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I went back through my blogs this year to recap 2004. Some of the highlights:

Jan 19 – Why Camera Phones Suck – back in January, Steve got himself a camera phone and I thought it sucked because it didn’t have a dedicated “Take a Picture” button, and it wouldn’t sync email contacts with his computer right out of the box. By December, I owned a camera phone that had both features, and it’s not so bad. It makes for a nice blogging tool when I’m on the road.

Feb 1 – Got icons from JinWicked – I got a set of personalized icons from JinWicked, a talented Houston artist. I use them in Yahoo chat to show how I’m currently feeling, because I’ve got about a dozen icons ranging from angry to happy. The one shown here is me at my happiest – I squint my eyes when I’m really happy.

Feb 12 – Back from Paris – Erika and I spent a long weekend in Paris. Sure, you’d rather have more time than a long weekend, but it was all the time we had to spare, and it’d been a while since we’d traveled out of the country. Paris is our most favorite international city so far (NYC still being the favorite overall), mostly because it was so much cleaner than Rome. We liked Rome, but Paris, Paris was pristine.

Mar 19 – That’s it, I’m switching to Linux – I got completely frustrated with the difficulties in moving an Exchange 2003 installation to another machine. Obscure registry tweaks pushed me over the edge. I kept hearing about how 2004 was supposed to be the Year of the Desktop for Linux, so I jumped in with both feet.

Apr 25 – Still struggling with Linux – The lack of documentation made it tough for me to get things right. I enjoy researching and finding the right answer to problems, but with Linux, there were dozens of answers to any given question, all with varying degrees of correctness. The beauty of open source is the abundance of choices; the curse of open source is the abundance of choices. There are tons of solutions that mostly work, and very few solutions that simply work out of the box without editing arcane text files. While text files were indeed better than registry entries, I had jumped from the frying pan into the fire.

May 1 – I got Slashdotted – I had a joke page where you could put in a friend’s name in a RIAA press release so that it looked like they were being sued for pirating music a la Napster. I got 46,092 hits in 3 days, all served off my home DSL line, and it went really well. (Mostly because there were no images on the page hosted at the house.)

May 11 – I give – no more Linux on the desktop – the last straw consisted of setting up a VPN connection to the Watchguard firewalls at our office. I couldn’t work without that VPN connection, and nobody could make it work, not even our Linux-savvy CIO. Turned out he’d been unable to get it to work on his machines, too. I decided I wanted to spend my spare time doing something other than learning an operating system, so back to Windows it was. I did move my web sites over to Linux and PHP, though.

May 26 – Coffee and pills – I had a really bad day on May 25th, and in the pain and frustration, ended up putting my ibuprofen in the coffee bean jar instead of my mouth. One of my favorite pictures of the year.

June 5 – Gonna be a long couple of months – my manager resigned after six years. We were short-staffed as it was, and that really hit us hard. I thought things would suck because we’d lose his in-depth knowledge of the products, and they did, but what I missed more was just having him around. Paul’s a heck of a nice guy, and we still email today. On the bright side, I got his office, muhahaha.

July 18 – Installed landscape lighting – this was my first permanent project as a homeowner. I’d built things, moved things around, but not installed something permanent. I still love the way these look – they really add a lot to the house.

Aug 29 – House is up for sale – after Paul left, I got frustrated telecommuting and I wanted to be up in the office where I could do the most good, the most quickly.

Sept 23 – Rescuing a possum – in what will probably go down as my family’s least favorite moment of the year, I rescued a possum that was stuck in my backyard fence. I didn’t have the heart to let him sit back there and struggle, because I’m a big time animal lover. Just seeing him back there struggling made me want to cry. (Girlie-man.) I was lucky not to get bit though.

Oct 10 – Dumping Audiovox Thera – I’ve been a big fan of phones that do more than call people. I’ve had two PDA phones that keep track of your contacts, your appointments, play games, etc. However, I got tired of their bulky size, and on October 10th I started a two-month odyssey of trying to replace my cell phone. (As of December 23rd, three companies and four cell phones later, I’ve got a defective Sony from Cingular, and I’m waiting on a replacement. How hard is it to get a phone that works?)

Oct 17 – Trashing Julian’s cube, racing Toyotas – we started what has become a Dallas office tradition by trashing Julian’s cube for his birthday. We aluminum-foiled everything in the cube, then put on a layer of post-it notes, then filled it knee-high with balloons, then streamers. Later, we drove out to a Toyota-sponsored event where we got to race their cars for free. Gotta love that.

Oct 25 – I’ve been TP’ed – the coders toilet papered my office to celebrate my upcoming birthday. I loved it, and kept it up for most of the week. Had a client come in, though, so I had to take it down.

Nov 9 – Started moblogging – moblogging is blogging from your camera phone or other mobile device. This entry’s link goes to the entire November archive because I’ve got quite a few camera photos in there of our trip to Vegas on Nov 10, and my road trip across the North for Thanksgiving.

Nov 14 – A pirate looks at 31 – Erika and I took our first sailboat ride together out of Galveston. Coooooold.

Nov 21 – Bought a new Jeep – I’d wanted one of these for forever, and I finally buckled down and bought one. It’s much more me than the Volvo was: I like to say I got the Jeep because the Volvo was too fashionable for me. Upon hearing that, a coworker said, “I’m afraid I’ve got some bad news for you….”

Dec 5 – Thanksgiving in Michigan & DC – this happened earlier than 12/5, but I have my pictures in the blog on that date. I flew up to Michigan, spent Thanksgiving with Dad & the Colby side of the family, then drove Emily’s car to DC and spent a few days there as well. I should do at least one road trip a year. I still enjoy those.

Dec 12 – Cubicle Castle – for Hima’s birthday, we made her cubicle into a replica of the Disney Cinderella Castle. Great fun was had by all.

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