While I haven't done a ton of Berkeley DB conversions for Movable Type, I am certain that if you are still on Berkeley, you should get onto a SQL pacakge pronto. This isn't to say that BDB is a bad product. Just that SQL is so much easier to administer when used with MT that it's not worth the effort of sticking with Berkeley.

Apparently quicksand isn't as deadly as we have been led to believe. While we may be sucked in rather rapidly, humans are apparently not supposed to completely sink into the muck. Getting out, however, could very well be a difficult process, as the more you move the more you agitate the mix, making it more and more challenging to get out of this predicament. Still, it's refreshing to know that it won't kill you. Unless you are on a beach and the tide comes in. Then it could get ugly.

On a somewhat related note, we were oyster, uh, fishing (oystering?) many years ago in Washington State and I recall that my dad got stuck in an area of the mud that just didn't want to give up the boot. He eventually slid his foot out of the footwear, leaving it for the tide. I have no idea if it was quicksand, but it certainly sounds similar. Glad he gave up the boot instead of waiting for the tide to come in.

The second episode of the second season of Lost was on last night. Was I the only one who felt like we watched the same episode as the week prior, with a few extra scenes thrown in so perhaps we wouldn't notice? Maybe I'm just old-fashioned, but I thought that first-run episodes (as opposed to reruns) were supposed to contain new material.

So apparently at least one enterprising individual has decided to offer phone booths for public places. Not for pay phones, but for use by those on cell phones. While I think the idea has merit, how many people do you see getting up to go to a booth, instead of just continue to jabber away right at their table? Probably not many. But we'll see.

Was anyone else amused by the Black Family on the latest episode of The Amazing Race? For what it is worth, they seem like nice folks, but their kids are perhaps a bit too young to have really helped the family in the race. They did okay, but the parents had to carry them a bit much, likely why they were the first out. The other young kids seemed to nearly outdo their parents in many scenes.

Really. Anna Nicole Smith is taking her inheritance case to the supreme court (and they are going to hear it). Wow. Now I'm not against Anna Nicole getting her props and all, and I don't really know a thing about the whole spat other than the few details that I pick up here and there. But I'm just thinking that somewhere along the line someone should have done something so that the highest court in the nation doesn't have to deal with this kind of thing. John Roberts will soil himself.

I had a drama teacher who initiated me to the concept of common courtesy. Mostly because she had this habit of saying "Common courtesy dictates...", which we, a bunch of high-schoolers, picked up on readily, saying it here and there and everywhere. I'm not actually sure we learned much about the concept, but we at least knew about the term.

It's becoming readily apparent that most people these days have no clue about the concept.

I was in the bank a few moments ago, and a lady in the line next to me left her keys on the counter. I asked her if they were hers and she said something along the lines of "You bet they are!" and left. She actually walked out. Now I don't have such a fragile sense of self that I really needed her to say anything, but come on. Someone points something out to you that actually helps, say thanks!

The other day I went looking for a tool to monitor household functions - specifically, a couple of windows that we wanted to keep tabs on if they were opened. Yes, the children are getting older and now know how to work them. Though really not concerned (at this point) about them sneaking out at night, or even about alerts to some sort of alarm monitoring service, we did want to know when one of these windows was opened - and specifically during the day while other stuff is happening.

My first thought was actually X10. While they have some questionable marketing practice, their wireless door and window sensors seemed to be just the tool needed. The problem is that the X10 security sensors send what is called an extended code back - and the automation software can't handle it. Apparently it needs to run through one of the alarm panels, and there's another module that can translate them, blah blah blah.

These sensors aren't cheap - normally $20 - but I did find a link online for a 3-pack for just $21.99, so I ordered them, especially since purchases over $20 get shipped for free. Later, I found another link for a 4-pack for $19.99. I don't know how long either offer will last, and I'm not sure if the latter deal comes with free shipping. But they are better than the normal pricing.

My next stop was getting the data. I ordered a W800RF32A RF receiver that can pick up the signals of the extended security sensors and transmit them through a serial port. As a side note, I ordered directly from WGL, on a Saturday, and received a note about the product shipping almost immediately and it arrived on Monday. Sweet service.

Once I had the hardware, I needed to interpret the signals, since the X10 software didn't handle it. The W800 page had a number of links, and I think I tried every piece of software. I really wanted MisterHouse to work, since it is written in Perl (and is free). Unfortunately, I just couldn't make it work. So I tried about everything else. Finally I hit a winner in PowerHome.

While it is commercial software, it's pretty full-featured. It isn't easy to learn, but the triggers and macros were just what I needed. I created a couple of macros that run when the sensors are triggered, determine which sensor it is, and the status, and pop open a dialog box on my computer screen so I know what happened and where. Perfect. At $200 or so for the entire system, it's probably pricier than I needed. But it does the job and gives me all sorts of ways to expand the system should I decide to do so.

If anyone else is interested, let me know and I'll post the macros I'm using to determine the sensor, the status and send the message box. I'd suspect this isn't a high-demand request, but if you need it let me know and I'll put something together.

I was reading the Are You Really Frugal this morning and have to wonder about some of these submissions. Re-using the sticky stuff on pre-approved credit card offers? Come on now. That's pathetic.

My idea of being frugal is to make life better. Not long ago, we decided to pay a lawn service to mow our lawn every other week. The cost he charged was well below the amount of income I'd have to give up to mow our lawn, not to mention things like maintenance on the equipement. Of course, he's not one of those companies where you're in a contract for the entire year either. If the lawn doesn't need mowing, he doesn't mow it. Sweet.

If I drive all around town (especially now) trying to save a few cents, am I really saving anything? I waste gas, I waste time. If I fire up Froogle and find it online instead, at a reasonable price, why should I care if I don't get the absolutely rock-bottom price? It's the quality of life where I'm frugal, not in being penny wise and pound foolish.

It is common practice for doctors of all sorts (dentists, even some veterinarians) to call to remind you of an upcoming appointment - usually the day before your appointment, but sometimes even more in advance than that. What I am left wondering is how much money these people spend on these reminders? Sure, it may only take half an hour or an hour a day, but how many missed appointments are really being saved by these reminders? Perhaps they should just start charging you out the wazoo. I suspect it would be a larger incentive for people to make their appointments.

The subtitle of this book is "Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable".