A check from Google

Somewhere over on the right hand side of this page, there are some advertisements. We have them on this website and a couple of others. It’s a program called “Google Adsense,” where you put Google ads on your page and if someone clicks on the ads, they pay you a little bit of money (on the order of a few cents). Once your account balance reaches $100, they send you a check.

We started putting adsense on our websites when we put this website up in September 2006, just before we got married. It took just over 5 years to accumulate a balance of $100, and on December 27, 2011, Google sent us a check:

(click for larger version and to see the exact amount)

So, while we’re not quite killing it like this guy, Google supplied us with a little bit of money we wouldn’t have otherwise had. Thanks, Google!

2010 Year in Review

Tonight, as we bid farewell to 2010, we reflect on some of the things that have happened this year. In hindsight, it’s been a very big year for us, with a lot of big, big changes. Here’s our list of accomplishments for 2010:

  • In January, Jacob went back to school to work on getting a Masters degree in Computer Science.
  • On one saturday in April, we got an iPad and learned that we were going to become parents (OK, so getting an iPad isn’t really a huge accomplishment, but it WAS an exciting day, and helped us launch a new business).
  • On June 14, we closed on the purchase of a house that had been trying to sell itself to us for two years, and on the same day started telling people that Marcia was pregnant.
  • On December 3, Marcia completed her mitosis and now we have two Marcias.
  • 2 weeks later, Jacob finished his second semester of graduate school (with a 4.0 GPA, which I’m quite proud of).
  • This morning, December 31, we read the Second Epistle of John, which was 373 consecutive days of reading scriptures together. 2010 was the first year in which we read together every day.
  • Also as of December 31, we have kept the smaller Marcia alive for 4 whole weeks, which is longer than any plant (and most fish) we’ve ever owned. The original Marcia is still alive and happy as well.

2010 Was very good to us, and we’re excited to see what 2011 brings. Happy New Year!

Quick rant

So, not that I want to get negative on here or anything, but I think I will for a few minutes.

Our water bill is due the same day each month (this is not the negative part).  I most of the time remember when that day comes up.  Not always though, sometimes the date occurs to mee a few minutes before the office closes.  Today was one of those days.  We made it over in time, so no late fees charged. Yay!!!

The electric/gas bill on the other hand cannot pick a  regular day to be due (this is the infuriating part).  I never know what day of the month it will be from month to month, It gets moved around and on occasion has left us with the bill being due twice in one month.  It does not happen often, but it has happened.  I liked it when it was due about a week after the water bill was due, and I had a good shot at remembering to get them both paid on time.  This last one arrived and I looked at the bill, and saw “15” of the month.  Well, when it occurred to mee this afternoon that today is the 15th, I grabbed the bills and set out to pay them, only to realize that when I saw the “15” it was really a “12!”  Great I get to pay a late fee, and it is no where near another bill due date for us to be able to remember to pay it on time.  And, it gets even worse knowing that the bill does not get printed the same time each month, so there is no way to know that it will be arriving in the mail at a set time either.

How rude!

Not bill related, but while I am on the whining kick…. We went to St Louis a few weekends ago* and had a couple of interesting retail experiences.

The first experience: we went to the customer service counter and waited, and waited, and waited, and waited, and waited some more.  Finally, we walked over to one of 4-8 employees, standing around, not helping anyone.  We asked if that person would be able to help us out.  She said she would page the customer service representative to the counter and told us to walk over there.  We did as we were asked (told).  We waited another at least five minutes, after the page was made.  We saw the form sitting on the counter that we would need to fill out; we decided to be proactive and start filling out the form.  We figured if it took that long just to get a person to help us, we would be sitting “forever” waiting to get the paperwork going.  As I was filling in the last part of the form, we saw the customer service representative walk up to the counter.  Yay, we were going to be assisted.  Not!  Another customer that walked in the door at the same time that the employee walked up to the counter was asked if she needed any help.  (In my head: “Are you ——- kidding mee?”)  CSR got on the computer and looked up some information for her and then walked away from the counter, still not acknowledging our presence, despite the page being for us and we had clearly been sitting there for quite a while, with no assistance.  We almost walked out.  At that time, the CSR returned to the desk and asked if we had been helped.  No, that is why we were still sitting and waiting for her.  She took our paperwork, typed on the computer** and got us on our way.  I was a bit surprised that they had her as the CSR, not only for her inability to be helpful, but in regards to her hygiene.  She had what looked like left-over chewing tobacco wedged in her teeth (she was not “chewing” at this time), and her finger nails were caked with stuff under them.  I only hope it was not contagious, since she was after-all touching lots of things other people would purchase and take home.  If I wasn’t ready to walk out while waiting for someone to help us, or after the CSR attended a customer that had just walked in the door instead of the people who were waiting and had had her paged (us), then the lack of cleanliness was almost enough to make mee do it.  But I was feeling stubborn-ish and did not want to let my waiting be in vain.

