Spring Update

Winter is over and Spring is here finally. The weather has improved although not as much as I would have liked. On the news front my new tablet arrived from Pandawill. Overall I am very happy with it. It is a good replacement for my defunct Nexus 7. We had the annual Tefft family picnic at Woodstock Park in Virginia Beach last Sunday. Most everyone was able to make it.  The weather cooperated and everyone had a good time enjoying the food and catching up with everyone on what was going on in their lives. My son Jason was there and he has grown into a man whom I love very much and am proud of. All my brothers seem to be doing well.

Skip is planting a large garden on a plot near where he lives. Speaking of gardens, our church has committed to supporting some local merchants by letting them set up a farmers market every Saturday on our property. There will be eight or nine vendors who will be selling produce, meats, and crafts. I am really looking forward to it as I plan on being one of their customers. I can always use some farm fresh produce. I also plan to go to the farmers market that is held in Williamsburg every weekend. My brothers Jon and Skip want to go with me as well as my son Jason. It should be a fun outing as I have not been to Williamsburg in a long time.

I have been busy at church especially during Lent and Easter. We had our Maundy Thursday portrayal and our cantata. Both were a great success. This Monday I will be a waiter at the annual Mother Daughter Banquet, a long tradition. That is about it for now. Hope to keep you posted more often. May God bless you and yours. Peace.

 

Brother Jon Family at picnic My son Jason

A Winters Day

The fourth winter storm of the season is upon us this Monday. The last three storms dumped 3, 8, and 3 inches of snow respectively on us. Today’s  storm is supposed to be in the 1-4 inch category with the  chance of a quarter inch of ice thrown in for good measure. So far the bulk of the storm seems to be passing us to the north and west. Fine by me. I don’t mind cold weather but I do mind dark, cold, windy days; which the majority of days this winter have been. Spring will be most welcome.

I ordered a 7.9 inch Chinese clone table from Pandawill.com over two weeks ago and it still has not arrived. I realize that it actually ships from the Far East but almost three weeks and nothing yet? I opened a dispute for non-delivery with PayPal. Will have to wait and see what comes of it.

I have had a prolonged case of cabin fever this winter and I really need to take a mini-vacation as soon as the weather improves. I am thinking of visiting Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge in Delaware for a weekend. It is an easy days drive away and I have never been there. Max, my dog, would love to go along I am sure. Just have to check and see if dogs are allowed.

So I guess I will spend the rest of the day watching how the storm develops and watch some of my Great Courses videos. My current one is the “Origin and Evolution of Earth”. So far I has been pretty interesting.

That’s it for now. Peace and may God Bless you and yours.

Deep in Winter

Hello. Back again after a few months hiatus. The big news I guess is the weather. We have had quite a winter here in South Eastern Virginia. As of today, February 17th, we have had 3 significant snowfalls. The first one was about 3 inches, soon followed by a big winter storm that left us with 8 inches of snow and bad road conditions for several days. The last one left another 3 inches which was quickly melted by rain the next day. I would not be surprised if we have not seen our last snowfall of the winter. Everyone is looking forward to Spring by now.

So what else is new? Let me think for a moment. Ah, as usual technology news. I bought a fancy dash camera for my Honda Element. It records automatically as soon as you turn on the ignition and turns off when you turn off the ignition. It can record in segments of 2, 3, or 5 minutes until it fills up the SD card. It records in 1080i resolution with audio. I have had it for a couple of weeks now and the video is really nice. If I ever get into an accident I will have a video record of it as  it has a g sensor that stops the recording if an impact is detected. Another toy, albeit useful one.

I have also ordered a new tablet to replace my Nexus 7 which has become increasingly sluggish up to the point of uselessness. I ordered a Chinese made 7.9 inch tablet so I will see how it works.

Piano lessons are going well. I never expect to become really proficient but it is a lot of fun and keeps me occupied. Otherwise my time is spent reading, doing Bible studies, taking Max for walks, and photography. I think Max and  I have been to every park there is in the Hampton Roads area. Time for a road trip one of these day.

Enough for now. 

Snowy woods

Fall is Here

Well it is starting to look like I am only going to post here once every season. My last entry was in the summer, where I promised to post more often. Didn’t seem to happen did it? Anyway, there is a lot to write about. My health continues to improve and  for that I am grateful to God and my doctors. My 65th birthday is fast approaching so I don’t expect to feel like any 18 year old any  more. Aches and pains will be the norm for the rest of my time here on earth.  Now  if I could just get used to that.

On the news front I guess front and center is that  I have started taking piano lessons. I have always wanted to play a musical instrument and the last time I attempted that was when I was sixteen with a guitar. Never got very far with that. But now I am taking lessons from our church pianist/organist. She is very good as an instructor and I am making good progress. In fact I am amazed with myself for once in my life. Seems even at 65 learning how to play and instrument  is not beyond me. I don’t have any plans for playing Carnegie Hall but I am enjoying myself. I can read music fairly well and am learning some chords. I have about six or seven tunes in my repertoire that  I can play pretty well. Nothing complicated or fancy but better than chopsticks.

