Tuesday, December 27, 2011

LIBERTY AIR HOME - San Antonio Air Conditioning Contractor - Top rated AC company in San Antonio!

LIBERTY AIR HOME - San Antonio Air Conditioning Contractor - Top rated AC company in San Antonio!:

'via Blog this'

They came out and fixed the furnace right after Christmas.

Great job, done fast, at a great price.
Which means I could afford to have heat again.

Another Test.

Test part2

Yes, that is what the last days are for.

Test Post for Google-y Thing


This is a test of some Google thing that I might try.

This is only a test.

In case of an actual thing, then it would probably be something different.



google-site-verification: google15eb16dd15a98343.html

NFL Recap - Arizona Cardinals at Cincinnati Bengals - Dec 24, 2011 - CBSSports.com Game Recap

NFL Recap - Arizona Cardinals at Cincinnati Bengals - Dec 24, 2011 - CBSSports.com Game Recap:

'via Blog this'

Go Bengals!! You can do it!!

Bengals survive Cards, stay in hunt

CINCINNATI -- The stadium was only two-thirds full again. The Cardinals were on another one of their incredible comebacks, threatening to derail the Cincinnati Bengals surprising playoff surge.

A pair of tangled up feet made the difference.

The Bengals moved one win away from the playoffs Saturday, holding on for a 23-16 victory over Arizona that secured only their third winning record in the past 21 years.

Cincinnati (9-6) can clinch the final AFC wild card berth by beating Baltimore at Paul Brown Stadium next Sunday. The Bengals moved a game ahead of the Jets, who fell to 8-7 with a 29-14 loss to the Giants on Saturday.

"It's been a big year for me and for this team," rookie quarterback Andy Dalton said. "It's something we believed we had a chance to do. We weren't getting much credit from outside. We'll find out next week."

More on Cardinals-Bengals
Related links
Postgame reports
NFL coverage on the go

Dalton threw two more touchdown passes, becoming only the fourth rookie to have 20 in a season, and Cincinnati got a break when the NFL's top comeback team tripped itself up in the closing minutes.

Wide-open receiver Early Doucettripped at the goal line and went down, letting a fourth-down pass fall incomplete with 1:12 left. The Cardinals (7-8) got the ball one more time, but the clock ran out after a completion.

A few minutes later, the Jets' loss put the Bengals in position to reach the playoffs. New York would have won the tiebreaker if both teams won out.

"We started this quite a while ago -- seems like just yesterday," coach Marvin Lewis said. "But now we're right where we want to be at the end."

Their rookie quarterback put them in position.

Dalton threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Jermaine Gresham and a 19-yarder to Jerome Simpson, who did a somersault over a defender and landed on both feet in the end zone.

Dalton joined Peyton Manning (26), Charlie Conerly (22) and Dan Marino (20) as the only NFL rookies to throw 20 touchdown passes.

CBSSports.com Grades
Arizona Cardinals
Arizona Cardinals
With slim playoff chances on the line, the Cards offense was brutal for three quarters. QB John Skelton threw three INTs, was sacked five times and completed fewer than half of his passes. RB Beanie Wells (53 yards) was held in check. The Cards tried to rally with 16 fourth-quarter points, but it was too little, too late. The defense was on the field far too long, gave up 165 rushing yards and enough big plays to help the Bengals open an insurmountable lead.
Cincinnati Bengals
Cincinnati Bengals
Cincinnati's first three quarters were so good, they overshadowed a near-epic meltdown in the final quarter vs. the Cardinals. In a must-win scenario, however, the final result was all that mattered. The Bengals must find a way to play with the lead, but at least for one more week, those plays will matter in the playoff chase.
By Paul Dehner
RapidReports Correspondent

Down 23-0 heading into the fourth quarter, the NFL's best comeback team nearly pulled off its most improbable one yet. Arizona took advantage of Cedric Benson's two fumbles, getting a pair of touchdown passes by John Skelton and Jay Feely's field goal with 3:16 left.

The Cardinals then had their chance to pull even. The Bengals ran an all-out blitz on fourth down from the Cincinnati 17-yard line, and Doucet wound up uncovered at the goal line. Skelton lofted the ball into the end zone, but Doucet tripped and fell.

"It was a blitz and nobody was there," Doucet said. "It was one of those deals where I hadn't hooked it up and my feet got tangled. It's a play I should've made. It was my fault. That's a play I normally make."

The Cardinals had their four-game winning streak snapped and were eliminated from playoff contention.

Cincinnati's defense dominated the first three quarters. Arizona didn't cross midfield until Skelton completed a pass with 13:25 to go, but piled up 208 yards in the final quarter.

Skelton started for the second consecutive week in place of Kevin Kolb, who hasn't fully recovered from a concussion. Skelton was 23 of 44 for 297 yards with three interceptions and five sacks that helped the Bengals get the 23-0 lead.

It could have been worse. Mike Nugent, the NFL's most accurate kicker, missed field goals of 35 and 48 yards in the first half.

