Google account for your baby

The day I found out my wife was pregnant one of the things I did was create a google account for my soon to be first born. Years ago Google ran an ad that depicted a Father doing the same thing for his child and I thought was a great idea and a way for me to share thoughts, pictures, and moments with my son before he was born. 

Over the course of Ashley’s pregnancy we took picture and videos and uploaded them to his account. To this day we still upload all of the pictures that we have taken of him. It has really acted as a digital keep sake box that I hope he will come to treasure one day.We also took the time to write a few letters to our unborn son and I hope to continue that  trend for as long as I can.

If you or anyone you know is going to have a kid encourage them to try this out. Not only does is it a great memento, it provides a great backup for all of those precious pictures that you don’t want to lose. 

 

 

Raspberry Pi

       So this year for my birthday I got a $50 amazon gift card from my mom. I debated over what to spend this on as amazon has a wide array of things you can buy for that amount of money. I ended up settling on buying a Raspberry Pi.

        The Raspberry Pi is a small arm based computer with roughly the power of an original XBOX. While it doesn’t pack a lot of processing power, it doesn’t require much actual power either. The whole thing is powered off of a cell phone charger. This is a big change from the dual 750 watt power supply that was in the server that  I replaced with this small box.The server that it replaced was just a simple file server so it didn’t need a whole lot of power, but even if it had been just a normal pc you would still be looking at 300watts vs 10watts.

      The Raspberry Pi SOC (system on a chip) can be purchased for around $40 with full kits including case and wireless starting at around $55. I opted to buy the kit with the wireless adapter and case, but that wouldn’t be required. The nice part about the price point is that you can buy multiple Pi’s depending on what you are trying to accomplish and still be at a price point well under that of a cheap consumer pc that you could purchase today.

      The Raspberry Pi has several different OS choices. Currently I am running Raspbian which is a debian based linux os. It has worked out great for my purposes and has been very stable. There are a wide variety of OS available though ranging from android to raspbmc with this an xbmc variant.

       Currently I am using the box as a NFS, cups, and samba server but it is capable of so much more. It has been a lot of fun to play around with and has been a great test bed for pet projects. I am hoping to expand it to use it as a temp monitor for my PC room, but that will take some additional purchases of thermal sensors and adapters.

    I think the coolest part of this technology is that is a huge change from where the pc market has been going for the last 15 years. Instead of Faster more powerful this is a lot more conservative and has the ability to really make good technology available to the masses.  

    To sum it all up, the Raspberry Pi was a great investment and I am looking forward to what is to come from the new SOC low powered pc market. I think there is a lot of potential uses for the low power simple server market and look forward to seeing what comes next from this market.

 

Why it is ok to be a pack rat

         Earlier this year we had to move my Grandmother into assisted living. She has Macular Degeneration which is a condition that severely effects her ability to see. She has been living with her illness for quite awhile, but finally failed to meet the requirements to safely drive on her own. Being a person that lives by herself, this presented major challenges for her every day life. To deal with these challenges my Grandmother decided to move into an assisted living community that could assist her where she struggled.

          The house that she lived in was rather large, at least by my standards. It was a little over 3500 sqft and had tons of storage space. To make matters worse her and my grandfather (who passed away several years ago) were both pack rats who lived in the property for over 20+ years. This meant that all of that storage space was filled with stuff, too much stuff to fit in to 1 bedroom apartment at the assisted living facility she was moving into. So my grandmother did what she does naturally and instead of moving her old furniture into the assisted living facility bought all new furniture and left the old with the house minus a couple of pieces that had sentimental value.

           While this was great for her, it did present a challenge for us in that we would still need to be responsible for cleaning up old house to sell it. This started us on the momentous task of cleaning out a house lived in by pack rats for 20+ years.

         At this point I should also throw in that not only were they pack rats, but they also like to hide anything of worth in a special hiding spaces. Hiding spaces which were so hidden that they in fact would forget where they were and stuff would be lost forever (or at least until we started to clean the house). However, this meant that everything had to be checked to make sure it didn’t have a secret treasure hidden inside. I would say that this alone more than doubled our work load in getting everything cleaned up.

       When we first started I really resented the fact that they had all of this stuff and saw no purpose for it.  However, after a couple of weeks of cleaning I have come to really treasure the fact that they did save so much stuff. In sifting through all of there stuff I have come to learn things about my grandparents that I never knew and would never get a chance to know if they weren’t pack rats. I got to see pieces of forgotten family history, and tons of WW2 memorabilia that is now very special to me. Instead of stories I got to see the actual pieces of our family history packed up on a shelf in between what ever as seen on tv gadget my grandfather decided to buy.

      I am not saying that everything that my grandparents kept was gold, most of it was junk, but it was easier to keep going knowing that eventually you would find something really cool. A lot of times I felt like a kid in school, annoying co-workers by bringing in items for show and tell. Old new paper articles, puzzle boxes, a real rolex, and several other things were brought into work along with a story about my grandparents. I think the biggest hit was a carved wooden beaver. I am pretty sure they are still joking about that and the beaver jokes will probably be around for awhile. 

      Any way, if you find yourself in a similar situation to what I am in now, make sure you take the time to savor it and look through everything. I guarantee you will find something cool or at the very least come out with an interesting story. I know I have come to greatly treasure the junk that my grandparents saved and glimpses of history I have seen in going through it all.

 

 

Why I’m Blogging

In deciding to start writing a blog again I thought a lot about how much I want to write, what constitutes a post, and how frequently I want to post an update. Me being me I immediately wanted to commit to writing a post a day, but that didn’t seem like a goal I could keep up with. So I decided that I would go ahead and make a goal of at least posting 2 – 3 post a week.

I am going to leave what is a post up to my own definition, but it could just be a picture a video or something else to document the last couple of days. Maybe as I get into this more I will further my definition to some type of content requirement or word count, but for now it is all about just trying to immerse myself in the process and trying to see what sticks.

We’re Back

And we are back….

It has been a long time since I have written a blog post, but I am back and I am going to try this again. Not sure who will read it or if it is just for me, but here we go.

A lot has changed in my life over the years and I am hoping to use this as a tool to document some of my new endeavors. I am a Father now of a little boy named Lucas. He was born April 18th of this year and was a gift from God. He got to meet his Grandfather (my dad) who tragically passed away on 5/28/2014

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Since my last post I have switched jobs and am now a Unix Admin, Hl7 interface Analyst, and San Administrator. The increase in responsibility especially with a new baby and a father battling cancer made for a stressful time in my life.

Anyway I am sure any if not all of the topics previously mentioned will make it into my blog post in one way or another at some point. That is if I keep up with this and don’t drop it again for a couple of years.