Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Good Book - Midnight Mass by F. Paul Wilson

I picked this up at Toadstool Books here in New Hampshire. I was attracted to it because the blurb on the back referenced Salem's Lot by Stephen King. That book is one of my favorite horror novels. The blurb said that Salem's Lot was the last good vampire novel and Wilson's frustration with that is what drove him to write Midnight Mass.

The premise is that the vampires have taken over most of the world and the east coast of the US. And a band of people in New Jersey figure out a way to beat them. The vampires are not debonair, sophisticated sorts. They are disgusting, dirty vermin and you root for the good guys the whole time.

F. Paul Wilson has written a bunch of books, some of which I have read. But this is the first of his that I really feel enthused about.

Good book, especially on an airplane ride.

Nice Airliner - EMB170

I flew from Chicago to Hartford, CT yesterday on United. The plane shown on my itinerary was an EMB170. I thought it was one of those regional jets that look like converted corporate jets. But, I was very wrong. This had engines below the wings and looked more like a 737. What a nice plane inside. It was 2 seats on each side of the aisle and felt much more spacious than a Boeing jet. Just that lack of a middle seat makes such a difference! I don't know if the seats are any wider, but psychologically they felt a lot wider. It was a bit noisier than the 737, but everything else felt better - the space, the climate control, the lighting... I was very impressed.

Friday, July 27, 2007

My Attachment to Stuff

We are going back to Batavia this weekend to our unsold house (www.1141averill.com). We probably have to tend to the yard (trim some bushes) and clean up some dust in the house. We’re going to move some furniture around to make the place show a little better.

We’re also planning on bringing some stuff back to New Hampshire. As I look at the list we put together, I was surprised it was so short. And the stuff was generally little things like the garlic press or the DVD player cables.

It seems, for me at least, I have gotten to the point where I don’t miss the whole house full of stuff sitting there in Illinois. I do miss three things, I admit: my electric piano, my guitar amplifier, and our filing cabinet. We’re using boxes to store papers and bills (I’m a bit of a packrat when it comes to records like that) and that is getting old. But the rest of it I don’t really miss much. OK, maybe my Mac on occasion, but the Windoze laptop seems to be doing pretty well.

We have donated so much of our stuff in preparation for the move too. Lots of things have gone to the Goodwill. Why pay to move it when you don’t even use it? The house looks better less cluttered.

It will be nice when some if it gets here I suppose. Sitting in my chair will probably be more comfortable to me than the furniture in our rented house. But, I don’t really have as strong an attachment to that stuff as I thought I would. I think it’s an unforeseen benefit of moving.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

No TV!

Our Dish Network box stopped working today. It’s been on and off since Sunday night, mostly on though until today. I called the Dish Network technical support number yesterday (Monday), but was told because the weather was bad that they would not do any diagnostics and to call back when it clears up. So, today it cleared up. Today the network was mostly off. I called again and they asked me to push a bunch of buttons. The end result is that we are getting a new receiver. And, it will take about 5 days. Since we’re going back to Chicago for a slightly long weekend on Saturday, that means we won’t have TV until a week from today at the earliest. Of course, the cable has been turned off in Chicago since we moved out here, so we won’t be able to get our TV fix there either.

What does all this mean? Thank goodness we both have good books. As I write this, we’re in hour 3 or so and still surviving. But what happens when the books run out? We’re in New Hampshire. You just can’t run out and get another book that easy. What then? It is quieter. Perhaps my IQ will actually increase a fraction of a percent. Maybe we will lose the urge to run out and buy stuff we don’t really need. Maybe next Tuesday we won’t bother to hook up the new receiver.

Nah, who am I kidding?

Monday, July 23, 2007

I'm not in Chicago Anymore

Here's the view from the house we're renting in NH. Note the absence of other buildings, cars, people... It took a while to get a good night's sleep - too dark and too quiet.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Yoopersoft DecisionPlanner is live

The little software company I co-founded with my partner (Amber Lippold of Escanaba, MI – hence the name Yoopersoft) has made our product available to the world. Visit www.yoopersoft.com and try out DecisionPlanner. DecisionPlanner, as the name implies, is an online tool designed to help you work through significant decisions. It provides a thorough structured approach to decision making and offers valuable reports to show you the best choice. There will be two versions: Express - which is free - and Professional - which you will have to pay to use. The Express version is available now at our website. The difference between the two is one of scale: you can input up to 7 factors (criteria to consider in your decision) and up to 5 alternatives in the Express version. The Professional version will allow unlimited factors and alternatives. Future releases will allow you to use more advanced features in the Professional version that aren’t going to be available in the Express version. The Professional version will be available shortly – we think in about 2 – 3 weeks.

We’re proud of it. Try it and let us know what you think. It’s free – you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

In addition, take a look at the Yooperwear – t-shirts, cap, coffee mugs. I think the logo is pretty cool looking. But, I am slightly biased. :-)

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Technology and Living in the Forest

Our current house is in a heavily forested section of Rindge, NH. Our house sometimes feels as if it’s in a technological black hole. My cell phone rarely works there, though the cellular modem for my laptop is very reliable. We don’t have high-speed internet access. When we rented the house, we didn’t even check for these things. It’s 2007 – why should I have to? But, we should have and we will next time. We could get a land line I suppose, but we’re only here until November.

I have become very dependent on the internet access. I use it to pay my bills, keep up with folks via e-mail, make travel plans, research stuff and attempt to make a living at www.yoopersoft.com (visit and spend some money – it should be live at the end of this week or next week). Dialup internet access is just too slow to do all this. So, I go to the library at Franklin Pierce University and plug an ethernet cable into one of their tiny study rooms and surf away. It’s actually turning into my office. I might even put a picture up in here :-). I have the place to myself now in summer, and I predict not too many college kids will be using the library from 8 AM – 12 PM when classes start in the fall. So far, it seems to be working out OK. There have been some Yoopersoft applications I can’t get to – I suspect due to the university firewall, but nothing that has stopped me cold yet. Maybe our next house will allow me to work at home again, but perhaps I'll miss my tiny cubbyhole here by then.

Beautiful Fall Day

It's a beautiful fall day here in Illinois. Seen on the Fox River Trail