I took some pictures of our house when we got home today, and here they are. The pool and deck are gone. The atrium is full of boxes, and the rest of the house is getting there. Here ya go.

9 May 2007 19:31


We also have a project in progress in our kitchen. The plumber (who was in the house for a different issue) figured out why the old Moen kitchen faucet was leaking and suggested it would be easier just to get a new one (and have him install it of course). So we bought a new one, and then discovered that it was too tall. So we removed the undercabinet lighting to make room, but then I realized that it would be ever better to remove the whole cabinet. After seeing how easy it was to remove one cabinet I briefly considered taking them all down, however the thrill of demolition quickly wore off and I was able to put the hammer down with further cabinet loss. Now we've painted the previous unfinished particle board red and ordered a new clock to fill the space.

9 May 2007 19:31

New House!

It's old news now, but we finally bought a new house. Well, ok, at 49 years old it's not exactly new, but at least it's modern, mostly.

One thing it is decided not new or modern is the 37 year old pool. I've wanted to remove it from the beginning, but initially we decided to work on other things first. However, I've noticed that it now appears to be leaking, so I've been getting bids to have it filled in. Hopefully someone can figure out how to get a bobcat into the backyard to make it easer (ie cheaper), we'll see.

3 Apr 2007 16:14

Joshua's Third Birthday

We spent a weekend early last month at Kidd and Deneb's new house down south, and we were in town for Joshua's third birthday. Here are some pictures of Joshua's Pirate theme party. During the party, all the gifts were hidden around the picnic area (in the apartment building where they live), and once everything was ready, the "treasure hunt" began.

6 Nov 2006 01:13

GG's 95th

That's Great Grandma's 95th, of course. We had a piñata and even some dancing.

Technical note: I'm using new software (Aperture) to manage my photos, and the new galleries will look a bit different. I'm still learning how to customize the output, which is, unfortunately, rather difficult

6 Nov 2006 01:13


This is quite belated, but here are pictures from last Thanksgiving. This was the last we spent with Great Granddad. It was as tough visit, but I'm glad he was able to see Maya one more time, and we'll have lots of pictures for Maya when she gets older. She still recognizes him when she sees the pictures, but I suspect as she gets older her only memory of him will be the pictures.

20 Feb 2006 02:27

a long pause

I posted the last note here at at about the same time terrorists in London bombed the subway and a bus. Since I was in the UK at the time (about an hour from London by train), the attack affected me much more personally than most Americans. I think the realization of how trivial this page has prevented me from writing anything for such a long time. Of course, the fact I've started writing again doesn't mean I've got anything particularly more meaningful to say.

20 Feb 2006 02:22

mirror world

I made it to Cambridge, UK, and, despite a persistent jet lag fog, I'm having a great time. Up early again this morning, and found the only thing open at this unholy hour (7 30AM) is Starbucks. Both muffin and coffee are much better than I'm used to at Starbucks, which is a surprise because usually Starbucks is much more consistent.

I can't get my T-mobile account to work here, but perhaps I'm not remembering the right password.

I met an Aunt here last night that I'd never met before, and had a great time. It was a strange feeling meeting a family member here, and not even a distant one. It makes the world feel much smaller, and England that much more comfortable.

7 Jul 2005 07:41

know the boss

Blogging adds an interesting new dimension to the workplace. Previously, it might have taken years to get to know your boss. Now, all you need to do is read his blog. For instance, the CTO at XenSource, Moshe Bar, covers many things on his site--from his diverse interests to occasional tidbits about the company we both work for. It's clear from reading his entries that he applies to same intensity he has at work to all aspects of his life, and it's also clear we have several overlapping interests. It should be fun traveling to Cambridge with him next week.

3 Jul 2005 10:20


The other day Gigi asked me if I wanted to go with her to the gym, and I instinctively asked if they had wireless internet access there. This is a sure sign I need to get out more.

1 Jul 2005 11:11

new dress

It's my birthday, but somehow Maya got some presents, too. Someone bought her new dresses, and her first petticoat. Here are pictures of the petticoat with the blue dress. Not quite my idea, but Maya seems to like and Gigi thinks it's cute.

Since today is my birthday, I have to say that my birthdays no longer make me feel old. Maya's birthdays do that now. Just another example of how a parent's life is measured by the child's.

Gigi (and Maya) did give me some new dress shirts from my favorite store. Thanks, G!

(BTW, these pictures were taken less than an hour ago, and they are already online. This is must be a new record for me, at least for the last year.)

12 Jun 2005 19:46

dream train

I don't often remember my dreams, but I'm starting to notice and remember a recurring theme or structure in my dreams. My dreams (apparently) often involve some kind of travel, and what I'm noticing is the method of travel is more and more the same.

