General Ramblings comments edit

Almost a month ago now (wow!) Jenn, Phoenix and I went to Disneyland with my parents for a three-day park-hopping adventure.

It’d been four years since Jenn and I had been, and far longer than that for my parents, so we were excited to go. With Phoenix not quite being two, we figure she probably won’t remember much of the trip when she’s older, but she’s super into Mickey Mouse Clubhouse right now, so she’d at least have fun.

The first ride Phoenix went on was the Mad Tea Party tea cups. She loved it.

Phoenix riding the tea

I’m glad she did for a couple of reasons. First, she likes carousels but she hasn’t really been on much besides that. I was afraid the tea cups might be too much, but she wanted more and smiled and giggled the whole time, so that was a relief. Second, both Phoenix and I are big Alice in Wonderland fans, so I’m glad she had a good first ride on an Alice-themed attraction.

She was excited to see Mickey… but only from a distance. We tried getting her to give Mickey a hug but we quickly discovered she’s not into the costumed characters. “NO MOUSE! NO HUG! NO TOUCH!”

No mouse! No

She didn’t seem to have a problem with the human characters (princesses, pixies, pirates) but the costumed characters that weren’t human were only allowed within about 10 feet before the alarms went off. We even tried one of the “character breakfasts” where you eat and the characters walk around from table to table. That didn’t go over well. Chip showed up and tried to say hello and Phoe went all DEFCON ONE ALERT ALERT ALERT so Chip backed off and that was pretty much the end of that.

We had actually scheduled the character breakfast at “Goofy’s Kitchen” because last time we were there the characters got all the kids to come out and bang pots and pans and dance. Phoenix is all about that sort of thing and we thought it’d get her to relax around the characters. Apparently they stopped doing that because parents complained that as the kids were coming back from the dancing, the characters continued to walk around and mingle and the unseated kids would miss characters coming past their table. I dunno. I think I’d rather have the dancing.

Of course we all got hats…

Travis, Grandma, and Phoenix with mouse

…and Phoenix wore hers everywhere. Even now, a month later, she still loves that hat.

Phoenix and Jenn with mouse

She also ended up getting a Minnie Mouse dress, which she also wore all over (and still does).

Phoenix in her Minnie Mouse

The big new attraction was Cars Land in the California Adventure portion of the park. We saw most of it, but it was pretty packed - even in the middle of October - so we didn’t get to see the whole thing. We also sort of left that for the last day and ran out of time.

We did get to ride all the other rides - from Splash Mountain to Star Tours, the Grizzly River Run to Soarin’ Over California. We missed quite a few last time we were here so it was good to catch them this time. We’ll try for the Cars Land rides next time.

Jenn lost her sunglasses on the Indiana Jones ride last time we were here, so I had to match her and lost my sunglasses in “Captain EO.” You’re probably wondering how I lost my sunglasses in a movie… I was, too. They must have just fallen out of my pocket. I realized as soon as we got out the exit, but when I turned around to go back the doors had already shut so I ran around to the ride attendant and explained the situation. Since the next show had already started I had to wait the 17 minutes for the movie to end, then I could go back in through the exit doors and search. That was honestly a pretty rough 17 minutes. I wouldn’t have been so worried if they were just $50 sunglasses or something, but they’re prescription - way, way more than $50.

Anyway, I went back in and searched for the two minutes they give you between when one crowd leaves and the next is seated. I didn’t find them, even with the attendant’s help. I called out to the audience members to see if anyone saw them but no one did. Jenn and I then got to sit through “Captain EO” again, you know, because they won’t let us do any real searching, and we searched again for the two minutes. I got some pretty harsh rug burns on my knees from that. Finally, after the second round of “Captain EO” (which I am now thoroughly sick of) one of the audience members announced he’d found my sunglasses and handed them to me. Thank goodness. It was an hour lost, but a couple hundred bucks saved. Big props to Jenn for standing by me on that one.

One of the cool things we did was see the “World of Color” show at the end of the last day. That show is over in the California Adventure park and they have a nice water display with lasers, lights, and video projection all set to music. From an engineering perspective, I really liked it - you can get these light-up ear hats that have some sort of receiver in them and the lights in the show will coordinate with how your hat lights up. Really cool stuff. Jenn and I had to get the hats and wear them. (When you’re not within range of the broadcast, the hats flash random colors and are still really cool.)

