Bose QuietComfort 35 Wireless Headphones Unboxing

I have a trip to Mexico planned this week for work.  My current Bose headphones, QuietComfort 3, have worked well over the years but they are starting to deteriorate.  Also, the more I travel the more I have been annoyed with this issue they have where there is a nasty feedback loop if I rest my head at an angle and block the microphone.

After a recommendation and demo from a coworker, I decided to purchase the Bose QuietComfort 35 wireless headphones.  These suckers are not cheap at $350, but I was so impressed by the noise canceling capabilities, wireless feature, and overall sound quality, I had to get them!

The headphones arrived from Amazon today and I was super excited to try them out. Continue reading “Bose QuietComfort 35 Wireless Headphones Unboxing”

New BBS Project Pages Posted!

I added a couple new pages w/ lots of screenshots of ANSI graphics from my BBS sysop days!

Click the links below to check them out!

http://daveweatherwax.com/projects/bbs-days-1994-1996/tales-from-the-crypt-1994-1995/

 http://daveweatherwax.com/projects/bbs-days-1994-1996/ding-1995-1996/

You have died of dysentery!

For Christmas we got the boys a new card game called “The Oregon Trail Card Game”.  It’s a relatively new card game that is based on the old PC game classic of the same name.

The game is set in 1848 and you are leading a covered wagon attempting to make it from Independence, Missouri to Wilamette Valley, Oregon along the Oregon trail.  This game was pretty much a staple in elementary schools in the late eighties to early nineties.  More info on the classic video game here.

The card game has a similar theme but is stripped down from the video game.  There are ‘trail cards’, ‘supply cards’, and ‘calamity cards’.  The game starts with a fixed set of supply cards, which turn out to be a scarce resource.  As you play trail cards you are frequently instructed to pick up a calamity card.  It always seems like something is going wrong on the trail!  Usually someone is getting sick, the wagon is breaking down, people are starving, or your oxen are dying.  Supply cards are used to remedy the situation.

Overall the family gives this game two thumbs up!  The kids are going crazy over it.  They love researching the various diseases that pop up in the game, like measles, cholera, etc.  We use this as an opportune time to teach them about the benefits of vaccines.  🙂

One aspect that I really like about the game is that everyone is on the same team.  You are all working together to make it to Oregon.  If anyone on the team makes it there then everyone wins.  The strategy is light enough that an 8 year old can play it, even though the box says 12+.

For downsides, the game could probably use a little additional strategy.  There are no forks in the road.  Also, it seems like forts and towns are few and far between.

If you have kids and enjoyed playing the video game as a kid then I highly recommend you pick up this card game.  It’s a great way to spend an hour with them and offers plenty of opportunities to teach them about how easy we have it in the modern world.

Click below to purchase from Amazon:

New Project Pages!

I just created a couple new pages for some personal projects that I’ve worked on many years ago.

The first is the Lucid Inducer, which is a lucid dreaming induction device.  I pretty much get mocked by anyone who sees this thing, but it actually works!

Also, I’ve been going through my VERY old project files, and came upon a treasure trove of personal coding projects from the 90’s.  I posted one of them, Stewvoo, which is an ANSI art viewer from 1996!

You can find links to the project pages in the navigation bar at the top.  I hope to fill out more projects I’ve worked on in the coming weeks.

Let me know if you find any of it interesting!

 

CES 2017 – Trip Report!

I was super fortunate to be able to attend CES 2017 in Las Vegas this last weekend!  For those that have been hiding under a rock, CES (Consumer Electronics Show) is probably the largest tradeshow in the world, with close to 200,000 people gathering in Las Vegas for all things tech.

Most of my focus on the trip was around checking out the various automotive OEM’s and suppliers and meeting with various partners and vendors.

Overall the size of the automotive presence and, in particular, self driving cars and ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems) technologies, was staggering.  I walked around for 2 days and didn’t even get a chance to see all the vendors, never mind experience the various demos (e.g. taking a ride in various self driving cars, etc.).  Overall I probably got to experience about 25% of the show.

