Tag

computers

No Radio Show For Now

By radio show

So you might have noticed I’ve quietly removed most references to the radio show I was originally going to have. With work and all the other things I have going on, it just isn’t feasible at this point. Plus my chosen co-host, Rochelle, also has a full plate and it would be difficult to schedule weekly time together that fit between our commitments.

I’ve received many comments and emails of encouragement for the radio show, and I really appreciate everyone’s support. Sometime in the future it will eventually happen, just not right now. There’s technology out there that could allow me to give Rochelle a microphone and have her record with me from JMU in the fall, live via an audio chat. It would sound the same as if she were in the room with me. So, that’s a possibility. Again, though, thanks for everyone’s interest and for reading my daily blog posts.

I’m Employed

By business

So just to update everyone, I finally found a job. I’m working at Attronica Computers, Inc. off of Nuckols Road. I’m in the Engineering Department as a Computer Technician. This week I’m mainly at the University of Richmond doing some help desk work (Attronica as a contract with them for their computer systems). I love what I’m doing and the experience I’m gaining, and just overall so thankful I have a job, and one I really like at that! More to come, but just wanted to update everyone on that.

Hang Tight!

By news

Just wanted to put out a note ahead of time that I’m in the process of upgrading my hosting account (moving to a bigger server) because I’m getting serious about my web business, Short Pump Media Ventures. I’m moving all seven of my websites (domain names, files, et cetera) to one massive server. I’ve made backups of everything on every site, so while there’s no chance of data loss, there’s a pretty good chance all of my sites, including my blog, will be either seriously disabled or completely down for a day or two. Everything should be peachy by Monday (I hope). Self-hosting is a tricky thing. The server seems to have a mind of its own. It’s a lot more customizable to host websites yourself, but at the same time it’s a lot more work. See you soon (hopefully)!

Tornado Outbreak: Suffolk Devastation & Colonial Heights Déjà Vu

By news, Uncategorized, weather

Fifteen years ago, in 1993, a strong F4 (winds of up to 260 MPH) tornado touched down in Colonial Heights, destroying the Wal-Mart store and killing three people, before tearing through Petersburg’s historic district. Well today, history seems to have repeated itself. A moderate tornado touched down in the exact same shopping center (Dimmock Square, near Southpark Mall). Is that eerie or what? I was only five years old the first time it happened, but (strangely) vaguely remember seeing it on TV. The Dress Barn and Target stores suffered blown out windows and minor roof damage, but for the most part there was no extreme structural damage.

It was a different story in Suffolk this evening. The same line of storms marched eastward (and strengthened considerably as they did so) and proceeded to completely flatten a portion Suffolk’s historic district, then went through a golf course community and completely wiped large, substantial homes clean off their foundations to the point where all that was left was a concrete slab beneath. This part was especially eerie to me because the neighborhood looked very similar to mine (Wyndham) from the aerial shot.

Suffolk is completely devastated. It looks like an atomic bomb went off the way the homes literally exploded with the extreme winds. At the time I’m writing this, there has only been one person confirmed dead, but unfortunately, it would be miraculous if the death toll didn’t rise, by the looks of the flattened neighborhoods. Hopefully it won’t, though. Virginia is no stranger to tornadoes, but usually experiences much weaker ones than this. This was extremely rare. Keep your thoughts and prayers with the Hampton Roads community during the aftermath of this immense, widespread natural disaster.

I find all of this very interesting since most of you know how much I like weather and storms. I flipped through the local news channels and hooked up my Comcast digital box to my Mac to record everything as it happened. Here are some screenshots from the live broadcasts I recorded from NBC 12 (WWBT), 8 NEWS (WRIC), CBS 6 (WTVR), and WAVY 10 (WAVY) (NBC affiliate in Norfolk, via live streaming on-air web simulcast).

