Sunday, December 20, 2009

Vacation in Colorado!

I'm sitting here in the kitchen of our family's Condo in Winter Park, Colorado. It's nearly 1AM, and like usual, I've outlasted all others and am the last one awake. I can't believe how beautiful this place is. It's breathtaking to me to walk out and see the mountains all around me. Honestly, I wish that I could be here and see them every day. I really hope that someday (sooner than later) I can move out here and call this place my home. There's just something about it that I can't put my finger on, it's just pulling me out here more every day.

Unfortunately, the Winter Park resort hasn't gotten much snow lately, so there's about 30% of the park open, which kinda sucks, but it is what it is. I suppose you can't make the snow fall. The good thing is that we're coming back out in February, so I think I might go to the mountain and snowboard one day this trip, and save my four day pass for when we come back out for the three days.

In any case, I'm just glad to be here and be away from work and the stresses of everyday life. Being a grown up really isn't that much fun :/

Other than that, I'm going to really enjoy this week here, and it's not too bad that Christmas is on Friday either! I love this time of year, although it seems like there's a lot going on and it can be a little overwhelming at times.

Enough for now, I'm going to finish what I'm doing and hit the hay!

Friday, October 9, 2009

My mind is completely blown by this. We're REALLY small.

I've been watching Carl Sagan's "Cosmos" special lately, and I must say that while I thought there were lots of stars(suns) out there, I had no idea the magnitude of what I was about to learn.

We live on the outskirts of one of the Milky Way galaxy's spiral arms. The Milky Way galaxy alone has about 400 BILLION other suns. All could have planets, some might be like ours.

To blow my mind even further, with the update of the Hubble Space Telescope's latest camera, it has spotted THREE THOUSAND other VISIBLE galaxies. If each of those galaxies had about the same amount of suns,that equals out to be 1.2 QUADRILLION suns. That's just how many are VISIBLE to a camera. Estimates are that there are up to 500 billion other galaxies. How many suns is that? 200,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, or 200 sextillion SUNS.

Damn we're small.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Scientists have discovered a new massive ring around Saturn

Scientists at NASA have discovered a new ring around Saturn. This ring is thought to be composed of ice crystals and fine dust particles, so it's not immediately visible to the naked eye. It does, however, radiate some heat, and one of NASA's telescopes picked up the heat signature and created this photo of it. As you can see, Saturn is in the middle of the photo, and this ring is friggin HUGE!

They say it would take a billion Earths to fill this ring. How's that for feeling small?? :)

On a related note, I just learned recently about Carl Sagan, and have started watching his 13 part TV special called "The Cosmos." He was incredibly intelligent, and his words just ring true. It's amazing to me that his story has had to be modified very little since that first broadcast in 1980. He truly had a great grasp for what's out there. How inspiring and at the same time humbling.

One thing I learned from him is that every star you see at night, every twinkling light in the sky, is a Sun not that much unlike ours. It may dwarf our Sun in size, or be hundreds of times bigger, but it's a sun in its own group of planets. There's billions of them. Wow.

Google Android OS to take the number #2 mobileOS spot by 2012

This just in, people are starting to agree with my prediction it seems. has released an article today saying that the mobile Google Android OS that is just starting to make appearances on other cell providers besides T-Mobile will be the #2 OS in the world by 2012. Guess who #1 is? It's not Apple, but rather Symbian OS, which is used on Nokia phones, popular overseas more so than in the US.

Why is this? It's partly because the OS is open source, it's partly because it's backed by Google, it's in part due to the fact that the Android OS runs on a multitude of cell phones and other devices made by different manufacturers. However, mostly, it's due to the fact that the OS is so heavily integrated with Google's "cloud" computing apps that it is releasing and will continue to release over the next few years, such as the upcoming collaborative team based working tool, Google Wave.

It's projected that there will be 40 devices released next year that will run Google Android. There will still be only one iPhone.

As I said before, some big changes are coming!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Meet Wolfie! How I used Hollywood,, and a little bit of MacGuyver's skills to capture this near 4" essence of many nightmares

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Wow, Wolfie's a biggun!

I'm about to embark on a journey detailing how I captured this near four inch Wolf Spider. I named her Wolfie, and this isn't the first time I've seen her this month. I took some pictures of her nearly three weeks ago, and had my friends at help me identify her. She got away and left her hatched babies behind, so I took care of them with a little pot of boiling water. See the old pics here --

Well, three weeks later, she's back with a new egg sac and a twinkle of revenge in her eyes.

I used a little bit of Hollywood ingenuity, had a laugh for my friends over at, and got Wolfie settled into her new home, while she cares for her babies.