The signs are all very clear at the convention, self driving cars are actually here, it’s not hype.  Well, the tech is here, we’ll see about the regulatory and consumer acceptance side of things over the coming years.  The impact to the economy will be undoubtedly huge, as massive amounts of jobs are displaced (all taxi, uber, and truck drivers gone to start).  Those industries will become more efficient (24×7 trucking, no need for drivers to sleep, for example).

Consumers will shift to viewing driving as a service (already happening now with Uber in urban areas) and car ownership will become less prevalent, which will result in poorer auto sales.  Our time will be freed up from driving during our commute, which will no doubt be replaced by doing more work, checking emails, etc.  I’ve always found that the promise of more leisure time from increased advances in technologies never materializes, only to be quickly filled in by more work.

Regardless of what the future holds, damn the tech at CES is off the charts!  I got to see the brand new EV from Faraday Future (brand new OEM in California).  This vehicle is tricked out with everything including facial recognition and machine learning, full self driving tech, and a 60 degree reclining seat so you can relax while your car is driving you to your destination.  Check out their website at the link above for the complete specs.

Another company that really impressed me was HERE, a mapping company that is setup to be the mapping database for self driving cars.  Image processing, including object recognition, have come a long way and are now being productized by various suppliers.

Here are some pics of the show:

 

Top 10 Christmas Movies

In the Christmas season we tend to binge watch our favorite Christmas movies.  We love these movies so much their viewing tends to spill over into the rest of the winter.

Here’s our top 10 Christmas movies that we are currently watching:

1. A Christmas Story

My all time favorite Christmas movie.  I remember watching this movie when I was a kid, and one year I actually got a BB Gun for Christmas!

2. Home Alone

This year it seems that this movie is #1 with the family.  The finale scene rocks.

3. The Santa Clause

Another favorite for the kids.  Supposedly #3 is better than #1, but #1 is the staple in our house.

4. Polar Express

We may have almost worn out this movie.  The kids love it.

5. Christmas Vacation

I love the griswalds!

6. Elf

This one is a classic that the whole family enjoys.  Michele’s top Christmas movie, but probably somewhere in my personal top 5.

7. It’s a Wonderful Life

One of my favorites.  The kids aren’t too into this one, but I love it!

8. Miracle on 34th Street

I used to watch this one when I was a kid.  The kids aren’t too into it, but it’s a must watch for me each year.

9. How the Grinch Stole Christmas

The Jim Carrey version is a classic, but we also watch the original animated version.

10. Bad Santa

We actually don’t own this one yet, but I remember watching it a couple years ago and remember it being frekkin hilarious!  Definitely top on my list of movies to purchase.

First Day of Winter!

It’s officially the first day of winter!  There’s something relieving about knowing that each day from now on will have more daylight than the one before.  Winter can get a little depressing when it’s dark in the morning before work and still dark when you get home.  There is just no time to enjoy the daylight.

This is why, being a new englander, you need to take up a winter activity to stay sane.  For the past couple years since we’ve taken up skiing more regularly, we are actually looking forward to the winter!

Last weekend had some of the most unbelieveable ski conditions we’ve experienced in a couple years.  We were skiing in literally 2 feet of powder.  It was up to our knees while going down the trails.  We were in pure heaven.

Ironically, the kids hated it.  They weren’t used to skiing in powder and kept falling.  Once they were on the ground they had a hard time getting back up and were just getting frustrated.  Some day they’ll understand that these are rare days in new england.

So rare in fact the conditions did a complete 180 within 24 hours.  We went from unbelieve powder on Saturday to a complete downpour on Sunday and many of the trails closed.  We decided to have breakfast at Polly’s Pancake Parlor (which I highly recommend) instead.

Just another weekend in the whites!

Tonight’s bedtime story, C programming!

A couple weeks ago I gave Eli (now 8) my first programming book, “C By Example” from Que.  The original edition I had was from 1992.

From the time I first laid my hands on a computer I was hooked.  I devoured giant books like these on MS-DOS, QBasic, C, Pascal, and x86 Assembly language.  By the time I was in 8th grade I had written many large programs and was proficient in all of the above languages.

