January 22, 2006

British Virgin Islands

Filed under: Sailing,Travel — pohodo @ 8:11 pm

I finally got around to putting some pictures together of our trip to the BVI last November. Of course, I haven’t written much about the trip, but you can see part of the trip stuff here.

January 15, 2006


Filed under: Politics — pohodo @ 8:12 pm
So I’ve got to tell you that I really don’t like paying all of these taxes for school when I don’t even have any children. What burns me up even more is the fact that people who decide to have children actually get a tax BREAK for each kid they have, even though they’ll consume way more services than me. I just don’t understand how I should pay MORE than somebody with a basketball team of kids for the services that they’re consuming and I’m not.I feel very strongly that people who decide to have kids should certainly pay more since they consume more things like public education. For every kid somebody has, they should have to claim another NEGATIVE 1 on taxes and pay more housing taxes. Certainly more than somebody who is consuming very little.

Yeah, yeah… sure, I don’t necessarily mind paying a little here and there to enable people who are less fortunate to send their kids to school, but a normal family should definitely be pulling more weight than me – not getting breaks.

January 6, 2006

Quite Brief 2005 Recap

Filed under: General — pohodo @ 8:13 pm

Wow, it’s been an awfully long time since I’ve done anything with this. I’ve been busy busy! Between all of the travel and work and relationship stuff, 2005 flew on by. I started dating Karen back in May, and I’ve been on a whirlwind tour ever since. I only get 3 weeks of vacation, but somehow I managed to make it to Key West for my friend Scott’s wedding, a week sailing in the “out islands” of the Bahamas getting my Bareboat Charter Certification, a trip to Las Vegas to finally meet some of my online gaming buddies, a trip to Connecticut to meet the parents, a week in Boston for a conference which was a lot of fun, a couple of trips to the beach in Florida, a week sailing on a chartered yacht in the British Virgin Islands with a night in Puerto Rico on the way back, and a very long weekend in Jamaica. All in all, I’d have to say this was a great year!

Work got a lot more interesting, too. I got to do some engaging work with AJAX this year on several projects, as well as some much more interesting DHTML interactive user interfaces. It looks as if future projects will also be much more interesting to work on, assuming all goes well with the next release of jazzy interface stuff.

My roommate and I (okay, mostly my roommate – I have NO skill) have been adding another room onto the house, which will eventually consume a totally renovated kitchen and dining room. New hardwoods and all! We’ll be removing two load-bearing walls to open up the space a lot more, which will be great for hosting even more grill nights. The outside is more or less complete so the exciting inside part will begin very soon. Now I have to climb around the ladder to caulk the siding and paint (the lesser skilled tasks, of course). Hopefully we’ll have some warmer weekends soon!

So that’s more or less it. I’ll try to be a little more verbose in coming months

July 12, 2005


Filed under: General,Web site — pohodo @ 8:15 pm

Well, things happen and they don’t always go my way. My DSL router decided it didn’t want to slave away any longer, so it gave up. I was having some trouble with my ISP and I’m just plain lazy about things sometimes, so it’s taken a while to get this back up. Hopefully, I won’t have any more hardware failures and I’ll be able to keep this server going.

A lot has been going on since my router died and I’ll try to catch up. So with any luck, I’ll soon tell you about my new car and my trip to Las Vegas, as well as more information on my Bahamas sailing trip and my newly forming plan for a Tortola sailing trip later this year.

Anyway, glad to be back!

June 9, 2005

Bareboat Charter

Filed under: Sailing,Travel — pohodo @ 8:17 pm
I just got back from the Abacos, the “out islands” of the Bahamas. A friend and I spent a week on a 40′ sloop sailing around the islands for 6 solid days, and a couple of days just hanging out in Treasure Cay. We went down there to get our Bareboat Charter certification through the American Sailing Association. I guess this means that we’re better prepared to charter up to a 50′ yacht without a captain.It was a great trip and we learned a lot. We got a couple of SCUBA dives in, and snorkeled almost every day in a new location. We got to see a bunch of different little harbors and did a lot of sailing along the way.I’ve got some pictures and more information about everything we did, but as usual, it’ll take a bit to get them organized and online.

