Sep 7, 2009

What a day!

I've finally decided to act on a fleeting thought.  I'm starting to put my passion for technology to work.  Today, with an old high school friend, I decided to start a blog, reserve a domain, and maybe even make a little money.  The blog is "Joe IT: tech tips for the average Joe" and can be accessed at It took the portion of the day that I wasn't doing trigonometry homework.  Ugh.  We have an email address, a sweet layout, live facebook feed updates, and twitter feed updates also.  Crazy technology.  Spread the word.

Sep 5, 2009

Up to speed: Summer '09

This summer has probably been busier than any we've had, maybe ever.  I guess that's what happens when you have 2 kids, a dad in school, jobs, and church activities.  It used to be that the summer was slow and then it got crazy busy into the fall and winter.  This year could be interesting if the fall and winter gets any more busy.  I don't think it can even happen.  Anyway, here is a little photo-style update of this summer:

July 4th was a blast up at the cabin in Spooner, WI:

Sadie had a fun 1st birthday with family:
Dad and Carla visited at the beginning of August.  Everybody had a great time.  Sophia even got to stay in Papa Jim, and Grandma Carla's camper:

Kimberly and I got to go up to the cabin w/o kids.  We drove up to luxurious (end sarcasm) Hayward, WI, but also got to take a fun hike down the Namakegon River:  

In the past couple weeks, we went to some friend's house to weed the strawberry patch (my allergies still haven't recovered from that), and back again to pick apples.  We've got enough to last us through the rest of the year at least!

That's about it for Summer.  Temperatures are already changing.  By the end of this month, Fall will be in full swing, temperatures will fall from highs in the 60's and 70's to highs in the 50's.  By mid October, we'll likely be looking at our first snowfall of the year.  Summer has been short, but great.  Couldn't ask for better weather, and everything is looking up.  Next week, Kimberly and I head out for a whole week without the kids!  Thanks to Nana for being a week long babysitter.  I know, we really had to twist your arm...

Jul 11, 2009

Has it really been 2 months since our last post? Just a reminder to family that views this blog, way more pictures and updates get posted on Facebook. Join up for more regular (read: daily) updates. In the mean time, We'll try to post some pictures of the girls soon. They are growing like weeds...

May 11, 2009

Family’s first camping trip

It was a blast.  We had a great time and learned some lessons:

1.  No footy pajamas for the kids (makes bathroom in the middle of the night much more difficult)

2.  Juice boxes!

3.  Going with another family = great idea!  The kids babysit each other!


We ended up coming home early because it got really cold at night.  But, that was a good decision on our part as well, to only camp about 20 minutes from home!

DSC07375 DSC07420 DSC07386 DSC07367 IMG_2109 IMG_2143 IMG_2138 IMG_2159

Apr 29, 2009

Fight the power. Or, I ain't fallin' for no banana in the tail pipe

This was the conversation Sophia and I had over dinner tonight, quoted as much as possible for posterity's sake.  Enjoy:

Daddy, i'm going to put a plug in the smoker and so that the police man when he comes so that he can't give us a naughty ticket when we are going fast.

Oh really?  A smoker huh?

Yeah.  Daddy, do you remember how the 2 pigs were building a brick house so that they could be safe from the wolf? 


And then the wolf came in the roof, and in the chimney, and he went down in the fire, and he burned his butt in the fire so he left and never came back again?

mmhmm.  That's a good story huh?


Hey Soph, what's a smoker?

You know that thing like in the back of the car that it goes zig zag.


In the back, and the smoke comes out of it.

That's called a tail pipe. 

What is?

Where the smoke comes out of the car, that's called a tail pipe.


Are you saying that you are going to put a banana in the tail pipe?


A banana in the tail pipe?


A banana.  Are you going to put it in the smoker?  Is that what you are saying.

Yeah, because I'm going to put a banana in the police man's tailpipe, because he's naughty and he tries to give us a naughty ticket. 
Cuz' police man are naughty, right Dad?

