David Ancell's Virtual Home

Happy Birthday to Me

  /   Thursday, July 28, 2005   /   Comments(0)

Well, it’s official, I’m 30. Enough said for now; I must be going to work soon.

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Evangelization Class

  /   Monday, July 25, 2005   /   Comments(0)

Some of you may have read about Andy’s evangelization class. I found out a few days ago that he will have to change the title. It’s too bad because I really liked it.

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New Toy Alert

  /   Sunday, July 24, 2005   /   Comments(0)

I kind of wonder if I’m already having a mid-life crisis. This past Friday evening, I bought two new toys. One of them is a 250 GB external hard drive. With all the media that I have been working with, my 40 GB internal laptop hard drive was getting a bit too crowded.

However, the more interesting toy is my new DVD-RW drive. I wanted a faster drive, and I wanted a second drive that I could copy stuff to. It just so happens that Costco had two great choices at great prices. I picked the HP dvd640 because it was a bit cheaper but had LightScribe. If you haven’t heard, LightScribe is a technology that allows you to use the laser of the drive to write a monochrome image directly on to the disc for use as a label. The results are very nice for grayscale, but I found out that there is one drawback. It took the darn thing 23 minutes to write one disc label. I hope they make these faster in the future. To make matters worse, I found that if I try to burn (not write labels for) two discs in succession, the second one will be a coaster. I did this with one disc that I had already spent 23 minutes writing the label on, and that hurt. I’ll have to take a trip to Office Depot tomorrow to get me some more LightScribe discs.

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Pushing Thirty

  /   Sunday, July 24, 2005   /   Comments(0)

My big news, if you didn’t already know, is that I will be turning the big three-oh this Thursday, July 28th. I am not looking forward to it, but I guess I’ll make the best of it. I’m getting some people wanting to celebrate with me, including Frassati members and my parents. Maybe I’ll remember to blog on my birthday.

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If You Are Reading This

  /   Sunday, July 24, 2005   /   Comments(0)

If you are reading this blog entry, then you are seeing my pages in their new home. I have moved everything to CrystalTech, using the Intermediate Cold Fusion account. So far, this seems like a good, solid web service. Their control panel is rather complicated, but it lets me do a lot of good stuff.

However, there is a side effect for the blog. My weblog.davidancell.com address now points to a subdirectory and gets rendered as weblog.davidancell.com/weblog/. This means that if you linked to one of my posts, the link won’t work. However, I think I can fix the link problem with a script in the near future. I don’t know if I can fix the URL, though. The good news is that the www.davidancell.com/weblog/ address now works again.

Originally, I planned to redo my site as an ASP.NET site. However, I think that I will be beginning work shortly on a Cold Fusion MX 7 site instead. I have found that Cold Fusion will let me develop faster. Also, my blog and content manager have been Cold Fusion for some time, and the hosts that I tried that allowed both services never really worked out that well. Hopefully, I will have underway that which I have put off for so long. My only problem is coming up with a design. I am terrible at this. If I could just think of a design that I could work, I could get this done.

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Thou Shalt Not Own an iPod

  /   Sunday, July 17, 2005   /   Comments(0)

So, I guess from this title you are thinking that I am writing against the iPod. Well, no I’m not. In fact, my purpose in writing is to show that such a commandment must not exist. After all, we see that Jimmy Akin and Jeff Miller have them. Of course, I have one, too. I bought a 20 GB around October of last year.

I still have lots of space left despite having sent a lot of stuff into it. However, I am now getting into putting talks on it. Some of them are talks that I have recorded for other people and have the original files for. Others are CD-sets that I bought but didn’t want to carry around when I travelled. I have a radio transmitter for my car stero that I can use to listen while I drive. At some point, I hope to buy a new car stereo that will have an iPod hook-up. However, that may wait until I buy a new car since I don’t know what taking the stereo from one car to another will entail. Then again, that may be two years from now.

Having one small device with all my audio is great. I have a portable speaker system that allows me to set it down in a room somewhere if I so desire. I can even plug a cord into my stereo system. The only thing that would be better is a stereo with a direct link that allows me to control the iPod through the amplifier’s remote control.

However, I do have one main gripe. I want to be able to play more audio formats like WMA and Ogg Vorbis through it (or even Sony’s proprietary stuff). This would make it compatible with more music stores. Also, converting files from one lossy format to another really distorts the sound.

By the way, does anyone know of a CD-ripper software that will put everything into one continuous file? Right now, I’d have to make a separate file for each track and put them together using Adobe Audition. It’s pretty time consuming.