It was a fun, but long, vacation and at the end I think we were all ready to go home. Phoenix was a trooper, really being good most of the time despite the record heat (~95F each day) and not getting a nap. Toward the end we were all tired, she was starting to get naughty, and we’d all walked our feet off. I think that’s part of what makes it a good one, yeah?

The whole family riding the trolley in California

I posted a few more pictures for folks interested. Good times, and I look forward to the next vacation.

net, autofac comments edit

For those of you who use Autofac, I thought I’d provide a bit of a project update to let you know what’s going on.

First, there’s been a little shake-up in the project ownership role. Nick Blumhardt, original creator, will still be working on the project as a committer but has stepped down as an owner. Alex Meyer-Gleaves will remain an owner, and I’ve now been made a co-owner with him. Nick has posted a formal announcement in the Autofac newsgroup. Huge props to Nick for making such an awesome product; I hope I can help carry that forward with as much success.

Next, we’re working hard on the upcoming release of Autofac, which we’ll be calling 3.0. The core Autofac assembly will be a Portable Class Library so we can support WinRT, Silverlight, and full .NET. That will potentially mean a few small breaking changes, but it shouldn’t be too bad to adjust to. We’ll be adding NuGet packages for all of the contributed projects (which are now the “Autofac Extras”). Dependencies have been updated so we’ll link to more current releases. We’re running down the issues list to see if we can get as many resolved as possible before the final release. And we’ve done a ton of updating to the build and static analysis process so it’s easier to work on, easier to extend, and adds a lot more confidence to the shipping builds. I really think you’ll like it.

I anticipate that should all be showing up Real Soon Now. You can follow the progress on the Autofac newsgroup.

media comments edit

As part of my media center solution, I have a fairly rigorous media and metadata management process that goes on any time I acquire new media. I figured I might give folks a glimpse behind the curtain so you know what goes on. Broken down by media type, here’s how it goes from acquisition to “in the system.”

  • Audio (Music, Audiobooks)
    • CD
      1. Add to Music Collector.
        • Enter the CD info, generally by bar code.
        • Clean up artist or album name data if needed.
        • Synchronize collection with Music Collector Online.
      2. Add to iTunes.
        • Rip CD as Apple Lossless. Files end up on Windows Home Server for later serving via Asset UPnP.
        • Clean up metadata as needed - artist, album, cover art, etc.
      3. Synchronize iPod.
      4. File the disc.
        • Pull the disc, front cover, and back cover out of the plastic box.
        • File the disc with the front cover in a DJ box.
        • File the back cover in an expanding folder.
        • Recycle the plastic box.
    • Digital (MP3, AAC)
      1. Download from original source (usually Amazon MP3).
      2. Add to iTunes.
        • Drag into iTunes. Files end up on Windows Home Server for later serving via Asset UPnP.
        • Clean up metadata as needed - artist (last, first), album, etc.
      3. Synchronize iPod.
      4. Add to Music Collector.
        • Add the digital files to Music Collector.
        • Clean up artist or album name data if needed.
        • Link to a Music Collector album profile.
        • Synchronize collection with Music Collector Online.
  • Video (Movies, TV Shows)
    • Blu-ray
      1. Add to DVD Profiler.
        • Update the local profile database for my existing collection.
        • Enter the disc info, generally by bar code.
        • Synchronize collection with DVD Profiler Online.
        • Backup the local profile database.
      2. File the disc.
        • Pull the disc cover, discs, and inserts out of the plastic box.
        • File the disc with covers and inserts in a DiscSox storage set.
        • Recycle the plastic box.
    • DVD
      1. Add to DVD Profiler.
        • Update the local profile database for my existing collection.
        • Enter the disc info, generally by bar code.
        • Synchronize collection with DVD Profiler Online.
        • Backup the local profile database.
      2. Rip the disc and add to media center.
        • Rip the disc with DVDFab HD Decrypter.
        • Update the folder name with the disc image so XBMC can scrape data.
        • Update the DVDID XML file if needed for Windows Media Center.
        • Copy the disc image onto my NAS (Synology DS1010+) for later serving.
        • Start XBMC on my master computer (read/write access to the database) and let XBMC scraping add the new item to the database.
        • Verify/correct any XBMC metadata issues.
        • Start Windows Media Center on my master computer and wait for it to add the cached metadata XML file to the system.
        • Correct the metadata using DVD Library Manager including better cover scans.
      3. File the disc.
        • Pull the disc cover, discs, and inserts out of the plastic box.
        • File the disc in a binder.
        • File the cover in an expandable folder.
        • File the inserts in a small photo box.
        • Recycle the plastic box.
      4. Optional: Convert for Mobile Use (via Handbrake). If I do this, I put it into iTunes and then sync iPod and iPad.
    • Digital
      1. Redeem the “digital copy” code (in iTunes).
      2. Update any metadata as needed.
      3. Sync iPod and iPad.