April 16, 2005

The Smoking Ban

Filed under: Politics — pohodo @ 8:21 pm
I’ll be one of the first to say that smoking is truly nasty. I don’t care for the smell of smokers and I certainly don’t like being around when somebody is smoking. So on the surface, banning smoking in public places seems like a really great idea to me. But then I started thinking about it a little more.

There are many small freedoms being lost at a seemingly faster pace than ever before. Just think about all of the legislation after 911. This is just one more example of our freedoms being eroded away. Why should the government dictate to a business owner such a thing? Sure, it’s great for the non-smokers like me, but if a business wants to cater to smokers, then that’s their, well, business. What about the owner of a “cigar bar?” Is the government saying that they have to become something different to protect the non-smokers from such an evil enterprise? Perhaps it’d just be better if non-smokers didn’t go there.

I absolutely hate sitting in a business filled with smoke, but ultimately, that’s my choice to be there or not. In the end, it’s my own fault if I get some horrible disease because I choose to sit in those kinds of places. I have choices because of the freedom of our great nation. But someday, new law after new law, I may not have that freedom.

If a restaurant owner wants to cater to smokers, then that’s his business, and his right. If a restaurant owner wants to cater to non-smokers, even better, for me. Now, if the government wants to prevent smoking in places like government building and such, great, because that’s owned by everybody (tax payers). But they should lay off of private businesses.

Before I keep babbling on aimlessly even more, I think my point is, where does it stop? How many new laws are too many before we’ve lost what our nation was founded upon?

At least I’ll be able to enjoy a smokeless atmosphere, but maybe I won’t get any enjoyment at all out of the next law.

April 2, 2005

Evil Empire Google?

Filed under: General — pohodo @ 8:21 pm
I’ve largely felt that Google has been a huge benefit toward shaping the future of the Web. They seem to be pushing the envelope faster, farther and better than anybody else; creating great, useful tools and generally being a good netizen about it.

I came across the new beta version of the Google toolbar for IE through a colleague. I only use IE to verify my work looks as expected, so I would probably have never seen it otherwise. There is an AutoLinks “feature” in this version that disturbs me about the future of things to come from Google. I’m okay with the google toolbar looking at search terms or even what URL the user is currently on and displaying generic advertising type content in their little toolbar space, but they’ve really crossed the line now. This new feature uses actual content of sites to produce links to other places by either making plain text a link on the site, or by using that exact content in links in the toolbar (or both).

On the surface, it doesn’t seem all that bad. After all, if you could click on an address and be wisked away to a mapping site for directions, or have a book’s ISBN number link you to a place to purchase that book, you could argue that it’s just making life easier for the user. The problem lies with Google profiting off of content which isn’t their own, specifically when competing businesses are involved. For example, if you’re browsing the Barnes & Noble Web site looking for books and then the Google toolbar inserts links into a Barnes & Noble page linking the user to a place like Amazon.com, that’s undermining the ability of Barnes & Noble to effectively do business – which is why they have their site up and running to begin with. In that situation, Google would be profiting by hijacking content authored by a business and taking users to competing sites. It’s one thing for Google to run competing ads and such on a Google search page they own, but it’s an entirely different animal doing that on somebody else’s page.

Fortunately, this is still just in a beta version of the toolbar. Hopefully, it won’t ship in the final release version. But it makes you wonder how drastically the vision of Google could be changing with the new-found money from their successful IPO. Until this, I was a pretty big Google supporter, but if this is where they’re heading I’ll have to change my position. Perhaps it’s inevitable, given the growth of Google, that they’ll become more inline with the Microsofts of the world.

March 27, 2005

Bareboat Chartering

Filed under: Sailing,Travel — pohodo @ 8:23 pm
I spent much of my youth on a barrier island in Florida pretty much immersed in anything revolving around the ocean. I knew several people with various sailboats, so I was fortunate enough to put in a lot of time under sail. I mostly just sailed in Hobbie Cats and Sunfish boats, but had the occasional sail on a smaller cruising boat.Last year a friend and I were sitting in a tiki bar at a marina. There happened to be a sailing school right next door, and that got us talking about sailing. We were talking about how great it’d be to go anywhere in the world and be able to charter a boat without a captain. It had been a while since either of us sailed, and we figured having some certification of sailing skill would improve our chances of chartering boats. For once, rather than just talking about something, we signed up for the first basic sailing class offered by the American Sailing Association.