Ummm.  Most of the time police men are good, but sometimes they are naughty.

Well, if they are naughty I am going to fight them

Oh really?

Yeah, cuz they are naughty and that's not ok.

Apr 11, 2009

What Jesus Says to us This Easter!

"Arise and Shine; for thy light is come, and the GLORY of the Lord is risen upon thee!" Isaiah 60:1

The Call comes on this My Day, for all who love ME, to arise from earth-bands, from sin, and sloth and depression, distrust, fear, all that hinders the Risen-Life. To arise to Beauty, to Holiness, to Joy to Peace, to work inspired by Love and Joy, to rise from death to Life.

Remember that death was the last enemy I destroyed. So with death, My Victory was complete. You have nothing then to fear. Sin, too, is conquered and forgiven as you live and move and work with Me. All that depresses you, all that you fear, are powerless to harm you. They are but phantoms. The real forces I conquered in the wilderness, the Garden of Gethsemane, on teh Cross, and in the Tomb.

Let nothing hinder your Risen Life. "Risen with Christ", said My servant Paul. Seek to know more and more of that Risen LIfe. That is the Life of COnquest. Of that Risen Life was it truly said: "I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me." Fear and despair and tears come as you stand by the empty Tomb. "They have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid Him."

Rise from your fears, and go out into the sunlight to meet Me, your Risen Lord.

Apr 8, 2009

Something random and geeky…

O.K. Let me preface this by saying that I know this may be the geekiest thing I've ever done, and by explaining how I got here. I started reading my textbook for school on Monday night. The first chapter was about the history of computers. As I'm reading, I'm seeing a lot of familiar names, as in names of companies that I have seen large offices for here in the twin cities. I am trying not to watch too much TV this week, so I decide it will be fun to investigate.
I started in the 40's with a couple of small companies just as the development of practical computers are beginning to develop. I come as far forward to today as possible.
A couple things:
- I diverge into other industries without choice (I said it was incestuous)
-It's by no means exhaustive, but I tried to include as much Minnesota connections as possible
-The Minnesota companies, or companies who at the time had large Minnesota connections, are underlined and bolded.
You’ll find some big names here:  Unisys, Honeywell, Alliant TechSystems, Remington, Federal, etc.