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In this first pic, Wolfie is crouching, ready to attack me as I let our dog Maya out to do her business. My wife Jenn nearly became Wolfie's first human dinner (that we know of) letting Maya back into the house. After her screams of terror subsided, I formulated my plan on how to capture her for good this time. I have a huge amount of respect for a spider that can grow to this size.

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I've always been terrified and fascinated by spiders all at the same time. Along those lines, when I first saw the movie Arachnaphobia, I thought my skin would never stop crawling. I remember watching the "making of" special, in which they talked about how they made the spiders perform for them on screen - they used hairdryers. You see, spiders don't like hot air. They'll walk away from it on instinct, so with a little care, you can direct them about at will! I grabbed an empty can of honey roasted peanuts and a heat gun to try and make her drop into the can. It could either work perfectly, or she could get pissed off, jump on my face, and eat me alive. That's just the chance I was willing to take.

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I put a little heat on her with the door wide open to the house, she slid down a couple of feet or so, and then let go of the screen. She dropped perfectly into the peanut can, and I promptly put the lid on. Now it was off to Walmart to find her a permanent (for now) home. Back from Walmart and you can see I decided upon a "Pet Carrier," how fitting.

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But then it hit me. How could I fit a round peg into a square hole?

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This is an exclusive present for my friends at, haha :D

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As if straight out of the movie Apollo 13, I knew what I had to do. Time to put my MacGuyver skills to work. I knew dropping her into her new home would be a little difficult, so I aimed to make myself some more elbow room.

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Almost ready to do the transfer. At least with my paper funnel, she won't be able to jump back up on me.

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It wouldn't be nice of me to put Wolfie in her new home unfurnished!

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Now she's ready to go, I've got the top of the peanut can off, and a thick pamphlet to keep her inside until I can pull it out from under her.

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She's now inside her new home, time to pull out my MacGuyver and Apollo 13 inspired funnel and close up shop.

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She's testing out her new furniture, and I'm not sure she's totally liking it yet, but in due time.

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Wolfie is clearly trying to give me a kiss in this photo. You can see my Sprint Touch Pro to the right of her house, for a gauge of the pure size of her. -- HiRes of the super macro shot I took, pretty nice! Copy and paste it into a browser window if you want to grab it for your desktop picture :)

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Here's a super macro photo I took inches away from her. It's a pretty good picture of her, although it might not be her most photogenic side.

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That's better! Say goodbye Wolfie!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Sprint to get Google Android phone before end of 2009


Finally Sprint has pulled their heads out of their asses and decided to release their Google Android phone. It's coming before the end of 2009, and while we don't know yet whether it will be the Samsung device or the HTC device, the news came straight out of CEO Dan Hesse's mouth.

FINALLY, FINALLY, FINALLY. Took you guys long enough. Android is going to change the mobile industry as we know it. I feel very strongly about this technology, and you'll see me talk about it more and more as I get one of these devices.

Friday, July 24, 2009

We're going to the White House baby!!

Woo hoo!!!

Jenn and I are going to DC very soon, and we have been waiting to hear whether or not we'd be able to attend a tour of the White House. I just got the email today, and boy am I excited! I hope we get to see the President :)

Monday, July 20, 2009

Google Voice - Fad or Game-Changer?

Hey there,

Today I'm going to be talking a little about a relatively new (to Google at least) service that Google is offering by invite only - it's called Google Voice. Formerly known as Yahoo's Grand Central, it was purchased last year by Google and has been in an invite only beta for quite some time now. I believe that it's going to be a major game changer in the market. We don't really see it yet, but mark my words it's going to be huge. I'll get to why I think that way in a little bit.

Before I get ahead of myself too much, however, let's look at Google Voice and some of its cool features. It recently came out of beta, and I believe that while it is still invite only, Google is now regularly sending out invites, which wasn't the case before. I believe I put in my request for an invite about a year ago, when it was still Grand Central. One of the coolest parts of the setup process is that you get to choose a number in your area code as your Google Voice number. The setup wizard will even make suggestions to you with some words you put into it. For example, I'm in the 816 area code, and I wanted to have a number with "Rapp" in it, so I put that in, and the wizard gave me a list of available numbers that had the numerical counterpart of Rapp in it, which happens to be 7277. Pretty sweet I must say.

Google Voice is primarily a service that aims to be one number for all of the ways to get in touch with you. When someone calls your dedicated Google Voice number, ALL of your phones will ring at the same time. This means that whether you're at work, on the road, or potentially even overseas, you can add or remove numbers for Google Voice to call you. And I'm just getting started. Here is a bulleted list of some of the other features. It would take me forever to go through them as there are a ton. This is a list pasted from their site, and is not exhaustive I'm sure.

