Andy Pennell's Blog

See me blather about software development, Gadgets, Technology, Fatherhood, plus anything else that gets me going.

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  • Blog Post: Celebrating the first Apollo Moon Landing

    In a matter of days it will be the 40th anniversay of Apollo 11 landing on the moon, a seminal moment for humanity, at least as far as I am concerned. Less than a hundred years since man figured out he could fly, three men travelled to another celestial body and came back to tell us about it. It bugs...
  • Blog Post: Using a Zune 80GB as a Car Video Player

    Following on the theme of trying to make it easier for my kids to watch movies in the car but without the hassle of the pesky shiny discs, I decided to try using a Zune 80GB as a car video player. This is clearly outside its design parameters, because the Zune Car Kit has no provision for video output...
  • Blog Post: Time to change some American holidays I think

    On July 4th the tradition is to have fireworks. However, as it is July in Seattle, it doesn't get nearly dark enough until 10pm. Try keeping young kids awake/entertained until then. On October 31st the tradition is to traipse the streets dressed as someting fun in search of candy. However it is October...
  • Blog Post: Making DVDs Kid-Proof

    Our newer childrens' DVDs are not lasting long these days, so I was very pleased to discover D-Skins - a very thin plastic cover that you put over your DVDs (or CDs I guess) then forget about it. The skins stay put when you play the discs, making it much harder for your kids to trash them. On one...
  • Blog Post: Need Two Camera Baby Monitor

    I am pleased to announce that early next year there will be a new member of the Pennell family. This is of course a time of joy, not least of which because I get to buy some more gear. Specifically I need a baby monitor that supports two cameras. As far as I can tell, there are only two models: Mobicam...
  • Blog Post: Video Players for Kids

    Our 2.x-year-old is a video-lover, and it keeps the peace. Some folks won't agree, but hey: it works for us. She is very accustomed to TiVo, VideoNow and DVD players: when I was her age my parents owned a tiny black & white TV and I have no recollection of watching anything other than the moon landings...
  • Blog Post: Good Places to Eat with Toddlers #2: Redhook Brewery

    Redhook's pub, Forecasters, has a casual attitude and admit minors, so it makes a great family destination. It goes without saying that they have great beer, the food is not bad either, but the best bit is in the summer: the beer garden out back. It's great for kids as it is pretty well walled in...
  • Blog Post: Good places to eat with toddlers: #1, Pagliacci Pizza, Bridle Trails

    Eating out with toddlers (and babies) is a challenge: you want some decent food, but you dont want to be surround by growling faces if your kid lets out a yell occasionally. Ideally you also want the place to keep your child engaged. We recently discovered a new perfect place: Pagliacci Pizza in Bridle...
  • Blog Post: New blog category: Fatherhood

    As it is difficult for me to blog about my work for the moment, I decided to blog about something that takes most of the rest of my time up: Fatherhood. We have a darling 2yr old daughter, Madeline, and the last 2.5 years have been combinations of fun, tiredness, frustration, and delight. When I have...
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