This is my little piece of the world. I'm a relentless tech junkie and prepress guy ...these are my ramblings and useless swill.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Crayon Physics is Coming!!

Crayon Physics is one of my kids favorite games to play on my jailbroken (shhhh) iPod Touch. Enter firmware 2.0, that is all gone. Well now I can be excited again as Crayon Physics will be officially released for the iPod and iPhone on 2009... Yeah!!! The kids will be so pleased!

Update: Here's a Youtube Video of it in action. WOW

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

95 Old School Video Games

Want a blast from the past.... The you need to check out this website.

What's you favorite? Its a toss up between 1942, Defender and Galaga.

Enjoy this....

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

I Loath You Snow Plow

Die, Die Die...

Why can't you just post a schedule of when you will go by...

Don't you know I just finished plowing the driveway from the last time you went around the block. You are so inconsiderate!

I remember back in the day when I was growing up a snow plow just like you kept taking down one of our neighbors mailboxes... Then one spring afternoon I came outside to see the neighbor sinking an I-beam in 6 ft of concrete and adding plywood to disguise the masterpiece. New Mailbox...Bingo!

Fast forward to the next winter. I come strolling out of the house to find the right "wing" of the local city snow plow sitting there attached to the "mail box"...hydraulic fluid and some twisted fittings on the ground.

I just smiled!

Photoshop Evolution

Here is a great picture of the 20 years of Adobe Photoshop tool pallet evolution, Thank you Gizmoto
I remember using Photoshop back at version you?

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Snowplow Priorities after Snowfall

This totally made me smile knowing all the snow we have had in Appleton so far this year... over 35 Inches and this is the first day of winter. Thank you GraphJam

Friday, December 19, 2008

Reloading Windows

What is the hardest part about reloading MS Windows? I say its the drivers. Collecting all the drivers and updating to make sure you have the latest and greatest. This great article over at digital inspiration has a great article on the steps to make reinstalling a no brainier. One key here as they point out is collecting the drivers. This great tool called DriverMax takes all the leg work out of this for you. It checks drivers for updates, backs them up even has a web interface to track your drivers and configurations. It's pretty slick. I just love google reader for finding all these tasty tidbits...

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

12 Things You Didin't Know About A Christmas Story

I loved a Christmas Story! What a riot. I know I have seen it over 25 times myself... and I think I have it down word for word...well not all of it.
Here is a listing of 12 things I bet you didn't know about this great movie! Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Running on Empty

I'm on a kick today and its not good... Let me set the stage for you.

We have this support issue with one of our trusted vendors. They have this system that we use and they support it remotely. Well it's not just a system, its our huge workflow system here at the plant and throughout the whole org. In the old days they used to support it via 56K modems and this was way too slow. They kicked up their support offerings a notch and now they can access all their installed machines via something I like to call the world wide web. Faster, better, SUPER!! Well this is true for all the 4000 other systems they have ever sold except for the systems that are installed here at the little place I like to call work!! Why is that you ask? Well for some reason our technology staff does not like something about the way the remote connection software works. They say it goes against SOX rules and it rubs the "governance" people the wrong way. What the? Do they have any clue how much longer support takes at 56K vs T-1 or T-3 speeds? Certainly all the "governance" people do not use dial up at home do they?

So thinking I was so smart, I took a stab at this and called some lower level tech guy to see what the "H" was the matter with him. I was respectful and tactful but this guy was not hearing anything I had to say. It was going in one ear and out the other. All I heard was "back of the hand", this rule, that rule, this wall, that wall... nothing doing! I really felt like John Candy in Uncle Buck as he talked to his girlfriend on the phone. The vid quality stinks, but you get the idea of how the conversation went. I could not get in a word edgewise at all.

"Okay, that didn't go well!" as I hear my boss routinely say after a thrashing of a conference call.

How can these people run on empty like this and hide behind all these rules? I'm not trying to cause trouble, I just want to do what an honest EDUCATED answer to my inquiries. I'm just asking the question... a few "Why'"s and then I'm be on my way. Why can they not answer me in a civilize manner, instead hide behind PDF files and corporate websites. I know, they have no clue and this is the only way to get me off their that it?

We have a preferred vendor we spend millions upon millions of dollars with, plus we trust basically our entire workflow to them, BUT we do not trust them enough to have high speed internet access to their servers? I just do not get it at all. I feel like i'm banging my head against a wall when I talk to these people. Is it just me?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Little red car

After my Mission I had one dear Rochester friend that was truly amazing. She really inspired me and I feel it necessary to share....sorry again for the nostalgia post, I just can't help it. Growing up we lived a few miles apart and never saw each other as we each attended different LDS congregations and only saw each other for regional activities. I'm not sure how we actually became friends, I'm betting the LDS Hill Cumorah Pageant held each year had something to do with it.

