Category Archives: Miscellaneous

SQL Saturday 71 – Boston re-cap

Just in case anyone that reads this blog is interested, I posted my re-cap and notes from the SQL Saturday event I attended in Boston last weekend on my relatively new SQL DBA blog: SQL Saturday 71 – Boston re-cap

Bird Rescue Part 3

This morning Maggie noticed we had ANOTHER bird stuck in our wood stove!  I blame the insane winter weather we are having lately for the birds wanting to take refuge in our chimney at all costs.

This afternoon Maggie was able to coax the bird into the box system we’ve used twice now successfully.  Unfortunately, one of the flaps slid open and the bird escaped into our apartment!  Chaos quickly ensued as we scramble to find a way to free it/keep it away from the cats (although it would have been fun to see them chase a live bird around our apartment for a while, maybe next time!).

Somehow it got in between a chest of drawers and wall in our dining room, where Maggie was able to throw a hoodie over it and trap it temporarily.  While on the floor trying to wrap it in the hoodie to help get it out of our apartment, the bird escaped and flew between Maggie’s legs and into the kitchen, where it proceeded to get stuck between the blinds and the window.  Maggie was able to grab it (while it shrieked to be freed) and rush it out the door and back into the wild.

It was a chaotic couple minutes, but luckily it didn’t damage anything or defecate anywhere.  Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures of the hilarity that ensued 🙂

Picture worth a thousand words

This was the scene Sunday as Maggie investigated a bird (the 2nd one in < 1 year) stuck in our stove/chimney, wearing a Packers Santa hat (the NFC Division Champ game was on), with Lucy supervising.  I couldn’t help but laugh at the scene and grab this pic with my iPhone.  I like the array of colors in this pic.

After a couple days of waiting, we were finally able to get the bird out today.  The trick we used both times was to open some holes on the top of the stove, put an open box over the hole in hopes the bird would hop up and sit on top of the exterior of the stove.  For most of the last couple days the bird was in the chimney, unwilling to be coaxed out into the main stove, much less the top, but finally today it decided to explore it’s confines further, probably desperate for food or water.  Once perched on the top, we then slid a folded up (and thus thin) box under the open one, thus trapping the bird between both boxes long enough to get him out side and released back into the wild.

Now we can go back to the peace and quiet of a bird-less wood stove, and the kittens will no longer stare at the stove wondering what is making the racket!

Kittens

I have to admit, our new kittens are pretty cute…

Anybody out there?

Does anyone read my blog any more? Or do you get your status and photo updates of what Maggie and I are up to enough through other means such as Facebook? When I started this blog many relatives weren’t on Facebook, but now most of them are.

Vote in the poll below:

Awesome iPhone App Roundup

Since I’ve owned an iPhone now for about 6 months I’ve discovered many cool and useful apps.  Here are a few of my favorites that do cool or unique things for a cell phone:

MLB At Bat 2010 – $14.99 – This app is a great companion to the MLB.TV subscription which I purchased this year.  It allows me to stream video or audio of any game that isn’t blacked out to my phone.  So far it has been mostly novelty, but did come in handy recently when out to dinner, we could watch the Twins game at our table instead of the Red Sox or Yankees who dominate most TVs at bars and restaurants here.  I can’t get over how cool it is to be able to watch baseball on my phone over 3G with crystal clear video.

Air Video – $2.99 – With Air Video you can stream videos on demand from your home computer to your iPhone without the need to convert them first and download them to the iPhone.  In order to do so, you just install a small server application on your computer and tell it where to look for video.  Then fire up the iPhone app and connect to your home PC over WiFi or 3G over the internet and you can browse any video you have shared and stream it directly to your phone.  If you spend a lot of time converting video for use on your iPhone, this app will complete eliminate this step, saving you lots of time converting and saving videos to your iPhone. How cool is that?

