Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Alex Finished Ivy + Bean and the ghost that had to go.

This book was a little longer, at 125 pages.

I just wanted to get a picture of him reading

Am I the last one to create a facebook page?

I think that I might be the very last person ever to create a facebook page. My Facebook Profile. Folks would get a much better idea of what I'm up to if they followed me on Twitter and read my blog. I think I'm going to work on using these social networking sites to redistribute my twitter updates and blog posts and see what happens.

United States Flag Retirement

Cub Scout Pack 285 in Frederick Maryland, of which Alex is a member held a retirement ceremony for United States flags on Tuesday. It was very interesting to see these young boys soak up some respect for the flag.

I remember my early Boy Scout years, my Scoutmaster for troop 494 was very particular about respect for the flag. I failed a board of review for one of the lower ranks because I wasn't able to fold it correctly, and I forgot the symbolism meaning of the colors. I think I passed it the very next week, but it stuck with me long enough to remember it. Folding a flag so that there is absolutely no red showing is a little tough.

Alex's tiger den now performs an opening flag ceremony at every den meeting, and they also performed an opening flag ceremony at one pack meeting. While this is a lot more than is required, I think it helps them learn respect for their country and its flag. The pack's flag retirement ceremony seemed to reinforce the idea.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Internet Explorer 8 InPrivate Browsing

IE8's official blurb on InPrivate browsing.

InPrivate Browsing helps prevent Internet Explorer from storing data about your browsing session. This includes cookies, temporary Internet files, history, and other data. Toolbars and extensions are disabled by default.

At first I thought that roughly translated to, browsing the Internet without leaving behind things that you didn't want your spouse, boss, children, or whoever to see and thought it would be a useless feature.

It turns out that it is a wonderful tool for testing web sites. A recent project at work involved testing load balancing as well as numerous changes to the html and css code. With IE7, that meant deleting your cookies and temporary Internet files often to be sure that nothing was being read from your local computer. With IE8 InPrivate browsing, that wasn't a problem, simply closing it and opening another InPrivate session was all you needed to do.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Microsoft ISA Server 2006 NLB Multicast

I read this article several times: How to change Microsoft ISA Server 2006 NLB from Unicast to Multicast and it seemed really scary at first, but then I realized that it was a lot simpler than it looks.

Basically, if you are setting up a new Microsoft Internet Security and Acceleration Server with service pack 1, also known as Microsoft Forefront Threat Management Gateway, TMG. All you need to do is run this command on the first configuration storage server:

CSCRIPT KB938550.WSF /array:ISA-array-name /NLB:Muticast /Net1:name-of-the-ISA-network

KB938550.WSF is not directly available for download, but is available from Microsoft, follow the directions from KB938550

After running the script, simply setup ISA Network Load Balancing normally and it will be configured for multicast automatically.

One concern I had before I did this was how to change ISA server back to unicast from multicast. A quick look at the script explained it all as it has several examples, including:

To define NLB Unicast for a single network:
cscript kb938550.wsf /array:arrayname /nlb:unicast /net1:netname

To display the current NLB state in ISA storage:
cscript kb938550.wsf /array:arrayname /show

This week I was deploying an ISA Server 2006 with integrated NLB for a customer whose network configuration simply required the NLB to be configured for multicast. Fortunately, Microsoft continues to improve ISA server, and I was able to put this new feature to use.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The conclusion of my 1st YouTube video

Receiving the RTTY Bulliten on 3597.5 kHz. The video doesn't show the display very well, but you can make out some words. You can see in the lower left of the display the dual passband filter engaged that puts a nice notch between the mark & space.

I'll probably delete this one also if I ever do anything of better quality.

Robin and Charlton Heston

After our first Easter dinner on Saturday afternoon, Robin distributed the children's easter baskets. Nothing to facny, just small baskets with some candy and small toys. One of the toys in each basket were bible figures. I was looking at them all while Robin was sitting there. I said something like, Andrew got Golioth, Aidan got David, Aaron got Noah, Zoe got Mary, and Alex got Charlton Heston! Robin looked at me with a look that was part shock and part confusion.

