0 comments Saturday, November 8, 2008

Ok so this BLOG has moved. If you're watching it via an RSS feed reader you'll need to change the feed URL to:

http://roeckerfam.com/jacob/feed/ [Link]

Other than that you should be able to see the blog visiting http://jacobroecker.blogspot.com or http://jacob.roeckerfam.com

Sorry about the inconvenience.

0 comments Sunday, November 2, 2008

Welcome to all the (like 10) people who visit the blog!

My latest project: Reprise has it's own home online--and by the end of the day it should have a new logo!

Got an old computer? Let me recycle it!

0 comments Friday, October 31, 2008

Cell phones are a great way to communicate. They're especially good to help me find my wife in Wal-Mart. She seems to turn into some sort of super-spy and manages to hide while I wander the entire store. Thanks to cel phones I'm able to get a hold of her and she can tell me she's in the diaper aisle.

There's news out now of cel phones causing cancer and more recently causing allergic reactions. The iPhone is a hit with those who can afford it and despite the hype no one cel phone provider has done significantly better than any other in national reviews. That's the news you can read elsewhere.

Here's something you won't be able to find elsewhere. Got a problem with your phone? Call 611. Odd are your problem isn't an allergic reaction, or developing cancer. It's probably a lack of minutes and a bill become a financial burden--at least ours has that habit sometime.

So dial 611--give them your explanation and ask for something called "bonus minutes." When I was graduating in May and moving we used up more minutes than we had in 4 months. In response to a phone call AT&T donated 1,000 bonus minutes to ease the burden--man did it help. Verizon gives a standard 250, and T-Mobile has similar standards.

Moving or got a good reason to be killing minutes? Just give them a call and see if they can help. Now this doesn't apply to my mother who bought her cell phone two years before she turned it on. If mom could transfer her minutes to us (we're both on AT&T) we'd be set for at least 18 months! :-)

Mom we love you, and because we're on the same network we love calling you for free. We're hoping that dad keeps his iPhone on a little more these days. It's a bummer to have to cut conversations short because of a land line.

0 comments Wednesday, October 29, 2008

So this blog has been somewhat silent of late. That's totally my fault. After all, I've accepted no one else to help me author it.

Wanna know what I've been up to? Let me introduce you to the latest project. It's called "Reprise" as in the repetition of a music piece. The idea is a simple one.

I noticed there was a need for kids in the area to grow up with computers, but there's quite a few families that can't afford them. Then I discovered something. Remember how I told you I started messing with Ubuntu [here & here]? Well, I've done so because the operating system runs clean, and doesn't need a fancy computer or a whole lot of space.

Then I discovered something. It's called Edubuntu. The idea is to develop the already good operating system for schools. It works! It works well.

So now I can give away computers with an operating system designed for students, and I don't need powerful machines.

I noticed though, that I didn't have a budget to buy them all computers. So next week the principle of Eliza's school and I will be launching a campaign in town to get old computers donated from families and businesses in the area. I'll pick them up, clean them, and install edubuntu. Over the next few days I've got to put together all the promotional material for the idea, FAQ, website, etc. If this model works it can be followed by other communities. The idea is up and running. It's going to be a hit!

Visit the Reprise website for more information.

0 comments Sunday, October 26, 2008

So I realized that my blog posts will probably still be online by the time that my kids have their own kids. They may even look to them for advice on how to address issues in their lives. I know that there's several times I've asked mom to copy pages from her Journal so I could read them. I'm really interested in what it was like raising me.

So here's a bit of practical advice that has nothing to do with your computer. Whether you stick multiple kids in the same room or not, have them all separate their clothes--give each kid a color. "China"-mart generally has mutliple colors for hangars, and they usual go on sale about the same time of the "back to school stuff" goes on sale.

This solves a lot of parental confusion for who's clothes are who's. Daniel's closet now has a rod that's at his level. At three he knows which clothes are his (blue hangar). Eliza knows which ones are hers (pink hangars--and the more girly clothes). Rainey doesn't have as much of a clue yet--but his hangars are white.

There's like a rule about blogs that says you can't post text without a picture. Since I didn't have a picture of hangars I googled it. Found the picture above, but then I also found this one.

There's something about a giant gorilla made of coat hangars that tells me someone's got too much time on their hands! WOW for creativity.

Hopefully my posterity will read the post tagged "Gorilla" when they're looking at how to organize their kids' closets.

1 comments Monday, October 20, 2008

Ok: So one of my favorite compliments to this blog was from Logan. I didn't know that he didn't know that there were things called feed readers out there that would allow you watch other people's blogs. After all there's like 29,100,000 resuls for blog reader on google. I figured that he would have just googled it.

Well, let's talk about web browsers. My experience this morning with myspace was less than positive. I was able to fix the problem. Two things allowed me to do so. First, I knew that there was a solution, and second I'm using software that empowers the solution.

