Monday, August 31, 2009

Busy weekend!

It was a busy weekend. On Friday after work, I went and purchased a used TI-83 Plus calculator that I found on craigslist; I want to experiment with programming its Z80 processor, and don't want to risk John's TI-84 Plus Silver Edition that we bought him for school. That'll take me back to my TRS-80 Model I days. I then naturally needed to update its operating system to the latest version, 1.19. There were some hick ups along the way--the transfer died in the middle, but I eventually got it installed, using Google to help me find the solution. I then wrote a quick and dirty TI-Basic program to compute a Fibonacci Number.

Friday evening, I drove John and one his friends to a youth night at a home out past Oregon City.

On Saturday, I had multimedia duty at PVC. Steve Arrington was the speaker, telling the story of his life as a Navy diver, a convicted felon, chief diver for the Cousteau Society, and lay youth minister. He also had a program Saturday evening, showing undersea video from Fiji and Hawaii.

Yesterday, we went over to Joy's mom's house for brunch and for me to work on her computer. One of her grandkids had installed some software on her computer that had somehow disabled her sound card. I tried several different things and finally just reinstalled Windows XP on it. I set up a limited "Kids" account on there for the grandchildren to use, but prevent them from installing any software.

At work, I'm reading about a relatively new design pattern, Data Access Objects (DAO), that abstracts the persistence layer of an application from the business logic, making it easier to switch database managers, etc. I'm going to use that technique to refactor my homepage application.

Friday, August 28, 2009

August is drawing to an end

It is the last Friday in August. It is supposed to be nice weather again this weekend. I have multimedia duty tomorrow at PVC.

Yesterday, I installed eyeQ from Infinite Mind on John's computer. Hopefully, the techniques that he'll learn using that software package will help him read faster with better comprehension.

I got my work computer all defragged and it running much smoother and faster now. Yeah!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Slow work computer

My computer at work has gotten very slow. Tasks that should take about 30 seconds took 30 minutes yesterday. I checked for spyware and nothing except cookies showed up. I ran a disk check on it last night, but that came back clean. I finally decided to look at the fragmentation level, and the hard drive was very fragmented. I'm now running a defrag on it; hopefully, that'll get it back into good shape.

We've been having some great weather here in Portland this week.

My parents stopped by yesterday. They gave us a couple of boxes of yellow plums and some vegetables. Yummy!

We had to talk with John last evening about his homework. Even though school has only been going for a couple of weeks, he's already missed several assignments. This weekend, I need to help him learn to use the organizer feature on his TI-84 calculator. He can then enter his assignments on it while still in class, making it less likely that he'll forget them.

Monday, August 24, 2009

A productive weekend

It was nice, comfortable weather for the weekend.

On Saturday evening, we went to Vancouver to Joy's sister Janie's house to visit and for me to work on their computer. It wasn't connecting to the internet. After a couple of hours of trying, including talking to Qwest on the phone, it turned out that their DSL modem was broken.

Yesterday, we cleaned and organized our small back yard and Joy started to unpack her frog collection. Then, Janie called to say that she'd gotten a new modem and I went over and got it configured for them.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Friday, once again

It's Friday, August 21. The weather has cooled off; I'm so glad that it wasn't a long hot stretch look we endured a couple of weeks ago!

John had his first day of 10th grade yesterday. We reviewed some letters to parents that he brought for his Algebra II and Spanish I classes.

After buying John a TI-84 calculator for his Algebra class, I've been re-teaching myself how to use some of the more sophisticated features of my old HP-28S calculator. I still like using Reverse Polish Notation for solving problems on a calculator, so doing the normal computations is no problem. When I get a new phone, computer, etc., one of the first things that I look for and install is a calculator application that uses RPN. I have installed emulators for the HP-48SX calculator for both my computers (Emu48) and my phone (Droid48).

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A change at home

Joely moved out to a different host family's home. We are all a little sad about this. We might be getting a male exchange student this weekend, but we don't know yet.

The weather has been hot, but not as bad as a couple of weeks ago--thankfully.

