December 19, 2006

A White Christmas....really?

Making the transition from student to full time employee means experiencing your typical life events in a different way. Does that make sense? Not sure, but let me explain. From the ages 6 to 22 (depending on how long you're stuck in 3rd grade) kids get a lot of time off from school. Before Christmas kids in my area get Mid winter break, and after that they get Christmas break, and after that spring break, and then summer.... you get the point.

Now I clock in and out, and suddenly find myself with 6 days left for getting those impressive gifts for my family. What a whiner right? I'm just saying its quite different now when you live 95% of your life with huge chunks of free time and little responsibility. Will it make these holidays and time off with family even more special, or will it go so fast that I can barely clear my mouth of candy cane fragments?

In other news, the escape from the ghetto is in progress. I'll be off this Thursday and Friday to see if I can get enough stuff moved to wake up in the new house Xmas morning. Thankfully I have a few good friends helping me out enormously - I'm not a good mover. Usually I just carry loads of my junk and toss it in the back seat until I'm surrounded by my stuff.

In the new house there will be plenty of time to put the New Video Sender to use. Can you say Halo Tourney? Well if not, I can, and will. But with the Video Sender I can cheat and send the signal from my competitions TV to mine and take a peek as to where they are sniping me from. Sounds...exciting right? You'd love it....

Check it out -- the new and improved Video Sender --

December 08, 2006

The Video Sender gets an upgrade...

The New Video Sender could have saved me quite some grief back in the days when I was still stuck living with my Parents after College. This is what would happen...

After a long week of Halo2 and sleeping.. I mean applying for jobs and ironing clothes for interviews... I would sit down Sunday morning to catch a bit of football on the television. About halfway into the first quarter my eyes get droopy and the boring parts of the game just blend into dreams of building go-karts with landlords. Just before I would fall completely into a slumber in would walk my father, apple in hand. Now everyone in my house knows that an apple, Popsicle, bowl of soup, or any other liquid snack spells an annoying time with my dad. You see - he's one of those loud chewers. I know you know a few - the people who say they leave their mouth open during the process because it adds to the flavor. So in comes my dad and the apple destroying begins.

By about bite number three my stomach is turning and I want out of the room pretty badly. But how can I justify leaving the Seahawks high and dry before the 1st half is even over? Well - I often made the sacrifice and found something else lazy to do, missing a large portion of the game till my dad's interest was gone.

So how does the New Video Sender come into play? Well not only could I have sent the video of the game from the main TV in our house to my secret screening room in their basement, but with the added channel control functionality I could have easily used my X10 5 in 1 remote to flip between games in another room while my dad focused on his apple. The same idea goes for DVD player, CD player, and most other major audio video component. Man I could have been lazy - It would have been amazing.

November 16, 2006

Shame on you Ghetto Boys

So at what point do you give up and say… “Ok, ghetto – you got the best of me..” ?

If you read my blog you’ll know that I chose looks over substance in my housing choice. I decided to live in a nice place located in a shady area. A few people warned me. To get to the point – my roommate and I were robbed again. Someone broke into his brand new used car a week or two ago and took just a pair of sunglasses and a few random cd’s. That’s it. The thief rammed a screw driver into his lock so hard that the mechanism fell into the door itself and broke. That’s an expensive inconvenience if you ask me.

I’ve been lucky and I have to admit a little smart. I didn’t have anything stored in our garage when it got hit, I knew better. As far as vehicles go, no one has touched either of my cars – yet…knock on wood and all that.

So we’ve decided its time to let the ghetto stay ghetto. You can’t keep nice things in areas where people like to take them. I certainly don’t want anyone taking a screwdriver to any part of my new truck unless it’s to install something superb, like a strobe light. We are moving a bit further north, closer to our old stomping grounds and further from the annoyances we’ve been facing lately.

If you see anyone wearing a pair of white sunglasses carrying two snowboards and wearing a shirt that says tony let me know, my roommate is very interested in talking to them.

October 25, 2006

Woah - still here... sorry

Sorry Mom - I'm still here at X10 I know you haven't been able to read my usual blog posts about whats going on with work and my life. I've just been so busy that my blog has slipped by the wayside. Why so busy? Well....

First my car gave up on me. The water pump froze up and seized my engine while I was doing 65 in the far left lane of rush hour traffic. Picture Owen rolling to a stop in a congested part of I-5 just past the Tacoma Dome. Changing lanes without a gas pedal behind you is quite an experience. I made my way to the right and finally made it off the road. The car is toast. Well, not completely done, just too expensive for me to see the value in spending money on something with such high miles.

Second, my roomate and I almost moved. We had the opportunity to escape the ghetto and move in with a friend in Federal Way - a little closer to work, and a little farther from people who like to take things from our garage. But our landlord won't find the kindness in her check cashing heart to let us go. We are on a month to month lease. Apparently its a law that 20 days of notice must be given in order to vacate such a lease. We have come to terms with that, but in our lease there is a "no moving out in december" clause. I did my best to be kind in phone conversations with her, but I've thrown in the towel for the moment. Hopefully the offer to move will still be available in January. No big deal the place we are in right now is very nice, we just want to be closer to work and away from the hood.

Next I bought a truck. Oh yeah and I had a birthday. Then I bought a truck. While my car was broken my dad let me drive our old chevy; a truck I drove throughout college. This made me realize how much I missed driving a truck. I probably can't describe fully why this is, but it just is.

Turning 24 has resulted in me having to act like an adult more frequently than I care for. I barely have time for video games and family guy. Instead its car insurance shopping, and catching up on rental law.

September 28, 2006

Look ma, I'm on the screen.

So I got one. Yep – Mr. Gadget, as a friend calls me, got another device to make life easier. X10 gave me a Video Calling System so I could test it out and tell everyone I know about it.

Video Calling, huh, what’s that? I can hear you now sitting in your stiff office chair or worn out Ikea chair at home. Several years ago my grandfather invested in a video calling phone from, I think, AT&T. It looked very cool – very Jetson’s like, but no one else had one. So it turned out to be a clunky normal phone with a useless screen. Time has passed and everyone is gradually upgrading to broadband internet and turning in Newspapers for E-Newsletters.

My grandma fires up her brand new E-Machine at 5am and sends out her daily emails. She then jumps on Msn Live Messenger to see if any cousins, grandkids, or friends in foreign countries have anything to say to her. “Did you ring my bell?” she asks me as I sign on. It took her a while to realize the dinging bell she was hearing was just a messenger contact signing on – while not actually trying to get a hold of her. She eventually got the hang of it and to my amazement she uses it quite a lot. I have to ease her into new ideas when it comes to the internet and her computer, but I am thinking of a way to tell her about video calling. She already uses a compatible messenger to chat, so all that I need to do is get her a Video Calling System and go through the easy one time setup process. It only takes me 5 minutes. After that it’s as simple as a click of a button during her chats. Just click on share webcam and she can let her friends see her brilliant smile, and hear her unique laugh. She’s often alone in her big house. The house her husband built; the house they raised their kids – my mother. Being able to communicate face to face could be so important to her. I’ll get it done for her.

I didn’t even tell my sister I had received the cam before I sent her an invitation to view my webcam. She was surprised, but even more surprised to see me so clearly over the internet. Sometimes if I get a cell phone call from her I turn on the cam so she can see me as I come and go. I like to walk around when I talk on the phone – very odd. I almost always get up when my phone rings. Brings a new meaning to the word Mobile Phone I guess.
Oh yeah - did you want one - well check out The X10 Video Calling Website for more information and purchasing options.

September 19, 2006

International Talk Like A Pirate Day

This has to be one of the strangest demographics the world has ever dedicated a day to. Apparently it’s International Talk like a Pirate Day. I haven’t heard any accents around the office this morning so I’m guessing no one else had any clue. Who decides these things anyway? Just a second lemme see if the Wikipedia has any answers for me…

International Talk Like a Pirate Day is a parodic holiday invented in 1995 by two Americans, John Baur ("Ol' Chum Bucket") and Mark Summers ("Cap'n Slappy"), who proclaimed September 19 each year as the day when everyone in the world should talk like pirates. For example, instead of "hello," an observer of this holiday would greet his mates with "Ahoy, me hearty!"

So wiki knew. It sill makes very little sense to me as it relates to the world dedicating a day to it. I will say I’ll be delighted if it ever catches on fully. Imagine a day where the secretary greets you with an Ahoy, and your boss tells you of great treasure buried somewhere near the break room. It’d be nice for the serious world of deadlines and business suits to take a minute to be silly. I’ve never fully taken to pirate talk, so maybe today will be a good day to break it out. I think I’ll keep it quiet at first just dropping a few pirate words into sentences here and there. “So Carrie, what do you think of the new webcam, Yo Ho ho?” It’ll be quite a show seeing reactions all day long. Our work on the video calling system is still in full gear.

Maybe when I get home tonight I’ll try out some of my favorite sayings from the day on my family. There just getting used seeing my face live on their computer screen as we chat over little things. I remember my grandfather having a video calling phone over five years ago. It seemed cool but I never really saw it in action because no one else had the phone so there wasn’t anyone to call. With the expansion and availability of high-speed internet growing, the ability of communicating over the internet is even better. Even my grandma has DSL and uses MSN messenger all day. Many people are unaware that with just about every major messenger there is the ability to use video calling. All you need is a camera. And that’s what we are bringing you soon. The best camera for video calling on the internet.

September 12, 2006

The X10 Rockstar

So in my efforts to become a superstar in my quiet music…career…hobby…err…thing I do when not creating headers or editing code, I’ve stumbled upon a new use for some of my X10 Gear. I can basically turn any ordinary afternoon into a live concert by me. So here’s what I do – I take my mini mixing board, guitar, and mic to the nearest stereo. Oops I forgot to mention the Video/Audio Sender. I hook the mixing board up to the Video/Audio Sender and then connect the Receiver to a stereo. Now I can amplify my wonderful songs about websites and other X10 goodness as loud as I want and where I want.

