Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Bio-Rad Video

Here is the new Bio-Rad Laboratories ad. These are the people I work for :)
Note, the video that the couple is watching is covered in an earlier blog.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Wedding links

Sharon and I were mentioned on the Here Comes the Guide blog this week. The video she mentions in the "next entry" is something I discovered and showed to Sharon.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Property Tax Reassessment - Scam

We received a letter notifying us that we need to submit a request for property tax reassessment by the end of the month. The has a $179 fee with a $30 late fee if not filed by February 28th.

Our accountant told us last year that we really didn't need to worry about asking for a tax reassessment, it will happen without any action on our part. Hmmm?

A little googling and I find that this "letter" is not from the Government but a private company "offering a service". Turns out I can ask the assessor to reassess without any cost to me. In fact, our house is included in the current plan to reassess, it is automatically being reassessed (no fee). If we are not happy then we can request a review for the 2009 tax bill between July 2nd and September 15th.

We should expect a letter from the County Tax Assessor in June or July. :)

Official information about property reassessment and a "real" warning letter.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

iPhone hard boot

Marie told me about forcing a hard/cold boot of your iPhone when it is acting up or frozen. This will not destroy any of your settings or apps.

Does iPhone appear frozen or stuck? Press and hold the Home button for at least 6 seconds to close a frozen application. Then...

Restart the iPhone. To turn it off, press and hold the Sleep/Wake button until the red slider appears. Slide your finger across the slider to turn off iPhone. [[A preventative measure is to power down the iPhone weekly just to make sure all the misbehaving apps get shut down and the memory freed.]] To turn iPhone on, press and hold the Sleep/Wake button until the Apple logo appears. If that fails...

Reset the iPhone. Press and hold the Sleep/Wake button and the Home button at the same time for at least 10 seconds. [[Both buttons have to be presses simultaneously, video gaming skills required. Ten seconds is the minimum, you may need to hold it for 30, 45 or longer.]] During this time, a red "power off" slider may appear and the screen may go black, but do not release Sleep/Wake and Home buttons until the Apple logo appears. If that fails...

Ask Apple.

[[Jason @ AppleStore Walnut Creek suggested allowing the battery to run down once a week to improve performance and life span. Also, power down the iPhone weekly or whenever it is acting funny.]]

Last Resort; Restore Software, it may be scrambled.

  1. Sync (backup) iPhone
  2. iTunes to "Restore" the iPhone
  3. Select "Setup as a new phone" (do not restore from backup, backup includes the munged data)
  4. Sync iPhone

Baked Ziti

We made baked ziti for our special meal on Valentine's Day this year. I used the recipe in the current Cook's Illustrated magazine (March/April 2009, pages 14-15). This article talks about common problems the Test Kitchen was attempting to solve.

I suggested to Sharon that we add some crushed red pepper flakes, she vetoed it. Later Sharon went online to look up baked ziti sopranos and found out that Carmela Soprano's recipe was published. Turns out her secret for great baked ziti is the addition of crushed red peppers. Next time :)

Tasted great, rich without being heavy. Served with garlic bread and squash. Even better on subsequent days (like my chili, in this case I don't consider it left-overs).

Next time we want to try using "store bought" sauces so we can prepare it in a hour instead of three. But I suspect that the homemade tomato sauce is very important to the final fresh/light experience. It might help if we get everything ready before cooking the pasta so that the dish can be assembled "wet" to minimize the unclumping job.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

What we do at Bio-Rad

When I am asked about what I do for a living I first say "software testing". Then I expand to say something about Bio-Rad Laboratories in Benicia.

I test the BioPlex 2200 instrument. Our first kit on the market was the ANA Screen (AntiNuclear Antibodies). This kit helps doctors diagnose Lupus and other autoimmune diseases.

If Dr. House would run his samples through my machine it would seriously shorten most of the story lines.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Hand basting a quilt

This is something I think I need to learn before I start quilting my own tops.

Other things from Sharon Schamber to check out.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Parlor Quilt Ideas

The new parlor furniture should be arriving this month. We have been talking about making a quilt for the parlor as a multi-use show piece.

I want to do a really cool, visually interesting, colorful and complex quilt as a wall hanging. We intend to use it to block the light from the front yard on the rare occasions when we want to watch TV during the day. The view is priceless and I don't want to shut it off with curtains.

Here are the ideas so far on how to accomplish the objective of art and occasional window covering.

  • Two panels that hang beside the window, mounted on a stiff board such that they can be set on the window sill to block the light. No curtain rods, just hanging "pictures" that we take off the hooks and place in the window (perhaps hang on hooks over the window).
  • One large piece that is pulled up as celling art most of the time.
  • One piece hanging from a bar across the top that is normally mounted away from the wall in front of the TV (covering the TV) but may be taken down and placed over the window for privacy or watching movies. This is the foo foo "we don't watch television" attitude option what will be a total pain every time you want to sit down for a game or movie.
  • The curtain model, a two piece quilt on a rod that runs all the way to the wall. When open the quilt will be covering the walls beside the window. When closed the wall is exposed and the window covered. So the quilt doesn't gather when open, stays flat for viewing, kind of like the big meat locker doors that are pushed to the side.