Sunday Jul 20, 2008

Ukulele Underground!

About a year ago, I posted some ukulele links.  Well, that list of links has turned into just one link:


I'm a sustaining engineer and not particularly good at marketing, but this website has everything you ever need for learning to play the ukulele or just enjoying ukulele music.  There's tutorials on the front page, you can buy a CD of original ukulele music,  and the best part are the pointers in the forum to all the cool ukulele videos on youtube and to some really interesting discussions. See if you can find which user is me...

The folks who created the website are on tour in California this week.  They spent three days in San Francisco, CA playing at Mike DeSilva's in Berkeley on Friday night and then at the Hukilau in SF on Sunday night.  I also got to jam with them until the wee hours of the morning on Saturday night.  They will be playing in San Diego, California on July 21, 22, and 23. (See the website for the exact place and times.)

If you like the ukulele, you'll love even more!

If there are any ukulele players at Sun, please contact me and we can get together to jam sometime!

Wednesday Dec 05, 2007

Corrupted BIOS on laptop

As a computer geek, I often get calls from friends or relatives for help with their PC issues. I'm no PC expert, but knowing about Solaris and Sun hardware seems to transfer well to other computer systems and especially how to search the Internet goes a long way.

This evening, my nephew who goes to UCB  (you know who you are...), called with a "simple" computer problem.  His Compaq Presario laptop shutoff several times because it was out of power and now it doesn't boot.  It just hangs at the Windows logo.  So, the first thing we tried is to boot in Safe Mode.  Well, that also didn't work.  Infact, all the Safe Mode options hung.  Next, is try the Window XP CD.  That also hung.

A quick search of the internet yielded several suggestions and one site said to take the battery out and boot with only the AC adapter plugged in.  That worked!  I guess his laptop BIOS got corrupted somehow and removing the battery allows it to get reset.

Well, that was easy.

Sunday May 13, 2007

Ukulele Links

My manager Manuel recently got me interested in playing the Ukulele again.  Growing up in Hawaii, I learned to play the Ukulele in Elementary school.  Then, many years later, I bought my own Ukulele for $35 (el-cheapo model shown at left) and even played and sang to my kids when they were young enough not to know better... I sure miss my sister's Kamaka that I used in my childhood.

I found a couple of really nice links for beginners (and maybe experienced players as well):

Ukulele Boogaloo - includes the Beatles "I'll Follow the Sun".  Easy and sounds cool too.

Ukulele Strummers Songbook - includes "Somewhere over the Rainbow" by Braddah Iz.

Thursday Apr 12, 2007

A drop of water

My son took this picture of a drop of water on to a shallow bowl.  I cropped and changed the contrast a little.  We turned off the lights in the room, set a long exposure, and used the camera's flash.  We didn't use a sync strobe or any other tricks to time the drop. 

Just patiently waited for the drops to fall...


Sunday Jan 21, 2007

Disc Golf in Golden Gate Park, SF coming soon

I happened to be hiking thru Golden Gate Park in San Francisco Sunday afternoon and came across this odd looking object:


I thought it was some kind of bird feeder or maybe some science experiment.

It turns out to be a portable basket used for the sport called Disc Golf.  The San Francisco Disc Golf Club is creating a new 18-hole course in Golden Gate Park between 25th and 30th Ave along the north side (Fulton St.).  Here's a map of what the course will look like:



They hope to finish the course by April 1, so more on this in the coming months...  It sounds like a lot of fun!




