Happy Birthday Connie

Happy birthday to the sweetest person that I know. That would be my wife Connie. Seems that the day isn’t quite as care free as we might have hoped given the condition of the family cat Dash. The cat has been having a tough time and we are hoping that she makes it (up in the air at the moment).

Regardless of that, we still celebrate the wonderful gift that Connie is to me, our four children and many in our community of friends. For me it is a time to recognize what a wonderful person that she is and to give thanks for a shared life with her. BTW, did I mention that in many circles she would be considered a trophy wife (I know that I got one with smarts and good looks).

Same AgeUpdated: Tonight we went to Texas Roadhouse to eat. There special on steak and shrimp was a hit with the birthday girl and her boys. After church tonight, Maggie was baptized so now they have the same birthday. How awesome is that! On top of that, our cat seems to be on the rebound. Good news all the way around.

Happy birthday!

Windows 10 – Post Upgrade

Windows 10After a couple weeks with Windows 10, I thought I’d share my thoughts on the new OS. I’ve been running Windows 10 Home on my Surface 3 that was part of the Windows Insider program and Windows 10 Professional on my primary desktop (upgraded from Windows 8.1 Pro).

Overall I really like the new look and feel. The Start menu with the tiles really works for me. I do think it is tough to scroll through the list of all installed programs, but that’s a minor annoyance. It’s very configurable (right clicking is your friend), so even that might be an option. The notification panel on the right (which is accessible with a swipe from the right or a click on the system tray icon) is fantastic for accessing features quickly (just like it is on mobile devices). The OS starts fast and seems to run most stuff well.

The new Xbox App and it’s usage with the Xbox One is fantastic. It’s probably one of the nicest new features of Windows 10. I’m able to stream the Xbox One here at my desk and even join in party sessions with friends. It’s convenient to turn it on and stream it from my desk because the living room is occupied by others at times when I want to play a game.

I haven’t found any “show stoppers” in terms of bugs or missing features. Some “show stopper” candidates might be the lack of a DVD player (you can purchase on for < $15) or the death of the MCE interface, but I believe most stuff works good. It’s pretty easy just to install the app that you want (Chrome, iTunes, etc..).

The Edge browser is sort of annoying right now. It does have “Ask Cortana” support by highlighting text and right clicking on it. It doesn’t sync my bookmarks between different machines though. You also can’t “Save As” on right click. It’s bearable though and I expect it to improve quickly. There have been several updates that improved the OS and hopefully that continues at a brisk pace. Supposedly they passed the 50 million install mark, so they need to keep those people happy. For me, both the tablet and desktop are doing great.

Emma Turns 11

Today is Emma’s 11th birthday and no one could be more excited than her. What I mean is that she really gets into tracking her birthday and she’s been waiting for this day for some time. It’s actually a smart move on her part since many people would only derive joy/happiness from the one day, she get’s several months out of it!

Emma at 11Her “friend party” was this past weekend and she had a fun time here at the house. The girls played a bunch of games outside and even though the temps were above average, they seemed to have a good time. It was a Frozen themed party, so I suppose that had some emotional effect on the perception of temperatures. I believe that she really enjoyed it though.

Today was great for everyone in the family as school was cancelled on account of her birthday. Connie took Maggie and her to the mall so that they could shop. Maggie still had some money left over from her birthday. Seeing that Maggie had survived getting ear rings, Emma decided to have her ears pierced today. Her pick for a birthday meal? Chinese take-out at home. It was then that she opened her cards from her brothers and sister. We then finished off the evening by watching the movie Home together.

Emma’s a very sweet girl. You aren’t going to find many eleven year olds that think of others before themselves as often as she does. I’m thankful that she is a giver. Happy birthday my Emma.

First Week of School

This week the kids (and Connie) started another year of school. It is significant that this year is Quinn’s senior year of high school. He’s the forerunner of the four kids and the first to finish at “Callahan University”. I sometimes wonder whether he is ready to head to college, but then I think back to my own career and then I feel better about where he is at this point.

It seems as though the kids were resigned to the fact that they had to get back to school and didn’t put up much of a fuss with their early bed time and early start to the day. Yes, the summer is over. It was also a time for me to deal with the installation of new computer software as part of the new year. Yuck! Educational software is a horrible thing to foist upon a good OS. It was a bitter pill to see that antiquated software get installed.

I would say that the long days are starting again for Connie, but that’s the way it always is for her. She’s the hardest working person that I know. If I ever find myself working that hard, I’ll definitely need to slow down a little. Amazing I tell you. It’s not easy homeschooling four children, but I would dare to say it’s been very rewarding for her (and for me).

Windows 10 on the 29th

In 3 days, Microsoft will release the next version of their Windows OS. Windows 10 is their effort to win back the majority of their users after what could only be described as a disastrous Windows 8 (and 8.1) release. Many of those users have already moved on to iPads, Macs or Android Tablets, but a few are still holding on to Windows 7 (or XP unfortunately). I’ve been testing it out for a few months and I think that for most of the people that hate the “metro” interface (desktop users specifically), this version will be a big improvement. For me, it’s a mixed bag.

The good news for many is that the OS works a lot better for people with keyboards and mice. It’s almost like Windows 7.8 really (with a bunch of improvements under the hood, including the new browser Edge). The tablet interface is not as powerful as Windows 8, but it’s much more predictable and I think it will work better in the long run.

So who should upgrade?

  • Those with Windows 8.1 on their desktop (primarily mouse/kb) should upgrade right away. Windows 10 will be much easier to operate.
  • If you like “new” stuff, this is for you.

Who should wait?

  • Windows 8.1 touch users should probably wait until a secondary release of Windows 10. I don’t see a lot of initial problems, but there might be some day 1 “gotchas”. The Fall release will include more things that didn’t make it into this release and will make it more of an upgrade.
  • If you are happy with Windows 7, just keep enjoying it until you get a new computer. 10 is better than 7, but not so much that you need to cause yourself a lot of headaches.

What about those on XP, Vista or other version? For you, start saving up for new hardware and plan to get off those OSs before the end of the year. They are a security threat that you don’t need. Computer hardware gets cheaper every year and a new system will be a breath of fresh air. You could also just jump on one of the competing OSs and see what it’s like there.

From my perspective, Windows 10 offers a lot of new stuff (security, browser, apps, …) yet it doesn’t have a polished feel yet. It seems rushed (especially the Edge browser). It’s a work in progress and I’m sure that by the end of the year will feel much more complete. I do love the new Xbox integration. I would probably love the “Hello” instant login support if I had the hardware. It will be good, even great…. eventually. Grab some popcorn, because this is going to be interesting (and who doesn’t love some popcorn).

 

Stop by for a few words on what is happening with the Callahan's.