Arizona has rallied from fourth-quarter deficits six times this season, one shy of the NFL record. The Cardinals have won three games in overtime, tying the league record.

They couldn't do it one more time.

"Yeah, we're a second-half team," Skelton said. "That's how it has been all year. But in the end, it was too little, too late."

Dalton was 18 of 31 for 154 yards and two touchdowns on a sunny, 39-degree afternoon in front of only 41,273 fans. The Bengals have sold out only one of their seven home games, when the Steelers brought thousands of fans.

Dalton's second touchdown pass had a highlight finish.

Simpson got open for a catch-and-run to the goal line. With Daryl Washington between him and the end zone, Simpson jumped and twirled past the linebacker, landing on both feet in the end zone and raising both arms like a triumphant gymnast.

"One of the key parts for me was I stuck the landing," Simpson said. "I stuck the landing like a gymnast. That was probably one of the most surprising of all the plays in my career. It was pretty awesome, I thought."

For most of the game, the Cardinals couldn't do anything right. Rookie cornerback Patrick Peterson picked off a Dalton pass in the third quarter, but the interception was nullified by Arizona's second roughing-the-passer penalty of the game.

Worse, Peterson hurt his left hamstring on the play, pulling up on the return. The first-round pick left the game and didn't return. He wore a protective boot after the game.

"He's got a strain, it's not a tear," coach Ken Whisenhunt said. "We're fortunate that it doesn't appear to anything long term."


  • Beanie Wells became the first Cardinal to run for 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns in a season.
  • After the game, the Bengals made a buy-one, get-one-free offer to season ticket holders, trying to fill the stadium for the final game.
  • A.J. Green, playing with a strained right shoulder, had two catches for 25 yards. He passed Cris Collinsworth's club record for a rookie with 1,013 yards on the season.
Copyright 2011 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Saw this at the bottom of one of
the Groupon Daily deals.
Kind of funny.

Groupon Guide to: Vital Signs

Each time you visit a doctor, the physician will run a series of 47 basic tests to quickly determine how alive you are. Here are some tips for passing four of the examinations you'll be subjected to at your next checkup:
Breathing Test: Doctor makes you blow into a brown paper bag for two minutes.How to Pass: When the doctor hands you a lunch-size bag, tear it up and tell a story about how you could probably inflate a 30-gallon plastic trash bag with your mouth if someone made you.
Temperature Test: Doctor makes you sit in a bathtub full of ice and tracks how long it takes you to melt the cubes. How to Pass: Speed up the process. Either lower the melting point of water by filling your pockets with something salty, such as ballpark pretzels, or increase your body temperature by asking the doctor to hug you.
Hair Growth Test: Doctor has you stand against wall, where he or she has marked off the length of your hair at your last visit. How to Pass: Impress the doctor by growing your hair right in front of him or her. Just train a long-haired animal to sit perfectly still on your head and slowly inch backward when the measurement is taken.
Pulse Test: Doctor counts your heartbeats by simultaneously pressing his or her ear against your chest, and his or her fingers against your neck and wrist, where your two smaller hearts rest. How to Pass: Slow down your heart rate until it is completely undetectable. The doctor will be left with no choice but to pass you because admitting failure is one of a doctor's greatest fears, in addition to horses that eat people.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Stressed-out mothers juggling home, work and love lives are more likely to have girls | Mail Online

Stressed-out mothers juggling home, work and love lives are more likely to have girls Mail Online

From the Mail Online:

Why stressed-out women are more likely to have girls

by: By Fiona Macrae
October 17, 2011

Women who are stressed while trying for a baby are more likely to have girls, research suggests.
A study found that those who were under pressure at home, work or in their love life in the weeks or months before becoming pregnant had higher than usual odds of giving birth to a daughter rather than a son.
The finding, by Oxford University and U.S. researchers, means the economic downturn could see more women give birth to daughters. The study follows others that have shown the number of baby boys goes down following major upheavals.
For instance, in the months after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the number of boys born in New York plunged, while the economic chaos that followed the collapse of the Berlin Wall saw far fewer boys born than expected in the former East Germany in 1991.
But the latest study is the first to link the phenomenon to the stresses and strains of everyday life and to rising levels of stress hormones.
Some 338 women from around the UK who were trying to get pregnant kept diaries about their lives and sex lives and filled in questionnaires about how stressed they felt. Levels of stress hormones including cortisol were measured in the months before pregnancy.
Of the babies born, 58 were boys and 72 were girls. Normally, in Britain 105 boys are born for every 100 girls.
When all the women were put together – stressed and calm – the result could have been due to chance.
But among the 50 per cent of the women who had the highest amounts of cortisol before pregnancy, the sex ratio was clearly skewed towards girls, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine’s annual conference heard.
The most stressed women were up to 75 per cent less likely to have boys than the least stressed, the conference in Orlando, Florida, was told. Cortisol levels rise when people suffer long-term stress such as pressure at work and bad relationships.
Money worries may also play a part, said Oxford University researcher Dr Cecilia Pyper.
It isn’t known why high levels of cortisol appear to cut the odds of having a boy.
The gender of a baby is determined by the chromosomes in the father’s sperm and so is set at conception.
But it is possible that high levels of cortisol somehow make it more difficult for male embryos to implant in the womb.
In addition, male babies may be more fragile and so more likely to be miscarried when cortisol levels are high, leading to more girls being born.
Dr Pyper and her co-researchers, from the U.S. government’s health research arm, only studied a small number of women and more work is needed to confirm the finding.
But, if the link is firmed up, would-be mothers may be told about the benefits of relaxation, in the same way as they are now advised to take care of their health in other ways.
Previous work by Dr Pyper has blamed stress for lengthening the time it takes to conceive.
Dr Allan Pacey, a Sheffield University fertility expert, described the results as ‘intriguing’ but said that stress need not necessarily be behind the lack of boys born.
For instance, nutrition or simple biology may play a part. Past research has shown that dominant women are more likely to have sons – perhaps because their higher levels of testosterone ‘prime’ their eggs to make fertilisation with male sperm more likely.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Literal Videos: Better Than the Original?

