Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Our Future is almost here....

This, in my opinion, is the single largest innovative game changer for our generation.  The ability to generate small but consistent electricity using motion takes us to the point where our bodies can generate through our normal livelihood the energy required to do the things we want to do.

Obesity opponents should be all over this as more activity means more energy for our disposal.  Reminds me of the game station in the 90's that made you ride a stationary bike to power it.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Soda Market share

I prefer Diet Coke over Diet Pepsi, but after hearing this news, I want the world to know, I am not a follower!

In the soda world, market share is everything, and it is really surprising to see this.  We have a lot of Pepsi employees at our church, so to them I say, "my sympathies."

Monday, March 28, 2011

Transmission Fluid

I changed the transmission fluid on Saturday with the help of the Haynes Manual.  Like a dummy, I took zero pictures, so you will just have to believe me.

I got to invest in a couple essentials; a new jack and floor stands, a new set of socket wrenches and some gasket scrappers.  I think I have most of the tools required to work on the jeep, for a little more than the amount of having the shop do the work.  There are a few more changes to be made, so stay tuned.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Four Hour Work Week - Review

I finished reading the Four Hour Work Week. As it's title suggests, this book details how to stop working the normal 40+ hour work week, and make the money you need on far less time.  It is all there, and I would assume that if you wanted to, you could generate the same or similar results for yourself by following the steps in the book.

If you have absolutely no desire to change jobs, or try to work remotely, etc. this book is still extremely helpful.  The theories used to organize, and streamline your work environment are invaluable.  You will be able to get more done in less time.  If you chose to get even more done in the time you save, ignore the last half of this book, but don't miss the first.  I have already begun to implement some of the suggestions, and my effectiveness at work is increasing.

Tim Ferriss is a fascinating author, and his success at all things under the sun has a fantastic appeal.  I find that his reaction to his freedom is to fill it with other self-fulfilling activities.  He does challenge you to leave the world better than you found it, but even that lacked the pathos I would expect.  I attribute that to my assumption of his lack of spiritual awakening that comes through a real personal relationship with Christ.  I do not want to presume to know Mr. Ferriss, or his spiritual life, but if you are looking for fulfilling suggestions on how to use your newly found free time, its just not there.  On the off chance Tim happens on this post, I mean no disrespect.

I find myself in the happy middle ground.   I have been working 50+ hour weeks and have been reasonably happy with my job.  I have no desire to work remotely at this point, so I am using the tools in the book to increase my effectiveness at work while lowering my working hours.  I have started to consider options for a muse which will supplement income and allow for future flexibility.

Go get this book from the link above. Its worth it!

Friday, March 25, 2011

It's Friday. Friday. Got to get down on Friday.

Rebecca Black is this weeks viral video... Its awesome in its terribleness.

We we we so excited. We so excited... need I say more.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A case study in the Internet

Our fridge broke.  This is the first real appliance problem we have had in our married life.  I did what my parents would have done, and what generations of folks have done... I called the Kenmore repair man on the phone.   I got all the way through the menus to the point where they were ready to schedule a visit.  The cost, $109.  Understanding cost of business, I thought this was reasonable, but I was still too cheap to actually agree to it.  I hung up, frustrated. 

I decided to go shopping at sears for refrigerators.  Veronica was out of town, and not answering her cell phone, so I convinced myself to buy a new refrigerator without her.  Not the best idea I have ever had, but I was frustrated, and annoyed.  I got dressed, coat on, ready to walk out the door when I had a moment of clarity...

The Internet.  

The answer to everything is on the Internet.  Coat on, keys ready, I sat down long enough to google "Refrigerator not cooling".  The first link was to this site.  Genius!

I followed the instructions for the various things that could be wrong.  None of the first few made sense, until I got to the Start Relay section.  I was hearing a clicking every now and then, just like the guy describes.  I had found my answer.  

I pulled out the fridge

 Opened the back,
 and found the relay that looked exactly like his picture.
I pulled it out in all of 10 minutes, shook it like he said to, and knew I had found the problem!

"What in the world did people do before the Internet," I thought to myself.  Now I knew the problem, and I needed a part.  So I did what all intelligent people who had just been saved by the internet from making a large financial mistake would do...   I drove to sears, part in hand.

