General

John Mayer Trio Sings The Blues


I am a big fan of John Mayer. I also like the blues. That is why I was quite exctied to there that John Mayer was forming a new trio that would focus on Blues songs. Well, the John Mayer Trio has recorded their first album. (Interesting to note that it is a live album.) It is mostly new music, but in the encore he does play two of his older songs with a Blues twist. (“Daughter” and “Something’s MIssing”)

This morning I heard an advance of the album and it is really great. My favorite of the new songs is Vultures. The album is released on Nov. 22 if you want to pick it up.

See The World With Flickr


I’ve changed the look of this site again. One of the new features is a Flickr badge in my sidebar.

Flickr is a great tool to share pictures. I recently purchased a Pro account so that I can upload alot more pictures there. If you click on any picture in the badge, you’ll be taken to my Flickr page and can go through all of my public pictures. Or you can visit http://www.flickr.com/photos/stucki/.

There are alot of neat features on Flickr.

  • Tags: WIth Tags you can mark a photo as dealing with a certain subject. A picture can have more then one tag. What I love about Tags is that you can basically see the whole world using Flickr. For instance, you want to see some great shots of the Golden Gate Bridge? Take a look at all pictures tagged with goldengate. Never been to Rome? See the pictures tagged with Rome. All the members tag their photos and when you search by tags you will see all the latest photos from all the members.
  • Comments: All of the pictures have the ability to be commented on. It is always nice for a photographer to have his pictures commented on.
  • Photo Sets: When you upload pictures to your account, you can make sets. This is nice if you attend a party or gathering and want to share your pictures with everone there. For instance, recently I went to my neice’s birthday party and took some photos. For those who were at the party (or for those who missed it) you can see the pictures at http://www.flickr.com/photos/stucki/sets/1368484/.
  • All Sizes: Each picture you look at on my Flickr account are scaled down sizes of the image. If you want to see the full size picture you can click the “All Sizes” above each picture. There you will see the original image. This is nice because anyone can download any picture they want. For instance, if grandma missed the birthday party and wants copies of the pictures, she can download any of them to have on her own computer. From now on, if I take pictures of an event, anyone who wants to see and copy the images can visit my Flickr page.
  • Order Prints: Another button above each picture is “Order Prints”. As you would expect, pushing this button will let you order prints of the picture to be sent to you.
  • Slideshows: Almost every page with pictures will give you the option of watching them as a slideshow. This is great fun to do.
  • Add Notes: Another fun thing to do is to add notes to a picture. YOu can select a part of a picture and make a comment about it. See this photo for an example.

There are a ton more interesting things on Flickr, but part of the fun is exploring.

Flickr photos are a funny thing. Everyone loves to look at pictures taken by their friends, but no one thinks that others would want to look at the pictures you take. I think this is false. I would love to see pictures that you take. Basic Flickr accounts are free. (Pro accounts only cost 2 dollars a month.) There are plenty of tools to make it easy to upload to Flickr. (plugin for iphoto)

If any of you have (or get) an account with Flickr, please tell me about it. If you don’t want to make it too public in these comments, then send me an email. I will be sure to visit and comment on your pictures. Feel free to visit any of my pictures. If you are an RSS user, the feed is here. My only rule is that if you are going to download a picture, the price to pay is one comment on the photo. Fair?

Better Way To Use The Internet


I often get called by family and friends because their internet is not working. The first thing I always ask is, “What browser do you use?” and more often then not, the answer is “Internet Explorer” or “I don’t know, I just click the blue E.”

When I hear this, I always tell them about Firefox. Firefox is an internet browser that works much the same way as internet explorer, but it is much safer and more reliable. Also, when using firefox, your computer is less prone to have popups, spyware, and viruses. For the power users, there are alot of other options that you can enable with firefox. But the overwhelming majority of users just need to know that your computer and use of the internet will be much better off if you use Firefox.

When you first install Firefox, it will walk you thru transferring your bookmarks, cookies, and history from Internet Explorer. (Even if you want to shun my advice and not use it, you should download it now while your internet IS working. That way, when your internet is not working, Firefox will already be installed and ready to use.)

By the way, Google offers a free copy of Firefox, which also has the google toolbar so you can search google straight from the browser. There are also other features like spell check and autofill. Click on the banner at the bottom of the sidebar to download Firefox.

