Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Cool Electronic Discovery Wizard Website

Findlaw has a great Electronic
Discovery Wizard Website
for lawyers to ensure compliance with the new Federal Electronic Discovery rules - complete with relevant checklists for each of the new rules.

Very nicely done and certain to come in handy.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

New Cameras

So to replace the cameras that were stolen we went shopping.

We ended up after much consideration and comparison with a Canon SD1000 Digital ELPH camera:

The SD1000, for just about the same price we paid for the A540 a few short months ago back at the end of 2006, is smaller, with better resolution and picture quality.

And a Sony HC48 Digital Camcorder:

The HC48, replacing the Canon ZR60 that was stolen is leaps and bounds ahead of the 5 year old Canon ZR60 - better picture quality, no sound interfere from the tape reels and it even has a cool infrared capability so you can take movies in complete darkness.

If you're looking for nice quality digital camera that is ultra portable and easy to use I'd recommend the SD1000, and the movie quality of the HC48 is unbeatable for the price.

The theft hurts the most due to the pictures and movies of the kids we lost. The fact that we had to shell out a decent amount of money to unexpectedly replace the cameras likewise was an unplanned for expense that messed up the budget nicely.

The sole upside to all this was the replacements are much better than what was taken so the pictures will be better and hence the memories will last longer, and because both cameras are smaller, we'll be more likely to have them with us when a picturable moment presents itself. There's noway we would have gone out and replaced them unless the cameras broke or were as in this case, stolen so the forced upgrade is a small consolation.

Of course the unseen effect is what we could have done with the $500 had we not needed to spend it to replace the cameras. Ah well, no use worrying about that now.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Cool - the wreck of the ship General Anthony Wayne found in Lake Erie

After sinking 157 years ago in Lake Erie, the sidewheel steamer General Anthony Wayne has been discovered by Thomas Kowalczk 8 miles northeast of Vermillion, Ohio.

Located in 50 feet of water, the wreck is eminently divable, and apparently is in (at least) two pieces - given the boiler on the ship exploded, I'd bet there's a pretty nice sized debris field.

From the Detroit News:
The side-wheel steamship, named in honor of Revolutionary War hero Gen. "Mad" Anthony Wayne, sank in April 1850 while en route from the Toledo area to Buffalo, N.Y. Thirty-eight of the 93 passengers and crew on board died.

"I researched everything I could about it and knew the general area where the ship went down," Kowalczk said. "I laid out a grid search pattern and starting hunting."

Kowalczk saw an image of the wreckage on his sonar screen in September. He dived down in May and photographed the wreckage, which is in two sections.

Kowalczk and other members of the Cleveland Underwater Explorers plan to survey the wreck later this summer when underwater visibility improves.

The wreck belongs to the state and salvaging it is illegal, but divers can visit what is left of the ship after it is surveyed and the coordinates are disclosed, said Christopher Gillcrist, executive director of the historical society.

Congrats to Kowalczk on a great discovery, finding a lost ship is many a diver's and explorer's dream.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Father's Day 2007

For all you Fathers out there, this day is for you, reminding you that the toughest and most worthwhile job you'll ever have is being a father to your kids.

Since you have a vital role in how your kids will turn out, it is nice to get a day of recognition for the good you've done, and a day for reflection on how to do it even better.

For example, My Dad I'm sure is still reflecting how a fine, gun-disliking, liberal and proud Canadian ended up raising a conservative, gun-owning and patriotic American.

Other than that (and I don't consider the result to be a fault, indeed its a feature) he should be happy to know he did a bang-up job, and I owe him a lot. The greatest praise I have for him as I'm raising my own kids is my constant thoughts regarding how he raised me of "Oh Sh*t, he was right"...about just about everything.

Dad, you did, and still do, damn good.

Today for Father's day I was awakened with Abby my 3 1/2 year old giving me a kiss and a Father's day card, with an "A" on it that she drew herself. And the day just got better from there.

My fine wife took me out to breakfast, after which we looked at some cameras to see about replacing the ones that were stolen.

We returned home and then took the kids to Crossroads Village and the Huckleberry Railroad in Flint, Michigan. Think Greenfield Village, in terms of a historic array of 1800 vintage buildings and staff in period costume, but smaller, more quaint and a staff that is incredibly friendly and enthusiastic about their jobs.

Abby's highlights were a chance to get in a Fire Truck that was there from the Genesee Township Fire Department including getting a demonstration of what a firefighter in a mask coming to save her in a fire would look like, so she'd know to go toward them and tell them where she was -- important stuff and the firefighters were real nice to her and I think some of it sunk in. She then had a ride on a 1912 carousel that was fast - I was holding on to her worrying she was going to be spun off.

The Carousel was followed by a train ride on a vintage 2-8-2 Steam locomotive train along with vintage passenger cars from the 1800s for a 40 minute ride through the Genessee County countryside - with the train run exactly as it was in the 1800s when the track was part of the Flint Pere Marquette Railroad Line. Interestingly, some of the passenger cars came from a train that ran in California at the time when Wyatt and Virgil Earp left Arizona and took up in California, and there's a pretty strong belief that one or both of them had been in that passenger car at that time. Very cool. Leah, at 10 months, loved the train ride and was smiling and waving to people on the train - her first waves ever.

The Crossroads Village closed at 5 and we hadn't seen or done nearly enough -- we missed the paddle steamer boat ride and most of the building exhibits so we'll simple have to go back.

We then had a picnic at steppingstone falls and saw a man-made waterfall that was quite nice.

Then we piled back in the van and went to the beach for a swim.