As usual on the technology front I have been busy.  I have a new Nexus 4 smartphone and just changed my data plan from T-Mobile, who  has lousy network coverage in this area to AT&T via  Straight Talk. Seems  AT&T has much better coverage in SE  Virginia. I also bought a used laptop from Cowboom  auction for  only $150. It is going to be delivered by UPS tomorrow. Hope it is not a piece of junk but I think I got a really good deal. We shall see.

Also been reading a lot. Philosophy, history, and religion  along with the usual science fiction. Being retired I have a lot of time to do the things I want. I go out to lunch with my older brother Skip and a friend of ours a couple of times a month and  I enjoy that. I even took in my first 3D  movie, Gravity, at the new theater in the mall. It was really a great movie especially with the 3D effects. Oh, I almost forgot, I was  very fortunate to find a used Wurlitzer digital piano with full 88 weighted keys. It helps me  to practice where otherwise I would have to go to church to practice there.

So  that is about it for now. As usual, keep God first in everything you do. Peace out.

             HAPPY HALLOWEEN

Pumpkin Art

Summer is Over, Where Have I Been?

Seems I have gone an entire summer without writing anything. The health problems I mentioned in my last post have  slowed me down this summer but they are mostly resolved now. I lost the 15 pounds I talked about last time and  that seems to have helped. Church has kept me busy and when I an not doing that I have been swimming in the pool and working in the yard. Playing with my electronic toys,  reading, and taking Max for walks have filled in the rest of the time. I  have also managed to get out and take a  few pictures now and then.

I hope to be more active this Fall now that I  am feeling better. And  I hope to be  writing more often  too. That is all. Peace out and keep God first in everything you do.

Orange Flowers US Mail Proud Parents Heron Egret

Back Again

Lots of things have changed since my last post. I have been having a few health issues that I am still dealing with. I am on a number of new medications. I guess this is to be expected when you reach my age. I think the number one thing I could do for my health would be to lose about 15 pounds. Not an easy thing to do at my age but I need to give it a shot. I may also be moving in the near future. Things have not worked out as I thought  they would and Max and I will be looking for a new place to live. Moving  is a hassle and I have moved way too  many times in my life. At 64 years I had not really anticipated moving again but one never knows what the future has in store.

On the  technology front, I have only a couple of new toys. The first one is what is called Android TV on a stick. Usually these devices look like an over-sized thumb drive but the one I purchased, the  Odroid-U2, looks like a small board with several  connectors for USB, power,  audio, and a microSD card. It  is housed in what looks like a heat sink. I have it running the  latest version of Android and it is now hooked up to my other new toy. The other new toy is a 39 inch LG HDTV. Since I have moved upstairs to the studio in the house, I needed a new TV. The LG is a very nice LED TV with just the basic functionality. I didn’t need anything fancy or expensive. With the Odroid-U2 connected to it via HDMI it is a SmartTV that runs all the latest Android apps.

That is about it for now. I am sure I left some things out but hopefully I will post again soon instead of only once every couple of months.  Peace out and keep God first in everything you do.

New Year Upon Me

Wow, I have been really remiss in posting here. I just don’t seem to have the urge to post as often as I used to. Not that I have not had anything to write about, just the urge to document it is not as great as it has been in the past.

On that note, It is a new year and man, where does the time go? Today is Groundhog Day and Phil has called for an early Spring. Our winter has been interesting here. It has snowed three times so far, with a significant accumulation on one of the occasions. The temperatures have ranged from 18 degrees to 76 degrees, quite a swing, but not that unusual for this area.

With the weather out of the way, what else can I talk about? Oh, I know, politics. No I would rather not. Suffice it to say that this country is going to Hell in the proverbial hand basket. The liberals are making another run on the Second Amendment. Seems they won’t be happy until they have taken my Red Ryder BB gun away from me.

No, what I really want to talk about is my continued obsession with technology. Since my last post in July when I mentioned I bought a Kindle Fire and a Samsung Dart smartphone, let me report that they have both been replaced. Now I have a Asus Google Nexus 7 tablet and an LG Optimus L9 smartphone. Did I really need to replace either one of the older devices?  Not really, but by now, if you have been reading any of my posts, you know that sometimes I can’t help myself.

The new smartphone is probably the only one I can possibly justify. My old Samsung was slow and under-powered, with a small display and an old version of Android. My new LG smartphone addresses all those issues. I have even gone for a pre-paid data plan as the phone supports 4G. It is nice to not have to rely on finding an open hot spot when I am away from home. The 4.5″ screen is also much better for doing just about everything, not to mention a much better camera.

As for the new Nexus 7, it has several things that my Kindle Fire did not have, the main thing being GPS. It is also much thinner and lighter, which makes it easier to hold for long periods of time. The display is also better and I forgot to mention it has a microphone, which is needed for a lot of apps.

