Wednesday, October 26, 2005

66.2 MPG today!

Yes, my 19 mile one-way commute today netted me a whopping 66.2 Miles Per Gallon with my 2005 Honda Civic Hybrid! Ok, so I don't drive necessarily "fast". As a matter of fact, I usually drive in the right lane at around 5 MPH under the speed limit, only speeding up when people behind me get close.

But hey, I'm in no hurry. I think this will be my first tank that lasts over 500 miles. And it's only an 11.9 gallon tank, so it really goes a long way.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

H.Y.B.R.I.D. - How You Bypass Rising International Dependency

The point of a hybrid is not simply economics, even though it does make a difference. Those of us who buy into the hybrid technology are not necessarily trying to save money on gas. We are buying into the future. We are supporting the research and development of cleaner fuels and less emissions. Maybe the current hybrids aren't perfect, but they will keep getting better. And if no one buys into the technology first, it will never get developed.

So are hybrids a farce? Not the big 3 (Civic, Prius, and Insight). Others are using hybrid technology to increase performance rather than improve efficiency (Accord, Ford SUV, etc). Those may be a "farce" but they still do get slightly better mileage than their regular counterparts (like 1-5MPG better - not much).

As for batteries, yes they may be an issue...but we just don't know right now. They are rated to last the lifetime of the car. All we can do is believe that and hope for the best. But it shouldn't be the reason not to buy into hybrid technology. And I am not overly concerned with resale value as I plan to keep this car as long as I can. It's a Civic. It'll last.

Yes, I paid a premium over the regular Civic ($22k vs. $19k) and I may not see that exact amount returned to me in gas savings...or maybe I will. Only time will tell. But that's not the true reason to jump on the hybrid bandwagon. It's about caring about what our current vehicles are doing to our's about reducing our dependency on foreign's about supporting the development of newer cleaner fuel alternatives.

Support change. Support environmentally consciuous technologies. Support Earth.

Why high gas prices don't bother me

I recently bought a 2005 Honda Civic Hybrid, and I couldn't be happier. You may notice at the top of my blog page, there is a banner image that shows my current Miles Per Gallon. This is done through a web site called Every time I get gasoline, I make a note of how many gallons I put in, and how many miles I drove. Then I enter that info on their site, and this image is automatically generated for me to use as a signature, or anywhere else. It averages all the tanks I enter into the site.

Keep an eye on that is climbing up rapidly! Since I moved to San Jose, my commute to work has increased from 4 miles to 19 miles, mostly highway driving. This has boosted my average round trip MPG from low to mid 40's to upper 50's! Yes, I use more gas daily, but I am using it way more efficiently.

From home to work I now typically get 58-60 miles per gallon. It drops to around 56 by the time I get home, but I can live with that!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Church of Reality recognized by IRS

The IRS has recognized the Church of Reality as a religion. What is the Church of Reality? Here's a quote from their site:

The Church of Reality is a religion based on the practice of Realism, believing in everything that is real. Our motto is, "If it's real, we believe in it." Since no one knows all of reality, the Church of Reality is about the pursuit of reality the way it really is. We commit to being intellectually honest with ourselves and with others so that we can cut through the mythology. We want to know about the way things really are in the real world.

Well, at least it's not a religion based on unknowns and fiction, like many other religions in the world. But it's still a "religion", which to me means it's a man-made organization of like-minded individuals who grasp on to an idea about man's creation/evolution/existence.

Personally, religion is a farce to me. What one person believes about how we got here is his/her business. I am more of an atheist than anything else, and by that I mean I do not believe in any one organized religion that explains why we are here or how we got here. Is there a god? Who knows. I actually hope there is not. I don't bow down or worship anyone or anything but life itself. If anything, I am my own god because I am at the center of my own belief system.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Get LinkedIn!

LinkedIn is a cool site for building your network of colleagues, references, friends, etc. You get linked to their friends, and so on, and so on. Great for job hunting, or keeping track of professionals in your industry!

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Les Paul goes digital!