My friend showed me the literal video version of Bonnie Tyler's "Total Eclipse of the Heart" a few years ago. I thought it was funny and very well done, especially because the singer sounded just like Bonnie, except the words were what the video was about.

 Apparently it has been blocked by some group (Sony?) for some unknown reason.

However, here is an article about some of them.
And you can also google them now and watch them, but the quality has been reduced due to the whole copyright issue.


Friday, July 29, 2011

Alien Loves Predator

Found a new (new to me at least) webcomic, Alien Loves Predator.

Only four panels in but it's milk-out-the-nose funny.

Alien Loves Predator: First Post

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Netflix Gets Greedy

Netflix currently offers a plan where you can get streaming Netflix movies for $8.99 a month. Then, for $1.00 more, you can get 1 DVD at a time through the mail. So, $9.99 for all you can watch online and about 1 DVD a week.

Then, I get this email today.

We are separating unlimited DVDs by mail and unlimited streaming into two separate plans to better reflect the costs of each. Now our members have a choice: a streaming only plan, a DVD only plan, or both.

Your current $9.99 a month membership for unlimited streaming and unlimited DVDs will be split into 2 distinct plans:

Plan 1: Unlimited Streaming (no DVDs) for $7.99 a month
Plan 2: Unlimited DVDs, 1 out at-a-time (no streaming) for $7.99 a month

Your price for getting both of these plans will be $15.98 a month ($7.99 + $7.99). You don't need to do anything to continue your memberships for both unlimited streaming and unlimited DVDs.

These prices will start for charges on or after September 1, 2011.

You can easily change or cancel your unlimited streaming plan, unlimited DVD plan, or both, by going to the Plan Change page in Your Account.

We realize you have many choices for home entertainment, and we thank you for your business. As always, if you have questions, please feel free to call us at 1-888-357-1516.

–The Netflix Team

I'm not sure of the marketing genius that came up with this, but I can think of no other reason than greed. Unless you are into really obscure DVDs that only Netflix carries, it very not worth it to continue the plan. It's cheaper to use Redbox, Blockbuster, or just borrow it from a friend or watch it at your brother's house.

Blockbuster did something similar. It had a mail-to-you service where you could return the mailed DVD at a store and check out a movie free while you waited for the next one. It was $14.99 for three at a time. Then it became two at a time. Then, the movie you rented from the store counted against the ones to be mailed to you, so no new movie would be sent until the store rented one was returned. At that point, it was no longer worth the money.

Netflix looks to be trying to outdo Blockbuster by making two separate packages. I want to say that consumers won't stand for this, but they will. They just won't bother to notice their bill changed until months later. At that point, they'll shrug their shoulders, mutter "You bastards", and keep right on paying it.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Children speak 'universal language' with art - San Antonio Express-News

Children speak 'universal language' with art - San Antonio Express-News

A child's vision of living in a world united by diverse languages and cultures was showcased Monday in an art show sponsored by Catholic Charities Refugee Services.

More than 70 people attended the show, which featured art and essays by refugee and American students in honor of World Refugee Day.

Master of ceremonies Jennifer Yanez-Alaniz said the children were asked to create art showing how they could learn from each other.

Steve SaldaƱa, president of Catholic Charities, said the children spoke a “universal language” through “art that we can understand.”

Local artists Adan Hernandez, Lauren Browning, Seth Camm, Jacinto Guevara and Safa Al Rubaye judged the artwork and selected 18 paintings from 300 submissions to show at the event.

Paula Walker, Catholic Charities' director of refugee programs, said the day, sponsored by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, encouraged the public to do one thing through the year. “It would change their lives and welcome them to our community,” Walker said.

Walker said Catholic Charities will auction the artwork at its gala in October, which benefits the refugee community.

