Tuesday, July 28, 2009


So, Brett Favre finally decided to stay retired.


Soap opera's over.


The Albuquerque Isotopes defeated Oklahoma City 6-2 tonight, leaving the 'Topes sitting 2 1/2 in front of Oklahoma City in the PCL American South. The two teams face off again tomorrow night and Thursday night.

M.A.L. and I took in Friday night's game vs. the Iowa Cubs at Albuquerque's beautiful Isotopes Park. The ball was flying all over the place in the mile-high air. Abq pounded Iowa, 16-8, behind Brett Harper's six RBI and two home runs.

The 'Topes pounded out an Albuquerque record 24 hits.

While I miss seeing the Arizona Diamondbacks at BOB (Bank One Ballpark, now Chase Field), to me it's a lot more fun going to Isotopes games. The tickets are cheap, the seats are great, and the weather is fantastic. Great place for some baseball!


Sadly, Candace Parker of the Sparks wasn't in the lineup, but the WNBA All-Star game was about as entertaining as it could be.

Seattle's Swin Cash returned to Connecticut, where she starred at UConn, to lead the West to a 130-118 victory over the East with an All-Star game record 22 points.

Sacramento's Nicole Powell, formerly of Stanford, and before that, Phoenix's Mountain Pointe H.S., was a late replacement for the injured Lisa Leslie; Powell turned in a stunning performance, tallying 21 points in less than 21 minutes. She went 8 for 14 from the field, including 5 for 9 from three-point land.

Besides Cash, former UConn players included Diana Taurasi of Phoenix (18 points, 7-11 FG, and a lot of flashy passing), Sue Bird of Seattle (16 pts, 10 ast, 6-8 FG, 4-5 3PT, 5 reb), and Connecticut's Asjha Jones (6 pts, 6 ast, 4 reb).

The game was close through 3 quarters -- the West led by six going into the 4th. The most remarkable thing to me was that players from both teams were filling it up. The East's shooting tailed off in the 4th quarter, but the West finished at 51.5 percent from the field, including 18 for 39 (.462) on three-point shots. It was an up and down affair, fun to watch.

It was the highest scoring game in WNBA All-Star history.

Watching Taurasi and Bird playing together made me want to see them together for the Mercury.

Late in the game, the teams cleared the way to allow Chicago's Sylvia Fowles a chance to throw down a dunk. She blew the first one, then got another chance and put one down. Kinda hokey, but it's still news any time a woman gets a dunk in a game, and especially in the All-Star game. Fowles led the East with 17 points.

Now, it's back to business. The LA Sparks, down 6.5 games in the Western Conference, and in 5th place, have some serious catching up to do. Lisa Leslie is still out. Candace Parker is just rounding into shape. The Sparks defeated Minnesota tonight, 76-70. Parker finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds; veteran Tina Thompson picked up 30 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists.

But the Western Conference-leading Mercury pounded Connecticut, 95-80, behind Cappie Pondexter's 29 points. The Mercury, 14-5, have the most wins in the league. Indiana, an 85-81 winner over Washington, sit at 13-4, best in the East (Katie Douglas had 34 points and 9 rebounds in tonight's win).

Thursday, July 23, 2009

new bookmarks

Here are a couple of web sites that I recently added to my Firefox bookmarks:

wired.com: http://www.wired.com/

GeekDad - Raising Geek Generation 2.0: http://www.wired.com/geekdad/

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Jupiter Hit Again?

You might remember back in 1994, when the comet Shoemaker-Levy spectacularly broke up and slammed into the planet Jupiter. Looks like another comet has hit Jupiter. Stories here and here.

boys of summer

Once again, the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees are locked in a battle for 1st place in the American League East.

Boston has led the division for most of the season, but has dropped to second place following four straight losses (the latest, last night to Texas, 4-2) combined with five wins in a row by the Yankees (they beat Baltimore last night, 6-4).

The two teams are always at it, and the history of the rivalry goes back a long way. Currently enjoying David Halberstam's Summer of '49, a look at the 1949 pennant race between the Yanks and the Red Sox. Joe and Dom DiMaggio. Ted Williams. Yogi Berra.

