Thoughts & Tips For May 2020

DSC01811Photo by Steve Holden. MORE LIKE THIS!


Basically all is well with us since the last update. Everyone is healthy. Maximum telework. Virtual school. Social distancing. Major home bodies with home projects in full swing. And a good amount of Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) as an escape vice binge watching shows.


I am enjoying my two mornings a week (Tue & Thu) riding this bike trainer while watching YouTube cycling videos using this iPad stand, and listening to audio books. I am almost done re-listening to all the Mark Greaney's Gray Man Series books.

One thing I really miss is swimming at the YMCA.  I have been tempted to put on my tri-wetsuit to swim mini-laps in our pool, but I haven't pulled the trigger. They just opened up the beaches and ocean in San Diego this weekend so maybe a swim in the ocean is going to happen sooner than later.



I have been listening to a lot more music recently.  Here are some suggestions from YouTube:


  • I have had to postponed by May David Allen Getting Things Done (GTD) class at work until July.  The next class is scheduled for the middle of June, however if we still have strict social distancing rules in place at work then I am probably going to have to postpone that one also.  I am still working on getting permission to teach virtually but that has been slow going.
  • Playing Dungeons & Dragons has been super fun and one of the best things that I hopes continues after COVID-19.  The main books that I bought were the: DM Guide, Player Guide, Monster Manual, and DM Screen.


"There's more than one way to look at a problem, and they may all be right." - Norman Schwarzkopf

Battle For The Living Room - Round 1 Roku

Media-playersOver the last couple of months I've been trying to decide what the best device was to purchase that would allow the family to access the "most" digital content in our living room.

Some things that mattered:

  • Access to Internet content: NetFlix, Amazon, Hulu, Pandora, podcasts, etc
  • Streaming media from the local network
  • Ability to play media from local storage
  • Reasonable up front cost, upgradeable, viable roadmap, track record of improvements
  • Technical features: easy GUI, upgradable, Ethernet, WiFi, and HDMI

The choices were pretty competitive in many ways -- Apple TV (new & old), Roku, Google TV, Western Digital WD TV, Game Players (Xbox, Wii, PS3), Boxee Box, etc with each having many good points but also a number of issues that just couldn't be over come.

My decision was to go with the Roku XDS Streaming Player 1080p that is currently on sale at Amazon for $99.  It seems to be the one that hits most of the requirements with the only big issue right now is that it does not seem to play well in the Apple ecosystem with video, but you can reportedly stream audio from existing iTunes collections to the device.

After I get the device up and running (it should arrive in a couple of days) I'll send out an updated review.  If you have done a similar analysis, I'd love to hear what decision you have made.  If you have any suggestions or hints on how to better use a Roku device, I'd like to hear that also.


Bill Simmons on Poker

Bill Simmons has an interesting article in his ESPN Sports Guy column for the recent edition of print ESPN Magazine. I liked this quote:

"If you enter a major chess tournament, no matter how much you'd practiced, you'd get wiped out.  Same for the Golden Gloves, a PGA tournament, PBA, you name it.  But everyone has a chance in the WSOP [World Series Of Poker].  On the bright side, anyone can win. On the flip side, you can say the same about keno."

"The Only Real Option Is To Get Control Of My Gambling"

The above quote is from John Daly and is inESPN Magazine on page 62 of the June 19, 2006 edition. 

A good example of Daly's challenge is that in 2005 after coming in second behind Tiger Woods at WGC-AmEx Championship in San Francisco, Daly 'celebrated' by going to Las Vegas and losing $1.65 million in five hours.

According to the article he estimates his currently losses over the last 12 years at between $50-60 million.

Poor Marlins - Baseball's Great Divide

The recent ESPN magazine noted that the 2006 payroll for the Marlins baseball team was $15 million. There are 12 major league players that make more in one year then the Marlins complete payroll.  They are:

  1. Alex Rodriquez, Yankees, $25.7 million
  2. Derek Jeter, Yankees, $20.6 million
  3. Jason Giambi, Yankees, $20.4 million
  4. Barry Bonds, Giants $20.0 million
  5. Jeff Bagwell, Astros, $19.4 million
  6. Mike Mussina, Yankees, $19.0 million
  7. Manny Ramirez, Red Sox, $18.3 million
  8. Todd Helton, Rockies, $16.6 million
  9. Andy Pettitte, Astros, $16.4 million
  10. Magglio Ordonez, Tigers, $16.2 million
  11. Randy Johnson, Yankees, $15.7 milion
  12. Chan Ho Park, Padres, $15.3 million

"Johnny Ether's Great Escape" By Changelings - Make Me Into A Movie?

I was catching up on some podcast listening today on my run, and as I was rounding the bend to come up the "hill" before the finish and my friend Dave Slusher with his Evil Genius Chroniles podcast for 03-04-06 came on.

His first song was a jem - Changelings' Johnny Ether's Great Escape.  It made the end of the run very easy.

And as I was listening I was envisioning this great "movie" segment that this song could be the foundation for.  I was thinking a kinda Sam Fisher - Splinter Cell meets Jack Bauer of 24.  And then when the song was done, Dave did the same thing in his own way.

Very cool ...

Monday Early-Evening Mini-Link Fest

Some stuff caught my interest as I was moving through my Newsgator RSS subscriptions this afternoon:

Hammer & Sickle Game

I am not much of a game player.  But I do love Cold War history.  There is a new game (PC only?) called Hammer & Sickle from Nival Interactive.

The small screen shots in the Maximum PC advertisement make it look like an abstracted (50 feet up) first person shooter where you are trapped behind enemy lines and you need to get out!

Something to check out in all that free time I got ... :-)

Yahoo! News reports that Sony is trying to position their next generation Playstation as the home digital hub. I personally have a lot of high expectations for my future home digital hub - voice mail, security system, products in the fridge tracking, environmental controls, etc. I am not sure I want all that controlled by a device my kids can turn on and off. :-)