Phil's 2007 Blog!



This blog will be about nothing in particular, it will be a collection of thoughts and happenings during the year of 2007.

If anyone wishes to send an email for inclusion in the blog, just say in the email "include in your blog" and it will be done. I will keep names to formats like JeffW, CarolK, FrankL to keep things somewhat anonymous.

The animated icons came from http://www.gifs.net/ . They said if I used their icons I had better include a link to them.

The blog entries for 2011 can be found here: Phil's 2011 Blog

The blog entries for 2010 can be found here: Phil's 2010 Blog

The blog entries for 2009 can be found here: Phil's 2009 Blog

The blog entries for 2008 can be found here: Phil's 2008 Blog

The blog entries for 2006 can be found here: Phil's 2006 Blog


Mon, 31 Dec 2007 11:05:21 From: pbpersson via EmailSubject: When bad things happen to good desserts in the desert

I will not be going to the church pot luck today, as the dish I was preparing turned out to be a total flop.

It is all the fault of my cable company.

You see, my home email is the central repository of all knowledge. This includes the names of people I have met, instructions for desserts I have prepared for company parties, etc.

When I moved, I could not keep my Cox email so I did not have any POP and SMTP servers for my Thunderbird email. When I got my new cable company, I sent them an email and asked them how I setup my POP and SMTP and never received a reply.

Then I decided to rid my house of all Windows machines so I backed up the Thunderbird files and blew away the hard drive, starting my Linux adventure. The knowledge for my dessert is buried deep inside some Thunderbird files to which I no longer have access.

I found a recipe for Jello Fluff on the Internet and prepared a HUGE bowl of it last night - I was told 50 to 60 people would be there. It seemed all wrong last night but I was hoping that after it chilled overnight in the fridge, this morning I would have Jello Fluff. Instead when I awoke and checked my creation I was greeted with "Phil's Mystery Dessert Soup" so I think I will stick a ladle in there and just have a hearty bowl of the stuff each day until it is gone.

Tonight instead of attending the party I will see if I can get my Thunderbird email back so this can never happen again. You see, I cannot connect Thunderbird to Yahoo without spending even more money, and the Yahoo Web client is horrible.

Between problems with my back AND the horrible virus infection I had AND my reaction to the flu shot I received I have been falling behind on tons of stuff in my life. Tonight, tomorrow, and this coming weekend I'm hoping to get caught up and on the Java/Unix path.

Did you know that I now have three operating systems in my house? I have two Windows machines, two Linux machines, and two Unix machines. Hopefully by the weekend they will all be on the Internet and talking to each other. Oh, happy day!

Sun, 11 Nov 2007 19:16:45 From: pbpersson via EmailSubject: when hopes and dreams no longer matter

There is something about which I have never blogged.....and I will not now, but I will touch upon the subject.

As many of you know, my mother before she died lost her mind. I mean, her mind was gradually stolen away from her until she no longer knew who she was. First she forgot what reality was, then she forgot who I was, then she forgot.....well, it's hard telling.....really hard telling.

I had tried to make her last years on this earth enjoyable, her room at the nursing home had all her own furniture from home and I had purchased silk flower arrangements and placed them around the room. One day I asked how she liked the flowers and she said they were very nice.....but they never changed. Now, if she had no memory, how could she know that?

Anyway, that is how my mother died and she knew she was going to die that way because her dad died that way as well. I had no idea it was a family pattern, but she knew years before that she would go that way and had prepared for that fate.

HOWEVER, this is not what I was going to blog about - all of that was a side journey off the main path. The thing that struck me about the nursing home was that people had no rest. They were not kicking back at the end of their lives and taking a long vacation, contrary to what some people might think.

One woman there, several times a minute, would say:


"I'm your WIFE, I'm not your mother!"
"I'm your WIFE, I'm not your mother!"

Another woman there, who reportedly was once a high-paying high-stress executive, would several times a minute establish eye contact with me, quickly nod her head and in a tone of great authority would say:


"I'll take care of it!"
"I'll take care of it!"

You'll take care of what?? Your life is over! These poor devils were still existing in the nightmare of their lives, re-living their stress several times a minute. It seemed so sad.

Therefore, we must enjoy our lives to the fullest - every single moment. Don't leave anything out. This does not mean spending all your time at work making money, it doesn't mean spending all your time laying in a field of grass and looking up at the clouds.

It means doing the things you enjoy as much as possible WHILE you help others and contribute to society. This is true of everyone because we never know what tomorrow will bring.....or if our "end of the road" is today and tomorrow will never arrive.

Sun, 11 Nov 2007 18:56:47 From: pbpersson via EmailSubject: rules of kittendom

Today I was sitting on the couch, just vegging out, when the kitten came running into the Great Room chasing what looked like a long white plastic bolt. As he got closer and he caught up to it I realized that yes.....it was a white plastic bolt about 2.5 inches long and .25 inches in diameter. He looked up at me like, "Look at this cool new toy I found!" I asked him, "Where did you get that from???" He just gave me another excited joyful look and after batting the bolt again, went chasing it out of the room.

So.....I walked into the master bedroom and to my surprise all over the floor were AA Duracells. Then I went into the closet and behold, he had knocked a box of new parts off the shelf and there were new parts all over the floor. Well, I had other projects I was tackling - such as laundry and cutting up fruits and veggies for my salad so I didn't get back to the closet for some time. In the meantime, when he got tired of one toy he would go back and find another in the brand new kitten Disneyland that had appeared in my closet.

Oh....and I think I now know why kitten toys are cute and fuzzy. It is because if they are not cute and fuzzy, they make lots of noise. And....the rule of thumb is that at 3:00 in the morning, your kitten will find the noisiest one and decide THAT is when he wants to play with it on the ceramic tile floors.

Fri, 9 Nov 2007 15:04:38 From: Phil.Persson via EmailSubject: no time to think, just time to act

It is yet another Friday in the life of Phil....another week slips by as time marches forward towards an unknown destiny.

I was looking for something on the Internet and found a web site where they are building full-scale replicas of the robot from the old Lost In Space TV show. I always thought that robot was sooooo cool. They are constructing 150 and have buyers signed up for them at $24,500 each. The person who did the voice for the TV show has recorded 500 new audio tracks for this robot.

The TV show was 40 years ago. In classic Phil style I look at this and can only focus on the fact that these robots are just props - they are mindless like all robots are in the 21st century. Form without function, a flashy exterior with no intellect. The funny thing is...the TV show was set in the year 1999. Then we can look at the movie "2001 A Space Odyssey" which was set in the year 2001 and we do not yet have a HAL 9000. How long will it be until computers can simulate human thought?

My main Linux machine at home is continuing to get better.....I need to work on the web site this weekend using GIMP and SeaMonkey. Then my life will be complete.

Fri, 2 Nov 2007 10:25From: Phil.Persson via EmailSubject: Time for an update?

It seems as though there have been few blog updates recently. Let's see.....what is new????

I am now using Kubuntu for everything at home - well, as much as I can. I only revert back to Windows when I don't yet have a program to perform the task in Linux yet. Once I start developing software in Java that problem will be mostly solved. A friend of mine who said he would never use Linux and has not up until now....actually walked me through how to upgrade Kubuntu from 7.04 to 7.10. He just read the instructions from the web to me on the phone and said if upgrading is that easy, maybe he should try using Kubuntu.

Nero is now 6.5 months old and weighs 9.5 pounds.....I think he is going to be a big boy! He was just neutered yesterday and is now quarantined in a separate room so he won't run and play. I don't know what is worse for him, the surgery or being closed up in a room. When I go in to visit him and lay on the floor he is a very, very affectionate guy. I will let him out after church on Sunday but until then I want to keep him from the other cats.

This weekend I really need to learn how to use GIMP so I can start updating my web site from Linux. I have new pictures of Nero and also some baby pictures of him I want to get up there.

The animal hospital where I took him in Queen Creek seems really nice. Boy, that area sure is changing. Huge new roads are being built, shopping centers and restaurants are appearing where there was once fields of dirt.....it is really something to watch!