The second experience:  I was in need of locating a new brassier.  I knew the size and style, I just needed to find one.  Because this was a positive experience, I don’t mind telling the name of the place, the Motherhood Outlet Store.  I found the item, I walked up to the cashier and she asked if I had tried it on first.  I told her that I had not, since I was just at another place and found the item same style and size and tried it on, and it fit.  She encouraged mee to try it on anyhow.  And because we had just this summer given a seminar on fashion (of all things we could have talked about), and in the presentation we gave strong instructions to always try on clothes you will buy, I decided I should try it on.  I did, and it did not fit.  She told us that the clothes they have marked a specific way tend to have something wrong with them, sometimes it is a rip or a stain, and sometimes it is simply mislabeled.  This time it was mislabeled, or miss-sewn, it was not a “uniform” or “symmetrical” fit.  So, while we were unable to make our purchase there, we would gladly return there if the opportunity/need arose.

As we walked out of there we reflected on how the two experiences were so different, and how we would be much more inclined to return to the second store with ease, and be very hesitant to even step back into the first.  We have considered, yet have not done this, writing letters to the head quarters for each of the stores telling our experiences and telling them why or why not would we be willing to return.


* I will post more about that soon-ish (I love that ending “-ish”)
** Much more better is that she mistyped part of the info, so we had to figure it out when we got home from the trip

Obechi: new game for iPhone/iPod touch

From the creators of the Flash sensation Boomshine comes a devious new game where hand/eye co-ordination and a lightning-quick reaction time spell the difference between success and failure. Hundreds of colorful particles floating in the ether – and it’s your job to put them all together. Click and hold down the mouse button to make a ring around the dots, and watch them all gather in the center. With every ring you create you’ll get closer and closer to your target… but miss the target, even by one, and the nucleus is ruined. How quickly can you complete all fifteen levels without making a single mistake? The challenge is on…

Danny Miller and I just released a new game for iPhone called Obechi. It’s a native iPhone version of the flash game at http://www.k2xl.com/games/obechi, and it’s quite addictive.

Find it on the iTunes App Store.

The Great Tree Massacre of 2008

Yes this quiz is from a pictures taken over a  year ago.

answer83

On December 19th, 2008 at almost two in the morning we heard a noise.  It sounded like something had fallen on the house.  We put our coats on, and went outside to see the above.

We were worried that the branch may have been too heavy to leave hanging on the cable that feeds us our internet.  We also did not like the idea that it might fall on the car.

This branch was about the diameter of a healthy cantaloupe, and was very long.  Jacob went up to it to see if he could just push it off to get it away from the wire.

2008 12 19 (1) blog

Upon closer inspection, it was really really big.  He gave a few heaves, and decided it would be best to move the car out of the way so as to not allow the chance of the branch falling on the car.  So, he ice-picked his way into the car, kept the door open to see and backed the car up a ways.  He went back to the branch and gave it some good pushes.

2008 12 19 (5) blog

Down it came.  You can see where the car had been.  The sound from the branch hitting the ground was loud, and the vibrations from it hit other places where ice had formed, and we heard lots of cracking and popping around us.  The best we can describe it is to say that it sounded like a battle field.  The apartments across the street had lots of ice on the roof, that (we believe) in response to the branch noise, cracked and slid off the roof into the parking lot.  We hope all the cars were ok after that.