It was another time. Post WWII. All three teams (Dodgers, Giants, Yankees) were still in New York. The A's were in Philly. The Pacific Coast League was still the big league in the West.

Teams traveled mostly by train. Fans checked out the games on the radio, and scoured box scores in the newspapers. Multi-million dollar contracts and steroids were unheard of. Jackie Robinson had only recently ('47) broken the color line.

The Curse of the Bambino was in full swing.

It's late July, and there's a long way to go in this season. The Yanks and the Red Sox might battle it out until the end; Detroit is holding on to first place in the AL Central, and the Dodgers lead the NL West by nine games.

(My poor Diamondbacks sit 20 games back in the NL West.)

The Boys of Summer. Gotta love it.


In "E-Readers: The End of Bookstores?", Jason Young writes about how E-Readers like the Sony eReader and Kindle have transformed his reading habits. He speculates that bookstores will soon be a thing of the past.

Not for me, and not for M.A.L.

I can't envision a day when I'll prefer using an E-Reader to having a good book in my hands.

I can't imagine us not stopping into bookstores or libraries. Or not browsing through second-hand stores looking for used books (these days, this is how I find most of the great books that folks see me carrying around).

Nothing against E-Readers. I think they're a great thing.

But does it beat having hard copy in your hands? Not in my book!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

It's Your Money

As Ulysses notes:

Windows 7 Prices

Preorder – Starting June 26 until July 11, 2009, Windows users can preorder Windows 7 Home Edition and Professional. This is a limited time offer. This is an upgrade version and NOT the full version. Upgrades are available for Windows XP and Vista users only.

  • Preorder Windows 7 Home Premium Edition $50
  • PreOrder Windows 7 Professional $100

Family Pack – Allows 3 PCs in a single household to be upgraded to Windows 7 Home Edition. This is an upgrade only. Details on this offer is sketchy. Wait for Microsoft’s official announcement.

  • Family Pack Windows 7 Home Premium Edition $150

Upgrades – Upgrades are available only for Windows XP and Vista users only. Earlier versions are not supported.

  • Windows 7 Home Premium Upgrade $120
  • Windows 7 Professional Upgrade $200
  • Windows 7 Ultimate Upgrade $220

Full Version

  • Windows 7 Home Premium Full Version $200
  • Windows 7 Professional Full Version $300
  • Windows 7 Ultimate Full Version $320

Buying a PC now – Starting June 26 to October 22 and beyond, buyers of PCs with Windows XP and Vista installed can upgrade to Windows 7 for FREE. This is a bit deceiving because the actual cost is outlined below in the OEM which is passed on eventually to consumers.

OEM Price - Cost after October 22 when you buy a brand new system with a Windows 7 operating system. The cost is passed on to the consumers by vendors. Currently, the OEM cost are: Windows XP $15, Vista Home Basic $97, Vista Home Premium $121, Vista Business $153 and Vista Ultimate for $205. See the OEM prices for XP and Vista.

  • Windows 7 Starter Edition OEM $50 (1)
  • Windows 7 Home Premium OEM $200

This means, if you buy a $700 PC, you paid for $500 for hardware and $200 to Microsoft for the operating system.

(1) Please note that Microsoft has placed a limit on the hardware requirements for the Starter Edition. Vendors have to comply not to install Windows 7 Starter Edition on anything less than the following: 10.2 inch screen, 1GB RAM, 250GB hard drive, 64GB solid state, and on a single core processor with less than 2GHz.

Europe – If you live in Europe, you poor souls, expect to pay a lot more, almost double for what the US users will be paying. After all, Microsoft has to pay all those programmers to strip IE from Windows 7 and also pay for the new packaging of Windows 7E. By the way, there is no upgrade, just the full version.