Thanks to google analytics I can see that most of my blog visitors are using windows:

1. 215 65.15%
2. 83 25.15%
3. 32 9.70%

And most are using Firefox:

1. 232 70.30%
2. 88 26.67%
3. 5 1.52%
4. 4 1.21%
5. 1 0.30%

That's great! For those 5 of you who are using Safari and the 88 folks using Internet Explorer this blog post is for you.

I'm the guy that likes to take a computer out of the box and performs a series of tweaks to get it working efficiently for whatever the user wants to do with it. Apple likes their computers to do a number of tasks "out of the box." That's one reason why the software is integrated so well. It's part of the company's mentality.

Microsoft has tried to keep up, but the biggest advantage to windows is it's miracle. It's a miracle that you can proprietarily run on operating system on so many diverse types of comptuers. The other advantage to windows is the wide distribution of the software. It's popularity increases it's functionality.

Each operating system comes with a browser. A browser is what you use to view web pages. The internet before browsers was really a rather sad affair--but we wont talk about that now. Apple comes with a browser called "Safari," and Windows has "Internet Explorer." Internet Explorer has a history of being unsecure, exploitive, and unresponsive to user demands. Safari has fared better in the contests over time.

The current versions of both browsers use something called "tabbed browsing." They each address the security issues a lot quicker than they used to. In fact some of the issues are addressed proactively.

Why is there a fight over the browsers? Well, there's money to be made in browsers. Safari has a little box in the upper right hand corner that allows you to search google. Apple gets an estimated $25 million a year for all the times people just decide to 'look for something.'

Microsoft launced their own search service in 2005. Instead of searching google you search Microsoft's version of the internet. Most users wont notice the difference. Popular sites are annotated in each search feature. Watch out though. If you launched a website this week, it may take up to 6 weeks before it appears on Windows Live (Blumen Barrettes doesn't exist there yet). There's other differences, but the internet is not the same depending on who's search you're using. Microsoft gleans the revenue from Windows Live outright.

Did you notice something? Let's Q&A:
  • Who's got the most popular Operating System?
  • Microsoft.
  • What's the way they search?
  • Windows Live.
  • Who makes money off of it?
  • Microsoft.
  • Is their search as powerful as others?
  • NO.
  • Can you change it?
  • Yes, but it takes several steps--not fun.
Remember those adds I was miffed about on my previous post? Microsoft and Apple would have those stay there. Why? Because they have a vested interest in me clicking on ads. When I search using their box I see ads. If I click on those ads, they get money. If I can't see those ads, I can't click and they don't get any money.

The alternative browsers are less glitchy than they used to be. If you're going simple download firefox. (My parents generation: I'm talking to you.) Firefox is stable, popular, secure, and customizable.

The default search engine is google. But Firefox doesn't want the money. Download Adblock Plus and get rid of the ads. No one will be mad at you.

There's other browsers out there as well, but even Chrissy doesn't read my blogs when they're this long--so I better stop my rant.

I'm not anti-Microsoft. They have bills to pay as well. They do a great job. I just think that innovation has a foothold in the future of how we do computers. Stop thinking in Microsoft labels and it's amazing what's out there. My dad's started to discover that from his Mac. At some point I hope to get them (and others) thinking beyond the Mac and Microsoft and Google label for things. There's things in the cauldron bubbling away. Eventually dinner will be served. Firefox is an appetizer. :-)


So for the most part I hate myspace. Sure I'm thrilled that social networking is now the primary use for the internet. Especially since the previous king was pornography websites. It's certainly an improvement--but not much.

Myspace is great for hunting independent artists. Every few weeks I look up a couple of more for my collections. This week I ran into three bands. "The Corrections" wrote me back and sent me a song of theirs.

So I'm thinking cool, free music. They're a nice band. Wanna hear? Check out their myspace page here.

When you get there I've got to say I'm sorry for having to send you to their site. You see myspace has consistantly been finding ways to take "yourspace" and make it "yourspace with our ads." It's no wonder more people are flocking to facebook.

The screenshots are from the final communicatin I had with "The Corrections." Based upon my limited profile, myspace decided to show me ads asking me to question my choice of auto insurance, calculate when I'm going to die, and encourage me to cheat on my wife. Everything in red circles is an add. The green arrow is the only bit of information relevant to what I was doing.

Yeah, I'm offended. This is absolutely disgusting.

So I think I'll get a plugin for my browser that blocks every ad across the internet everywhere. It takes the offensive page that you saw earlier and turns it into this nice, simple, page with a blue header on the left.

Facebook has less ads, less offensive ads, more features, and keeps us in touch with our friends better. Wanna talk about music? I found Cherie Call on facebook and she added me as her 'friend.' That's pretty cool eh?