More products we just love

Background

7 months into this experiment, and I still can’t believe we have a child.    We’re on the verge of crawling and figuring out a good daily routine and I wanted to post about a few more products we are using and really appreciate.

Playyard

Essential for day-to-day survival.

Dagny spends at least 1 hour a day rolling around with toys while we cook in the kitchen.  She rolls around in the morning during breakfast and also as I cook dinner.

She does it in the safety and comfort of her own brightly colored playard.   We inherited this bad boy but I would gladly buy one!  The interior mat is soft and friendly to the little bonker and the rattling creatures on the side provide much enjoyment, too.   This this is essential to our sanity and we have even taken it when we go to other people’s houses so that she has as safe place for a nap.  We’ll even quickly collapse it and transport it outside so that we can work in the garden while the kid plays in the shade.

Play Mats

Interlocking blue foam mats for the rough and tumble infant.

Now that our little one is rolling like a mad person and trying to crawl, we have determined that she is too active to be bothered by little things (like controlling her head).  She has this habit of rolling and dropping her melon onto the hardwood floors.   Eventually she might learn, but my knees and hips won’t.   We needed something softer to roll around on the floor with her.    Carpet is nice, but vomit and spit-up can be tricky.  Steph found these killer and simple mats at a great price and we have invested in a large area to go on top of our nice carpet.  One of these days (when the spitting up has ceased) we’ll store these mats and reveal a clean carpet.  Until then, it’s blue kickboard foam mats for us.

PRODUCT IDEA & GRIPE: I have one gripe to settle with the manufacturer, they don’t make features to interlock with these tiles.  They have a “border” piece that you can attempt to source, but it is at the same level as everything else.   When Dagny rolls over the 3/4″ edge and onto hardwood (a spontaneous event when she has mo’) she invariably goes “thunk”.   We would LOVE to have a raised border of about 4 inches….enough to stop her from flying off the side.   Come on product engineers and bring out the add-on feature.

Digital Video Monitor

The Mobi Cam video monitor is another sweet "essential" device.

We inherited an audio baby monitor, but it was analog and the frequency drifted in and out and the range was horrible.   We really wanted to be able to go outside and do yardwork while Dagny napped (without having to check on her every 10 minutes to see how she was doing).  Once again, Steph did the research and we figured we would get a video monitor (audio doesn’t carry the “information” that you want… like is the baby asleep or just being quiet or just lying face down on their mattress).

We were stoked when our Mobi Cam arrived.   The thing is digital and paired (so somewhat secure) and has an awesome range!  We can put Dagny to sleep upstairs and go downstairs and outside and garden.   You can set it to audio-only mode or watch the video now and then to check on her.   The night vision on the camera is excellent, too.     This device has greatly freed us from checking on her and has actually resulted in longer and better naptimes for Dagny!

NAG: The only nag I have is that the Mobi Cam operates at 2.4GHz, which means that it can trounce our wireless network signals.  To solve this, we simply put our airports into interference robustness mode and we keep the camera and receiver a good couple of feet away from our laptops.   Once we did all that it’s a non-issue.

PRODUCT WISH: You are a product engineer and you are making a digital wireless camera at 2.4GHz.   Could you please just put a DHCP client (or Bonjour capable) and web server in there and simply just serve basic video over the network.  Yes, I know that H.264 is an evil steaming pile of licensing issues, so do something else.   If you did this, then my iPhone becomes my baby monitor (save a web clip) and I only need the camera.       Yes, I looked into security cameras linked into our network, and these generally sucked or were 4 times more expensive than the Mobi Cam and painful to install.     Maybe in a couple of years, somebody will have solved this part.

Wrap Up

As we head into crawling and walking, I’m sure we’ll revisit this topic again soon.   Containment devices (gates and play pens) will surely make the future list.

Goalie Thoughts: How Goalies Keep Score

Updated: 10/28/2008

This goalie thought is a little insight into how some of us cope with the numbers in lights on the end of the rink.

Yes, the score. You see, the score might determine who wins or loses, but it doesn’t tell the story of how it got that way. Nor does it tell the story of how any one team member played. I’ve had some of my best games in net on the losing side of the battle — there is only so much you can do.

So, in talking with other goalies, I’ve noticed how certain goals bother us more than others. We discount certain goals in our own heads (sure, they are real and they go up on the board). In fact, you can go as far a to say that we goalies have our own way of keeping score. The higher the point value, the worse our performance, kind of like the other team’s goal count (we like low numbers, eh?). So, here goes. Continue reading Goalie Thoughts: How Goalies Keep Score

An open letter to the woman who changed her daughter’s diaper right next to us as we ate…

This rant goes out to the mother who decided to change her infant’s diaper right next to us: on the floor, in a crowded coffee shop, as we tried to have a relaxing bite to eat in a sanitary and fairly smell-free environment.

Continue reading An open letter to the woman who changed her daughter’s diaper right next to us as we ate…

Mega Post Page — Inca Trail Hike 2005

Introduction

This whole thing started back on May 17th, 2005. I had casually deleted the email from the Stanford Alumni Association figuring that neither Steph or myself could afford the trip, or that it would be of any interest to either one of us. I was so very wrong! To my amazement, the girl from Florida who had never been south of the equator (let alone out of the country) was seriously considering it (note: this same girl-from-florida also loves sushi and now plays ice-hockey—go figure). We knew that these trips sold out and had to act quickly. Could we afford it? Was the timing right? Could we manage the details? Would we ever have this opportunity again? (Yes, Yes, Yes, Not Really). Within a few days we had our deposit wired and were confirmed for the trip. Within 2 weeks all 30 spots were sold out. We were on the trail 4 months later.

TO SEE THE POST IN ALL IT’S DETAIL: CLICK HERE

SBC / AT&T Customer Service Rant

Well, it took 2 days, but I did it. I beat the odds. I kicked some butt.

Well, sort of.

A couple of days ago, I noticed that my bloody phone at home wasn’t ringing. For all I know, it could have been weeks since it last rang (I don’t get a lot of phone calls and nobody ever leaves me messages, so I had no real way of knowing). Turns out, this time I was waiting for a call and all that I heard was a short blip on the phone. Weird. I could call out, I could use my DSL line. Everything *seemed* fine. So…tried to report the problem to SBC. Don’t ever try to actually call SBC! Waste of time, especially when the poor schmucks on the phone start reading a script and find out you have DSL. To make matters worse, if you have static IP DSL (like yours truly) matters become impossible. Seems like SBC sold a product they can’t script tech support for. But I digress.

Continue reading SBC / AT&T Customer Service Rant

My First Hospital Visit (nonfiction)

I had a microdiscectomy for a monsterous prolapse (L4/L5 region) a couple of years ago. I had never been under anasthesia or stayed in a hospital before. Here’s a firsthand account of what it’s all about.  I wrote this just after my back surgery and my first ever hospital stay. Although I was hopped up an vicodin and valium at the time, it was remarkably coherent. I have not changed or in any way altered this true story. Enjoy!

Continue reading My First Hospital Visit (nonfiction)