I even stopped by my parent’s house the other night to show them how incredible I am. I stopped short of giving them notice that they would be witnessing greatness in their living room that night. I hooked my gear up in the basement and then the receiver to stereo setup in the den where they were both reading. I mic’ed up and plugged in I should have used my webcam to see the expression on their faces when they heard the explosion of arpeggios and lead guitar. Halfway through my song about the MiniTimer they figured out where the racket was coming from and unplugged me from the stereo. I’m sure it was only to keep the neighbors from complaining because I think I heard my mom yelling for an encore – it was either that or she really wanted me to stop. I prefer to think she’s still my biggest fan – who’d drive the tour bus without her?

Anyway, I think it’s one of the best uses I’ve found for my X10 Gadgets yet. I’m available for parties and other special occasions. But do to my high demand around my parent’s house my rates have gone up. Look for me on MTV…or like a local cable access channel…ok soon.

Uh oh, Marko’s glaring so I better get back to work. Later my fans, love you two.

!--Disclaimer--! Some of the incidents in this blog post may be half-truths, inaccurate, or completely made up. But I have tried it out and its pretty cool.

September 08, 2006

The Lola Report: Number 4

So our new project is really starting to take shape. I’m sure in no time I’ll be using it in my own home so I can get a more personal interaction with those I care about. I almost forgot to do my weekly Lola report. I have to pay homage to the music that gets my through the week, and the wireless music sender that lets me have a great deal of freedom in my listening. It’s been nice to be able to switch between the Lola Software and iTunes – I usually just put on the party mix option in iTunes and let Lola do the rest.

This week’s Report Elliot Smith and Everclear.

-Elliot Smith-

The Lola report this week features two different bands/artists that spent a great deal of time in Portland, Oregon. Elliot Smith is known for his deep introspective lyrics focusing on the addictions and other battles he faced in his life. Since he left us in 2003 many artists have paid tribute to the great music and artist that he was. His music reached its highest point when he worked on the soundtrack for Good Will Hunting. His solo career featured songs blending acoustic guitars with melancholy vocals tacked together with poignant lyrics. I know, I know – why would you want to listen to depressing music? That’s what your wondering to yourself. Well I seem to buy in to the idea that a lot of the greatest artists we have had were troubled in some way. But – beyond the subjects of his songs is the greatness of his melodies. Some songs make me think of the Beatles, while others are too uniquely his own for comparison.

The album I’ve had on my iPod all week is either/or. I think this album exemplifies his melodic talents more so than some of his others. It’s a good album to write to, or take a night drive. In one of Smith’s early bands Heatmiser he displayed the ability to push his voice and fall in line with the Portland grunge scene that was around in the early 90’s. Fans of his solo career might be surprised by the heavy guitars and drums surrounding such a usually gentle voice.

The Good: Melodies, Melodies, Melodies…
The Bad: His unfortunate death.
Best Song: Right now I’d have to say angeles.


Let me clarify, early Everclear. I think it was eighth grade when I got my first copy of Sparkle and Fade. You might remember it for its popular song titled Santa Monica, “We can live beside the ocean…” So I played that CD quite a bit in the years that followed. I even enjoyed the follow up of that album, So Much for the Afterglow. I became a little disinterested in the albums that came after the first two. There’s a pop element to the songs that don’t work with what Everclear does best. The band revolves around Art Alexakis, who is the only remaining member since the original lineup split a year or two ago. Luckily for me I discovered a CD that was meant to be there Demo, which capitol later remastered and re-released. World of Noise was made on a tiny budget, but the sound is perfect - Heavy guitars with powerful distortion. I have found through exploring music I like, that often enjoy a bands 1st and 2nd albums more than any other because there is a rawness and straightforwardness to the music. It could be a hard listen for a lot of people, but if you like hard rock I’d suggest it.

The Good: Heavy Guitars, yes!
The Bad: Its not what it used to be
Best Song: Genius Hands

Its Friday and my friend Shelby’s Bday so lets get this work done and go out!

September 07, 2006

Lets have a little chat...

In the past few years I’ve noticed a change in the way I communicate with my friends and family. Most of the change revolves around the fact that everyone I know has a cell phone, even my mom. Clearly, a cell phone is a lot different from a typical house phone…but in more ways that you might think. In the past we’ve typically had one phone number per household. Now we have the landline and the cell lines. A cell phone has become part of the person who owns it. It’s become less of a telephone and more like an intercom. With people calling in whenever they have a passing thought they want you to know about. Don’t get me wrong I love mine, well love is a strong way of putting it – but I do appreciate the convenience it gives me.


Have you ever called someone’s cell and let it rang and rang all the while imagining them just hitting the ignore button, or choosing not to answer. I have had that feeling many times whether calling a sister or a good friend. I have even been on the opposite side where I just really didn’t feel like answering another call. Our old home phones give us legitimate reasons for missing calls and since we aren’t always there we receive less personal phone calls. That makes the ones we do get a little more special.
That’s what communicating with those you care about should be, special. I’ve been pondering this cell phone situation for a long time. We now have text messages, email, live voice chat, instant messaging, and cell phones. All of these things have made it easier to communicate with the world, but doesn’t a lot of it seem impersonal? I know of many instances of emails being misconstrued as having a cold or angry tone. Wouldn’t it be better if we could be face to face during these interactions?

That’s part of the equation we are working on here at X10. Bringing people together through convenient communication, while adding the personal factor of being able to see smiles, frowns, and tears. Isn’t physical communication an important part of understanding what someone is trying to convey. Without seeing them, they might be saying yes while their face and body language clearly are saying no.

September 05, 2006

DMOZ: Not only inefficient, but also corrupt.

In my pursuit to promote our teams X10 websites I’ve searched various web resources and directories for places to include our new sites. The most famous directory on the web, in my opinion, would have to be the DMOZ. A lot of major search engines use it for search inclusion. This directory is slightly different, in that it is edited by humans. They use their discretion to decide which sites will actually be included in the DMOZ directory. In a lot of SEO forums it has been noted of the difficulty of being included in the directory. This personal discretion and the fact that these editors have to manually review each site is taking too long and keeping sites from being listed.

On the DMOZ website they have a social contract written out explicitly including the fact that the Open Directory will remain without inclusion costs. I was shocked today to find out that some of the DMOZ editors might be charging web publishers for inclusion. Browsing the forum I came across a post about this very thing happening. An editor from the DMOZ contacted the owner of a submitted website. He explained to him that though not condoned, editors do take money in return for reviewing and including websites. He even went on to give this guy a breakdown in prices corresponding to wait time for inclusion. Check it out:


To get reviewed:
Within a year: $50.00
Within 6 Months: $75.00
Within 3 Months: $90.00
Within 1 Month: $125.00
Within 2 Weeks: $180.00
Within 1 Week: $225.00
Within 3 Days: $275.00
Within 24 hours: $300.00
ASAP: $350.00

Following the post down the line it looks like the editor is no longer part of the DMOZ. There are many paid inclusion sites, and that’s fine with me. In this case with such an emphasis on it being the largest human edited FREE directory, then hopefully this isn’t really happening – but I’m sure it is to some extent.. I have yet to have success in getting a site listed in the open directory. It seems the DMOZ were prompt in their reply to the wpw forum member who reported the abuse, but hopefully they are working hard on preventing this from happening. With such a huge backlog of sites to be reviewed it’s clear to me that their system is not working. I do not know the solution, but I do feel it shouldn’t be such a heavily weighted and important directory if it is corrupt and inefficient.

I doubt I will even attempt putting our new projects website in the directory. We’ve been spending so much time working on it that I wouldn’t want to waste any on the DMOZ. As soon as we have something to present to our X10 fans on the new product I promise I’ll post it here first.

Labor Day Weekend...

I have to take my music seriously now. Why’s that? Well I finally bought myself a guitar worthy of bragging about. My labor day began with a vibrating cell phone sliding across my desk at 7 am. Groggily I answered to my friend reminding me of Guitar Center’s annual early bird sale. I dragged my roommate out of bed and took the five minute drive to guitar center. I find it very distracting working 5 minutes from the Tukwila store, and living the same distance from the Tacoma store.

There were people in chairs – as if they’d been camping out there since 5 am. An employee greeted us with a few coupons and the specials list. I scanned the deals for anything eye catching, the only thing I was really impressed with was an electric guitar at 60% off. As soon as I walked through the door I saw that guitar already in someone else’s paws. It turned out to be one of the guys who had camped out. I figured he must have really wanted it so I stayed clear of grabbing it out of his hands. Instead I roamed around the place looking for something to catch my eye. A few things I wanted didn’t pan out so I went to poke around the acoustic guitar section. After playing a few favorite songs for my endearing guitar center fans I spotted a guitar I hadn’t seen in previous visits. Taylor makes a guitar called the “Big Baby”, named after its 15/16th scale size. Basically it’s a little big smaller than your typical acoustic guitar. I’ve been quietly playing with the idea of buying such a guitar for months, and as I play just about every night I figured now was the time. I keep you updated on it.

Saturday I watched the Cougars get slaughtered by an overpowering Auburn team. I’m afraid to say that I’m still not an Alex Brink Fan. He and Doba go hand in hand, in their personalities on the field. A quarterback should be a confident leader who can avoid being rattled by opponents. Gary Rodgers displayed some of that. We’ll see what comes of it.

Sunday I went fishing for salmon out in commencement bay. My two friends and I combined pulled up 10 salmon. Unfortunately not a single one of them were big enough to even consider breaking out the tin foil and lemon. It was still a blast having that much action out on the water.

And Monday, after my guitar outing it was off to bumbershoot. I am typically not impressed with bumbershoot lineups but 2006 was decent. My friends and I planned our attack – Rocky Votolato – Zach Galifinakis – Sparta – Atmosphere. We managed success in all but Zach. Theres a few gripes I have about bumbershoot, mainly the show attendance format. In order to get a spot for the headline show of the night you typically have to arrive around 11am for a reserve ticket. Then you have to run around all day lining up for show hoping you leave one show soon enough to meet the cut off for attending the next. Eh, I don’t really have a solution so I’ll stop my whining.

