Sunday, August 26, 2007

Canada - Pictures

More pictures from our Canada trip!

APRS Band Opening

It is too bad I didn't have time to pack up the radio gear and head up on the mountain yesterday morning. First I noticed that I was hearing a station out of New York come in on the local Frederick repeater. There is 440 MHz transmitter up there on the same frequency that links the Frederick repeater with the rest of Western Maryland. After hearing that, I thought to check my APRS program. I was delighted to see stations all the way up to Maine. Now this isn't exactly good for the ARPS network, but it is an interesting phenomenon. It is all the more reason to use appropriate APRS paths like WIDE2-2, because you never know when your packets could be retransmitted 100s of miles away and cause network congestion in some other region.

If you notice the yellow circle on the picture, that is known as the ALOHA circle, which is basically the edge of the network for me. Packets I send that are heard outside of that network do more harm than good to the network. My ALOHA circle typically includes the Baltimore and Washington DC metro areas, but it all depends on the number of stations that are active at the time, during commuting hours, the circle gets a little smaller. It all has to do with the number of stations using the same frequency and the limitations of 1200 baud packet radio data signals.

More on APRS:


Amy and I went to Niagara Falls last week. And I must say, it was probably our best anniversary yet. That is easy to qualify as the previous two, Amy was in her third trimester with Aidan & Zoe respectively. It was also our most expensive anniversary trip too. It was nice though to get away from the kids for the first time. It was funny though that we talked about the kids a lot and of course we missed them even more.

The first night we ate dinner in the Skylon tower rotating dining room. It wasn't a cheap meal, but the view was pretty good, as was the experience. We didn't do much else the first day as we arrived late in the afternoon.

The best part was sleeping in until ten or later, which sort of ruled out breakfast. Lunch the next day was in a very Amy like restaurant called the Secret Garden Restaurant. I say it was Amy like because it was very girly decorated with pink and purple everywhere, and flowers, etc. This day was also the big picture day, we took the camera and took a lot of pictures of the falls and other things. We also took the journey behind the falls tour, which was pretty neat, actaully being behind the falls and seeing them quite up close from the observation deck. Dinner was at a very authentic Japanese restaurant, not one of those hibachi grill places, a real Japanese restaurant more like you would find in Japan. Amy had sushi of course, and I had a ginger pork dish over rice. For dessert we had red bean and green tea ice cream. That night we were treated to some live music and fireworks.

After another skipped breakfast, we had lunch at the hotel restaurant. I was thinking about going to Wolfgang Puck's restaurant since it was our anniversary day, but after seeing the table rock restaurant's view the other night I thought that that place might be better and more unique to Niagara falls. It was a rainy day, which turned out to be good for our ride on the Maid of the Mist. That was a pretty cool ride, and it was the first time Amy and I were ever on a boat together, which is strange since we have been a couple for over 5 years and married for 3. The plastic ponchos we got from the Maid of the Mist kept the rain off of us for the rest of the day. After dinner at the Table Rock restaurant, I had to buy something warmer to wear, it was a lot colder than I expected. Then we went to the Casino. I didn't know they had Casino's in Niagara falls, but it was a pleasant surprise. I played craps for about 3 hours with $200 Canadian. At one point I was up about $175, my cutoff was being up $200, but then I started losing a bit, so Amy decided it was time for me to call it quits, ending up $100. After getting back to the hotel, we ordered a bottle of champaign and celebrated our anniversary.


Add to My Profile | More Videos

The trip home wasn't the best as I wasn't feeling well, and it was the first day that we had to get up early so we could get the rental car back in time. I spent the rest of my Canadian currency on the hotel bill, and only a little went the credit card, which worked out a lot better than having to exchange it later. After we were on the road for a little bit, we stopped at a service area on the New York Thruway and had a sit down breakfast at Denny's, which was pretty good. The drive home seemed to take a while. I think I wanted to get home and see the kids on the trip home more than I wanted to get to Canada on the trip there.

In all, our trip to Canada was great, time to ourselves and having no work to do was great. It might be a while before we can do it again!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Alexander's School Supply List

8 large glue sticks
Child sized scissors (Fiskar brand preferred)
1 pack dry erase markers (Expo brand preferred)
1 pack stickers (character or seasonal preferred)
1 composition book (Ms. Doyle, Ms. O’Brien, Ms. Parsons, & Ms. Preston’s class)
1 spiral notebook (Ms. Baisey’s class)
1 backpack
1 bottle liquid glue
2 boxes 24 crayons
1 pack markers
1 pack pencils
1 pocket folder
1 pack small or large non-wax coated paper plates

OK, 8 glue sticks, seriously, do they want you to come to school the first week with all 8 glue sticks? This is a pretty strange list for kindergarten. So maybe he will need most of this stuff, even the glue sticks. But why on earth would a kindergartner need dry erase markers, or markers in general. Think 5 year old for a minute, what can a marker do that a crayon can't besides write on skin and clothes? As for the dry erase markers, I don't think we will be getting them, it just doesn't make sense.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Blog Updates

I finally posted some of those old entries I've wanted to add, but now, they don't seem to be showing up.