Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Disaster strikes

Saturday's massive quake in Indonesia cast a real damper on Christmas festivities this year. But it's also another chance for the Internet to show off it's massive ability to keep people in contact during times of crisis. I've got friends travelling in the area, and I was able to find out in short order whether they were OK (They were!).

I'm finding that the BBC World News site is one of the best for keeping up with what's happening, and their cable news shows (often running on NewsWorld) have been the most informative coverage I've seen.

The blogosphere is humming with stuff. Go here and here to see a couple of examples.

I hope all is well with people you care about in that part of the world. Please send whatever help you can as soon as possible.

On a Lighter Note

I've added a Notify List to my blog. (The sign-up window is on the right, towards the bottom of the page.) I know that it can be annoying to visit a site like mine, only to find out that I haven't updated it for awhile. I do have an RSS feed and an Atom feed on this site (again, on the bottom right) but I know that some of my regular readers don't have a clue what a NewsReader is, or how RSS works. (Go here if you want to know more.)

So I've created a list you can sign up for to receive an e-mail every few days (more or less) telling you what's new on the site. I doubt I'll send it out ever day. I don't want to be annoying, assuming that I actually update that often. But I'll keep the updates fairly regular. This will be a handy alternative for people who don't want to use the RSS feeds.

There's no obligation whatsoever, and no one will ever use your e-mail address for any other purpose. Just add your e-mail address, and you'll get an e-mail confirming you want to sign up. Click on the URL on that e-mail and you're in. Simple as that.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Not all the news is bad

In the spirit of giving this Christmas season, here's something that you can sign up for and keep getting all year long.

Each week I get a note in my in-box that I always make time for. It's called This is True. It's put together by Randy Cassingham, a guy in Colorado who has been publishing his quirky column for years. He takes funny stories that have appeared in newspapers around the world and packages them up for your consumption. And he usually adds his own, unique punch line to the pieces, which often add to the fun.

Along the way, he manages to highlight a lot of the stupid things that people do, most notably the obsession with so-called "zero-tolerance" campaigns in the US against drugs, violence, etc. Often these are carried out by school boards and officials, with ridiculous zeal.

There are two editions available. One is free. The second, the Premium edition (and the one I subscribe to) is just $20/yr (although he's finally raising the price in January) and it's got content not found in the free version. Cassingham also offers unique items to buy, such as his immensely popular GOOHF (Get Out of Hell Free) cards. People who are angry enough to tell someone where to go can also give them a card to allow them to get out of there once they arrive.

Cassingham also runs a web site called the True Stella Awards, which highlight lawsuits that should never have been filed. And in his spare time, he's got a pretty good site on jokes. You can find them all at the This is True website.

Monday, December 20, 2004

The Countdown begins...

We're into the final stages of Christmas countdown. Jaime arrived home from Victoria late last night (early this morning actually!) and she's already off with Kelly hitting the malls this morning. It's so nice to have her back.

Like any good father, I spent most of this morning trying to figure out why her computer isn't working properly. I'm sure it doesn't mean much to anyone else, but I can't stand it when something doesn't work right, so I'm busy wasting all kinds of time working on it. The computer is connecting to our Wireless router fine, but it doesn't seem to be connecting to the network for some reason, so it won't connect to the Internet...if anyone has any bright ideas about what it might be, please let me know.

Oh well, blogging might be kind of light for the next while, as I settle into being busy with family for the next while. But watch for updates as this season moves along.

Merry Christmas, everybody!

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Flickr a Hit With Bloggers

I've mentioned Flickr here before. It's a new service that lets people post their photos on the web and gives an easy way for others to see them. I'm using it to post photos here (see the posts below about Kelly and Jaime.)

For those of you that want some more info, here's a good article from Wired News about the service. I think a lot of you will be interested in using it.

The Library of Google

Following up my previous post about the World in 2014, here's a short article about Google's plans to make a lot of the books of the world available on-line.

Is this company for real? Or is there a more nefarious plan behind all this? It's a discussion that's going to be going on for awhile. In the meantime, this is a lot of fun to follow. Add your comments to this story and see whether we can generate some of our own discussion.

There's plenty more articles out there about Google's just-announced plans as well. Here's a link to Google News, with a listing of most of them.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Google rules the world?

That's the premise of this very interesting video.

Take a look and see what might happen down the road.

I don't know much about the group behind this intriguing piece. But it sure is interesting. And technically, very cool. Go ahead and click to see see the piece. It's about eight minutes long.

Friday, December 10, 2004

The Progeny (2 of 3)

Originally uploaded by Homeguy.
I've written a lot here about Jaime and Kelly and their rowing exploits. A number of regular readers have asked me how come I never put up any pictures.

Well, until just recently, I didn't know how to do that. But now, as you can see, I've got an account with Flickr, which lets me post pictures on the Web, then point to them in my Blog.