John starts school tomorrow. I got him a TI-84 Plus Silver Edition calculator; this should get him through all of his high school and early college math classes. If he goes on to take more advanced math than calculus, he might need to invest in a more advanced model, but that is several years down the road. This one is much more powerful than what I used when I went to graduate school 20 years ago, let alone the slide rule and trig tables that I used in high school math.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Another hot week

We had a good weekend. Joy helped Joely to get her room painted. I got an old P4 box set up with XP Pro to use a print server and development test system, to replace a much older P3 box running Win2K.

PAA starts school on Thursday, so the kids need to get into school mode from their summer schedule. There is a get together this evening at PAA for their ESL students and their host families.

I've been researching prices on graphics calculators for John's Algebra II class. When I took that course and Trigonometry/Analytic Geometry, way back in the early 70s, I used a slide rule and trigonometry tables; calculators were just coming out. Our teacher brought in a magazine with an advertisement about the HP-35; we were all amazed by it and wished that we had a spare $400 or so to buy one. I still remember how to use my slide rule, but am glad that I don't have to use it all of the time. I have a HP-28S calculator from the late 80s that is older than John.

The temperature forecast for today through Wednesday is supposed to be in the 90s or possibly up to 100. I hope that it doesn't last!

Friday, August 14, 2009


We picked up our Chinese exchange student, Joely, at the airport on Wednesday evening. She's a senior at PAA, graduating in the spring. We went to eat dinner at Chang's and got to know her some. She's from southern China, near Hong Kong. She lives in a high rise building overlooking the ocean.

We're looking forward to the weekend, to get some relaxation in before the kids start school next week.

The weather forecast for next week is hot again. I think that Portland has had its heat quota already!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A rainy August Wednesday

It was raining this morning when I drove to work. You'd think that people who live in Oregon would know how to drive in rain--but apparently they don't! There were 3 different accidents that I went past just on my way to work, all within a mile of each other. They looked like the cars had spun out going around corners.

Tonight, we go to Portland International Airport to pick up our Chinese exchange student, Joely. The house is all spick and span, ready for the new family member.

John has been doing soccer warmups. He looks like a lobster, he is so sun burned.

Monday, August 10, 2009

A good August weekend

On Saturday afternoon, Joy and I drove up to Larch Mountain.

Yesterday, we got confirmation that we are going to get the exchange student, so we spent the day getting her room ready.

John starts a week of soccer camp today, getting him in shape for the soccer season at PAA. He's not looking forward to school starting next week, though.

Friday, August 07, 2009


It's Friday, August 8. At 12:34:56 today, the time & date will be 12:34:56 07/08/09 -- 123456789--using the European style of date.

Yesterday evening, we had a visit with the placement people for a female exchange student from China. It would be good for John to have a sister, even for a year. If all the paperwork goes through ok, we'll pick her up at PDX next Wednesday.

I have Multimedia again tomorrow at PVC. After that, if the weather cooperates, Joy and I will probably take a hike somewhere.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Another Wednesday--and it's getting cooler

It is supposed to be in the low 80s today and in the 70s tomorrow and Friday, with a chance of rain by Friday--a big change from a week ago!

Last evening, we went to see The Brothers Bloom with Les & Keri. It was a quirky, funny movie with lots of little twists and surprises.

I installed a new version of CHDK onto my SD550 camera. It is kind of cool to be able to shoot Raw images, use manual shutter speed and aperture, etc., all on camera that easily fits into a pocket.

Monday, August 03, 2009

August 2009 is here

It is the first Monday--and workday--in August. Thankfully, the weekend was cooler than it had been for the last week.

On Saturday, after our multimedia duty, we relaxed at home with Joy's sister, Julie. We watched Luther and Cry, the Beloved Country with Julie and Justin and drank root beer floats.

Yesterday, Joy and I went to the wedding at Mt. Tabor Church. It wasn't air conditioned and with several hundred people inside the sanctuary, it was hot and muggy. The reception was at Creston Park and was underneath some nice shady trees.

Today's forecast is for the temperature to be in the high 80s, but it is also supposed to be a little more humid, making for a muggy feeling.