Happy Turkey Day!


They're ugly as sin, but they sure do taste good!

Turkey  Turkey (after)
And for those who might care, there are some new photos in the Gallery from our trip out to Vancouver Island.  Conner may not be big on travelling, but once you get him here, he sure does love the beach!

Halifax - Vancouver Island Cross-Country Tour

Well, I've spent the last couple of weeks out east in Halifax.  I had the chance to participate in an Operations Integrity Assessment at the Imperial Oil refinery in Dartmouth.  Definitely a great experience.  Met some good people, saw a part of the country I'd never been to and (more to the point I suppose) learned a whole lot about life as part of the ExxonMobil family, as well as got a chance to see how other folks in the industry do business.  Granted Syncrude isn't quite an Exxon facility, but we seem to be seeing more and more influence on how we work.  Don't quite like all of it, but the principles are sound, I'll give them that.

Anyway, the point of all that rambling is that now that I've been back for a whole four hours I've got to pack my bags again...  We're headed out to the other coast tomorrow to visit Mom and Dad for a little while.  Evan's about as excited as I've seen him in a long time.  (Of course, given that I haven't been here for two weeks, I suppose that it might not be a fair test.)  This will also be Conner's first big trip and first time in an airplane, so we're a little anxious about what that may bring.  At least it's only two short flights!  Wouldn't want to consider the implications of bringing across to Halifax...  There was one little one on the plane today and she seemed to do alright, but we all know Conner can be a little stubborn when he wants to be...

In any case I think my laundry's just about done...  Time to go (re-)pack.  And then I think I'm going to hit the sack...

Cheers, folks!

The Little Rugrats- an update.

Now that it is the end of summer we have been staying inside quite a bit!  Evan is pretty mild mannered so he is happy to play trucks indoors and usually stays out of trouble!  Conner is growing like crazy and has been practicing his crawling since 6 months old.  He is even starting to pull himself up to standing...Yikes!!  I have a feeling it won't be long before he will be walking.  The past week has been  a little rough on us because both boys have had colds.  It looks like they are finally starting to recover. 

Ogg Vorbis Anyone?

For those non-geeks out there, no that is not latin and it's not words I made up...  Ogg Vorbis is a "popular" media format for music files.  Kind of like .mp3 or .wma files, except that Ogg Vorbis (.ogg) is a non-proprietary format.  Meaning?  Meaning it's free for use by anyone for anything.  Probably doesn't mean much to you, given that you've likely never paid for a license to use your .mp3 or .wma files on your portable music player...  At least not directly.  See the manufaturers of those devices have had to pay for a license.  (Hence the recent lawsuit against SanDisk by Sisvel, the holder of the .mp3 license rights for Europe.) 

What this leads to is that many open source software packages (ie: Linux) do not ship with .mp3 or .wma support built in and, depending on the platform, adding support can sometimes be tricky.  Many of them DO support .ogg right out of the box however.  And if you're like me and run both MS and Linux machines, sometimes that makes it a pain to move files back and forth for use in both worlds.  Enter Ogg Vorbis support for Windows Media Player.  Add .ogg support to Windows Media Player with the codec you find here and you'll no longer have to worry about what format your files are in.

Incidentally, the iRiver line of players supposedly offer Ogg Vorbis support in a portable media player...  So you can take those files on the road with you as well.

Three Years Old

Happy Birthday, Evan!

Three years old, already!?  It's hard to believe!

For those of you who couldn't be here, there's some new photos in the Gallery from today's festivities.  Grampa made it up for the big day, and we had a few friends (ours and Evan's) over to celebrate.  Even Conner was in a good mood for most of it.  (He even let Grampa hold him!)

File this one away for future reference...

This little gem just might be worth checking out if you're one of those people (like me) who leaves their PC running 24/7.  I use my PC to record TV, download torrent files, serve up media content across my home network and all the normal stuff that one might expect of a PC.  The 400W power supply however makes this a less than eco-friendly option tho.  So I'm quite interested in seeing what becomes of this little "Multi-Function Digital Device" (MFDD) as the author calls it.  Undoubtedly it will need some time to mature, but my guess is that there's more than a small market for something like this.  (At least amongst us geeks.)

And The Number 1 Sign That Your Employer Sucks Is...

I couldn't make this up if I tried...  Seems that Northwest Airlines has hit some hard times and is cutting employee salaries by up to 40%.  In an apparent effort to help employees cope with the change, the management distributed a number of pamphlets dealing with the subject of "Financial Setback".  Amoung the tips for employees:

  • Borrow a dress for a big night out,
  • Take shorter showers,
  • Take a date for a walk in the park,

And my personal favorite...

  • "Don't be shy about pulling something you like out of the trash"

If that's not a sign your employer sucks, I don't know what is!

Thanks Steve!

Beer and Popcorn
 On behalf of Conner and Evan, we just wanted to say "thanks"...

Tax Time

Once again, Rick Mercer hits the nail on the head...

Installing a PVR250 on SuSE Linux

Well, I've finally had it with MS Windows...  For some reason, my PC locks up regularly.  And by "regularly" I mean I should be so regular.  My response has been to install SuSE Linux on my PC and start moving towards it as my regular desktop.  I played around with a couple of other Linux distros, such as Fedora Core 4 + 5, Ubuntu and kUbuntu, but nothing comes close to SuSE when it comes to a polished desktop.  (Admittedly, Ubuntu and kUbuntu are pretty, but I just can't get accustomed to their "no-root" setup... If you're a geek, you'll know what I mean, otherwise, don't worry.) 

The only real problems with Linux are when it comes to some of the more cutting edge technology...  For me, one of the most important features on my PC is the ability to record TV.  On Windows I use Beyond TV 4, which is really a kick-arse app in my humble opinion.  On Linux, there's MythTV, which I've played with a little.  MythTV is actually a pretty decent app... The only problem is getting your TV card installed.  I've been trying for days to get my PVR250 TV card installed, but most of the guides I've found were written for Fedora or one of the other distros that I don't care for.  I can get as far as installing the drivers, but every time I try modprobe ivtv to load the drivers, I get an error message stating that it could not load the firmware.  (Check for error messages via dmesg | grep ivtv.)  The problem seems to be in where to locate the firmware drivers.  With most distros they would go in /lib/hotplug/firmware or /lib/firmware, but this doesn't seem to work with SuSE.  Yell

At last, I've found a guide that has some info on this problem.  Haven't had a chance to try it out yet, but it looks promising.  Basically, it implies that you need to create a new directory, /usr/bin/hotplug/firmware, before any of this will work.  Will give it a shot tonight when I get home from work...  For now, here's hoping it works!

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