Thursday Jan 18, 2007

Conan - iPhone Commercial (parody)

I was joking with Alan Coopersmith last week about Apple's iPhone.  Here's an excerpt of our chat on IRC:

Jan 10 15:06:27 <jeremy>        I think the iPhone is \*the\* killer app and could replace just about every handheld device in the home.
Jan 10 15:06:40 <jeremy>        Hey, maybe I've found something to blog about.
Jan 10 15:09:19 <jeremy>        iPhone = iPod, cell phone, digital camera, touch screen games (such as Brain Age), TV remote (maybe), GPS device (eventually), scientific calculator, garage door opener (why not?), alarm clock, keys to a Prius, hm...
Jan 10 15:10:31 <jeremy>        strap it to your arm and it will replace your wrist watch as well. :-)
Jan 10 15:12:46 <alanc> I've used a cell phone instead of a watch for the last few years already
Jan 10 15:15:07 <jeremy>        yes, but it's not on (or near) your wrist, eh?  ;-)   If I only had some time to play with photoshop... maybe even a shaver attachment. :-)

Well, looks like Conan beat me to it.  Here's a funny commercial from NBC (via YouTube):

Tuesday Jan 16, 2007

Wii Sports for exercise

 So, I've been thinking about getting a Wii for the kids (and me!).  I found an interesting article on using the Wii for exercise at:

It resulted in weight reduction, lower BMI, lower heart rate, and less body fat.  Basically, you just dance around for 30 minutes a day

Actually, after the first time my kids and I played Wii Sports for about an hour at a relatives house, our arms were aching the next day...

Is this the future of exercise?

Monday Nov 06, 2006

Has the Internet changed your life?

It always amazes me how much my life and the business world has changed over the past few years because of the Internet.  I shop online, research products, read the news, watch YouTube videos, play games, keep in touch with friends and family, and I even spend some time blogging.  I did some of this 5 years ago, but every year it seeems that I spend more and more time on the Internet.  At first glance that would seem like a bad thing...

But, interestingly enough, I find myself:

  • paying more attention to current events (because of reading the news more often on the Internet)
  • reading more books (because I found good reviews on the Internet)
  • listening to more music (that I downloaded off the Internet)
  • practicing more piano (because I'm more inspired by above music)
  • composing more piano music (because I've been practicing more)
  • watching more TV (because I can keep up with episodes I missed on the Internet)
  • being closer to old friends and family (because of email)

Am I the norm or the exception?  According to a not so recent report from 2005 on, an estimated 1 billion people will use the Internet in 2006.  That includes 200 million Americans.  So, maybe I am the norm?

But, what about the future?  My kids can't imagine the time before we had personal computers.  They can imagine life without the Internet, but they've had it for as long as they can remember.  I can barely remember owning a black and white TV and can't remember growing up without a TV.  What will the world be like 30 years from now when my kids are my age?  It's almost scary to think about it...

Thursday Sep 28, 2006

What are some of the ways to generate/remember passwords?

I just got an email to change my password at work this week.  I dutifully changed it and then coincidentally read an article on Lifehacker on using your password as a reminder.  Very interesting concept that I might use with some modifcations as suggested by the comments to make it more secure.   Who knows?  It might make a difference in my life, too, since I probably type some password or another a dozen times a day.

I used to use a tongue twister in another language translated to English as my password since it had both numbers and letters.  It was very easy to remember and also helped me to learn that language.  Unfortunately, I had to change it because it was too long for many systems. 

Will this work for you?  Any good ideas for how to generate and remember strong passwords? 

Friday Mar 10, 2006

Hail in San Francisco

This evening we heard a loud crash which turned out to be thunder. Then lightning, then more thunder and lightning, and finally a lot of hail! And this is in San Francisco, California.

Here are a few pictures:

Maybe it will snow tomorrow...

Sunday Mar 05, 2006

Get Things Done with 43Folders?

My favorite podcast lately has been "Inside the Net". I can't find the home page for Amber MacArthur and Leo Laporte's podcast, but you can subscribe in iTunes. (Here's an RSS link (

A recent episode highlighted a productivity website called 43Folders. I'm not one to procrastinate much, but also I'm not one of those people that gets everything done on their to do lists and has 0 messages in their inbox. (I have almost 3000). Anyway, there's some interesting tips on getting things done on 43Folders. One is called a "Hipster PDA" (I've been carrying around a small notebook in my back pocket and a small pen in my front pocket for years...), another is a book entitled "Getting Things Done", and the third thing that I keep meaning to look at is how to get control of my email...