One number for all your calls and SMS

Voicemail as easy as email, with transcripts

More cool things you can do with Google Voice

So, let me set up a typical scenario, and you can immediately see the usefulness that Google is offering here. Let's say I get a phone call on my home phone prior to leaving for work. It's an important one that I must take, but if I don't leave shortly, I'll be late.

Both my cell and home phone ring at the same time. Upon answering, the automated operator tells me who is calling (GV will ask the caller to identify themselves if they haven't called you before.) So, at this point, I can take the call, or I can let it go to Voicemail. I can even LISTEN to the person leaving me the voicemail realtime, and join the call if I think it's necessary, or let it go. Since this is an important call, I choose to take it on the home phone. I talk for a few minutes, and decide I'd better get moving to avoid being late for work. But oh no, I'm on the home phone! Do I tell the person to call me back? Nope. I just hit the star (*) key, at which point all of my other phones will ring. I pick up my cell phone, and hang up the home phone. My call was seamlessly transferred unbeknownst to the caller on the other end.

Let's say though that I hadn't taken that call. I listened to the telemarketer leaving me a voicemail and decided it wasn't worth my time. When the person is done leaving me a message, Google Voice can send a text message of the transcribed voice message straight to my cell phone, eliminating my need to go listen to it. Should I choose to though, I can log straight into my Gmail account and listen to it, forward it to a friend, or download it to listen later. I can even do this from my cell phone, as most Smartphones have web access. Also, if that telemarketer was particularly bothersome, I can have Google Voice tell him that my number has been disconnected each and every subsequent time he calls. Take that!

There are so many more features I'd like to cover, but these are a few of the most important ones to me. Best of all? This service is COMPLETELY FREE. Not that I would condone this type of behavior either, but if you were on a mobile carrier that allowed you to call a number for free (like Verizon's top 5 friends) you could call your Google Voice number, and then have it connect you for free to any phone in the U.S. I have Sprint however, so this isn't something I can do ;)

Now to the why surrounding the impact I forsee this having on the marketplace, as it's going to be a huge one. Google is currently implementing GV into their Android mobile OS. I'm very passionate about the Google Android OS and fuming mad that Sprint doesn't have a phone offering it yet. When they get their heads out of their asses they'll realize that they should have done it a long time ago. Google has 9 phones coming out this year on different subscribers, including two rumored for Sprint, a Samsung based off of the omnia, and an HTC based off of the "Hero."

Currently, Android is only offered on Tmobile in the US, but both AT&T and Sprint should get it this year. Look for it to explode like a sparkler bomb on the 4th of July, MARK MY WORDS. Once it explodes, which it will, it's going to change the industry as we know it. And integrated into that OS, which is destined for way more than just phones, will be Google Voice. You'll have a dashboard built into your Google Phone that will have all of the features listed out so you can easily access them. I can guess that Google will take the guesswork out of knowing what features are there by building a cool interface for it on their phones.

After reading this near novel length blog post, can't you see how this is going to be huge? I sure can, but maybe I have been drinking a little too much of the Google Kool-aid? If I were a betting man, I'd say hold on to your britches, because the game's about to change.

Here's a link to Google's page on Google Voice. I'd suggest to get your number as soon as possible!

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Early Bird Gets the Worm

New research by a team at a university in Brussels, Belgium says that the early bird might get the worm, but the night owls or late risers as you may call them (I'm one of these :D) have more mental stamina throughout the day.

So, it might benefit you to sleep in once in a while! I always knew I had some sort of unwritten advantage over the early birds ;)

Thursday, July 9, 2009

You've been opening those bananas the wrong way!

Earlier on this week, I found an interesting video dealing with bananas and our silly, rudimentary way of opening them. Who better to put us in our place than a chimpanzee? After all, we all know bananas are their favorite food!

Click the post title above, or click the link below to watch the video, and prepare to rethink your approach to peeling a banana :)

The First One!

I'm way overdue on starting this blog! I have always been a rather eccentric person that knows a little bit about a ton of things. Often times I feel like I'm a human version of an encyclopedia, and I rarely go for more than a few days at a time without someone telling me "Wow, how did you find that?!?"

So, without further ado, let the party begin!

Be sure to visit my blog often, I will surely post something of interest to many of you. Whether it's a new gadget out in the marketplace, a rant on the abuse of the English language, or some new breakthrough in the science or technology industry, you can be sure that I'm "in the know."

Thanks for visiting!