(PS, Mac users: I still like Safari the best. However, having Firefox on your Mac is still a good idea. Sometimes, when sites don’t work properly in Safari they will work in Firefox. You should have it there as an alternative.)

My Thought Process


My younger sister likes to poke fun at me because she says that my mind is always running. I admit it is true. It was confirmed again this morning. I rolled out of bed, hopped in the shower, and before 6 AM I had thought the following thoughts.

  • I think that I will make it a point to always learn the name of the waitress when she first introduces herself. It seems that every time I am eating out I want to call her while she is walking by but there is no easy way to get her attention.
  • Speaking of eating out, whenever I am in a salad bar I always like to try one crouton while I am still in line. More often then not, I get back to my seat and realize how good the croutons are so I have to go back to the salad bar. If I try one there, and like it, I know that I should grab more. Also, I will go back to my table thirsty and more excited for the Coke waiting for me.
  • The tubes inside of toilet paper rolls should me made of clear plastic so that you can see how best to remove the bar so that you can easily replace the toilet paper. I think that more people would change them when it was time.
  • I wish that itches were visible on your skin so you, or others, could scratch it on the first time.
  • The two most annoying habits when you are first learning to date are boys that think it is funny to poke a girls side and girls that think it is funny to take a guy’s baseball hat off his head. I hope those traditions stop soon.

(The gem today comes from Papas Fritas. I admit I like it because the beginning kind of sounds like “Billie Jean” and the girl’s voice is cool. The song is called “Way You Walk“.)

A Recipe For A Good Morning


It really only takes three things to guarantee yourself a good morning.

  • A New Showerhead- New showerheads are under 20 bucks and very easy to replace. You never realize how bad your old one is until you get a new one.
  • A New Pair Of Socks- Is there any material object that feels better on your feet then a brand new oair of socks? I love that feel.
  • Visiting one of your favorite websites and seeing a Top Story like this. (in case you read this post after the story is no longer the Top Story, you can read it here.)

Ah, good morning. I think I’ll go watch the sunrise.

The Internet Has Changed Lives Piece by Piece


My last post got me thinking about some other activities that the internet has changed. There are a bunch of BIG things that have been changed obviously, but what about little things.

For Instance:

-Learning lyrics to a song- I remember going and buying an album and then being so excited when they decided to print the lyrics in the CD booklet. If it wasn’t for that I would have never been able to sing along with Bone Thugs and Harmony or the John Michael Montgomery fast songs.

-Finding sports scores- When you were waiting to hear the final score from a game, you had two options. You could either wait up for the 11PM news or call a phone number and go thru a ridiculous amount of pushing buttons to get to the team that you wanted.

-Acquiring Movie Times- Nothing was worse then being 14 and wanting to go to a movie. You couldn’t drive to a convenience store to get a newspaper so you had to call the theatre and listen to ads before they started listing the movie and times. Careful not to miss your movies because you’d have to go thru them all again.

-Buying just one song from an album- I remember going to music stores in high school and looking for the “Singles” section so I could buy the one song that I wanted from an album. They rarely had the song. Instead of being let down, I would resort to taping it off the radio. I think half of my collection ended with the beat fading off then, “This is 98.5 KLUC…”. I was never fast enough to hit the stop button.

-Taking a poll of America- Shows like Hard Copy used to have you call in during the show to vote on a subject. It would usually cost a dollar to vote. Can you believe people used to pay a dollar to vote for stuff like this? Even more then that, the answers were usually Yes, No, or No opinion. Why would someone pay to call in and then have no opinion on the matter?

There are plenty of other things that have changed. Calling worldwide? Doing research on electronics before you buy them? Finding info on people, places or things. I dare you to not use a search engine for a whole week.

Any more changes you can think of?

Our Gem this week comes from Brett Dennen. I have been enjoying his album ALOT!! My favorite is Just Like The Moon but the whole album is really really good.(Brett Dennen iTunes Link)

Time To Change the Way of The Weatherman


I was watching TV last night, and I was bothered with the network’s plug for their 11PM news. It started off the normal way, promoting the lead story. That is fine. But then the absolutely annoying weatherman gets on and says something like, “We’ve had rain all day today. What will the rest of the week look like? I’ll tell you, tonight at 11.”

