Looking for a new blog platform

I’m working too much to afford the time to build one right now, but I’m looking into a MeteorJS bloging system….  Anyone got a recommendation? [email protected]

MOSSCON 2013 was lots of fun

I had a great time attending and presenting at moscon.

http://mosscon.org/

May 18 – 19, 2013 | University of Louisville | Louisville, Kentucky

I know it was a lot of work for the people who set it up, but you did a great job and I look forward to attending again in another year.

(if I present again next time, my slides will be more readable, I promise…)

Windows + Linux guy, switching to OSX

I have recently switched to Mac full-time, coming from a Windows/Linux background.

Here are some general (easy to install/use) applications you might find useful.  (advanced notice might come out in a bit)

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Jing – free / can pay for extra features (multi-platform)

  • Take Screenshots: Capture an image of what you see on your computer screen
  • Record Screencasts: Record up to 5 minutes of onscreen video + audio
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Alfred – free / can pay for extra features
  • Increase your productivity
    by launching apps with shortcuts
  • Instant access to
    web searches, bookmarks
    & more
  • Browse and play music from your
    iTunes library
    quickly
  • Perform actions
    =96 copy, move & email files & folders
  • Ward off RSI
    =96 skip using the mouse with easy shortcuts
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note: I paid for the “powerpack” upgrade for things like global hotkeys.
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SoundSource – free

SoundSource is a tiny application for Mac OS X enabling you to switch your audio input and output sources with a single click, and even adjust their volume settings.

https://rogueamoeba.com/freebies/

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Growl – $1.99
(Excellent System/Application Notifications)
Skype’s internal notifications are annoying and worthless, upgrading to Growl and setting it as your notification system for skype will allow you to never miss a Skype message.
(now that I’ve made that statement, I’d better be more quickly
responsive, eh?)
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(Yes, even though I’m cheap, I paid for it and happy I did)
Caffeine – free
(great for presentations, watching a meeting, etc)

Caffeine is a tiny program that puts an icon in the right side of your menu bar. Click it to prevent your Mac from automatically going to sleep, dimming the screen or starting screen savers. Click it again to go back.

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Adium – free
Great multi-support IM client… covers just about everything but skype :(
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Synergy – free (multi-platform)
This one only barely makes the “easy” list… but if you have multiple computers+monitors sitting side-by-side, you can use this application to share a keyboard and mouse across them.
If this sounds good to you, read up on it and we might be able to help you set it up… if not, ignore this one.
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Blount 2011 “Year in Review Letter”

Everyone seems to do a great job of sending out yearly letters around the holidays, so here’s our attempt.

We collected some of our favorite photos from this year (mostly just the summer and fall) and made this video:
http://animoto.com/play/PXP02w37vyZ60ddGU7vxxg
Go ahead and watch it.

Back already?

It’s the end of December already and Poppy is almost 4 (01/24) and Oliver is almost 2 (02/02). Last year at this time, we went to Kansas City for Christmas with Alan’s family and after a long drive on Christmas eve, made it back to Louisville for Christmas with Anita’s. Oliver was just walking and still pretty chubby. Poppy was her same precocious self a few inches shorter, but thinking back now, the comparative difference is stark. They have both come such a long way this year.

Anita has worked 2 or 3 days a week this whole year, spending the other weekdays with the kids. The first half of the year we had one of our good friends Andrea taking care of them on the days that Anita worked. We have family passes at the Louisville Zoo and the Science center, so we were there a lot. Anita also took Poppy to several weeks of ballet/tap classes, and we make it to some park or another almost daily, often meeting others for play dates.

This summer we helped to host a family reunion for Alan’s extended family who came from all over the country to Mammoth Caves National Park. We did a lot of cooking out and sitting around telling stories. There were some other young ones (their third cousins I think) blazing a trail for the next generation. As you might expect, the kid’s parents trying to keep them somewhat in line and the grandparents encouraging them on. Surprisingly, we didn’t really go into the caves until the end and then we didn’t last too long before the kids had had enough… oh well, another year or two before they will have the patience for that.