“It's amazing how the schools adjusted to it,” Walker said. “There wasn't any red tape; just a beautiful thing, not just refugee children, but American children coming together.”

Slideshow images flashed on the front wall of creations from students in the Northside Independent School District. Drawings of foreign flags followed people wearing festive garb.

Bianca Bohne, 11, read her essay, which included a line that called the day an opportunity to “be in the shoes of a refugee.”

“I think it was pretty cool to write about World Refugee Day,” Bianca said. “I liked how everything came together and we shared everything.”

Jeddy Thang Val, 6, from Myanmar held one of the dozen certificates handed out to the young artists by refugee Lateef Mutleg, who fled his country to pursue his artwork.

Browning, one of the judges who picked the piece by second-grader Ernest Dusengimana, from Burundi, as Best in Show, said she was moved working with refugee children.

“Art has a power to heal,” Browning said, “and teach compassion and camaraderie. It's an amazing thing.”

Read more: http://www.mysanantonio.com/community/article/Refugee-American-children-create-art-for-World-1432603.php#ixzz1PvVKwYpG

Monday, June 13, 2011

Best book series: Grades 4-6 - Peter and the Starcatchers | GreatSchools

Best book series: Grades 4-6 - Peter and the Starcatchers | GreatSchools

Had this in my drafts for some reason, so it's probably incomplete. But still good, and since I don't remember why I didn't post it, here it is.

Peter and the Starcatchers By Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson
Tells how Peter Pan became Peter Pan.

Cirque Du Freak By Darren Shan
Like the movie

Artemis Fowl By Eoin Colfer
12 year old Evil Genius

Goosebumps by R.L. Stine
Well-written scary stories for kids.
They made a few into shows. The scariest one to me was the one where on Halloween, everyone wearing a mask became whatever mask they were wearing. Creepy good fun! :-)

Maximum Ride By James Patterson
I remember reading the ARC edition of this that Victoria brought home. It was pretty good. Bought her the next in the series.
Also recently read the “adult” version that starts the series by Patterson. Ill Wind Blows or something.
Like three in the series. More mature kids could read the two starting novels, When the Ill Wind Blows and The Lake House.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid By Jeff Kinney
Grat book, good movie. Might as well read all 5.

A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket
The movie covered the first three books (you know, sort of). The books, of course, are even better.

Little House By Laura Ingalls Wilder
At some point, all kids should read these. They’re not hard reads, and are good historical fiction.

His Dark Materials Trilogy By Philip Pullman
The Golden Compass and the rest of the books. The movie was great, so the book is probably better.

The Chronicles of Narnia By C.S. Lewis
I re-read these every few years, because the stories are just that good.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Fund Comparision Website

You have to be a USAA member and you can get to the Morningstar Fund site through the USAA site, but it's really good for finding a mutual fund that meets your needs.


Monday, May 23, 2011

Unicorns and Unicrons

What is the difference between unicorns and unicrons?

While waiting in line at Half Price Books, there was book titled Unicorns on one of the main display islands. Since I often see it misspelled (and often mistype it myself), I asked Olivia if she knows about unicrons, and pointed out the book to her. She corrected me that it was indeed unicorns, and not unicrons.

So, I asked the difference between a unicorn and a unicron.
(Because come on, let's face it, a unicron sounds pretty cool too. Like some sort of supercomputer unicorn or something. "All Hail the Mighty Unicron!")

So, it was explained to me that a unicorn is a horse with a horn on it's head, and a unicron is a pony with a horn on it's head. A pony is like a horse, but smaller.

I can't very well argue that she's wrong, so that's what a unicron now is.

Programming Robots

What is teach box? Definition from WhatIs.com

What is teach box? Definition from WhatIs.com

teach box
A teach box is a device that registers and memorizes mechanical motions or processes for later recall and execution by an electronic or computer system. The term especially applies to programmable robots.

Robot programming can be divided into levels, starting with the least complex and progressing to the equivalent of human intelligence. The table shows a four-level scheme.

Programming Level Description
4 Human intelligence
3 Complete tasks
2 Sequences of motions or operations
1 Single motions or operations

An example of a level-1 teach box is a remote-control for the doors of a car. When the wireless receiver gets the signal from the remote unit, it locks or unlocks the doors. Another example of a level-1 teach box is the remote box that controls a hi-fi sound system or videocassette recorder (VCR).

An example of a level-2 teach box is the microcomputer that controls a telephone answering machine. When a call comes in, the sequence of operations is recalled from memory. The machine answers the phone, makes an announcement, takes the message, and resets for the next incoming call.

Level-3 teach boxes are used in aerospace, miliatary, and industrial applications. Level 3, just below human-equivalent artificial intelligence ( AI ), is called task-level programming. Programs at level 3 can instruct a robot to execute complete operations, such as shoveling the snow from a driveway or flying an aircraft on a reconnaissance mission.