Have they thought that this just doesn’t make sense anymore? They no longer have an edge on the rest of society because they know what the weather is going to be like. Without even moving from my couch, I could have checked the updated weather forecast in two different places. (phone and computer)

How come TV networks are so slow to adapt to new technology. If I was in charge of that news channel, I would use those 30 second plugs as a chance to inform my audience, as opposed to plug the news show later that night by using a “tease.” I’d tell them, “We had rain today, but the rest of the week looks great with sunshine and no wind. I’ll tell you more at 11.” They should do the same with sports scores. Instead of, “The Rebels played the Wolf Pack tonight. I’ll tell you how they did at 11”, I’d say, “The Rebels had a victory tonight over the Wolf Pack. I’ll show you highlights at 11.”

I’m just saying, that i would be much more satisfied with a news channel that was informative ALL the time. (Also, if I was in charge of that news channel I’d fire that annoying weatherman. Mr Pfister, you’re not funny.)

(The Gem for this week is Naked As We Come from Iron & Wine. The whole album is great. (iTMS link)

How Do You Remember People?


This morning I was reading an article on CNN.com called “Tricks to remembering names.” There are some good tips there. I use a few already. For instance, I keep an up-to-date contact book like it is part of my religion. I like to have all contact information very organized and easy to draw from. I don’t like to lose friends on account of disorganization. (#7) Also, I will take a person’s name and try to associate it with a feature on their face or a famous person. (#5)

But there is another way that I remember people. Often times I will be able to remember a person by referencing what kind of cell phone or computer they have. “Oh, so-and-so,he’s the guy with the 12″ iBook.” I suppose this is because technology and gadgets are my area of interest and that is something that I am familiar with enough to remember easy.

Perhaps we all have something that registers easy when we meet someone.

For instance, my wife styles hair for a living. She recalls people by how long their hair is, how it is colored, or the style it was in. (Things that I would never notice…never…ever.) She remembers by their hair because that is her line of work and something that interests her.

My friend Richard studies and enjoys business and he seems to remember people by how they network to someone else. (I often call him “Rolodex Rich” because he’ll often help me place people that I don’t know, but know me. “Richard, do I know this person?” “Yes, he is a friend of Mike, who we met at that party at Michelle’s.”) He remembers by who they associate with because business networking is his area of interest.

How do you remember people?

(PS, the music gem this week comes from Jonathon Coulton and it is a nice acoustic remix of a great rap song. Take a listen here.)

Did someone call me from this number?


I’ve written before about how there are some phrases that bother me. I need to add one more because it was brought to another level today.

We all get the call at some time. It starts, “Hey, did someone call me from this number?”. To which my response is usually, “Did someone not answer on this number?.” I just don’t like how the person calling assumes that 1) I can tell who it is by their voice alone 2) I know every call that everyone makes in the house. Well, this was brought to another level today. I answered my phone and the conversation was as follows:

Caller- “Hi, who’s this?”
Me- “Excuse me?”
Caller-” I just saw this phone number written on the top of my car and I wanted to know why it was there.”
Me- “On top of your car?”
Caller- “Yeah, I am about to wash my car and this number was written in the dust so I wanted to know why.”
Me- “Well, you got me. Where do you think it happened?”
Caller- “I don’t know. I live in Spotlight, NV. It was probably while I was at work.”
Me- “Wow, sorry, can’t help you.”
Caller-” well, what’s your name. Maybe I’ll know it.”
Me- “Randy Constan”
Caller- “Oh, well that doesn’t sound familiar.”
Me- “Well, go wash that car.”

I really hope that he goes home and puts my “name” in Google. He’ll end up at Randy Constan’s homepage and be sorry that he made that ridiculous call in the first place.

Brian Stucki Photoblog


Some of you may have noticed the new feature in the sidebar that points to my photoblog. ( A photoblog is a blog that is regularly updated with photos.) I recently got my first DSLR camera and I really like it. The photoblog will be some of the pictures that I take. (With the most recent one being in the sidebar of this blog.) I have some neat trips coming up to Nauvoo, Chicago and San Francisco so I’m hoping to get some great pictures.

There is an RSS feed for the photoblog here. Also, there is a place (in the top left corner) to leave comments. But be kind. I’m still a beginner with this camera. I hope that I will get better as I get more skilled in using it.

You can get to the photoblog by clicking on the picture in the sidebar or by going to www.brianstucki.com/photoblog.

PS, By popular demand (meaning one request) I thought that I would include a music gem. This one comes from Kings of Convenience and is called I’d Rather Dance With You. I especially like it when they bust into the chorus.