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Showing posts from June, 2012

A Summer Program That Works for Kids and Working Parents

I find that many schools and summer camp providers assume that each child must have at least one parent that is unemployed and able to show up at any time of the day to pick up kids or volunteer or attend an event. I have seen several such camps that have "full day" program hours that are something line 9:30 AM to 1:30 PM, or they meet only on Tuesdays at 1 PM, or twice a week at 10:30 in the morning. I don't know about you, but I have to be at work longer than that. One might imagine that delusionally short, summer camps might be cheaper, but that would be naive. The the cost of the program - be it science, art, theater, or space, seems to be inversely proportional to the length of each day's camp. I suppose a 5 minute long camp might cost $2000 per week, but I could be wrong. Anyway, there must be people that sign up for such things because those camps don't seem to go out of business - but they should. For the last several years, my oldest son has gone to the

Tuesday Night Skiing

I recently recovered some old backups and found this Web page that I made in the 1990's before marriage and children. I have edited this original page to fix broken links and remove old email addresses. Weirdly, the only Web address that was still valid is the one for SETI, and they are nearly out of funding. The snow line telephone number, however, is still the same. I don't do Tuesday night skiing any more, but I hope that some people do. It really is a lot of fun. Please note: the lift ticket price listed is from 1994. Expect to pay more, now. ------------------------- Tuesday Night Ski Expeditions FAQ Background: The Tuesday Night Ski Trips started in 1994 on the premise that night skiing is cheaper and less crowded than weekend skiing. A small group of hardy adventurers (some might say "fools") set off into the mountains in winter, at night, in a storm in search of killer slopes. While this may seem to run contrary to the rules of common sense an

Photos from the Glory Days of Software Startups

There are a lot of new software start-ups in Seattle these days, but none of them burn through money like the startups of the late 90's (I hope). There were so many excesses, huge signing bonus, and lavish parties. Investors who knew nothing about technology threw millions at companies that never had a chance at being profitable. I think that some of that still goes on today, but it is nothing like the "dot com" era. I recently recovered some very old backups and ran across some photos from a startup where I worked in the late 90's. We were making a "Unified Messaging" server and we needed some voice prompts recorded. A caller to the system would phone in and hear these prompts, and then use speech recognition to retrieve emails, and voicemails. Anyway, we needed a voice for our computer. Now who would a room full of nerds immediately think of when you ask them to find a voice for the computer? The voice of the Star Trek computer, of course. We started loo

How to Drop Your Children Off At School - a FAQ for Parents

I have noticed that quite a few parents are unclear about how to drop their children off at school. My oldest son finishes 6th grade this week, and I have been studying this issue since he started Kindergarten. I present to the Internet, A Parent's Guide and FAQ to Dropping Off A Child At School. Step 1: Preparation Like many things in life, preparation is key. Have your child prepare his or her backpack the night before. Make sure that everything is in the backpack. Loose items mean a disorganized vehicular exit when you arrive at the school. Q) As the parent, I get my child's backpack ready. Isn't that OK? A) No. Stop it. You child will never learn to get themselves anywhere if you do it all for them. Start in kindergarten, have them get their backpack ready the night before, and place it by the door. You have enough to do as a parent without having to do that, too, and your kid needs to learn responsibility. Will your kid forget stuff? Sometimes, but then they le

Owning an Android Phone - aka Living The Beta Test

After owning an iPhone and two Android phones, I have reached the conclusion that, when we consumers buy an Android device, we are not purchasing a finished product. What we are really doing is paying money to join Google's and Verizon's beta testing program. Do you remember beta tests? Software companies don't do them nearly as often as they used to do them, but basically a beta test is a test of software that is *nearly* finished. Prior to "going beta," software is just tested by the in-house quality assurance team, but public betas are open to end users. It might not be completely stable so there are bugs and it might crash on you, but if you just can't wait to get your hands on the latest and greatest, then you can join a beta test. You get to submit bug reports that go right to the developers and your feedback helps to shape and perfect the next generation of that product, whatever it is. One small point - because the software is not really ready for sale

Exterior Car Monitors - The Future of Posing

Lots of people like to modify their cars with improved "stereos" that include complete in-car entertainment systems. They put huge amplifiers on them so that everyone else can (in their mind) be impressed by their loud music, movies, etc. The one problem with this is that the stereos are inside the car. How can a person properly show off just how tacky  awesome they are if people can't see the movie that they are watching, or their family photos, or some other photo? I think that the next thing will be monitors placed outside the car, but you are probably thinking that they will look stupid and get snapped off on the freeway, or something. What if the body panels of the car *were* the monitors? Corning just announced a new, flexible glass . One of the uses could be for flexible monitors. Aftermarket customization companies already sell replacement plastic or fiberglass body panels for various cars, so I don't think that it is a stretch to imagine that someone will m