I walked up to the 4 old men in the appliance section of Sears and proudly proclaimed, "I need one of these."

"what is that?"  was the reply.

"A Condenser start relay for a Kenmore elite refrigerator," I replied with the confidence of a 40 year veteran repair man.

"How old is your fridge?" the man asked, and I though to myself, now we are getting somewhere.

"7, 8 years old."

"We have 23 models of refrigerators on the floor, and they change each year.  Each one has hundreds of parts in them.   Do you really think we stock parts for all those fridges?"

Ouch.  He handed me a sears card with the service number on it.  Ironically, it was the same number I had called originally to schedule the repair man.  I pushed the issue though.  I said, the guys who drive around in the trucks, they must get parts from somewhere, where can I go to get those?  He told me they used the number as well.

I left defeated. I walked out into the main mall to drown my sorrow in a large Sbarro soda when it hit me.

The Internet.

I opened my phone and searched for "refrigerator parts waterbury ct."  Once again, the first link led me to the site of a local appliance parts store.  I called him and he was kind enough to stay open an extra 10 minutes so I could get there and buy the part for $60.  I got home, installed the part, and watched as our fridge came back to life.

Twice I almost ignored the Internet.  Twice the Internet had exactly the right solution.  Here is the Fridge, in all its glory back to good working order.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Open Letter to Joint Committee on Judiciary

Honorable Judiciary Committee members,

I want to thank you for your time today going over multiple gun related bills.  It was a real privilege for me to see our state's government in action.  In today's day and age, too many assume government officials are not approachable or able to be influenced.  The humility many of the members present showed was commendable, and I thank you.

I did not submit testimony today, opting for watching and listening to the proceedings until about 4:30 when I had to leave.  I would like to recap my takeaways from today's comments and request that you take appropriate action in the coming days.

Ref SB 1094 - I believe the public made it clear that this bill will do significant economic damage and open the state to serious litigation if this bill were to pass.  Furthermore, arguments were made that there is no detailed proof that reducing the size of allowable magazines would reduce crime in anyway, but would add hardship to 65-70% of handgun owners, and 99% of rifle owners.  This committee must vote this "knee-jerk reaction" bill down.

Ref SB 1096 - Sen. Kissel repeatedly asked those opposed to 1094 about their stance on 1096. I was less than thrilled with the responses.  Mostly people were against it because they are against all gun legislation.  There was one testimony detailing the reloading issue where feasibly a person who is disallowed to own a firearm for legal reasons would still have ammunition.  This felt like reaching.  I happen to support the intent of 1096.  Make no mistake.  Gun owners are strickly for tougher enforcement of gun laws, and tougher punishments for gun crimes.  If the addition of ammunition in the statutes referenced in this bill gives the police a bigger set of teeth when dealing with criminals, then I am for it.  If this is yet an additional tool that will be barely used, then it will not help.  As one verbal testimony from today pointed out, we have a punishment problem.  We want stronger and more harsh punishments for those who commit crimes with firearms.  This is the fastest, most cost effective means of reducing gun crimes.

Ref SB 1148 - I cannot recall any testimonies about this bill.  I am ambivalent.  

Ref SB 1206 - This bill had a few testimonies, and all told, I believe that the group was summarily for the bill so long as a better definition of "interfere" was done.  Personally, I agree.  You should be free to videotape an officers actions so long as you are not an interference. I recognize the sensitive nature of that footage, but in this case, I believe that personal freedom should rule the legislation.  In the case of a misuse of that information, let a civil case be brought.

Ref SB 1210 - This bill was not nearly as clear in the testimony.  I feel like it got lost in the 1094 discussion which is unfortunate since this bill has real opportunity to become law. There were a few attempts to clarify 'castle doctrine' status in CT.  I believe that Sec. 53a-20 as is constitutes a fairly decent castle doctrine stance.  The question at the heart of these pieces of legislation is who should be given the "benefit of the doubt" in situations where there is a victim and an assailant.  By adding the "Presumption" clause, the legislature will be helping the victim by placing the requirement on the assailant to prove that the belief was unreasonable.  I believe this is a good addition to the statutes and should be passed.

