I think I should start by looking back at my last update. It would seem that was October 1st, and I had just gotten my hair cut. Since then I've been mostly working, either at my actual job or at my secondary job. At this point, I must consider my work on www.photographybylynnandgary.com to have gone far beyond what I had originally intended, which was to create a simple website that would do what was needed and then leave it. The project has grown to encompass a full e-commerce solution, complete with stand alone external administration software. I spend what little real free time I have trying to work on the code for it, but that seems to be completely in short supply.
Part of the reason that I have less than normal real free time is because I have gotten into chess with Sage. I must say, this is not a complaint. I absolutely love the time I spend with her going to chess classes, playing, and putting games into the analysis program I installed onto her computer for her. She loves the game, and she's actually got quite a talent for it, much more than I do. My chess skills are mediocre at best, all learned through hard work. She picks it up quite easily in comparison to myself, and I think that if she decides to put the time and effort into it, she could become quite an accomplished player. So, as long as she is interested in the game, which is a great thing for her, I'll continue to very happily give her my time and effort with it.
We've also been spending lots of time visiting Lynn and Gary, Sage's grandparents. It seems like things are never going to settle down. When I do get free time, I end up just sitting back and watching some television, completely worn out mentally.
Despite the rigmarole, I have been productive at least. It doesn't hurt that I have sort of hijacked arie's old iBook. The computer is quite old, as computers go, almost 4 years. Despite it's age, my previous computer (an Alienware with dual core processor running twice as fast, more than twice the memory, and more than 4 times the video card) can barely keep up with it. Sure, it cannot play the latest 3d video games, but desktop performance is unlike anything I've ever seen on a PC. I've always known that Mac's are better than PC's for many reasons, but it's completely different to actually experience that difference. Just as an example, right now I have Adium up for instant messaging, the dashboard running with 5 widgets, safari loaded, firefox loaded and shaded by X Windows Shade (the niftiest plugin for OS X), Mail, iTunes, jEdit with 25 files open from a remote server (usually this is 125+, but it's a slow night), XCode with my FXRuby project, one local terminal, one terminal SSH'd into a remote server, X11.app, and Xjournal. Five of those windows are minimized in place (meaning that they are miniaturized and made translucent , live, not snapshots), one is shaded (meaning that it's rolled up to just a title bar) and two are minimized in a dock that is transparent. I like to keep things out of the way while I post. If I even dared to attempt anything that used graphics or 3d on the Alienware at this point it would die, literally. Spectacular blue screen of death. The iBook? It just says, "Okay sure." Activating expose is just as fast as it is with only one program opened. To be fair, I have to admit that resizing seven hundred 11 megapixel images and then uploading them to the website as a batch job did cause it to slow down a tiny bit, but not much. So yes, the iBook has improved overall productivity.
I also got another new toy recently, an iPod nano. It's the 8 gig version, and it's the coolest thing ever. It was my Christmas gift from arie, which she gave me early because I had already given her hers (I put a remote start/keyless entry system in her car). I love it. The screen is not as small as it looks, and watching TV shows or movies on it is completely painless. It's perfect for when you have to wait around (like in the car dealership waiting on an oil change), and it's ideal for in the car. I have my entire CD collection in there now, as well as a few select episodes of Firefly. I've started making iPod versions of several of our DVD's. I have all of Firefly, The pirates movies, Casino Royale (Thanks Arie!), and Working Girl. I'll be picking out other things to convert as time goes on, because it's perfect for traveling. When arie has to go to San Francisco, it'd be better to have iPod format videos because they take up less space on the laptop and can be transfered onto the iPod for watching on the plane, or in hotel lobbies, or anywhere she has to wait. Not to mention that you could fit a good 16 episodes or 5 full length movies in the same amount of space you could fit one DVD rip. It is, by far, the coolest gift I've ever gotten.