2008 12 19 (3) blog

The ice storm really was pretty to look at even though it really was not good for the trees (or likely the animal life either).  This is one of the electric lines next to our house that we saw at that time.

2008 12 19 (9) blog

This is a picture taken after getting up for the day.

This is not fair

So last spring/summer we had the back door open for fresh air, a lot.  A mouse came in, so we got traps and caught it in just a couple days.

This fall another mouse dared to enter the house.  We set the traps again, and it was caught with-in the hour of setting.

We had one still set along the wall, just waiting in hopes that we would not catch another.

We went out of town for a week, and the trap was empty.

The temperatures dropped, a mouse came in for a snack.  It died.

We went to pick up more traps (because even though it says reusable, let’s be honest here, I am not un-clipping the mouse and using that nasty thing again!) just in case we need them.  The temperature outside keeps dropping, and I don’t want to be outside!

The price of the traps this time was $6.88, I think-once I find the receipt I will know for sure.  This evening we were at the store getting other supplies in that area of the store, and passed the traps display, and this is what I saw:

IMG00315mouse traps

It is the original price again.  It makes me so stinking mad!!!!!

We figure that because the outside temperatures dropped, many people were having trouble with the mice coming in, and the store (or rather the people who run it) decided that they might as well make extra money off the people who already have enough problems in their lives.  And now that the traps are in less of a demand, the price has dropped back to the original rate.

Now, if I can just think of how to make this work to my advantage….  Any ideas?

Pipeline

Jacob is totally in a band!

It is a pvc pipe band.

They are awesome.

For those of our friends and family wishing to see them perform, there are a couple shows that we know they can attend. Some may be close or not so close.  However they are open to those who show up.

Monday, April 6th Pipeline will be at the Galesburg Public Library.  They perform at 10am.

Thursday, April 9th Pipeline will be at the Parlin-Ingersoll Public Library in Canton.  They perform at 2pm.

Tuesday, April 14th Pipeline will be at the Jerseyville Public Library.  They perform at 7pm.

Saturday, April 18th Pipeline will be at the Burlington Public Library.  They will perform at 2pm.

Saturday, May 9th Pipeline will be at the Musser Public Library in Muscatine.  They will perform at 11am.

Monday, May 11th Pipeline will be at the Moline Public Library.  They will perform at 6:30pm.

Be sure to invite your friends and your childrens’ friends as a bigger audience makes for a more enjoyable show, at least Marcia thinks so.  Show up early enough to get a good seat.  We hope to see Many of you at one or some of these shows.

By the way DVDs of their last tour are for sale at each of the shows.  The cost of the DVD is $10 (USD). I know some of you have been wanting to know if this was available.

I Am Unable To Post The Answer From Last Month

Sorry about that.  I left it in my other computer.  Just so everyone knows, we were able to get a new car form the rental place, nicer, much NICER and at the same rate.  It has been a busy, busy month.  We were able to get to Kentucky for Megean and David’s wedding.  It was fun and busy.  Jacob ended up playing the piano for the ring ceremony.  Tomorrow will be one month of marriage for them, I hope they still like eachother 🙂  They are a cute couple and very photogenic.  Though I am not going to post pictures, I want them to be able to do that first.  We made it home safely and on the way we found a really cool outlet mall in Indiana.  We found tennis shoes that we have been looking for and like.  Right now we are sitting in a Panera waiting to go to the airport.  And we will be in SLC for the week!  We are alive, we are very busy.  as soon as we got back from Kentucky, we went to work, got sick (me from the preschool germs,a nd jacob from my germs from the preschool), we traveled all ovver the place, and we had both cars go very south on us, so we end up getting a new car.  Well, new to us, it is an old mssion car.  We both like it, which surprises both of us very much.  Life is good when we are working.  Oh, and I got my hair cut again.  Picture to come later, today or sometimethis week.  And some sort of a quiz, is forth comming too, you just can’t have the last one’s answer until we get back home.

