Browse Month: May 2012

05/30/2012

We have three rats as pets, and tonight I decided we need to formally acknowledge our fourth rodent in the house. There’s a tiny brown mouse who’s been living in our basement for the past few months. I’m not sure where he hides, exactly, although on two occasions I’ve heard him scratching around inside the ceiling of my office.

A few nights a week, at about 9:30 Laralee and I will settle down in the family room to watch TV. Inevitably, during the show we’ll see the little guy pop out from under the basement door and zip across the floor to the laundry room. Then he’ll round the corner into the family room and go behind the TV. After a few minutes it’s over to the back door, then quickly under the couch. A few more minutes pass and he darts into the kitchen before heading back downstairs. It’s really quite funny because he always takes the same route. I imagine he’s just looking for a way out of the house. We’ve made a few attempts to catch him but he’s really fast– sometimes he’ll make a sharp turn on the hardwood and his little feet can’t get a good grip so he sort of slides a bit, frantically pumping his feet to get traction again.

I think I’m going to just go ahead and open the doors one of these evenings, and see if he takes the opportunity to escape.

Oh, and I decided to name him Franklin. No idea why– it just struck me.

05/29/2012

Just back from playing ultimate, and the new office has a shower. Nice. It wasn’t overly hot today, but I’m still pretty sweaty after an hour in the sun. A shower sure felt nice.

Note to self: bring a comb next time.

05/28/2012

When we woke up yesterday morning, the view out of our hotel window was this:

Snow and fog obscured the nearby mountains, and the snow was coming down pretty thick. We checked the weather forecast and road conditions for Yellowstone (our destination for the day) and learned that many roads in the park were closed, with snow tires required for winter driving conditions throughout the park. Moreover, it was going to snow all day with winds gusting to 30+ mph. Not really a fun day ahead.

So after a brief family conference, we voted to bag Yellowstone and head home instead. It was a real bummer, because we were only 60 miles away, but all of us felt that driving on slick roads (the van doesn’t handle very well on snow) and walking through the various areas of the park in 30-degree air with snow and gusting winds didn’t sound like much of a vacation. More than likely, some of the cool sites like the view of Upper and Lower Yellowstone Falls would have been a disappointment because you probably wouldn’t be able to see far enough in the distance.

We came home, driving through snow and rain for several hours before emerging into the howling winds of southern Wyoming.

Today was technically still our vacation, so I decided not to work (much). Instead, Laralee, Kyra, and I drove down to Boulder to watch the national championship game for USAU college ultimate. It was Wisconsin vs Pittsburgh, and the game was really fun to watch.

Pittsburgh ended up beating Wisconsin, who had a lot of deep-huck turnovers. Afterward the three of us went out for lunch at Red Robin and enjoyed the last day of our “vacation”. Not everything turns out as planned, but we still manage to make the most of it. Good times.

05/26/2012

We’re up in Jackson, Wyoming this weekend for my brother-in-law Doug’s wedding. He met his wife at a little pizza place called Dornan’s, so they decided to get married there.

The weather forecast for this weekend was pretty abysmal: rain, snow, and highs in the 40’s. It was certainly true yesterday, although that didn’t stop us from swimming in the (outdoor) pool and relaxing in the hot tub. It was interesting sitting in the hot tub as cold rain dumped on our heads.

This morning, however, the rain stopped, the clouds parted, and the temperature rose into the 50’s. It was a beautiful day for an outdoor wedding. Driving north of Jackson we could see the Tetons on the west. Although the sky overhead was a clear blue, clouds wrapped the mountains. Pretty cool.

At Dornan’s, we headed down to the river for the ceremony. It was really pretty with the mountains in the background (unfortunately not visible here).

As we finished and started the reception, the clouds started rolling in.

Literally in the span of minutes, the sky went dark and howling winds and rain started up. A microburst literally peeled the roof off a nearby building. There were a few lightning strikes visible to the west. The mountains quickly vanished in the grey gloom.

The rest of the day remained cold and rainy, but it was pretty neat that during the wedding it was absolutely gorgeous.

Congratulations to Doug and Jen!

05/25/2012

Kyra dressed up for Continuation, which is basically eighth-grade graduation. She’s such a cutie.

She won several awards, including Outstanding French Student, Oustanding Volleyball Player, Outstanding Band Student, third highest GPA, and an academic award for her work in the International Bacchalaureate (IB) program. She’s pretty awesome.

05/23/2012

If only my to-do lists looked like this kid’s…

05/22/2012

Today was moving day! After months of planning and preparation, followed by a frantic series of contractors coming and going, it was time to head to the new office.