Halloween was amazing. I had 5 bags of candy and thinking I would not have that many children I was giving two candy bars to each child. Well, I burned through 4 bags of candy in one hour. The last bag I just handed out one piece to each child and that was gone in 20 minutes so I turned out the lights and retreated to the back bedroom. Note to self for next year: only ONE candy bar per child!

Oh....and my DVD writer bit the dust. I don't know when I bought it but I replaced it with a new one so I am once again burning DVDs. The old burner will become a read-only DVD/CD drive in a Linux machine.

I am using a new version of Kubuntu and a new version of OpenSUSE (on the former Windows 2000 machine)....and I cannot express how much easier it is to use Kubuntu. I was doing a memory upgrade (2GB) on the Kubuntu machine recently and fired up the SUSE machine - I could not even figure out how to connect to my Windows machine. On Kubuntu I just click on "remote places" and it finds it and everything is simple. On SUSE I had no idea and did not have time to fool around. I THINK if I remember correctly I have to somehow configure SaMBa before it will function. I think the other distros need to watch what Ubuntu is doing and get on board! Even in a corporate setting, people don't have time to fool around - time is money and the computer should do as much of the work as possible so we don't need to.

Tue, 2 Oct 2007 12:46:42From: Phil.Persson via EmailSubject: An unlimited treasure chest of knowledge

I recently installed the SUSE version of Linux on a computer and it asked me if I wanted the development environments for Python, Perl, KDE, Ruby, Java, GCC, and Mono installed on my machine. Since they are all free, I said sure, why not?

Also, keep in mind that in Linux ALL the source code for ALL the applications is free for download.

This means not only do I have all the development environments at my disposal, I also have samples of how the best developers on the planet have used these tools to create every sort of application package imaginable. This means I can study these examples, learn the methods, and then use them to create new worlds limited only by my imagination.

This is like being confronted with a bottomless pit of knowledge and opportunity. In theory, there would be no conceivable end to what I could learn or how far I could progress. With knowledge comes power.....and money.....and in my case, lots of fun.

I have always wanted to find the time to explore these worlds.....but I need to start out slowly....and right now I will only be doing Java and Oracle on Linux.....but it is a beginning. At least I will be able to write applications that will work on Linux for my own use. However, I am overwhelmed by the list of things I want to learn in the next twenty years.

Fri, 28 Sep 2007 13:09:05From: Phil.Persson via EmailSubject: poor old Windows, its days are numbered

The latest information on the street regarding Windows Vista is that it is painfully slow, full of bugs and security holes, and it is driving more people into the Linux world. My company evaluated Windows Vista and reported it has so many problems there is no way we will convert to it, we are staying on Windows XP. Too bad, so sad.

With all our technology advances.....they can put an entire computer system into a package the size of a pack of cigarettes.....can't someone put a backspace key on my telephone? I mean.....the telephone has been around for what....100 years? Touch tone phones have been around for about 40 years? Nowadays someone sitting next to me or living across the street can easily have a ten-digit number. I get to the tenth number, I make a mistake, and I have to start all over. BACKSPACE KEY......how difficult can it be?

This weekend I am hoping to convert my second computer from Windows to Linux. Soon I hope to have three Linux machines and only one Windows machine. Poor Windows.....I think that its days are numbered. Linux is better, stronger, faster......and free.

My kitten Nero continues to grow. He seems really smart and is quite a character. I need to get some updated pictures on my web site but I don't want to use Windows so I need to learn a graphic editing program and web page composing program on Linux this weekend. Maybe I should learn at least one new Linux program every weekend. I have already mastered FreeCell on Linux, I have that one down to a fine art.

Mon, 17 Sep 2007 12:53:23From: Phil.Persson via EmailSubject: weekend move to Linux

This weekend I completed my move to Linux. I am using Kubuntu version 7.04 (Feisty Fawn). The move went smoothly, I was able to install and configure all the applications I need. The only application I am having a problem with is Oracle SQL Developer but I don't need that right away.

The last time I attempted to convert my world to Linux....my job required me to be concentrating on Microsoft SQL server and Visual Studio.NET. Therefore, it was not a good time to be exploring the Linux world.

However, my current job is deeply involved in Unix, Java, and Oracle. Now is an excellent time to jump into the open source world.

I no longer consider Microsoft Windows to be a universal planet-wide operating system so I have no plans to advance onto Microsoft Vista. For Windows compatibility I will stick with Windows XP and will direct all my resources into software development in the Java/Linux world. There are some countries (Brazil, China) where Windows is almost forbidden, it is considered a sign of American domination. Several people in my life have already converted to Linux and have left Windows behind.

The word on the street is that Vista will finally include many features that Linux has had for years. Since developers all over the world are creating updates and accessories for the Linux platform, it is maturing at a rate much faster than Windows. It is much more stable than Windows XP.... AND everything is free. It has always been far too tempting to pass up.

As the current Windows 2000 machine becomes a doorstop I MIGHT convert it to Linux - it all depends upon how much I need Windows to survive.

The "new" Linux machine I am using is a 64-bit AMD Sempron 2500 with 512MB of RAM and one 300GB hard drive. It seems very well suited to the task at hand, although when I was installing the Oracle database system it did seem to be running a little slow. If I get a raise here at work for my one year anniversary I might celebrate by getting larger faster memory for the Linux machine.

The current Windows 2000 machine that might become a SUSE 10.2 machine is an AMD Athlon XP 3200 with 1GB of RAM.

The Windows XP machine (AMD Athlon XP 2400, 1.5GB RAM) is for the most part acting as a file and print server for the Linux machine now. Although, I am still using Windows XP to convert TiVo movies and burn them to DVDs.

Fri, 14 Sep 2007 10:06:11From: Phil.Persson via EmailSubject: Ubuntu Linux update

I am converting my world to Ubuntu version 7.04 (Feisty Fawn)

After the installation I had to find the Synaptic Package Manager because this is how you find new packages to install. It was under System-->Administration

I installed MozPlugger which I think should always be included. This allows you to tell FireFox how to use external programs such as RealPlayer

When I attempted to play MPG, AVI, and WMV files it downloaded plug-ins and then it worked perfectly

In order to get videos to work on the web it downloaded a Flash plug-in but then the audio did not work

I had to switch to the motherboard sound chip and then install some ALSA-OSS thing and change FireFox to use ALSA or something like that - I Googled "Ubuntu Flash Audio" to find the article and it was all so easy - there were two commands I had to type in a terminal session which I did not understand but they did the trick.

Streaming Internet radio stations worked perfectly.

If I download and install the RealVideo player I should be able to get that to work - I think - there are articles on that and also articles on how to get QuickTime files to work, that is supposed to be a challenge because of software licensing.

Oh....last night I did SaMBa and for the first time in my Linux experience I didn't have to configure ANYTHING. I was just shocked. I went to Places-->Network and it just found and connected everything. Although....it probably helped that I was using the same account and password on Linux that I always use on Windows. I was able to connect to my Windows XP machine, read files, and view pictures and videos....and listen to my music. Although.....when I tried to open an Excel file using OpenOffice it said "general Internet failure" which I thought was a very strange message.

Tonight I hope to install Pidgin (a chat client) and tell it to use my MSN Messenger and Yahoo accounts to connect to all my CyberFriends from Linux.

So far this is the most awesome Linux experience I have ever had!

The entire install CD is just one CD and then it pulls everything it needs off the Internet - from somewhere, I never told it where to look, it just knows. There are TONS of people using it across the planet so any problem I come across has already been solved and there is an article out there with steps of how to fix it.

This weekend I will resume my Java studies although I will be using Linux instead of Windows - the development environment I have already installed on the Ubuntu machine. Once I transfer data off my Windows 2000 machine in my bedroom I hope to never use it again. Who knows.....maybe that machine can be another Linux computer.

So....anyone who wants to follow in my footsteps and benefit from my knowledge, the Ubuntu install CD is on the Internet for free.

Fri, 24 Aug 2007 11:09:12From: Phil.Persson via EmailSubject: log jam time again

Yes, once again there is a jam of log entries stuck that are not getting into the blog. This will once again be a time when three log entries appear at once.....for anyone out there who is keeping track. I really need to do something about this.

