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I Haven’t Seen Them Myself, But I Hear One Hundred Eighty Thousand is a Lot of Dollars

The title is fitting as we have recently (and by recently, I mean last Saturday) signed a contract and placed a deposit to build us a new house. This would be an old topic if it were not for the fact that Amanda and I look at each other approximately a dozen times per day right now and casually mention to each other that we now, for all intents and purposes, own a home.

It is a very strange thing to think that soon, we will get to move your things to a place where they (hopefully) will be permanently located for a good decade or more, espeically considering the impermanence our recent string of residences have provided to us.

This is, of course, not an immediate thing, as we have been quoted at a six month minimum construction period, while they await the finalization of the financing, get the builder in gear and the subcontractors out to site, and wait for the utility companies to provide all the hook-ups necessary to a properly coded residence. It will be a difficult few months while we wait for this process to be completed.

But in the end, we will find ourselves fortunate to finally have a stable housing payment, a place to live that doesn’t share a wall with another family, twice the space we currently have for our young family, a back yard, and various other features associated with home ownership. We are stunned by the sheer enormity of our purchase and the fact that we will be laboring another thirty years before we have paid back the sum we are to borrow from a reputable financial establishment very soon.

I plan on going out as soon as is possible to snag an inexpensive digital camera with which to document this entire process, because I surely think that it is unthinkable that I would not have copious visual documentation of this process that I will be able to look at in twenty years and think, “this is a bunch of pictures of those guys building our home.” It is a very satisfying proposition, and I intend not to let it slip by without seizing full advantage of it.

All that is left before being assured of the completion of this project is to begin to save more money in our way to needing to buy home improvements and other tokens of necessity, as well as to complete the paperwork and disclosures necesaary to close on a loan of this magnitude. I can say that I have been assured by more than one party that I have the necessary financial clout and resources to “seal the deal,” as it were.

There are, of course, many more words to say about this process, and many thoughts crossing my mind, but it will take some time for me to put them down in concrete thoughts and words, due to the purely colossal nature of what has just happened in rather rapid succession.

To be short, we decided that it needed to be done, and went out and did it.

Six months before I can turn to my wife and children and say “Let’s go home.”

I can’t wait.

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They Are Not Actually In Flight, According to Eyewitnesses

Amanda e-mailed me earlier this afternoon to share with me the following:

ha ha ha….just so you know, we have one superman, and one supergal, complete with capes…

This, of course, demands a phone call to follow up on the situation. I discover from the eyewitness at the scene (their mother) that they are standing up in their beds – as this is supposed to be naptime – and they have their blankets around their necks and trailing behind them as capes.

They proudly exclaim, one after another,

I’m superman!

and:

I’m supergal!

My children are more intelligent than I am comfortable with, and I do not know how my wife deals with them on such a continuous basis. I fear I may have let them completely overrun the house by now if it were my responsibility.

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I Hear This Links Post Can Run Two Operating Systems

The nerd news of the year (and it’s only April) leads off this installment. (Now page-divided for your viewing pleasure!)

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This Links Post is All Marketing and No Engineering

The links of the day post you’ve all been waiting for.

Reuters: Sony’s UMD format is on the way out

Tell me something I don’t know. Yet again, Sony comes out of the technological gate with a great technology that might be useful in some kind of application, makes it proprietary, restricts it to the point that no one can really do anything about it, makes it compatible with only one kind of device and markets it as though it is the next big thing.

The difference between Sony and Apple is that Apple does this to product that people actually want.

As I’ve mentioned before in the site blog, if this sort of thing happens with the PlayStation 3, I think Sony can kiss both the video game generation and Blu-Ray goodbye.

HD Beat – Creating your own component cables

Something every home theater buff should take a look at. When I was selling at Circuit, I would recommend the Monster stuff to people based on the fact that, if you’re a regular consumer, and you don’t have access to this equipment and/or really don’t know what you’re doing, Monster Cables are actually not as bad as some people make them out to be. They are expensive, sure, but you do end up with a good quality cable, and that’s more than most people would pick if they had their chance.

But people who know better and aren’t afraid to take some chances every now and then should look into buying their own cable equipment and making their own runs of good quality cable. I know that I’m going to either be doing this when I nab that high-quality HD set a little down the road, or I’m going to be buying custom lengths from Blue Jeans Cable, who use exactly the same equipment, cabling, and connectors in their products.

Dennis Forbes: A study of the availability of .com top-level domains

Great read here on the statistics of domain name registration, and more specifically, how sad it is that so many domain names are snapped up by speculators with the hope of driving up those prices or offering services that no one really wants or needs. For the wondering, yes, markel.com is already taken by one of these wonderful companies. They’ll sell me an e-mail address! Oh, joy!

These stats are broken down quite well and make for a great “did-you-know” topic to read over a few minutes.

Home Theater Blog: What about Bose?

Read this if you have ever thought that you’d really like one of those cute little Bose systems in your living room. Yes, they are small. Yes, they market them very well to appeal to people who don’t want a lot of clutter.

Yes, your retailer is being offered incentives to sell them – and the markup is quite extraordinary.

But the quality on Bose products is middling at best compared to other products in that price range. I have a pair of Bose bookshelf speakers, and if I hadn’t picked them up on absolute closeout sale, I would have felt completely ripped off. Just read the article if you have any interest in buying home theater equipment. You’ll be more informed as to their marketing and sales tactics – which are effective, but questionable at best.

Digg: Thousands of free video game soundtracks for download

I knew this place existed, and have been using them for quite some time now. I just wanted to link this article because there are also some useful links to other sites within the comments, including a cheat to get some of the great Square soundtracks to show in the listings on Galbadia Hotel. It can take some time to download the music, and I’v efound some of the files to be of meh quality, but it’s still a very nice resource for some of the most off-the-wall music you will find.

