Tuesday, May 13, 2008

All on-line all the time

This last month I moved into a new apartment. So far the only bill I cannot pay online is my apartment rent. Now, I could pay it online, but that would simply be bill-pay and I am not certain it till arrive on time, so I am not going to do that. The cool thing is that everyone has online payment options. No running to the post office or finding a place to make the payment. I may have to talk to the management at the apartment complex about setting up an online payment option. It should be more efficient than what they are doing.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Been preoccupied

Well, I have not been posting, as I visited the wife for a weekend and then got into apartment hunting, found one and moved. Spent lots of money and time doing it all, but I am now settled in pretty much. Pictures to follow.

The place is in Auburn, right across the street from the Muckleshoot (yes that is their real name) Indian lands. They have a large shopping center and a huge casino there. I have not had any time to gamble yet, but have visited the QFC, which is a nice little store.

The apartment is a small one bedroom but I have room for more furniture.

The day I moved in Comcast came by and installed my Internet. Well, I was supposed to get 6 MB download speeds and was getting very slow speeds and called their tech support late at night, like midnight and got help. Needed to reset the modem; did almost nothing. It turns out that the cable I got with the modem was the main issue and now everything is great! Fastest downloads I have ever had and good service, too!

Oh, put in a new Linksys router and it is working great too. I needed a firewall and I hate software firewalls.

Hmmm... not much more to say. Check me out on Twitter; just signed up.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Stupid Networks are the smart answer

OK, I think I know a lot. In fact, I know I know a lot, but every once in a while something comes up behind me and hits me in the back of the head and I am surprised. In this case, I am talking about an article about "stupid networks" by David Isenberg.
This may sound silly, but the Internet is a stupid network. The old telephone network (well, the network that we still use for voice calls, or at least most of us do) is an "Intelligent Network". Follow me so far? The whole point of this discussion is that the Internet takes the control of routing, the destination and the transmission of data away from the network and puts it in the hand of the user or the "client" as computer people put it.
Think of the Internet as a system of highways with cars on it. Drivers decide when and where to enter, where to go and there to get off. Think of the old network at a railroad, with the trains routed by the network from start to end. Railroads are intelligent networks, highways stupid networks.
Well, enough of that analogy. Read the article linked to above if you want his take on this. It is from 1997, over 10 year ago. This came up when reading an article on the Economist about Internet neutrality. What goes around comes around... or something like that.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

More Interesting Sights

OK, I like Fry's, the huge electronics store in Renton. I noticed this sign last time but the spot was occupied. Now, I have to wonder about a place that
has to have a spot reserved for the police.

This is in the parking lot, the closest space to the front door. They must have a lot of shoplifters. I do know it looks like they have a ton of security features in the store.

Lowe's is right across the parking lot from Fry's. This is the coolest idea: a rental truck for hauling your purchases home! I love it. One less reason for everyone to have the old pickup sitting around the yard. This is quite the innovation in my opinion. I saw a Home Depot van of the same type, but did not get a picture of it. Note that there was not a space reserved for the local police at Lowe's.

So, new sights around Seattle.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Morning Commute

I drive down I-5 southbound on my way to work. On the way I usually take the express lanes through downtown. Well, here is a picture I took the other morning. Yeah, this is how I feel in the morning driving to work. It is slowly becoming the surreal experience of not remembering most of it. The human brain does this automatically; we have neither the storage nor the capacity to remember all of the information we encounter during our day. The morning commute is just one of those experiences for me. The second picture is a little less surreal and the lighting is different as well.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Other stuff from Seattle

First, something cool I ran across just off the Burk-Gilman Trail in Lake City.

This is a fountain near the water across from 175th street or thereabouts. It is just sitting there, a drinking fountain with a stylized salmon. At least, that is what it looks like to me.

I have been walking along the trail in this area when the urge strikes and it is a nice place to walk. Here is a picture of Lake Washington from the trail. As you can see it was a little overcast and actually pretty chilly. The wind was coming off the lake, or should I say a breeze was coming off the lake. The architecture of the houses is interesting but I will not post pictures of the houses, as all you have to do is walk or drive down there yourself!

The next thing I noticed this week is this building. Do you notice anything asynchronous about it? This is a sign company called McManara Signs. Look at the old sign on the front of the building. Now, I ask this question: could this be a slick marketing ploy? Maybe leaving the old sign all messed up is a way of saying, "You need to not have a sign looking like this one!" They also have a large banner on the concrete wall behind their parking lot. Now, maybe they make other kinds of signs, like the banners or their landlord does not want them taking the old sign down. For whatever reason they have decided not to do anything with that old, ugly sign.

