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My first grade class from my first year teaching

Does Hard Drive Free Space Improve Computer Speed?

Christmas Tree

GFS Christmas Program

Svea and Papa Play Chess

Happy Birthday Brigitta!

Hallbuzz Turns Four

Christmas Portraits

Snowman Piņata Fun

2009 Christmas Card - Abbey Road

Merry Christmas

Punk Snowman Piņata

Bash Recovery Time

40th Annual Kelly Family Christmas Bash

Random Holiday Pictures

Christmas Morning Photos with Uncle Mark

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Blog #313

David & Joan


~ Christmas Morning Photos with Uncle Mark ~

We had a wonderful Christmas - made especially great with the addition of David's brother, Mark.  Santa (and others) were very generous to us and everyone had a family filled day.  The girls made beautiful heartfelt gifts for each other.


























































Blog #312




Random Holiday Pictures


Annika with a poinsettia.


Brigitta and Svea making ice cream cone Christmas trees.


Brigitta sitting for her funky frames portrait with ammonia cookies and peanut butter fudge in the foreground.


Annika and Uncle Mark enjoy a moment.



Mark's tiny helicopter flying around the porch.



Papa, defending the porch from the Dark Side.



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Blog #311




40th Annual Kelly Family Christmas Bash - 2009-2010

Forty one relatives celebrated the 40th Annual Kelly Bash on Saturday night. There was food, fun, laughter and good times.  It was wonderful to gather everyone together for an evening. 


See more pictures with captions on this page.


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Blog #310




Bash Recovery Time

The 40th Annual Kelly Bash went very well; I'll post a page about it in a day or so.  For now, here is a group picture of the 41 who made it and a shot from the moment Ryan finished off the punk snowman piņata.  Also, here is a three minute video of the kids smashing the piņata.




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Blog #309




Punk Snowman Piņata

The girls started the snowman piņata and I finished him by punking him out. 

The part starts in 1.5 hours.



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Blog #308




Merry Christmas

   My brother Mark flew down from Alaska to join us for Christmas.  He arrived on Christmas Eve and is staying through the weekend.  Joan ran the nativity procession at Mass last night; the girls were thrilled to carry animal pieces to the manger.  We had a very nice Christmas morning; it's so much fun when kids are little and so excited.  Brigitta is especially animated as can be seen in this clip of the girls opening their stockings.  We've been preparing for a big family party tomorrow.  Joan has been preparing food for days and I even made a second batch of my father's peanut butter fudge.  Today I almost finished the Snowman Piņata and then cleaned the garage so the girls could blow up the bouncy Air jumper. 


Christmas Family


Christmas Family - The Silly One


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Blog #307



2009 Christmas Card - Abbey Road

   I used my Photoshop skills to swap our family with the Beatles on the cover of their Abbey Road album.  Photographer Iain Macmillan climbed a step ladder and took a few shots of the band as they crossed the road in front of their studio in 1969.  The album cover is considered by many to be the most recognized album cover ever and probably the most imitated and Photoshopped.  I also took our pictures from atop a step ladder to get a similar angle, but I took ours one person at a time and merged them all together in Paint.NET.  We each walked many passes in front of the camera because I didn't think we could get the in-step timing of George, Paul, Ringo and John.  The shadows and Svea's candy cane were also added on separate layers.  The card was folded and glued like a five inch record album and sported a paper "record" greeting inside.  The backside, which can be seen in the bottom picture, shows highlights of our year.


The Hall Family Abbey Road.


The original Beatles Abbey Road album.


Brigitta during the photo shoot.


The backside and paper record.




Blog #306



Snowman Piņata Fun

We traditionally have a homemade piņata at our Kelly Bash each year.  Joan has been making them for the past few years and I made one last year, but this year we decided to let the girls have a turn.  We blew up three balloons and taped them together, made a flour, water and glue solution, tore up some newspaper and let Svea, Brigitta and Annika have at it.  They laughed, screamed and giggled for the better part of an hour.  They were reduced to wearing undershirts and pulling back their hair to try to lessen the paste coverage on themselves.  All three had a bath immediately upon finishing today's work. With a bit of instruction from Joan, they succeeded in producing a pretty fine snowman (first coat).  We will have to repeat this process tomorrow for strength and stability, I wonder if they will help?















I played around with our Christmas portraits today and made a new facebook profile picture.


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Blog #305




Christmas Portraits

We updated the portraits in the funky frames under the kayak in the living room.  The kids get new portraits a few times a year, but we seem to skimp on the adults.  This is Papa's first portrait without glasses and probably my last without.  Papa had eye surgery earlier this month; after wearing glasses for 60 years he no longer needs them.  I'm scheduled for an eye appointment next week; I can't make out details at a distance like I could when I was young.  I expect to get glasses.










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Blog #304




Hallbuzz Turns Four

Unlike most, I just love statistics and numbers and am amazed how the Internet works.  Our photoblog is now four years old and has received just over 57,000 total hits (up from 25,000 last year at this time).  The main Hallbuzz index page has received just over 20,000 total hits (up from 15,000).  The fake diorama page has received about 25,000 hits and the "not a parachuting a cat" page has received over 10,000 hits this year.  The entire site at this point uses 9.5 GB of disk space on our server at Bluehost.  The total traffic this year was nearly a quarter of a Terabyte of bandwidth and 2.5 million files.  This year hallbuzz received hits from 162 countries; the graphic below indicates their flag and country initials.



