This is what Shawn Morton would look like if he had been made of LEGO sMoRTy71.com -- the personal website of Shawn Morton
Wednesday, August 31, 2005
QOOP is in beta & it's super cool
My first QOOP posterQOOP, which I blogged about a few weeks ago, lets you print photo books and posters based on your Flickr photo collection. Today, I got an e-mail that the Beta is live and it looks really, really cool. 13.5" x 19" posters are $9.99 and 28-page photo books are $15.99. I am currently going through the process of setting up a poster. Because I have almost 2,000 images, it is taking a while.

I will post more info later today about the process; however, give it a try at QOOP.com

UPDATE [2:30 PM]: I ordered my first poster this afternoon. I compiled all of the photos of the kids into a single poster. Total with shipping was $14.

The screenshot at the right shows a tiny version of the finished product. I can already foresee spending a bunch of money converting my Flickr collections to books and posters.

See a larger version of the poster here.
Monday, August 29, 2005
Happy 5th Birthday, Miles!
Miles unwraps another Star Wars toy
Today is Miles' 5th birthday. We had a surprise party for him last night after they returned from Memphis. Because my mom and I both have to work today (and because Miles sleeps until 9AM every day). we decided to let him open his gifts last night.

I plan to spend my lunch hour at Chuck E. Cheese. Even though we went for Mahlon's party 11 days ago, Miles wants to go again.

Here are the photos from the surprise party last night:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/smorty71/sets/842300/
Friday, August 19, 2005
We're out of the house!
It's finally over. The weeklong ordeal of clearing out our old house has ended. Woohoo!

Photos of the empty house are on Flickr in my "Moving Out" set.
Thursday, August 18, 2005
Will have to keep waiting for "Waiting..."
I got a disappointing e-mail from my friend Rob. Looks like his long-awaited film "Waiting..." has been pushed back until Spring 2006. Bummer. For now, just watch the trailer over and over.

UDPATE: Got a follow-up e-mail from Rob saying that the film is back on for October 7th. I'll believe it when I see the TV spots show up in September.
Happy 8th Birthday, Mahlon!

Today was Mahlon's 8th Birthday. We started the celebration at our new temporary home (OK, it's my mom's house. There I said it!). Anyway, we opened gifts there before venturing out to Chuck E Cheese for lunch and general sensory overload.

Mahlon's friends from our old neighborhood came and we all burned through about 150 tokens in about 2 hours.

I've created a photoset of the day on Flickr
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Wednesday, August 17, 2005
Closing day
We close on the old house at 4:30PM today. Until then, I have to rent a small storage unit and a Uhaul, then load and unload all of our garage crap into them. Fun!

After the closing, I still have a huge list of stuff to do like finishing up the painting, shampooing the carpet and picking up a few last minute items for Mahlon's birthday tomorrow.
Monday, August 15, 2005
Still packing the house.
We are currently in the middle of packing up the house. One Pod has been packed and picked up. The other is about 80% full. The last items will be the 65" TV and our mattresses (which I will put in tomorrow).

Once the packing is done, we still have to clean the house up, paint two rooms (at the request of the buyer), remove the DirecTV dish (at the request of the buyer) and get a small storage unit for all of the stuff that didn't fit in the two Pods. I think that will all be limited to outdoor stuff like the grill, the lawnmower, patio furniture and the fleet of riding toys that the kids have.

Our closing date is Wednesday; however, we have until Friday to turn over the keys. Between those two days is Mahlon's 8th birthday. Wow, will I be glad when this move is over.
Sunday, August 7, 2005
Giving Orb a try
I finally got around to downloading and installing Orb today. Orb does the same thing that the Slingbox does; however, it depends on your own PC hardware (instead of being a standalone device) and, best of all, it is free.

I've only had it setup for about 10 minutes, so I haven't been able to play with everything. I am currently streaming the Bloc Party CD and viewing digital photos from one of the wireless PCs in the house. It seems pretty responsive, although I would prefer the sound quality be a bit better. I think it is only streaming at 128k.

I am going to try and get the TV portion setup this week. I'm most interested in being able to access my TiVo remotely. I also want to be able to distribute some video in the new house over ethernet instead of coax cable.

Stay tuned.
Friday, August 5, 2005
CNET's Universal remote roundup
CNET has feature on the crop of universal remotes currently available. It features the Harmony 880 (that I bought for my wife last week) as well as some other models from Sony and Philips. If you're looking for a universal remote, this is a good place to start.

I have to say that the 880 is the best purchase I have made in a long time. Switching between functions in my home theater has never been easier.

Check out the remote roundup
"State of Affairs" appearance
Well Rex and I survived our hour on the radio this afternoon. As I mentioned last week, we were invited to appear on "State of Affairs" (which airs on our local NPR station WFPL) to discuss the basics of blogging.

I think the interview went pretty well and we even had some people call in.

They are rebroadcasting the show tonight at 9PM EST for those in Louisville (89.3 FM). They also will have an archived version on their website.

Listen to it here.
HD video of XBOX 360 games
Microsoft is hosting a bunch of HD-quality videos of some of the new XBOX 360 games like Full Auto, Ghost Recon 3, Madden NFL 06 and NHL 2K6. The image quality is amazing; however, you'll need a 2.4 GHZ or greater process and 384 MB of RAM to view them.
Wednesday, August 3, 2005
Finally got a universal remote
For years, I've been accumulating remote controls (turns out the more electronics you buy, the more remotes you end up with). Well, I sure as heck can't stop buying electronics, so I finally decided to buy a nice universal remote.

One of the reasons I had always resisted the concept of a universal remote is the initial setup. I hated the thought of keying in a bunch of remote codes and then having to customize buttons on the remote for specialized functions from things like my TiVo or my receiver.

Harmony 880 after setupAnd then Logitech had to go out and make a remote (well, they really just acquired a company that was already making them) that you can configure with your PC in about 10 minutes and includes a database of just about every electronic device. It even has my Omnifi DMS1 media server.

So I picked up the Logitech Harmony 880 last night after work. It has the aforementioned super-easy web setup, a color LCD screen, a charging station and a really cool motion detection feature that turns on the screen when it "senses" that you picked it up.

Unlike other remotes that use macros to do multiple keystrokes, the 880 uses "activities." I have set up "Watch a DVD," "Watch TiVo," "Watch HDTV," "Listen to MP3s" and "Listen to CDs" so far. So when I press any of these activity buttons, all of my equipment switches to the correct input and all equipment not being used is turned off. It even keeps track of which devices are on, so if you "Watch TiVo" for a while and then select "Watch a DVD," it doesn't send the power command (which would switch it off since it is already on) to the TV.

Part of the reason I bought the remote was to make my home theater easier for Amy to use. However, she still hasn't gotten over the fact that the remote cost $250. I did it for you, baby! I did it for you!

About Shawn Morton

Married father of 6; VP of Social Media at JPMorgan Chase; gluten-free; gadget enthusiast; hair metal aficionado; #Movember man View more on LinkedIn.