I’m back at work today ready to give my attention to our new project. We are still collecting data from our survey. Soon enough, I hope to be able to give you more information on our new product. I really think it will improve the daily interactions of those who use it. Don’t worry I won’t keep you in the dark much longer. Just give us a little more time to make it perfect and you’ll be able to enjoy it your own home.

September 01, 2006

Secret, Secret, I've got a Secret...

You may have noticed my blog frequency slowing down over the past few weeks. I can’t tell you exactly why, because it’s too much of a surprise and too soon to reveal something with this big of an impact.

Let’s just say I’ve been busy.

If you were here you’d see a blur, if you could slow it down it would be more recognizably me. The cycle has gone desk, meeting, testing, desk, more testing, focus group. It’s a special thing when we roll out things this large in scale. I am tired – I’ll admit that, but I think anyone would be in such a state given the amount of attention our new project is requiring. I fell asleep between bites of oatmeal this morning. Luckily, the thud of my head on the table woke me up in time to leave for work. As soon as I’m out the door it’s on my mind again, and the excitement returns. I know that if we give it to you, that you will love it.

This is so important I’m going to take time out of my precious Labor Day weekend to make even more progress. Don’t worry I’ll be back on Tuesday bright eyed and no longer sleep deprived. Maybe I’ll even grace you with another issue of the Lola Report!

p.s. You can help us. If you take a quick survey, and are chosen you will get $300 worth of X10 Gear and a chance to help us improve.
But you have to hurry Click Here because it won’t last long.

August 30, 2006

The Lola Report: Number 3

If I had known in college that I could send my music wirelessly to my stereo I probably would have never left my apartment. I will say I never suffered or went without my electronics. My friend Shelby has started kidding around about how many gadgets I have in my house. Yeah I suppose I like technology about as much as Kip does from Napoleon Dynamite. If you catch me in the right mood you might find me singing that song of his. Anyway, this weeks Lola Report shines a light again on a few lesser known artists.

This week Matt Pond PA and Bernard Fanning.

-Matt Pond PA-

One evening in my apartment I was letting decide what to listen to. I seem to do this a lot when I’m running low on music I haven’t played over and over again. I typed in Elliott Smith – so Pandora created a radio station of similar artists. After a few decent songs and a few by Elliot Smith himself I heard a song that I really liked. This is my process, find a song you really like – research the artist on Wikipedia – and download a cd.

Matt Pond is a singer/songwriter from Pennsylvania of course. He writes relaxing songs with interesting arrangements of guitar, cello, keyboards, and drums. The name itself stood out because I had grabbed the cd once before for one of my sisters, but never listened to it myself. In 2005 the released the album Several Arrows Later. It is probably one of the best albums of 2005 in my mind. I am surprised I don’t see them on TV or hear them on the radio. I think that at the moment there is not much room for bands like Matt Pond PA or even a band I mentioned in a previous post – Idiot Ghost. All the kids like Emo, and Screamo, and whatever else goes along with that. You can ask Sara about all that madness, I’m quite sure she knows a lot more than I do. While all the adults are holding onto their 90’s favorites. Grunge was my favorite though – I have to admit.

This band really speaks to me because of the way they are able to blend acoustic guitars with other instruments so well. I play my guitar every day, acoustic that is – because its hard to rock out in a townhouse.

The Good: Acoustic Guitars and Relaxing Vocals
The Bad: Similarities in songs – but who isn’t guilty of that.
Best Song: Is it Safe?

-Bernard Fanning-

Yet another great artist that Pandora has brought to my attention.

Bernard Fanning is the man behind the Australian band Powderfinger. After going on hiatus in 2004, Fanning ventured out on a solo project. The result was an album entitled Tea and Sympathy. I just loaded this on my Ipod again recently after giving it a break. After I listened all the way through yesterday I thought to myself, “This whole album is actually good”.
Fanning’s style reminds me of Ben Harper in a way, but his songs are lighter and easier to relate to. If you like crisp clear vocals then this album is for you. He has done very well in Australia but I haven’t heard much about him in the States. He writes his songs about a lot of things, but isn’t shy about keeping a personal tone to his lyrics.

The Good: His Voice and Lyrics.
The Bad: Hmm – I’m sure I can think of something.
Best Song: Wish You Well.

August 28, 2006

She said, "You'd Better HOP to it".

I finally got around to brewing a new batch of beer this past weekend. My Brew Buddy and I traveled out to the Beer Essentials Home Brewing Store in Lakewood Wa. It’s a really cool place to visit if you are at all interested in beer or home brewing. Every time I go I learn something new or see something else that will help me brew the perfect beer. Ok, so I’m not really after the perfect brew but I have to say it’s getting pretty good.

For a few batches now I have made a mild IPA with the added flavor of Cascade Hops. A few people that have tried it relate it to Sierra Nevada IPA, which is a very good beer so I’ve decided to make it until I’m sick of it. I usually end up giving about half a batch away to friends and family that have yet to try my beer. This time around my friend chose to make a Cerveza, or something along the lines of a Corona. He has been a lot more adventurous as far as trying new beers each time. Some have been very good; others could use a little work.

Everything went very smooth this time around. Between rounds of Mike Tyson’s Punch Out (yes we got stuck on king hippo) we stirred the brew and timed the hops. No boil-overs or nasty spills this time around. There is a point during brewing where the wort, or the beer mixture, starts bubbling madly and foams upwards toward the edge of the pot. This is often called the “hot break” point. If you aren’t careful you can easily find your entire stovetop covered with a sticky beer mess. This action doesn’t really hurt the beer itself, but beer at this stage is very hard to clean up. The sugar is yet to be turned to alcohol so anything spilled is sticky. We haven’t really had any of these problems, probably because of the endless warnings you receive from brewers.

After the beer is transferred into the primary fermentor it sits to begin the fermentation process. On the top of the fermentor bucket there is an airlock filled with water, which bubbles when the fermentation process has begun. The intensity varies each time beer is made. This time I had something unusual happen that I haven’t experienced before. My airlock had began bubbling sooner than usual. Twenty Four hours after the boil I checked on the batch. The airlock was still bubbling, but this time there was beer in the chamber that holds the water. “Eureka!” I exclaimed. Ok so not really, I’m sure I used a more descriptive word, but I was shocked nonetheless. I just wanted to see if you were still reading. So, I figured I could probably do more damage changing out the airlock so I decided to leave it in. We’ll have to see what this does to my final product. I have made a few mistakes in the past, but it hasn’t spoiled the taste yet.

I’m thinking about getting and Xcam for just such a situation. I’ll call it my fermentation cam. You see, the airlock should bubble for about 2 to 4 days in my experience. Once it has slowed to less than 5 bubbles a minute you know its time to transfer to your secondary fermentor. If I had an Xcam set up I could access the footage anywhere I could get on the internet. That way if I was visiting my parents and forgot to check the progress I could simply go online and take a peek.

Now if I could only find an X10 product to complete the bottling process for me.

August 25, 2006

You know, that, or his dudeness, or duder, or el duderino, if you're not into the whole brevity thing.

He’s not Lebowski man. He’s the dude.

Incase you haven’t seen it – The Big Lebowski is my favorite movie. Something about the carefree nature of the Dude himself makes the bizarreness of the whole movie itself much easier to digest. I do like bowling and being lazy, but not to the extent that Lebowski does in the movie. That’s literally all he does – lounge around and bowl.

He is of course out to solve a mystery. Due to a few identity mix-ups his rug was pee’d on and the real Lebowski’s daughter kidnapped. Yep – they pee’d on his rug. And it really tied the room together. The story follows the Dude (Jeff Bridges) on his quest to eliminate the problems plaguing him since the big identity confusion.

So yeah, what does this have to do with anything Owen? You ask – from your slightly uncomfortable computer chair. Well – if the story were true – a guy like Lebowski would love X10 Products. Not only could he control his favorite Creedence tapes with an X10 remote – but he could also turn lights and appliances on or off with the push of a remote button. Better yet he could have his whole house on motion sensor lighting controls from NewtoX10. A Protector Plus and Sentinel Camera would be more than enough to keep his rug bandits out and prevent and harm done from ferrets and nihilists.

Friday is here and tomorrow is Brew day at my place. Ten gallons (atleast) to be boiled up and the process started. I’m gonna try to get Marko over to let him in on my secret beer brewing processes, but since I’ve bailed on the idea so many weekends in the past – he is thinking it will be the case again. It’s gonna happen – 11am (or so)!

August 24, 2006

The Lola Report: Issue 2

This would be the second in my series of reports on the artists receiving heavy rotation in my apartment. I keep my laptop upstairs in my room connected to the 120 GB western digital hard drive I picked up on at a crazy sale price. It’s my goal to fill it completely with albums in mp3 format so that when I’m older I have a massive jukebox just waiting in my home. When I’m ready to listen to music downstairs I grab my Lola remote, fire up the television, and with a press of a button I launch Lola. My PC display is shown on my TV and I’m ready to listen. The Lola remote is pretty convenient. I usually just hit the artist button so I can pick which group I want to listen to, much like the features of iTunes.

This week Damien Jurado and Coheed and Cambria.

-Damien Jurado-
A fellow musician once told me that I should look into Jurado because of the similarities in our styles. He said that my voice and guitar style were similar to his. So I downloaded his most popular release and gave it a listen. “Rehearsals for Departure”, was the album I chose to give a listen to. The first few times I let the CD spin in my player I was not impressed. His tone was rather bland and the guitar was simple. Then I thought, hey! , what is this friend of mine implying of my music? Then I listened more.

After several times through the CD a few songs started to stand out and I realized what I was listening to, a modern-folk singer. I’m sure that sounds weird. A folk singer in today’s music? Does Owen even have enough knowledge of folk music to justify his claim? Well, probably not but I’ll stand by it anyway. Just reading a wikipedia entry on him and they put it as music influenced by folk. That works too. I guess he is also a kindergarten teacher – now that’s cool.

The aforementioned cd starts off with a song entitled Ohio. The song relates a story of a man falling for a woman who tells him often of her past in Ohio. I think it is an interesting choice to have started the cd with such a strong song. Few of the songs that follow can carry such weight, but there definitely are more standouts. Letters and Drawings, follows a relationship from the point at which it goes long distance, and ends with the relationships dissolve. Tornado is another favorite – another song about relationships.

