A very merry Christmas

Christmas has come and gone. My holiday brought about some great presents and about 15 hours in the car, which was spent mostly talking about the wedding. Lauren has always wanted a winter wedding, which means we’ll probably end up moving to California in August and coming back for the wedding in December. We plan on having a very small wedding with only family and a few close friends.

Lauren and I have also made another major decision; we have decided to move to San Francisco instead of San Diego (sorry Dana!). The main reason is that if my consulting business tanks I can easily find work in the Bay Area’s tech industry. We’ve been looking at apartments in the area and they appear to be only marginally more expensive than San Diego. It also didn’t help that Lauren fell in love with the area when we went there in October.

While up north visiting my parents Lo and I rented Mario Golf for the Game Cube and got totally addicted to it. We came home and promptly made a trip to the local GameStop to purchase a copy. Up until now it’s been me kicking her butt mostly.

She said yes!

The mood was set. I picked up the ring and took it over to have it appraised at a second place, which checked out fine to my relief. After that I was off to the grocery store were I bought some nice flowers, some chicken breast, some fresh green beens and a few redskin potatoes. The next few hours a blur. Spent mostly searching www.wine.com to see how to best serve the red wine I had purchased and fretting over which cloth napkins to get. I also took about an hour looking up recipes online and excitedly chatting with a few friends on AIM for moral support.

She would be home at 9:00pm so I had to start prepping the food around 7:00pm. I started with the potatoes. A little olive oil, some basil, thyme, salt/pepper and an hour in the oven did the trick. After that I prepped the basil chicken and set prepped the fresh green beens to be steamed. Twenty minutes before 9:00pm I put the wine in the fridge to chill accordingly. Wine.com recommends red wine be served at 65 degrees (cell temp.), which can be accomplished by a quick 20 minutes in the fridge. The food was all set – just a little cooking had to be done.

It was then that I noticed I didn’t have a corkscrew for the wine. After a frantic run to the local Kmart I was all set with a corkscrew and some nice white cloth napkins. Now the waiting, otherwise known as the “freaking out” stage. She arrived a little after nine and was quite pleased that a quiet candlelit dinner was waiting for her.

Towards the end of the dinner I told her that I had ended up getting her a Christmas gift. Because we had decided that we would buy a foster child gifts for Christmas instead of buying each other gifts this year, she was pretty upset. It was at this point that I pulled out the ring, got on one knee, and said it was ok she hadn’t gotten me a Christmas present because I was hoping she would make me the happiest man alive by saying yes.

I got my Christmas present – she said yes!


I’ve finally gotten around to adding syndication support to my blog module in JAX. The feed should automatically update upon refresh, which makes it realtime. The major reason it took so long was that I’m lazy and that I couldn’t get dates working correctly in RSS. Evidently, the only way to get this working correctly (at least in Feedreader on Windows 2000) was to use the dc:date element found in the Dublin Core Metadata Element Set. Once I changed my pubDate (RSS) to dc:date everything worked fine.

I plan on adding RDF, which allows full articles to be syndicated, soon as well. If anyone out there is interested in another form of feed please let me know. Also, if you have any problems with the current feed please contact me ASAP.

F You Credit Cards!

Well after a long, protracted battle I have finally rid myself of all credit card debt (minus $4 and some change in finance charges). I was smart this time around and closed the accounts as I paid them off. I decided to keep the one with the lowest interest rate open for now since I’ve had trouble renting cars with debit cards in the past.

One site that was infinitely helpful with this adventure was www.fool.com. Their newsletter on credit debt was stuffed full of helpful hints and advice from others who were in much worse situations that I was. Here are a few tips that helped me out quite a bit.

  1. Cut up the cards with the highest interest rates to help avoid the temptation to use those cards.
  2. Many credit card companies offer extremely low introductory rates on balance transfers. Those same companies will approve just about anyone who is willing to transfer money over when they open the credit card. The idea is to transfer your 20%+ cards onto 0% introductory rates and pay them off before the rates go up (usually 6 months to a year).
  3. Leave your credit cards at home when you go shopping.
  4. Many companies will offer you lower interest rates if you call up threatening to pay off your account and close out your card. Worst case scenario you are out the few minutes it takes to make the call.
  5. Pay more than the minimum each month! Most often the minimum is merely the monthly finance charge and a few bucks towards the principle.
  6. Close the accounts as you pay them off!