I canceled my Qwest Choice TV, my Qwest high speed Internet (I have Mediacom now), and my Verizon Wireless VCast so I'm hoping that will give me some extra money each month. When I can prove that I can afford this house I have promised the cats I will buy them a huge cat tower. The new kitten really, really, really needs something large to climb on. I think he is part monkey, he swings from things with one paw and has the time of his life.

This weekend we are supposed to have huge storms in the Phoenix area, I think the remnants of hurricane Dean. In the meantime, the Midwest is being hit with huge storms - someone said it was leftover moisture from hurricane Erin. Between New Orleans which is still in ruins, our bridges that are now starting to collapse, and all the towns now underwater in the Midwest, I am wondering how much this country can take? We are supposed to be the richest country in the world.....but if everything is falling apart at the same time there must be some limit to our resources.

I know we are not alone in this, I saw a report on catastrophic flooding in Europe as well. It is global warming, I tell you!

So far since last May I have lost about 24 pounds. I was 244, now I am 220. Now that I am settled in my new place I am getting back to nightly kilted walks in my new neighborhood - last night I walked for 45 minutes. I am also eating healthier now, more fruits and veggies, no cookies or pastries. What is my weight loss goal? Well, I would like to lose as much as I can but I don't want to go below 200 - I think that would be too weird. In high school my weight was 183.

I still have not gotten to my Java studies, but I hope to get going with that this weekend, after I finish my last VB.NET project.

Fri, 17 Aug 2007 12:29:23From: Phil.Persson via EmailSubject: the world is our oyster

On Star Trek the Next Generation we see computers that know all things and can instantly collect information and present it in whatever form you wish - even combining data in new and creative ways on command.

Now.....it appears that on the show this sort of technology is only available to the military in the 24th century - the computer is part of the ship's systems and its use is carefully monitored and is used for "approved" research projects.

However.....what if in the 21st century this sort of computer power becomes available to every household? What if the cost of the machine was comparable to a car and it would fit in the size of a bedroom closet?

Let's say that due to high-speed Internet connections every person could have a computer that would be an extension of their own mind - and could do research into subjects 24 hours a day - including getting the most recent articles from research firms and universities around the globe. How fast would human inventiveness, technology, and knowledge advance?

I feel that because of maturing computer technology and the speed of information sharing on the Internet, we are poised on the brink of a huge knowledge explosion that will take our breath away. There really is no limit to human imagination......and in the Bible God mentioned that He created us so NOTHING would be impossible for us to accomplish.

Here are some words from a famous song:

 
God only knows, God makes His plan
The information's unavailable to the mortal man
We're workin' our jobs, collect our pay
Believe we're gliding down the highway, when in fact we're slip sliding away
 

In the show Star Trek the Next Generation men believe they are gods and have no reason to worship a Creator. In much the same way I fear that the smarter mankind gets the further we are straying from things that are truly important. It is my prayer that as we use our computers to study the mystery of black holes, alternate dimensions, and the human genome we never forget Who created those mysteries in the first place.

Fri, 10 Aug 2007 10:01:27From: Phil.Persson via EmailSubject: no news from Phil

They always say no news is good news.

I have been hanging ceiling fans, hanging window blinds, unpacking boxes, setting up shelving units....same old, same old.....

This weekend I really want to get done with "settling in" and will probably just stick the remaining boxes on shelves and say "There - we are done" so I can get on with life.

First I want to finish that VB.NET software development project for work so I can present it to my department in a staff meeting.

Then I need to get going - big time - with Java development.

In my spare time I will work on the house - the little projects that are left - and the Linux lab.

Did I mention the landscaping is all done? I need to get new pictures and get them posted on the web.

Oh.....I now have cable and Internet through Mediacom, I need to cancel Qwest DSL, their service was too slow for me to work from home - it sometimes sank all the way down to 300Kbps and their web site bragged about that speed. Yes, it is 9 times faster than dialup but.....not very realistic for the 21st century. Their version of broadband just is not broad enough for me. Also, I am getting more channels and a much better deal through Mediacom.

Now that my life is settling down there may be a decrease in blog entries - at least until I have some exciting Java news to report.

Thu, 2 Aug 2007 10:58:38 From: Phil.Persson via EmailSubject: America's Aging Bridges

For those of you who perhaps have not yet heard, last night in the middle of Minneapolis rush hour an 8-lane Interstate bridge collapsed and fell into the Mississippi River. The bridge of course was full of rush-hour traffic including trucks and at least one school bus. There are 4 known dead at this time but about 50 cars are still under water and they fear the death toll will rise.

The bridge was purposely designed with no support structure in the river to "facilitate the flow of river traffic" but I have not read anything about how the river traffic will deal with a huge bridge laying in the river. The Federal Government gave this bridge a rating of 4 on a scale of 0 to 9 - they said it had major structural problems but was still safe to drive on - I would say that last night it instantly went from a 4 rating right down to 0.

When driving across this great country of ours I have quite often paused before driving onto a huge bridge with no structural support. Being an engineer at heart my mind has wondered about the stresses involved and how it could possibly be safe. I have always mustered the courage to drive onto those bridges, reasoning that if they were not safe they would not be open to traffic. Now I wonder how I can ever trust one of those bridges ever again in life?

I have seen articles about our aging bridges and heard arguments that we have no idea how many of them are on the verge of collapse. Last night's disaster will no doubt cast an entirely new light on this debate.

Wed, 1 Aug 2007 09:37:43From: Phil.Persson via EmailSubject: my poor dear blog

There are people out there in Cyberspace who are reading my blog. There is currently a "log jam" in the system - I am typing all these blogs entries, they are being sent to a folder in my Yahoo! mail account, and there they sit waiting for the rest of the process to take place. They are not getting out to my blog, and people who are checking the blog will suddenly find four new entries and wonder how they could have missed out on so much.

Well, every night now I drive home to this huge brand new house and slowly it is starting to feel like home. It still feels very strange but gradually it is dawning on me that this is it. Tonight I am buying the board and parts I need to repair that damaged bookcase on the weekend. Maybe this weekend can be the last big push with ceiling fans and window blinds and next weekend I should just clean.

Oh, it feels VERY STRANGE being able to make noise any time I want. I can play music, pound on bookcases, yell at the cats.....it just feels amazing! Last night I STARTED a load of laundry at 10:05 at night which was a direct violation of the rules in the apartment complex I used to live in.

There is not really much more to report although Nero still looks tiny to me. Last night I picked him up, held him in my arms, and asked him when we was going to start growing. However, he had no answers to offer. At least nothing he felt like sharing with me.

Mon, 30 Jul 2007 10:55:32From: Phil.Persson via EmailSubject: I am guilty

I am guilty, yes I am. I am guilty of attempting to ignore the entire HDTV conversion. You know, sometimes it is not a good idea to know how technology works. For instance, when you click a link on a web page I can tell you exactly what happens from the time you click on the link until you receive the page of information you requested. I can take you right down to the electrons flowing through the circuit paths on the motherboard and the read/write heads moving across the disk platters inside the hard drive on the server.

However, when it comes to HDTV, SDTV, NTSC, ATSC, 1080i, and all the other jargon I am hopelessly lost. I don't know how the average American consumer could possibly make sense of all this. There was a time when I started building a movie collection on Beta tapes, but then VHS tapes took over so I re-started my movie collection but then laser discs came out so I started collecting those......but then someone said those were all analog and they would be obsolete when digital DVDs came out but then someone else said those were just NTSC and would soon be obsolete because ATSC (blue-ray?) DVDs were coming out soon. Please, someone stop the merry-go-round and let me get off here.

Speaking of DVDs.......I have just a few in my collection. Last night I popped one in the DVD player and it said "Special Collector's Edition" and I didn't even know I had a collector's edition. I stopped collecting things years ago because typically I would spend $40 for something that everyone said would go up in value and they all went way down in value. Anyway, I was looking at my DVD collection and all the discs are quite special. They are "Collector's Editions" or "Director's Cut" or "Super-Duper Special Version". I didn't find a single DVD that said "Plain Old Regular Version" at the top - I wonder what that is all about?