Taking a listen to his other albums I’ve found that they all differ slightly in style and delivery. If you are the kind of person who follows a band through all progress and changes then maybe you can handle it.

The Good: A style you don’t hear to often these days.
The Bad: He could use a few more songs like Ohio.
Best Song: Duh, Ohio.

-Coheed and Cambria-

Ok, so wait – Coheed and Cambria? Really?

Yes, ironically I have not been able to get enough of this band lately. I have to admit the vocals can be so hard to get into that many wouldn’t give it a second listen. If you give it time the high pitched voice of Claudio Sanchez can grow on you. So what do I like? The guitar riffs are addictive, and the melodies unexpectedly good for a band who only releases concept albums. It seems they are following the Star Wars method of releasing sections of a story at different points of time. Each album correlates to a comic book series written by Claudio himself. How geeky is that?

If you read my review on the band Bayside then you would understand my appreciation in the guitar solo and hopes of it coming back better and fiercer than ever. Coheed and Cambria have been doing just that lately. There last album, which had a title too long for me blog, is full of solos often dueling through parts of a song.

The songs are fun, and I enjoy the goofiness of basing a rock album around a comic book saga. With that being said, these guys are talented musicians and should be respected for that.

The Good: Guitar Solos and Silly Plot Lines.
The Bad: A voice that takes patience to get accustomed to.
Best Song: The Willing Well IV: The Final Cut

August 22, 2006

Master and VCR Commander

Lately I’ve been after a bigger prize, a Salmon. It’s been a few years since I’ve gone fishing more than once in a season and maybe even longer since I caught a decent Salmon.

One of my good friends has been gracious enough to lead the expeditions. Acting like a professional tour guide he winds the leaders and baits the hooks. There’s a masculine feeling that comes about when you are out in the massiveness of commencement bay in a boat that sometimes looks as though it might just give into the huge waves rolling away from larger vessels. It’s actually a sweet little boat when there are just two of us in it. A few weekends ago we had three and with the size of me and some of my friends – the little boat felt more like a raft. At one point, right in the middle of the bay, I changed seating location to see if it would help the boat plane out across the water any better. A few seconds later we heard a sound that I can only relate to something like the world ending. Ok so maybe not that bad, but we went from scooting along the water to being forcefully stopped immediately. Seems the new weight balance wasn’t one the motor was a fan of.

Right I was talking about fishing itself. On our first outing my line had a hit that I knew had to be a decent salmon. Unfortunately the friction relented and by the time I pulled my line out I could see the big one had got away. Ironically my herring was swimming headless, side by side with a baby salmon – each on a separate hook. I had caught my Salmon but it was definitely too small to eat or keep. It’s almost as if the big fish was on to me and decided to play a little joke on me by putting one of his favorite little brothers on the other hook. I have to give it to him, I was amused. A few minutes later I hooked a dogfish – which basically looks like an ugly little brown shark. When I was younger I won a fishing rod at the derby for netting a 10 pound dogfish. Since I don’t know anyone who would eat such a fish it was back into the water for that guy.

My buddy and I aren’t giving up. We are going to re-gear and head back out soon. He actually pulled out a sweet new toy for our last outing – a portable fish finder. Knowing of my exceptional X10 gadget installation skills, he had me set it up out of the box. It’s pretty cool – it looks kinda like a videosender that sits inside a holster. One end of it sits in the water and through some sort of electronic pulses it searches below for depth, water temp, and fish. No luck yet – but soon – soon enough.

August 18, 2006

The Lola Report - Issue 1 Volume...ummm 1.

The Lola Report…

So if you’ve read my blog before you probably know music is a top priority in my life. If I’m not playing it myself then I most likely have my Ipod blaring my favorite bands (as I do most days at X10). Don’t worry, I’m only going to be deaf in one ear – I keep the other one open so I can hear Marko’s demands. When I’m at home I run to my computer and fire up my X10 Lola System so I can have the music throughout my apartment. I figured being that it is so important in my life I should do an occasional update on what bands and artists are on my playlist at the time.

This week: Bayside and Idiot Ghost

- Bayside
I tried my hardest to avoid any band that could be thrown into the crowd of bands labled as EMO these days. Why, well because most of them are extremely annoying. I just checked (one of my favorite internet valuables) to see how they define the genre of EMO.

They say:
“Emo is a subgenre of hardcore punk music. Since its inception, emo has come to describe several independent variations, linked loosely but with common ancestry. As such, use of the term (and which musicians should be so classified) has been the subject of much debate.”
See – even the wikipedia has trouble defining emo. To me Rock is Rock, if it’s good then it’s good and vice versa.

After that long intro about EMO, how about a bit about Bayside. Well let’s see after a long week of work I was drifting out of consciousness on my lazy boy with FUSE (a non MTV music channel) playing. Just as I was about to slip away into sleeping I heard a few chords that widened my eyes. On the screen I saw a few New York looking guys playing the kind of new music I haven’t heard in a while; the good kind. It got better when they went into a few guitar solos. It seems in the past few years the solo has faded from the world of mainstream rock – why – well I think the talent steeply declined as well but that’s a whole different blog. So I’ve downloaded two of their Cd’s and done a little research on them and I think they’ll be on my nano for quite a while now.

The Good: Fun guitars and the return of the solo. Fearlessly Interesting lyics.
The Bad: The music associated with Bayside. Some songs seem too similar.
Best Song: Devotion and Desire.

- Idiot Ghost

A few years back a good friend of mine, Shelby, took me to see Dave Matthews at the Gorge. (Yay lets go see Dave, as his drone of fans would say). I used to like some of his music, but that’s not really why we were there. There was a band, The Peat Moss Band, which opened for DMB. Shelby and her family were friends with members of the band. The show was great; I clearly remember a very impressive cover of Radiohead’s “Fake Plastic Trees”.

Well fast-forward to last week when Shelby handed me a new CD. Idiot ghost – comprised of the two lead members of and older band called Peat Moss. So I threw it in my cd player and I have to say it’s probably the best album from locals I have heard in quite some time. Written, Performed and Produced all by the same two fellows out of seattle washington. Tthe CD is a medium tempo Indie Rock style album. Hopefully I will catch them playing sometime soon.

So who might I compare the band Idiot Ghost to? Well their songs vary in style and tempo, but Sara mentioned Iron & Wine in her blog. I hear glimpses of Coldplay, and was told of a shins influence. What I find most amazing is the recording quality. There is wonderful layering, and vocal crafting. I believe they are without website at the moment. Infact if you search google for their name - my blog seems to come up around the third result. They do have a myspace page with songs and concert listings.

The Good: Exceptional Vocals and songwriting. Definitely My Taste.
The Bad: They aren’t on the radio.
Best Song: Undecided

Check out their myspace page for songs and band info by clicking here

August 15, 2006

Gridiron and Chores

Football season is just about here! I have to tell you that it hasn’t always been my favorite sport to watch, but the past few seasons have been more enjoyable. Why? Well the Seahawks are finally something to talk about, and my cougar pride has finally developed into something real. You see – I went to school mostly because I thought I probably should. I also knew that down the road I’d need my diploma to get my feet in certain doors. I’m not a book person, and love to learn by doing. But I graduated in 4 years – a little less in fact. During this time I had a lot of opportunity to stroll down to the stadium and catch a Saturday football game. It didn’t seem that important or amazing back then, but now that I’m so far removed from Pullman and WSU I can’t wait for the games to start towards the end of summer.

Saturday, I went to a very nice sports bar and restaurant to watch the Seahawks preseason game. Upon entering my friend asked that we be seated by a big screen so we could watch the game. The waitress smiled and seated us in front of a theater sized screen. It was pretty amazing to catch a game at a restaurant in Tacoma, sitting in a recliner drinking my favorite beer of the moment. The ironic thing about that restaurant is that, as nice as it is, there were probably less than 30 customers their. Tacoma is a growing city – especially with UW- Tacoma going 4 year. It seems the local entrepreneurs and restaurant owners have to be especially careful about timing and location in the city.

Watching the game it got me thinking about the upcoming season. Working at X10 keeps me very busy during the week so I like to make the most of my weekends. I think that the VideoSender will help me keep track of the game while I run around the house doing chores. I’m gonna hook it up to the main tv with cable downstairs and broadcast it two the two TV’s upstairs so I won’t miss a play. Now if I only had a flat screen for the garage I’d be set.

August 03, 2006

Bigger City -- Bigger Problems?

“Hey, what are you doing with Tony’s snowboards?”

That’s the question one of my neighbors could have asked yesterday as some thieves walked off with some of my roommates things. Unfortunately we live in an area of high population, where no one seems to know anyone else. Is their a correlation between the impersonal nature of big cities and the crime rates in them? I can’t say myself, but in my 22 years living in my parents nest we had very little trouble with theft. I think I remember one time someone driving by with a pickup truck and pulling away with our Rota tiller. Never, that we know of, has anyone entered my parents house or garage and taken our possessions. As a single, young person you have to make decisions about where you want to live. Do you want to pay a lot, and live in a nice area and good location? Or would you like to live in a nice place, in a mediocre neighborhood. Well my roommate and I ended up with a very nice town home in a questionable area.

Living there for 4 months we’ve had no trouble from neighbors or strangers. That is until yesterday when I pulled up to find our garage door wide open. My immediate reaction was to call my roommate, Tony, and tell him of his mistake. He was quick to tell me that he knows the garage was shut when he left. His car is a lemon. In the morning he has to push it out of the garage, the reverse is out, and start it in the driveway. He says he was in the driveway with the door shut letting his car warm up that morning. So I believe him. How they got in – I’m not all that sure, but I know how they left -- In a hurry with an arm full of my roommate’s things.

I’ve been too busy working on the Sentinel website to actually get one and set it up at home. Not only could I have caught those lucky guys in action, but I could have had an email sent to me at work telling me of the event. With our software you can send emails notifying yourself that a motion sensor was tripped and recording had begun. At least I didn’t lose anything significant to my life, and the things Tony lost are very material and can be replaced. I will be getting renters insurance by the end of the month, I do know that much.