We took Basic Keelboat on Lake Lanier just north of Atlanta through the school next to the tiki bar. We could have had a bit more wind, but overall the course was great.
A few months later, we signed up for Basic Coastal Cruising through Chapman School of Seamanship located in my home town of Stuart, Florida. The second hurricane that made landfall directly at Stuart came ashore the same day our class was supposed to start. We rescheduled for a week or two later and everything went fine. It was an interesting experience because many of the channels had become more like sandbars due to the two hurricanes. We had to rely heavily on reading the surface waters. Grounding a 45′ boat didn’t sound too appealing, and fortunately we avoided that for the most part.
We just signed up for Bareboat Chartering through an instructor/captain living in the Abacos, Bahamas. We’ll spend a whole week living aboard the boat sailing, fishing, diving, etc. Assuming all goes well, we’ll have our Bareboat Chartering certification, which was a primary goal when we started the sailing classes.

I spent a week on a boat in the Abacos during my senior year of high school and had a great time. It will be interesting (and perhaps disappointing) to see how much has changed in the *cough* 19 years since.

I started the ASA program primarily to get the credentials to charter – basically have somebody say I know what’s going on. After a couple of classes, it was a lot more work than I expected and I now realize how much I underestimated my abilities. It’s been a great experience so far. And I’m looking forward to learning even more in the Bareboat Charter class. I also plan on taking Coastal Navigation and Celestial Navigation before taking any longer trips. Something about not relying on technology (gps, etc.) in a water environment seems rather comforting.

February 13, 2005

New Browser War is a Good Thing

Filed under: Browsers — pohodo @ 8:24 pm
Mozilla’s Firefox browser has been eroding away Microsoft’s Internet Explorer market share more quickly as each month passes. Sometimes I hear people respond the the new “browser war” in a negative way, as if it’s going to be similar to the likes of the old days with Netscape and Internet Explorer. But in reality, this renewed browser war is poised to have a very positive impact on the lives of the internet community.

The old days lacked clearly defined standards, so browser makers were busily trying to one-up each other with their own implementations. This made it very difficult for developers to ensure their sites looked and functioned the same across browsers. It also translated into higher development costs for all businesses.

Once Internet Explorer pushed Netscape out of the scene, they had no reason to keep refining the product. Without competition, innovation suffered. It has been years since Microsoft has added any significant features to the Internet Explorer browser. And no word any added features coming.

Today, there are clearly defined standards from the W3C that browser makers and Web site develpers should adhere to. So as long as developers stay within the W3C standards, layouts and function should work across any standards-compliant browser. Unfortunately, Microsoft has had no drive to embrace standards fully, instead promoting proprietary features like ActiveX controls.

Many Web sites have invested large amounts of money into IE-only features. Now that Firefox is on the scene, those web sites are going to be forced (sooner or later) to rework those features to be more inline with standards. It was easy enough to discount the roughly 2% who didn’t use IE, but now the figure has climbed upwards of 8%. Businesses can’t continue to ignore non-IE customers much longer.

With the percentage of Firefox users climbing faster, companies like Yahoo!, Google and Amazon are taking steps to welcome those users. Amazon released their toolbar for Firefox back in early November. Google is the default home page of the Firefox browser, and even has the google search integrated. Yahoo! is working on their toolbar for Firefox, too.

Microsoft suddenly finds itself in the position of being forced to upgraded its browser features, and also support standards much more fully. So in the end, browsers like Firefox, which are continually evolving with new features, are paving the way for a better information superhighway. Competition is a very good thing in this case.

Get Firefox!

January 30, 2005

I made it to the official blog world!

Filed under: Web site — pohodo @ 8:25 pm

I finally got around to installing WordPress, which will allow me to ramble on aimlessly more often. And then you can comment aimlessly on my aimless comments. heh.

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