I just assume that everyone in our family has watched the Ten Commandments and knows that Charlton Heston played Moses. But aparently, I didn't know that my sister wasn't in the know, so she didn't get the light joke. That is ok, because Robin not getting it made it a lot more funny, at her expense of course. I laughed so hard I cried.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Updated Fish Photos

I snapped a few pictures of my fish. I've added a few since the last time I've taken photographs.

I have 4 angel fish, here is a good picture of one of them.

A school of 12 neons, I couldn't get them all in the picture!

Here is my blue guppy, near one of my original females, also seen, the cory cat.

Finally, a close up of the corydoras catfish.

Playing with YouTube

I just realized that I have a YouTube account. I didn't sign up for one but now my google account that I use for everything else google, including this blog works for YouTube too. Who knows how long this has been going on.

Here is my first YouTube video, which I'll probably delete if I ever have some better videos to upload.

Alex read Ivy + Bean

Alex just finished reading Ivy + Bean, all 113 pages (less illustrations), and I couldn't be more proud of him. I had him read it one chapter at a time and I'd quiz him after each chapter to make sure he got it. That is quite a book for a kid his age, at least I don't recall reading anything on that level when I was in the first grade. His comprehension seemed to improve from one chapter to the next, perhaps because he knew I'd be asking him questions, then later having him explain what happened in the chapter, and then asking him questions. The biggest trouble was getting him to take the time to read it, often coming down to, "you can go outside and play after you read the chapter".

My take on Ivy + Bean is that is is a book written for girls, because it is about two girls who didn't really know each other, but one girl, Bean, ends up in a little trouble with her sister who she expects to tell on her and the other girl, Ivy, helps Bean cast a spell on her sister, and they become friends. Alex seemed to like the story though, so that is good. I think today I will ask him to explain the book as a whole part. What happened at the beginning of the book, in the middle, and at the end.

I hope to make reading chapter books at this level a regular thing for Alex for the rest of the school year and through the summer. My mom encouraged me to read, but somehow it never became important to me when I was a kid and I only read when I had to. Amy on the other hand reads a lot. Hopefully this will rub off on the children and they will read more books just for the fun of it than I did.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Crampton Gap Camping

Alex got a new tent from his granddad and I must have told him that we would go camping because he reminded me. Then he balked at camping in the back yard, so I figured it was about time to take him on a real camp out. I've become pretty familiar with the Appalachian Trail over the last few months and knew there was a camping area not to far from Gathland State Park where I could park the car over night. I packed my pack with a little food, two sleeping bags, Alex's new tent and all the various odds and ends that I'd need for a one nighter. I also packed a book bag for Alex to carry a few of his essentials.

We got to camp with about one hour of daylight left. So we got right to work setting up the tent.

Alex was quite proud of his tent.

Once the tent was set up, we decided that it would be nice to have a fire, so we were off to gather wood and ended up with a lot more than we needed, but that is OK, I'm sure the next camper will appreciate it. I built the fire, calling on all my fire building skills from my Boy Scout days. I was a pretty good fire builder back in the day.

I must have retained my old skills well as one match later, we had a lit fire.

Alex and I prepared camp for bed before it got too dark and spent some time around the fire eating snacks and telling stories. I already forgot what Alex told me about, but I told him about the witch that lived in those woods, keeping it cool so I didn't really scare him.

I had just put more wood on the fire when Alex declared that he was tired. So, he went to bed while I stayed to tend to the fire until it was out to my satisfaction.

About four o'clock in the morning the rain started. I had my pack hanging on a tree, covered, but I thought it would be best to have it near the tent in case it was still raining when we packed up, which it was. After Alex woke up, sometime in the seven o'clock hour, we hung out in the tent for a while, waiting for the rain to stop, but it never did, so we packed up as much gear as we could inside the tent and went out into the elements. I didn't pull the camera out in the rain, so I missed some great pictures.

Despite the rain, the camp out was a success and Alex enjoyed it. In fact, he really didn't seem to mind the rain at all. I guess if we would have had to stay in it all day, it would have been a different story. I'm sure this won't be our last camping adventure in the rain.

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