11:23pm CDT Houston, Texas

Google Maps - west houston, texas

Google Map of West Houston area - my friend Chris lives within the highway 610 Beltway. Just spoke with him on the phone and they have yet to see any significant weather in their area. It looks like the next 4-6 hours will bring the worst of it....

Google Maps - west houston, texas

KHOU.com | News for Houston, Texas | Weather | Local Radars

A good friend of mine from high school lives in Houston on the west side of town. He tried to leave yesterday morning, but turned around after he spent hours waiting to get onto the Beltway surrounding the greater Houston area in the pic below. I spoke with him last night at about 5:30pm pacific time and he decided to wait it out. He's got 2 weeks worth of food & water, a pile of camping equipment, his cats to keep him company, and enough firepower to defeat a small army. I just left him a vmail and wished him the best of luck. Godspeed Chris...here we go again.

KHOU.com | News for Houston, Texas | Weather | Local Radars


Eye Of The Storm

Just ran across this blog tonight. Pretty amazing photography and first hand accounts of Katrina damage.

Eye Of The Storm: ". No, not really. This was just a light moment last night at one of the few bars in the neighborhood that still exists."


weather.com - Map Navigator - Close-Up Satellite

7 hours after my previous post...now a cat 4 with sustained winds of 140.

weather.com - Map Navigator - Close-Up Satellite

Source: weather.com

CNN.com - Rita now a Category 3 hurricane - Sep 21, 2005

image source: cnn.com (see link below)

Oh boy. This storm is getting bigger and bigger.

CNN.com - Rita now a Category 3 hurricane - Sep 21, 2005

SoonR GDS Query for 'dell'

successful query executed for "dell" - not sure where the results are coming from. expected to get a .txt file returned in my results list. need to figure out what's going on here.

UPDATE #1 - See the comments below from the SoonR folks, which clarify the settings for soonr GDS query results - which return 'files' by default. You can also filter by email by setting the appropriate property from your mobile browser.

UPDATE #2 - Here's a screenshot for the GDS search results, filtered by "Files", which are not directly in sync with what I'm getting from my soonr search on my razr.

[removed screenshot due to confidential info in the GDS query results display]
(c) bde 2005

success! the result of a "get" command for a very tiny .txt file. not too shabby!!!
(c) bde 2005

pic of my laptop with the txt file that I emailed to my work account from my motorola razr phone. very cool!

to see if my semi-weak 802.11 connection was the source of my page not found errors, I installed the soonr client on another machine and setup a few folders. I was able to access the folders from my razr as you can see in this screen display, but I was not able to successfully open any of the files inside this folder directly from my phone.
(c) bde 2005

drilling into the Soonr shared folder, which I was able to drill down into and view photos.
(c) bde 2005

this was next attempt with the same txt file, email to my work account. this worked. see pic of laptop in teh post above.

[removed screenshot to hide my work email address for spammers and and the like]

UPDATE: display showed successful confirmation of sending a .txt file via email from my razr to my work email account]

(c) bde 2005

folder view with txt file shown in previous post.
(c) bde 2005

detail display for a small txt file. attempted to execute "get" request, which returned a "Page cannot be displayed" error. haven't successfully executed a "get" command at this point. need to do some more digging on this one...
(c) bde 2005

another error message from a failed request. don't remember what the root cause of this one is.
(c) bde 2005

error displayed after executing Google desktop query for dell
(c) bde 2005

another Google desktop search. This time search for "dell". This one also resulted in an error.
(c) bde 2005

Error displayed after executing previous query
(c) bde 2005

home screen with query for "st helens" ready to fire off a Google desktop search. This particular search didn't work, but I was able to get one of my queries to work.
(c) bde 2005

different view of home display
(c) bde 2005

One of several errors echo'd back to me from my requests to soonr. This was an error I got after trying to drill into one of the shared folders on my laptop. not sure what the root cause of this is.
(c) bde 2005

Main soonr "home" display. can drill into shared folders on your "desktop", access your outlook calendar (I've yet to get this to work), and display outlook emails in my inbox (which I've also yet to get working).
(c) bde 2005

screen display of shared folders that physically reside on my laptop (a Dell Latitude d800).
(c) bde 2005

folder list for shared folder on my laptop. note that this folder was accessed by my raze with my laptop sitting on my couch connected to my home network via 802.11b, which is pretty cool. Wireless to wireless data access...not too shabby.
(c) bde 2005

jpg pic detail display with menu choices
(c) bde 2005

screen display after attempting to render a jpg image using the "fit to phone" (or similar) menu option. previous screen displayed pic folder with thumbnail view of multiple pics. pretty cool rendering.
(c) bde 2005


Premium weather from weather.com Gold - My Page

Premium weather with no ads from weather.com. this is what we're reduced to in order to get rid of the banner ads. I am getting tired of zapping ads with my ad blocker though.

weather.com Gold - My Page

weather.com - Map Navigator - Satellite/Radar

Source: weather.com
Link: weather.com - Map Navigator - Satellite/Radar

weather.com - Map Navigator - Close-Up Satellite

Closeup satellite view.

Image source: weather.com
Link: weather.com satellite image

Not again. Rita poised to hit gulf coast as a cat 4...

You've got to be kidding me. Here we go again. Got a call from Mercy Corp today. Donated more $$ How the heck are we going to pay for this. $200 Billion and counting...

I hope that the good citizens of NW Louisana and Texas are able to overcome the challenges that lie ahead. Godspeed...again! Damn.