Last, but not least, is a picture of Deer Mountain on Revillagegedo Island, Alaska. It is right behind Ketchikan and is a landmark you cannot miss unless the clouds are low. This winter they have had a lot of snow, to say the least and the mountain is covered like I have never seen it before. It certainly is a beautiful picture. I took it from the Ketchikan Daily News web site.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Nightime Photos

NOCTURNAL IMAGES... some of the most interesting pictures I have taken in my life were at night, like a picture of the Arch de Triumph in Paris. Well, these are of my drive home the other night. I started taking pictures with my cell phone on a whim and what pleasantly surprised at the results.

This is a picture of traffic and my rear view mirror. I got more of a picture in the mirror than I thought I ever could.

Below is a picture of lights... cars, street lights, etc. as the camera moved and I moved and everything else, well, moved. Next are the tail lights of the cars in front of me and the traffic lights... again, moving

Here are signs above the 520 bridge, I think, with car lights below and a street light above. You can see the last bit of the sunset in the sky beyond. I think this may be what like things look like on an acid trip, something I have never experienced.

Below is my dash board...

Then the street and lights near home. The lights are green... but look blue here.

Finally, and this is one of the things I love about this stuff, is a totally unanticipated picture of me reflected in the windshield, I think, as well as car lights int he rear view mirror.

Well, there is my light show. I hope you enjoy it!

My Commute

Tully's Coffee building; used to be the Rainier Brewery. Well, Seattle drinks it like beer, so is is appropriate for a coffee company, I guess. Note the big, green T on the top of the tower, replacing the old Rainer R.

Here are some pictures from my commute. I will put the rest in my photos at: My Photo Album

North going into Seattle... West Seattle is on the horizon. Below is a picture approaching Seattle on I-5. It was pretty good driving up until we got right into Seattle.

This is getting closer to downtown proper. I usually try to take the express lanes, and did that night. Nothing was moving fast, though. It was a nice day out.

So, those are some pictures of my commute. The condition of I-5 through much of this area has deteriorated markedly. "Thump, thump, thump..." is what you hear as your go over the seams in the road and the road is grooved from all of the cars.

Here is a self-portrait of me. These were all taken with my Blackjack II cell phone. Next I will post some pictures taken at night with the same phone.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Viral journalism...

I was out on a mission and saw this guy. The truck says "Action Pesticide"; he was sound asleep in a Safeway parking lot at about 10:00 AM today. I thought it was funny.

OK, it's not earthshaking, but I wonder if his boss thought he was on the job somewhere? Maybe he was on standby and catching a quick nap waiting for his phone to ring. I slept in my old pickup quite a few times. It is not comfortable.

So, what is new in Seattle? There is always something happening here. One of the big issues is how to fix two of the most important pieces of infrastructure in the are: the 520 floating bridge and the Alaska Way Viaduct. OK, I come from the place that wanted to build the Bridge to Nowhere, which many locals still want built. For the record, I appose any attempt to build any physical link to Gravina Island, given the cost and the harm it will do to local aviation and viewscape. No bridge! Well, enough of that. The Viaduct and 520 Bridge go somewhere. The problem is, not unlike the bridge, there is no money for the projects, or at least not enough. Between the Mayor of Seattle and State of Washington politicians they can spend money faster than even the Puget Sound area can generate it. Looming in the near future is a major reconstruction of I-5 through downtown Seattle. I do not want to even think about the traffic mess that will generate!

As for fun things going on I have always wanted to go to Dimitriou's Jazz Alley for a show and want to plan on it next time the wife is in town. It is a great place to see great music!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Go West young man... err, South

There comes a time in everyone's life, or at least in mine, when I have to move on. With that in mind I picked up and moved from Ketchikan, Alaska to Seattle, Washington. No, I did not have a job, but got one within a couple of weeks as the CFO of a company in Kent, Washington.

What can I say about the experience? Was I scared, daunted or any such thing? No, I was not, as I have stepped, more than once, across such a precipice and come out better than before. Newness is not a problem with me and I am enjoying the Seattle area a great deal. Over the next few days I will post some thoughts about what I have and am experiencing and hope to experience in the next few years.

One of the things people seemed all worked up about is the traffic. OK, there are traffic jams and places you do not want to visit at certain times of the day or week if you want to get anywhere, but overall the traffic I have seen is, if anything, better than it was when I left Seattle 14 years ago for Alaska. Granted, I have a limited commute that is also pretty much a reverse commute, but I see the other traffic and it is not that bad. OK, too many cars, including my own, have only one person in it, but that is nothing new. The buses I see on the freeway seem pretty full. If I had a commute that would be convenient to use a bus for I would and the new light rail system looks interesting. We will see how this all works out.

Pictures. Seattle is very photogenic and I hope to take some cool pictures over the next few months. I will post them here and on Picasa or both.

So, here I am in Seattle... and no, it is not a rainy city. Relatively speaking they get 25% as much rain as they do in Ketchikan, Alaska, so when I hear people complain about the weather here I laugh at them.

Till later...