The intended movements of a robot are entered into memory by pressing buttons or guiding a joystick or other three-dimensional control device. The robot's path, variations in speed, rotations, and gripping/grasping movements are all programmed. Then, when the memory is recalled, the robot reproduces these movements in the exact sequence, and to the exact extent and speed in all dimensions.

Also see artificial intelligence and robotics .

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

May Day

When I was in third grade, my grandmother helped me to make May Day baskets. They were tiny baskets filled with candy, toys, etc. But tiny ones.
Together we made enough for all of the kids in the class, so I could take them to school and pass them out.
I had never heard of this before, but I like the idea, and I think that I might try it for my kids next year.


Saturday, April 2, 2011

Max Barry | he writes things

Max Barry | he writes things


I wrote some code to embed my tweets on my website. There’s a statement that would have made no sense in 1990. Actually, it barely makes sense now. But I did it. I’m proud of my site. I built it myself. Occasionally I get an email saying, “What software do you use to run your site and how do I get it?” I think the answer is: receive a Commodore 64 for your tenth birthday and no good games.

But that’s not why I’m writing. I’m writing because I decided to grow my own vegetables. A few people I knew were growing their own vegetables, and they kept yakking about how wonderful it was, not depending on manufactured supermarket vegetables, which are evil for some reason, so I thought what the hell.

For a while I was intimidated by the idea of growing vegetables. When I reach for a vegetable, I usually just want to eat it. I don’t want to be intimately involved with its creation. I worried I would end up spending more time tending to the health of fragile, overly complicated peas than eating them.

Then I saw an ad for genetically modified seeds. These promised to take the hassle out of growing vegetables, which seemed pretty intriguing. The tomatoes would be big and red and I wouldn’t have to do anything. So I got those.

This upset my hippy friends. Especially when I started having problems. My frankenfruit was supposed to be simple but after a few weeks the whole garden stopped growing. My cabbages were flaccid. My carrots were anemic. My spinach wouldn’t self-seed. It wasn’t supposed to self-seed. The genetics company had engineered it not to, so I’d have to buy new seeds each season. But I thought there should be a way around that.

I asked my hippy friends for help. Well! You’d think I asked for a kidney. They kept bringing up the fact that I was using GM seeds. Eventually they all got together and said, “Max… we can’t help you any more. We want to. But you brought these problems on yourself. And the thing is, when you ask for help, you’re actually asking us to use our skills and knowledge to prop up a corporatized product that’s not just practically inferior to the free alternative you ignored, but actually bad for the world. We just can’t do that.”

And that was how I taught them to stop asking me for help with Windows.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Are aging Baby Boomers taking your IT wisdom with them in retirement? - CIO Symmetry

Are aging Baby Boomers taking your IT wisdom with them in retirement? - CIO Symmetry

You have to laugh at the conference room thing.

Last week, The Wall Street Journal reported that retiring Baby Boomers will leave a record number of jobs open when they retire — by the time 2018 rolls around, we’ll be looking at a hard-core worker shortage. According to the attendees at FusionCIO conference last month, it’s happening already in IT.

One CIO who asked not to be named said that out of his 72 employees, more than a third (24 workers) could retire at any moment. And he was stressed about the fact that they could all walk at the same time, basically putting him in a solid state of hiring mode for months. The problem isn’t limited to just his team: He laughed and said the company literally had to issue a memo forbidding the use of conference rooms for retirement parties because his office had so many people retiring that it couldn’t find space for actual meetings.

The Baby Boomers gave birth to the Information Age. We are so focused on looking toward the future at new technology that sometimes we miss the importance of history. There’s the old cherry of never really knowing what you’ve until it’s gone: If you looked around your office right now, how many of your graying IT workers do what they do so competently that you never get to see how crucial their functions are, or how their absence might lead to a catastrophic failure of the process?

At my last employer, one IT guru had retired in May 2009, but he was still working in a consulting role as of February (making five times what he did as a regular employee). During his career, everyone knew that he was amazing, but no one had ever thought about how much pivoted around the information that was trapped inside one guy’s brain. They didn’t see that many processes literally could not function without his constant vigilance. In theory, he was brought back to mentor, but the mentees were so green that half of the information he was imparting flew totally over their heads. Every time he finished up his mentoring and left, a few months later some crisis would arise or the replacement quit and he’d be called back. And each return took more incentive for him to leave retirement life and return to the cubicle gulag.

Mentoring is critical as our aging Baby Boomers prepare to make the transition to retirement. With something as blatant and predictable as seniority, there’s no excuse for being taken by surprise by a retiring Baby Boomer.

What mentoring and knowledge transfer programs are in place in your organization? What are you doing to ensure that your brilliant fiftysomething IT professional that you rely on daily isn’t going to leave you and take with her all the magic that makes your legacy systems or installed base programs function?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

GM's Chevy Volt Vs. Nissan Leaf Review

I'm really interested in getting an electric car. I like the all-electricness of the Leaf, but what happens if you run out of juice? Perhaps an increase on the solar panels may help.
The Volt looks better, but the battery only gets you 40 miles? Can they use the Volt battery instead of the one they have in there now?
Well, we'll see how this plays out eventually.