Big cities = a higher propensity for petty theft? Could be, but if you play your cards right and take precautions early then you should be just fine. We are taking anything remaining of value from the garage, and if this ever happens again our “guests” will be greeted with the sirens of a protector plus and the eye of a Sentinel Camera. Don’t worry I won’t be moving back in with mom and dad, but I can see changing neighborhoods within the next year.

August 01, 2006

I like Gizmodo, so what!

So sometimes my blog is pretty much just a list of things I like. So to continue with this theme let me tell you about Sounds funny right? Well Gizmodo is a website that features the latest and greatest gadgets in the realm of personal technology – cellphones, mp3 players, and weird things like how to cook a grilled cheese on your laptop computer – no joke. Maybe I can convince the guys over at Gizmodo to feature the MiniTImer, Protector Plus, or the Sentinel. I haven’t really bought many things off of Gizmodo yet, except for a “skin” for my Ipod Nano, which turned out to really just be a high quality sticker. Oh well it was like 10 bucks. If my income was something amazing I’d probably spend a lot more time and money on Gizmodo.

Tonight – I am going to see Pirates of the Caribbean with one of my greatest friends. It’s funny because the movie came out weeks ago but neither she nor I have found the time outside of work to see it. I tend to try to see movies late in their theater life span anyway so I can avoid Americans. Ok not really to avoid Americans, but there’s a lack of public etiquette in our society these days – that however is a completely different blog in itself. Well its back to coding and graphics for me – until next time.

July 28, 2006

X10 Sentinels and Promos

The weeks seem to be ending up at Friday sooner than usual. I guess time flies when you’re…working hard. The Sentinel Site has really come together. Not only have we included camera comparisons (X10 Sentinel vs. Sanyo VCC-9000, Sony EVI-D70, and a few others) but we have added Multiple Camera Systems for those that need extra surveillance. I also got the chance to have an extended demo of the Sentinel. It’s pretty nifty to be able to move a camera around with a remote control just like your typical TV remote.

Thankfully the weather has cooled down a bit. Don’t get me wrong I love sunshine, but when you are pushing 100 degrees in our area – it can be pretty miserable. Town homes were not designed for hot weather. Heat rises, and well, as you can imagine my bedroom being upstairs made it pretty unbearable. Even with the MiniTimer set to turn on the upstairs fans around dusk, the thermostat was still nearly off the scale.

Our Community Director Mike is running a pretty interesting contest. He is taking video submissions from anyone who creates an X10 Promo. There is a weekly $500 dollar shopping spree awarded to the video with the highest votes. If you want to see what X10 looks like inside see his intro video at the X10 Community Site. Its actually a pretty funny video and everyone in it works for X10.

July 21, 2006

Seattle Sentinels -- I mean Mariners!

Let me tell you! It has been a whirlwind of a few weeks. Our hard work on the X10Sentinel site is finally coming around. Check it out Tonight I will go to my first Mariners game of the season – in 90 degree Seattle sunshine. That sounds odd in my head – 90 degrees Seattle? Starbucks, I mean Howard Schultz, finally took his incapable hands off of the Supersonics. He really should stick to coffee. Why – well they have barely made the playoffs in the past 5 years. He let Wally Walker continue to made horrible personnel moves – i.e. drafting another 7 foot underdeveloped monster. But this one has some potential – wait I think we’ve been saying that for 3 years in a row now. Most fans are now afraid that the Ok. City buyers of the Sonics will be taking them to their city. I really don’t see it happening – but if there were a person to do it – it would be this guy. If you remember he was the one who gathered up the New Orleans Hornets, gave them a home and gave them crowded seats night after night. When the aftermath of Katrina had been put aside and the Hornets returned – he promised the NBA would return to his city. Yikes!

July 17, 2006

Opening Pandora's Music Box

So what do you think of the satellite radio craze? I personally am not impressed. I believe the future of radio, along with many things, is the internet. They made a nice connection when they made the satellite receivers adapt to home and automobile, but still isn’t something I’m too interested in. Why? Well I have been introduced to Pandora, the music genome project. Basically Pandora is a website that takes your favorite artists and music styles and creates radio stations around them. For example, I like Elliott smith but due to his passing won’t be getting any new music from him any time soon. So I put his name into Pandora and I get a radios station filled with songs by him and tons of artists similar to his style. In the past months I’ve discovered several artists that I’m thrilled with, which is surprising since a few people I know consider me a music snob (but I think I just really like talented musicians only).
So you’re probably thinking, “He sits at his computer a lot!” Well no, you see I got a Lola Music System a few months ago and have been discovering its many uses since. The lola sends the audio, and video if I want, from my computer to my home stereo. So I just logon and walk away, letting Pandora and Lola do the rest. Sirius, blah, I’ve got Pandora.

July 05, 2006

Trying to catch some Z's...

I mentioned before that my bedroom fan is controlled by X10 Remote. After last night I’m scheming a new way to help me get some quality sleep. It was the 4th of July so as you would imagine there was quite a bit of racket going on all night, that’s ok. I will say that just about every other day a two dog choir has frequent practice outside my bedroom window at random times during the night, well that's not ok. It’s been way too hot this summer to sleep with the window closed so I need it open for the majority of the night. But here’s what I’m thinking – actuators. If that is an unfamiliar word to you don’t feel bad, but they are very useful. We wouldn’t be able to unlock and lock our car doors remotely without them. Scary thought I know - Actually putting the key in the lock! They are small mechanical arms that push and pull accordingly after receiving a signal.

So if I could get one that could open and then shut the window it would be perfect. I could put my MiniTimer to even more use. At 10pm before I go to bed the window opens and the fan kicks on. The room will have cooled down by the time I’m ready for sleeping. At 4 or 5 am, when I am most easily pulled from slumber, the MiniTimer would tell the actuator to slide the window shut. Now I’ve got a cool room without the distraction of those annoying dogs. Don’t me wrong I am a dog person, always have been, I just like sleep a lot too. Well I’m off to learn more about actuators…

July 03, 2006

A trip to the ballpark with X10...

The 4th of July is tomorrow and X10 celebrated with a trip to a Tacoma Rainiers game last Saturday. In case you are not familiar, the Rainiers are part of the farm system for the Seattle Mariners. Having lived in Tacoma Washington all of my life I have been a fan of the Rainiers ever since they were the Tacoma Tigers. It was a nice change of pace from working hard on the X10 Sentinel website, to soaking up the amazing weather. I have to say that this summer has been outstanding as far as sunshine goes. It was also nice to be with the X10 team and not have to worry about websites.

So how was the game? It was great, the Rainiers currently have several players on their roster that have each had substantial time spent in the major leagues – and others that will at some point make it their permanent home. Mike Morse, Gregg Dobbs, and Shin Soo Choo have all seen time with Seattle. The highlight of the game would have to be the inside the park homerun by Choo. Now that’s something you don’t see everyday. Choo plays right field for the Rainiers which is a position that Ichiro will hold as long as he in an M’s uniform.

Overall it was a good time. Now its back to work!

June 28, 2006

Keep Your Head Down Grandpa...

My Grandfather lives on the water near Seattle, in a place called Three Tree Point. It is quite a view to stand on his lawn and see Puget Sound. Over the years the family has received many emails from him with pictures of something amazing out in front of his house. I think the most recent picture I recall was of a wayward parrot that took refuge in a large tree on his property. It stayed for quite a while if I remember correctly. These pictures are always a surprise and typically a fun thing to receive.

Yeah what does this have to do with anything you ask? Well our new product, the X10 Sentinel, would be a vast improvement in his current setup. This camera can be mounted outdoors. Next time a seal crawls onto his deck he can zoom right up close to it; the camera has an amazing 22x Optical Zoom. He could even kick it up a notch and use the 2x Digital Zoom to get even closer. Oh yeah, did I mention he can do all of this from the comfort of his couch - without even going outside. I can just imagine getting an email with a close up still frame shot, with a link to live to view the spectacle over the internet, The Three Tree Point Webcam. And I’m sure he would also use it to analyze his own golf swing once he is done hitting a bucket of balls into the ocean every morning. It would also be a great way for his kids to check in on him… or for him to remind them his lawn needs mowing. Oh yeah, and he could use it for its original use – security.

So where can you get one of these cameras for yourself, or your grandpa? Well we have designed a new site – . This camera really has too many features to list in my blog so just give it a peek.

June 26, 2006

Air Conditioned Daydreams...

June in Washington is starting to feel more like June in California. My body isn’t going through as big of a shock as many that I know are. My schooling at WSU, in Pullman Wa, gave me many chances to experience extreme temperatures. I stayed for a summer to finish a Calculus Course and saw just how hot it can get. I think it was over 100 degrees for about two straight weeks. The heat is quite a bit dryer in that part of the state, but anything above 105 degrees gets pretty scorching.

I was browsing our X10 Blogs and I noticed that Tony put a post about the weather as well. He is far more adept to all that X10 can control, but I too have an X10 on my fan. It’s a cheap Wal-Mart fan, but it doesn’t feel so cheap when I can click a button across the house to cool down my room before I dare walk upstairs. My apartment is very much like a hot air balloon. Heat rises, and well the top of our stairs is often unbearable.

I also noticed Marko’s new blog post. He posted a Google Calendar featuring important dates in the SEO world. That’s search engine optimization to the non Web Producer. You might not be that interested in SEO events, but take a closer look at Google calendars when you get the chance. These calendars can be posted online, shared with friends and families. They are great for groups of people to keep track of events. Maybe my mom can get rid of the seventeen paper calendars she has strewn around her house, and I can finally keep track of everyone’s birthdays.

It’s about time for me to trek down the I-5 desert. Wish me luck.

June 22, 2006

Beer, Brats, and Cherry Bombs...

