Category: "family/personal"

Pleonast RSS

My brother has a weblog at a site that doesn't provide an RSS feed for its blogs. I like reading what he says, but I can't be bothered to go look at the site periodically to check for new posts. That's so twentieth century. So, I wrote a screen scraping script that generates an rss feed for me. Subscribe to this feed and get Mike's posts without leaving your feed reader. You can change the url and get other users, too: Angie.

Regarding feed readers, I'm still using Bloglines and I'm very happy with it. A lot of people are switching to Google Reader and it is very nice, too. I've tried it, but I miss the way Bloglines lets me reorder my folders and feeds however I want.

Emma's halloween episode

Dancing Bananas: Episode 2 is available for download.

We also already have some halloween pictures in the gallery.

Beauty the cat

Beauty curled up on a chairEmma introduced her new cat, Beauty, in the first episode of her show, but what she didn't tell you is that Bearsmicks is gone. When we brought Beauty home, Bearsmicks hissed and growled at him a lot. After about a week, he went outside and we haven't seen him since. We put an ad with his picture in the paper, but we haven't heard anything. Emma has been pretty upset, but we're just hoping that he's found another good home.

Beauty is doing well and we've decided to get another cat to keep him company. Since the cats will be younger they should get along better. We're also going to introduce them more gradually than we did last time.

Dancing Bananas: Emma's TV show

Dancing Bananas Emma has her own show now. It's called Dancing Bananas and it will basically be her telling stories and jokes and generally sharing her perspective on life. In the first episode she explains how she got the idea for the name, tells a couple of jokes and the story of how we got our new cat.

There are several ways to get the show. The easiest is just to go to her website: Dancing Bananas and watch the YouTube version of the show. That may take the least effort, but it won't be the best quality. For the high quality version, you can download it from her site, or subscribe to the Broadcast Machine feed. You can then get all new shows automatically downloaded to iTunes, Democracy Player or your video podcast client of choice. There are subscribe buttons on Emma's site. I think Democracy might be the best way to get it. They just released a new version and it's a very cool program. This could be a good excuse for you to check it out.

If you have show ideas, questions or fan mail, please use the comment form on Emma can answer your mail in future episodes.

A month at Trinity

I've been at my new job for about a month now, so I thought it was about time for an update. I am working for a company called Trinity Transport. They're a transportation intermediary, or a trucking brokerage. You can find out more about them at their web site, but here's all you really need to know: When a company wants to move some freight, instead of calling a carrier directly they can call a broker. The broker arranges for a carrier and makes sure the load gets moved. Of course, they charge a bit more to the shipper than they pay to the carrier, but they handle all of the headaches. That's basically what the company does.

Trinity has offices and salesmen around the country, but the headquarters is in Delaware. I spent my first week on the job in Delaware. I went through the company orientation and sat down with the other programmers to learn about the projects we're working on. I was there over a weekend, so I spent a day in Washington DC. And I spent a day at the beach, which is about 40 miles from where I was working. Here are pictures from those trips.

I'm working on a product called TTI ShipDirect. You can't see anything there without a login and password, but it's a price comparison site for less than truckload shipments. It's written in PHP with a PostgreSQL database, but the company is starting to use Ruby on Rails for new projects, so I've been learning that, too. I made this little program in just a few hours. Feel free to poke around, create an account, add posts and add comments. The comment form uses AJAX, which is especially easy to do in Ruby on Rails.

While I was in Delaware, they gave me a laptop to get started. But now that I've got settled at my Kansas City office, I have a brand new Mac Mini with a 20" wide-screen monitor. I'm using Synergy to share the mouse and keyboard with both computers. And I'm using Textmate to edit code on the Mac.

I'm having lots of fun at the new job, and apparently I left the bank just in time. It was robbed at gunpoint last week, which had never happened in the bank's 70-year history. If I hadn't quit, I would have been covering the window that got robbed over lunch time.

Off to Delaware

I'm leaving early tomorrow for a week of training in Delaware for my new job. Have a good week, see you August 10.

Chicago trip pictures

Chicago skyline from the bean Sara, Danny, dinos From Sears Tower

We left Indiana one day last week and went to Chicago with my grandparents, sister and cousins. We also met Sara's friend Julie. We saw the Field Museum, Art Institute, Cloud Gate (The Bean), Sears Tower and Navy Pier. It was a very full day and we all had a great time. You can check out the pictures in the Chicago Trip photo album.

Mike's wedding

I spent all of last week in Indiana for my brother's wedding. Here's a short video I made with wedding day highlights.


New phone

I finally broke down and got a cell phone. If anyone wants my number email me. It's Cingular, so if you use that then we can talk for free. I assure you, a conversation with me is not worth paying for.

Moving on

Today I turned in my resignation at the bank.

I'm taking a job with a transportation company doing PHP development. I'm going to be a real live programmer. Over the last few months I've realized two things: 1) I'm spending a good deal of my time at the bank doing banking things (loan processing, teller, etc), which I do not find interesting or exciting, and 2) I'm not making very much money, compared to other IT workers. This new job will fix both of those problems.

My last day at the bank is July 21 and I'll start at the new job on July 31. I will be driving about 55 miles to Kansas City, but at least I have a car that gets good mileage now. This will be my first full-time programming job and I'll be working with a team on a project that is already underway. It should be a great learning experience.

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