Monday, November 17, 2008

Is Best Buy this year's mall hang out?

Last weekend my husband and I went to Best Buy to purchase the DVD, "Get Smart" and to look at subwoofers and although it hadn't been part of the plan, to browse the TVs. Why not? After all, we were childless for the evening and had nothing better to do on a Friday night.

What we found there were a bunch of teens and tweens playing in the video console aisles. Not just a few mind you, a bunch! In one aisle they were playing Guitar Hero, in another they were playing Rock Band. There were no less than three systems in use. It was even more interesting that I didn't see what looked to be their parents around. They had all drawn quite a crowd and it looked to be a bit of a jam off complete with people rotating in and out. It made me wonder... is Best Buy the new mall? Do parents drop their kids off to play Rock Band only to pick them up when the store is about to close? If I stuck it out until closing would I simply see teens and tweens lined up in front of the store, cell phones in hand, calling their parents because "the show was over?"

Friday, November 14, 2008

Keeping Westmont College in my Prayers

Westmont College is a small Christian liberal arts college who is also a member of the CCCU and close to my heart as a friend of mine is a member of the computer science department there. Yesterday their school was overtaken by the Tea Fire in California near Santa Barbara. They have lost some of their buildings, some staff housing and a residence hall. Some faculty have lost their homes. Today my heart goes out to the Westmont community as well as others who are having to evacuate their homes and I offer my prayers up to God.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Car Computing

A few years ago my family and I were traveling from Spokane to Seattle through the I90 corridor just past Ritzville when my youngest daughter, then about 8 or 9 asked me if she could use my laptop. I said sure as had a couple of movies on it and we had a few DVDs with us so I assumed that she was tired of my typical "just in time" Washington State history lessons and her father's "I put in that scale" jabber and just wanted to watch a movie. I handed the laptop bag to her, she took the laptop out of the case and plugged it into my inverter and turned it on. Within seconds of it booting up she whined, "Mom, your laptop is broken. It doesn't work!" Upon inquiring the issue, she explained to me that it couldn't get onto the Internet. It was then it dawned on me that she did not know life without the Internet and she expected it to be anywhere and everywhere. It was like air to her. After all, we have had Internet in our home since 1993 and my cell phone has had Internet access on it for several years. She was born in 1996 and my older girls barely remember our 15 hr a month connection limit and the annoying hand shaking sound of the modem that I can't seem to get out of my head.

In a few short years, life has changed. Today, not only can you connect your single laptop to the Internet while driving by tethering to your phone or using an aircard, but now you can create your own wireless network in your car. Autonetmobile has a router and service you can purchase where everyone in your car can be connected to the Internet at the same time. Jenny could be streaming music on Pandora, Michael could be watching Netflix though their streaming service, Johnny could be uploading his homework to Blackboard, Kelly could be playing Webkinz, and Mom could be uploading photos to Snapfish all for $29.99 a month and some fairly pricey hardware. No one would have to interact with anyone else in the car.

Gone are the days of family sing-a-longs, playing I-Spy with my little eyes and playing travel Bingo. We don't even have to watch DVDs together and discuss them anymore. Internet access is within our reach just about everywhere and now I guess my laptop would no longer be considered "broken."

Thursday, November 06, 2008

The Mourning of Windows 3.x

The year was 1993, the month August...

I went to my local computer store with my $3000 in hand ready to buy my first desktop computer. Previously, I had the opportunity to take my classroom computer home during breaks so I had no need for may own, but my husband was transferred and I had to move. My Apple IIGS had to stay behind at Christ the King in Richland. Since we hadn't owned our home in Richland very long, we didn't make very much on it so my husband told me I could take part of the earnings and buy a computer. We had the conversation that was much like our political conversations in our home- Mac vs. PC. In the end, the PC won.

It was an amazing day when I brought my custom built PC home. It was a 482DX with Windows 3.1 (code name Janus) on it. People came from all around to drool on it. Let me tell you, there was a lot of coveting going on all around me and a bit of gloating on my part. The amazing thing was that it ran Windows 3.1. It had a GUI interface that people could understand. No more C:\ DOS command line garbage. It introduced the mouse for the PC and made us ask the question right click or left and if you have more than one mouse, is it mouse or mice? It was the beginning of double click this and double click that. It was the OS that fed my first gaming addiction, Minesweeper. When I came to work with my current employer the Windows 3.11 machine was still on-campus. Windows 3.11 was my first interaction with in an Ethernet environment and had the first virus I had to clean.