Ref HB 6473 - I do not remember any verbal testimonies on this before I left, but this "three strikes" bill coincides with my earlier comments about wanting violent crimes punished harshly.  I support this bill's intent.  I would feel uncomfortable speaking to its specifics without further review.

Ref HB 6490 - The testimonies about this were correct in saying that CT can and should push to complete this federal mandate, and take the financial benefits of doing so early.

Ref HB 6615 - I believe the representative from the ACLU who gave testimony to this bill is right that Tasers should be considered potentially lethal.  Good practice dictates training requirements, etc. so i am unsure why it needs to be legislated.  Furthermore, care should be taken to know the real financial impact of Section 3.  If it can be done inexpensively, then so be it.  Tasers are tools for peace officers.  They should not be misused. However, if an unfortunate incident with a Taser leads to a death or other permanent harm, the peace officer should not be responsible.  We should not legislate to the point where Taser use is discouraged.  They are a good tool.

Ref HB 6616 - There was one verbal testimony that I remembered referencing this bill.  I felt bad for that presenter as his issue was surrounded by all the gun talk.  Again, I am ambivalent.

Thank you for your efforts and service to our state.  I look forward to reading the votes for the above bills in the coming days.

-Dwayne Boulden


Here is a listing of today's public hearing testimonies.

Haynes Manual

I bought this book last week.  These books are great if you want to do any work yourself on vehicles.  I am planning on tackling some simple fluid changes now that the weather is getting nicer.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Movie Review - The Adjustment Bureau

The Adjustment Bureau

This movie is a pretty interesting take on spirituality.  While universalism is well at work, I do not think you need to shy away from it, just accept that it is there, and move on.  There is enough good in this movie to make it worth a watch.  Having grown up as a free-will Christian, and now hold to the doctrines of grace, the subject matter is pretty interesting.  I hate spoilers, so i will not give away much of the movie, but one line in particular stuck with me.

Thompson: You don't have free will, David. You have the appearance of free will.
David Norris: You expect me to believe that. I make decisions everyday.
Thompson: You have free will over which tooth past you use, or which beverage to order at lunch. But humanity just isn't mature enough to control the important things.

I happen to believe this is not so far from the truth.  While God's reason has nothing to do with our maturity, the heart of that statement is true.

Its a fun movie, and overall significantly more intelligent then any movie I can think of.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Shampoo terrorism

Listing a post with terrorism is probably grounds for some NSA reveiwer... If so, I hope you are having a good day.

The good folks at the TSA, after taking their nude picture of me, decided that my dandruff shampoo was worth confiscating. It was an interesting thing to watch. The guy in the polyester pants took each item out of my quart size ziplock and placed it in some machine that "analyzes" it (shakes it around by the looks of it). It beeped on my shampoo, and they took it. I have flown multiple times with the same small bottle.

These kinds of random results are what kills all confidence in our actual ability to uphold good safety rules. Either my shampoo is somehow dangerous (chemical makeup, whatever) and they should take that shampoo every time or it is safe, and I should be allowed to fly with my flak-reducing shampoo.

In honor of flying, enjoy some Marvin Webster

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sunday Morning Worship

(Sorry for the time off... a lot has happened personally for our family, and I got lazy. I'm back for a while.)

Monday, March 7, 2011

Everything's amazing, and I am happy

I will be flying today.  When I do, I try to remember the truth of this guys comment.  I will try not to yell when the plane takes off.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Sunday Morning Worship

I've been listening to this song through Pandora for a while, and finally tracked it down.  If you have the time, listen to the story it is well worth it, otherwise, skip to the song.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

A/B Testing

Have you heard of A/B testing?  The internet is amazing.  Since there is very little real cost to displaying websites (as opposed to billboards, or other forms of visual marketing) you can do A/B testing and statistically know if your change is going to be better.

In life I wish I could test things this way.  Imagine if I could A/B Test my recent car choice.  I could know through real data which car would fill my requirements better. Web designers have a real tool in their arsenal, and they should be using it a lot!  For me, I'll just have to rent the other vehicles and see if I still think I made the right choice.