1993 archive video footage of the destruction of the Southpark Wal-Mart (WRIC)

Meteorologist Jim Duncan advises citizens to take shelter during a tornado warning (WWBT)

Aerial image of Dimmock Square Shopping Center (perimeter highlighted in yellow) and the adjacent Wal-Mart store (now a Sam’s Club) that were both hit by tornadoes that followed the exact same paths in 1993 and 2008 (Blackwood Development Corporation)

Cars were tossed like toys in the Dimmock Square Shopping Center parking lot, in front of Target (WWBT)

A house suffers extreme damage in Suffolk (WTVR)

A Suffolk antiques shop is cut in half with almost no visible damage from the front or rear façades, but obviously the historic building is a complete loss (WAVY)

 The owner of a car dealership snaps a picture through the front windows of his business as a huge tornado barrels through Suffolk (WAVY)

Flock – The Social Web Browser

By technology

I heard about a relatively new web browser today designed for today’s increasingly interactive interweb (screenshot from my computer above). The advent of Web 2.0 has brought a new meaning to the web. There’s an increasing amount of interconnectivity between different Web 2.0-based social networking sites like Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, and Twitter. This browser, Flock, connects them all together into one easy-to-use browser. Once you set up your accounts, there are tabs in a sidebar that allow you to simultaneously access each of the aforementioned social networking sites.

Friends’ updates appear instantly, and you can click “media” next to their status updates to see their photos in the media bar (the dark area with photos at the top of the browser in the screenshot). There’s even one-click access to create a new blog post in your blog once you set it up. I tried using that for my blog, and although it worked, it lacked the functionality I need to add formatting and other elements such as pictures to my posts. Their blog editor is very basic.

I use Safari currently, but thought I’d give Flock a try. I’m impressed by the interconnectivity and this is a great idea for people such as myself who are [way too] connected to Facebook, Flickr, and YouTube and find themselves multitasking multiple social networking sites at once. I’m not sure if I’ll keep using it or just stick with Safari, mainly because I already have Safari set up just how I like it, but we’ll see. It’s a very cool concept and has Firefox-like theme and extension features. It’s available for download on Mac, Windows, and Linux. Give it a try, eh?

No More “iPosts”

By technology

So I managed to screw up my MacBook Pro this past weekend, but after tearing it down (literally, in like fifteen pieces) and rebuilding it, it’s working just fine. I just wanted to apologize for the low quality posts while my Mac was down. I had been posting from my iPhone via Utterz. The service needs some work (although the concept is really cool) and I didn’t ever have the audacity to type up something longer and more meaningful on a small touch-screen keyboard, anyway. Well, I’m back and I’ve got a lot to write about. Stay tuned.

P.S. – I never realized just how much I take my computer for granted.

The 2008 Deep Run Marathon Dance Raises $105,931.81 For Local Organizations!

By Uncategorized

I still can’t believe just how much money was raised at this year’s Deep Run Marathon Dance. $105,931.81! I headed up the Film Crew this year and had so much fun filming throughout the duration of the 27 hour dance. I’ll talk more about how that went in a moment. But I made an opening video to get everyone pumped, including a pep talk from the movie Miracle, that was shown before the dance started, then had a closing video at the end that included interviews with leaders from all ten of the benefiting organizations, video footage from the dance, and a dramatic grand total at the end.

I was kind of on the edge of my seat at the closing ceremony because it had taken me eight hours to compile and edit the closing video and I didn’t even have time to render a DVD. So I basically just played an AVI that I exported to my computer and held my breath hoping my Mac wouldn’t freeze while playing it. It was a huge 2.5 GB file, so I had plenty reason to worry. Fortunately it didn’t freeze and I think it turned out pretty good. I had been up for just about 40 hours straight by the time I finished it, so I also wondered if I had made any big editing mistakes based on the fact that I was so mentally tired I didn’t know what I was doing. No one had even seen the video but me until I presented it to hundreds and hundreds of people at the closing ceremony. But there again, it turned out pretty good I think. Both videos will be posted later today and will be accessible here, on my YouTube page, and Facebook.