I am attempting to be more frugal now. When I moved another of my particle board bookcases fell apart. These things are 20 years old now - there used to be three and now there is one. Now......thinking former Phil thoughts I was going to buy three new bookcases from IKEA for $80 each - spending $240. Then I read the details....and they are made of particle board! So then I decided to check out Wal-Mart and saw I could buy the exact same thing there for half the price - $120. However, now frugal Phil has kicked in, I want to go down to Home Depot, get a board cut to replace the board that fell apart and I think with some screws and L-brackets I can save this bookcase. I am HOPING that instead of spending $240 I can spend $10 and arrive at the same destination.

Speaking of being frugal......now I am starting to buy fresh fruits and vegetables and I have no idea what I am doing - none whatsoever. I saw some cherries that I thought looked nice so I grabbed two bags and took them up to the checkout. Well......the bill came to $18 and I nearly fainted on the spot. I mean, I went ahead and swiped the credit card but made a mental note to see what I had done wrong. The next time I was at that store I checked......those stupid things were $6 a pound! Oh my gosh!!! You really need to be careful when you buy this "healthy stuff"! I mean......an entire box of cereal is $3 and a few little cherries are $6? What is wrong with this picture?

However, I perhaps have gone way overboard with this. Now in my fridge at home for snacks I have two bowls of cherries, a bowl of grapes, and a bag of carrots. I think that MIGHT be too many snacks. Oh.....and tonight I have to finish up the salad, the strawberries I bought, and the cauliflower. If I buy healthy food and then eat 5 times more than I ever did before, will I lose weight?? I bought an entire head of organic cauliflower and when I was chopping it up I was starving. A great deal of the cauliflower never made it to the bowl.... You know......if I am eating cauliflower, carrots, and grapes I don't feel guilty if I stuff myself - but it still might not be a good thing.

Tue, 24 Jul 2007 11:07:38 From: Phil.Persson via EmailSubject: brave new world, future

As you know, I am starting a brave new world with respect to my health - no more cookies, no more pastries, no more candy bars, and more fresh fruits. I am also keeping dried fruit with me as snacks for when I get hungry at work so I stay away from the candy machine. I will always have fresh fruit in the fridge for snacks at home. In May of last year I weighed 244 and now I am down to 222 - maybe with this fresh fruit phase I can lose another 22 pounds? Hey.....Phil's Fantastic Fresh Fruit Phase - I like that.

Now that everything else is behind me I can work on the new house - little by little. I have ceiling fans and window blinds to hang - a never-ending mountain of boxes to unpack, and phone/email configurations to investigate. However, now there is no real time limit so it can take 4 days or 4 weeks. I vote for 4 days because I need to get going on my Java studies, but we will see.

Sunday night I installed a brand new $110 320GB drive in a computer, burned the new SUSE Linux install CDs, and installed SUSE version 10.2 on the computer. I was looking forward to playing a game of Mahjong before trying to sleep but I couldn't find Mahjong anywhere in that version of Linux. What in the world is that all about?

Oh.....also......Friday night after work I went to the apartment to clean everything before turning in the keys. The maintenance people had been in my apartment and ate most of the food I had left in the fridge. They ate a can of fruit, a candy bar, some ice cream, stole all my bottled water.....one can of fruit they didn't finish and left out so it got all moldy. I am SO GLAD I am out of the place, it is really going downhill fast.

Wed, 18 Jul 2007 13:09:22From: Phil.Persson via EmailSubject: after the move

Hmm.....well, getting moved in little by little. I have been unpacking stuff as I have the time. However, there are still window blinds to hang, ceiling fans to hang, light bulbs to change out....

I was in the master bedroom closet this morning - there are TWO light fixtures on the ceiling and it looks like each one has two bulbs. I'm thinking there are 4 60-watt light bulbs up there for a whopping total of 240 watts of power being used each time I turn on the light - they also throw off a great deal of heat. The person who designed my closet must have stock in the electric company. Compact fluorescent bulbs, here we come!

Two light fixtures in my closet? Yes, it is huge.....when I first saw it I thought it would make a nice office. It's a little large for a closet but a little small for an office.

When I was at the design center choosing my appliances I ordered upgraded everything. All the appliances have a dizzying array of buttons but I have no time to read any of the manuals. I figure if I just keep hitting buttons eventually everything will work out......somehow.

Oh.....I am not changing out the bulbs in the master bath "water closet" where the toilet is. Because of the design of the house that light fixture is WAY up on the vaulted ceiling - I think it must be 16 feet up in the air. We will cross that bridge (or scale those heights) when we absolutely have to. I don't know why I am saying "WE" because the cats have been absolutely no help at ALL during this move.

Last night I wheeled the trash out to the curb for the very first time in my new home.

Just down the street they just built a new high school. Now they are building a new hospital, a shopping center, and an office complex. They are also building a brand new road to support the increased traffic. I can almost feel my home value going up.

Now that I have lost 15 pounds by going for long walks while wearing kilts I need to move onto part two of my weight loss program - I am cutting out cookies and substituting fresh fruits instead. I also think now that I have a huge fully functional kitchen I will make my own salads from fresh vegetables instead of buying the salads in bags. I should be able to put more stuff in there and either save money.....or eat more salad. Either outcome would be a good one.

Thus far the commute has been about an hour going into work.....and about an hour coming home.....and I am working the same hours I was working before. I was going to come into work late each day and stay late to miss the traffic but it really has not been that bad so far.

Tue, 10 Jul 2007 10:15:32 -0700From: Phil.Persson via EmailSubject: move is all done

Well.....the move was done on Saturday the 7th (7-7-07) - the movers arrived at the old place at 8:00 and left the new place at 12:30 so the entire move took 4.5 hours. During the last move I was packing boxes at the old place while they took all my belongings out the door, during this move I was cleaning the kitchen counters in the old place because I didn't have anything else to do. When they would move the furniture out of a room I would run in there and pick up paper, extension cords, and that sort of stuff - but you need to watch out so you don't get run over by a dresser or mattress moving through the apartment.

Once the movers left the new place, there were unlimited challenges before me - window blinds and ceiling fans to hang, sheets and dishes to wash, I also had to setup the entertainment center, the computer network, and the phone system.

In this new house I could not go with Cox cable so I had to go with Qwest Choice TV. Now, with this system your television, Internet, and telephone all come into the house through one Cat5 network cable. Once it is in the house the signal is routed into a coax cable and then goes into the "digital gateway" which separates the different signals.

Because TiVo must change the channels on the digital gateway using an infrared blaster to record from the output of the digital gateway, my computer network had to be centered in the great room instead of the den. I had to change the configuration of the entire house but since I had everything pre-wired in the walls I was able to make it all work. The digital gateway produces the phone and Internet signals, the phone line goes to the phone/network closet in the laundry room, the Internet output goes into the wireless router which does DHCP for all my home network devices - the output from there goes to TiVo and also to the hub in the phone closet to be distributed throughout the house.

I still need to test the phone lines and I don't know anything about how to get the email working. I didn't think the person from Qwest was very helpful - he basically just installed the equipment and then shot out the door. There was very little documentation left for me - to figure out TiVo I looked at the Qwest web site. I'm hoping there will be more information there about my phone and email features.

In 48 hours I was able to hang window blinds, finish up the master bedroom ceiling fan, setup the entertainment center, re-assemble my desk, setup shelving units for boxes, and setup the computer network.....oh, and I also unpacked and washed dishes and washed the bed linens so I could sleep on my bed.

I hope it is a long, long time before I move again. Yet, unlike many other places I have owned I am treating this place almost like a hotel - I know that I probably will not be staying here so everything I'm doing I am thinking about resale and the future owners. I am back to work today and I feel like a walking zombie. I am SO TIRED and I hurt in places where I didn't even know I had places.

My mother used to have a saying, "it is just like being drawn through a knothole" and that is what moving is all about. You are okay going in, you are okay on the other end......but the middle is just a nightmare.

Mon, 2 Jul 2007 13:06:22 -0700From: Phil.Persson via EmailSubject: moving is so confusing!