We packed up everything in the old office except a few desks no one wanted. It looked like kind of a mess when we walked out…

I really like that office and it’s served us well for over five years, but it was time to move on.

We hauled everything in our Odyssey, Josh’s Element, and Steven’s F-150. It only took two trips, which was nice. Earlier in the day I’d helped the FedEx guy unload my new desk, and when our conference table arrived the shipping company uncermoniously plopped it on a pallet in the parking lot and drove off. So we all hauled those pieces upstairs as well.

Here’s the conference area, filled with flotsam and jetsam. The foosball table is standing on end, with our huge new 6×4′ whiteboard (still in its box) leaning against the far wall.

We spent the late afternoon and early evening building new desks, constructing the conference table, and arranging our offices. A few of the guys had to head home after a long day, but Brian, Josh, and Dustin stayed behind so we could clean up the detritus and avoid coming into work tomorrow and seeing a mess.

The three of them are discussing possible places for the foosball table in relation to the upcoming ping-pong table. It’s hard to truly appreciate the massive conference table behind Josh… it’s twelve feet long and weighs something like 600 pounds.

It was hard to take pictures because it was dark– we were there until almost 9:30 (thanks guys!). But at the end of a long day, I went home excited. This new office rocks. It seems like everyone else is pumped, too. We’re definitely moving up in the world.

05/21/2012

Today the new carpet was laid in the office. What a difference a nice pile carpet makes in place of old dark industrial stuff!

Things are finally coming together…

05/17/2012

Every year for a few weeks in May, the cottonwood trees shed their seeds. There are a bunch of them in the neighborhood by my office, and when there’s a bit of a breeze the effect is quite startling. It literally looks like it’s snowing outside because there are so many cottonwood seeds floating through the air.

This was the view out of the office window this afternoon:

Click the image to see a larger version and notice the “snowflakes” everywhere. This was probably average for the day– at times it was a bit lighter, of course, but at times it was much heavier. You couldn’t walk without getting the seeds in your eyes or mouth.

It also collects on the ground and truly looks like snow from afar.

Since it’s pretty warm these days, I leave my car windows open a bit during the day. The seeds find their way through the cracks (how could they not, given sheer volume?) and when it’s time to go home I roll down the windows and drive six miles, streaming cottonwood out of both windows as the wind blows through the car. Pretty funny stuff.

05/17/2012

The new office is finally starting to take shape. After several weeks in March of looking at places all around Longmont, including a “unique floorplan” (words to watch for in real estate listings!) ex-photo studio, I found a place that was really cool. Third floor, balcony, wonderful view of the Flatirons in the distance, and convenient to Boulder and a lot of restaurants. It was great. But after several more weeks of planning and anticipation, the deal fell through and I was left with nothing. Our current office was stuffed to capacity: seven people in about 400 square feet. I was feeling frustrated and a bit desperate.

The next day I found an office that was actually still being rented to another company that had folded, and it looked like I could sneak in and take over the space. It had all of the things I had been looking for: private offices for everyone, lots of windows and natural light, other nice offices in the building, and the location was nice– not as many restaurants, not as close to the ultimate field, farther from Boulder (sorry Brian!), but definitely more convenient for me: about a mile south of my house.

Here’s a view from the “lobby”, which is an open space with some really uncomfortable chairs. Two of the offices are visible, complete with the old furniture the previous tenants had left when they vacated.

Here’s a shot down a hallway with offices on the left and straight ahead and a file room on the right.

The ceiling is “industrial” but there are some nice lights– the offices also have the same lights. They’re fluorescent, which I don’t really care for, but they’re nicer than any fluorescent lights I’ve seen. There are cubicles on the right, and the lobby beyond that.

Well, time went by and I worked out a deal. After signing all of the papers it was time to give this place some character. The first order of business: remove all of the cubicles and existing furniture. The other company actually sold all of it to some business furniture auction place, so it cleared out the space.

Next, I felt like we had to spice up the walls a bit. The entire place– including the ceiling hardware– was painted a uniform cream color. After a bit of thought and some consultation with my good friend Christina, who agreed to lend her artistic eye to the process, we came up with a set of potential paint colors. Everyone was allowed to choose the colors they wanted for their offices. I guess it was no surprise that everyone picked something different. The end result is seven offices with fourteen colors. Yikes!

The other major change was the carpet. I’m barefoot all the time– even in the winter– so it’s important to me that the floor under my feet is nice. The office had ugly industrial-type carpet everywhere, and I like pile carpet. So it was time to rip up all of that and replace it with a high-grade residential carpet and a nice soft rubber pad on the concrete.