GM's Chevy Volt Vs. Nissan Leaf Review

GM’s Chevy Volt Vs. Nissan Leaf: The Mass-Market Electric Vehicle Wars Begin
Submitted by G.E. Miller on Monday, August 2, 201015 Comments.
5EmailThe Mass-Market Electric Vehicle Wars Commence
The GM Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf will both enter showrooms at the tail end of this year. And with GM announcing the Chevy Volt price this week, you can finally find out how much each would set you back to live the “the green dream”. I’ll give a brief run-down of the price, specs, and features of each vehicle and try to decipher which might be the better buy. It turns out that they might not be as far out of your league as you may have initially thought…

Chevy Volt

■Chevy Volt Price: GM announced yesterday that the Chevy Volt purchase price would be $41,000.
■Electric Vehicle Tax Credit for the Chevy Volt: The Volt qualifies for a full electric vehicle federal tax credit of $7,500 (bringing cost down to $33,500). It might be eligible for state credits as well, depending on the state (note: Oregon is offering $1,500 off, Georgia is offering $5,000).
■Volt Lease Price: $350/month, 36 months, $2,500 down.
■Luxury Standard Features: Just about everything, including 8 airbags, 5 years of OnStar, Bluetooth capability, 30 GB hard-drive for music storage, 6 speaker Bose sound system with subwoofer, remote start, navigation with voice recognition.
■Warranty: 8 years, 100,000 miles on all electric components.
■Mileage Range: 40 miles electric (gas and emission free) + 300 miles on internal gas engine to power electric drive.

Nissan Leaf

■Nissan Leaf Price: $32,780.
■Electric Vehicle Tax Credit for the Nissan Leaf: The Leaf qualifies for a full electric vehicle tax credit of $7,500 (bringing cost down to $25,280). It might be eligible for state credits as well, depending on the state (note: California offers a $5,000 credit for the leaf, and not the Volt).
■Leaf Lease Price: $350/month, 36 months, $2,000 down.
■Luxury Standard Features: Bluetooth, navigation system.
■Warranty: 8 years, 100,000 miles on all electric components.
■Mileage Range: 100 miles electric (gas and emission free). No internal gas engine for extended range.
Chevy Volt Versus Nissan Leaf Review
I have been clamoring for electric vehicles for a long time now. The Tesla Roadster (out of most mortal humans price range at $108,000) and the unreleased Tesla Model S (a more modest $49,000 before incentives) both get 300 miles on a charge. So the technology is there to provide a 100% electric vehicle that can take you just about anywhere in a day. But neither the Volt or Leaf were able to come anywhere near that range.

So, I’m conflicted. I like the fact that the Leaf is 100% electric (no emissions). However, the range pretty much makes it a commuter car only, unless you have friends every 90 miles or so that you would allow you to charge up your car on an extended trip.

For that reason, I like the Volt’s extended range capabilities. However, the 40 miles on one charge is not jaw-dropping impressive, especially when you consider than the older lead-acid batteries on the EV1 had a range of 70-100 miles, back in 1996. For anyone with a decent commute, you wouldn’t be able to go 100% electric on the round trip unless you had somewhere at work to plug in. If GM could have just pushed it up to 60 or 80 miles on a charge, it would have provided a lot more convenience.

Both vehicles are cheaper than I was expecting them to be, when the tax credit is factored in (and much cheaper than the EV1 that GM leased in 1996, which was $400-$550/month). If you can nab an extra $5k state tax credit, you’re looking at a $20,000 cost on a new electric Leaf. Not bad for an all electric right out of the gate! The purchasing tax incentives and lower sticker price lead to the Leaf being the better deal of the two for buyers.

With GM subsidizing the Volt’s lease price to make it equal to the Leaf (excluding a + $500 on the down payment), it makes it the better leasing option because of the super standard options and extended range. Plus, it’s easier on the eyes.

If either GM or Nissan read this and would like to let me indefinitely “borrow” either vehicle, I might be able to review in more detail. Make a believer out of me. (Note to GM: I’m in the Detroit area).

Not that either is more cost efficient than buying a used Honda Civic, so don’t blast me on that. But which of the two would you buy?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

'Wimpy Kid' Author Keeps Day Job on Kids' Website - ABC News

'Wimpy Kid' Author Keeps Day Job on Kids' Website - ABC News

I like the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books, and I've seen the movie, and I like Poptropica too. I didn't know Kinney worked on the website, so that makes him and both of these things even cooler.

Also, just found out that the next movie Roderick Rules will be out March 25, 2011!!

Kick ass!!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Mafia Party Game Online

There is a party game called Mafia (or Werewolves or sometimes other things) that is also played online in forums. I just recently started playing it, and enjoy it a lot. It combines logic and analysis, and is usually a lot of un.