I hate moving......I really do.....

I faxed the form over to the water company weeks ago. They said I sent it over too soon and they would put it on the side and I should call after the close on the property so I could get the water switched over to my name before they turn it off. You know, water is important to have here in the desert. So......I called the day after the close on the property and they lost my paperwork! Also, they could not fax me a new form because they were too busy.

Then I was trying to figure out why I did not have a trash can yet - so I called the trash company. They lost my paperwork as well. So, I had to start all over with them. Do you suppose the trash company threw my application in the trash?

Then I called the sewer company. They had a message telling me they were eating lunch and could not talk to me.

I hate moving to the middle of nowhere.

Having two homes is just so confusing for me. I have food in both places now.......I need to decide each day if I'm going to eat at home or.....eat at home. Then a friend calls me on my cell phone and says, "Are you at home right now??" and I just stand there in total silence with a confused look on my face. How am I supposed to answer that question? "Umm.....that depends upon what you mean by home....."

I am so busy right now.....I am trying to get stuff setup at the new place, I am trying to move stuff over to the new place that I don't want the movers to touch.....therefore I have told Jack that he and other cats need to pack up the rest of the stuff at the old place. Of course, he gives that classic blank stare like he has no idea what I'm talking about.

Wed, 27 Jun 2007 11:16:04 -0700From: Phil.Persson via EmailSubject: I don't know what in the world I was thinking!

You know.....I went out and got this new tiny kitten so Jack would have someone new to slap around. I think I even said that here in the blog. I felt sorry for poor Butterscotch because Jack is always picking fights with him. Can someone PLEASE tell me what in the world I was thinking?

Now Butterscotch has this new little kitten chasing him everywhere and he never gives up! He picks a fight with Butter and it's so funny to watch - Butter is so much bigger and stronger that when he swats Nero he literally knocks him right off his feet......but it doesn't slow down the kitten for a second. He shoots through the air like a black fuzzy missile and before Butter can raise a paw to defend himself, Nero has his front legs wrapped around Butter's neck, he is biting Butter, and their bodies are locked together and they are rolling across the bed.

It has been so long since I have had young cats, I forgot that when they are playing it looks like they are trying to kill each other. Nero will attack Butter, then dash across the room and attack Jack, then dart back to Butter and slap him around more.......I don't know where in the world he gets all that amazing energy!

I wonder if I would be more productive and would get more done if I ate some of his kitten food???

I have not tested this, but I'm pretty sure I can initiate a frantic Nero session. I start teasing him with my hand, he starts swatting my hand really hard - with claws retracted - then I get him on his back and he is gently biting me and swatting me.....then when I take my hand away he runs over to one of the big cats and starts fighting with them. I have been so overwhelmed with planning the move to the new house and packing I have not had time to really test this....but it might be a fun hobby in the new house.

Sun, 24 Jun 2007 23:40:03 -0700From: pbpersson via EmailSubject: Munchkin Head, Nothing Is Perfect, Alcoves, Such a Deal....

You can probably tell from the subject line this is going to be a large entry. I had to stop packing because my back started to hurt so here I am, at the computer taking it easy.

So.....you know.....when I was going to name Nero I had thought of names like Black Lightning or Tiny which wouldn't have meant anything when he grew up but now while he is so darned tiny.....well, it's difficult not to call him cute names. Sometimes I call him "Little Squirt" but lately he has been really annoying because he gets his head in the refrigerator door when I'm trying to close it. So, I pretend to close the door on his head, and I say, "Get your little munchkin head of the door!" so then he walks farther INTO the refrigerator and I say, "Get your munchkin body out of the way....WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!?!?!" I really need to start using the water bottle but I just have so much going on right now. When you squirt a cat with water you can never be sure if they are learning anything, but at least you can take out your frustrations by getting them all wet.

I was at the new house today, four days before the final walk through and closing. The front door was unlocked so I walked right in. Yes, I should have complained to the builder that my house wasn't locked but it worked out to my advantage.......and really if someone wanted to vandalize a house would they drive for an hour to the middle of nowhere into a community that is only served by one road and is surrounded by farm land as far as the eye can see?

Anyway, they have a lot of touch-up work to do on the paint which for them I'm sure will be a no-brainer. The kitchen counter tops had been installed, now I think all they need to do is add the appliances and we are good to go. This is the first time I had been in the house for a while. The cabinet in the laundry room is HUGE but they installed a WHITE sink in there - what were they thinking? It won't go with anything else.... Let's see.....oh, the master shower is just HUGE and in looking at it I think three people could take a shower in there. It also has a place to sit down which I thought was funny until I remembered that whenever I'm balancing on one foot in the shower trying to wash the other foot I feel like I'm taking my life into my hands.

The only bad thing about my visit was something I had never seen in my previous visits. Apparently it is that time of year and all these little black beetles have come out the ground and are in shock. A year ago when they were here it was all farm land. Now they are wandering all around my new house and with their little beetle brains they are thinking, "What the heck happened here? Where are all the crops??" They say that everything turns out for the best. My move was postponed by one day because there are so many moves happening right now. Originally on July 5th when Orkin was going to be at the new house the three cats were going to be with me......but now it will just be me. I plan to tell the Orkin guy, "If it is moving and it isn't me, then KILL IT!!" I will have my big shop vac with me and that evening I will vacuum up all the dead bugs and hopefully that will be it.

There are people at work who think I am crazy for starting my packing a month early but.......I don't know. Well, for one thing I can only pack a few boxes at a time because of my back. But the other thing is, I have spent the last few weeks packing things that I have not used in months. Now I am opening new cabinets, drawers, and closets I have not thought of AND THERE IS MORE STUFF TO PACK!! I discovered tonight that I need to buy more boxes. When I was married we were still frantically packing the night before and would only get like a two hour nap before the movers got there. Last time I moved I was single and I think I had a four hour nap and was still packing when the movers arrived. This time I really want to do this right. I am trying to be much more organized. Have you seen this color-coded packing tape they have now? Different rooms are different colors and you stack the boxes so they just roll them into the proper room - faster for the movers, easier for the resident moving as well.

Here is another interesting moving tip.....and this was sort of weird. In all my previous moves I had used the newspapers without the print that you buy at U-Haul. Well, I don't know how much they cost but I'm sure it's more than just a daily newspaper and it's a hassle having to drive to the U-Haul place when you need more. This move I was just buying stacks of standard newspapers at 25 cents each - I mean, all the dishes are going to get washed anyway. So, I needed newspapers and I dashed into this Circle-K (like a 7-Eleven) and they were out of the daily newspapers. But, they had these Spanish newspapers so I grabbed a stack and brought them up the counter - I thought perfect, there is no way I can be distracted my some headline like "Wild Alligator Found in Phoenix Pool" while I'm trying to pack. I get them up to the counter and while I'm getting my wallet out the guy is looking at this stack of papers and he says, "There is no price on these, they must be free." I said, "WHAT??" He said, "These must be free, just take them." So......any of you thinking of moving here in the Phoenix area, give it a try. I was really shocked.

Sat, 23 Jun 2007 14:13:43 -0700From: pbpersson via EmailSubject: last packing weekend before big move

Yes, today and tomorrow are the final packing days for the big move to the desert wilderness.

Next weekend I will be working at the new house, stocking the fridge, measuring windows, ordering window treatments, etc. Oh.....and moving stuff the movers either will not touch (glass sheets, mirrors, computer monitors) or things I don't want them near (computers, stereos, TiVo, original oil paintings). Then the next weekend is the final move. I don't like to work on this stuff on weeknights after work, unlike everyone else in the world so I only pack on weekends.

Nero is very strange. He is my new kitten and this is the first time I have ever had a kitten. He moves too fast for me to even see him. I walk out of a room where he is laying, walk through the apartment, and when I get to the bedroom he is laying on the bed looking at me. Totally freaks me out. I look at him and think, "What, are there two of you now or did you just teleport here???"

