Kyah and Noah with Santa

This photo was just too good to not share it with all of my readers. Click through to Flickr to see more Christmas related photos. I will add more to the set throughout the holidays.

I would like to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

While reviewing my Dashboard yesterday, I found this excellent track from Christian McBride and his band. The track starts out as a jam but spontaneously evolves into James Brown’s Give It Up Or Turnit A Loose. Moments like this are the reason it is so fun to play in a band. You never quite know what’s going to happen when everyone starts stretching out. You can play the track here.

Christian McBride – Out Jam/ Give It Up Or Turint Loose

Back in the day, I played in a band called Real Jazz Quintet with my brother Jeff, my buddies Terry Brown and Rob Buckley, and a dude named Dave that played awesome piano. Well, one night at a coffee shop in Aurora, Illinois called Roasters, we had one of these moments, and luckily, we recorded it using an insanely cheap but effective boom box. Check out A-Town Drug Bust by Real Jazz Quintet.

As many of you already know, my wife, Donnell, has been an Advisor for Lia Sophia for just under a year now. She has steadily grown her business over the last ten months or so, and I am very proud of her. She is truly an extraordinary woman.

A few months ago, Donnell wrote an article about Lia Sophia for B-Tique, Lifestyle & Fashion. In it, she explained how Lia Sophia was different and in my view, better than other direct sales companies I’ve heard or read about. It seems that not only is my wife an awesome Lia Sophia Advisor, she’s also a great writer. I am still a little confused why she referred to me as her third child, but I’m sure she’ll explain it to me some day using small, easy-to-understand words. 🙂

Anyway, check out her article when you have a chance. I think you’ll be sold on Lia Sophia as well.

If you’re interested in Lia Sophia, contact my wife through her website.

Santa Claus

Just in time for the holiday season, Apple has released a new Get A Mac ad featuring good ol’ Saint Nick and our two favorite television personalities, Mac and PC. This time, they’re in wonderful CGI glory.

The Get A Mac ad campaign has been a huge success, and the ads are getting better and better as time goes on. Mac and PC have great timing together, and it’ll be a sad day when Apple changes to another ad campaign.

Anyway, while I was watching this latest ad, something came to me. I think PC (John Hodgman) would make a great voice over actor for a Disney/Pixar movie. He has great comedic timing, and his voice would be perfect for an animated character.

El Jobso, what do you think?

The iMix feature in Apple’s iTunes Store is one that I have never really gotten in to. Sure, I used to mix cassette tapes when I was a kid, but for whatever reason, I’ve never really been one to build a lot of playlists in iTunes. That’s not to say that playlists and iMix aren’t really cool.

My buddy Terry Brown of Lazy Revolution fame sent an iMix to me today of some excellent jazz Christmas music. I’m not talking about the normal stuff you hear on the radio. Check out this iMix and see for yourself.

Now, to me, this is a great use of iMix. What better way to pass along some holiday cheer than to hip a friend on to some cool jazz music. If you have some favorite music you’d like to share, feel free to post a link in the comments section of this post.

Traveling for work is always an interesting experience. A lot of questions flash through my mind before I leave. Will my kids be good for my wife while I’m gone? Will my flights leave on time? Will I run in to yet another incredible jerk on the plane that thinks he deserves something more than everyone else on the plane? Will the people at the client site be as sharp as nails or as dumb as rocks? Will I be able to get done faster than I thought so I can get home to my family? I’m sure a lot of business travelers have the same questions.

Traveling is always a crap shoot. Right now, I’m on a plane surrounded by a group with five tween or early teen kids. They all have their own gadgets, and they’ve generally been fairly well behaved. They have been watching movies with the speakers turned on which has kind of bothered me a bit, but I just cranked up the Allman Brothers on the iPod so I’m in good shape. One of the moms is directly in front of me and seems to be very unrefined and hick-ish, but I am flying to Saint Louis so I guess that’s to be expected a little. The guy next to me has clearly been on too many planes lately (he’s hunched over trying to sleep). I bet he does something similar to what I do. The guy next to him is the jerk of the flight who has treated a truly great flight attendant with complete disrespect. He doesn’t look like the typical road warrior so maybe he’s just always like that.

Anyway, like I said, traveling for work is always an interesting experience. Luckily, this is my last trip of the year. I wonder what 2008 will bring.