I was on the fence about whether to do this on an annual basis, but after doing this for my second year in a row and seeing the energy, enthusiasm, and huge benefit of this dance, there’s no question that I’ll do this again every year. It was so liberating to be able to head up my own video project and manage five other people who filmed the dance this year. I usually work under other people and have less creative control. It was great for once to be able to have the final say in what was produced and call all the shots, with no one to tell me otherwise. Because of that, I was a lot less frustrated and more motivated to produce a great end result. It was an amazing feeling (and that’s not a knock on anyone I normally work with, because they do great work; it was just a big thing for me personally). It was also cool to be recognized for once and I was honored to be so warmly received at the end.

Some have said that I should focus even more time on other video production efforts instead of doing this, but I would argue that it’s something that I’m really proud to be a part of and have so much fun doing it because of the role I’m given to creatively produce something really exciting and unique. Plus the end result is amazing. An event that raises almost $106,000 for charity is something really spectacular to be a part of. I may even consider taking on other projects and helping out other charitable causes around the area at their respective events because I found working with the Deep Run Marathon Dance to be very impacting and rewarding. It was just incredible.

New High Tech Fitness Equipment At The Shady Grove YMCA

By Uncategorized

So I’ve been working out every day lately at the Shady Grove YMCA, but just this morning noticed a lot of new technology in place. There is a set of new Life Fitness treadmills (I don’t know how long they’ve been there, but not too long) that have interactive color touch screens complete with a view of how far you’ve run that can be shown as a track, mountain hike, or nature trail, a virtual personal trainer, and an interface for your iPod (you can plug your iPod into the docking cable and you can scroll through your playlists on the treadmill screen!). I keep my USB flash drive on my keyring, so I was also able to insert that into the provided slot at the end of my workout and it saved my workout information. Nifty!

Next, I went up front to discover three new interactive stationary bikes by a new start up company called Expresso Fitness. These bikes allow you to sign in to track your progress and then select a myriad of different road courses of various levels, change gears on screen, and you’re given a pacer to keep up with, all on a big 17 inch color screen. I was much more motivated to go faster and farther by being on a virtual course and having other bikers to keep up with on screen than I would have been if it was just me on a traditional stationary bike. This is a very cool concept and I think this company will do very, very well in the fitness industry as they grow and expand.

These are some great new fitness technologies and it’s really cool that the YMCA has invested in them to bring a new dimension to working out.

Exciting Things

By Uncategorized

Well, today’s a day of meetings of all sorts. I’ve been to two, got one more this afternoon. Some good things resulted from these meetings, and things are finally getting back on track it seems. First off, I just got a great job offer today that I’m taking with a local computer company, where I’ll be able to repair Macs (I’m even going to become an Apple Certified Repair Technician just like the people that work at the Genius Bar at the Apple Store) and might even get to set my own hours. I tentatively start the second week of March. I’ll say more about what company it is and everything once all the details are hammered out.

In other news, Virginia Credit Union asked me to be in a TV commercial with a few other members to talk about our experiences with them. They’re filming it near VCU next to the new business building the first week of March. It should be fun; I’m looking forward to it.

I’m meeting later this afternoon with members of the Richmond Outreach Center (ROC) at Deep Run to film a segment about the work they do to for people who would otherwise not come to Christ. They’re the last of ten organizations to be filmed that are benefiting from funds raised at the 2008 Deep Run Marathon Dance. I’m producing a DVD of the event again this year, and I’m looking forward to the event. It’s a great experience.

Things are looking up!

False Alarm

By Uncategorized

So I didn’t send my computer in after all. I’m realizing there’s really no 7-10 day period (amount of time Apple says it would take for my repair to be completed) that I can be without my computer because of exams, note taking, special projects, church work, etc. I guess I’ll send it in sometime this summer. Anyway, big update on some projects I’m working on now, speaking of which.