Getting everything setup for the new house is.....well, I think it is nerve-racking. Or is it nerve wracking? I know you don't rake nerves so it can't be that.... Anyway, I need to line up electricity, water, refuse, water softening, extermination, home inspection, cable, phone, Internet, movers.......what else? Who am I missing? I still don't know if I want to clean the old place or pay someone to clean it. I am thinking Saturday the 21st just spend the day here vacuuming, dusting, mopping, polishing......you never get your whole security deposit back anyway.

Now my life is filled with "lasts".....for instance, I just made my last pot of coffee in this place. I used up all the coffee and later today I will empty out the coffee maker and pack that. I was at the store last night and....oh, I bought a tube of toothpaste and thought, "last time I will buy toothpaste in Ahwatukee". I don't know why, but I always mourn the end of a chapter in my life. I know I have mentioned that before.

Oh.....the last time I was at the new house they had the dining room light on. It means my new house.....even though not quite complete.....has electricity. WOO-HOO! Now it seems more real. It still bothers me that the water company told me to call them after the close on the house. I think that's stupid. I have 100 things to coordinate, they should let me contact them when I contact them.

Hey.....why is there no expiration date on my bottle of Tide detergent? Does that mean if I find a bottle of Tide from twenty years ago it is still good? These are the sorts of questions that have plagued mankind for countless centuries. Well.....maybe on second thought it has just plagued my mind for the last 15 minutes.

Wed, 6 Jun 2007 13:37:12 -0700From: Phil.Persson via EmailSubject: new house is on!

Well....let's see.....you can mark June 6th as another significant milestone for the new house.

We are about four weeks out from close.

I called the mortgage guy today just to see if he saw any bumps in the road or wanted to voice any concerns, he said everything is smooth sailing and we are good to go.

So I called the electric company and trash people, they added me to their systems although they don't do recyclables in my area which was a major bummer.

Then I called the water company, they said I am calling way too soon and call them back when the house is mine, they said the builder supplies about 4 days of water so there is no hurry.

Then I called the cable company for cable television, high-speed Internet, and phone. When it comes to this, I have good news and bad news. Which do you want first? The good news? Okay.......

The good news is that although when I ordered this house the area was serviced by another cable company, Cox is always expanding and they have now taken over.....so my email address and phone number will stay the same. That is the good news, it is just a service transfer.

Now the bad news......the guy I was talking to said he could not find my address in the system, I told him the house was not quite done and he said that makes sense. Then I asked him about the street and he said no, the street does not show up either. Then he said it is not even on his map, he will need to send someone out to physically find my street and then figure out how to add it to their system, they will call me back if and when they get this resolved.

So.....that was more than a little disheartening. I mean......electricity and water are important.....but a house without the Internet is like a day without sunshine.

Mon, 04 Jun 2007 17:56:58 -0700From: pbpersson via EmailSubject: to my fifty-something friends

So......have you all gone and had your required 50-year checkup? The one that is supposed to detect and prevent the second most deadly form of cancer? I was joking around with people......well, at least with myself, thinking it is a 50-year preventative maintenance thing where they look under the hood and rotate the tires.

However, while I HIGHLY recommend this, I would not wish this upon my worst enemy. (I was going to say enema, but very, very bad pun at this point)

Don't worry, I am not going to go into any gory details here.......

But I went with the over-the-counter solution - the tiny bottles of liquid laxatives. I noticed on the instructions it said NEVER UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES EVER take more than three tablespoons in any 24-hour period. Well.....my instructions said to drink the entire first bottle, wait four hours and then drink the entire second bottle.....of course with voluminous amounts of fluid. The nurse said this stuff was changing the electrolyte balance of my entire body. Well.....it changed my entire perception of reality, I will say that much. I felt dizzy and sort of like I was floating through my apartment.

Oh.....speaking of liquids....the instructions said to have plenty of your favorite drinks handy, you will need lots of it. Well.......I don't know what my favorite drinks are so I bought a large bottle of Sprint, a large bottle of Mountain Dew, a gallon of white grape juice, a large bottle of Gatorade, and two gallons of apple juice. My gosh.......did I think I was going to drink it... or take a bath in the stuff? Would anyone out there like some bottles of my favorite drinks? I'm moving away in four weeks.....

Not being able to eat for DAYS was weird.....very weird.....Sunday night I saw nuts, I saw cookies, I saw crackers......everything I saw was calling to me. I said no, can't eat, mustn't eat.... Then my big cat Jack calls me into the kitchen and tells me it's time for him to eat. I said, "Jack......do you realize how very unfair this is???"

So Sunday night I'm setting the alarm....let's see......need to get up tomorrow and have breakfast. NO!!! Oh.....need to have some coffee to wake up. NO!!!! Um.....oh.......have some water and vitamins? NO, WRONG AGAIN!! So......I'm trying to remember what I do in the morning if most of my routine has been wiped out by doctor's orders. I could not sleep at all....and when I did I had the weirdest dreams.

I was some sort of person with super-human powers and I went back in time and was trying to pull some Halloween prank but several people died, buildings were on fire, and I was running from the scene and people were coming out of their apartments to see what had happened. Then I flew away from the Earth at greater than light speed, arrived at a distant star, and was viewing the planets in that solar system. I don't know, I really don't....well, back to reality.

So......I get to the medical place in the morning and everyone is very nice and it's a beautiful place and they inject me with this Valium type stuff and then they put this stuff into me they say is a narcotic. So.....I start floating around the ceiling and I'm supposed to be having fun......but I'm in so much PAIN. The doctor is working and.....well.....the doctor knows best......but I felt like saying, what the HECK are you doing?!?!?!?!

Then suddenly a voice from nowhere said we were all done, but the doctor could not get very far because of a sharp curve and I would need to come back on a later date for a barium enema. So I asked, "Oh, and then have some X-Rays" and she replied "yes".

Now......when you are on this stuff......how can you tell when you really wake up? I found myself laying in the recovery room and I opened ONE EYE and looked at the nurse across the room. Why did I do that? Well, she started walking my way so I opened them both and she said, "Oh, are you waking up now?" I asked her about needing to come back for more tests at a later date......she said there was nothing about that in the chart and maybe I dreamt it when I was out. UH-HUH.....sure I did....

Apparently because of that curve the doctor had filled me with so much gas I felt like the Michelin Man - I could hardly move, I was really hurting. Then she asked what I wanted to drink. I said coffee. So they found this awful-tasting strong coffee and gave it to me and I said it was just fine. NOTE TO MEDICAL STAFF - NEVER LISTEN TO THE PATIENT WHEN THEY ASK FOR COFFEE IN THE RECOVERY ROOM!!!!

She said if I was feeling okay I could put my clothes on. I said sure but I'm thinking I just want this nightmare to end. So.....I go into the bathroom and I'm mostly dressed - I had not yet put on my t-shirt.....and the room started spinning. Oh.....and strange things were swimming in front of my eyes. I knew I was going to faint so I sat down on a chair in the bathroom, not knowing what to do. Suddenly I realized that my body was drenched in sweat from my neck down.

So I'm sitting there......just sitting there.......sort of in a daze. I don't know how much time went by......ten minutes? Twenty minutes? I don't remember the nurse knocking, but maybe she did......who knows? I just remember her barging into the room and saying, "How are you doing.....OH, YOU LOOK AWFUL!!!'

Now.....if someone feels like they are dying and you want to make them feel better, those are the words to say. She said ALL the color was gone from my body. She dried me off with a damp cloth, then helped me on with my shirt, and helped me back to a recliner. After a while she said I was looking better and I said I felt better and really........I just wanted to get back home with my cats.

So.....they called me a taxi. What the heck is it with taxi drivers, anyway? Why don't they know how to drive? They do it for a living, after all. My stomach was doing somersaults and EVERY MANEUVER HE MADE it was like he did it in the most JERKY way he could possibly make it. He didn't even know how to stop at a stop light!!!!

We pull up at my apartment complex right by my car......and this guy wants to know how the fare compares with the taxi ride I took in the morning. I told him it was more. He said, "Really? How much more? Did you use the same taxi company? What taxi company did you use?" I told him I have no idea, have a nice day, and I took off, stumbling across the sidewalk to get into my apartment. I am thinking, "I don't care about your frickin' fare, I don't care about your frickin' taxi company, I feel like I'm dying."