The Gibson Digital Guitar is a genuine Gibson Les Paul, with all of the features and capabilities of a traditional Les Paul, with revolutionary digital technology. Plug in an Ethernet cable and get digital control over each string! Now THIS is the perfect combo for geeky musicians!

Move complete

Well, the move is complete and we are now living out of boxes. Comcast came out and hooked me back up, so I can get online once again.

Our two cats, Artemis and Kramer, were a bit traumatized by the whole experience, but they seem to be settling in now. All in all, it was a very smooth move.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

8 ball, corner pocket...

Setting up the pool table at the new house.

The move begins...

The pool table gets packed. Priorities! Actually, that's someone else's pool table in the van. The pool table movers are still taking ours apart.

We got it!

Yes, the house is now officially and legally ours! So how much do you think I can get for my left kidney?

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

UFO sightings mapped by Google Maps

BoingBoing reports on how uses Google Maps to map UFO sightings from the National UFO Reporting Center.

agámi Systems press release

Our press release hit the wires this morning, so now it's official! The agámi information servers (AIS) are now available...think storage on steroids! Here's a preview:


SUNNYVALE, Calif. - October 11, 2005 - agámi Systems Inc., a leading developer of next-generation information server solutions, announced today that shipments have begun of their first in a family of agámi information servers (AIS). The AIS 3000 series represents a major advancement in network attached storage (NAS) and provides customers with tremendous improvements in functionality, increased performance and capacity, and simplified management with dramatically reduced cost of ownership...

[Download PDF of entire press release]

Monday, October 10, 2005

The Closing

Tomorrow, Tuesday, October 11, 2005, is the day my wife and I become first time home owners. It still doesn't seem real, but buying a house in Silicon Valley wasn't as painful as we had originally expected. Of course, it will be difficult living life with one less arm and one less leg.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Electric guitar with FireWire

Gizmodo reports on this intriguing new guitar! For us musicians who love technology and are always looking to combine our two passions, this just may be the ticket!

Datel Launches 4GB Hard Drive for PSP

Gizmodo writes about a very interesting piece of technology for Sony Playstation Portable users (of which I am one). How about a 4GB hard drive AND battery pack? Sweet!

Saturday, October 08, 2005

"Name that metaverse"

Second Life is getting some serious press, this time on C|Net's Just passing it along!

Friday, October 07, 2005

Google RSS Reader in Beta!

Yes, the ubiquitous web whores known as Google have done it again! This time with an interesting web-based news/RSS feed reader. Is there anything these guys won't tackle?

Check it out...and by the way, the URL for this blog's RSS feed is

Too many cooks? Open Source vs Commercial Part 2

(This is part 2 of my post titled Too many cooks? Open Source vs Commercial Part 1)

So why do most Silicon Valley people hate Microsoft? I mean, the vast majority of all home computers in the world are running some version of Windows. So they must be doing something right...right?

As I have come to find out, big business is a good thing...until it gets TOO big. At least that's what people here seem to be telling me. Too much power in too few hands is a dangerous thing. Monopoly bad. Competition good. Microsoft bad. Anyone competing with Microsoft good.

There may be some truth to these statements. But it seems to be more of a religious argument than anything else. Why else would people have used Netscape 4 (worst browser EVER) instead of Internet Explorer 4? The bottom line is that there will always be die hards in both camps.

In any case, the open source movement is spurred on by the likes of Microsoft. Passionate people looking for alternatives go against commercial conventions and release basically FREE software worked on by other like-minded programmers all pulling together for the same cause. Sounds good! And in some cases, it is good. But in other cases, it can truly be a mess.

I use many tools in my job...many are open source, many are commercial

Use the best tool for the job. That's easy to say, a lot harder to do. In many cases, the best tool may be a ridiculously expensive piece of software that only corporations can afford to purchase. I've seriously seen software aimed at the corporate world sell for tens, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Enter the open source alternatives. You may be lacking a few features, or installations may be awkward or cumbersome, but heck, it's free!

