This is the website of Abulsme Noibatno Itramne (also known as Sam Minter). Comments here or emails to me at abulsme@abulsme.com are encouraged... or follow me on Twitter as @abulsme.

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July 2005
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DVD: Doctor Who: The Tomb of the Cybermen

image We watched this over a few days again. And after all, when it was originally aired in 1967, it was four episodes, each a week apart, so that is fine. There had only been the two first doctor stories available on DVD. So it was on to the second. It has been interesting for me to watch these 1960’s episodes, because they were the ones which were NOT in circulation on PBS in the late 70s and early 80s when I was actually watching this show. The 4th Doctor was my first doctor, and I remember being shocked when I saw him regenerate into the 5th. I had no idea that could happen! Then over time I was exposed to the newer Doctors as they came about, and got to see some Third Ddoctor… but pretty much no first and Second Doctor. If I saw them, it was tidbits here and there. Which of course makes sense, since a good deal of the First and Second Doctor episodes had been destroyed by the BBC to make room in their storage closets, and just plain don’t exist any more.

I think this time around with Brandy and Amy is probably the first time I’ve really watched a complete first doctor story from beginning to end. And I know that aside from multi-doctor episodes, this is the first time I have seen the Second Doctor in Action.

And hey… I like him!!! The first Doctor was just a bbit too much the grumpy old guy on the sidelines who would occationally chip in, but didn’t do much… he left that to his companions. The second doctor is an active participant, and shows some snarky Doctor attitude. Different personality than all the other doctors of course, but I think much more in the mold of all the others than the First, who really is radically different.

The actual cybermen in this were laughable, but that just amde it funny. Their voices were almost impossible for me to understand. I’d catch some words, but they were just so modulated to make them sound cyber… that I couldn’t understand a word. I did like the little cyberman theme music that came on every time they were emerging from their hibernation chambers and such. Do, do do DO DO…. Uh, that doesn’t do it justice. But I liked it. :-)

Anyway, fun episode. Summary and stuff here. Definately dated, but hey, that’s expected. And I do like the Second Doctor. I wish more of his episodes existed. Just a handful survived. There are two Second Doctor stories available on DVD at Netflix. We’ll watch the next one in a few weeks. The next two Saturdays Amy will be visiting her Grandma, so we’ll wait until she is back again.

And There It Goes…

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And off the shuttle went. A bunch of people from work went out to the back parking lot to watch. As did people from some of the businesses around us. I had Brandy on the phone as she tried to watch from home. One person had a radio and was relaying the 3… 2… 1… stuff. It was fun.

I have to admit though, it was less impressive than I expected given all the buildup. The most impressive launch I’ve seen would still be the first one I saw down here. That one you could actually hear and feel as well as see. (And it was a night launch too, which made it even more impressive.) The shuttle, from the distance we were at… maybe 30 miles or so… 40 for Brandy… looked like a column of smoke with a white spot on top, and then the white spot went on its own for a bit and disappeared. But no hearing it, and no windows shaking. Which that first launch had… It was the Delta 2 sending Messenger to Mercury.

Oh well, next time we may have to get tickets and get a bit closer. :-)

It was still fun though. Good luck to them on their mission of course.

And looking forward to all the pictures from the many new cameras they added because of Columbia. There was already some good stuff on TV. Brandy Tivo’d it for me.

OK, back to work now…

In Town This Time

This time I am in town, and we’re coming up on a launch:

STS-114 Mission Status Center
(SpaceFlightNow.com)

1214 GMT (8:14 a.m. EDT)

T-minus 90 minutes and counting. Countdown clocks continue to tick down to T-minus 20 minutes where the next hold is planned. Countdown activities remain on track for liftoff at 10:39 a.m.

I’d like to be at home with Brandy and watch from the lanai. But instead I’m at work. While I’m working on a document I have to do, I have NASA TV streaming in a little window. When the time come, assuming the time does come, I’ll step outside to see what I can see.

Bring Me The Sahara!

Yummy! Here comes the sand!