So this week folks, we cover our Vista and XP computers in black as we mourn the loss of our old and may I say reliable friend, Windows 3.x. After 18 years, the licensing has been laid to rest. The world has moved forward as Microsoft quits shipping the longest supported GUI operating system in it's line, which I know purists may argue that it wasn't a "REAL" OS, but for many it was their first interaction with a computer and it allowed the non-geeky/techie part of the world a comparable and less expensive choice. Now lets take a moment of silence as we remember the days when we could just push the power button to power down and not get a startup message that tells us that we have improperly shut down or that we may have to start in Safe Mode or freeze at the startup screen. It truly is a sad week.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Well, I made it Orlando and other than eating breakfast at 4 am and having to go to bet at 7 am, all is well. I just hate traveling east. I'm such a whiner. At least it is warm today.

I am here for the Educause Conference which is a national technology conference for higher education. It is an amazing conference that I look forward to going to every year. I look forward to it for two reasons: amazing sessions and old friends.

The sessions really start tomorrow, but yesterday was about catching up with old friends. Yesterday, I met up with my CCCU friends for dinner at the Olive Garden for an impromptu social event. It was a great time to find out what was going on in their lives both professionally and personally. These people have truly become true friends and people I have grown to care about rather than just network with. Today we all met up professionally as part of a Commisson on Technology for the CCCU. We had a terrific planning session for our yearly conference, to find out how everyone is doing, to network, and to find out what we can do to help support other member schools like our own. We got a lot of work done and planning for our future conference which will be held at Indiana Wesleyan. It stands to be a great conference.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Why does one blog?

I've noticed recently that many people I know will actually tell you they have a blog and that they blog, but upon going to their actual blogs one could note that they have blogged, but currently are not doing so. I too am guilty of the blogger bug, but note... I have not blogged since June. In fact, I have two blogs and I haven't blogged on either on since June.

So this made me ponder... why does one blog?
(In the spirit of Dave)

10. To share information that you think others may be interested in. (you are so fooled)
9. To share information that others have already shared.
8. Because your boss tells you to and you get paid for it.
7. To practice your writing skills.
6. Because you travel and you keep losing your travel journal.
5. To let your family know that you are still alive.
4. To be heard because no one ever listens.
3. In a nerdy world it is uncool not to have a blog.
2. People don't have lives so they create their own virtual life.
1. They want to get a hard bound book published in the real world.

At any rate, maybe I should put it in my PDA as a reminder that I should blog on a more regular basis because I really don't think I have the right to say I am a blogger and not just tell people, "I have a blog."

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Coffee Maker Needs a Security update?!

Okay, so first of all who buys a coffee maker for $1798 U.S.? And, why do you need one that can be connected to the Internet? What? You say it can adjust the strength of their coffee via the Internet! How did I live without this thing! I can't believe that I have had to adjust mine by adding a little more coffee or taking out a bit all of this time?

Well, according to Cnet News a man in Australia owns just that, a coffee maker with Internet connectivity called the Jura F90 which allows him to not only adjust his coffee strength, but also allows him to get diagnostics on the thing via the Internet. This $1800 unit seems to have also come with an additional may allow people to gain remote access to his PC as well as his coffee maker. I hope his home security system isn't connected to his PC or else he may come home to find that someone has not only made coffee with his Jura F90, but they may have gone over and picked it up without leaving a tip.

Well, I will stick to my programmable Mr Coffee (44.95 US) until they get the bugs worked out. :) But for those of you who are early adopters, it looks like they still have 2 left in stock at so you better hurry and get yours.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Mozilla's Firefox 3 (RC3) was released today

I just downloaded Firefox 3 and installed it on my computer although Michael Horowitz for Cnet News recommended that I don't until all of the bugs are worked out. Well, as far as I know all software is buggy. I would never upgrade if I let others workout the bugs. Aren't there bugs in Windows XP and it is on the way out.

There are a lot of great features in FF3 RC3 listed on the website which I won't bore you with since you are smart enough to go to the website to read if you are reading my blog right now. The biggest plus is suppose to be security and speed. We will see. The thing I noticed when installing is that none of my add-ons are going to work with the newest version, but I am sure developers will be quick to make those updates. That is the the thing about Open Source fans, they are quick to move.

