I suppose I should update this blog occasionally

So I will start with a week in review.

Radio Stuff:

I ventured out to the Fulton County Amateur Radio Club monthly meeting on Monday. It's a nice group of guys all excited to help and answer questions for the new HAM radio operator. I was waffling on which radio to purchase: a hand-held style (HT) putting out around 5 watts, or a mobile unit putting out around 50 watts (but with far less features). I really just want to be able to hit some of the local repeaters in the northwest Ohio area, some of which are on I.R.L.P. and EchoLink. The Wauseon repeater is around 7 miles from my location, and I want to be able to at least hit that one with a clean signal. The guys at the club assured me a 5 watt hand-held (with a good antenna) will be more then adequate to connect over that distance. So I finally ordered my radio this week, going with the Yaesu/Vertex VX-7RB. It's a quad band (6m/2m/1.25m/.70m) HT with enough bells and whistles to keep my occupied and out of trouble for a while. At least until I get my General Class License and start getting into HF. I did have my first EchoLink contact last Sunday. While playing around with the software settings, I had a drop in QSO with a nice guy in Australia. We chatted for about half an hour which was surprisingly fun. The new HT arrives on Wednesday, so I'm looking forward to that!

Art Stuff:

We had our third art class on Wednesday evening. We worked with charcoal pencils/chunks on regular paper and sanded paper. I found using a blending stump saved on sanding my finger prints off, and gave a bit more control. While probably not my medium of choice, I will probably wind up getting some pencils to dabble with. I created a new Art & What Not photo section on my Sushi4Craig.com website if you care to see what I've been doing. Next week is back to colored pencils before we wrap up the 5th week with pen and ink. I do like having the Wednesday class at the Museum. I find that I have difficulty budgeting the time at home, but when I take a few hours out of the week for art outside of my home (where all the shiny objects which distract me are), I have a great time. I did a little bit of art time today, working on a pastel picture I started several weeks ago in art class. Pastels are on the same level as charcoal to me. They do not provide the precision of graphite which I like, but the process of creating and blending is very satisfying. The only objection to pastels and charcoal I have is the mess it makes. It's not a very good "mobile" medium to work in like graphite which makes very little dust. But it will still be fun to play with once I get our arts and crafts room setup here at home.

Work Stuff:

Work continues to go well. I can tell we are not as busy as we where at this time last year, which I imagine the economy plays a big part in. I am keeping busy enough though, and I have been able to start working on some more long term and high level projects for my clients rather then the usual "whack-a-mole" reactive style admin work which makes up my day. We did hire a new sys admin last week, which will help with my work load. He's a good guy who has a very similar education and work background to mine. That makes it very easy to ramp him up on the practices and procedures we use. I finally also had some time this weekend to do some long overdue PHP programming on a personal project I have for keeping track of client systems and backups. It took my brain a while to get back into the swing of writing code, but it was still oddly fun to have those mental exercises.

Home Stuff:

I finally got around to hooking up an old laptop to our TV via an S-Video switch which is shared with our DVD. It's also plugged into our wired LAN for web access. My first test was streaming content from Netflix. Given the speed of our DSL (which isn't the fastest) I was able to get Basic content streaming to reliably work. Since Jen has been busy with work this weekend, I picked a movie which I was pretty sure she wouldn't care to watch, The Day of the Triffids (1962). Once the Silverlight player updated and kicked in, the entire movie played with no buffering issues. While Netflix does not have a tremendous selection online yet, it will still be nice to have for on-demand, nothing on the TV days. I tried the Amazon video on demand sample which looked to be a higher quality, but also had a few "buffering" moments. Even still, a lot of fun recycling old equipment.

That's it for now!