A cool site for learning the basics of the Mafia game, it includes roles and how to play. The links take you to Mafiascum.net, but I like playing at Paranoia Paradise.

I mostly play here:


20 TV Pilots We Hope Get Made Into Series - TV.com

20 TV Pilots We Hope Get Made Into Series - TV.com

Some of these seem OK, some seem like a total waste of time and effort.

Hey, why not just bring back Heroes?!!

Monday, February 21, 2011

YouTube - Borderlands Soundtrack (Intro Song)

YouTube - Borderlands Soundtrack (Intro Song)

Cool song. Even cooler game.

NISD Fundraising Night

A Fundraising Night
for N.I.S.D. Gifted &Talented/Enrichment
Advisory Council
Thursday, March 10, 2011
4:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
A Family Night Out
Dine at Fuddruckers (Colonnade or Ingram Location)
and play a game at Laser Quest!
Funds will be donated to the Northside Education
Foundation fund helping teachers and
students with innovative projects and activities.
NISD GT Advisory Council
March. 10 , 4 - 9 pm
6759 NW Loop 410 (Ingram)
9845 W. IH-10 (Colonnade)

Friday, February 11, 2011

AmericanHeritage.com / Blog: S. M. Stirling’s Strange World of Alternate History

AmericanHeritage.com / Blog: S. M. Stirling’s Strange World of Alternate History

I like this author, and have most of these books.

Migraines, Headaches, and Caffeine

Migraines, Headaches, and Caffeine
Reprinted from WebMD: http://www.webmd.com/migraines-headaches/guide/triggers-caffeine

Caffeine can be both beneficial and harmful for a headache sufferer. It can serve as a treatment or, in some cases, can cause withdrawal or rebound headaches.

What Is Caffeine?
Caffeine is a commonly used drug that increases alertness, decreases fatigue, and improves muscle coordination. Though coffee comes to mind as the most common source of caffeine, it's also naturally found in tea and chocolate, and it is often added to soft drinks and non-prescription drugs like pain-relievers and cold remedies. People vary in their sensitivity to caffeine. If used excessively, caffeine can be too stimulating and cause anxiety, sleep problems, muscle twitching, or abdominal pain.

How Does Caffeine Treat Headaches?
Caffeine is a common ingredient in many prescription and over-the-counter headache medications (see list below). Caffeine additives make pain relievers 40% more effective in treating headaches. Caffeine also helps the body absorb headache drugs more quickly, bringing faster relief. By adding caffeine and, in turn, taking less medication, you can reduce the risk for potential side effects and possible drug addiction.

I used a generic "Pain Away" medication one time. It got me through a bout with sinus infection. Later, I wondered how to get some more, so I looked up the ingredients and found acetaminophen, aspirin, and caffeine. I thought the caffeine sounded odd, so I looked it up, and sure enough, it's used in headache pain relievers.
(turned out the Pain Away was a generic Excedrin)

The Internet Explodes As Egypt’s Dictator Finally Quits | Danger Room | Wired.com

The Internet Explodes As Egypt’s Dictator Finally Quits Danger Room Wired.com

It's been in the news since my wife came back from Egypt.

Looks like Mubarak finally stepped down. Hope things get better for Egypt.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Is There An iPhone App for That?

Reposted from:

Feb 3 2011 7:35PM GMT
Is there an iPhone business app for that?Posted by: Christina Torode
I’ve had an iPhone 4 for a few months now and I haven’t even begun to tap all the things I can do, and I’m nowhere near taking advantage of all the iPhone business apps.
I know this because the salesperson over at the Apple store gave me a funny look when I asked him to check if I had a defective battery. ‘Gee, you haven’t downloaded much. I have 3,000 songs on my iPhone and…hmmm you’re on an older version of the OS. Do you sync your phone up with your computer to get the latest updates? Have you checked out the App store? There are apps that you can use for work too, and you can make your own apps.’
What I’ve discovered so far is songs that I haven’t heard for years, Angry Birds (yes the game is as addictive as everyone says) and that you can scratch your iPhone screen (despite the car key test the Apple store employees show you before you buy one). All it takes is walking away from your phone for a few minutes while a puppy intent on eating your iPhone bumper is in the room.
As for business applications, I have it synced up with my work email account and I downloaded a scanner application to input receipts in my company’s travel and expense system. That’s it. It’s pitiful I know, but I have been checking out other iPhone business apps lately.
If I were a salesperson I could track leads and view invoices, and if I were a sys admin I could remotely update desktops. Actually, there are a lot of useful iPhone apps for IT admins like Rove Virtual Machine Manager and NiceTrace.There’s also apps that let you view financial reports and see how well a marketing campaign is doing.
And in this economy, who couldn’t use a few good networking apps. On the retail side I think it’s pretty cool that credit card transactions can now be swiped on the iPhone, even if I’m switching topics here to hardware advancements.
I know I’m glossing over a lot of other applications, but what I’m looking for is iPhone business apps that appeal to a more general audience, and what is more general than the use of Microsoft Office. I haven’t tried these out yet so this is by no means a plug, but according to their Website, DataViz makes Documents to Go, an application that lets you view and edit word documents and sync mail and documents with your Exchange Server. QuickOffice also has a suite of applications, one of which lets you create and edit Office files on your iPhone.
I’m not the only one on the look out for useful, general purpose mobile business apps. A lot of IT executives are putting mobile application development at the top of their priority list. The consensus at a Society for Information Management panel at the annual SIM conference this past October was that the developer community isn’t making many useful business applications, but instead ones that appeal to younger consumers. And this group of consumers find business applications “boring.”
“We, as enterprise architects of our organizations, have to understand that feature sets are going to be driven by consumer demand, not by what we in the business would like to see,” said panelist Chuck Musciano, vice president and CIO of construction material supplier Martin Marietta Materials Inc., at the time.
If this is true, then it will be up to internal IT departments to come up with ways to connect apps that the business needs to mobile devices, as is the case already at many Midmarket companies.
Let us know what you think about this blog post; email Christina Torode, News Director.