  • Windows 7 Home Premium Full Version €120
  • Windows 7 Professional Full Version €286
  • Windows 7 Ultimate Full Version €300

Competition – Finally, let’s compare the rest of the competition:

Mac OS X

  • Mac OS X Leopard Upgrade $29
  • Mac OS X Leopard $129
  • Mac OS X Leopard Family Pack $199


  • Linux Upgrade $0.00
  • Linux Full Version $0.00
  • Linux All Universe Pack $0.00

Monday, July 13, 2009

FF 3.5 in Lenny

Since it isn't in the repositories yet, here are my steps for installing Firefox 3.5 in Debian Lenny:

- Went to the Mozilla site and downloaded the firefox-3.5.tar.bz2 file.

- Used Synaptic to install bzip2.

- Copied the firefox-3.5.tar.bz2 file to my ~/ directory.

- Extracted the file there with:

$ tar xjf firefox-*.tar.bz2

- Started Firefox 3.5 with:

$ ~/firefox/firefox

This seemed to work fine, so I created a launcher for Firefox. I didn't remove Iceweasel. My bookmarks and setting from Iceweasel came over to Firefox intact.

Firefox 3.5 is noticeably faster than Iceweasel. There's a nice button on the tab bar for opening a new tab. The tool for clearing private data has changed a bit. Seeing a few other minor changes, and no problems so far with this installation method, although I don't think it's the recommended method for Debian.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

More Chrome OS

Here's a ComputerWorld article that explains what the new Google Chrome OS is all about:


Saturday, July 11, 2009

Send a Manpage to a Text File

There are a few different ways to convert a Linux manpage to a text file. Using the ls command as an example, you could save the ls manpage as a text file by using one of the following commands:

$ man ls > ls.txt


$ man ls&> ls.txt

Those will give you the text file ls.txt in your current directory.

Those might leave you with some weird formatting characters in your output, so here are a couple of other commands that I'd use instead:

$ man ls | col -bx > ls.txt


$ man ls | col -b > ls.txt

Friday, July 10, 2009

Mint Gloria

Here's a short review on the latest Linux Mint release: Hands on with Mint 7.

Linux Mint 7, codenamed "Gloria," looks nice, but I've decided to stay with "Elyssa," the LTS version that came out awhile ago. It's running fine, and will be supported for a few more years, so I'm in no hurry to keep up with the latest Mint releases.

Mint's one of the nicest distros out there, and highly recommended for new Linux users as well as veterans. It is, of course, based on Ubuntu, and quite similar to it, at least under the hood. But it's ease-of-installation factor seems closer to something like Mepis or PCLinuxOS.

Live CD Rescues Me Again

With one of my hard drives apparently failing, I found myself turning once again the the wonderful Mepis live CD.

Using the Mepis 8.0 live CD, I used gparted and rsync, applications that are both included on the CD. I formatted a new hard drive with gparted, then used both applications to copy data from my old partitions to the new drive.

Worked out wonderfully. I'm back up and running, and all system are go. Can't say enough about how important live Linux CDs are to me.


Almost finished with an interesting book: Leaders: Profiles and Reminiscences of Men Who Have Shaped the Modern World, by Richard Nixon.

Nixon had a nice, clear writing style; and he was certainly one of the most well-traveled American presidents, well-schooled in diplomacy, and familiar at a personal level with many of the last century's greatest figures.

His chapters on Churchill, Adenauer, DeGaulle, MacArthur, and Yoshida of Japan were quite captivating, and he provided a fascinating look at Khrushchev, Brezhnev, Zhou Enlai, Mao Zedong, Chiang Kai-shek, and several others.

Incredible read. Interesting how my respect for Nixon has grown over the years. It may be that his efforts at creating ties between China and the U.S. ultimately spelled doom for the Soviet Union; his accomplishments in Asia might result in historians seeing as him as one of the greatest U.S. presidents ever. I hope that Mr. Obama reads this book.

Can Parker Spark the Sparks?

The L.A. Sparks Candace Parker set the WNBA on fire last year, winning the Rookie-of-the-Year award as well as the league's MVP award.