So why not opt for the alternative every time? Support, for one. Many open source programs don't offer professional support. Sure, there are plenty of online discussion forums that can provide help, but that's never a guarantee. Also, with open source, since there is no true governing body except the programmers that write the software, there is no guarantee that the product will keep getting updated at all. The programmers could all decide they are bored with the project, and you're up the proverbial creek.

..........TO BE CONTINUED...........

So I'm not witty enough?

I just talked to my brother. I asked if he had been reading this blog. He said yeah, and that he is still waiting for my wit to kick in. To that, I say...

I got your wit right here!

Phone picture #1

My new favorite drink!

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Everything should be this easy

Got home, plugged it all in, and it works. Couldn't have been easier. So far, Vonage gets a big thumbs up

Vonage comes through!

I just received the package from Vonage. What service! I ordered it yesterday, and it's here today...all the way from Ohio. :-)

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Too many cooks? Open Source vs Commercial Part 1

Is open source software better than commercial software?
This is a topic that interests me for several reasons.

  • I use many tools in my job...many are open source, many are commercial
  • I find the politics of it very interesting
  • It's easy to argue both sides
  • Silicon Valley's general leanings toward open source is surprising
First, some perspective. I grew up on the East Coast and used computers as a hobby. I never studied computer science or engineering. In fact, my degree is in Communications (Television/Film production to be precise).

In the early '90's, when the Internet started really becoming mainstream, I decided to make computers my career. The TV industry was just not as fun as I had expected, nor as glamorous as it sounds.

So in 1996, me and my then fiancée Kris moved out to California when 3Com offered me a position as their intranet webmaster. This was exciting and scary because I felt like I was going to go play with the big boys of the computer industry in Silicon Valley! And I was totally a self-taught hobbyist surrounded by not very tech savvy people in South Florida.

My whole idea about what California was all about was way off. First, it's not all like LA. Second, Northern California was very diverse and buzzing with techies looking for that next big thing. And finally, everyone I met hated Microsoft!

WHAT??? Am I in the right place? Isn't this supposed to be the technology center of the country, if not the world, and all I hear is disdain for Microsoft? How can that be? I loved MS. Hmmm...maybe these techies know something I don't.

..........TO BE CONTINUED...........

New "social" browser coming

Intriguing, if nothing else. A new browser is coming out that supposedly integrates many popular social web activities, like blogging, picture sharing, collaboration, etc. Something to keep an eye on, anyway.

Press '1' for great customer service

I called Vonage. I told them I was stupid. I told them I put in the wrong address for shipping and that the package never arrived and I wasn't sure if I could track it down. They did the best thing they could have done. They OVERNIGHTED me another one to the correct address...FREE!

Well, they said they had to charge me $99 ($89 for the device, $9.95 for shipping), but that they would FIRST credit my account $99, THEN charge me $99. That's...let's see...add this...carry the one...ummm...FREE!

Needless to say I was a bit shocked. It's not every day you get good customer service. I would have considered it good customer service if they still had to charge me for the shipping...I mean it was my own stupid fault in the first place!

But nooooooooo! They had to go and pull a fast one on me and go the extra mile. Sons of bitches...just when I was ready to stop believing. Just when I was going to throw in the towel and become a tree-hugging, commerce-hating, Jamba Juice-drinking, pinko bastard, they had to go and turn it all around.

Dialtone to my heart
I love her. That lovely voice that said "Don't worry, we'll credit you first...". The melodic tone of "So we're shipping to Sunnyvale, right?". The sweet, beautiful way her breath whispered to my very soul, "Have a nice day!"

Oh wonderous Ms. Vonage, how you've made my heart go pitter-pat. I will cherish our brief, yet exhilirating affair. Our voices meeting in the dark corridors of electric null space...blind, yet more alive than a fast busy signal!

Of course, if this package arrives late, it's all over, bitch.

Stupid thing I did #1

I guess it's all the excitement of moving that has my brain wrapped in bubble wrap and packed with styrofoam peanuts. As you know, I ordered the Vonage phone service, and they shipped out the device that hooks up to my network. It still hasn't gotten here, and my phone number has already been transferred.