Because I one day hope to own an iPhone, but even more so an iPad!!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Mirrodin Besieged Pre-Release

The new Magic set Mirrodin Beseiged is coming out tonight at midnight.

You can go here for a visual spoiler of the cards:

The biggest thing to me is the infect creatures have grown BIG, and white now has infect.

Not sure how I feel about the faction packs just yet. I'll rpobably do one of each, then go from there.

I like the new Myrs. Can't wait to add them to standard.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Kelley Williams-Bolar: Mom jailed for wanting to give kids a better life - Education - Salon.com

Kelley Williams-Bolar: Mom jailed for wanting to give kids a better life - Education - Salon.com

This has hit the news, and I understand both sides.

She broke the law, she deserved it.
She was only doing the best for her kids.

Being a parent, and a citizen who enjoys the laws that protect me, I believe I can see both sides of the issue. And with the full faith and power of Parent and American, I can say:


There's the legal bullshit-
A felony? For completing paperwork that states your children have a right to go to the school? I think anyone could come up with 10 felonies off the top of their head, and none of them would start with "When completing school enrollment forms..."
Also, her father lived in the district. He paid property taxes. If he has no kids that attend school, does he still pay taxes? Yes. So, if his granddaughters attend, why the hell would the judge think making the mom pay $30,000 is anywhere remotely fair?
At some point, when our laws no are no longer providing for a better way of life, they should be examined and changed, so that they do provide that. This is one of those laws.

There's the moral point-
A single mom moved her kids to the best school that she had access to. She didn't drive around until she found the best. She didn't target the best. No, she sent her kids to the district where her Dad lived. So that they would receive the best education possible in the best environment possible. If we're going to start punishing people for being good parents, then we need to take a closer look at ourselves.

Now, interestingly enough, this looks to have been settled, at least in mom's eyes:


Yet somehow, the school crops back up again? And once again, the kids grandfather lived in the district, so taxes were already being paid.

There are some that would argue that she broke the law and deserved the punishment. Actually, the law she broke would be about on par with crossing an empty street outside of the crosswalk when the "Don't Walk" sign was lit. Or, sneaking candy into the movie theatre. Find your punishment for those "crimes", and that's the most she might deserve.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Kolache Stop Bakery and Cafe |  Kolache Stop

Kolache Stop Bakery and Cafe Kolache Stop

Today was the grand opening!!

Well, luckily I got there after the rush, but ordered the bacon, egg, and cheese kolache, an omelet kolache (it has egg, cheese, tomato, and bell pepper), a cinnamon twist (for later), a fruit cup (blueberries, pineapple, cantaloupe, and honeydew), and some really good coffee in a Kolache Stop travel mug.

For the grand opening, also got a free sausage kolache. Not a big sausage fan, but really liked the egg ones.

And since I've previewed the chicken fajita kolaches for lunch, I highly recommend those. They are almost too good!! I definitely want to try the rest of the lunch menu.

And the coffee was really good. There is a medium roast, and dark medium, and decaffeinated. I normally find the dark roasts too bitter, but I did about a 60/40 dark to medium mix, and the result was very good. I finished it before I left the parking lot! Jamie attributes it to the press they use. Fair enough, since I'm not really a connoisseur, I just know what tastes good to me.

They are located at the corner of Vance Jackson and Huebner, across from Hobby Middle School and across from the vet's office. If you check it out leave a comment about what you think.

Kolache Stop on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Reviews: Mr. Popper's Penguins by Richard Atwater | LibraryThing

Reviews: Mr. Popper's Penguins by Richard Atwater LibraryThing

I read Mr. Popper's Penguins while waiting for the League of Legends games to load. It was a fast read and decent book. Probably very good for those that aren't big fans of reading and/or want a change from the Diary of a Wimpy kid or Harry Potter series.

I posted my review here, on LibraryThing.