The most amazing stat about our site is that we rank amazingly well for many search terms.  Hallbuzz is just a little site with a page rank of one (out of ten), yet we hold the number three position for the term "Family Photo Blog" out of 250 million web page results.  "Hall Family" and  "The Hall Family" places us at number one or two for web and image results out of 72 to 91 million results.  I have no idea why Google likes us so much for some search terms.


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Blog #303



Happy Eighth Birthday Brigitta!

   Brigitta turned eight today.  It did not begin well, however.  Brigitta awoke with a tummy ache and although she was doubling over in pain, she did not want to miss presenting her rainforest diorama and birthday treats to her class.  She insisted on going to school, but before we made it to school,  she begged to go back home.  I called Joan as soon as we got to school and Brigitta returned home and slept through the morning.  She felt better in the afternoon and had a good time playing with Annika.  We celebrated her birthday with her choice of dinner (chicken patty sandwiches and cauliflower with cheese sauce), gifts and cake.  As the pictures show, Brigitta was feeling better by the end of the evening.



My sisters are the best!


"Wow!"   "Wow!"   "I don't get it?"


"Wow!"   "Wow!"   "I still don't get it?"


"Wow!"   "Wow!"   "Wow!"



Svea and Papa Play Chess

Svea has taken an interest in chess; Joan took this shot of Svea playing Papa for the first time. 

(Papa won)


GFS Christmas Program

The German Family Society Christmas Program was this last Sunday.  Brigitta and Annika spoke and sang; Svea sang and danced.  A low resolution 58 minute movie of the program can be found here.









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Blog #302




My first grade class from my first year teaching.

Mark Twain Elementary School in Colorado Springs 1998-1999

Mr. Hall's First Grade Class - 1998-1999

Front Row: Mr. Hall, Christopher McQuay, Michelle Kosley, Emily Williams, Christopher Oslonian, Julie Wright, Amy Lessor, Chaniece Medina, Mrs. Edington

Row 2: Mrs. Fink, Ryan Garza, Iris Maldonado, Kaitlyn Davis, Jessica Dugger, Miranda Pacheco, Jeannie Robbins, Jose Sanchez, Miss Richardson

Row 3: Deidrianna Griffin, Sean Satterfield, Andre Brown, Brittany Anderson, Scott Roberts, Keith Place, Jeremy Vasquez

Absent: Angel Quinata (and a few others who joined the class after this picture was taken).

   I'm publishing this class picture and including student's names so that Google's search engine will index their names.  When they Google themselves they may find this page.  These kids should be graduating from high school this year.  I've heard from Scott and Sean; they are still good freinds, are doing very well and are college bound.  Scott wants to do police work and Sean is still passionate about music (drums).  I would love to hear from any other students from my first year; it's been nearly a decade since I left Colorado.  Email me with an update of what you have been doing and what your future holds at:


Update since I posted this blog an hour ago: I Googled a few names and found Jeannie Robbins.  She is a fantastic singer and is involved in theater.  Hear her sing on her MySpace pages: sheltiequeen17 and musicaljeannieus.



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Blog #301





Does Hard Drive Free Space Improve Computer Speed?

Answer: No, unless it is very full (and I proved it).


   I could see how it might seem like it would matter, however.  Cars and airplanes perform much better when they are lighter verses loaded.  Warehouse and pantries are more efficient when they are less full.  Computer hard drives are completely different, however.


   I've seen this topic discussed in forums with a wide variety of answers and explanations.  If you Google this question it also shows up on many "Ways to speed up your PC" pages.  Some of these pages state that hard drive free space does not effect a computer's performance unless it becomes nearly full, others recommend leaving 15% or so free and then there are pages that state that any amount of additional free space "may" or "will" improve performance.  My guess is that the "more free space" misunderstanding is perpetuated by myth.  The way I understand how computers work led me to believe that a computer will use a certain amount of hard drive space and RAM memory as it "computes" based on the complexity of program(s) running and the files accessed by those programs.  Only seriously demanding processes such as movie editing or CD/DVD burning might exceed

the need for a gigabyte of free hard drive space; a DVD burn actually copies all contents to be burned into a temporary folder before burning so it may require over five GB of free space.  Like most folks, however, I've based my beliefs mostly on what on what I've read and a bit on what I've observed. 


   I have not read that someone has actually tested how hard drive free space affects a computer's processing speed.  So, I did a simple experiment.  I set up a computer to publish a one minute movie clip at VHS quality using Windows Movie Maker.  This computer had 41.1 GB of free disk space out of 74.5 GB.  I published the clip twice to ensure consistency.  Each time it took one minute and five seconds to publish.  I then copied 22.3 GB of files from an external hard drive to the C drive, leaving 18.8 GB free.  I republished the same one minute clip twice; once again it took 1:05 minutes.  I repeated the process at" 9.55, 4.65, 1.87, 1.18 and 1.01 GB of free space.  Each trial took one minute five seconds.  Windows Movie Maker refused to publish with less than one GB of free disk space.  It appeared that Windows Movie Maker is programmed to not attempt to publish with less than one GB of free space.  Published movie files can be hundreds of Mb or even into the multi GB range, so this makes sense.  Because Windows Movie Maker would not run with less than a gigabyte of free space I could not find the point where performance actually began to lag.  I don't think it really matters, however.  Today's hard drives are so big that it should not be difficult to keep a GB free, or perhaps six if you burn DVDs.  The point is, it does not matter if your 250 GB hard drive has 20 GB free, or 200 GB free; it will work the same.


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Blog #300




Christmas Tree

Joan and the girls decorated the tree on Saturday; I took pictures.





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