Wednesday, April 30, 2008

I'm in ITIL v3 Fundamentals training this week. As process management goes, it's relevant but kind of dry. -- Update on Friday 5/2/08 -- I finally finished the class and took the test for ITIL v3 Fundamentals certification. I won't know for 5 business days if I got it. I think I did OK on the test. If my understanding is correct, I am fully qualified to follow a service management conversation without being lost and to take the continuing classes that will enable me to actually do something with ITIL and process improvement. As they say, I have enough knowledge to be dangerous. But then again, they've been saying that for years -- and about a lot of subjects.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Antique Computer Works (NEC PC8401A Starlet)

I'm digging around in an old storage shed and I come across a computer that I haven't used in years. It's an old laptop from 1984 (eventhough I didn't buy it until about 1992).

NEC Starlet with floppy disk drive - It all still works!

So there it is all set up and working. I have the main laptop and the small-suitcase-sized floppy disk drive. I won't go into detail on it because you can follow the links I will provide shortly to get all the information you could ever want about this handy little piece of history. I really like the keyboard and that it will run off of four C-cell batteries. I'm not sure what to do with it. I really don't want to use it. I don't have a place, or a desire, to display it as a geeky knick-knack. I could sell it or send it to a computer museum. I really don't know. I also have a printer cable and 1200 baud modem (the internal 300 baud modem doesn't work any more). I looked around for a BBS that I could try to log into and I could find nothing. Before the internet TJ and I were active in FidoNet but it has just all dried up. I could get a shell dial-up account and actually hook this computer to the internet but that would cost about $20 per month. I'm just not that interested in testing those capabilities. So there you have it, computer history. I also have a Commodore 64 in a box and an Epson Equity 1 (old PC clone at 4.77 MHz) on a shelf.

Links for information on the Starlet: PC-8401A at; NEC Starlet at Uncle Roger's Computers; and finally a review of the PC-8401 from the December 1985 Compute! magazine.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Lawnmowing and Guitar Hero

Lawnmowing and Guitar Hero

This weekend began a summer tradition that continues to make me proud of my older son, Duncan. He never really wants to start mowing lawns but once he gets a taste of the money, he does it - but not always without some complaints.

Two weeks ago I ordered a part from Sears to fix our lawnmower. The cable that goes from the handle to the motor and operates the safety-oriented "kill switch" that most mowers have now broke at the end of last year's mowing season. No one even pretends to carry that item in stock (not even Sears). So last week it comes in and I fix the mower. That means last weekend was the first weekend Duncan could earn money.

He made $40 dollars that we immediately went out and spent on a Guitar Hero controller for the X-Box 360. He actually owes me the money from one more lawn ($20) but he's good for it. In the past he's raised enough money to buy his own X-Box 360, Nintendo DS, his latest Desktop computer and his latest laptop computer. He's also purchased a variety of video games and at least one year on X-Box live. I think it's taught him the value of money and the effort it takes to get it. He also has to learn to hold onto money and not spend it on whatever. He's pretty good about it when he's saving for a goal.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

North Texas Rally

North Texas YRUU Rally

Over the weekend closest to April Fools (4-6), I went with the OKCs Unitarian Church YRUU group (Young Religious Unitarian Universalist) to the North Texas Rally at the UU church in Plano, TX. With spring high school activities and the annual MedFaire at OU, we ended up with only six youth and two adults in the van. Since this is the closest youth rally of the year, we got there early enough to hang out for a while before the opening circle. I'm not going to give a minute-by-minute account of the weekend but I will say that it was fairly well organized with a good social action, a well recieved theme speaker, and a good group breakfast on Sunday morning.