If I ever get around to getting things done, I might post more on this... :-)

Thursday Jan 12, 2006

The classic blonde joke

Ok. Could be lack of sleep, but I just couldn't resist passing this blond joke along.

Yea, seems like about the right way to start the new year...

Friday Dec 30, 2005

Sorting Lego Bricks

I finally got some time this holidays to help my kids organize their lego bricks. They have hundreds, ok, maybe thousands of lego bricks all stored in three large bins. It's almost impossible to find anything easily since all the bins have different types and colors. They always end up just pouring out the bins and we have lego all over the place. (Yea, they don't mind, but I do....)

We tried sorting by color a few years back, but that didn't seem to make it easier to find anything. So, this time, we sorted by shape and type into 10 categories:

  • Standard sized bricks. I.e. all the 1x1, 1x2, 2x3, 2x4 etc. up thru a fairly large maybe 10x15.
  • Flat bricks larger than 2x2.
  • People parts and accessories.
  • Slanted pieces (ramps, upside down ramps, etc.)
  • Bricks that are not standard sizes and have curves or standard sized bricks that have decals on them.
  • Small miscellaneous bricks that are less than 2x2.
  • Large miscellaneous bricks 2x2 or larger.
  • Wheels, pieces that go into wheels, and other related spinning things.
  • Non-lego (Mega blocks and other stuff that was in the lego bins).
  • Animals, flowers, trees, other plants, and flags.

So far, it has made it easier to determine that we don't have certain pieces to build duplicates of some models. We've saved all the old instructions from past models, so we're going to try to see if we can build them again...

I wonder how long this system will last...

Tuesday Dec 27, 2005

Protopage for keeping track of links, feeds, notes, etc

I've been using Yahoo to keep track of my links, feeds, and notes for at least a year or two and it works for me. But, the layout has always been tricky I end up with the lefthand column wide and really long and the righthand column to be narrow and shorter. So, I'm always scrolling down to get to what I want to read since I keep adding more RSS feeds.

Today, while working on a kitchen project and listening to Inside the Net podcast, I heard about Protopage. It looks like it can keep track of bookmarks, RSS feeds, and notes, and has a very flexible layout. You can also export pages as public and keep other pages private. For example, I have several feeds, notes, and bookmarks at my protopage, but if someone else clicks there, they see only one note.

I did find that the notes editor kept messing up and wouldn't let me save if I tried adding a link. Oh well, maybe it doesn't work too well in Mozilla 1.7.12.

Saturday Nov 19, 2005

In memory of Carey Davis

This blog entry is in written in memory of Carey Davis who passed away on Nov. 6, 2005. Carey was the director of The Presidio Hill School in San Francisco from 1999 to 2005. She was 54 years old. I didn't know Carey very well and have no idea how to write obituaries, eulogies, or what have you. But, I did attend the service this weekend at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco. It was a beautiful ceremony on one of the most beautiful days in the City. I often find out more about a persons life after they're gone. Carey was well known in the independent school community and we saw several directors from other indepedendent schools.

A very fond memory I have of Carey was at a Chinese New Years celebration. My child's class had met at a parents house to make pot stickers and learn about Chinese New Years. Carey came to the house, talked with the kids, and took some pictures. That afternoon, those pictures were in the Friday newsletter in her column. I was very impressed with her efficiency, but yet she never seemed rushed, stressed, and always took the time to talk to the kids and parents.

As a director of a school, she gave many speeches and wrote many columns in the school newsletter. Her speeches appeared unscripted and spontaneous, but yet you knew that she knew what she was talking about. The same goes for her columns which were very personal, inspiring, but conveyed something important about education. She had a style that was comfortable, down to earth, but yet powerful enough to lead the school to complete it's largest expansion.

I'm not really sure why I'm writing this. I guess it's in hopes that some memory of her will stay around in the internet in some search engines database floating around in cyberspace...

Here is an article on with more details about Carey. We will all miss her.




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