She had a boyfriend who I worked with at a local gas and sip establishment and I hung out with them from time to time. She was my age but he was a few years my senior so it was cool to hang with one of the older crowd. He was a tech geek and that didn't hurt either, even though we both got mocked for liking technology... nothing seems to change now does it. It really never amounted to much, we just enjoyed each others company and could hang out. Heather as she liked to be called at that time, drove a Dodge Colt, red. It went everywhere. She was really into sign language and also moon lighted, my words not her's, as a nanny, or maybe it was the other way around..not a big point. Either way she was so amazing to me. Amazing why you ask? She not only took care of 2 girls as a full time nanny, but she watched over and cared for her mother who had failing health... oh and was one of my best friends too. Some people use their job or situations as a crutch to get out of social interaction, not Heather. It made her stronger and a better friend. She always seemed to put others first before herself. Case in point, the sign language. People who sign are helping others do something they can't do for themselves...hear. Signing is a skill that takes years and years to learn and frankly Heather is one of the best around. In the Deaf community, she may be considered the best. Heather always put others first. I remember her always coming way across town to pick me up and we could go to dinner or hang out... always in her red colt. She would drive and I would sit along side and we would just talk and talk and talk. Catch up from the days events and really talk about nothing, but we were both so happy to enjoy our friendship together. Heather and Scott had one of those off again, on again relationships, but in the back of my mind, I always knew they would be together. Sometimes I felt she really wanted me... but that would have ruined a good friendship :)~ While driving,  Heather would tell me of the ups and downs between her and Scott and I would tell her of the downs in my love life, which at that time, seemed the biggest topic. Sometimes friends just need time together and the rest of the conversation takes care of itself. I like that about friends.

Fast forward to January 1990. I was out at BYU and Heather decided to drive the red Colt out west for what reason, not quite sure. I just can't remember. At that time, Scott had not yet made his way out there. So it was Heather and I to hang out and do whatever. Dinner, dancing, hanging out and mostly reckless abandonment for school and all things studying were the order of the evening..most evenings in fact. I would always look for reasons to get out of school work to hang out. Heather was a teacher at the Missionary Training Center, teaching, what else Sign Language. As I remember it, she was the first, and probably only, teacher in the MTC to have never served a full time mission. But they needed good ASL teachers and she was the best. Here is yet another example how she put others first. Teachers always seem to put others first. There's a pattern here...can you see it?

Heather and I were the closest of friends. I was with her when she got married to Scott in the Toronto LDS temple. What a wonderful milestone in her life and one I will never forget. As a married couple, they indulged me when they both moved back to Utah to finish college, but a 3rd wheel sometimes isn't the best option when you are a newly wed... wink wink. I would still ask to borrow the red car from time to time as I met new people and worked on my own dating prospects. Once I started my family, I lost touch for some time but things seem to be back in swing, not full swing due to proximity, but its better. Heather and Scott have an great family together. One that is amazing to me.

Heathers undying love and service to everyone she came in contact with will be a lesson I will never forget. I think we should all take a lesson from Heather and see how our life can be blessed by taking  time to do things for others. The great Robert Wegman once said, "I have never given away more then I have received back. Words to live by in my book.

Sometimes I do long to say just one more time, "Hey Heather, can I take the red car tonight?"
"And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God."

Just Cool

How'd they do that?

A CFC in a regular light bulb?

Thank you Gizmodo

Friday, December 5, 2008

Welcome Back

This week has really been a heart warming week for me. I love FaceBook and it has always been a fun side project for me but this week it took a whole new twist. I have never been one really keep in touch with friends from days gone bye. I have always been the worst letter writer. Saying good bye sucks so bad!! I just can't do it. When I leave an area and move, I'm a total wreck. I have always been taught NEVER to say "goodbye", but to say "so long." or "see you soon." I have countless high school friends, mission companions and collage buddies that I have just lost track of cause I'm to darn lazy to write them. I'm just terrible in that regard.

I had this choice group of friends in collage. Ones that did everything together. We studied, hung out, went to dinner, midnight movies, comedy clubs, dancing, football games and basically meandered around aimlessly for hours together. It didn't matter what we were doing as long as we were all doing it together. Watching paint dry... we could make that fun. Anything! It was truly magic. Just enjoying each others company. They visited me and work and I them. We joked and laughed to all hours of the morning. We talked on the phone and goofed off like preschool kids. But it was my social circle and I loved it. They understood me and got me. I understood them and got them. We fought and cried and laughed and played as hard as we could. You know you really grow to love that interaction. Day in day out... 7 days a week we hung out together. We even traveled on a big trip to Vegas! Another cherished moment that will always be near and dear to me.

