Category Archives: Family and Friends

My Cheese has moved…

There has been lots of change in my life lately.  For those that are not already in the know, I have taken a new position at The Associated Press.  This is a very exciting opportunity.  I am working for another company with a long and prestigious history, with a team of extremely smart developers and a sharp management team, and some very exciting technology.  You can read all about The Associated Press on the AP Web Site, or you can take a look at some of the new web sites I will be managing – AP Images, AP Exchange, AP Archive, the Winter Olympics Microsite (and more like this to come).  I will be working in the mobile space as well.  I am still getting a handle on the mobile landscape at the AP, but I already have the AP Mobile and AP Today in History applications on my Motorola Droid.  As you would expect, the AP has a large social media footprint.  You can follow AP, AssociatedPress, or AP_Images on Twitter.  There is an AssociatedPress channel on YoTube.  You can also join the Associated Press page on FaceBook.

I have also changed my blog’s home.  After much of the hemming and hawing, I have moved my blog onto my own domain, PixelatedViews.com.  There is not a lot of content on the main site, but more is on the way.  The new URL for my blog is http://www.pixelatedviews.com/blog.   I have changed the old FeedBurner feeds to point to the new ones, so you might have gotten 140 new posts from me in your feed reader.  Sorry about that.  I have also created two new FeedBurner feeds – Pixelated Views Blog and Pixelated Blog Comments.  I recommend following them.

So… that’s enough change for me for now.  If only it were always my choice…

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Techno-Christmas 2008

Well, another Christmas has come and gone, and we have all exchanged our gifts. Everyone in the family got new gadgets to alleviate their tech addiction.

Nicholas got his long-overdue Xbox 360. We bought him the Elite version, with the wireless remote and the 120GB hard drive. Can’t get a new console without a shiny new game too, right? So we got him one of his favorites… the new NHL 2K9. He also got lots of gift cards, so that he could go out and get a game of his choice. He picked up Call of Duty 4, and another wireless remote, so that he can pwn me and his friends up in NHL 2K9 or Call of Duty.

Mary Ann was light on the technology this year… she did get some CDs that would help her learn basic Dutch in the car on her long commute to work every morning.

I was burned by the HD-DVD fiasco last Christmas, so this year my wife bought me the Sony BDP-S350 Blu-Ray Disc Player. And, just like the Xbox, you can’t get a new Blu-ray player without getting a couple new Blu-ray movies. My parents bought me Iron Man and Wall-E.

The great thing about technology is the same as the problem with technology. It is always improving. The Harmon Kardon receiver we had for 6 years or so has no HDMI inputs or outputs. I had been using direct component connections to the TV, but I ran out of those too, with all the different HD devices I have now. So I had to treat myself with a new Sony STR-DG820 A/V Reciever. Yay for 4 HDMI inputs! It only took 30 minutes to set up with my speakers and all the devices.

And with all that technology, I was able to watch Rutgers beat NC State 29-23 in the 2008 PapaJohns.com Bowl. RU Rah Rah!

Techno-Christmas 2007

Christmas in 2007 was centered around electronics for the whole family. Invion 4″ GPS Navigation Systems were given and received for all of the cars. They were easy to set up, and work great… the only issue is that the SD card is the source of the maps. If you lose the card, or it breaks, or gets erased, the unit won’t work any more.

I bought my wife a Jawbone Bluetooth Headset. She is using that with her Palm Treo 700w, and is having some problems. The headset does not seem to reliably connect to the unit, we have not been able to transfer an existing phone call to the headset, and the voice dialing doesn’t seem to work. If I turn the headset on, make sure it connects to the Palm, and dial directly on the phone (or answer an incoming call), everything works great. The sound quality is really good, and the noise cancellation does a fantastic job. I think I wanna try the unit on another phone before I let my wife go to the Verizon Store for help.

Mary Ann bought me the Toshiba HD-A3 HD-DVD Player. The first thing I did after all the presents were unwrapped was hook this up to the television I have in the basement. The DVD player came with two movies, and I dropped one in and sat riveted to the screen. I bought my Panasonic 42″ Plasma TV about 4 years ago now. At the time 1080p was way too expensive, so I settled with 1080i. The DVD player is compatible with both 1080i and 1080p, and connected easily to my system. I even tried a standard DVD movie, and the DVD player up-scaled the picture pretty good, too. My complaints about the player are not really with the player itself, but with the format. News that Warner Brothers announced it would be aligning with Blu-Ray instead of HD-DVD rocked the CES Conference. The price of the player, less than 2 weeks after Christmas, has fallen from $299 to $129. Blu-Ray has now captured 93% of the Hi Def market share. now my player, and the movies I have received with it, are obsolete, and it is less than one month since they were purchased. I am now a victim of the BetaMax Syndrome.

With the television, audio receiver, cable receiver, DVD recorder, Playstation 2, and VCR to operate, and now adding the new HD-DVD player, I was lost in a sea of remote controls. I did a little research, and found the Logitech Harmony 550 looked to be a great fit. I found it on sale at a local electronics shop, and brought it home. There are a few simple steps to program the remote: 1) install the software on your PC, 2) plug in the remote to your PC via USB cable, 3) enter in each of your manufacturer and models, 4) you choose what activities you want to do (i.e. Watch TV, Watch DVD, Play Game, Play Radio, etc.), and 5) the software downloads all the profiles your remote and programs it. It was easy, and it works fantastic. It was worth every penny.

So, Santa was on top of all of our wish lists this year and delivered a 2007 Techno-Christmas under our tree.

Blast from the Past

So this weekend I went to a wedding for a good friend at work. His name is Frank Thompson. It turns out that he is the uncle of an old friend of mine.

I grew up in Rutgers Village, a small neighborhood in New Brunswick, N.J. right where U.S. 1 and Route 18 meet. The neighborhood is on the border of East Brunswick and New Brunswick, and has always been in an appealing spot. It has an East Brunswick location, with New Brunswick taxes. There is a water pumping station, a stream, a fire house, and a small elementary school all right in the neighborhood. The Fire Chief, much of the police force and fire men, and the part-time mayor all live in this small neighborhood. Crime has been fairly low, and the neighborhood is kept fairly well.

I moved to the neighborhood when I was 7 years old. I used to walk to Woodrow Wilson Elementary School, right in the neighborhood. I played in the three-team baseball league. I was in the neighborhood cub scout troop. I used to ride my bike all weekend long. We used to walk under the U.S. 1 overpass to the Route 1 Flea Market. Ah… the good old days.

So back to the wedding this weekend. It turns out that Frank is the uncle of Ben Thompson… I didn’t make the connection until he introduced himself. Then I remembered. Benji. Benji Thompson. We all used to play baseball together, ride bikes together, go to scouts together. His mother was my scout leader. It was great to see her again. We talked about old neighborhood friends – Kenny Puritz, Mike Blue, Jason Kormondy, David Cleary, Steven Eckert. The rest of the evening, I thought about all of my other friends – Nikki Francisco, Gary Chiang, Steve Aamland.

Strange thing, time. As time moves along, you remember less and less the bad things, and more and more the good things. I know I did not get along with a lot of the kids in the neighborhood. I was a nerd, and easy to pick on. But now that time has worn away the rough edges of those memories, I wonder how all of my old friends are doing. I hope that they stumble across this old blog post, and give me a call. I would love to talk to them again.