Monthly Archives: January 2012

How to solve ANY problem (in one chart)

Found here


Here’s a simple but effective tool for copying CDs, DVDs and Blu Ray disks: ISO Recorder

I wanted to make backup copies of some family photo DVDs and I found this tool, ISO Recorder v3, very effective. As it says here, “ISO Recorder for Windows Vista/Windows 7 supports CD, DVD and Blu Ray operations. Blu Ray on Windows Vista requires SP2”. You just right click on the diskand select an option. I made an ISO file first because I wanted to make multiple copies and that was the easiest. Then I right clicked on the ISO file and copied it to a blank disk. Worked like a charm.

There may be more feature rich tools out there, but for simple copying, I like this.

In considering Kodak’s demise, it’s important to remember that Fuji is still going strong

And if you read this excellent article, Technological change: The last Kodak moment? | The Economist, you can see how each company dealt with the coming tidal wave of digital cameras. Through a combination of smarts and hard work and some luck, Fuji has managed to do well for itself. Sadly that is not the case for Kodak.

What is the Instagram Photo a Day Challenge for January?

It’s this: every day take a photo using Instagram, tag it with #photoadaychallenge, and share it with others. In addition, the photo should be based on the list below (e.g day 1 and 31 should be a photo of you). Sounds like fun!

Found here: Instagram Photo a Day Challenge | whoorl

Facebook and Grades – an really good infographic on the topic from

The truth about Facebook is that lots of young people use it as their default media for communication. It’s not simply a waste of time (though it can be that too), but if you think that is all it is and that it has a major drag on the grades of students, you might want to relax.To see what I mean, check out this infographic from (bigger version here: Facebook and Grades)

Friday Night Music: In the Wee Small Hours

Of the times we miss those we love, that’s the time we miss them most of all.

Chris Botti (trumpet) and Sting (vocal) “In The Wee Small Hours” – YouTube

Rick Santorum, Stephen Harper, and the corruption of the sweater vest

I am a big fan of the sweater vest. It provides warmth and let’s you bridge the gap between formal and casual well. Sadly it turns out that political consultants have latched onto this and are using it to humanize right wing politicians that are seen as something other than that. Sound overly dramatic? Well, here’s Rick Santorum rocking the sweater vest and here is Stephen Harper

My take is that if they wore these vests all the time, then there is nothing wrong with it. But everything tells me that they are doing it based on image consultants. Ironically they make change the association one has of sweater vest to a cynical one, and people will see them as a mask. That would be a shame.

For more on this, see Santorum’s Tressel Gambit — Daily Intel and Wearing sweater vests. – Things Stephen Harper Does To Seem Human

Baked eggs are perfect: simple, nutritious, delicious, and elegant

As Mark Bittman demonstrates, baked eggs are The Simplest Egg, Yet the Most Elegant.
You just need an egg and practically anything else for a superb dish. For example, here’s his recipe: Recipe: Baked Egg With Prosciutto and Tomato – New York Times. Here’s another one with bacon: Stacey Snacks: Baked Eggs in Bacon Baskets. This morning I lined muffin tins with cold cuts (turkey slices) and then followed Stacey’s examples.

If you want eggs sunnyside up for dipping in, you can substitute baked eggs and cook them for around 10 minutes and you will get a perfectly running york with cooked whites that look much nicer than those in the pan. Plus there is the added treat of whatever you lined the pan with.

You can also saute anything you like and then serve it topped with such an egg and you have a wonderful dish.

Best of all, it’s so easy: even people who hate to cook can bake an egg. I did mine in a toaster oven and it comes out well.

You may want to experiment first before you make this for others. 375 is a good temperature to cook the eggs in, and with my toaster oven, 10 minutes yielded a very runny egg. Next time I will aim for 12 minutes. Eggs require attention for best results, but the results are worth it.

My new year’s resolution in 2012 is to suck at things (and also excel)

This is an odd resolution in a number of ways. First of all, you might say, isn’t the point of resolutions to be better at life, not suck at it? And how can you suck and excel at the same time?

As I get older, I find I am less inclined to do new things and tend to stick with what I do well. When I try new things, I suck at them, and I give up on doing them. I find it uncomfortable sucking at things at my age. Unlike my kids, I am self conscious and uncomfortable about doing poorly at things in public. I try them, I hope they will go well, and when they don’t, I put them away. When I was younger, I would rationalize this by thinking: I have work/kids/&c to contend with….I will get to that later. That rationalization is not working so well anymore. Futhermore, there are things that I would like/love to do, but I don’t.

The things I think I suck at but would love to do and do better at are filmmaking, drawing, painting, photography, programming and running (and fitness generally). All of those things I love and I would love to be able to do well, but I know if they take them up again, I will do them poorly. My resolution is to try to keep working on them all year, even when the outcome is terrible. If at the end of the year, I still suck, then I will reconsider if I am going to keep doing them. What I resolve not to do is give up right away.

I was planning only to focus on the things I suck at for my New Year’s Resolution, but there are alot of things that I do that I don’t suck at, but I would like to improve at doing or even excel in doing. Those things include being a dad, a cook (or bottlewasher!) or an IT architect/consultant.  I don’t want to just focus on the things that I suck at: I still want to improve on those areas, because they are most important to me.

I wrote it in the hope of (a) proding me to stick to this resolution and (b) inspire others to make unusual resolutions that would inspire others.

Thanks for reading this.