I realized this afternoon, as well, that I have Visio on my computer. So, I took a first stab at creating a flowchart that I hope helps to show some of the continuity. I've never used it before, so I apologize if things are cramped. Below is the chart. Below that is a more detailed description of the happenings over time. Enjoy. Yes, I know. I am a geek. Sorry, I found the history very intriguing.
Computers in Minnesota
· CSAW (WWII) + NAC (Northwest Aeronautical Corp 1946) = ERA (Engineering research associates) in St. Paul, MN.
o -performed code breaking in the 40s and 50s while trying to build computer (eventually became well known for their drum storage mechanisms
o -contracted by the navy (Task 13) to build a computer
o -Atlas (1950) became the first stored program computer
o -Atlas II (1953) delivered to NSA in 09/53
· *Owners of ERA had gov’t connections and were accused of impropriety in attaining govt contracts in the early 50’s. Partly as a result, they were sold to Remington Rand Corp
o Remington Rand had already purchased EMCC (creators of the ENVIAC, EDVAC, and BINAC) in 1950, selling business computers
o Both ERA and EMCC operated as separate entities of Remington Rand. ERA = military, EMCC = business and commercial
o 1955- Remington Rand merges with Sperry Corp(war machines company), becomes Sperry Rand
§ ERA and EMCC are merged into the Sperry-UNIVAC division of Sperry Rand
o Upset members of the ERA team leave Sperry Rand in 1957, and move down the street to 501 Park St, MNPLS and form CDC (Control Data Corp)
§ CDC sold the fastest supercomputers on the market in the 1960s
§ Seymour Cray is a chief designer and moves his CDC lab to his home in Chippewa Falls, WI in 1962
§ CDC divisions were slowly sold off over the next 30 years. Their hard disk drive dept. was sold to Seagate Technologies (hard drives and storage), and their Energy management division was sold to Seimens.
§ In 1986 CDCs Commercial Credit subsidiary was spun off and eventually became Citigroup
§ Remainder of CDCs service business still exists today as Ceridian Corp. (Bloomington, MN)
· Sperry Rand drops Rand name in 1978, selling numerous Remington Rand brands
· In the late 70’s, Sperry buys RCA and adds to business
· Sperry merges with Burroughs company in hostile takeover in 1986 and becomes Unisys (still has an office in Roseville, MN)
o Many Sperry divisions were sold, including the Defense Systems business to Honeywell.
· Honeywell was a company formed by the merger of Honeywell Heating Specialty Co. (1906, Wabash, IN) and Minneapolis Heat Regulator Company (1886, Minneapolis, MN). The companies merged in 1927, becoming Minneapolis-Honeywell Regulator Company, headquartered in MNPLS, MN
o In the 1970’s, Honeywell also ran the American wing of Pentax cameras
o In 1970, Honeywell bought GE’s computer division, creating 2 operating units: Honeywell Information Systems, and Honeywell’s computer division
o In 1990, Honeywell’s defense division was spun off into Alliant Tech Systems, whose headquarters are still in Edina, MN
§ Alliant TechSystems (ATK) entered the aerospace market in 1995.
· It is one of the largest defense contractors in the country
· It is the sole manufacturer of Reusable Solid Rocket Fuel used to launch the Space Shuttle
§ Since 2000, ATK has acquired numerous large corporations, some familiar:
· The ordnance division of Boeing in May, 2002
· Federal Cartridge – large ammunition manufacturer located in Anoka, MN
· CCI – ammunition company in Lewiston, ID
· Eagle Industries, March 2009 – provides tactical equipment for law enforcement and military
o In 1999, Honeywell merged with AlliedSignal, and the headquarters were moved from Minneapolis, MN to Morristown, NJ.
§ AlliedSignal dropped its name and took the more recognizable Honeywell name after the merger in 1999. Allied brands include:
· Fram Filters
· Autolite spark plugs
· Prestone Anti-Freeze
· Bendix corporation (brakes and brake pads)
o In 2002, much of Honeywell International’s joint ventures were taken over by Knorr-Bremse company, also owner of Bendix brakes corp.

Mar 26, 2009

Dada - 2, Mama - 0

Just as she did with Sophia, Kimberly has been working with Sadie to say, "Mama."  However, as this video shows, it just doesn't take.  In fact, it seems to have the opposite effect.  I, for one, think it's hilarious.  Although, I can respect the cruel irony on Kimberly's behalf...

Mar 15, 2009

A wonderful sign of Spring

As recently as a week ago, we had really cold temperatures.  I'm talking 7 degrees below zero in the morning, and daytime highs of 6 degrees.  But, as it goes with the onset of Spring in Minnesota, we get wild swings in the weather department.  We've been steadily climb out of the temperature cellar since Tuesday.  Today, was the kind of day that Minnesotans hold out all Winter for.

It was 58 degrees, a little breezy, and bright and clear and sunny.  The funny thing about Minnesota, and something I've come to appreciate, is that anytime the temperature gets above around 35 degrees, after a Winter of subfreezing and subzero temperatures, EVERYONE is outside.  So far this week we have seen people jogging, walking their pets, playing in the park, and barbecuing.  Today, I took it to the next level.  At 58 degrees, I couldn't resist opening every window in the house, putting on shorts and a short sleeve shirt and going outside to throw the football with Kimberly. 

It was glorious, and a wonderful sign of the Spring to come.  It's supposed to get no cooler than 45 this week.  If that holds, we'll be well on our way to green grass, warm weather and my other favorite thing that comes with Spring:  Thunderstorms!!!

Jim Bass