I still remember like it was yesterday, driving out of the Salt Lake valley leaving with my family moving to Wisconsin. I cried like a baby and had to pull over to get my self together... knowing all the great friends I was leaving behind. It was amazing knowing I needed to get on with my life, new job and opportunities, but the friends I had, pulled at my heart strings like a magnet. Not in a bad way, but the best of ways. I have always thought I brought out some of the best in my friends. Both near and far I have always wanted to leave a situation better that when I got into it. I loved my friends so much and moving on was hard.

Fast forward to this week.. like I said Facebook has never been a big deal. Its there and I use it a bit but I really never saw the true value till some of my best collage friends popped up. One right after the, bing, bing they started showing back onto the radar.. First there was one and I asked about others and they said they lost track....rats. Then one morning I wake and calling -- so and so has asked to be your friend in Facebook. "GET OUT!" I yelled, I smiled wide, I screamed inside... I even shed a tear. Its really amazing how this whole circle of life works. Years ago, during some newly found single-life, I took a trip back to Utah to see if I could find these old friends. I went to old jobs and old residences best as I could remember, but they had all moved on. Now certianly I didn't scour the place for them and it turns out that if I has just opened the darn white pages I may have found them... but I made an attempt and left empty handed and heart broken. I moved on. I hate dead ends, I hate goodbyes and I hate leaving words unsaid. I cherish every moment I get with friends and I really hope they get the same out of me, but these were not your run of the mill friends. It was different, so different. Hard to explain, but I'm trying.  Not knowing where they are and not knowing they are safe and sound and happy...that was a big deal to me. Were they married, kids, single, jobs, happy, healthy and  well...? I'm not sure I understood how great of friends they were.. but I do now.

So I have spent a few long evening chatting online with them. Catching up and showcasing my extended family, my Becky and my Emma and my Madeline, Clara and Tommy.  All my pride and joy and what life is worth living for. Its amazing to welcome these friends back into my life. I'm not 100% sure how they will fit, but one thing I do know...Thomas Robert Clifford, Jr's life is so much fuller knowing that these fine folks and people I call friends, are back in touch. Kinda like that blanket we all used to crawl up under while watching movies...there was always room for one more. Its been almost 14 years... I missed so much, for that I'm sorry. Tonight went through some old stuff and found the above picture; See the smiles...genuine and true. Magic! This is the essence of what I have been talking about. Friendship is a 2 way street and for the last years, its only been one way. I didn't hold up my end of the deal.  Its truly amazing to know where they are, to know they are safe and to know they are happy. Life is all about being happy, and each and every one of them have brought me so much untold happiness over the years. I wish I could in some small way, return the favor. I have time to figure that part out, but for now I know exactly where they are once I do. I love you all!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Calmness in our Lives

Recieved an email this am....

had to share...

Let me know if this helps anyone.

From: "xxxxxxx"
Date: December 4, 2008 11:55:48 AM EST
To: "aaaaaaaaaa"


I am passing this on to you because it definitely works, and we could all use a little more calmness in our lives.

By following simple advice heard on the Dr. Phil show, you too can find inner peace. Dr. Phil proclaimed, "The way to achieve inner peace is to finish all the things you have started and have never finished."

So, I looked around my house to see all the things I started and hadn't finished, and before leaving the house this morning, I finished off a bottle of White Zinfandel, a bottle of Bailey'sIrish Cream, a package of Oreos, the remainder of my old Prozac prescription, the rest of the cheesecake, some Doritos, and a box of chocolates.

You have no idea how freaking good I feel right now!!!!

Pass this on to those whom you think might be in need of inner peace.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Now this is how its done...

So I'm reading my daily dose of internet swill and useless crap and I find this article about a company in Waukegan, Ill and some huge bonuses that were handed out. Oh course I turn to the article to see if it was more gouging going on..but to my eyes I find out it's a true, honest to goodness amazing story of a business who gave out 5 figure bonuses to the people who worked so hard to make them great. Amazing Christmas time story.

Is anyone at my work listening to this? Granted I'm very lucky to have a job, but how much better would my luck be with an extra 5 figure bonus check to boot? I remember a 20/20 story years ago about some company in the south that gave out 6 and 7 figure bonuses when the owners sold the company, made hundreds of millions and paid each of their employee's a million plus and get this...they paid the taxes too. How great would that be?