Friday, January 23, 2009

Ding - Dong the Mac is gone

My return to Mac was a failed failed experiment. Years ago, my first computer was a Mac, a PowerPC 7200. Quite a fancy thing, it ran Mac OS 7. I had it throughout Grad school and it worked well. I eventually moved to a PC, primarily since working in the software world made it a requirement to design for PCs, so I jumped on the Windows bandwagon.

When the desktop was slowly dying 2 years ago, i decided to go back to Mac and get a small, used laptop. If Apple didn't charge such a premium for their machines, i would have bought a new one, and that was the start of my problems. I got a used iBook, which has the legacy processor in it, rendering it incompatible with every update Apple issued for their applications. Also there still is a lack of compatibility out there; Netflix didn't work with Mac for a long time, migrating an iTunes library from PC to Mac or vice versa was a complete nightmare. The list goes on.

The thing which gave me the biggest headache was our network drive. The iBook did not want to play nice with it. We store everything there; video, pictures, music. iPhoto likes everything local, and stores your photos in an apparently randomly numbered file system, so good luck trying to find a photo outside of using iPhoto, like when you may want to do something radical, like upload photos to something Apple doesn't own. I had continual trouble getting finder to map the drive and keep it mapped after sleeping or restarting, and iTunes would revert to its default setting and try to move 90GB worth of music. You also can't sync an iPod into both a Mac and a Windows, the Mac will format it. The Mac version of Quicken is the ugly, psychologically unstable step-child of the windows version.

The iBook i bought also had a "quirk" where the motherboard would not recognize the installed Airport wireless card, rendering wireless access unavailable. I finally found a USB network adapter, but by this time the shine had worn off the iBook and i wanted it gone.

So the Mac drove me insane. I got a Dell laptop a few weeks ago. 1/2 the price of a comparable Mac laptop, and *gasp* its compatible with everything. Ding - dong the mac is gone. Someone on eBay got a smokin' deal on the devils iBook.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Now on a Diesel Diet

We got a new car over the thanksgiving holiday... i guess i am late in posting about it now, aren't i?

We looked for a while, wanting something roomy, but with some style and has a solid, quiet ride. Gas mileage was also a large concern. Both of us had 2 door cars, we figured having a 4 door car would be a nice change also.

We looked at all the hybrid cars and a few others, and ended up getting a 2009 Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen TDI. It's their new diesel model. The thing has nice power with the diesel, the new generation diesels runs on the cleaner fuel, put out far less emissions that their predecessors and are far quieter. It gets crazy mileage also. With combined city & freeway, we have gotten 40mpg. The car also has a huge sunroof, which extends over the rear seats.

We haven't put in biodiesel yet, but there is a place in Brentwood which has it in their pumps, we may give it a try in a while. Of course the biodiesel is more pricey than regular. We have also noticed that the price of diesel varies widely between gas stations, far more than regular gas.The best diesel prices appear to be at the stations closer the freeways. The stations further from the freeway will often be $0.50 more a gallon.

Getting the car was kind of a crazy hassle. We drove a few cars months ago, and decided maybe we would wait until after the new year. Also the Sportwagon was a new model for the Jetta, so it was kinda rare, and the TDI engine was new & popular, making it kid of rare. Combining the two, a Jetta Sportwagon TDI ended up being impossible to find.We decided in November that maybe we would try to get the car before the holiday, and so I had to call around dealers. When we had talked to the dealers months before, they all said "we have no TDI wagons in stock, the one's arriving are pre-sold, you will probably have to order one." I checked all of the dealers websites from Marin to San Diego counties, eventually finding a car at the downtown Los Angeles dealer who's financing had fallen through. We were kind of hoping to get a color different than silver, since our 2 other cars were silver, but of course, the car is silver.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Guess the Baby Due Date!

Here is your opportunity to get in on the fun.
Sarah and I know the gender of our bun-in-the-oven, but you don't. None of us know any of the other details.

Try to guess the due date & details of our kid to be.
Anyone can guess, tell your friends! We will periodically give the details on the guesses submitted so far. The prize is to be determined, maybe we will bronze the first dirty diaper.

  • The due date is April 29th.
  • This is our first child.
  • Gary was 7 lbs, 2 ounces
  • Sarah was 7 lbs 7 ounces

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Holiday wrap up

Between Christmas and New Years, Gary's family came to LA for a visit. The Vesneski's were continuing on to Disneyland to spend a few days with friends from Sydney after the new year, Gary's parents were continuing on the Palm Springs to spend a couple months in the sun & on the golf course.

We all went to Universal Studios, had an early new years eve, and then did a little Santa Monica / Hollywood tourist trap things before everyone had to move on.

We all had a great time at Universal Studios. The Simpsons ride was enjoyed by all, along with the Mummy ride. I think everyone was a little surprised that both the adults and kids had fun at the park, the rides amuse and entertain all.

Almost the entire family at the Universal Studios animal show. Gabe is in the foreground, then Gary's sister Linda, niece Tabitha, mom Elaine & dad Ken.

Gabe & Tabitha with Jaws.

On the Universal Studios tour, they had some stuntmen showing what they do. Here one guy is getting launched after a gun fight.

I brought my parents up for a close-up view of the Hollywood sign. There is a great view right above the original Hollywoodland housing development.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

I present Peter and Kristina Huthmacher

We came back quickly from the Bay Area over Christmas for Sarah's cousin Peter's wedding to Kristina in Covina, CA.

They had a nice reception and a sweet first dance.
PeterKristinaWedding_Dec2008 027

The Huthmacher brothers dancing. Peter had his three brothers as groomsmen. From left to right; Ryan, Keith & Scott. All looked dapper in their tuxes. They are also all over 6 feet, so we feel short in their presence.
PeterKristinaWedding_Dec2008 035

Before the ceremony, Les, being a model of restraint, tried to get Peter's attention while he was getting his photos taken.
PeterKristinaWedding_Dec2008 003

Sarah and her Mom were all dressed up and happy with the nice weather in Covina for the ceremony.
PeterKristinaWedding_Dec2008 007

Friday, January 02, 2009

the view from parking garages

When Les & Francine were in town for Peter and Kristina's wedding last weekend, we mentioned how that some of the best views in Los Angeles are from the top floors of parking garages. As proof of this, i took a few photos from the top of the parking garage at the Grove shopping mall a few days ago when it was a wonderfully clear out. I stitched the images together to make this big panorama, originally this was probably 12 photos.

From left to right, you can see the Hollywood Sign and the Griffith Park Observatory on the hills, snow on the San Gabriel Mountains, and then downtown Los Angeles to the right of the image.