Baby vs. Cat

At 8 months of age, our son’s intelligence is roughly on par with that of our cat, Daisy. He would even, if we let him, happily eat cat food. If you think this is an unfair evaluation of a human baby, consider these other notes:

  • Poop: both baby and cat are unable to deal with their own poop, and require a periodic clean-up operation before their poop spills out onto the floor.
  • Vomit: both puke frequently and, if left unattended, will try to eat their own puke.
  • Food: when hungry, both cat and baby become irritable and noisy, sometimes even swatting at us or chewing on our fingers.
  • Sleep: both require copious amounts of sleep and get angry when their sleep is interrupted, however, neither show any concern for our sleeping habits.
  • Speaking: Benjamin is capable of grunting, squeaking and even squealing noises that express a range of emotions from disdain to sheer joy. Daisy is capable of grunting, purring and even squealing noises that express the same emotions.
  • Listening: scientists have proven that cats are capable of understanding up to 30 words. Benjamin understands no more than 30 words. Cats also have a habit of ignoring what you say to them — especially things like “no.” In the same manor, our baby will hear us say “no” and then proceed with what he was going to do anyway.
  • Locomotion: both cat and baby get around the house on all fours, frequently getting into things they aren’t supposed to. When they find something interesting, both will try to get it in their mouths.

All that said, baby Ben is a delight. He does squeal — with joy — whenever he sees one of us, and now that he’s on a bottle, he’s much more self-sufficient. He’s also growing like a weed, and this week Nicole had to upgrade his car seat to a much larger model. We are truly blessed with a healthy, happy boy.

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Back in Business

post_00185_e-mail_icon.jpgOur server-side I.T. infrastructure is finally back up to nearly where it should be. Mail is now working reliably, and IMAP access has been restored to all its organized goodness. Some of our mail clients aren’t Mail.app now, and its a little annoying that other programs don’t provide easy ways to re-point your special IMAP folders — Thunderbird requires you to edit a Javascript file.

A quick run-down of what we’re running these days, for the interested geeks out there.

Apache + mySQL 5 are hosting the websites http://www.jonandnic.com, and services.jonandnic.com, the latter providing additional services (hence the domain name) for our own use.

WordPress 2.2.2 continues to run http://www.jonandnic.com.
IIS + SQL Server is running old.jonandnic.com, and will continue to do so until the box its running on dies of old age.

Some unnamed IMAP extension is running our mail. It works pretty good but makes a special folder called “mbox” that my iPhone refuses to ignore, and you cannot delete (without destroying all your mail). All other mail clients ignore it by default, so I guess this isn’t that unusual. I wish there were more configuration I could do, but beggars can’t be choosers.
Google Apps remains the back-up MX for mail sent to jonandnic.com

RoundCube makes a decent webmail client, once you find the main.inc.php file and edit it to your liking.

mod_dav, the WebDAV extension for Apache, will provide our Calendar hosting. With PHP iCalendar providing web access.

Our personal e-mail addresses remain the same, and I promise your mail won’t get lost if you write us now! The best part is, now that our hosting is off-site, mail and the website are not affected by local power/Internet outages (which our little town seems to have plenty of.) It also means moving days are a lot less stressful.

Our client machines are evenly split between Macs and PCs, with the former running Mail.app + iCal, while the latter will be using Thunderbird + Sunbird. There’s a little work to be done yet on this side of things — our home media network also suffered a little with all these changes, but I expect to have our digital communications and entertainment utopia back up and running within a couple weeks.

Update: I don’t yet have a solution for sharing Address Book data across 4 computers and an iPhone. Anyone have any suggestions? I’m using Address Book.app’s vCard format…

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised — It'll be Downloaded

[Large Television Network] has announced that they won’t be selling their shows on iTunes any more. This comes fairly hot on the heels of Universal Music announcing that they’ll only be marketing their music “at will” on the iTunes Music Store, which leaves them free to pull all, or any portion, of their music from the store at any time.

Let me explain why these are stupid moves: About 10 years ago, a little program called Napster came out. Suddenly college students all over the world could get music the way they wanted to — electronically, ready to be loaded onto our recently invented MP3 players (OK, I went with MiniDisc, but same difference). Like the mix tape of a decade gone by, this was seen as a major threat to the media industry, and they set about on a campaign to crush piracy by suing 12-year olds, and little old ladies who don’t even own computers.

Then Apple came along, and offered the media industry a way to embrace this new technology and satisfy their customers by providing their media in a medium we actually wanted, while still making money. After much cajoling and convincing, the cumbersome giants, which are the media companies, slowly began to understand that “the Internets” could be used to grow their business, and one-by-one, they started to sell their music through the iTunes Music Store.

Then they got greedy.

Somehow they believe that if they remove the option of legally acquiring digital media, then we’ll all flock back to the stores to buy Compact Discs and DVDs in droves. Unable to admit that they are too stupid and too dated an industry to champion their own successful digital distribution system, and unwilling to share their massive profits with a company that offers such a system, Big Media has decided it would be in their best interests to drive us all back into piracy.

Here’s a hint, big guys: if you don’t offer us a legal way to get your content, their are plenty of Swedish hackers that would be happy to provide your content to the rest of the world for free (well, free except for a few raunchy banner ads).

And here’s a hint to all the large organizations who are frightened that individual consumer’s can now communicate with each other, and share information, and yes, even data: you can’t stop the Internet. You can try to portion it off, sue its citizens into submission, limit how we use what we buy, or keep your content to yourself, delivered only through archaic physical mediums, but sooner or later, you’re going to have to face reality — the new reality:

In this generation, ideas, art and even thought itself flow unstoppably through the ether(net). The power belongs to the user now — not to you. Join the digital party, or get trampled on as you become extinct like the dinosaurs you are.

Update: Apple has now decided to pre-emptively drop NBC. Turns out they were asking for double the money for their shows, and Apple refused to be extorted.