Image source: weather.com
Link: weather.com radar image

Microsoft Reorganizes to Compete Better - Yahoo! News

See - this adds more weight to the argument I was making in an earlier post about competition between MSFT and GOOG and whose doing more innovative things. I'm certainly well along my way to ridding myself of the need for MSFT solutions. That said, I'm 100% open to exploring new, innovative technologies from MSFT, provided that they meet my precise needs. Not sure if Vista goes far enough at this point. Time will tell.

Microsoft Reorganizes to Compete Better - Yahoo! News


Hines Coffee to the rescue

I just received and responded to the email quoted below, and the timing couldn't be better! As a non-starbucks drinking, coffee snob, I've grown accustomed to a certain level of quality when it comes to my morning coffee fix.

Over the past few years, I've grown accustomed to the stellar quality of the beans coming out of the old school German roaster, the variety of amazing beans they acquire, and the impecably prepared espresso drinks, shots, swill, and baked goods that the folks over at Hines Coffee offer up here in Seattle's Eastlake neighborhood.

Since Hines closed up shop back on August 31, I've been pulling shots for my morning americano from my Rancillio Silva Grinder & Espresso machine, which I might add, make for a pretty comparable triple tall americano (in my case a quad), but it's not the same as how they do it down there at Hines with their mammoth La Marchiassa espresso machine.

Luckily I was able to snag a pound of 'spro beans from Hines just before they closed up their old digs...For those who aren't up on the latest happenings in the Eastlake area, the building that Hines Coffee and Porta (greek restaurant/bar) leased is being torn down, so they've been forced to relocate or shut down. I'm pretty sure that Porta moved to the Fremont neighborhood (need to confirm), and Hines was originally going to move to Bell town, but they've since changed their plans a couple times.

From the email below it looks like they're moving down the block, which is actually closer to where I live.

For those who enjoy a good cup of joe, definitely check out this small, unique, stellar shop.

===Hello Hines Regulars and Customers --

You are receiving this email as an update on our recent move and what will be going on in the next coming months. If you do not wish to be part of this email list, please let us know and you will be removed from the list.

Our new location is at the end of block, south of our former location. It is the building behind the dry cleaners on the corner of Eastlake and Boston, across the street from Serafina. The address is 2203 Eastlake Ave E. We are hoping to have a cart up at that space in mid-to-late Oct while permits are being approved and buildout goes on. As of now, we hope to have the new space open by sometime in mid-2006.

But what about coffee? This is the good news -- we continue to roast so you will NOT be out of your Hines coffee. This Wednesday, 21 Sept 2005, you will be able to pick up some WHOLE BEAN coffee for your drinking pleasure. Pick-up will be from 3-6pm in the parking lot of the new location. CASH AND CHECK ONLY.


SPECIAL: Panama - Carmen Estate ($25.00 per pound)
This special coffee is the highest grown coffee in Panama and #3 lot from this year's Best of Panama Coffee Auction. Much like Esmeralda from the previous year, Carmen has some unique qualities. Great acidity with hints of fruit, makes for a sweet cup of coffee. This is ONLY available by the pound.

Our rotating menu of fine coffees are $13.00 per lb and $7.00 per 1/2 lb.
Espresso Colombia Java
House Costa Rica Kenya
Red Sea El Salvador Sumatra

If you have any future coffee orders, please email us at ORDERS@HINESCOFFEE.COM.
We hope to see you guys soon and thank you for all your support.

The Hines Staff
John, John, Bronwen, Emily, Merlin, Chris, and Swiggly

Wired News: My IPod for a Random Playlist

[click title above to get the article]

I couldn't agree more with the point being made in this article.

I've experienced exactly what he's talking about with the current generation of music shuffling technologies. I've yet to find a solution that works well using either itunes or rhapsody, which are my current top 2 sources of music. [BTW - I can't remember the last time I purchased a CD. ]

I finally had what you might call some "offline downtime" with my laptop this past weekend, as I schlepped my laptop and bag 'o gadgets with me for a relaxing weekend of solitude in the north cascades.

Being offline and not having to focus on anything work-related, gave me the opportunity to get back to the task of cleaning up my music collection, something I've been putting off for years. I started by creating a bunch of smart playlists, organized them into folders, and for as many songs as I could bare, ranked, categorize, and cleaned up the metadata song by song.

As I began the task of cleansing my 7000+ songs, operating under the premise that if I clean the metadata and categorize and rank all 7000, I'm hoping that I'll eventually be able to more accurately slice and dice my collection.


My goal? To be able play what I want, when I want it, on the device/medium that is most appropriate for the environment I happen to be in at that particular point in time. Is this really too much to ask for?

Even though I got through over 1000 songs this past weekend, I was mostly ranking songs (1-5 stars) directly from my ipod(s). I did spend some time using itunes to cleanse my metadata, but there's only so much that one can take performing such a tedious chore.

After spending a pretty good chunk of time on it over the weekend, I started to think that even as my collection "gets smarter" and my media players are able to take better advantage of my playlists, rankings, and cleansed metadata, it is still REALLY REALLY hard to access and manage my 7000+ song collection.

There has got to be a better solution. I know that I will probably have to take the hit and do a bunch of research on the apple forums and various ipod lounges to see what others are doing so I can squeeze the most out of their collections, but I really don't have the time.

Regardless of the outcome of my current effort to better classify my collection, it's a slightly different set of problems than what this article is focusing on. Unfortunately, inaccurate metadata only contributes to the problem.