It's a flying train spaceship. Since I love to fly and I love to ride the rails (in real trains, not BART), this seems like an ideal mode of transportation. Lots of room and very fast. The spaceship aspect is more about where it's going that what it looks like. It's usually traveling through a weird space, and it tends to be dark and mysteriously foreboding.

What I really don't understand, though, is where I'm going on this rocket train. It seems to cover vast distances, but not much is recognizable. I'm always traveling in a group, but I don't know anyone. When I wake up, I don't remember the destination, only the journey. Perhaps this is supposed to remind me that the destination is not really what's important---it's how you get there that matters.

8 Jun 2005 09:01

El Paso

We went to El Paso to visit family last week. Maya met her Great-Grandma for the first time, and she saw her Grandma (my Mom) for the first time in about 10 months. We also saw my cousin Patty and her kids, who Gigi and I haven't seen for 6 years or so.

We also spent a night in Ruidoso, NM, which is about a 3 hour drive from El Paso. We drove through the White Sands Missile range, and on the way back we saw a few military jets doing some interesting maneuvers over the desert. No pictures though, since no stopping is allowed on that highway, and they were gone before I could have stopped anyway.

5 Jun 2005 16:47

More site updates

The gallery layout now includes the basic template from the main pages. It's still not what they way I want it, but at least now the navigation links stay in the same place for all pictures.

I've also added new prototypes to my Tinderbox doc to make adding photos to notes easier. I'm still amazed at the simplicity and power of Tinderbox.

5 Jun 2005 16:41

Party in the Park

These pictures were taken at Marina's birthday party in the park on April 23. Unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures of the birthday girl. I did capture a few of Maya (surprise), and her enjoying a few bubbles and a balloon hat.

27 May 2005 22:20


I've been using Tiger for about 2 weeks now, and I'm impressed. Although it's clearly a .0 release with its share of quirks and rough edges, neither my laptop or desktop has crashed since I upgraded.

The most interesting new feature is the search feature Spotlight. It's reasonable fast and quite thorough.

The Dashboard is pure eye candy, but lovable in its own simple way. I'm not sure why I needed a pretty 3d rendered clock, but now that I've got one I'm hooked. I just wish it didn't take so long to update after it zoomed in.

Why does Safari always load PDFs into a browser window, instead of in Preview? And how do I fix that?

Overall I'm more or less happy with the direction Apple has gone with OS X since 10.0. I was happy with that version, and I'm still satisfied today. I only wish Linux had made as much progress in the last 4 years as MacOS X has.

Of course, just I was getting ready to publish this, my laptop crashed hard with a kernel panic. Quirks, indeed.

16 May 2005 21:52


I started working at XenSource in February. It's been a hectic couple of months so far, but our first product is starting to take shape and should be ready by the end of this month. Our project is a first cut at an enterprise-ready version of Xen, an open source "hypervisor" project.

27 Apr 2005 10:25

Trip to Philippines

Here are the pictures from our trip to the Philippines in January 2005. We went back for a funeral and a wedding, so we had a full range of activities going on, and not much time to really rest.

23 Apr 2005 16:54


I've just merged this main page and the blog into one page, and moved all the content into Tinderbox, a very interesting information management tool. None of this is particularly important to the dear reader, but just thought someone might be interested.

23 Apr 2005 13:52

A mood

After nearly three years, my time at CFS (not to be confused with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or maybe it is, I’m not sure) is over. I believe it is safe to say a mutual understanding of not understanding was finally reached and deemed insurmountable. A fun, crazy time is over for me, and I will miss the Lustre team.

4 Jan 2005 00:13

The RAW deal

Ever since I started shooting in RAW mode with my Canon 10D over a year ago, I’ve been struggling to figure out how to deal with the RAW images. iPhoto doesn’t support RAW at all, so that was a non-starter. Canon’s tools are clunky and slow, so that didn’t work for me. Photoshop CS’s built-in RAW plugin converts fairly well, but it is still quite slow to use and still doesn’t help much with managing all the images I was collecting. Photoshop’s file browser is dreadfully slow at indexing RAWs.

Eventually I settled on using iView Media Pro to manage all my images, and then open in Photoshop to print or convert. Although iVMP is not a perfect media manager, it is fast, handles lots of metadata, and, of course, supports RAW files.

This has worked reasonably well throughout the last year or so, but the weaknesses in my approach really showed when I made a year-end movie using photos taken throughout the last year. I converted and resized about 1500 images, and obviously had to use Photoshop batch scripts and rely on defaults for RAW conversion on almost all the images. Although this worked, it was tedious and resulted in a lot of non-optimal conversions.

