Google Voice

So yesterday I looked in my Gmail account and found a wonderful little e-mail.  Google Voice had invited me to the party.  🙂

Google Voice is one of the coolest services that I have heard about lately.  It basically gives you a number (any location you want) and anytime someone calls that number, it will ring all the numbers you setup.  For me, I have my cell in there right now and may think about adding an additional number or two into it down the road.  The cool thing is you can have it setup to say, if your family calls, it will ring your cell phone, home phone and office phone.  Or if it is a co-worker, you can have it only ring your office number.

You can listen to your voicemail on any computer with internet access and the cooler part is that when someone leaves you a message, Google will send you a text or email with whatever the person left on the message.  Very cool.  So if you are in a meeting and you get a phone call and let it go to voicemail, you can get the text to see if it is a “Hey honey, I am going to the store and wanted to see if you needed anything” or a “I’m stuck on the side of the road and need you to come get me.”  It makes it easy to communicate without having to leave the room to listen to the voicemail.

You can also place calls through the web and it will call you and connect you to the person. If someone calls you who you dont know, it will ask them their name before you get on the line and it rings you, and when you pick up your phone, it will let you listen to what the person says and you can then screen the call without having to take it.  If you want to talk to them, you hit 1 and suddenly you are connected.

So far, I have been super impressed by the service.  I am really excited about getting to get to use it more and discover more on how it can keep me connected to my friends, family, and coworkers.

Currently, it is invite only so if you are interested in it, comment on here and I’ll send you an invite if I know you.

http://www.google.com/voice

Why won’t he just update

Geez… you would think I would take the time to update my blog.  I mean seriously, I have so many hundreds and hundreds of readers I need to make sure I give my readers what they want and need!  🙂

It seems the past three weeks or so have been really intense at work and  I am hoping and praying that it calms down soon.  Sarah’s out of session now so hopefully she and I can do some travelling around a bit.  Anyone recommend any good places to go to?  Any good websites that have good last minute deals for traveling?  I recommend http://www.kayak.com but thats just one of many I am sure.

Im ready for a vacation….

Fun anniversary weekend

Night shot

This past weekend Sarah and I headed to Dallas on Friday evening for Michelle’s wedding and to celebrate our 3rd year wedding anniversary.  We had a blast getting to run around Dallas and see a TON of our friends while we were at the wedding and outside the wedding.  I love getting to see people who we haven’t seen in a while.  It was pure joy to spend time talking to our friends who we haven’t seen in a long time.  I only wish it wasn’t for such a brief moment in time.

We also got to spend some time with my grandmother on Sunday before we headed back to Austin.  We had a great time and were able to take her out to lunch at Cheesecake Factory for her birthday last week.  We had great conversation and spent a lot of time just talking and helping her figure out a few things on her cell phone and her computer.

There were a couple of comments this weekend that really stuck with me.  One of them was from a friend of mine who I took some engagement pictures for.  I just loved their praise they gave me for the pictures I took for them over 3 and a half years ago.  They told me that they have them in the house in their living room on display.  Just a good feeling to know that something I did for them is still on display.  I love it.  It also made me proud of the work I did for them and made me excited for the pictures I will take in the future.

Last, this weekend I rediscovered my love of night photography.  I love getting to take pictures with long shutter times so I can take pictures of building lights and street lights in the dead of night.  It brings me joy to see pockets of light appear on my screen or the print.  I love the depth of the blackest black on the picture to the whitest white of a streetlight.  It’s a blast…. 🙂

I’m bad at blogs…

So it is very clear to all of my few readers that I am really bad at updating blogs.  There have been many things I should have updated on here and different thoughts I should have posted but I haven’t. 

Tonight, I was reading through my latest Wired magazine about the worlds largest Diamond heist.  I have to say, Wired in every several issues has some really interesting topics that they cover.  This heist was at the Diamond District in Antwerp, Belgium.  Now, to give you an idea, it is estimated that in 2003, there were over $3 billion worth of diamond sales on the books through the Diamond district.  That is the only the sales on the books.  Some estimates are that those numbers only account 30% of the sales in the area.

As you read the article, it sounds like the area is out of Oceans 11 style movie as when they are moving diamond around the 3 block area, people have briefcases handcuffed to their wrists and body guards with fully auto weapons.  Honestly, it makes me want to go have coffee in the area just for the heck of it.  Its adds Antwerp to my list of cities i want to go to before I die.  Fun times….

Anyways, short update as Sarah and I are trying to figure out our plans for our anniversary weekend.  3 years…. 🙂  WAHOO!  Seems like just yesterday….

PS.  It is rather ironic that the spell check feature of wordpress doesn’t recognize the word “blog.”  Interesting.

I’m tired.

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I wanted to post something new to the blog but I am really not sure what to post.  It’s been a crazy week (as expected with the start of a new fiscal year).  I am not sure if it was entirely work or if it was starting taxes (which i have to say just make me mad). 

Is it weird that I am typing sentences and then randomly adding information to the end of them with parenthesis?  Hmm.  I’m going to have to think about that one later.

So i have been trying to listen to some new music artists and I have found some that I have really liked lately.  Tenth Avenue North is one of those bands and i picked up their album from iTunes and have enjoyed it tremendously lately.  I tend to listen to music at work to calm me down if I am getting stressed out by everything.  I think i am also a fan of my headphones that block out the world so even if someone starts to talk to me, i don’t even hear them.  Its very helpful with the people who work around me because they tend to talk extremely loud and about random things that have no bearing on work.  You will hear everything from The Biggest Loser to random companies they used to work for.  So needless to say, it’s nice to not have to listen to it constantly.