Some of these guys are true artists and demand more appreciation for their work. Trust me.

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The Greater Dalmuti Commands You To Check Out These Links

It’s been quite a while since I’ve managed a links post like this, but it’s been a pretty good day for finding random awesomeness, so I’ll begin:

Funagain Games Item Entry: The Great Dalmuti

We’ll open with quite possibly the best news I have seen in a good while. Hasbro/WotC have decided that it is within their good graces to reprint The Great Dalmuti, which has been unbelievably, incomprehensively out of print for a good six or seven years, to my knowledge. This is, quite possibly, one of the best pure games I have ever played. It is simple to learn, plays quickly, gets people interested and involved easily, and is a great deal of fun.

It also leads to spontaneous insults and derision of fellow players. This is a good thing. You have a responsibility to order three copies of this amazing card game immediately.

K2

This is an “upgraded” version of the Kubrick base WordPress theme, intended to be easier to use, edit, and twist into your own creation. I believe I will be using this to shift around my themes to something I like a bit more. The default is eh, and my updated theme I was using is a little behind in support for a few of the things I like in WordPress. Ah, well.

Respublica – Up close and personal etiquette

When I was at Concordia Seminary, they made us take a course with Ruth Ann Johnson, who was the wife of the Seminary president. It was a kind of briefing into etiquette and the kinds of things people should know before they go out into polite society.

Trust me when I say that people who are students at the Seminary need this sort of information. Honestly.

Amanda and I wondered what they were going to do with this meeting once President Johnson packed up and left for browner pastures up at our alma mater. Well, apparently, they hire an outside etiquette expert, as well as some people from Men’s Wearhouse to show these guys how to dress for professionalism.

Who knew?

Wikipedia’s entry on “leet”

Anything and everything you ever wanted to know about perhaps the most irritating fad on the modern Internet – leetspeak. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, perhaps you should read this article and find out. And be scared.

If you do know what I’m talking about, you should definitely read this article for a frank discussion on the origins of leetspeak and linguistic features of such a strange medium.

And a quartet of links from MAKE:

MAKE: $14 SteadyORB
MAKE: Ethernet-controlled LED lamp
MAKE: $6 homemade pop filter
MAKE: LED dining table

There’s some fun stuff here that wouldn’t take a whole lot of time or effort to make (or money, except for the LED dining table), and I wouldn’t mind doing some of this myself. LED projects are all over the place now with costs coming down, and some of them are downright awesome. These two are no exception.

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The Demise of Apple is Greatly Exaggerated

From John Gruber’s Daring Fireball blog:

The iPod Juggernaut

A very insightful look at the portable music player market and Apple’s stranglehold thereof. He’s right on all points, of course: as an iPod owner and user and general Apple evangelist in my geek life, I’ve heard many of the arguments against the iPod, and this pretty much takes care of all of them in many of the same ways I’ve thought the truth must lie.

Gruber is often extremely right and very keen in his analysis of Apple and their business, and I believe this is no less so.

I’ve always just said that anyone who rips on the iPod just wishes they had one.

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That Depends on What You Mean By “Open”

From Daring Fireball:

There’s a line in The Usual Suspects where Kevin Spacey’s character Verbal Kint says, “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.”

The greatest trick Microsoft has gotten away with is convincing the public that the Wintel PC platform is open.

Great defense to the number-one defense Wintel PC users use to defend their platform against the Macintosh.

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Those Shoes Really Are That Expensive, Trust Me, I Know

Now you too can dress like The Steve!

The best part is the link in the lower-right-hand corner:

Click here to sue, please.

Classic.  But in the meantime, if you want to go around clothed like the most understatedly fashionable CEO in the business world, you be my guest.

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It’s Funny Because it’s True

If you have ever worked with a corporate mindset, been interested in marketing, or are even just a geek in general, you owe it to yourself to check out this link.

Found via digg.

I will say for the record that this is exactly what I expect when we get around to shopping for Windows Vista, seeing as how it’s going to be available in six different SKUs.

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Work is good

Work is good.

It’s not exactly what I thought it would be based on the job description, but i would say that no one should take that as a bad thing.  It’s definitely more work than I thought it was going to be at first blush, but keeping me busy is usually something that people need to try and do, so I’m not complaining about that.

That, and it’s nice to have a job with a regular schedule, and get paid to the point that it looks like we don’t (in general) have to worry about basic needs anymore.  We can get by, and we don’t have to be nervous about whether or not we are going to be able to pay bills.

I am thankful for that peace of mind in more than one way.

I went from basically being a software tester to being a product manager in the span of about two weeks or thereabout.  What happened is that I started asking a few questions that didn’t have any answers, and when it came time to figuring out who was going to anser them, the basic response was that I was going to be the one who was going to do so.

Neat-o.  So I’m now basically the guy in charge of what’s called Lutheran Service Builder, and it’s a software product that scheduled to come out sometime in the late part of this year.  There’s a lot going into its development as an application, and a lot of work that needs to be done in testing and promoting and all kinds of areas that I didn’t originally think I was going to get into, but now it’s kind of exciting to be able to flex a little bit and work into all different areas of the existence of the product.  I think the end goal is that I will be the ultimate “go-to” guy when it comes to the product, and that is perfectly fine by me.  I’ll even get to use my mad presentation skills sometime this summer when we begin making presentations on what it is and how it works.  It’s very exciting.

I have more to say about other things, of course – including the demise of my couch – but I will get to those in other posts tonight.