Saturday, February 21, 2009

Our New Bed

Since Jessi and I got married, we've been sleeping on an air mattress designed for camping. What can I say? We were cheap. :) Well, Jessi finally got fed up and we started saving for a bed and as you can guess today was the magical day it was delivered. We ended up getting a queen sized Issaquah Englander. So, here are some pictures of the momentous occasion.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Stop Animation Peanut Butter Jelly Time

This video was put together by my mom's second cousin, Alex (My Mom's cousin's son, which makes us related... somehow). He did it for a school project and it took 400 pictures. Besides the fact that the song is fun, it's a cool video too. So here's to promoting family creations. I hope you like it.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Lego Death Star

It recently came to my attention that we never showed the pictures of our completed Lego Death Star. It was an excellent project with many pieces being snapped together and there were only a couple of times we completely confused ourselves. Believe me, there are parts when making the "still under construction" section that make you go batty. Still, we made it through and it looks pretty good. It is now prominently displayed in our living room for visitors to admire.

I saw this style of picture layout on another blog and thought I'd give it a go.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Making a Snowman

So this picture was recently discovered in the Furlo Archive. If I had to guess, this picture was taken the winter of 1989/1990. Going left to right: my brother (Matthew), my mom (Dawn), my dad (Guy) and me (James).

In the bay area it's rare to get snow and even rarer to have enough to actually make a snowman. Given the apparent resources, it looks like we did a pretty good job. Also, I totally remember that Tonka Truck - it moved a lot of dirt for me.

Finally, if I had to be honest, my brother looks pretty cute. I especially like the apron and sideways hat.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Computer Programs I Use

I see this as part 2 of the previous post talking about being busy. Hopefully this one is better.

For a long time I liked to think I was a classic web 2.0 junky. I was that person who had multiple things open and was magically able to track all of it at once. I believed I was that person who let my personal and work life interweave constantly. After all, I've got my work email and calendar on my phone which I check all the time.

Also furthering my believe are the applications I have open automatically on my computer. These are the applications I have open... all of which are web-based:
However, then I realized something. When I'm busy, and working hard on a project, my list of applications changes drastically. For example, when I'm programming websites, these are the applications I have open. Ironically, only one is web-based.
  • Notepad++ (like Notepad, but with color coding for programing)
  • Filezilla (FTP tool to upload files to remote servers)
  • Navicat (mySQL database tool to update, create and modify database tables)
  • iTunes (music player... not Pandora)
  • Photoshop (photo editing tool)
  • Firefox (web browser, but showing tutorials or the project I'm working on)
Looking at this list, it's clear I get rid of all the extra noise. This probably helps explain why my inbox starts to fill up: I'm simply not checking it anymore. I also think it's weird that I switch to iTunes instead of staying with Pandora, I think it's because it's easier to put iTunes in the background.

I do the same thing when I get engrossed in a project for HP. All my applications switch to work tools. I'll even close Firefox completely (gasp!) to focus better.

Finally, when I'm doing something personal (like writing this post), I use Google Docs. However, when I'm doing something professional, I use Microsoft Office. For as much as I like to think I'm a "web guy" I'm really not when it comes to actual work.

So, when I become busy and start working hard, I leave the Internet world. I go back to a distraction free and local environment. The best part is that I don't even care. So what that I miss the latest friend updates? So what if I miss some breaking news story?

So what does this make me? Clearly I'm not a classic web 2.0 junky. I really haven't devoted my life to the online world (which I'm fine with). There seems to be a clear distinction between my personal choices and professional choices.

Ah man! Here I am at the end of another post without some deep and meaningful conclusion! Oh well, hopefully these observations spark some interest to look into your own life. Feel free to share (or not) how you would classify yourself.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

How I know When I'm Busy

I've found that my life tends to move in cycles. There are periods of time when I'm not doing much and other times when I'm extremely busy (normally by choice). These cycles tend to correlate very closely with both the beginning and end of projects. I get excited and start working... and really don't stop for much. I also seem to go through a complete cycle about every 4 weeks.

I've noticed the best indicator of my busyness is my email inbox. 

When I'm not busy, my inbox has less than 5 emails in it - often zero. I'm easily able to keep up without any problems. Having an empty inbox is a good feeling. A REALLY good feeling. So when I'm not busy an empty inbox is what I strive for. This period lasts for about 3 weeks.

When I get busy, my inbox fills up fast. I actually start to realize just how much email I go through in a day. I currently have 40 emails, and it will probably climb to over 60 or 70 before I start whittling it down again. Which if I'm falling past behavior, will be in a few days because that'll be end of this busy week.

Then the cycle will complete and within a couple days I'll be back down to an empty inbox. It's crazy - I know.

I don't know if I have some deeply insightful point - I wish I did - I just thought I'd share what I've noticed. I guess that by acknowledging this pattern it helps me cope. As my inbox climbs closer to the century mark, I think it starts to bug me. It starts influencing my choices and I start opting to take care of other things in life. I suppose that's a good thing.

I now know that my inbox is filling up because of a choice I'm making. I can now decide to slow down and catch up, or decide to wait and no matter what it'll be OK because I know I can, and will, easily catch back up. So that's good too.

Here's a point: So, if you're sending me an email and I don't reply right away, fear not. I'm just busy and will definitely get back to you later. About a week later.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

How Apple Could Make More Money and Make Us Happier Too

It appears that Apple's App Store now officially has over 18,000 applications available. 18,000! That's a huge number! Frankly, it's such a large number it's impossible, even overwhelming to think about, to check out each of these. As a result, many solid applications simply fall to the side.

This situation is frustrating for me because I'm probably missing out on some very helpful applications. This situation must surly be frustrating for application developers because timing of it's release it extremely important. It's probably also frustrating for Apple because they realize there is the gap created by the exponential growth of the App Store.

The solution, I believe, can be partly solved with a better search engine on iTunes. First, in addition to keyword-based results, Apple should let the number of downloads and ratings influence the results. Second, Apple should include paid search results with regular search results. They should structure it exactly like regular search engines where developers bid on keywords and Apple displays relevant applications. Developers are then charged when either the application is viewed or downloaded.

These changes will help with a couple of items. First, this will help users like me find better applications easier. Second, it gives newer developers a chance to be seen. Third, it provides another stream of income for Apple. It's a solution which is simple and fair.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Update: Which way is she spinning?!

Look at the spinning woman and if she is turning right your right side of your brain is working.

If she is turning left your left side of your brain is working.

If she turns both ways for you then you have a 160 or better IQ.

So, I received this email from a friend which has a bunch of brain teasers. Typically I've seen all of them already, but this was a new one for me. So I sat there for the longest time watching it spin - watching it spin RIGHT the entire time.

Then Jessi walks over and says, "Oh yeah, she spins both ways."


What followed next was a series of her telling me when it "switches" directions and me pointing out that, no, it is still spinning RIGHT.

It never got to the point of her making fun of me for my apparent lack of an IQ, but I wanted to put it out there. Which way is she spinning?

The good news? If she's spinning at all, I guess that means at least some part of your brain is working.