She missed the first part of this season after having a baby, but she's back. L.A. loaded up with some other players, like the great Tina Thompson, and Betty Lennox. But Lisa Leslie is out with a bad knee, and the Sparks have had trouble meshing. L.A. has struggled to a 4-6 start, only good enough for fifth place in the Western Conference, 3.5 games behind the resurgent Phoenix Mercury.

But this is still a formidable team. Lennox and Thompson are two of the best players the league has seen; Candace Parker, as she works back into shape, can carry a team; and Leslie will have something to say about how things turn out.

The Indiana Fever, with Katie Douglas (16.9 ppg), Tamika Catchings (14.6 ppg, 6.7 rpg), and Tammy Sutton-Brown (10.4 and 7.4), have jumped out to a league-best 9-2 record, winning their past 9 straight games.

The Mercury's Diana Taurasi leads the league in scoring (21.2 ppg), and teammate Cappie Pondexter is third at 20.2. Rookie DeWanna Bonner has been a nice addition.

Minnesota took a hit when Seimone Augustus (21.0 ppg) went down with an injury after 6 games, but they still sit tied for 2nd with Seattle in the Western Conference. Seattle's Lauren Jackson (19.7 ppg, 6.9 rpg) is still a force, and Sue Bird is still a great guard.

Perhaps the biggest surprise this year is the fall of the Detroit Shock, who have crawled to a league-worst 2-7 record after coach Bill Laimbeer stepped down. Detroit is the defending champion. The Shock have signed veteran Anna DeForge (a favorite of mine from when she played with the Mercury), and Karl Malone's daugher Cheryl Ford is back from an injury, but it may be too little, too late.

The season's still young. Candace Parker looked like the best thing to come into the league in some time last year, and the Sparks still might be the team to beat. They're loaded, on paper. Watch out.

Exciting Times in the NBA

The dust is starting to settle in the NBA after draft day and some interesting trades and free agent moves. How things will play out next season is anyone's guess, but here are some of the moves that might make things turn out much differently than this season:

- The Boston Celtics acquired former Piston Rasheed Wallace, which may shore up their front line and provide some insurance for the suddenly injury-prone Kevin Garnett.

- The Lakers picked up Ron Artest from Houston.

- Cleveland got Shaquille O'Neal from Phoenix.

- The Clippers picked up Oklahoma's Blake Griffin in the draft, which may finally end years of draft day frustrations for that club.

- Golden State drafted Dell Curry's son, Stephen Curry, who might turn out to be a great scorer like his dad.

- Detroit fired coach Michael Curry, hired former Cavs assistant John Kuester, and picked up Ben Gordon from the Bulls and Charlie Villanueva from Milwaukee.

- New Jersey's Vince Carter moved to the Orlando Magic.

- The Mavs picked up Shawn Marion from Toronto and kept Jason Kidd.

- San Antonio grabbed Richard Jefferson from Milwaukee and Antonio McDyess from Detroit, and drafted Pittsburgh's DeJuan Blair, a great rebounder for his size.

- Oklahoma City drafted Arizona State's James Harden, adding a scorer to a roster that includes Kevin Durant.

- From the ACC, Denver picked up North Carolina's Ty Lawson, and Larry Bird's Indiana Pacers drafted the former Tar Heel Tyler Hansbrough. Gerald Henderson of Duke joined Charlotte.

There are probably more changes to come. Allen Iverson is still floating out there. The Suns will probably keep Amare Stoudemire and Steve Nash, but maybe not. Detroit might not be finished making moves. 2009-10 should be interesting!

Chrome OS

Google's Chrome Operating System isn't slated to come out until the latter part of next year, but it's creating quite a buzz.

Will it spell doom for Microsoft? Probably not. But it does alter the computing landscape, and it gives computer users another option, and another reason to use something else besides Windows.

For more on Chrome OS:





Sneaky Tactics to Make You Stuff Your Face

The MSNBC article "8 ways the food industry can hijack your brain" might give you something to think about before you load up at your favorite restaurant. Scary, coming on the heels of more news that obesity in the U.S. continues to rise.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


Artist: Miss Janine Vigil!