Here it comes again…

The Fourth of July is just around the corner. A favorite comedian of mine, Jim Gaffigan, has a funny line about our national holiday. He says something to the affect that he needs to have at least a hotdog, bratwurst, and a steak if he is going to be blowing anything up. I used to enjoy lighting fireworks a lot when I was younger. My neighborhood is in a part of the county where we are still allowed. Now I’m more interested in being with friends and family in the sunshine. Maybe this year I’ll have a BBQ. It would be a perfect time to use my Lola. I could broadcast a whole patriotic party mix from my laptop upstairs to my stereo on the patio. Well, maybe not patriotic music – but something loud. I was going to use my minitimer again for some homebrewed beer, but I don’t have enough time for the beer to be ready. Too bad, I was going to try to keg it for the first time.

Anyway we are working on a new site – featuring a new product at X10. Keep your ears and eyes open… I’m sure Marko will tell you before I do.

June 20, 2006

I can't X10'nd my leg...

Thanks to my personal trainer, my X10 Home Automation Equipment has become more convenient than ever. Why? Well on Sunday he decided it would be a good day to get started on turning my legs back into something resembling muscle. I used to play Soccer, Basketball, Baseball, and Golf…now I click a mouse. Being young afforded me a lot of time to pursue sports and compete on recreational teams. I’m still young, but I have bills to pay and IRA funds to grow. So since I’ve left school my time for sports has grown smaller and smaller. With all of that being said – my legs are sore! I’ve been used to the soreness from working out since I’ve been a fan of the gym since high school. I never focused very much on legs. Squats, lunges, and the leg press have left my poor legs quite tender. I’m walking like I have little interaction with them. That’s why it’s nice when I get home that I don’t have to run all over my house. If I want the music on my computer to come on I grab my Lola remote and it’s instantly on my TV screen. When its time for bed instead of going to every light switch in the house I grab my remote and watch them turn off. The all lights off feature is pretty nice. As soon as I get ActiveHome I’ll never have to leave my computer chair again………….yikes scary thought.

If only X10 made some sort of module that I could place on the workout machines to make the resistance less, or to make my trainer disappear when I’m ready to quit. No pain, no gain though……right?

June 16, 2006

Mike?....Yeah I know him

Fathers Day is this Sunday. Makes you think about your old man doesn’t it? Well what can I tell you about my dad? He is a great guy. He has always been a pretty popular man. I can remember being about 9 years old and taking a trip out into Federal Way. It seemed like every place we stopped, at least two people would stop him because they knew him or knew of him. I’m serious. It was rare to rent a movie at Movies and More without him seeing 6 people that wanted to chat. This is back in the day when he still worked for the Federal Way News. Yeah he is a writer. So is my brother, my uncle, his brother, my other uncle, and his brother. Oh yeah, and their father as well. As you can imagine when they all get together there is rarely an awkward silent moment. I write, a little, but its more about putting chords and keys together to make sounds in my life.

So he currently works for the United Way. Basically, if I’ve got it right, he talks to rich old guys all day helping them figure out where they might like to see their wealth spread out. He has started to pick up his passion for woodworking in the past few years as his children have grown older and moved out…hooray! He actually made me a pretty cool little shelf for my digital camera the other day. When I was 10 my mom won me 100 bucks from the radio because they were playing the name game and my name happened to come up – seems like it was my middle name though. I never saw the cash of course; my dad went out and bought me my first Nintendo with it. I was a little mad at first because I had plans to buy a years supply of chocolate milk – but the Nintendo was my second choice. The funny thing is how we kept catching him in the basement with tired eyes playing Tetris in the dark. He’s upgraded his Tetris to his laptop, but I still catch him playing.

So what do we like to do together? We both like to golf – but I’ll speak for the both of us when I say its more about being outside than trying to hit that damn ball. He loves to fish, and my interest in it is growing as well. There are not many things I can think of that are better in this world then standing knee deep in a Washington river. Leave the cell phone in the car, and the ipod on its dock. Let the wind play the old song you forget to listen to most days. He has always been supportive of my music aspirations, like I’ve said my parents are my biggest fans. They bought me my first electric guitar at an auction when I was 14. I’m not sure I have ever been as excited as I was that night, honestly. The electric guitar is like my megaphone that lets me get past my mumbly voice to say loud and clear what’s on my mind- An instant friend.

I’ll give you one more story. I think I was probably 7, so that would make my sister 9. My dad called us out to help him pick up the yard. He called us over to an old damp pile of shingles from an old roof. I’m sure he was giggling on the inside as we started to pull them up finding dollar bills under each one. Well I’m not sure my sister caught on, or maybe I just wanted it more, so I started pulling up shingles like a madman. Fifteen dollars later I was ready go buy all the basketball cards I could. My sister held her 5 dollars and was pretty content, but my dad made me even it out- 10 bucks a piece. I’m sure I squabbled for a bit but fair is fair.

I love and admire my father.

June 15, 2006

Rain, Rain...go away.

Marko’s recent rant on American sports got me to thinking. No, not a direct response to his words but something I think about often- Seattle and Sports. I like to call it the Kendall Gill condition. I’m sure this happens in other cities or specifically to other stars but it sure seems to happen a lot. Kendall Gill was a moderate star in the NBA back in the 90’s. He was a decent shooter, great slasher, and strong finisher. Gill was a very good athlete. He came to Seattle in the early-mid nineties right around the peak of his career. After a short while with the Sonics his play began to suffer. He announced he was diagnosed with clinical depression. He never rebounded and was traded. A few years later he returned to playing good basketball, scoring 21 a game. So yeah once instance? Need I mention everyone’s favorite, Vin Baker?

Well the reason I’ve been thinking about it lately is because of the Mariners. I love the guy, but what has happened to Adrian Beltre? He came off of his best year in MLB hitting 48 home runs for LA by hitting 19 for the Mariners. That may be closer to his career average, but man – that’s a big swing. Richie Sexson, our other big bat, isn’t fairing all that well either. He had about 40 homeruns last season, but only 10 to speak of this year. Yes I know that homeruns aren’t the only factor to consider, but their batting averages aren’t much to gawk at either - .231 and .205 respectively.

The trend usually is that we sign these stars, they can’t handle the rain, they move on and return to glory. Shawn Kemp started, and for the most part finished his career in Seattle – so you can’t really count him. It’s only those who come in at their prime. Ray Allen has been the only real exception I’ve seen lately. He can be simply amazing, but until we get a permanent impact player in the middle – he may see his hopes of championships fade. Keep in mind I’m young – so I may not have seen the Dale Ellis’s of the past. I have high hopes for Chris Wilcox if we can keep him. He didn’t really come in from playing great basketball – he was in the shadows up until this point.

So, any ideas? Is it the rain or possibly newly found coffee addictions? I can’t explain it. I should finish by saying that I am hardly a fair-weather fan. I watched the Sonics let another season slip away. I was there the whole time. I still even have a few Mariners on my Yahoo Fantasy team.

June 14, 2006

Wish I'd thought of that...

At X10 we are always trying to figure out unique ways to simplify our daily lives. I have to say I’m quite pleased with the latest thing our guys have come up with. I blurred out their faces as to protect their identities. I caught them hooking up an ActiveEye Motion Sensor to the traffic signal outside our building. They must have used a lamp module to get the signal to change, but whatever they did it works. It’s been up there for about a week now and I have yet to sit at that light for longer than it takes to slow my car down. I’m telling you it’s the fastest changing light I’ve seen. It sure makes getting to lunch and home a lot speedier. It also makes me wonder what other uses there are for our motion sensor lighting kits. I’m sure I can come up with something cool at my house, so I’ll let you know. Has anyone else come up with any creative ideas for motion sensors?

P.S. Here is that picture I was talking about.


June 12, 2006

Yes grandma, I can fix that alarm clock.

I had a rather disturbing conversation with my mother the other day. She is getting ready to take a trip with my grandmother, to South Dakota. They will be visiting relatives that my mom hasn’t seen since she was a little girl. This of course isn’t what bothered me. We got to talking about my grandmother. She’s a great woman. I spent last year living next door to her at my uncle’s house. I’d stop by between classes, usually about twice a day. I was her go- to- guy when it came to making sure her computer was up and running so she could email all of her friends across the world. I was also very valuable in resetting alarm clocks and changing light bulbs.

So…my mom tells me that my grandmother has been keeping one of her portable phones on the kitchen floor. This is her safety measure so she can get a hold of someone if she falls. It made my heart sink quite a bit to think of such an occurrence and the solution she has in place. Almost as soon as my mom told me of this, I recalled the Personal Assistance Voice Dialer that we carry at work. It is very much like that “help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” system that most people are familiar with. This one is nice though; there are no monthly fees that my grandma would have to pay. In an emergency she would press her call button on the heart pendant she’d have around her neck. The system would then dial 4 emergency contacts – Julie, Dave, Beth and Becky I’d imagine. Instead of calling a call center it dials your loved ones directly. So I’m buying one for my Grandma ASAP. I’ll get it setup for her so that when she gets back from her trip her old solution can be scrapped for something that really works.

June 08, 2006

This chair is comfy...

After a two year hiatus from working out, I joined a gym yesterday. I know what you are thinking, two years is a long time. Well that was the last time I was in Pullman as a student where one of the nicest gyms in the state is included in tuition. I was probably in there at least four or five days a week. So after I transferred to WSU Vancouver for my senior year I was left without such an amenity. The Vancouver campus did have a room with a few treadmills and weight sets but there was no motivation for me to head over to campus and use such a small facility. Yeah that was lazy of me, but it really wasn’t appealing.

Now that I have settled into my job and my new place it is definitely time to get back on track. It is exciting to think about the idea of getting back into shape. It will also be nice to have another outlet of energy since working on graphics and websites all day keeps me glued to a chair. It will also be a good time to make use of my Protector Plus. The gym is only a few miles away so if I have a break in at home the Protector Plus will give me a ring on my cell phone and I can quickly return to asses the situation. I haven’t heard of any other alarm systems that call you directly. I can remember staying at friend’s houses as a kid and setting off their alarm as we snuck around the house at night. After a loud siren and angry parents eventually came a call from the alarm company. The angry parents soon became angrier as they were notified of the false alarm fee their company charged. I know that I couldn’t afford to pay extra money every time I accidentally set off my alarm. Did it just the other day actually. Early in the morning I opened the back door to step out on the patio for some air and boom there goes the siren. It seems that in my morning condition of grogginess I neglected to realize that the backdoor had a door sensor as well. So I cut the siren. That was it…no fines

June 07, 2006

Bier her, Bier her, oder ich fall um, juchhe!