Friday, March 4, 2011


My Blackberry Bold has been rebooting on me regularly, so today I got an upgrade.  The Blackberry Torch is a nice... Blackberry.  It is not an iPhone.  It is not an Android device.  But in the world of road-warriors and government officials, there is no business device better than a blackberry for real mobile productivity, and the Torch is the best Blackberry yet.

The good:
Touch - Welcome to the world of touch screens (lets pretend the Storm never happened, 'kay?).  The interesting thing about this User Interface is that you have options.  You have so many options that I can't figure out which way I am supposed to do a particular task.  Users of Blackberries have been used to the wheel/ball movement for years now, but with the use of a good touch interface, it is no longer required.  However, Blackberry left the mini-magic-scroll-thingy just to confuse us.  I find myself trying to navigate with the scroll feature while knowing full well I could just touch the screen.  Its weird, but the touch is good and responsive.  It was the first soft keyboard I did not hate.  My fat fingers only miss-typed about 10% of the time, which means if I made the effort, I could get good at it.  I do not have to.

Keypad - My favorite part of a Blackberry.  A like a real keyboard on the phone, not a soft keypad.  More than that, I like having it small enough to type with one hand.  Most hard keyboards make you flip the device landscape and use two hands.  Having the slide out for the portrait oriented keypad is a great mix. I am still uncomfortable with sliding the touchscreen up to reveal the keypad because I am concerned about pressing something I am not supposed to.  I'm sure this is just a familiarity issue that will go away over time.

Speed - feels faster than the Bold.  Faster is better!

The Bad
Resolution - Devices out there today have really small pixels.  I feel like I could measure these with a standard ruler.  You just can't get as sharp as you can with the iPhone, or other devices (Atrix, Galaxy S, etc.).

Opera - To be fair this is not Blackberry's fault, but the blackberry browser will have to do for now since Opera does not recognize the Torch's touchscreen.  Disappointing to say the least.

All told, its a good phone.  For Blackberry users, it is a HUGE leap forward, while still maintaining a business feel.  A few years ago, BB pushed hard to pitch themselves as a young/hip alternative.  It didn't fly then, and its not going to now with the phones that are available, but for business, when your phone is primarily a phone/email device, BB wins.

Perhaps when the Blackberry Playbook comes out, I can figure out a way to need one.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Worst Music Video Ever

Its just awful on so many levels. Enjoy.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire

I finished this book last week.  I read this book when we were in Riverbend around 10 years ago.  It is far more relevant to me today than it was then.  I have a much higher appreciation for the power of prayer, and the work of the Holy Spirit.  The powerful stories in this book will make any Christian wonder what we are not tapped into. Why aren't drug addicts, prostitutes, and homeless coming to Christ in our churches?  Why aren't we seeing real transformation in people?

In our own church, we are in the beginning of a year long focus on "Joining the echo" or how we can join in telling our story to those around us.  I have given up trying to convert people.  For too long I went around using canned methods and memorized speeches to try to convert total strangers.  No more.  I am just going to be me, and attempt to truly love the people around me with no hidden agenda.  May that love, and the power of my testimony be what draws people to Christ.

Privately, I am asking the Lord to revolutionize my prayer life.  Only in prayer is the power of the supernatural released to do good.  If you have not read this book, it is well worth it.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Cleaned out the old tech

My project for Saturday was to clean out the desk and get rid of some old tech items.  This was long overdue.  The computer the kids use was painfully slow. I had a machine that I was playing with ubuntu on, but since that project is over (i.e. I'm giving up trying to learn linux... again) I loaded windows back on it and got it all set up for home use.  Chrome browser with application shortcut to Webkins.  Pandora One for Veronica.  And I have our data share automatically copying to a mybook for backup purposes.

Our inkjet printer died a while back, so I installed a new one.  In the mix, I somehow fried the Dell Laser.  I will take it to work to see if it can be fixed.

I then took all our old tech items and threw out what was out of date.  Included was an old router, usb hub, and a joystick that had an actual game port connector.  I gave the girls some old cell phones, and we are officially cleaned out of any old technology.  This is hard for me, since I typically hold onto everything, but its a new day.