The two most talked about RAW utilities are Bibble and Capture One. Canon’s new Digital Photo Professional also looks very cool, but is only available to owners of the 1D series cameras.

I was disappointed by Bibble. First, the interface made me eyes bleed, and, second, it crashed repeatedly during the 30 minutes or so I attempted to use it. It was fast, as promised, but such instability in a version 4 product definitely turned me off, no matter how good or fast its conversion is.

Capture One definitely captured my attention. It is stable, for one thing. As soon as I started it, it opened a dialog prompting to import the pictures on the flash card that was currently mounted. Clearly, this is a tool designed to be part of a photographer’s workflow. The image quality is noticeably better than Photoshop, and does conversion in the background, so is much faster to use. The only thing I wish it would do is process non-RAW files, so I could use one tool for all image processing.

Although it supports some basic tagging and some limited sorting, there is no capability to search or limit the current view of images, so it doesn’t replace iVMP. Getting them to work together might be a bit of a challenge, since both seem to want to be the “importer” of photos, but I’m still experimenting.

The downside of Capture One for me, though, is the $499 price. There is an LE version with limited features for $99, and I’ll definitely check that out next to see if it will work for me.

Of course, the other alternative to consider is whether or not RAW mode is worth it for me. I think it is - more and more I’m shooting manually, and the extra control afforded by using RAW provides a bit of a safety net. Hmm, perhaps I should buy a light meter first…

3 Jan 2005 00:00


We just had some after-market, custom work done to our girl. No, we didn't pimp out our wagon - we just cut Maya's hair. Actually, her San Francisco Lola cut it at her shop, and her are some pictures of the event. Maya didn't complain, too much, and was quite distracted by some hair rollers. She's a pretty little girl now, and she's all ready for her Uncle's wedding. I guess now that she actually looks like a girl, I'm going to miss all the compliments I got on my very well behaved son.

2 Jan 2005 15:29


There, a little bit of ugly css and html hacking, and it all looks more or less like one site. Now if I could figure out why the homepage does display correctly in Windows IE, but that’s just another reason to switch to Firefox.

27 Dec 2004 13:27

new blog - again

Just getting the new blog started. This is now the third time I’ve started one. The first (and so far most interesting) was deleted during an accident involving “rm -rf” and the second walked out the front door on the stolen server.

The first task here is to cleanup this template and integrate it with the home page here. What fun.

2 Dec 2004 18:44

Thanks Everybody!

My first birthday party was great! Thank you for the wonderful presents. I enjoyed eating the wrapping paper, and my parents sold all the toys, books, and clothes on eBay. (Just kidding!) It was great to meet and party with everyone, and hope to see you all again soon.

If you couldn't make it or just want to relive the moments, click on my winning smile to see more pictures from the party. Special thanks to Uncle Ted for all the great shots of the lakeside party!


10 Sep 2004 00:00

Tomatoes and Porcini Sauce

I posted this to the old fam blog on 2/21/4

I've been asked for this recipe, so here it is. The original recipe I used came from Marcella Hazan's "Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking"

I prefer to use Italian canned tomatoes (imported for Italy), instead of fresh, unless you grow your own of course. I haven't found any store bought fresh tomatoes (or domestic canned for that matter) that have the flavor of the Italian. I usually use 1 28oz can of whole tomatoes in puree. Sometimes they've got basil, which is fine. Just crush the tomatoes ( squeeze them with your hands, it's good therapy) and use all the juice and puree in this recipe.

Porcini are another thing best from Italy, but domestics are much cheaper and are generally pretty good. Soak the dried mushrooms in 2 cups of lukewarm water for about 30 minutes. Strain the soaking water and save for the sauce because pretty much all the flavor from the mushrooms ends up in the water. Rinse the mushrooms a few more times to make sure they are clean.

The original recipe calls for pancetta, which is something like an Italian version of bacon, but is salt cured and not smoked, and tastes quite different from American bacon. Lately I've been using thick sliced apple wood smoked bacon, and I think the flavor goes well with the porcini. It can be overpowering, though, so don't get too carried away. I use just two slices of bacon.

Shallots/onions, butter, and oil in a pan and heat at medium. When the onions start to turn golden add the bacon. When the bacon starts to get crispy on the edges add the tomatoes, porcini, porcini water, and a few grindings of pepper. Gently simmer for 40 minutes or so, uncovered. When it thickens, salt to taste and dump on the pasta.

Since this is a (somewhat) chunky sauce, the book recommends a chunkier pasta, like shells or bowties for this, but I like to use bucatini (basically long, thick tubes). Regular spaghetti would work, but not too thin.

21 Feb 2004 18:05

Copyright 2005-2006 Robert Read