My iPhone game is finally available

I’ve written a new game, Boomshine, for the iPhone/iPod touch, which has just become available in the App Store.

It’s a fully authorized recreation of the original Boomshine game that took the web by storm last year, which you can still play at k2xl.com.  Here’s the official description:

Boomshine is an addictive casual game.  Touch the screen to start a chain reaction an try to explode as many dots as needed to pass a level.  The game contains 12 levels ranging from the easy to the hard (25 tries on average to beat level 12).

It was a lot of fun to write, and Danny Miller, the author of the original Boomshine, was a great help in putting it together and getting the gameplay to match the original as closely as possible.  If you have an iPhone or an iPod touch, I hope you’ll try it out; it’s highly addicting, and great fun.

Click here to open iTunes and view Boomshine in the app store.

Technology issues in the election

OK, I’m really going to try not to be political with this. It’s already pretty clear who we support in the upcoming election, but I thought putting together this list would be interesting.

The following is a list of four major technology-related issues that are important in the upcoming presidential election, and the candidates’ positions on them. I will say that I don’t agree 100% with either candidate here, and I’ll try to be as objective as possible in putting together this list. Here goes…

Net Neutrality

What it is: Currently, your internet service provider (ISP) is required to give all internet traffic equal treatment, whether you are looking at ebay, cnn.com, or jacobandmarcia.com. This basically ensures that you can get what you want, when you want it. Some ISPs have announced their intention to begin treating some traffic with greater priority than others. For example, yahoo.com might pay your ISP to give preferential treatment to them, which means that yahoo will work faster than google, or any other website that doesn’t pay for priority handling.

Barack Obama’s stance: Supports enacting a law to ensure a neutral internet

John McCain’s stance: Believes ISPs should be able to determine what content they deliver and how they deliver it

Intellectual Property Protection

What it is: Copyrights, patents, and all that stuff.

Obama: Wants to ensure that intellectual property (IP) is well protected both in the USA and internationally

McCain: Says government should handle blatant IP issues, but warns against “protectionism”

Broadband Availability

What is is: Helping as many people as possible have access to fast, always-on, internet connections.

Obama: Supports government involvement in getting broadband access for everyone. Also wants to change the legal definition of “broadband:” Currently the government defines broadband as 200kb/s or faster. Obama wants to raise that number so that it has to be faster to qualify as “broadband.” (For the sake of reference, at 200 kb/s, it will take about 3 minutes to download a typical pop music mp3).

McCain: Supports increased broadband access via competition between ISPs, instead of government intervention. No comment from McCain on the definition of “broadband.”

Internet and Telephone Privacy

What’s the big deal? The internet has created a whole new world of privacy issues: How long should a website that you buy something from keep your credit card number? How much personal information should myspace and facebook be allowed to publish to the masses? What about information about your children? Also, the national security climate has led to government agencies listening in on phone calls or monitoring internet use without a warrant (“warrantless wiretapping”). Many believe that this is unconstitutional, while others argue that it is not actually “search and seizure” as defined by the constitution. When the issue finally makes it to the supreme court, IF it is deemed to be unconstitutional, an interesting legal question arises as to the liability of the telephone companies and ISPs that participated in the wiretap.

Obama: Wants to increase the Federal Telecommunications Commission’s budget to give them more resources to track down cyber-criminals. Wants to update laws to ensure that information gathered for national security is properly used, and that all intelligence-gathering is done by completely legal means.

McCain: Supports retroactive immunity for companies that participated in warantless wiretapping. Believes the government should use all instruments of national power to fight the war against terrorists. Says that this must be done without “impinge[ing] on the rights of our own citizens or restrict[ing] their freedoms.”

As already stated, we’re supporting Obama this time around, but I tried to make this list as objective as possible and to not take anything out of context, giving each candidate a valid representation in terms of the technological issues that we currently face.

Without pushing my views on you, the only thing I’m going to encourage you to do is to make sure you’re registered to vote, and when the time comes, go out and vote!