Well....I stumble into the apartment and made a beeline for the master bathroom where all the coffee I drank earlier that made me sick came up. My body was like, "We tried to process this, sorry it just didn't work out, it is officially rejected."

Can someone PLEASE explain to me my sense of humor? I have lived with myself for 51 years and sometimes I still do not understand how my mind works. Here I am in my bathroom praying to the porcelain god and I make a joke about it: "Oh, I haven't done this in years, I'm so glad I still remember how!"

????????

Anyway, I had some water and went to sleep for two hours. Then I woke up, had two mugs of MY COFFEE which everyone knows is 20% coffee and 80% milk.....my body seems happy with that so now I'm going to try some breakfast cereal - first solid food since Saturday evening!

So.......that is my whole story and I'm sticking to it.

Fri, 1 Jun 2007 16:52:12 -0700From: Phil.Persson via EmailSubject: Time rolls on like waves on the ocean

Time rolls on like waves on the ocean, pushing us ever closer to our ultimate destination.....

The calendar on the refrigerator says that it is June 1st.....and time to start packing up my life for the move to Queen Creek.

What adventures await us? What people will we meet? How will our world and lives change? Of course, the "we" and "us" is me and the cats.

There are rumors of a new little kitten coming to live with us... It will be someone else for Jack to slap around so he isn't always picking on poor Butterscotch.

I fully expect that by 12-31-2007 our lives will be completely different.

I am hoping that by tonight I will have pictures on my web site of my neighborhood being built. It is so weird to me that in January it was all just desert....and probably by August it will be a thriving neighborhood filled with families. This entire experience is weird to me....it really is.

The other night I took the floor plan of the new place, a tape measure, and started comparing the room sizes of my current place with the new place. Oh my gosh......it's going to be SO WEIRD having all that space. Right now I'm feeding the cats in my little kitchen and when they are eating I can't get to the kitchen cabinets without stepping on their little feet. I am literally tripping over my cats! I won't miss that. Well, if I touch up against Butterscotch he will frantically dash out of the room. If I kick into big Jack he won't move and I will nearly fall over him. I look down at him and he's looking up at me with his big eyes like, "Now, what did you do THAT for?" Those cats are so very different.

The next five weeks I think will be horrible - packing up my stuff, trying to get utilities and movers lined up, jumping through hoops for the mortgage people... I always figure that something will somehow go wrong and I won't get the house. However, I have moved so often that each time it gets a little smoother. I'm hoping this will be the best move ever.

The other night I burned two CDs full of MP3 files - they will be in my laptop bag and the first night the cats and I are setting up the stereo and we will instantly have 400 of our favorite songs in surround sound. Then on Saturday we are setting up the den and getting the Internet up and running. Then it will seem like a real home.

Mon, 28 May 2007 11:10:21 -0700From: pbpersson via EmailSubject: increasingly disallusioned with the Microsoft world

As many of you know, I am becoming increasingly disillusioned with the Microsoft world.

My future will be in the Linux/Java/Open Source world where the technology is far superior and you don't need to worry about licensing.

Today is a prime example of my annoyances. I tried to run Microsoft Visual Studio .NET 2003 and instead of letting me use the product I purchased I was presented with the following message (slightly paraphrased by me):

"Visual Studio.NET has detected that significant changes have been made to this machine since the last time this product was executed. Because we are paranoid and think you are trying to pirate our software, you must now dig through all your closets, locate the original CDs that were shipped with the product, and insert CD number one into your CD-ROM drive at this time. Until you do this, you cannot use this product which you most likely purchased for over $1000."

Now....I FORTUNATELY always have the original box sitting on top of my desk because I have been through this nonsense before. But.....this is part of why Microsoft and I have reached a fork in the road. This type of thing is supposed to get MUCH worse when Vista is released.

If I ever misplace the original CDs......I will never again be able to use this product.

Mon, 28 May 2007 10:39:01 -0700From: pbpersson via EmailSubject: moving just in the nick of time

As many of you know, in May of 2006 I moved into a luxury Mark Taylor apartment complex. Here you pay top dollar for luxury everything.

Well, shortly after I moved the apartment complex was sold to Lincoln Properties and according to my neighbor Pamela, things have been going downhill ever since.

She said that when it was Mark Taylor, they were out twice a week to clean all the gas barbecue grills in the complex. Now she says they never get cleaned at all. She said that now when you submit a maintenance request, you have to fight with the office to get them to come out and fix anything. She also said that the landscaping is not kept up as well as it used to be.

From my point of view, I can see that lights are burned out and not replaced, in one case a lamp pole is loose in the ground and is about to fall over and is not being fixed.....and the latest trend is that the landscaping people when they cut the grass are chopping the tops off the sprinkler heads so when the water turns on we get a twenty-foot-tall fountain that either drenches sidewalks where people are trying to walk or in at least one case it is pointed at someone's balcony.

Also, they have now allowed dogs of all sizes into the complex and there are dog droppings all over the place, one of which Pamela stepped in.

So.....it seems I am leaving at a very good time. I think this place is going downhill. I am supposed to have the keys to my new house one month from today.

Tue, 8 May 2007 10:39:34 -0700From: Phil.Persson via EmailSubject: ESTIS entry

For those of you tuning in late, the ESTIS project is something I have wanted to create since childhood, an artificial mind hosted on parallel computers, capable of simulating human thought processes. I will not have the time to actually work on this for some months/years but in the meantime design thoughts need to be recorded somewhere. This blog seemed the logical place since I can find the information easily using any computer on the planet. I need to retroactively add (ESTIS) to the subject line of all previous entries to easily find them.

Now, onto design thoughts -

The Java program which is written should be the same regardless of what server it is running on or what function it is serving. The only real function of the program is to process directives from the database. WHAT the program is doing, HOW it is doing it, and the PROCESSES it is following should all be contained in the database. This provides some distinct advantages:

1.  The programmer in writing the program does not need to "specialize" the program 
    for the task at hand - whether it is speech recognition, visual pattern recognition, 
    speech synthesis, motor skills, whatever.
2.  The function of the program is determined by the database it is pointing to - the 
    prototype will be running on three computers but if it is performing 15 functions, 
    there would be 5 databases and 5 copies of the program running on each computer.  
    This can later be split out to 15 high-speed servers just by moving the databases.
3.  If the rules that govern how the program functions are all stored in the database, 
    the program can re-write these rules and add to them as it learns and grows, basically 
    surpassing the original system design capabilities
4.  This design approach assumes that entire new programs will be created by the "ESTIS" 
    system by creating new database entries.  Therefore, database entries will be read 
    into memory and executed as needed to perform tasks never envisioned by the creator 
    of the ESTIS system.  This seems to be a strange concept.

Sat, 21 Apr 2007 14:06:10 -0700From: pbpersson via EmailSubject: time for big changes - look out!

The title of this entry might be a little misleading.....

It is just that my web site has been growing over time and is becoming more difficult to manage. I think I have four or five individual web sites now linked together into something that is pretending it is one web site. It has moved from AOL to MediaOne to Geocities to Cox....and now I am going to lose my Cox account because I am moving. Oh....and I have been forced to delete several pictures because I'm limited on disk space within each site.

So....I am trying to find a more permanent home for my web site and blog where it can reside for the rest of eternity.....or until I stop paying the bills, whichever comes first

You can expect an email notification when my web site has been moved to its new home. I don't know how long this will take, really - but it must be done before my new house.

Mon, 16 Apr 2007 12:41:28 -0700From: Phil.Persson via EmailSubject: planning for the future

Okay.....well.....people in my life might not know how long this "HAL9000" project has existed.

It was in my mind when I was in grade school playing on the playground at recess. I told the other kids that someday I would invent a machine that could think like a human being. They all told me I was crazy. However, they could not envision the advances we have seen in computer technology over the past 40 years. I couldn't either in 1965.....but I knew it was something I wanted to do.