So, here's a fairly recent photo of Jaime (on the left) and Kelly, taken at Hamilton airport in September, when Jaime left for Victoria. (She's attending UVIC there this year.) By the way, I've also got a son (Cory). But he's not a rower and it seems he doesn't get much ink here at all. I'm still tracking down a good pic of him.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Time for bed

Originally uploaded by Homeguy.
Some dogs are spoiled. Others just go back to sleep. This is Roxy, our pampered Golden. I've posted her picture here to try out Flickr, a place where you can store your photos on the web. Seems to work all right.

Firefox - A new look at browsers

Now I've done it. I've been trying out Firefox, which is a new Web Browser from Mozilla. It's an open source creation, and if that doesn't mean much to you, you might not be that interested in the rest of this post.

For years, I've used Internet Explorer to surf the web, putting up with many of the weird things it does, and worrying about security issues. Then I switched to a Mac and started using Safari, which I am very happy with. Safari is from Apple, and it's a really nice application.

But there's been a lot of buzz in the press about this new browser, so I thought I'd give it a try. One of the things that intrigued me was the ability to browse using tabbed pages. Safari also offers this, but for some reason I haven't been able to figure out how it works. But in Firefox, it's easy. And very effective. I find myself using Firefox almost exclusively now, although it's only been a couple of weeks.

My biggest problem is that I had built up a big batch of saved bookmarks in Safari...and now I'm adding new ones in Firefox. I wonder if there's a way to import or export one or the other? If anyone knows how I could bring my Safari bookmarks over to Firefox, I'd love to know. I'm still not sure whether I'll switch to Firefox permanently, but I'm liking it so far.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Basketball's done -- back to rowing

Well, sometimes there just isn't quite enough fuel in the tank...and that's what happened to Westdale tonight. They dropped a tough decision to Sarnia Northern in the bronze medal game at the OFSAA tournament. The final score was 45-40. That brings their season to a close on a bit of a sour note, losing two games in a row. But once the tears have dried, the girls will be able to look back at a very successful year.

In the bronze medal game, Westdale ended up losing three starters with five fouls each in the fourth quarter, and they just didn't have enough juice to overcome a late game deficit. They were leading at the half by four points, but a 6-0 run by Sarnia to start the third sealed the game, as it turned out. Oh well...it was a great season.

Kelly continued her impressive performance. She had a great tournament, proving that she belongs at this level. She gave consistently strong defence when asked to step in and I expect she'll be one of the leaders next year. So that's it for basketball for now...back to rowing.

Of course, Kelly being Kelly, one sport at a time isn't nearly enough. As well as being busy every day with rowing, Kelly will also be playing on Westdale's senior girls' volleyball team! So perhaps another OFSAA tournament is in the works in about three months time?

It's the Bronze Medal Game Tonight

Well, it was a tough game, but Kelly's basketball team, the Westdale Warriors, came up just short in this morning's semi-final game at the OFSAA tournament. They lost 47-37 to top-ranked St. Thomas Moore, also from Hamilton.

So that means they'll be playing for a bronze medal tonight at 6 pm against the loser of the other semi-final between the third Hamilton team in the tournament, St. Mary's and Sarnia's Northern Collegiate.

It's been a great tournament. But today, Westdale was a little flat in the opening minutes, giving STM the early lead they needed. While Westdale outplayed STM in the second half, they couldn't score and take advantage of STM's mistakes. So that 10 point early lead held up right to the end.

Tonight's game should be good one, as Westdale has got something to prove to its fans. They could have beat STM if they had played the way they did Friday night. So I'm hoping that's the team that shows up tonight.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Proud Papa -- Basketball edition

Since so many of you seemed to like the Proud Papa stuff for rowing, I thought I'd add one today for Kelly's Basketball. Kelly's team, Westdale, from Hamilton, is in the Ontario Senior Girls' AAAA championships this weekend. The OFSAA tournament is being held this year in Hamilton. As of right now, Kelly's team is 2-0, and doing all right.

They play tonight at 7 pm in the quarter-finals, and now the games are getting really tough. The quality of the play is exceptional and there are no easy wins from here on. It's sudden death all the way. The link above will take you to the scoreboard page of the tournament, which they're keeping fairly up-to-date.

Kelly is having a great tournament. She's playing a solid back-up centre role and her defense has been extraordinary. It's a real treat to watch the games. Too bad they weren't being broadcast, so I could tape them and pass them along to some of you. But I'll try to keep you up-to-date over the weekend on how things are going.

The quarter-finals are tonight (Friday) at 7 pm. Then the semi's are at 10 am Saturday, and the Gold and Bronze medal games are Saturday night. Let's keep our fingers crossed!

FRIDAY NIGHT UPDATE -- Westdale won! They beat a very strong Toronto Etobicoke team with an inspired surge in the first half to catch up, then pass the Gators. And once again, Kelly came off the bench with strong support at the centre position. In the second half, they held on to lead at 3 quarters, and pull it off in the fourth. The final score was 74-66, thanks to some great foul shooting. They play the semi's Saturday at 10 am!