Starting this fall we put both kids in a co-op school near us called “The Friend’s School”, where Poppy went for a year, a year ago, until Oliver was born. They attend 3 days a week, while Anita is working. The kids are both happy to be in classes, and I think really benefit from the structure and interacting in group settings with other adults in charge. We get daily reports of what the kids do and they bring home many projects they do during the week. Poppy’s compatriot Eleanor (2 months older) is in her class, and Oliver’s little buddy Abe (2 weeks younger) is in his class. We’ve gone to a few school functions after hours, and even just walking through the halls, everyone certainly knows our kids and there’s a real sense of inclusion at all grade levels there (up to grade 4 I think).

Oliver and Anita took trip to Florida to visit Anita’s grandmother early summer. Oliver and Alan took a trip to Houston mid-November to visit Alan’s grandfather, mother, and family. We all drove to Columbus, OH a few times to visit friends and we made several trips out to the lakehouse throughout the summer where we went boating and tubing, yes, with the kids. Anita and Alan took a trip without the kids to New Mexico to attend a friend’s wedding in the summer, while the grandmothers took over the kids (we’ve got to do that some more!). Otherwise, we have kept pretty close Louisville, but we certainly stay busy. We went on a train ride which was robbed by train robbers on horseback. We went to 3 or 4 different fall festivals, including the Colorfest at Bernhiem Forest. We have visited and pet every barn or zoo animal near us, and I think our kids have been on 6 different firetrucks this year. We went to the state fair, we went to a dozen birthday parties, a few neighborhood festivals (a few with bouncy castles), and a few concerts in the park.

Alan has continued to work at Allied Health Media, the name is new, but it’s the same company he’s been at since 2007. The beginning of the year they launched speechpathology.com and have been doing “phase 2″ adjustments to it this year, and gearing up for some other major projects using the same code-base slated for early 2012. The company has doubled in size in the last two years and things seem to be going well.

Anita still works as a pharmacist, and for the same company, but in a new location. She had been working at Central State Hospital, a state run psychiatric hospital. The hospital was downsizing and she feared her position was going to be cut, but instead she got shifted to the Hazelwood location. In both locations she still does mostly medication and chart reviews, ensuring adequate oversight is done for patient labs and prescriptions. She also fills in as a staff pharmacist, filling medications and handing them out to the nurses.

Oliver is regularly referred to as “a little kewpie doll” as he’s got white-blonde hair with little ringed tufts sticking out. He also always has a scratch or bruise or several on his forehead, face, etc. Since day one, he’s an extreme child. When he’s happy, he is extremely happy. When he’s unhappy, it too is extreme and everyone is going to know about it. At the beginning of the year he was walking on somewhat unstable legs and not really signing nor talking. He picked up walking and all physical activities quickly, but he was pretty slow on the communication side of things. He knew exactly what people were saying, even fairly complicated concepts, but he didn’t really start trying to talk till late fall. Now he’s got a pretty decent little vocabulary, but it can take some effort and a few clarification questions to understand him… even that level of communication has made the lives of his parents a lot easier – much better than whining for everything. We mimic his speech a lot because it’s so cute, especially when he starts chanting “oh baby, oh baby, oh baby”. He doesn’t suck his thumb or use a pacifier, but he has little silken “lovey” blankets he keeps on him at all times. He’s a bit of a brute, especially when he’s tired, but he is more affectionate than Poppy was at his age. His favorite things are books, tractors, trucks, balls, dogs, chickens, etc.. but mostly it’s “trac-ctor”.

Penelope has had a wonderful year. She has certainly gotten all of the last little bits of attitude she didn’t already posses, and thinks she can do anything. On the other hand, she pretty much can do anything… she’s a rough and tumble girl who can climb and sing and dance and cook and occasionally even listen. She is astoundingly good with her little brother, and they are best friends most of the time. This has been a magnificent year for imagination. She’s carrying around her baby dolls, driving cars and boats and airplanes and trains, or she is being the mama while Anita and Alan are the “sisters and brothers” or sometimes the “dog” or the “alligator”. I mentioned singing and dancing before, but I just love that she has decided that David Bowie’s songs from The Labyrinth are some of her favorite as well as “Total Eclipse of the Heart” and a handful of others. She not only sings along while they are playing, but she has walked into school singing a song the whole way. Doubly remarkable because she’s a bit shy sometimes, either genuinely or playing an act she can be shy even with people she knows… or not, there’s really no way of telling with her. Poppy has been picking out her clothes since she was 1 and is well known for her sense of style, I’ve never seen 3 kinds of stripes on a person one day, followed by stripes and dots and plaid the next; maybe all black the day after with pink socks. She recognizes most of her letters in any order/word, she can spell her own name and write it (sometimes readable), she can recognize all written numerals and can count up to at least 30. We are still at the very beginning of trying to equate letters to sounds to syllables to words. She may possibly be the world champion of rolling down a hill or dancing in the living room.

