The best Christmas present of all time

Two things came up recently which spurred me to write a blog post one year sooner than I originally planned.

The first thing is that I created a new website called Break Into Chat, which hosts a wiki about the history of old BBS door games as well a blog about retro computing topics. You can visit the website to learn more about the reasons why I created it.

The second thing is that my mom has been scanning truckloads of photos from Christmases past, then sharing them on Facebook.

These two seemingly unrelated threads converge in 1993, the year my parents surprised me and my brothers with the greatest Christmas present ever: The Atari Jaguar.

Please take a minute to click the link above and relive the memory with me!

iPad at last!

It only took me four tries to get an iPad 2.

Today I’ve been fooling around with it, adding free apps, and even a FaceTime video chat with a cousin in Texas.

One of our hopes is to use Skype to video chat with yoli’s relatives in Bolivia.

The video chats are cool, and the iPad screen is so big. It’s not like using a small phone.

I’m writing this post using the wordpress app.

Now I gotta look and see what sort of genealogy apps there are. And I haven’t even looked for games yet…. 🙂

AT&T’s $14.95 DSL might get me to switch

So, I’m revisiting high-speed internet options in St. Louis again.

The main reason is that AT&T is offering three of their DSL plans for $14.95 for 12 months.

This is a great price point for me, since it’s under the $18/month I mentioned in my previous entry about looking for high-speed internet.

If we go for this plan, we will also immediately start looking into Skype, Vonage, Google Phone, and other options to replace our local AT&T phone service. I think we can come out ahead on our combine phone and internet bills (during these 12 months, at least).

We want to dump the phone service because the bill just keeps getting more expensive — additional taxes and surcharges are added all the time. I think it’s supposed to be $18 or $19, but the actual bill is closer to $30 when it comes.

So, folks, who has experience with AT&T internet? Is the service okay?

What about replacing the home phone with internet choices. Anyone have experience with that?

Third time’s the charm

In recent years I have twice written up a stack of Christmas cards with every intention of mailing them. I even got them into the envelopes and somewhat addressed. Then some thing(s) or other cropped up and I procrastinated to the point that I thought “well, it’s too late to mail them now!”

It’s embarrassing. (Well, I guess it’s only embarrassing now that I’ve mentioned it here on the blog. Before that, nobody really knew about it!)

But this year, I did put together a little Renaud family letter for Christmas, and I have managed to get most of them into the mail. I have one left, and it will hit the post office sometime tomorrow.

Of course this whole endeavor is a bit pricey, with the cost of having the letter printed and folded, stamps, and all.

To cut costs, I ended up printing in black and white. Also I decided I will send a digital PDF of the letter via email to many folks.

Maybe that’s the way to go in the future. It sure is easier to do. But then again, there’s something nice about getting a tangible letter with a little handwritten note (even if it’s just a short note).

Google Wave invites

So Google just informed me that I have eight invites available for Google Wave. If you haven’t heard of it, Wave is a collaborative tool that sort of takes the best of email, IM, chat, and other technologies and rolls them together into something seamless and perhaps better. It’s worth checking out.

I’ll send invites to the first eight people to comment on this entry. Be sure to use your real email address when you post your comment, otherwise you won’t receive your invite.

BTW – If any of you already use Google Wave, add me to your contacts there:

Breaking the terabyte barrier

Ever since I got back from Bolivia, one of the hard disks inside my PowerMac G4 was getting ready to fail. When it became clear that it was a physical problem, and not just a software issue, I decided it would be good to upgrade to two larger disks – 500 gigabytes each. Add that together, and that’s a total of one terabyte of storage. Now we have a lot more room for digital photos and (especially) digital video editing.

And to think, at one time all I had was an Atari 800 with a cassette tape drive for external storage. Wowsers, we’ve come a long way.

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New camera

People always seem surprised to learn that we don’t have cable, high-speed internet access, cell phones or a digital camera. After all, we are a highly computer-literate family, and I am a lover of technology. Well, now you can knock one of those off the list: we got a digital camera. But I wouldn’t bet on any of the othe rs changing anytime soon.

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