Desert sandstorm heads toward Florida
(Chris Tisch, St. Petersburg Times)

Floridians can’t seem to catch a break when it comes to the weather.

Though Florida was spared the rains and winds from Tropical Storm Franklin, warmth from the storm’s core blasted the state Saturday, pushing heat-index readings to dangerous levels.

On top of that, there’s a sandstorm coming. Seriously.

Though forecasters think the sandstorm will do little more than dazzle up the sunsets, it could tickle the throats of people with respiratory problems. The cloud of dust, which is about the size of the continental United States, originated in the Sahara Desert and could be over Florida early this week.

(via Sploid)

Of course, I’m one of those who has a bit of respritory sensitivity, already aggrivated by the fact that I live with more fuzzy creatures to which I am allergic than I really should. We’ll see if I feel anything from this.

Covering Up

In other news, according to the last update we got, we are only weeks away from getting the screen behind our house replaced. Last I heard from them (a couple weeks ago) they said still on schedule for the first week in August. Of course, it was originally scheduled for March. And I wouldn’t be surprised if it still ends up not being August. And of course, we are not the only ones:

Pool screens awash in delays
(Scott Blanke, Florida Today)

There are more than 36,000 swimming pools in Brevard County, including the one in Melissa Wells’ back yard in Palm Bay. Like many of her fellow pool owners, Wells is waiting for a screen enclosure to be built around her pool.

She put up a fence in her yard so she could use her pool while she waits for a screen enclosure, but it’s not the same.

“You can’t go out and swim at night without getting attacked by mosquitoes,” Wells said.

Homeowners across Brevard County are having to wait months longer than usual and pay thousands of dollars extra for swimming-pool screen enclosures, as screen contractors have been overwhelmed with work because of last year’s hurricanes and Florida’s housing boom.

The situation has created a lot of unhappy customers.

We’re locked into “last year’s rate” by contract. They better not try to change that. Brandy has been most upset by the many month delay we’ve already had. I’ve never been too concerned about that, cause I expected it. Now the price on the other hand… this is supposed to be entirely paid for by money in escrow from the previous owners. If they try to change the price by one penny, then I’ll be quite annoyed. I think they are locked in though.

One of the things the article mentions is how some of the screen builders who signed up too many people (like ours obviously) are themselves getting screwed because they are locked in to only recieving last year’s prices while their own costs have gone up considerably.

I guess I feel for them somewhat. On the other hand, I don’t care so much that I’d want to pay more. :-) Just get our screen on, so we don’t have to worry about bugs and leaves.

Disruption

Brandy got some bad news Friday that will probably disrupt our lives here for the next month or so, maybe a bit more, maybe a bit less. Hopefully less rather than more. I won’t say more in this forum. All will be well before too long, but there will be some short term stress for both of us.

Morning Foodstuffs

I have never been a regular breakfast eater. In fact, I’ve always felt a bit wierd eating anything until I’ve been awake at least 2 or 3 hours, sometimes more.

But the last few days, I’ve gotten to work and I have been HUNGRY. And tired even if I had a decent number of hours of sleep the night before. And it isn’t like I haven’t had dinner the night before, or have had less than normal. That has stayed about the same.

But I’m ending up hungry and groggy in the mornings, and not fully functional until I get lunch several hours later. I mean, I’m always a bit groggy in the mornings, I am just not a morning person, I’m best in the afetrnoon and evening… but it has been a bit more so than usual lately.

I’m starting to think maybe I have to think about how to fit a coffee and a bagel or something into my morning routine.

Yuck-A-Tan

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I have not forgotten what is supposed to be my next random trip in a long series of random trips. It just isn’t to be just quite yet. Originally it was supposed to be fore 1st quarter of 2004. At this point even 1st quarter of 2006 seems unlikely, but it will happen eventually I tell you! It will!

In the mean time, above is a Google Maps overhead view of the spot. Enjoy!

CMS as File System

Hey, a post related to my profession…

Content Management Systems have to a large degree been an effort to provide ways of managing and finding content that are better than simply using a shared drive on a file system. Which is great. That is definately needed.