So I think I am set on the technology front for at least a couple of months, although I am looking at one of the Android TV on a stick devices. I got my son Jason one for his birthday and he loves it.

That’s it for now. I am busy with my Bible app on my Nexus 7 doing several devotionals a day, and staying busy with church. I still am plotting and planning our next vacation as I am always excited about going places I have never been before.

Peace out, may the Force be with you, and keep God first in everything you do.

Summer is over Fall is here

Just had the Harvest Moon the other night so Fall is definitely here. The weather is still quite warm but that should change pretty soon. I have had enough of all the hot, humid weather and endless rain. Fall is my favorite season for a number of reasons. Lots of Fall festivals, the colors on the trees as the leaves change, and Halloween and Thanksgiving.

Not much newsworthy has been happening. Our church had its first Family Fun Day and the turnout for it was pretty good. Hamburgers and hotdogs on the menu, tattoo booth, beads booth, inflatable fun house for the kids, corn hole games, and lots of other stuff. Lots of new faces showed up and hopefully some of those will come for a Sunday service.

I have been out and about taking lots of photos with my new camera. I especially like the 25x zoom as it allows me to take candid shots where the subject is not conscious of the camera. I also bought a new Vizio Co-Star media device to replace my old Roku. The consensus on the Co-Star is kind of mixed. Hopefully my opinion will become more favorable as I find out more on its capabilities.

That is about it for now. Just wanted to say something so I won’t have these long gaps in my blog. Hope everyone is enjoying Fall as much as I am.

Mid July Update

I need to start posting here more often. I have been considering posting a little something every day. In that way, ten years from now I can go back and see what I was doing back then.

Anyway, the first item of interest is the family of Red Foxes that have taken up residence in our neighborhood. Over the years there has been an occasional sighting of a fox but it has become much more common recently. Our new neighbors have been watching them and estimate that there are about seven foxes in the woods near our house. I have seen four of them at one time. They are very inquisitive and not very shy. I guess that have learned to tolerate humans now that we have encroached on their territory. I have captured them of video as well as photographed them. Teresa thinks they are cute with their black stockings. I have to admit that they are cute and quite dainty.

The other thing of note is that I bought a new camera. My old Panasonic Lumix has apparently gotten dust or dirt inside and it is showing up when I zoom in while taking photos. So even though I did not want to spend the money I ordered a new Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150. With a 25x optical zoom, 12  megapixels, 12 fps burst mode, image stabilization, AVCHD progressive 1080p video and 3200 max iso, it is quite a step up from my old camera. It was also quite a bit more expensive.

The last item is that Teresa’s daughter is coming to stay with us for an undetermined amount of time. Oh joy! Anyway, I am moving my stuff downstairs from the FROG and re-arranging things in the living room to accommodate my computer and other things. Thunderstorms are rolling through the area so I had better finish up in case we lose power. See below for a photo of our neighborhood fox. That is all.

Image

Feeding My Geek Side

I have been a geek for as long as I can remember, going back to when I didn’t even know what geek meant. As a child, all I wanted for Christmas was a chemistry set, an electronics kit, or a microscope. In school my favorite subjects where biology, chemistry, and physics. I followed the space program starting from the original Mercury Seven. I built a Heathkit radio and built and launched model rockets. In college I earned a degree in Electrical/Electronic Engineering Technology and later Computer Science. I remember my first 4 function LED calculator replacing my slide rule in college. I have had computers from an Atari 800XL and Mattel Intellivision, to my present Dell Dimension E521. I remember 300 baud dial-up modems and BBS’s. I think you get the picture.

In the last couple of years my attention has been focused on firearms. I have always enjoyed shooting and since I have retired I have spent much of my time acquiring and shooting firearms. While doing this, my other passion, technology, has sort of languished. Recently, starting with the introduction of tablet PC’s and a host of other new technology, my interest has returned once again to all things geek. Within the last six months I have bought an LG Blu-ray disc player with Internet capability, a new cable modem, a new Cisco dual-band 802.11/n wireless gigabit router, and a Buffalo Technologies 1 TB NAS. (Network attached storage). This is in addition to the Roku Internet media device I already owned.

With an internal 250 GB hard drive in the LG disc player, the 600 GB drive in my Dell Dimension PC, and the 1 TB of my NAS, I now have almost 2 TB of disc storage. My wireless network is now much faster than it used to be. I am able to stream audio, photos, and high definition video to my Samsung HDTV and 5.1 surround sound system flawlessly. The Internet content that is accessible to me via my Roku box and my LG Blu-ray disk player is astounding. I have been seriously thinking about cutting the cable TV cable and saving a significant amount of money every month. There is very little available via cable TV that I cannot get over the Internet with my present setup.

I think for the present my appetite for technology has been sated. At least I hope it has as my wallet can not take any more. That is all. Peace.