Eli is definitely cut from the same cloth.  He first got interested in Kindergarten when each kid has to complete an ‘hour of code’ (from code.org, a great site by the way).  He’s extremely curious, much in the same ways I was at his age.

I started showing him a little simple python code, where he could prompt the user a question, check the results, show random text, etc.  He’s really excited about it, but I still think the mental concepts are a little out of his reach.

So, for bedtime reading, we’ve been going through this book starting at page 1.  It’s pretty entertaining given how outdated the book is (25 years old, gulp!)  Computers were so much simpler then.  The book really starts with the fundamentals of how a computer works from a low level.

I’m finding that a lot of Computer Science programs don’t even teach low level languages anymore.  A typical CS program will start with Java or Python as its initial language.  Most schools don’t even teach C unless you are pursuing an EE degree.

While it is great how quickly you can become productive in these languages, something is definitely lost when you don’t learn the fundamentals of how a processor, memory, and disk work.  I’ve noticed that many entry level engineers are impatient and just want to ‘make things work’, rather than understanding how things work.

Ski Weekend #2; more snow, and Tommy gets it!

We had a successful second weekend skiing up at Bretton Woods.  This weekend there were a lot more open trails, with 17 open by Sunday.  Much better than 5 the previous week!

First off, I thought I’d share some pics of the house we are staying at in Whitefield, about a 20 minute drive from Bretton Woods.  Here’s our view of the Lake, which is already frozen!

forest lake, whitefield, nh forest lake, whitefield, nh

The house has 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, and a nice great room for everyone to sprawl out in:

img_1990

Overall we’ve been super happy with the place, it feels like we’re going on a vacation every weekend!

Now, back to skiing.  The weather has been good to the mountain so far.  Temps have been low, enabling the crews to keep the guns running nonstop.  Unfortunately we haven’t had any blockbuster snowfall at the lower (3000′) elevation YET, but I’m sure it will come soon enough.

 

img_2005

Above is a shot of Eli and Aaron at the top.  In the background you can see a mountain (Waumbeck I think) covered in snow and the distinct elevation line where that snow occurred.  Unfortunately that line is above Bretton Woods.  Mt. Washington, the mountain right next to us, got something like 4 feet of snow this past week!

The boys did great skiing.  They are all really loving it.  I spend most of the day w/ Eli and Aaron, while Michele is teaching Tommy on the bunny slope.  This week Tommy learned pizza and french fries, and was able to ski down the whole run by himself.  We’re sure he’ll be up at the top in a few weeks!

Another great addition to the mountain this year is the waffle cabin!  The boys loved the sugary treat!

img_2002 img_2001

 

 

 

Kicking off the Ski Season

This weekend we kicked off the ski (snowboarding for me) season at Bretton Woods.  This year we rented a house up in Whitefield, NH on Forest Lake from 12/1-4/1.  We split the rental with another family that has 2 kids about the same age as ours.

Here’s a current trailmap of Bretton Woods:

bretton-woods-trail-map

Overall there were only 4 trails open on Saturday and 3 on Sunday.  The mountain crew was blowing snow on lots of trails so we’re hoping more will be open next weekend.

Here are some pics of the kids having fun:

The house is pretty awesome (pics soon), with lots of frontage on the lake.  We’re hoping to be able to do some ice skating on the pond once it freezes up.  Also, they have a nice big fireplace near the dock that should be fun.  The only downside to the house is that it uses lake water and there is no filtration.  The water really tastes like a fish tank.

Eli and Aaron are doing excellent skiing.  Tommy is still on the bunny slopes using the harness.  He gets exhausted after a couple hours and super cranky, so we’re going to have to figure out how to make that work.

In addition to the season passes, we rented a locker in the lodge this year.  It was pretty expensive but we’re hoping it will be a huge logistics saver.  No need to pack/unpack all of our gear each week.

Overall we’ve found the skiing life to be perfect for our family.  We all enjoy it and get super excited about it during the week.  We get to spend a solid 8 hours a day with the kids enjoying the outdoors.  This is sure to create memories for all of us.