But on the other hand people are used to their file systems. They use them every day. They are comfortable with them. A CMS with a new propriatary interface has to be learned. It is new. It is different. Some people like that. Many people do not, and will resist the change.

The product at my company tries to use “Windows Like” interfaces for some of the navigation for exactly that reason. CMSWatch notes last week that this is actually a trend:

Navigating Intranets by Folder

Perhaps heeding the old saw that Windows Explorer is everyone’s first content management system, vendors are constantly trying to make their tools more “Explorer-like.” A couple of product demos today really brought that home. First, CMS vendor Ektron […] Clearly, navigating folders is faster and more familiar to some employees than browsing or searching an Intranet website — even when the desired content is an HTML page. […] Which brings me to my second demo, of the new open-source document collaboration platform, Alfresco. Like many of its competitors, employees can mount the Alfresco repository as a shared drive and drag files into particular projects or business processes (see screen). For the enterprise, Alfresco pitches its rules engine here, but for the employee, the appeal is using good ol’ Explorer.

As I mentioned, we make our interface look like Explorer too. But it seems clear that exposing a CMS as a file system is something that is very powerful. You need the full blown CMS for lots of things. But in certain cases, just expose it… pretend to just be a drive. Then you can take advantage of a lot of other things too then that only know about drives.

The two systems mentioned, Ektron and Alfresco seem worth another look too.

As of this post I’m also adding a CMS category for the site, just as I recently did for Books, DVD and Cinema. That way if you want to look at just the stuff in these categories you can. I’ve been posting regularly enough about it, I thought it was worth seperating it out as its own category.

GPS Lust

imageOnce again, my desires for a new GPS to replace my old one with the big yellow spot in the center of the screen rises up. Garmn released a bunch of new car GPS units a few days ago. At all ranges of capability and price. The top of the line is this one:

Garmin StreetPilot 2720

The StreetPilot 2720 is a premium GPS automotive navigator that offers text-to-speech and traffic interface capabilities.

In addition to the turn-by-turn voice prompted navigation available in earlier StreetPilot models, the 2720’s text-to-speech functionality allows the unit to audibly announce the name of upcoming streets and POIs, letting drivers keep their eyes on the road while navigating through busy traffic and tricky roadways.

For drivers in congested metropolitan areas, Garmin is offering the GTM 10, an optional FM RDS-TMC traffic receiver that receives digital information (where available) on traffic, road construction, and weather-related tie-ups. The GTM10 receives data from selected FM broadcast stations in select cities throughout the United States and Europe. This optional feature lets drivers see congested areas via a color-coded map. When connected to the GTM 10, the StreetPilot 2720 uses this data to automatically calculate and suggest alterntive routes based on the traffic information.

The StreetPilot 2720 also boasts a new WQVGA, color, automotive-grade, sunlight-readable, touchscreen display that automatically adjusts the unit’s backlight for optimum viewing in any amount of light. Drivers can view the map in a three-dimensional perspective, or a top-down track-up or north-up view.

The StreetPilot 2720 comes preprogrammed with City Navigator™ North America v7 NT maps—containing detailed road maps throughout the entire United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico. This map database features nearly six million points of interest—including hotels, restaurants, gas stations, ATMs, and attractions.

Garmin has also added the ability for customers to augment the pre-loaded maps with custom POI’s from industry-standard CSV files, such as school zones and safety cameras. In addition, a proximity-alert feature is included to optionally warn the driver of upcoming custom POI’s.

In addition to point-to-point navigation, the StreetPilot 2720 can calculate the most efficient route between multiple destinations—a real time-saver for realtors, sales forces, and errand-runners. Drivers can also tell the unit to avoid specific areas or road segments when calculating a route.

(via GPSInformation.org)

Of course, my lust is quickly quenched by this part: “Suggested Retail Price: $1184.60”. Oops. Not going to be in the budget any time soon. Too many other things WAY ahead of it on the list. Sigh! But someday my pretty! Someday!