A whole year just went by, fast. We have wonderful memories and great photos, a beautiful family, smiling faces, and tired feet.

Happy holidays! Love and best wishes to your new year,

The Blounts

Adobe Connect Issue and Fix: Lingering FMSCore.exe processes

We’ve setup Connect to expire the FMSCore processes after 2 hours, but if someone is still connected to a recording, it will keep the old zombie FMSCore process until that person disconnects.

It often happens that doesn’t work – and there’s seemingly no garbage collection in place to clean up old FMSCore.

So we created a simple AutoIt script which can be compiled to an EXE which works, but it has some dependancies…

The following dependencies / commands must all be in place:

How it works

  • the script uses pv.exe to find all FMS Core processes which have a command line argument that includes “flvplayerapp” (which is only for recorded courses)
  • for each of the returned process ids
  • it uses pslist to list details which include the age of the process
  • it uses a regex match find the “hours it’s been running”
  • if longer than 5 hours (a configurable parameter) it uses pskill to kill the process.

So we set this up on an hourly scheduled task and it handles garbage collection for us.

Source:  fmscore-killer-source.au3

I’m just Git’ting it

Everyone and their mom have been using Git and GitHub for a while, but I’m just breaking down and using it… I have been slow to adopt because SVN worked for me fine (until I had to merge branches) and I don’t like to pay for storage space.  But I continue to be impressed by it’s functionality and ease of use, so I’m going to move our work repositories over (needing a Large account probably) but I think it will be worth it.

http://github.com/zeroasterisk/

Ollie and Anita are fine, but stuck in the hospital still

Oliver has been feeling a bit sick for a couple of days, and it was acute yesterday early afternoon – he was doing the  “I’m in pain” cry for a half an hour straight and was inconsolable.  Very unusual for him.  So we made an appointment to see the Pediatrician and by the time we got in there (~3 hours later) he seemed pretty normal, though really tired still because he is sick and doing all the extra crying, but sleeping and eating ok again.

The Pediatrician was concerned that he was sort of difficult to wake up and was worried about the loss of appetite earlier in the day and the bout of really bad crying we told him of, and said that kids 2 months and under are really vulnerable… their immune systems are not yet able to localize an infection, and his blood-work came back with an increased white blood cell count.  So he recommended a 23 hour observation at Kosair’s Children’s Hospital and in fact a LP (spinal tap) to check for meningitis (which was terrifying to hear).  We tried to do an “are you sure” check, but he certainly was and had one of the other Pediatricians agree with him, mostly because Ollie is just barely 2 months old… If he’d been 4 months, they would have just sent us home.

So poor Anita went to the triage room with Ollie (about 6pm) and was stuck there while Dr.s and incompetent nurses in training did their thing.  Ollie was smiling and flirting with them, so they didn’t force the LP issue (which we were very happy to hear) but it’s still a grueling thing and a health risk being in the hospital.  They finally made it to a hospital room by 10pm and I visited for a bit (I’d been at home with Poppy).  The room was ok, but stuffy and still not a place you want to be, especially with your little one.

Doctors visited this morning and said that he seems fine and the cultures they took are still incubating… so Anita and Ollie are still on wait in the room to finish out their 23 hours.

All in all, I’m very happy to have a healthy (mostly, he is still a bit sick) kid and when it comes down to it, that’s all that matters.  On the other hand, I’m mildly annoyed at the hospital’s execution in keeping her waiting and honestly, in keeping her still there.  If the kid is healthy enough that everyone is comfortable, it seems like he/they should be released.  Also, though I trust the explanation given by the Doctors, I can’t help but wonder if this is a case of CYA – the doctors being afraid of potential litigation have to do everything they possibly can, even if it doesn’t seem reasonable.

Of course, if things had gone another way, and they said to just go home, and it turned out to be some serious disease…

Oh well, looks like we’re going to make our insurance deductible early this year.