So Bud Light just isn’t doing it for you anymore? Yeah I know it kinda tastes like fizzy puddle water after a while. What are your options? You could always go down to your local Quick -E- Mart and grab all the beer that you can carry, and taste test until you are asleep on the couch. Or you could try something different, like brewing your own beer. I have been brewing my own for about 6 months now and have to say that my friends and I are quite pleased with the outcome. In 4 weeks time you can have a delicious and carbonated homebrewed beer. I’m sure a lot of people are already aware of home brewing and may have even had a bottle or two. I just thought it would be nice for newbie’s to the whole experience to get a little more information.

Working at X10, I am constantly trying to figure out new ways to use home automation to my benefit. For home brewing I had to go with the MiniTimer. You see during the brewing process there are several timing issues, and they vary depending on your method. Even for the simple two part beer kits you need to pay attention to boiling and cooling times. I’ll let you in on how I use the MiniTimer to brew using the simple two part brewing kits with the addition of finishing hops.

Lately I have been making a very tasty beer. I start with a Cooper’s Hopped Malt Extract Kit of the IPA variety, and a Dark Munton’s Dry Malt Extract. For the finishing hops I have been using Cascade Hops. So from what I’ve learned the most important lesson is to sanitize every piece of your brewing equipment thoroughly before it comes in contact with your product. Avoiding this process can lead to a whole slew of problems, off flavors, nasty beer, and improper process cycles.

So I grab my homebrew kit, which is basically a bucket, glass carboy, and 16 qt. brewing pot. Of course there are extras but you’ll find out when you go buy it! These kits often come with everything you need to brew beer for around $150. The next thing I grab is my MiniTimer and remote chime. I hook up the MiniTimer and plug in the chime. In my pot I pour the initial water and bring it to a boil. Next, I set the MiniTimer to ring the chime at the given intervals for the finishing hops, and to notify when the brewing should end. This means that at the twenty minute time interval the chime rings and I know its time to add just under half the hops. The second ring means I should add the final amount. And the last ring signals that the boil time is over, approximately 30 minutes from the start. The more complex process you choose to use, the more times you will need to have alerts set. You could always set a kitchen timer, watch your clock, and set the timer again each time you need to. This doesn’t make sense to me though because the MiniTimer is priced so reasonably that the benefit is immediate. After the boil is done you need to cool the “wort” (the name of the boiled brew) down in 30 minutes or less. Next, you transfer the beer into your bucket and add your yeast. Yes I am keeping the instructions simple but it really is. In your kit you will have an airlock. This airlock goes on top of your bucket and is filled with a sanitized liquid. The airlock will bubble during the fermentation process and should begin doing so within a day of the initial transfer. After a few days the bubbling will slow and when it gets down to about 2-3 a minute you should transfer the beer into your carboy. It will stay in the carboy until your process has reached 14 days total. Now you boil up your bottling sugar or dry malt in a little water, and pour it into your re-sanitized bucket. Siphon the beer back into the bucket and bottle your beer. Wait two more weeks and you’re home brewed beer is ready. I usually cheat and have one about a week after bottling.

That’s about it, if you have questions feel free – I breezed over a few points but if you are really interested you will get all kinds of great directions from your kit or local brew store employees.

June 06, 2006

I never forget a face...but in your case....

Jeeze, I complain about not having any books to read and almost instantaneously my family throws books at me. Well ok they didn’t really throw books at me, but both of my sisters had a bone to pick with me. All that attention was just the motivation I needed to get myself out to the bookstore, check that, three bookstores. The first one shouldn’t really count because it was in a mall. Yeah I went to the mall. I had to get shoes – I swear. I think it was one of those Walden Bookstores, but just after passing through the entry way I realized how inadequate those stores are.

So from the mall it was off to borders books. I strolled up to their nifty title search computer interface and quickly found the author I was looking for, Neal Pollack, would have to be ordered. I needed a book now, not 2-3 weeks. So I decided to go with a newer book from Nick Hornby – he typically writes a book that keeps my attention. A few hours after my purchase I ended up at Half Priced books. What a spectrum of bookstores I saw that day. I went from cheesy mall store, to yuppie Starbucks inside store, and finally to a store that also sells dungeons and dragons paraphernalia. It just so happened that my old roommate from freshman year in college worked there. I strolled up to the counter and asked him if he knew of the author I was after. I knew I’d better ask a person since this kind of store would not have any kind of futuristic book locating robot like Borders. He typed the name into some prehistoric Pentium 1 machine and after a few blips and bleeps he concurred that if they were to have the book it would be located in the Fiction section – thanks buddy – I replied sarcastically as I began my journey to the aisle labeled P. To my surprise there on the shelf was a book by none other than Neal Pollack. I grabbed it to the shelf and quickly completed my transaction. How ironic that I could get the book I wanted at a fraction of the price just by heading to the right source.

That is very much the way I think of our new website, Unlike the mall store, and borders, Half Priced Books had a familiar face to it. Similarly, New To X10 is introducing a personal face to the world of home automation. My team is working on taking the site in this direction. Check out the site, and then visit it again a few times in the next couple of weeks – and you’ll see what I mean.


June 02, 2006

Hooray for weekends...

Friday is here again. My Lola system should arrive tomorrow. I took advantage of the free shipping by adding a few socket rockets to my order. Those things are probably my favorite pieces of X10’s home automation lineup. They turn just about any of your household lights into automated lighting. Yeah, it can make a person lazy, but think about how convenient it would be to have one button that turns off all of your basement lights. I don’t think I have acquired enough of them to sync the lights in my entire house to whatever song is playing in itunes.

Any big plans for the weekend, you ask. Nah not really – the three day weekend left me with a cold. I camp for one night and that’s what I get. My latest batch of home brewed beer is just about old enough to uncap one and put my feet up. Oh I just had a great idea – I’ll go see X-Men3. The X-Men series seem to be the only superhero movies that I’m impressed with. I’d imagine it’s probably because of the cartoons and toys of them I enjoyed when I was younger. Now if they can figure out how to make a cool G.I. Joe movie, that’ll be something.

Nothing much to say today…next week I’ll tell you all how to incorporate the MiniTimer into your home brewing process!

Have a nice weekend.

June 01, 2006

Poor Oprah...

I need a new book to read. In the last year or so I finally developed a taste for reading. I owe this fact to my sister, but more importantly to Chuck Palahniuk. You may or may not know but he wrote the book behind the infamous movie Fight Club. A year or two ago my sister handed me the book lullaby. I had a two hour train ride back to school so I figured I would give it a shot. Well let’s just say I was consumed, and the last page turned before the wheels on my train started to slow. I tend to be pretty A.D.D. when it comes to reading, but I was comprehending while moving at quite a pace. I think it has to do with his writing style. Palahniuk often seems less concerned with comma splices and complete sentences than he is with preparing a reader to be thrown off guard. I have since read every major novel that he has written. The only book I was not as thrilled with was his most recent, Haunted. I think there were too many characters, and possibly to little in the way of new environments and settings. That was the basis for much of the books conflict so I can’t complain too much.

So I’ve run out of his novels and really need that hour or so of reading before I sleep to clear my mind. Work has been flowing at an even faster pace than I’ve seen up to this point. We are launching a brand new website, Marko is putting the finishing touches on our initial effort as I write. He dropped me into the chilly water of coding today and I think I stayed afloat quite well. Today I learned all about the coding behind those sweet order buttons you click to have your Protector Plus sent to you. I worked on Forms, SSI’s, and Anchor Tags for the majority of the day. Produce, Produce, Produce…and then see if it works. I was nearly successful in all my efforts until I overlooked one small issue that Marko had tried to stamp into my brain. You can’t have the same form name twice on one page or the order button won’t have any idea what you want it to do. Right…but it all works now. I do enjoy the puzzle of troubleshooting. I have been troubleshooting Windows 2k for years now. Its fun to fix something that’s problem isn’t staring right at you. It’s not like a flat tire, or a loose hinge.

I’ve considered reading the Da Vinci Code before I see the movie just to understand what all of the fuss is about. The last time I picked up a book to see why people were freaking out about it was when I read Million Little Pieces by James Frye. I saw on the news that Oprah had been duped by this terrible man trying to make a profit. Frye wrote this book about his time spent in rehab. He first told Oprah that it was a memoir, but as soon as his facts were questioned he backed down saying it’s what he remembers. It seems like he was all over the news after that because Oprah had sponsored his book in her book club and now she felt used. I read the book and actually enjoyed it a lot. I have a problem with the fact that everyone was so surprised it wasn’t a memoir. If you read the book you’ll see that the author recalls every day of the ordeal down to the finest details. I have yet to meet someone with such ability, and would doubt someone in such a place recovering from heavy drug and alcohol use would be so capable. I enjoyed the book because the story seemed real, and was well written. Who cares if Oprah got duped? Not me.

May 30, 2006

My Roomates Super X10 Powers

So, I recently left the nest for good. I graduated from Washington State University just about this time last year. 4 years was good enough for me. Living in Pullman, Wa for those years definitely gave me the chance to live on my own and with roommates. This is the first time that I’ve left my parents house with no plans on becoming a basement dweller again. Don’t be sad Mom, I’ll still come by on the weekend to tease you guys and walk the dog. (Yes she reads my Blog, she’s still my biggest fan).

Moving into a new place is tiring work. Especially when you have a mountain of old clothes to sift through. It was about time for that anyway. One of the biggest kicks I’ve had so far is my roommate’s appreciation of my X10 stuff. I have been interested in technology for quite a while, stemming from an initial interest in computers. Yeah, call me Kip if you like. If you’ve seen Napoleon Dynamite you can probably imagine how loud I laugh during Kip's wedding when he sings his new bride a song, here’s a bit of it.

“I love technology, but not as much as you, you see... But I STILL love technology... Always and forever. Our love is like a flock of doves, flying up to heaven above... always and forever, always and forever...”