You’ll notice that, at this time, I’m not ripping Blu-ray discs to any media server/digital format. I don’t have a ton of them and they just eat disc space, so I’m not there yet. I’ve also still not figured out a good compression format that retains the surround sound, which is why I rip full images from DVDs.

You’ll also note that I don’t really buy digital videos. The only ones I have are from those “digital copy” things you get with some disc purchases. There’s no DRM-free equivalent that they sell videos in right now, so these are “neat” but aren’t my system of record and probably won’t be if I have anything to say about it. (Which, someday, I may not

  • thanks Hollywood…) The only time I even use these is if I’ve got my iPad on a trip or something. I don’t/can’t use them through my media center.

For all the folks that think maintaining something like this is free… now you see it isn’t. Or maybe it is if you don’t care about the housekeeping part, but I can see that after you get to a sufficient size then having no organization (or not caring) may render the system unusable, which is what I’m trying to avoid.

General Ramblings comments edit

Phoenix is not quite two, but in her words, “I big.” She is starting to become very independent, or at least she tries to be.

Phoenix in her Batman

In some cases she doesn’t even want you to read her a bedtime story. She’ll do that herself. If you try to sit next to her or point things out, she’ll take the book and move somewhere else.

She really likes music and dancing, and there are rules around that you must follow. If she’s dancing, you need to get up and dance. If you sit down, she’ll come over and grab your hand to pull you back up so you’re dancing again. (She says, “pulllllllll” as she pulls you.) If you stop dancing and just stand, you get scolded (“Daddy! Dance! Go!”). For a while dancing amounted to bouncing up and down and clapping. Now it’s more of a “march” where you take big steps and swing your arms.

Her favorite music is electronic with a heavy disco sort of beat, particularly the LMFAO album Sorry for Party Rocking. We listen to that nearly every day in the car on the way to day care. The conversation goes something like this:

Phoenix: Daddy, I want rock. [points at the radio]

Me: You want to listen to the radio?

Phoenix: OK*. I want rock.

Me: Party rock?

Phoenix: OK.

* Phoenix only really says “OK” or “no.” Sometimes you’ll get “yeah,” but generally it’s “OK” for “yes.” I think she gets this from Jenn, who basically has “maybe” and “no.”

I scroll to find the album and start playing it, at which point any bad morning changes to smiles and clapping and giggling. She really loves her party rock. She can’t even wait between songs - that three second pause? - before you hear, “I want rock!” Don’t try to put something else on, she’ll tell you no. In some cases if she doesn’t recognize the first few notes, even if it’s just another LMFAO song she doesn’t hear often, she’ll say no. She wants that specific album.

We had that conversation this morning, but when we finally got to day care she saw we were there and started crying. “No, Daddy! I want rock!” Don’t turn that party rock off, there’s gonna be a problem. She knows what she wants.

This morning she knew she didn’t want socks. Some days she does, some days not. When she doesn’t, she’ll try to put the socks back in the drawer after you get them out. We took the socks downstairs to put them on her. The whole time, she was acting like there was something upstairs she wanted, but we were trying to get ready so kept telling her no, it’s time to get ready to go.

Eventually it came time to put the socks on and she had a total meltdown like we packed the socks with acid before putting them on her. Fine, no socks. We pulled the socks off and she grabbed them both and pointed upstairs. “Back.” She wanted to put them back. She walked Jenn up the stairs, went into her room, and put the socks back in the drawer. Then she picked up a pair of socks that didn’t make it into the laundry bin and put them in the bin. Finally all was right with the world. I’m guessing that nagging thing she wanted upstairs was to put those socks in the bin…

…which meansI successfully passed along my OCD to the toddler. A place for everything and everything in its place. Jenn, you’re outnumbered!