Posted by: drew | March 13, 2006

Weekend Wrap Up

Freaky, freaky weather. The weekend was beautiful! It was around 75 all weekend. It’s supposed to be 85 today! Tomorrow the temps will drop back down to the 40s…yikes…wierd.

Anyway, we took advantage of the weather and walked the dogs quite a bit. I also got some work done on a pet project of mine. Currently I’m borrowing a network webcam from a friend and have it trained on our living room during the day.

This allows us to check in on the dogs throughout the day to see if the “puppy”, Jellybean, is behaving herself. She’s still in the habit of getting bored, chewing on furniture, and generally causing mischeif. I wanted a way to correct her remotely.

What I did was put together a server from spare computer parts, which I use as a database and web server. I got a wireless wifi card for it, and have placed it behind the TV in the livingroom. I then wrote a small ASP.net web-page which allows me to select a WAV sound file from a drop-down list and play it on the server.

I’ve pre-recorded a number of our common “corrective phrases”, such as “Jellybean, OFF!” Today I noticed that she was on the couch with her paws up on the curio cabinet, about to pull something off of it and destroy it. I played the “OFF!” sound and she immediately got off the curio, and sat on the couch trying to figure out where I was. Our other dog soon emerged from her “bed” under the coffee table to look around too. After a few moments they both went back to sleep.

This is great.

While I don’t post much on the weekends on this or any of my usual messageboards, I do keep tabs on the news.

Go below the fold for my weekend stories of interest:

Politics
Feingold Proposes Censuring President Bush

A liberal Democrat and potential White House contender is proposing censuring President Bush for authorizing domestic eavesdropping, saying the White House misled Americans about its legality.

The resolution says the president “repeatedly misled the public” before the disclosure of the NSA program last December when he indicated the administration was relying on court orders to wiretap terror suspects inside the U.S.

Bill Could Restrict Freedom of the Press

Reporters who write about government surveillance could be prosecuted under proposed legislation that would solidify the administration’s eavesdropping authority, according to some legal analysts who are concerned about dramatic changes in U.S. law.

Oi. While a Bill != a law, it’s frightening that anyone actually proposes this. Hopefully the vague language in this bill will be refined to the point of making some sort of sense…

World

Milosevic may have tried to get to Moscow by taking inappropriate medication. It appears that this medication, a powerful antibiotic used to fight tuberculosis, may have negated the effects of his heart medication.

US

Midwest pummeled by twisters. Scary stuff. This weather is crazy. I had online friends out in OK and Missouri who had to hit the basement as tornado alarms went off. We used to have periodic twister warnings and a few touchdowns in TN, but thanks to the valley, they were relatively rare. Even so, they were always one of my greatest fears.

Blood DNA Links Darryl Littlejohn To Imette St. Guillen Murder This animal deserves far worse than our justice system will allow, for better or worse.

Science

NASA probe “dodges bullet” to achieve Mars orbit

A $450 million NASA spacecraft dropped smoothly into orbit around Mars on Friday, successfully completing a risky make-or-break maneuver in its two-year mission to search the red planet for life and find landing spots for future astronauts.

Mission controllers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena erupted in cheers when the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which left Earth in August, signaled that it had achieved orbit around a planet that has defeated two-thirds of the probes sent there.

“It’s almost like dodging a bullet,” said Dan McCleese, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s chief Mars scientist. “It’s going to take a few trips around the planet to know for sure, but from what we can see so far it’s a near-perfect entry into orbit.”

Woohoo! Grats folks! As someone who still checks the Mars Rover sites nearly every day, this is very exciting.

The Poison Lurking in Your Plastic Water Bottle

A Potentially deadly toxin is being absorbed into bottled mineral water from their plastic containers. And the longer the water is stored, the levels of poison increase, research reveals. As the sell-by date on many bottled waters is up to two years, scientists have now called for extensive further studies.

The tests found traces of antimony, a chemical used in the making of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles, used by most mineral-water sellers.

Sports

A few interesting sports stories this weekend with some big signings in Baseball and the NFL.

Braves Extend Bobby Cox’s contract

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Atlanta Braves have extended manager Bobby Cox’s contract through the 2007 season, the team announced on its Web site.

The 64-year-old Cox is beginning his 21st year as Braves’ manager, having led the team from 1978 through 1981 and again since 1990.

“We feel that Bobby is the best manager in the game, and his leadership has helped the Braves to set a very high standard of excellence,” Braves General Manager John Schuerholz said in a statement.

Very good! April 4 isn’t that far away now, woohoo!

Redskins sign ex-Steeler Randel-El

The Washington Redskins snagged their second receiver in two days of free agency Sunday, signing Antwaan Randle El to a seven-year contract that could be worth up to $31 million.

The Redskins also signed tight end Christian Fauria, giving coach Joe Gibbs three new weapons for an offense that struggled in the playoffs.

Not a bad deal. The Skins sure need the offense, and Randel-El is an exciting player, to say the least. I look forward to seeing him at FedEx Field next season.

Cardinals land Pro Bowl running back Edgerrin James

Edgerrin James ran off to the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, agreeing to a four-year, $30 million contract with a long-downtrodden franchise that had the worst running game in the league a year ago.

Well, it looks like James gave up on the Colts getting to the big game as he trades in the money for a chance at a ring.

So those are the stories I saw over the weekend when we weren’t enjoying the weather, sleeping, gaming, and messing with my “Remote Dog Monitor” system…

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