I have been playing with Safari 3 on Mac OS X Tiger and Windows XP lately to see how it compares to Firefox. Safari 3 definitely launches faster than Firefox on both my Mac and PC, and it also seems to render pages faster. The RSS reader is still one of the best I have seen in any of the browsers although I have switched to Google Reader to keep track of my RSS feeds.

There are still some annoying page rendering differences between Firefox and Safari, and I’m not quite sure who to blame. Is it Apple that hasn’t built in support for the latest web standards, or is it the web designers that have built their website to look good on IE and Firefox? As a content creator, it is incredibly frustrating to me that each browser has its own quirks. My site looks perfect on Firefox and Safari, but it looks like crap in IE 6. For that, I place the blame on Microsoft for baking in a whole lot of proprietary code into IE 6. IE 7 does a much better job at rendering standards based pages, but it still has a ways to go.

I could go on and on forever about bad page rendering, but I did have a point for this post. Safari 3 has a really cool new feature that I have come to use a lot. Under the Window menu, there are two new options: Move Tab to New Window and Merge All Windows. I don’t have a whole lot of use for the first option, but I really like the Merge All Windows option. I have come to really enjoy using Tabs while browsing the Internet, and sometimes, a link will automatically open in a new window. I have to admit, it drives me nuts when this happens, and the Merge All Windows option has been a huge help.

Apple has once again introduced a great new feature to make browsing the Internet faster and easier. Now if they can get together with the major web sites to make sure the pages render properly, I’ll be a happy camper.

Ever since I saw this post on TiVo Blog, I have wanted to test drive the new Rhapsody service on TiVo. Well, I have finally had a chance to spend some time playing with the new Rhapsody service, and I have to say that it’s pretty darn good.

There are some annoying performance issues like songs cutting out and the pages locking up, but I’m not sure if it is because of the service or my wireless network. The USB Wi-Fi adapter I use with my TiVo is kind of old and isn’t in the best of shape so it doesn’t get a very good signal. I have seen comments on other blogs that the performance of the service is a little iffy so my performance issues could be a combination of the service and my USB adapter.

I really enjoy the ability to search for and listen to pretty much any artist I can think of. A feature I like even more is the ability to enter the name of one of my favorite artists and listen to their music along with similar artists. It really is a great way to hear artists and songs that I may have never been exposed to, and with the radio stations in Saint Louis, I need some way to hear something new.

Over all, I am very impressed with the new Rhapsody service on TiVo. I’m not sure that I would spend the money on a monthly subscription to Rhapsody because I have so much invested in iTunes, but for someone without a large music library, Rhapsody and TiVo make a perfect combination to get music from the Internet to the Family Room.

Mac OS X Leopard

I’m a Mac fan … I don’t go all crazy and have to have ALL the latest gadgets. For the record, I have an iPhone, iPod (I’m a generation behind), and a new 20″ aluminum iMac. OK, so I have to have some of the newest gadgets, but by most standards, I’m a very casual user.

Here is a list of the things I use the most:

Apple Apps:

-iChat AV
-iCal (but mostly only on the iPhone)
-Address Book (to sync my iPhone)

Third Party Apps:

-Sirius Mac 2

…and a few others but used too scarcely to mention. I didn’t even have Office on my machine until about three months after I bought it.

So, in my casual use, there have been a few noticeable differences since upgrading to 10.5. I’m going to vent on two here:

Let’s start with Safari. I use Safari as my main web browser. I know that Safari 3 is still in Public Beta but I never used to have this problem. When viewing RSS feeds, it takes what feels like forever (up to about 10 seconds) to load as little as 5 new feeds. It never did this on the previous versions. I have not tried the RSS feed in Mail heavily yet so I don’t know if the problem exists there or not so I’ll have to try that and find out. Point is, I like viewing the RSS feeds in Safari while I’m browsing my other websites.

In iTunes, if I’m viewing a video (usually a TV show or music video), I often times will close the video window when it’s a music video that I don’t have the song file for. When I select another video, the audio will play, but the video window will not pop back up. If I select a size for the video screen, I get the turning beach ball, and iTunes quits. This also happened on Tiger so I’m not sure if it’s something I’m doing, but I don’t think such a simple thing should be such an issue.

More to come as I continue to discover new and hopefully exciting things!!

Editor’s Note: Greg Probst is the author of Blue Sleeves Blog and is a regular contributor to Probstisms.