Busted!

Hardware failures kept bradlauster.com offline for much of the weekend…but no matter. I had friends in town and was too busy to update anyway. I wish they could’ve stayed longer, but I think I got to show them quite a bit of the city none-the-less. I’m especially glad I got to show them more than just the touristy places…though we saw those too.

Matt and Alison came from Georgia and Jerry and Sam came from Virginia. It was odd hearing them talk about life without good public transportation. Frankly, I had forgotten what life was like without it and I’m not sure I want to live anywhere that doesn’t have it. Ahhh, J Line, what would I do without you?

By the way, we did the Thanksgiving thing over at Treasure Island again this year. All I can say is…mmmm, deep fried Turkey!

The weekend in review

I went to Bottom of the Hill twice this weekend; once for the first time. What a great place! Everyone was so friendly. When Selena and I got there, much to our chagrin, the show was sold out. But, like I said, people were friendly and we found tix in a few minutes. Yay!

The Delgados were good too. Selena thought they sounded a bit like Drugstore. I replied, “Drugstore?” I’m such an indie band nit-wit. Selena has a wild CD collection, including Drugstore. Sadly, it is completely unorganized. So, rather than spending hours wading through the black hole that is Selena’s CD collection, I downloaded a Drugstore tune called Sober on Napster the next day. The two bands really DO sound similar! Check it out for yourself:

Thirteen Gliding Principles, by The Delgados (mp3, ~5.3 Mb)
Sober, by Drugstore (mp3, ~4 Mb)

On Saturday I hung out with the TI crew and tpodd. Brad brought over chicken enchiladas. Yum! He’s a trained, French chef you know…I know, now you’re thinking, “French, eh? That must mean he’s a prick.” Au contraire! Anyway, after the great enchiladas, we headed out to a party in this warehouse formerly inhabited by The Four Non-Blondes. Luckily, all four of them moved out long ago. I had a good time.

At the party, Todd told me about how he went to go jam with Jack Saturn earlier that day. All the music I’ve been around in the past 72 hours has made me wish I was in a band. I don’t really have the instrumental talent though. As I like to tell people, “I’m not so much a guitar player as I am, someone who plays with a guitar.” And even though I play a mean Trombone, not too many bands are looking to fill that particular musical niche. I mentioned to Brad though, the second time I was at Bottom of the Hill this past weekend, “As a singer, I’m all about the lyrics.” Brad’s a great singer too, so I was surprised to hear him say that lyrics didn’t matter too much to him. The problem with being a singer is, it’s damn near impossible to find a band who needs a singer.

…oh yeah, further compounding my musical quandary: my old roommate, Matt, is coming for a visit over the Thanksgiving holiday. If he weren’t going for a PhD at Georgia Tech, he’d probably be opening for Eric Johnson or something…point is, he’s an unbelievable guitarist. Sometimes I wonder why I didn’t get lessons from him in college…too busy with the whole school thing, I guess. Maybe I can convince him to move out here and start a band with me.

Summary of the above ramblings: it was a good weekend.
Note: You may have been confused by the fact that my name is Brad and my best friend’s name is also Brad. Feel free to re-read the whole thing. I’ll wait…

The Anoto Pen

Finally, a technology I can really get behind: The Anoto Pen

This fabulous little gizmo records everything you write, while you write it! No more lugging your laptop over to the conference room, or to that cubicle on the other side of campus, to capture notes during your contextual inquiry.

…just write them with this pen (on the special paper) and beam it to your computer when you get back. Wonderful!

Not convinced yet? They’ve even got user scenarios on their web site!

New Design…

I’ve been working on a personal web site for our intranet, at work, lately. My boss’ boss is giving $200 bucks to the person with the best design.

It shouldn’t be too hard to beat a FrontPage template, right?

I think I’m going to roll my intranet site design into bradlauster.com. Here’s a sneak preview:
[Image] Screenshot of my website at Intel.

Notice the pie menu, offering quick – and for you bradlauster.com junkies, habitual – access to all areas of the site. Also note the color coordinated scroll bar, visually indicating your current location in the site.

Perhaps you’ve got some comments?

Buildin’…

I’m getting ready to start building my computer this weekend.

For the most part, I’ve already decided what I want, but I’m going to wander around Fry’s today anyway. I guess I just need to flaunt the geek in me.

Why would I want to build a computer anyway? Remember what I said about the geek in me? Besides, it’s just so much cheaper to build my own machine and put Linux on it. No sense in spending money on Microsoft Windows and Office if I’m not going to use them anyway.

So your next question is probably: Why Linux? Well, besides the fact that I can get it for free, there’s also my deep seated disgust with Microsoft’s business practices and buggy products. In the area of my own interests though, the Linux community is really starting to do some cool interface work. Eazel’s project, Nautilus, is one of the most interesting.

Back to building a computer…

Here are the current planned base components:
The Case – I’m a sucker for that translucent plastic crap
The Motherboard – by Intel, of course
The Processor – 933 MHz, perhaps?
The Hard Drive – 20 Gig. seems like a good place to start.

I should also mention that I still want a Mac. More specifically, I REALLY want to play around with Mac OS X. Fact is, I can start playing around with Linux for a lot less $$, than I can Mac OS X. I’m also still holding out for OS X on Intel architecture. You’ve signed the OS X on Intel petition, right?

Election Day!

Voting was a real dilemma this evening!

Let me tell you how I voted and why:

I was really torn while deciding. On one hand I’m very much in support of Ralph Nader’s platform. On the other hand, it’s very important to me to keep George W. out of the White House.

I won’t bother to go into why I think George W. doesn’t even deserve to represent my garbage, but I will go into why I didn’t vote for Nader.

The decision for me was: do I help Nader get 5% of the vote or do I help keep George W. out of office? The polls I saw before the election didn’t show Nader getting anywhere near the 5% he needed to secure federal matching funds for the party in 2004. So, I waited until late to vote. As a result, I had a pretty good idea of how things were going and the way it was going was not good for Nader. It was quite apparent that he would not get the votes he needed, so I cast my presidential vote for Al Gore and promised myself that I’d contribute to the green party in the future.

It looks like my strategy played out as I thought it would. It now appears that Al Gore will take California. I guess I should be happy, but it just not easy to get excited about Al Gore.

Can you believe how close this race is? I guess I’ll just have to wait, like everyone else!

Still alive…

Yes, I am still alive!
Life has been super hectic lately. I’m currently in recovery mode from a couple brutal weeks at work.

My parents also came out for a visit, which was fun! Among other things, we did a lot of eating! We went to Eric’s, Pisces, Belle Roux, and my personal favorite, FireFly. Of all the restaurants we went to, my Mom seemed to like Eric’s (about thee doors down) the best! She was really down with the $4.50 lunch special! She even thought it was better the “The Great Wall” Chinese Restaurant. That seems to be the obligatory name for Chinese restaurants back home, in upstate New York.

Ok…no more posty for now. I’ve got to go decide how I’m going to vote tomorrow!