Am I giving up on IE7? No, I pride myself on being an open person and that includes the world of browsers. I'm the kind of girl who likes to keep her options open, when it comes to computing.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Made it Home and through Graduation

I made it home alive from British Columbia with nothing more than an hour or so wait at the border. I'm sure my friend who was riding with me could tell me the exact number of minutes. Once again it was great to meet up with people in my technology community. I already miss their company and our time together to collaborate and share ideas.

Upon returning home, it was a world wind rush into graduation. My middle daughter graduated from HS. She was one of the valedictorians of her class- one of 23 out of 429 students. I have heard from many that there were too many, but as a mother of one of them, I know how hard my daughter worked to get there. She took AP classes and she has come home almost every night since the 5th grade and studied.

Her study habits were much better than mine or her father's but what I found interesting is that they were not all that different. With major jumps in technological advances and so much technology in our lives, studying has not changed in 25 years. She took notes in a notebook and hightlighted them with her pink highlighter. She went to the coffee shop with her friends and collaborated on projects or studied for tests. She colored in her anatomy packet with colored pencils and made enough notecards to kill at least 3 trees. Finally, she too fell asleep on her books hoping that osmosis would really work and learned that a good night's sleep and a little extra work does pay off!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

2008 CCCU Day 2

So I woke up this morning in another country. It is an odd place where they spell words a little differently such a the word center is spelled centre. They also have black squirrels...Weird

I also found that if you wish to watch a television show from the states online that they are blocked. When I came in on Tuesday, I thought I would relax by watching the Big Bang Theory, one of my new favorite shows so I went to hulu and found that it was not available in Canada so then I went to CBS and I just kept getting a lovely voice stating, "This content cannot be found" everytime I tried to watch full episodes. I'll have to check into that later since it is 9 pm and I'm watching "The Tonight Show" right now via satellite. I'll have to check on this a little later when I have more time.

Be that as it may, I am not here to test out the ability to watch television over the internet in Canada although that would be a great gig. I'm up for it if anyone wants an international internet media tester as long as my expenses are paid. Actually, I am at the CCCU Conference on Technology at Trinity Western University. It is a conference for work, but it is actually a great time as I get to hang out with what my kids call my "little technology friends" from all over the U.S. and Canada. It has been a great trip and a great time to interact with technology professionals from institutions just like mine. It is always great to get together and learn from and network with people from schools just like ours. The sessions have been interesting, the fellowship has been wonderful, the food has been good, and the host has been fabulous.

Monday, January 07, 2008

2008 GOALS- NOT resolutions

Well, 2008 is HERE. At my house, it didn't scream in so much as it trickled into our dreams. We all went to bed early. Wow has my life changed! With technology, bringing in the new year has also changed, I could DVR the ball falling and watch it New Year's Day if I had wanted to see it our headed over to YouTube and watched those who did feel the need to record it and were kind enough to share it. My youngest daughter set her cell phone alarm to wake her back up at midnight so that see could welcome in 2008. LOL Life really has changed, but some things haven't. People still feel the need to plan out their New Year Resolutions. Go to the top 10 at About and check them out. You go to work and everyone asks you what your resolution is this year and then we all laugh about how long before you break it. Even the government has a list at You can even go to sites like eHow that tell you how to do it.

So as the new year approached, I begin to ponder a few things like why do we resolve to change things that we probably will not change? Resolve is such a negative word. The root of solve is even more negative like I now have to solve my issues. So this year, I turned it around and thought... Hmmm, what about the word Goal. If I set mini Goals, they will become good habits. They will take on a more positive light. So this year that is want I decided, I have set a few goals for the year. Things I want to do, not things I should do. Things that make me happy. I also decided that I can add to these Goals as I go along, once they do become habits. Everyone knows that Goals much be very precise and measurable and that one should write them down. A couple of great places to do this is at 43Things or Joe's Goals or MyGoals. I prefer Joe's Goals as I get reminders and it is less about social networking although I have a 43Things account. Tasks in Outlook also works great, I just don't want to mix my goals up with tasks as tasks are what I have to do, again making it sound a little negative.

So currently my list of Goals includes:
1. Writing in my blogs twice a month. I have two so it really means a once a week blog entry.
2. Publishing a photo of the week on my scrapbooking blog and then making it into a book called My Life in 52
3. Coming up with a photo of the month for a calendar to give to family next year.