Saturday, February 24, 2007

Obama in Austin

Barack Obama made a campaign stop in Austin, Friday Feb. 23. He met with thousands of supporters and would-be voters, discussing his platform for his run for President. Obama was charming, confident, and intelligent. He joked with the crowd that his wife would not believe that all these people were there for him. He talked about pulling troops out of Iraq, and the government's failures to help people more after Hurricane Katrina. It was an impressive speech at such an early point in the campaign. While I have not yet decided which Democratic I will favor, Senator Obama's visit to Austin has put him high on my list.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Tech - Love/Hate

Sometimes I go through these flurries of tech upgrades. I get tired of squeaking by with old versions at home, or I figure out something new that I absolutely can't live without. Then, I am completely obsessed in getting it all to work. That's what I have been doing for the past 24 hours. I just moved into a house, and I got this idea that I needed to have speakers outdoors. Then, I decided I wanted to get my stereo and my computer connected, so I could play my iTunes in the living room. I got some advice from Apple expert and friend, Ethan, on what I needed to buy to make it all happen. I ordered the stuff and waited for it to come in. I expected it to be Apple-easy to install and get going. But, there were some glitches and the install was a little bumpier than I would have liked.

I had not been using wireless at home, just a cable modem hooked via Ethernet to my iMac G4 desktop. So, first thing I needed to do was get some wireless flowing in the house. I purchased an Airport Extreme base station, the new 802.11n version. It allows you to hook up your cable modem and other devices via ethernet or usb. So, I got the wireless going pretty easily and quickly.

Then, I went to install 2 Airport Express stations, one connected to my stereo in the living room and one to some powered speakers in the back of the house. This is where the trouble began. It was unclear in the Apple documentation that I needed to use a wireless computer to add these devices to my network. I thought that my desktop, connected to the Extreme base station, would allow me to join these devices. But, no.....I needed to get my hands on a laptop. After getting one from school, getting the admin login stuff worked out, installing the new Express and AirTunes software...I was finally able to use the Airport Admin Assistant to join the devices. I first had some problems getting on my network with the laptop, because it wasn't recognizing my network pw, but after I installed the new software on the laptop, I got a different dialog for entering the pw, and that worked.

Another thing that was confusing was the usage of the new Airport Utility 5.0 on my desktop to set up the Extreme base station. It is a great interface, but at first, I didn't understand the difference between the old Airport Admin Utility and the new one. And, it took me a while to comprehend why the Admin Asst didn't work from my desktop, thus the laptop resolution above. I'm using the school laptop now, but I can tell that it won't be long before I break down and buy myself one, even though I reallllllly don't need it. I do think that it is an oversight on Apple's part not to allow the wired computer the ability to join wireless devices, as if it were on the network via the Extreme base station.

I also spent some time upgrading my apps this week. Turns out, Adobe CS2 requires 384MB and my iMac only had 256. That blew, but I bought a memory upgrade. It took a while to figure out which I needed (try Silicon Mountain, it actually helps you figure out what you need). And, it was delivered quickly. Then, I found the support docs at that told me how to install the memory., faster computer, upgraded apps.

But, these things take time, and I spent a good amount of my day stressed out and confused. There are resources online, but I found that since the Extreme Base Station was so new, the Apple site didn't have clear, up-to-date instructions. It all works now, though, and it feels like an accomplishment, no matter how minor. But, I've got sweet music playing all over my house and yard now...Party Time.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Recliner's at Donn's Depot

The Recliners are one of my favorite bands in Austin, composed of some of my very favorite people. They have been performing their unique lounge-style pop tunes for over a decade at weddings, corporate gigs, and cool venues; kind of Frank Sinatra meets ACDC with a little Morrissey thrown in for good measure. The return of original lead singer, Neal Mehta, has breathed new life into the group. While their public gigs are few these days, catch them at Donn's Depot when you can. You'll giggle when you recognize Snoop Dog lyrics in the easy listening style.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Lemonheads at Emo's

Last night, I went to see The Lemonheads at Emo's at 6th and Red River in Austin. The Lemonheads are really just Evan Dando and anyone that happens to be performing on an instrument near him. For me, he is in my list of top 10 people I have to see when they come to my town, no matter what. So, I was hoping for a great show. I got a good one. He played all the old songs, sans Into Your Arms. But, that was OK, because he really covered the body of work otherwise since 1991. He sounded great and looked like he hadn't aged a minute since he was the indie rock heartbreaker of the early 90s. His pop songs are perfect, great lyrics and simple chord progressions. The crowd was generally a bit older than the normal Emo's patron, and most knew every lyric to every song. Dando himself, while performing well, seemed a little baked, kind of distracted, and wasn't completely entertaining otherwise. But, still, it was vintage Dando, and I was happy to be there.

A Brand New Day

Well, I am going to try to start blogging on a regular basis. I'm a college professor at Texas State University in San Marcos. I live in Austin, TX, got my phd from The University of Texas in 2005. After a brief stint in Richmond, VA, I was terribly homesick for Austin. So, I have been lucky enough to find my way back here with a wonderful job. I just bought a great house in my favorite neighborhood, Hyde Park (see above).

On this blog, I plan to write about life in Austin, the music scene, the daily meanderings of a college professor, and some media observations. I'm a media junkie, reading a lot about technology, as I teach Web design and online journalism. But, I am also hooked on The Daily Show and the Colbert Report. I usually watch The Office and 30 Rock every week. And, I still love Gilmore Girls, even though it is on a downslide after the Palladinos left shop (original creators and writers).