I hope that these tips help others get out of debt as well. I must say it feels damn good to not owe any money to credit cards anymore. I’ve lowered my monthly bills by over $100 (almost my car payment!). The odd thing about this is that I’ve probably actually *lowered* my credit rating. How is that possible you ask? Well most credit agencies look at how much credit is available to you as part of their decision to give you credit. For instance, bank A would be more apt to loan you money if you have a $10k credit line with no balance than a $3k credit line with no balance, which makes sense for the most part (the idea being that if you have $10k available to you that you earned it somewhere along the line).

Girls – always doing things backwards

Some might say my curiosity sometimes is a little too anal. I find small things that peek my interest and I can’t let go of them until I’ve found the answer. One thing that has always bugged me when I’m doing laundry is that the buttons on Lauren’s button-up shirts are on the opposite side of the shirt than they are on mine. While buttons are on the left side of men’s shirts they are on the right hand side of women’s shirts.

You may think I’m paying too much attention, but go into your girlfriend’s/wife’s closet and try to button one of her shirts on a hanger. It’s tricky when you have been programmed that buttons are on the left side your entire life.

Well it seems I’m not the only one who ponders such anomolies. A recent blurb on ask.yahoo.com had the following to say about why the difference exists.

… in the 19th century, well-heeled Victorian women generally didn’t dress themselves, so their buttons were designed to be handled by right-handed servants. Although wealthy men may have had servants to lay out their clothes, they generally dressed themselves, and so the buttons on the right side of men’s garments made more sense.

I guess that makes sense. This, apparently isn’t the only theory. Other theories include the following excerpt from an article found in the Dallas Morning News.

… the first button jackets for men were modeled after the latching designs of armor, which were designed to stop a right-handed opponent from jamming a pike through the seam. He also suggests that the left-side buttons on women’s clothes may have been intended to facilitate nursing an infant on the side closest to the woman’s heart.

Well there ya go!


I just got off the phone with my girlfriend. Her car, evidently, is acting up and she was wondering if she should call the dealership to get it fixed. I told her that was probably her best bet. I think it’s funny how gender stereotypes are so prevelant in our thoughts.

For instance, I wouldn’t know any more what could be wrong with Lauren’s car than she does. For all I know the hamster died. However, being male, we are supposed to know what is wrong with the car and how to fix it. If we can’t fix it we should know who to call.

What I find more humerous is that if we followed this trend you would think you should ask Lauren how to make a decent Basil Chicken or who she thinks the Salem Stalker is on Days of Our Lives and me who won last night’s baseball game or which stout to get next time your at Ashley’s, right? Wrong. I do all the cooking and I think Stephano is controlling Rex, John Black and possibly Kate to kill off his foes. And about that baseball game and stout? You’ll have to ask Lauren – she’s the expert in those areas in our household.

Canon PowerShot SD100

I’ve been thinking about getting a new digital camera for the last couple of weeks now. My old Sony DSC-P30 had served me well for a couple of years, but at 1.2 megapixels it was seriously lacking in the quality department. While trying to take some photos for the redesign of this website I finally got fed up and decided that I was getting myself a new digital camera for Christmas.

I had originally looked into the Nikon CoolPix 3100, but read a few unfavorable reviews on http://www.epinions.com. I also looked at the Casio QV-R40, which received favorable reviews, but lacked brand name quality and wasn’t available locally in the area. For a purchase of this size I wasn’t willing to order over the web. So I finally settled on purchasing the Canon PowerShot SD100 from BestBuy.

Last night, after I had charged the battery, I settled in to take a few pictures and compare them to my DSC-P30. The results are in and the PowerShot, obviously, whooped all over my old Sony, which was a relief. I was really looking for two things when I purchased this camera; namely the two things my Sony really lacked – a small form factor and good photo quality. The Canon ELPH series is known for being tiny (about the size of a pack of ciggarettes) and I think the quality is more than adequate for what I plan on using it for.