Without the cubicles, furniture, and carpet, it looks a lot less friendly:

But things started warming up when the paint hit the walls.

The file room, soon to be a break room with a sink and refrigerator, will have tile instead of carpet. Here’s how it looked this afternoon, prior to the grout work:

The paint and break room work should wrap up tomorrow, then carpet on Monday, and we’ll move in Tuesday. It’ll be exciting: a big step for Zing. And not a day too soon.

05/16/2012

Today’s funny spam is a credit report:

I mean, here’s this guy just surfing the web or checking email, and his wife (maybe– she’s wearing about six rings) comes up behind him and starts pawing him. She whispers little sweet nothings into his ear: What’s YOUR Score?

This is just begging for someone to caption it.

05/15/2012

Apparently the spammer sending me a LinkedIn invitation is in the “jeff” section of his mailing list.

05/15/2012

I have mixed feelings about the new office.

Upside: Shower after ultimate.
Downside: The commute to the ultimate field will no longer be 90 seconds.

Of course one of the motivations for moving into our current office is its proximity to the ultimate field. This time around, the new office had a different set of priorities. I guess you can’t win ’em all.

05/15/2012

I was working late this evening, as usual, and when I finished up I was poking around the internet a bit. I found a site I’d bookmarked long ago and checked to see if it was still there. Sure enough. It has hundreds of old Apple II games… the games that were on 5.25″ floppy disks. Classics that I played as a kid, like Lode Runner, Taipan, Night Mission Pinball, and of course Thom’s favorite, Black Magic.

I downloaded the disk images and the emulator necessary to run it. Reading some documentation, it seems like the emulator has even been ported to iOS so you can run these classic games on your iPhone or iPad. Since I have neither, I had to figure out how to run it under Linux. There’s a Windows version of the emulator, and of course it’s possible to run (some) Windows programs on a Linux system using Wine.

Off I went. I downloaded the latest source code for Wine and compiled it, then installed it on my desktop. The games sort of worked– Lode Runner came up in all it’s two-color glory, but the keyboard wasn’t working quite right. And yes, I actually still remember the keys to move the guy in Lode Runner!

I wondered if maybe Wine was the problem, so I looked for some old Windows programs to see if I could run them. I chuckled when I found an old copy of Netscape 4.8. I have newer versions, of course, but it seems like testing something from the mid-90’s would be a great idea. I ran the installer and voila! there it was: Netscape 4.8, running beautifully on my KDE Linux desktop.

Just for kicks I went to this blog site. Wow, it works!

The font styling leaves something to be desired (I think this version of Netscape was before CSS really existed) but hey, it’s not too shabby. It probably helps that I wrote the code for this blog a long time ago and it’s not using a lot of the CSS tricks that “modern” sites use.

It’s funny to remember those fond days of using Netscape Mail. Now if I can figure out what’s going on with the Apple II emulator, I can remember the even fonder days of Lode Runner…

05/10/2012

I was looking at a web site this evening, and noticed some text on the page was blinking. Strange. No one does that any more… not since about 1994. But out of morbid curiosity I checked the HTML source:

Wow. The fabled blink tag. The one web programmers mock. I didn’t know it was even supported in modern browsers! Amazing.

05/10/2012

So I’m looking online for a nice big conference table for the new office. I found something that looked promising but when I clicked the link to see it…

So it’s not available– which is kind of annoying but oh well– and the site’s other recommended items I “may be interested in” include hubcaps and SUV window pillars.

Uhh…

05/08/2012

Alex was in the kitchen tonight with Laralee. He mentioned to her that the shampoo bottle in his shower was empty, and there wasn’t any more under the bathroom sink. She shrugged and said he could just use Kyra’s shampoo for a few days.

He was aghast. “But then my hair will smell like gummi bears!

05/07/2012

Well, Zing is certainly evolving.

About a year ago, there were three of us. Now there are seven, and I’m considering an eighth. We’re about to move into a sweet new office. Our client list continues to grow. Somehow we all continue to be busy.

It’s been an interesting ride over the past year. The dynamics of the team have changed quite a bit, for everything from playing foosball to going out to lunch together. Right now we’re all squeezed into an office that’s comfortable for four but most certainly cramped for seven. I think all of us are excited to get a bigger space where almost all of us (except the New Guys) will have private offices. It’ll be fun to see what happens with that, and how much more changes over the course of the year.

Onward and upward!