Random Thoughts

Tech, words and musings from an Englishman in Seattle

…the producers spent all of their money on avgas and Jet-A and none on writing…

For my money, one of the best writers (ok, bloggers…) on the internets right now is my former colleague at Microsoft, Hal Bryan.

His posts are the highlight of my day. Well, week. Ok, month.

Take this snippet from 583.entry“>his most recent post for example.

Have I no shame?

Actually, I do, but I'm about to squander the last of it away like Jack giving away his cow, without even some magic beans, much less their subsequent beanstalk, to show for it.

I collect DVD's, and have a weakness for certain types of movies and television shows. Sometimes, my standards can actually be fairly high, tending toward well-written dramas, comedies-of-manners - ”Careful there, Vicar“, ”Very droll, Bernard", that sort of thing.

This isn't one of them. Not even close.

No, in this case, I'm admitting to enjoying something terrible. Why? Well, because it has a rather surprising amount of good flying in it. Before Michael Bay gave us Pearl Harbor, before Tony Bill gave us Flyboys, flying scenes in movies and television shows were usually real, and, thus, good. If scenes weren't shot for that particular title, then you might see stock footage. If it was faked, it was usually faked so horribly with models that it was worth watching anyway.

Hal, you need to write more.

A Big Ass Table

I really love this product - I've played with it and have friends that work on the team. I really want one and I want it built into the island in my Kitchen.

But this had me laughing out loud…

[Tip'O'Hat to Kelly for the link.]


Tonight I feel like I live in a community more than ever before.

Up until last week I lived on 8th Street South in Kirkland, right next to the Little League baseball fields - the street is part of a Kirkland known as the Everest Neighbourhood.

Recently, longtime neighbours of ours, the Aubrey's, decided that it was time to downsize after living here since 1972 and raising their kids in their house on 8th. They applied to subdivide their land, but permission came with the stipulation that 5th Avenue South that connects 6th to 7th should be extended through to 8th - obliterating a footpath and lovely area of the neighbourhood in the process.

Not to mention the fact that commuter traffic generated by such a cut-through would destroy the quiet and kid-friendly street one block west.

You can read more about this at the Kirkland Courier's site and this map will show you what I'm talking about.

An appeal was lodged and tonight a quasi-legal hearing was held at Kirkland City Council. It was quasi-legal in the sense that the council members were effectively judges and jurors on the issue and were not allowed to hear any arguments about the case beforehand. Arguments would be presented for and against and entered into the record and most frustratingly, audience members had to be quiet and respectful - no clapping and no standing up and shouting “WTF!”.

You can understand that I was sitting on my hands and biting my tongue throughout the whole proceedings.

There were many empassioned arguments including one by a neighbour who had done some severe homework, turning the city's own planning policy against itself.

So many friends from the neighbourhood showed up. Many with kids. Everyone supporting the appeal. Did I mention that 7th Street has almost forty kids under ten years of age living on it? It's an old school neighbourhood with young parents; kids playing on the street side of their houses with other kids; neighbours chatting and doing favours for each other.


A community that would have been destroyed by a short-sighted, follow the rules, planning policy.

The end result? A unanimous vote by the council1 in favour of our neighbourhood.

Surrounded by neighbours, I have never felt so much a part of a community.

Rock on.

1 Incidentally, there is a certain council member who urgently requires that a bureaucratic stick be surgically removed from their arse. 

Moved In!

So we've actually moved in to our new house and now I'm surrounded by unpacked boxes, all alike.

A prize to the first person to guess the reference…

House warming occurs as soon as I get the plasma on the wall…

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Hansa - Rest In Peace

Most of my friends and all of my family know that I have an incredibly soft spot for that most wonderful of animals, the Elephant.

I've spent many happy days at various zoos and always manage to get to see the Elephants. As a kid, I loved being able to feed them. The gentle but rough touch of their trunks stays with me as an ingrained memory.

Which is why I was so sad to hear that Hansa, the six year old star of Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo died yesterday.


So sad.

I'm touched that the enclosure was closed while the other Elephants were given time to grieve with the body, as they do in the wild.

The zoo has a memorial page here.


I've never watched a single episode of Lost.

Am I missing something?

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Unsubscribing From Partial Feeds

These days I never manage to get all the feeds that I subscribe to read in a single day - I use an aggregator/feed reader for a reason: clicking through to the actual site takes time which I don't have.

Therefore I'm unsubscribing from all blogs that don't offer a full RSS feed - I want to read your posts in my feed reader - not be informed that there's new stuff to read.

This is painful, as it includes a few friends (Kev, that includes you!)

Ho hum.

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Thoughts And Questions On Switching From DirecTV to Cable

I'm in the process of moving house and one of the decisions I have to make is whether to stick with satellite, or move to cable.

Now, I've been incredibly happy with DirecTV, but I've had enough of using an antenna to get the locals in HD. At the moment I can't get NBC or PBS in HD due to issues with reception and I think that it's going to get worse in the new house.

Also, I'd like to move everything to Windows Media Center using CableCard - I think that's a way's off with DirecTV and it's available right now with cable. Excluding HD of course. Does anyone know what the timeline with Vista and HD CableCard access is right now?

Another question: the new house is wired for cat5 and coax. With cable, can I just distribute the incoming signal around the house and split where it's needed when a set-top or WMC box wants multiple physical inputs for multiple tuners?

© 2001 to present, Steve Lacey.