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News So Far

  /   Sunday, July 17, 2005   /   Comments(0)

Well, I guess I should write just to let you know I’m still alive. Here’s what I have going:

I have eleven days of “youth” remaining. I turn 30 on July 28th. I am not looking forward to this. I guess I’m bothered by the fact that I am the age that I am but still single and still not sure if what I am doing is what I should be. I seem to find myself wanting to try everything multimedia and computer-related that I can get my hands on, and I also like to learn more theology. Yet, my job is actually in health care. Then again, my job as a pharmacist pays enough that I can afford all this nice equipment and software, which I can then make a gift out of for people who need it. Then again, I can’t seem to find all the right opportunities to use what I have.

I have not heard from the Bishop yet regarding my letter. I guess I am not going to anytime soon. I will move on with this if I ever get the time, and I really need to make time for it.

I found out that one can buy the audio CD set of the Bible Timeline Seminar for only $150. So, I did this. I hope it will be here next week. I just wish I could get it on MP3, WMA, or some other electronic format. It’s very convenient these days to be able to put stuff on my iPod. Before I know it, though, I’ll need a bigger player and hard drive. I never thought I’d get into this the way that I have. In fact, I want to do some talks myself and convert them to these formats. Then I could have them to give or even sell to others. I could have my own podcast on Liberated Syndication, but where would I find the time to keep it up? You can see how I’ve done keeping up this blog lately.

I was going through small group charism discernment program by the Catherine of Siena Institute, but I’ve had to drop it because I’ve had way too much going on. I am going to have to spend some time soon doing some real work on stuff that I have enjoyed doing.

For a long time, my computer’s 40 GB hard drive seemed like more than I could ever use in one lifetime. However, I have now managed to use 28 GB of it with multimedia stuff and software. I must find another solution. Besides, my video software runs way too slow on this machine. Does anyone have any ideas? Maybe I need another external hard drive for my multimedia. Any suggestions? Then again, I have so many things hooked up into this machine I’m afraid it has all it can take.

My place is an absolute mess. I have all my stuff all over this office space. My other areas aren’t so bad, but I’m running out of room. I was going to clean it up this weekend, but I decided to finish my audio work instead. Now, the audio is almost done. I adopted a policy some time ago that I would not do this work on Sunday so that I could dedicate it to the Lord, so it will be this week or next weekend that I do all this.

Does this sound like a random mess? Well, that’s my life. However, some things are looking up. This Thursday is Burrito night with some friends. At some point, we are going to play Poker, and we have named it our “Poker and Papacy” night. All of us in this group are Catholic converts. We aren’t doing much gambling ($5 towards food and “the pot” for the winner), but we will have fun. Just this morning, another friend e-mailed me saying that several from the Frassati Society want to take me out for my birthday. I was so glad to get that e-mail, and I jumped at the chance.

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The Beat Goes On

  /   Sunday, July 10, 2005   /   Comments(0)

As a follow-up to this post (in which I have updated the links), I found that there is now available another article which suggests that the gay and lesbian ministry in the diocese is founed on the principles in Always Our Children. Oh, wonderful! Wasn’t that the document that the Vatican didn’t particularly care for because it was more politically correct than theologically correct?

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Response Watch

  /   Sunday, July 10, 2005   /   Comments(0)

For those of you who are waiting to hear about Bishop Steib’s response to this letter, I haven’t received it yet. It has been almost a month, so I will be needing to write another letter soon.

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Electronic Delivery

  /   Sunday, July 10, 2005   /   Comments(0)

I must admit this even though it might not be very Christian of me . . . I like the instant gratification of downloadable purchases. I buy music almost exclusively on the Internet (usually iTunes); I can download it immediately and don’t have to buy the whole album most of the time. I just pay 99 cents per song. Software can also be purchased online and give me immediate access in most cases. However, I’m really surprized that this was available online. If you want to download over 2 GB (I am not joking.) of files, you can buy the entire Adobe Creative Suite online. If you do, you had better have a DVD burner because there ain’t no way you are backing that up on CD-ROM.

I only wish that I weren’t so sloppy at keeping my downloads organized. I would probably never find half of them if my computer crashed. I burned one set to DVD some time ago, and I’m about due to do it again.

While I am at it, I want to ramble some more. There is one real problem with downloaded music. They put you through File Format Hell. For example, I like iTunes, but the tracks will only play on either my computer or an iPod. Many other stores use Windows Media files, but they won’t play on an iPod. They will play on other players. Sony uses their own proprietary format that doesn’t play on anything that I am aware of except Sony players. Wouldn’t it be nice to have something universal that allows you to use the player of your choice?

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