, since it was rated as a trade paperback. Anyway, I may be cheap, but I'm a sucker for supporting good causes like libraries. Alexei worked on a school project that's due on Monday, as libraries usually have quiet work spaces where you can focus, as long as your little brother isn't around.

    What about eating, you might say. Good point. I still need more practice and less stress when packing for a trip, and this one was no exception. I spent way too much time on upgrading the OS on our 3 Palm M500 PDAs, oh and some work stuff even though I took the day as a vacation day, thinking I still had plenty of time before we had to leave. Wrong, oh well, we'll get food on island. Err, although snacks for the ferry trip would have been good, and kept the kids calmer while waiting at the restaurant for food when they were 'starving'. we left a bit later than I would have liked, but once on the road I was able to relax and accept whatever ferry we arrived in time to catch. Well, we missed the 5pm car ferry, so spent 50%+ more to take the 5:30pm high speed ferry. Arrived at the same time though.

    Oh yeah, food. So, I was tweeting from Finn's, a classic seafood restaurant, where Alexei had a bacon cheeseburger, doh. The prices are reasonable and the food was good. Some places here are closed for the season, including at least an ice cream store and a fast food shack. We managed breakfast at the Surf Hotel, despite my concerns over the kids balking at the limited selection. More to come...maybe :-)
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A place where Perley Mears sounds off on topics relevant to his work at Oracle.

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