So I tried tracking the package and it says it's at the Fremont post office. Hmmmm. Fremont. I thought I had it shipped to my office in Sunnyvale...not something the Fremont post office would normally handle.

Well, it turns out that I had my shipping address in my Vonage account setup to my OLD office address in San Jose, which is a bit closer to the Fremont post office. Ugggh! Now I have to try to track it down. Amazing it took me this long to figure out I had the wrong address considering I've been tracking the package for days.

Quest for the Holy PHP Editor 2: The Decision

This is a follow up to my previous post on trying to find the best PHP code editor.

I think I've made my decision. It's ActiveState's Komodo. I love it. Does almost everything I need an editor to do. It works with the two source code control systems I need (Perforce and Subversion), has code folding, macros, code completion, project management, yadda yadda yadda...

Now to see if my company will buy me a full license!

LindeX in resumes!

Previously, I had posted on the closing of the online game currency trading website Gaming Open Market. Well, just as they closed, Linden Labs, the makers of Second Life, opened a public beta of their currency trading mechanism called LindeX (for Linden eXchange, in case you missed the subtle and clever naming scheme).

How does it differ from GOM? Is it better? Worse? Too early to tell right now, but suffice it to say I have been trading successfuly on LindeX for the last couple of days and all seems to work well so far!

Moving on up!

We actually did what we thought we'd never be able to do in Silicon Valley...we bought a house! Well, it's a townhouse. Actually, it's "legally" a condo, but in the tradition of legalese, we will refer to said condo as "the new house".

The new house is great! It's in San Jose, near the border of Los Gatos. It is 1500 square feet, has a large patio, and a huge garage. The kitchen has been completely redone with new cabinets and hardwood floors. It's a two story house, with 2 master suites and 2.5 baths.

Our cats will have to learn how to use the stairs! Maybe this is the kind of exercise they need to go from Garfield to Sylvester ;-) Anyway, we're excited to move in! We'll finally have a decent place for the pool table!

The cool thing #1: We found this house the first time out looking for houses, put an offer on it the next day, and got accepted that same day! Talk about FAST!

The cool thing #2: Even though the price of this house is absurd compared to almost anywhere else in the US, it was by far the least expensive house we saw that day, and the one that had the most to offer.

The cool thing #3: Moving is what caused me to look at Vonage since we needed to cancel our existing phone service anyway...and we got to keep our number! (See post below)

All in all, this is an exhilirating, and sometimes scary, time. Our first house! I'll keep you posted as things progress...

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Vonage...the cool thing

Yes, I finally did it and signed up for Vonage. What is it? Well, it lets me use my Internet connection as my phone, using any standard telephone. This is not your typical PC-to-PC voice over IP system. This actually gives you an honest to goodness telephone number that you can receive calls on from any regular phone. And you can also make calls to anywhere as well, just like a regular phone. The only difference is that it bypasses your friendly neighborhood telephone company and uses your friendly neighborhood ISP instead!

The cool thing #1:
It's cheaper. We signed up for the $14.99/month plan (half of what we were paying to SBC) and get 500 minutes/month (WAY more than we'll ever use). Long distance fees are a thing of the past. And Vonage-to-Vonage calls are free.

The cool thing #2:
We got to keep our existing phone number! We are moving from Sunnyvale to San Jose, and we will keep the same phone number we've had for almost 10 years :-)

The cool thing #3:
It's high-tech :-) For someone who loves technology and gadgets, this is a must have.

The cool thing #4:
This is probably THE COOLEST thing of all...we can get our voicemail delivered to us in an email as a .WAV attachment! Or we can login to our Vonage website and see/hear all our messages online, including seeing the caller ID, time logs, etc. All calls in and out get logged. Very cool!

agámi launches!

Yesterday, the company I work for, agámi Systems, launched its first network attached storage appliance! After two years in the making, we are all very proud of what we have accomplished. Exciting times ahead!

Life is not always fair...

My friend Doug recently found out that he has cancer. View his blog about it here.