Don’t worry; I’m not on that side of the dork scale – not yet anyway. I get home from work about an hour earlier than my roommate. This gives me time to sneakily install the new X10 gadgets that I get from work. If you could have seen his face when he walked through the door and I began flipping on lights in his path to the fridge with my remote control. His face went from pure confusion to absolute delight before I could even hit the last switch. He was sure that he had acquired some great power which would turn on lights everywhere he went. Just before he could declare his superpowers to me, he saw the remote in my hand. I think his response was something to the affect of, “So that’s what you do all day”. Yeah it’s a great aspect of my job – playing with home automation products. Since that day he shows off our fully automated bachelors pad to every guest he has, “And this button controls our weird Ikea light that Owen bought because he couldn’t resist the moving lights”.

I often find myself sitting on the couch wishing I could turn the bathroom fan off without going upstairs, or the outside light on before I go to take out the trash. If this situation comes up and I am out of the stuff I pick up at the office, I check out the daily newsletter. It really is the only place to find out about current deals, also a great place to get 4 SocketRockets for less than a new Xbox game. If you are interested in the newsletter go to and enter your email address in the little box on the left side of the page. There have been a few unexpected and exclusive sales as of late. Looks like I can finally get my hands on the Lola system, hooray.


May 26, 2006

Bands, Blogs, and Three Day Weekends

It's Friday here at X10 and my copywriter is doing her best to make me very jealous of her tickets to this weekends sasquatch music festival. Over the weeks I’ve done my best to shrug it off, a lot of the multi-band concerts I’ve been to have fallen short of keeping my attention the whole time. (See bumbershoot lineups 1999-Present)

Then the curtains opened and she showed me the finalized band lineup and schedule.
Writing with tears slowly welling up behind my now frustrated eyes I try to shrug it off again. It’s ok though.

I have had a pretty good year concert wise up to this point. Last summer I was treated to something exceptional. My sister-in-law, Sue, works for Pearl Jams Management Company. If you knew me, you’d know the gravity of this situation. We picked our tickets up at will call under; get this, “Guests of Pearl Jam”. No opener, it was just three hours of everything I’d want in life, umm I mean a show.

A few months ago I received some last minute tickets to see Ben Folds at the Paramount. I’d seen him before, but there is something inspiring about watching a virtuoso at work. That man has crispness to his voice that for the most part is unparalleled. I won’t even try to describe his playing…I just won’t.

Finally, my favorite band of the past three years played a show near my sister’s home in Portland for 13 bucks. Yeah no typo there, 13 dollars to see probably 5 of the most in tune with each other musicians in the current music scene. Pinback, sorry, that’s the name of the band. Never heard of them right? That’s what I thought. That show was amazing as well, together they perform as one giant machine hurdling through song after song bending notes, muting strings, and synthesizing chords until no one is left sitting. They are probably one of the more upbeat bands I enjoy. Rob Crow – the front man of Pinback – is a madman. I do not have enough fingers and toes to count the number of bands he has been in and currently performs with.

All this talk of music makes me want to get home and be the quiet rock star that I am. I have no place to plug in my amps and let go full throttle. I can’t crank it to 11! So it’s all finger picking and minor chords on my trusty acoustic. That’s ok though, it’s about time to write some new songs. If you want to hear any of my stuff just ask. I have been pondering how exactly I could in corporate the Videosender into a performance or recording situation. I think it would be perfect for my home recording setup. I could put my mixing board and microphone boom in a quiet area and send the recording wirelessly to my laptop. Great – now I have to buy more X10 stuff!

So have fun Lyndsey...I hope it really I'll be sending a rain dance in the direction of eastern wa.
I used to live somewhere out there - so I've got that kind of power, husky.


May 25, 2006

Playing in Google's Sandbox

Up to this point I’ve hinted at the attention to Google my job has begun to require. You see not only do I create the sparkle, but I help with the shine. While Lyndsey, or Princess Copywriter as we have become accustomed to calling her, does her thing – and the SSI Master himself (Marko) clicks keys, confirming CSS styles all the while maintaining his European mystique………..I knock out the imagery and find other holes to fill.

With the morning rain I roll in typically at 8:47 and 43 seconds, parking two spaces from the end as I always do. Check my pockets…cell phone….Ipod….car keys? Got em’. Slide through the glassy exterior of X10 into the belly of the beast. Up the stairs I climb, through a waking call center. Clock In, Log In, and get the day rolling. Quickly, I finish updating our reporting spreadsheets so Marko can inform the world that we sold another wall mounting bracket. And the day goes on…

One important part of hearing the rumblings of Google’s movement, for me anyway, is to pay attention to WebProNews. This is typically how I receive notice of new services, changes, and other interesting SEO happenings. Exciting right? Well it has been important for not only the x10 websites I’ve been working on – but also my own personal site.

I am no insider by any means, and if you are up to date than this can be seen merely as a refresher. So my team is responsible for producing new websites to X10. As I’ve mentioned up to this point we have created the Protector Plus site and the MiniTimer site. The first thing I would like to mention is Google’s “Sandbox”. My reading and experience has shown that new websites have a certain state of WWW purgatory before Google will see them fit for indexing. The “sandbox” is for the young websites to play in, while the big boys are running wild on the playground. So what helps?

(The following is my opinion, and will not lessen the lameness of your site)

External Links: Links from other respected, high page-ranking sites. This is where many small website owners fail. Link exchanges, can be more of a hindrance than a help. Just because your url shows up on 100 websites on the web does not make you more important to Google. Try to find solid sites to post your link. Try forums with high traffic that if possible are related to your site…

BigDaddy: Sometimes your Google indexing will fluctuate. And yes sales can suffer. Recently Google updated their Datacenters – (google bigdaddy for info). One day we had 15 links on google and the next 0. Three days later we flat lined at 240. Be patient.

Some useful tools from google: (a place for people in the know – to share their expertise) (a tool to see google popular searches over time. (creates, hosts, and publishes websites for free – and fast) (create your own web group, basically a forum) (a directory of tools like those above, and other google ideas)

A useful link analysis tool:
(we are pretty positive that the data displayed is not 100% accurate but an adequate resource for seeing movement)

And finally – check out – this site has a lot of tools (many free) that can help you see how your website is doing.

A quick peek outside tells me washinton is still bathing - I better float on home.

May 24, 2006

Choose Your (X10) Adventure

Washington took a bath today. My long drive home through a swampy interstate five afforded me plenty of time to think of a new blog post. Halfway between Federal Way and Tacoma I began to consider X10 and my favorite aspects of our home automation products.

Remember those series of books called Choose Your Adventure? If you do you are probably smiling right now because of how cool you feel recollecting the great times you had up in your special “reading tree” with a good Choose Your Adventure book. You chose option C, turned to page 74, and slayed the evil minotaur. Come down from the tree, high-five dad, and celebrate the great victory over a nice PB&J. Ok, so maybe it didn’t quite go like that for you - but my mom made really good sandwiches. I’m sure you recall the books even if your celebration wasn’t the same as mine.

Wondering how I will make the correlation between X10 and CYA Books? Here we go. With X10, anytime you are in your home you can think to yourself, what home automation project do I want to try next. Should I automate all of my lights, set up a protector plus security system, or setup a garage surveillance system? The possibilities in my mind are endless. My next project will probably be a Lola wireless music system. Maybe next paycheck I’ll splurge and make myself even more lazy, I mean umm, make my life more convenient.

If you’re like me, you’ve ripped your entire CD collection onto an external hard drive with ample space for your catalogue to grow. So now you have a digital jukebox just waiting for action. One problem, the party has to be where the music is - and now its in your computer room. That’s where Lola comes in - its basically a wireless jukebox connection for your MP3 collection to play over your home stereo. Yup, hook the video sender up to your computer and stereo and let the Lola software do the rest. You can scan your music library on your TV and choose which album to play next from the itunes on your computer. If I had known about this thing in college I could have been a hero, a dorm party savior.

Anyway - that was the adventure I chose for tonight…

May 23, 2006

Welcome to Owen's Blog

In the same vein as Mark Cuban and Matt Cutts comes to you a blog about…..nothing?

Well not exactly, I may not be as popular in the public eye as those two bloggers, but my mom thinks I’m pretty cool. I’m a Junior Graphic DesignerGraphic Merchan-…Web Graphic Desi- …lets just say I put together the pictures you see for some of the newer sites to the X10 family. Particularly I have been involved in creating and

I also seem to have developed the knack for keeping in touch with the daily changes that Google introduces to the World Wide Web. They are taking over the world after all, aren’t they? This would explain my reference to Matt Cutts above. He is a face to the Google-Monster that so many SEO nut’s look to for information, most of it derived from his blog. Why Mark Cuban you ask? Well, he has a blog and his team the Dallas Mavericks just knocked the evil Spurs from winning another championship. Yeah I like basketball.

Me? Well I have quite a lot going on lately it seems. I joined X10 in January 06’. I recently moved out of my parent’s basement, no more free rent :(. I’m a musician, a three point specialist, and pocket billiards extraordinaire. Well ok, I’ve been in garage bands, I haven’t played basketball for months, and my pool cue is getting pretty dusty. I am pretty good at Halo 2 though, a little too good. Seems for a while there I traded studying for finals, for scouring the elaborate levels the guys over at Bungie created for Halo 2’s multiplayer modes. So I graduated from WSU last year, but kept my Xbox Live account.

Who has time for Xbox Live when you work at X10? I do require sleep, so I’ve made a deal with myself. I turn my Xbox on a little while after I have arrived at home in the evening. To keep myself from playing all night I took a page, well a webpage – this one to be exact - from our Mini Timer site. I set my MiniTimer up so at midnight the power to the Xbox is turned off. I’m sure all those gamers across the Xbox nation are relieved when that time rolls around and my character vanishes, halting my overwhelming Battle Rifle attack before their over shield can be completely depleted. (Insert comment about me being a Nerd here) Or maybe they don’t care. Either way, now I don’t fall asleep with the Xbox on and instead know its time to go to bed…..



Goofy Picture, I know!


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