I need to stop calling it the "HAL9000" project and use the name I created for this 20 years ago: ESTIS

 
Experimental
Self
Teaching
Intelligent
System

This was the name I arrived at for the first fledgling system I would use to create an intelligent computer mind. I will not tackle part II of the project which was code named ESTIR, I will let someone else carry out that project. If I can create ESTIS in the next 30 years I will be happy. Well....who knows, maybe knowing how I work in 10 years ESTIS will be a success and I can move onto a bigger challenge. One can never tell. I was assuming that duplicating the complexity of the human mind using computers would be a daunting task.

Also, the ESTIS project is a hobby and not a full-time endeavor. This is just something I will do instead of crossword puzzles and FreeCell to entertain myself in my free time. This also assumes that nothing else will change in my life and it will just be me and two cats living out in the middle of the desert.

Fri, 13 Apr 2007 10:57:30 -0700From: Phil.Persson via EmailSubject: Tax Day Almost Here!

Let's see.....we need another blog entry here....what should I type about?

It's almost tax day.....I really need to get them done and mailed in. One of these days.....


So, to recap our Persson Konscious Kernel project we have the following components:

1. I'm Alive Loop (I think therefore I am)

2. Word parsing system (lookup words, assign noun, adverb, verb, adjective)

3. Sentence parsing system (Throw the cow over the fence some hay)

4. 64-bit hierarchy system to allow object inheritance in thought tokens

5. "The Wheels Go 'Round and 'Round" thought token connection system

Item number five has not yet been dealt with in this blog. Once thought tokens are created and organized into the hierarchy, they must be connected at the highest level of a class to adjectives to provide meaning.

For instance, a Corvette is a sports car and a coupe and a car which is a vehicle on wheels. Now, wheels rotate and cars roll. A dog is a mammal and all mammals have hair and breathe. If you look at the verb "breathe" you can find a link to mammals and can list all mammals in the hierarchy.

The program must be able to make new connections as it learns about the world. Also, it must be able to re-organize objects. For instance, let us say it learns about a new object called a frazit and it discovers all frazits have long hair and are purple. It can create a new object call frazits, it is an animal and has long purple hair. Later when it discovers the frazit is a mammal it needs to know how to totally reorganize this structure, therefore altering its model of reality as it learns more about the world.

An object in the hierarchy system can therefore be described by the attributes assigned to it and all its parents. A bog barks, a mammal breathes, has hair, nurses its young, etc. It is also thought this will speed the processing as a dictionary definition is not needed for any object - it is all handled by pointers to other objects that have intrinsic non-linguistic meanings.

The object relationships can be established by having the program read through a dictionary. However, it might be helpful to have a human setup the "framework" of how this will work in advance - the skeleton that will later have muscles and other organs added, so to speak. Also, synonyms can point to the same object in the database with a word matching list.

Item number one in the list above is the most important, but our design team (me, myself, and I) has not yet come up with an idea on how to accomplish this. I mean....even if you have a program that can read a sentence and understand it and form new connections....does it really UNDERSTAND IT? When I read a novel I process hundreds of sentences and I build an entire temporary world in my mind. When I put the book down, that world is gone. When I pick the book up again, I return to that world and all the characters are where I left them. How does that work? Even if you have a program that could read an entire novel and understand it, how do you breathe life into a computer program?

The current plan is to have the "brain" processing as several programs running simultaneously on a number of Linux computers, each with a one Terabyte MySQL database, connected in a high-speed computer network. The Konscious Kernel should be highly modular and parallel to allow hardware scaling as processing requirements grow.

My VB.NET teacher said that if you give a problem to 20 students you will have 20 different approaches to how a problem is solved - we each take a different approach based on how our brains are wired. One way to solve the problem of the "I'm Alive Loop" is to put myself down inside the microprocessor to see how I would make sense of the outside world based on the inputs I am getting - we can call this the "Tron Approach". The other way of solving the "I'm Alive Loop" problem is beyond the scope of this text.

Sat, 17 Mar 2007 09:06:22 -0700From: pbpersson via EmailSubject: Of Cabbages, Kings, and Gigabit Ethernet

Today I am ill, I had a 100.6 fever this morning at 6:30. So yes.....Phil does get sick.....once in a blue moon.....just so I'm reminded I'm human like everyone else.

Yesterday I took a sick day but I still had to get myself to my wiring appointment for the new house. It's amazing how things have changed in the 21st century. There is ABSOLUTELY no difference between a telephone jack and a Gigabit Ethernet jack in these new homes. If you say you want telephone in every room, you get RJ-45 with Cat5e wiring which means while you think it is a phone jack, it really isn't. Silly me, I wanted a phone and network jack in each room so now in most rooms I will have dual Gigabit Ethernet ports.

My thought right now is to have dual Gigabit Ethernet subnets and have three server rooms in my house - I am going to connect all the rooms of servers together into one high-speed network and see if they become intelligent and take over the world.

Everything in the entire house - the cable, phone, Ethernet, and satellite wiring all go into one wiring cabinet in the laundry room where I can configure everything. I opted for the larger panel because who knows what technology I will want to place in the cabinet years down the road? Anyway, it was quite an exciting visit and now I need to purchase an 8-port Gigabit switch for the new cabinet. Would you believe they are only $100 at Best Buy? It's amazing how much processing power we can have in our homes now. I also want to place a small UPS in the cabinet so the network stays up during a power failure, and I think a cooling fan would be awesome.

Does it make sense to have the network equipment in a panel recessed in the wall of the laundry room right next to the dryer? I worry about equipment overheating.....

One of the funny things I had to sign on the release form is a statement recognizing that each phone jack will give you a theoretical maximum of 4 dial tones on four separate phone lines since Cat5e has four twisted pairs. Now....how in the world would non-technical John or Jane Doe get four phone lines from one phone jack?????

Tue, 6 Feb 2007 15:11:11 -0700From: Phil.Persson via EmailSubject: February blog entry

I don't know how often I am typing blog entries, but I know several people from across the country have commented there are not many entries in here. It really surprises me that anyone is looking.

Anyway, I just purchased my leased car to lower my monthly payments and now I am having a brand new house built out in Queen Creek. I am getting a great deal on the house but to afford it I will be working a long distance from home - about 40 miles. I am planning to buy a satellite stereo for the car - I will leave the house at 8:00 each morning and when I get to work I get to work. I will be telecommuting one day a week. After two years I will see where my life is and how the house has appreciated. I might sell the house and move closer to work.

On the topic of the Persson Konscious Kernel and thought tokens my research has revealed that when I read words or think of concepts I don't consult an internal dictionary. For instance, the sentence "I drove the car to the store and then back home" does not cause an internal dictionary lookup for a car or a store - these words have intrinsic meaning. It is seemingly the position of the thought token in my mind that somehow gives it meaning, or the relationships to the thought token from other tokens.

One concept was that a thought token should be a 64-bit value representing a maximum number of eight layers of inheritance where each level can contain 2*8 values. For instance, a Corvette is a sports car which is a coupe which is a car which is a vehicle which would be five levels of inheritance. While these thought tokens can have an original link to an English word (to aid the English-speaking developer of the system), thought tokens need to be language-independent as they are in the human brain (yes, you CAN think without verbalizing!). Each thought token naturally needs to have a dictionary entry for more information however this is not used in all situations.

When I hear or read the sentence "I drove the car to the store to buy some bread" my mind does not perform a dictionary lookup on car but it does perform a lookup on bread and store to deduce that the store was a grocery store.

Early versions of the Persson Konsicous Kernel will be directed to read a dictionary to form thought token relationships and will then read stories so the developer can examine assumptions made and conclusions drawn by the program. Once the program is sufficiently advanced to draw more correct conclusions it could use the Internet as an information source to decode sentences such as "Time Flies Like an Arrow" although some sentences cannot be decoded by the human mind and it's not realistic to expect miracles (Fruits Flies Like a Banana).

If new inventions created by mankind are simply discovered by combining physical laws that are already understood, long before the Persson Conscious Kernel is capable of independent thought might it be capable of finding new inventions by indicating areas where known technologies could be combined in new and creative ways?

In any case, even if early versions of the Konscious Kernel fail and crash in flames, it is only software and we can learn a great deal from complete failures in this adventure - as long as we have some good log entries to indicate what caused each crash.