Site Re-Design/Re-Launch

Welcome to the newly re-launched digital home of Joe Stump. A couple of days worth of work has gone into the new site and I’m overjoyed at the results. Most of what has happened to the site you won’t notice, namely the upgrade to JAX 3.0. The new backend has tons of fun toys that the old one didn’t.

As you can see I’ve put together a new designe as well. The new design includes a completely tableless CSS design that, according to http://validator.w3.org, is both valid CSS and valid XHTML 1.1. I’m just happy that the new site looks nice, is well formed and generally runs on better code now. For those of you not running either Mozilla or IE you may find problems. If you do please contact me.

For those of you interested, I relied heavily on CSS info found at http://www.simplebits.com as well as icons found at http://www.gtmcknight.com/buttons/. The new code that you see here allows me to use a WYSIWYG editor, edit my blog roll from a web interface as well as update my quick hits section via a web browser. Unfortunately, not everything is working. Namely photos and blog comments are not currently working. They should be up and running within the next few days. Also, I have not had a chance to port over my old entries (except for the About Me entry). This is going to be a long and tedious task as I plan on editing each one to make sure it’s XHTML 1.1 compliant. And, finally, the archives are not yet up.

About Me

IMG_3471Why anyone would be interested in a short bio describing my rather dull life is beyond me, but it seems like you can’t have a cool website without one and I want to be cool.

I was born in Adrian, MI to Mike and Sue Stump. Being that my mom’s maiden name was Bair, pronounced “Bear”, I was screwed in the last name department from the start. Of course I could have had it worse, such as a classmate named “Harry Johnson”. At any rate, back to me. I spent most of my childhood in Brooklyn, MI. Many of you NASCAR fans out there may recall this is the home of Michigan International Speedway. This time of my life was spent swimming in the local lakes and running around the back woods of our property.

When I was 16 I realized my parents were never going to purchase a new computer to replace the outdated Tandy 3000 collecting dust in the home office. Feeling that I was missing out I bought one at a local computer shop with my own money. She was a beauty! A Cyrix 133MHz with a whopping 16MB of RAM and a spacious 3.2GB hard drive. This was soon upgraded to a Cyrix 200MHz and 48MB of RAM. Not long after I created a webpage and started learning HTML. Thus began my computer geekdom (I say computer because I was already a typical geek).

After a short stint in Northern Michigan, that I’d rather not talk about, I enrolled at Eastern Michigan University. It was here I joined a fraternity and met Moonkhan. I also started programming PHP here as well.

At the end of my sophomore year I joined the team at Care2.com. I moved to California with literally a duffle bag and a back pack. It was here that I was able to learn a great deal about systems administration as well as programming large websites. Since then I’ve worked for a few other companies doing consulting and generally being a typical UNIX geek.

After graduating from EMU I headed west to Seattle, WA were I worked as the Director of IT for eNotes.com and lived with my cat, Crash. I spent about three productive years with eNotes before an offer I couldn’t resist came along from Digg. I spent 2.5 great years at Digg, two of which I spent as their Lead Architect. While at Digg I spent time promoting open standards, working on scaling the website, breaking many things, and growing the engineering team.

I’m currently co-founder and CTO of SimpleGeo, which I founded with Matt Galligan in Boulder, CO. We provide location services for other developers.

Jared the Subway Guy

My recent battle to lose some weight has been somewhat successfully, but nowhere near as successful as others I know of. I saw my freshmen year college roommate lose about 80 pounds over the summer (which he attributed to my fat jokes – hey I’m a “motivational bully” of sorts – we’re still friends by the way). Another good example is Jerry the Subway Guy. He lost about 250lbs by just walking and eating Subway (veggie/turkey subs with no oil/mayo).

The funny part is how this regular guy has been thrust into the national spotlight as a pop icon of sorts. I love stories like this. A regular guy who sets out to achieve a personal goal and gets paid an assload of money to tell people about it.

Fogle said he’ll continue to be “Jared the Subway Guy” for as long as they keep sending the stretch limousine to pick him up for appearances. He’s also working on a book and thinks he might try motivational speaking.

Hell yah Jared! You can read the complete story here.