Archive for May, 2006

Katie’s Last Day

Define attraction.  What is it that draws us to one another?  I found myself thinking about this tonight (and probably not for the reasons you might think).  I have always had a slight crush on Katie Couric from the Today show, and today was her last day on NBC.  As I watched, I started thinking about what qualities define attraction for me.

Money doesn’t matter – what you do for a living doesn’t matter.  Have a sense of adventure and demonstrate ambition toward whatever you are passionate about.  Self confidence is sexy, but not at the expense of genuine emotion.  Remember to laugh at life.  Remember to love and care for others.  Above all – remember that some things in life can’t be undone or taken back.  Trust your heart and let it lead you.

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NASA STS-121: On Track for July 1st

NASA held a space shuttle program update briefing on April 28, 2006.  Right now, it appears that STS-121 is still on schedule for a launch at the beginning of July.  All modifications to the PAL ramp are complete, and a decision has been made not to modify the 34 ice frost ramps on the external tanks.  The ice frost ramps connect the underlying aluminum tank with metal brackets.  If these brackets were uninsulated in the warm and humid environment in Florida, ice would form.  NASA’s plan for now is, “one change at a time.”  The next two shuttle flights are still scheduled for launch during daylight hours in order to properly observe any foam debris shed from the launch vehicle.

Waynw Hale, Manager of the Space Shuttle Program, confirmed that 2010 is still the retirement date for the Shuttle.  This means that the international space station must be completed in the next three and a half years.

Mr. Hale’s closing remakrs from the briefing …

” … we are continuing to work toward the July 1st launch opportunity.  We have a huge amount of work ahead of us, but we have a good plan I think and we have many dedicated people that are working very hard here at the Marshall Space Flight Center. Kennedy Space Center, Johnson, and the other NASA centers around the agency have really stepped up to help us.”


Novatel Merlin S620

It’s here, it’s here!  I received my Sprint mobile broadband card today.  I went with the Novatel S620.  The S620 has a dual band diversity antenna that enhances performance by maximizing data throughput. The Merlin S620 operates on the EV-DO and CDMA2000 1X 800 and 1900 MHz networks.  Have I lost you yet?

CDMA stands for code division multiple access.  CDMA2000 is a 3G (third generation) mobile telecommunications standard.  1xEV-DO refers to Evolution-Data Optimized.  The next incarnation of this technology will be 1xEV-DV (Evolution-Data/Voice).

For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, let me slim it down a bit.  It is a high speed wireless card for my laptop computer.  It allows me to access the Internet even in places without traditional forms of internet access.  So I could be sitting in a park writing this post.  Since it is late at night, I am in my living room (and not that park).  But I am using the Sprint card for access.  So how fast is it?  Well, I am getting about 450 Kbps on average.  That is about a third of regular DSL speeds, but it is about 8 times faster than dialup.

* CDMA2000 is a registered trademark of the Telecommunications Industry Association.


Upgrade XP Pro to Vista Ultimate? Not.

So I decided that I wanted to see what Windows Vista is all about.  I got my hands on the latest beta build from MS, and I set out on this adventure.  At first I was just going to do a clean install on my home machine (for no particular reason).  Then is occurred to me I should probably just upgrade my existing Windows XP Pro (64-bit edition).

The install told me that if I wanted to upgrade, I needed to do so from within Windows.  So I rebooted and launched the install from DVD within Windows.  To my surprise, it then came back with a different problem.  It said, “Upgrading from Windows XP Professional Edition to Vista Ultimate Edition is not supported.”  What?  How is it that MS thinks it customers won’t want to upgrade from XP Pro to Vista?  Maybe this is just a beta thing, but it concerns me.  How on earth are they going to make their timeline for a release this fall if they have not worked out an upgrade path yet?  I’m starting to understand the position of our friends at Gartner.

Progress update.  After the install copied all my existing Windows files and folders to a backup folder, my machine rebooted and promptly started to blue screen.  I’m starting to regret having taken on this mess.  My money is on a need for newer SATA RAID drivers.


Chamberlains Steak & Chop House

I have a new favorite steakhouse in the metroplex.  May I introduce Chamberlains Steak & Chop House, located off Belt Line Road in Addison.  I had a business dinner there ealier this week, and was highly impressed by the service, the food, and the atmosphere.  One of my associates is good friends with Richard Chamberlain, the head chef and proprietor.  Richard came out and spoke with us both before dinner and during our meal.  A couple other interesting notes – Richard will be appearing on the NBC Today show in early July.  He also has a new place in Las Vegas called ENVY Steakhouse.

If you do decide to visit, let me make some recommendations.  Don’t miss the appetizer sampler – Colossal Shrimp Cocktail, Seared Ahi Tuna, and Kobe Beef Pot Stickers (I could have made an entire meal out of the pot stickers).  The prime bone in filet was also spectacular.  And if you love wine, this is your kind of place.


Cinco de Mayo & a Bachelor Party

What a weekend.  Friday night’s Cinco de Mayo happy hour didn’t really end (for me) until 2:00 AM on Saturday morning.  The good folks from Dos Equis dropped in on Ben’s Half Yard House around 12:30 AM (brining free gifts – and more importantly, free beer).  Randy, Brit, and I all had fun – and we made some new UK friends in the process

So needless to say, I slept away most of Saturday.  Excluding times when I have been on an actual vacation, I don’t remember the last time I closed down a bar.  Am I getting old?  Anyway.  Saturday night was Dennis’ bachelor party.  Many thanks to Shawn (who both arranged the transportation and served as the DD for the night).  Dinner at Bob’s Steak and Chop House was quite good.  The atmosphere was a bit loud, but the food was excellent.  If you were sitting at a table near us, I hope we did not offend you.

And what would a bachelor party be if it did not appeal to all the senses.  The van just magically led us toward The Men’s Club.  Enough said.  A good time was had by all (especially Dennis).  Dennis and Erin – I wish you only the best as you and embark of the rest of your life together.  May God bless you, your home, and your new life together.


Darfur, Sudan

Genocide:  Acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group.

Rwanda, 1994.  The world looked the other way.
Sudan, 2006.  We can not afford to look the other way.

In Darfur, two million displaced people face death.  The Sudanese Government and the Janjaweed don’t want humanitarian aid to reach these people.  Instead they perpetuate murder, rape, and terror.  Peace talks are on the brink of collapse.  180,000 people are already dead.  How many more must die before we decide to get involved?

Pray.  Pray for the parties involved in the peace talks.  Let your elected leaders hear your voice.  Donate money if you can.  Don’t wait – there isn’t enough time to wait.


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