The day ended with the tucking of the kids into bed - For me, Father's Day could not have been more perfect.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Palestinians may be in Civil War. But it's not a Civil War yet!

Finally the MSM and others are kinda-sort-maybe calling the fighting between Hamas and Fatah in Gaza a civil war. mainly saying that "Gaza is sliding into Civil war", or "Sky News - Gaza Descending Into Civil War" or "Palestinians in Gaza nearing civil war"

Never mind that the shooting, bombing and internecine squabbling has been going on for months between the two parties, interrupted only by the occasional rocket launching or terrorist attack on Israel.

Seems a bit out of a Monty Python skit -

Israeli - Here's a Civil War between Fatah and Hamas

Hamas/Fatah > I'm not a civil war yet"

Reporter = What?

Israeli - Nothing, here's your story.

Hamas/Fatah > I'm not a civil war.

Reporter = 'Ere! 'E says 'e's not a civil war!

Israeli - Yes he is.

Hamas/Fatah > I'm not!

Reporter = 'E isn't?

Israeli - Well... he will be soon-- he's been shooting and bombing at 'imself for weeks already

Hamas/Fatah > I'm getting better!

Israeli - No you're not, you'll be a civil war in a moment.

Reporter = I can't call 'im a Civil War like that! It's against regulations!

Hamas/Fatah > I don't want to be reported in the papers as a civil war....

Israeli - Oh, don't be such a baby, when you're not trying to kill us, you're killin' each other at a record pace.

Reporter = I can't report 'im as a civil war, they're Palestinians ya know

Hamas/Fatah > I feel fine!

Israeli - Well do us a favor and accurately report it as a civil war.

Reporter = I can't, there's only Arabs involved, journalistic standards!

Israeli - Can you hang around a couple of minutes? He won't be long to be a full blown civil war.

Reporter = No gotta get to Iraq, there's a civil war there and Americans are involved ya know.

Israeli - Well, when's your next round?

Reporter = Thursday.

Hamas/Fatah > I think I'll go for a walk....

Israeli - You're not fooling anyone, you know-- (shooting in the distance)(to Reporter) Look, isn't there something you can do...?

(more shooting in the distance)

Hamas/Fatah > I feel happy! I feel happy!

(lots more shooting in the distance)

Reporter: Gaza descends into civil warA supremacy struggle in the Gaza Strip is steadily escalating into civil war, Palestinian leaders have admitted.

Israeli - Ah. Close enough, thanks very much.

Reporter= Not at all. See you on Thursday!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Center holds, but not the Center that Sen. Kennedy is talking about.

Thankfully the Immigration / Amnesty bill has been stopped for now. But its supporters on both sides of the aisle are trying their best to come back. Kennedy among others is pushing for the bill to be brought again and passed.
Kennedy: 'The center is holding'

Before the luncheon, Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Massachusetts, who worked with the White House and Republicans on writing the bill, issued a statement saying, "Like the president, many of us are very determined to get the job done and get it done now.

"The center is holding together: Last night we met to discuss the options for moving it forward, and today we'll continue that work. We share the sense of urgency that this important issue deserves."
The Center did hold Senator, the Center in this case were Americans that were not about to see another amnesty coupled with empty promises of tightening the border, with 12 million illegals swamping this country and overwhelming our social services.

The Center held and stopped the bill for now. Hopefully it will stay firm against both the left-wing love of illegals for their democratic voting tendencies and lack of American values, and the right-wing love of extra cheap labor and a flagging attempt by the President to build a domestic policy legacy.

This Immigration bill is so badly flawed the Center has told both sides pushing for this incredibly flawed bill to stop.

May the Center hold and stop this bill.

Mr. President, if you want a legacy that you will be remembered fondly for, pass a good bill to secure the border first, then pass a bill to encourage legal immigration and clamp down on illegal immigration. it's not to late to fix this latest tone-deaf mistake.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Ripped Off in Windsor

My wife was in Windsor today with the kids to pickup one of her friends who had taken the train there and was coming to visit us from Toronto.

So she and the kids picked her up and on the way in Windsor stopped by the Detroit River at a park for a picnic. I sadly was stuck up in Flint for a deposition.

Unfortunately, while they were having a pleasant lunch on the waterfront in peaceful Windsor, some scumbag yet unknown smashed the passenger window of the van and grabbed both our video camera and digital camera, which were in the car as we had just taken pictures of our 3.5 year olds first ever pre-school year graduation.

The Windsor Police took a report and were very kind, courteous, helpful and professional, especially to a bewildered 3.5 year old that didn't understand why the window was broken with glass everywhere and the cameras gone. I'm grateful for their assistance.

Needless to say, the loss of the cameras hurt, but the loss of the tapes in the camera and the bag and SD Card holding those pictures hurts much more.

As such, if you're in the Windsor area, and someone offers you the following for sale:

Canon ZR60 Digital Video Camera Serial # 172646350215 (with a extra-large battery mounted, plus spare battery, charger and remote and black letherette case)

Canon Powershot A540 Serial # 3222219295 (Also in the same black case along with 6 Radio Shack nimh recheargeable batteries)

Please do the following:

1. Buy them from the seller.
2. Take the cameras.
2. Kick the seller's ass, hard and repeatedly.
3. Take your money back,
4. Turn the seller or what is left of him over to the Windsor Police.
5. Let me know and I'd be grateful for the memory cards and tapes.

Update: Of course the insurance deductible is above the current value of comparable replacements so it makes no sense to do an insurance claim on the cameras. The window got fixed and we found the bugger had also damaged the window frame itself.

The cameras are replaceable, the images on the memory card and MiniDV tapes are not.