The Post-Holiday Update

So, the holidays are finally over. I still haven't found a job, but the openings I'm finding now are actually up my alley (Web development). There are a couple positions on campus, and one at Sauer-Danfoss that look interesting. In the mean time, I'm enjoying the idea of not going back to class next week and actually having more free-time all year long to work on personal projects and keeping the apartment clean most of the time.

Work is getting interesting. I will probably be moving the college web server sometime before I leave, upgrading people to PHP 5. I still have some polishing and documentation to do on the scholarship system, which I am in the process of handing off to someone who has very little PHP experience and relies on Dreamweaver for editing (shutter). I have five years worth of personal belongings at the office (various mugs, office toys, textbooks, career fair swag) that need to start migrating back home. I have set my time there to be two weeks notice or the end of January.

As for the holiday loot, I got some nice sweaters, office toys, a nice thing to fold my nice shirts for travel, an awesome watch from my brother, and a 32" Westinghouse LCD TV. It was on sale the day after Thanksgiving at Best Buy for less than $500, so I strongly hinted that detail to my parents. As expected, I hooked up my Mac mini via an DVI to HDMI cable (Cheapest I could find in town was $25 for a gold plated one a Wal-Mart). I also went out to get an antenna to pickup over the air HD content. I have to say, I watch a lot more PBS now. I'm probably going to return the antenna for a amplified antenna because I don't get some of the channels very well, mostly Fox. In order to get my regular cable signal, I had to hook up my VCR again to an analog AV in to the TV. I still have S-Video, 2 component, and a VGA input available in the back. The only thing I need now is a decently priced digital cable package from Mediacom that offers HD content that Gaila and I would watch and maybe an eyeTV.

Anyway, Gaila and I hosted the New Years party at my apartment. It turned out pretty well. Had about 10 people in my living room and kitchen. Gaila cooked a turkey, people brought munchies, and we watched a lot of Family Guy. We are all starting to show signs of getting older. We were getting exhausted by midnight and pretty much everyone was gone by around 1 or 1:30. Back in high school, it wasn't uncommon to have most people still around at 2 or 3 in the morning.

Dashcode Developer Beta

Today, Apple has released an official beta of Dashcode (the Dashboard Widget WYSIWYG app). This version has been scaled back to work in Tiger, but will be officially released with Leopard and expires on July 15th. Assuming they want to include changes to Dashcode before the release of 10.5, I doubt it will be release earlier than expected at MacWorld as some have been speculating.

Northern Lights

Last Thursday, after Gaila got off work, we went north of town to try to catch a display of the northern lights after reports of a solar storm heading for earth that was supposed to hit that night. We got out of town by 11:00 PM and got to see a little bit of green aurora for a while. From what I have found online, we missed the best of the show earlier that night between 6 PM and 8 PM. Someone from Des Moines photographed them over Sailorville lake. The best we saw was most similar to this image.

Did anyone else in Iowa get out to see this?

aurora in iowa

Financial Counseling and Mac mini

So, I set up an appointment with a financial counselor and went to see him today. For those who don't know, you can get free financial advice (if you are an ISU student) via the Financial Counseling Clinic. I found that by consolidating my loans with a particular company, and under certain conditions I can save over $3,000 in interest payments. I highly recommend this service. Taking their FREE advice, I'm looking to save over $6,000 in the course of 15 years. They will also help you with other financial issues for free, such as managing credit card debt, savings, large purchases, etc. They will even take clients who are not students for a fee based on income and number of dependancies.

Anyway, enough plugging financial counseling....

I just bought a Mac mini.

I used my student discount to get a low-end Mac mini that I will eventually use as kind of a home theater computer. It arrived today. Woot!

Gaila's Wishlist




I finished my last piece of coursework today before noon with a final. The last two weeks have been incredibly stressful with projects, papers, and tests to do. I will not be going to any graduation ceremony and I have no plans for any party this weekend.

I still don't have a new job. Now that I'm not so busy with school work, I can focus on my job search. I have mainly been looking at Principal, but so far I have been denied for every job after. Places that don't allow you to upload your resume (either in plain text or .doc or .pdf format) are a pain to work with. For example, Principal doesn't give you space to list extracurricular activities, hobbies related to the field, specific skill-sets, etc. Only your degree, GPA, and a brief job history are accepted in their system.

I do have a lead on a campus job doing ASP MSQL work. Depending on what the details are, it seems like it could be a good job. I also have a few other ideas I will be pursuing next week. For the time being, Tom is allowing me to work until I get a full-time job or through the end of January. I have to document what I have been doing and leave instructions for how to do the things I do at work. I have to say goodbye to my scholarship system I have developed and maintained over the past few years, and I have a few web sites to move off yogurt that is still hosted here. Working for Tom was awesome.

So, anyway, that is what has been going on in relation to graduation. I hope everyone had a good semester.


Gaila's grandmother passed away Thursday morning after suffering from an abdominal aortic aneurism. She waited for the entire family to be there with her before she passed. This is the first chance I've had to let anyone other than my parents know what was going on. I'll be going to the funeral in Ottumwa on Monday and will be back in town for class and work Tuesday.



Yay! It's Finally Break Time

This week has been so stressful. Having two group project deadlines, a take home exam, a paper, and a case study were all due this week. Before Tuesday at noon, there was another project due this week, but luckily, the class is small and the project has been pushed to after break.

Sometime during this past week (between the 13th and 14th) marks 2 years with Gaila. Looking back at the blog entry I made about it, I can't believe it has been this long. Time flies.

I managed to find a program that will work with the bluetooth in my cell phone to perform actions when I use it or when I leave or come back from my computer. It is really nice when the phone rings while I have my music going. When the phone rings, I get a nice notification of who is calling me (integrated with Address Book). When I answer it, iTunes pauses. It's especially awesome when the phone rings when I'm in the living room with AirTunes piping music out there; I don't have to miss a beat :D. I might just spend the $10 to purchase it after the 10 day fully functional trial. The program is called BluePhoneElite.

Apparently, some people have been having problems with FireFox crashing when trying to load the video in my last post. I tried to duplicate the problem, even on a machine that exhibited the problem, but it didn't crash on me. I have changed it to not auto play and enabled the controller. Hopefully that will fix the problem.

I will now leave you with a posting of an image that reflects my opinion about the whole PS3 hype, and will probably apply to the Wii hype on Sunday.

Interesting Trick

For those of you with Macs and iSights turned on, this QuickTime movie is just for you:

How I did it

John's Wishlist

Last Updated: 02-12-15

This list is subject to change. Here is the wish-list for those who want to buy me something (some may appear on Gaila's List:

  • xkcd swag. particularly interested in the signed prints, posters, and buttons
  • Blue-Ray Movies (if you know what movies I like)
  • Interesting desk ornaments (good place to look for these is Think Geek)
  • Snuggly sweaters
  • Wine (if you know my tastes, dry whites), nice beer
  • Gift Certificates to iTunes, Lowe's, Wal-Mart, Target,, Outback Steakhouse, Fighting Burrito

Purchase gifts from Amazon via links in the list or from the search box on the left to send me some commission. If you are buying Amazon gift cards use this link. It doesn't affect your price.

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