Archive for December, 2007

Eyebrows waxed for the first time

Wednesday, December 19th, 2007

Yesterday, I took the day off of work. I have some extra vacation that I have to use up before the end of the year. And Nancy was able to score a baby sitter unexpectedly for the day. So I took the day off to spend time with Nancy.

We both got our eyebrows waxed. (I don’t know if this is what you would call a “typical” couple thing to do when you don’t have the kids for the day.)

Eyebrows Waxed - Before and After

(So, yeah, I really didn’t get a picture of my eyebrows before. But Nancy would say that this is a good illustration of the “Before” eyebrows.)

Amazon SimpleDB announced

Saturday, December 15th, 2007

Amazon announced on Thursday (12/13/2007) this week a new service: Amazon SimpleDB. SimpleDB is a new part of the Amazon Web Service (AWS) offerings. This hosted application provides, as its name suggests, a simple database. It isn’t a relational database. It instead stores attributes-value pairs. The data values are indexed. SimpleDB has a special query language that lets you efficiently query the attribute values. SimpleDB joins the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) and Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3). Like these other services, SimpleDB is priced on how much you use it: so much to put items into SimpleDB, so much to read items out of SimpleDB, so much for the time to execute a query, etc.

One of the recommended practices of SimpleDB is to store the metadata in SimpleDB and the large data in S3. For instance, you could upload your FLAC encoded music library to S3. Each audio file has metadata, like an artist, album, title, track, genre, year, etc. This metadata could be entered as items within SimpleDB. Each item would also include a URL to the actual FLAC audio file stored in S3. You could then run queries against SimpleDB to find different music that matches your criteria. For instance, find all items where the “artist” is “Nerf Herder“. This would return all items, which would include the URL to the audio file, from your music collection that were performed by Nerf Herder. You could then have you audio player on your laptop play the audio, retrieving it from S3. This would allow you to access your music from anywhere and have it stored in a highly reliable system in case your CD was scratched.

I think that this could be a really neat system. Though, it does remind me more and more of the “old” mainframe systems. (Okay. I am really not that old. At Pearson where I currently work, they still use a mainframe.) I have been interested in S3 for some time, like my littles3 implementation, so I will probably keep my eye out for interesting uses of SimpleDB. I also wonder what Google will do to have something like this. I have heard rumors about Google’s “GDrive” for over a year now.

Now if I can only find some reason to justify using SimpleDB once it is available. (It is in limited beta right now.) 🙂

(Oh! My little example of “outsourcing” the storage of your music catalog from above could also be related to the book that I am currently reading, “The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich“.)

Bruce Lee could be an agile developer

Friday, December 14th, 2007

So I am reading “The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich“. (It seems to be pretty popular in the blog-o-sphere lately.) In the book, which is filled with quotes from famous people, I found this one by Bruce Lee.

“One does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase by daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity.”

I thought that this sounded very agile development-ish. (And he would be a good GIMP plug-in developer. GIMP is scripted with something called Script-Fu.) This is also very “Getting Real“-ish, popularized by 37signals.

…just a random thought.

Sydney Got Her Ears Pierced

Thursday, December 13th, 2007

Sydney’s Pierced EarSydney got her ears pierced Wednesday of last week, 12/5/2007. Nancy had taken her to the mall after she was done with gymnastics. They were walking past claire’s boutique. Sydney has been into putting lots of hair accessories in her hair lately; pony tails, pig tails, clips, headbands, etc. While they were looking around, Sydney asked to get her ears pierced.

She did very well. She was very excited. Nancy had both the video camera and still camera handy, so she was able to capture the moment. I was there too, along with Adelaide. The two employees at the store worked together to pierce Syd’s ears. In this way, they pierced both ears at the same time. Sydney, who needed two nurses and Nancy to hold her down to get a shot, didn’t cry at all when her ears were pierced. I guess it all depends on if you want it (earrings) or not (shot). 🙂

Sydney picked out pink flower earrings. (I think that she picked them because they were pink.) She is excited that she will be able to pick out earrings from Walt Disney World, as we will be going there soon. Once we get back, she will be able to take her starter earrings out and put in whatever she wants. She wants Mickey and Princess earrings.

Arguably, The Best Christmas Display On My Block

Tuesday, December 4th, 2007

Leg LampOne of my neighbors down at the end of the cul-de-sac has one of the best Christmas displays. It is very simple, but it is a highlight of our Christmas light tours. Their house only has this: a leg lamp. (The picture is blurry. I had to use night mode and my knee as a mono-pod to steady the camera.)

The leg lamp, which is like the one in the movie “A Christmas Story“, is displayed in a window above their garage.

And that’s it. They don’t have any more Christmas lights, just the leg lamp. Simple, subtle, pretty cool.

[I have found that you can buy a lamp like this yourself at]