So the picture above is from Snow’s BBQ which was rated the best BBQ place in Texas by Texas Monthly.  I have to admit, it is some of the best bbq that I have ever had.  Super tender and flavorful.  As you can see in the picture, the food looks and is amazing.  I highly recommend checking the place out sometime but be warned its hard to find it and find it open.  It’s only open on Saturday’s from 8am until their out of food.  That’s it though.  So it’s pretty awesome.  Anyways….

I think I am just ready for the weekend…. anyone else in for calling in sick tomorrow???

Fun times had by all

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Congratulations to visitor #10!  You have won cookies from Tiff’s Treats.  And, if you live in the Austin area, I will attempt to have them delivered to you…. that way you receive warm cookies…. mmmmmmmmmmm

http://www.cookiedelivery.com/austin/

Now, to figure out who was #10…..  if you were visitor #10, just leave me a comment and let me know. 

So, as luck may have it, my brother took me up on asking for some research advice on digital cameras.  He said he didnt’ want it to be an SLR so…. here’s my initial suggestions.

When it comes to digital cameras, it is important to ask yourself what you typically take pictures of….  If you are a people picture person, I would recommend going with a Canon.  For some reason, Canon’s seem to have a very natural skin tones on their images and when it comes to size, the Elph line is fairly small and easy to haul around with you.  If you like picture of nature, Fuji and Nikon are great cameras.  Both of those tend to like the greener and blue tones and take great pictures of nature.  Canon also does well, but seems to favor the reds from what I have noticed.  When it comes to the megapixels, a vast majority of cameras have been beefing up their sensors to where you see numerous models pushing 10 megapixels plus.  Now, if you take note, most digital SLR’s tend to have around 10 to 12 megapixels (understanding there are much higher quality too) but the biggest difference is the physical size of the sensor.  Bigger the sensor, the better off you are. 

As for my personal fav’s in cameras, if it is a small camera I would go with a Canon or Nikon.  I usually check prices and reviews at www.dpreview.com and I have yet to be disappointed.  Now, one warning about that website…  the depth of information you can get out of that website is intense.  If you have a few cameras picked out, I recommend going to that website, checking the review of it…even if it is the conclusion of the review, and then the prices off of there.  Now, the other thing to do before you purchase…always always always check www.dealnews.com

 

Let me just explain www.dealnews.com.  This could be the best advice I can give anyone.  It is a website that basically goes through online shops and informs you of sales that happen around the web.  You can find everything from clothing to TV’s to everything else in the world.  The best part of it is that when you are looking at one of the deals, it usually tells you how good of an offer it is.  Sometimes you will find that the camera you are looking for on the site might have been 10 bucks cheaper two months ago, but it didn’t include free shipping.  Very cool.

I may have just make everyone spend a lot of money…and if you do please do not blame me.  I was attempting to save you money…. 🙂

 

About the picture…. this picture Sarah took when we were in New Orleans.  I am a huge fan of Tabasco sauce and she found a bin filled with miniatures and snapped this picture.  I am a fan…. 🙂

Too much time on my hands…

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It seems I have an issue with over-researching items before I buy them.  I start to look at purchasing something and I research the fool out of it, just like I mentioned in my last post.  Today, I was thinking about this fact and decided it may be of some use for some of my readers.  All 9 of you… yes, it seems like the #10 person will still win cookies, but that mark hasn’t been made yet.  I should mention that my record for site visits is at 9 right now in a day.  It’s getting very exciting.

So, without any further delay, here’s what I am offering.  If you are in the market for an item, technology I am really really versed in but gaining ground in other arenas, let me know by leaving me a comment and I will do what I can to research it for you and post it in my blog.  Who knows, maybe we can start to discover some of the coolest things in the world and at the best prices.  I know that may seem kind of weird, but I figure that with the amount of time and effort I search for stuff online, I bet I can benefit several people by posting the info.  Just a thought though….

 

On another note, I am starting to wonder about life these days.  It seems like everyone is stressed over work.  I know several people who have either known co-workers who have been let go or had to take pay cuts.  I really wish I felt confident in things turning around soon, but unfortunately, there are has been an idea that has been ingrained in people that they deserve the world.  The American dream of owning a home should be something everyone should have the opportunity to do.  Where I think we have gone wrong is that within that statement, we have removed the idea that we have to work to get that dream.  Morgage companies decided that they could give loans to people for far more than they knew the person could repay, but not only that, but to people without even determining if they could afford it in the first place.  All they were looking to do is have more loans on the books than the group next to them and in the end, everyone started realizing the downfall of the banks because they loaned out money to people with no real idea if they could pay it back. 

Personally, I do feel sorry that the banks let people down by not being realistic with their clients on what should and shouldn’t be loaned out.  The unfortunate part of the entire situation is that with the banks offering and lending money like they have, people are not being educated on what is realistic.  People believe they have the right to own a beautiful home and drive new cars and go out to eat all of the time.  Spending without regret eventually catches up to you and I think America is starting to discover that spending excessive amounts of money you don’t have isn’t a way to prosper.

I really wish life gave us the option to have everything we all hoped and dreamed, but reality is that for the vast majority of us, we are going to have to work hard in order to achieve these dreams.  This may mean that there are times we will all have to take a serious look at how we live our lives and see if the way we live is realistic.  The only way we can help our economy recover is taking a good hard look at our dreams, take the steps to achieve them, and work through life with the attitude that we can achieve our dreams, not that we are owed our dreams for just showing up.