Geocaching – $9.99 – If you know me well, you know I enjoy geocaching.  This app gives me a direct link to the data stored on the geocaching.com servers, including cache locations on a map, cache descriptions, hints, previous logs, pretty much everything that comes in handy when geocaching.  I still use my Garmin handheld GPSr for dedicated geocaching trips, but many times I also have my iPhone out, using it to learn more about the cache to help me find it.  Also it comes in handy for impromptu geocaching, such as when we were at the mall this past weekend and I got a notification that there were two new caches at the mall, so we paused our shopping and were the first to find both of them.

Foursquare – Free – Foursquare is a unique location based app that lets you check in to places you visit and see where your friends are checked in. Also you can see tips left by other users when you check into locations, so you can know whether to try the clam pizza or not.  Also, if you check in more times than anyone else in a couple month span, you can become mayor of that location, which at participating business can provide you with special discounts or free food.  Unfortunately not many of my friends use this yet, nor do many business in New Haven provide deals for Mayors, but I’m hoping one day this will really catch fire and my mayorships will pay off.

MyTown – Free – Like Foursquare, the main idea of this game is to check into the places you visit in your town.  Once you check in, you are able to buy that place of business and add it to your “town”.  When other users visit places you own, you can collect rent from them, which allows you to upgrade and buy more venues that you visit.  It is fun building up your town and seeing which places are more popular than others, providing more rent.  This location based app feels more like a game than Foursquare, but lacks the social aspects that Foursquare provides.  Since most of my friends don’t use either of these apps, I get the most entertainment out of MyTown over Foursquare because of the emphasis on game play over the social benefits of the game.

Glympse – Free – I just recently downloaded this app and haven’t used it much, but it gives you the ability to send a friend a link that shows where you are on a map on their computer.  If you leave the application open on the iPhone, it will show your friend where you are traveling, how fast you are going, etc… I think this will be handy for me so I can let Maggie know where I go when I take off geocaching so she can find me if she ever needs to.

Golf Logix – 24hr Free Trial, $39.95 yearly membership – Since golf season has recently started, I decided to try to find some apps to help my golf game.  This one is handy because it shows you distances to the green, and various other locations (bunker, water, 150 yard layup, etc..) for each hole as you play it.  I used the free trial on my most recent golf outing, and can see how this would be a very handy and inexpensive range finder.  We’ll see if I decide to fork out for the subscription service or not.  Still I think this is a great use of the GPS technology provided by the iPhone 3GS.

Mocha VNC Lite – Free – If you’re a geek like me you’re probably familiar with what VNC is.  It basically allows you to connect to your computer from any other computer and use it like you were sitting in front of it.  This application does the same, only on the small screen of the iPhone.  It works surprisingly well, although I don’t use it very often, I still think it’s cool to be able to do such a thing from my phone.

Target – Free – If you’re a frequent Target shopper like me, this app will come in handy.  It lets you select your local store and search for a product and returns the price and aisle location so you can quickly find it.  Also, they just added a bar code scanner function, so you can scan the bar code to find the price of an item while in the store or at home.

Pandora Radio – Free – Streaming music even over 3G connections, ’nuff said!  Comes in handy while working out when I’ve tired of my MP3 library.

IMDB (Internet Movie Database) – Free – Maggie and I use this application very often, when we want to figure out who the actor is in a show or movie we’re watching, and what other shows they’ve been on.

Baseball Season

Today is opening day for Major League Baseball.  I’ve never quite understood the theory of essentially starting the season on a Monday.  Wouldn’t a weekend start make more sense and get more people involved in those first few exciting games?  Anyway, I’m excited for what the season has in store for the Minnesota Twins.  I think they’ve made a good team better in the off-season, so it should be fun to see how far they can go this year.   I’m also excited to see them playing outdoors at Target Field.  Thanks to the wonders of MLB.TV (live internet broadcast) , I’ll be able to watch just about any Twins game I want over the course of the season.  I already started with the exhibition game at Target Field on Friday night.  Maggie said it well when she noted that it didn’t look like a home game because nothing looked familiar at all.  I’m sure after a few weeks we’ll get used to seeing Target Field on the TV and it will start to feel like their home park.

The Twins start their season on the road tonight when the visit the Anaheim Angels.  Game time is 10:05 Eastern and I’ll be watching!