Sunday, November 19, 2006

Casino "Sony" Royale

The wife and I saw Casino Royale last night. This will show how young/old I am, but I've been very familar with the Pierce Brosnan Bond since I first saw Goldeneye. Yeah I've seen other Bond movies (they are all in my queue in Netflix at this point) but other than Sean Connery none of the other Bonds seemed believeable.

Daniel Craig I had my reservations about since he was in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, but I was willing to give him a shot.

The Good: Casino Royale is a combination of amazing action and a really long game of Texas Holdem. Trust no one and just hang on for the ride. The first chase scene alone had amazing jumps that I had a hard believing anyone could do - but still found myself believing.

The Bad: Every electronic actual product made in this movie was made by Sony and they made a point of showing it. Every laptop - a Sony Vaio. The digital camera - Sony. The phones - Sony Ericson. The dvd player - Sony. The DVD-R that shows security footage - Sony brand. I know it is Sony Picutures but lets just say it was a little distracting. I think I saw Sony tattooed across Daniel Craig's ass - or wait, maybe that just would have fit in.

If you haven't seen it yet, I'd recommend seeing it in the theater. It is a little bit long at over 2 hours, but the action makes a lot of it go by quickly. If you a woman, I'm sure you'll drool over Daniel Craig - and if you are a guy, I mean - c'mon - it's a James Bond movie. The movie has an actual plot since it was the first book by Ian Fleming about James Bond that was never made into a movie. Its definitely the best Bond flick in years.

And on a side note - did anyone notice that some of the scenes shot in Italy were the exact same locations used for Star Wars Episode II - like where Anakin and Amidala get married?

Don't forget "The Fountain" comes out this Wednesday. It looks amazing.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Still working too much

So, all I have to report is tech stuff.
The coolest tool I've seen all year is VMWare Converter. Basically this program will take a live computer while it is running and virtualize it into a VMWare Machine. It will be instantly bootable and all you have to do is install VMWare tools and it is will be instantly usable.

Did I mention that since it is in beta still it is free?

The steps are practically so self explanatory there is very little to even mention. That is, if you have used VMWare before.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Only Mostly Dead

"There's a big difference between mostly dead and all dead. Mostly dead is slightly alive. With all dead, well, with all dead there's usually only one thing you can do. "

Well, we didn't die in the Apex Chemical Fire and I haven't fallen off the face of the earth. I've been so fracking busy with work that I've had little to no time for anything personal really. In my evenings I'll come home and work on something for work from home. My weekends have been my only solace and i've been so burned out I didn't want to do anything. Last weekend I got an extra hour of daylight savings time but since I was working all weekend it didn't help much. Many IT jobs are like this, and it isn't going to be like this forever, but it just wasn't what I signed up for originally. I'm willing to do it, I just need a break for a week or two to get back into it.

For those of you under a rock, Battlestar Galactica is freaking awesome. If you haven't seen it, just watch the mini-series (Season 1 disc 1). Its three hours of your life - thats all. If you don't like it, don't watch anything more - but thats all it should take to get hooked. I know I mentioned it in a blog post before, but really - if you aren't watching this - why not? It's even moving to NBC mid-season.

Watch out for "The Fountain". This movie looks REALLY good. I am going to be there on opening day.

And thats it. Life is just uninteresting when all you seem to do is work. Maybe I just feel that way because I am going on 3 hours of sleep and working all weekend.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Apex Chemical Fire

In case anyone else is wondering, we were not directly affected by the chemical fire in Apex. The chemical plant is 8.8 miles away, but we were not very far away from the evacuation zone. Green Hope High School is very close to us - and was the main location for those evacuated to go to in the morning after the fire. Thanks for everyone's concerns.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Windows Fundamentals for Legacy PCs

Most of the information I've found about reviews of Windows Fundamentals for Legacy PCs I haven't found to be terribly accurate. Normally I am with everything on Steven Bink's Website, but in this case theres wasn't a lot of info. People commenting on the article were even mentioning how based on screenshots you couldn't even use ping out of the box. I installed it and found it to not be true. Granted, I did a full installation of it, but it was there.

For those who haven't haven't heard of Windows Fundamentals, basically it is a stripped down version of Windows XP designed for use with older computers with lesser hardware. Windows firewall is still built into it and all of the basic features for business users were still in it. I haven't tried installing much software on it yet, but without any software loaded on it. As long as you have software assurance on a Corporate Version of Windows XP, you can definitely utilize it. It even uses the same product key. I haven't really seen too many limitations on it, but it is just missing some tiny features. Games are gone. Add/Remove Windows Components - well there aren't any to add. And it seems to utilize memory a little bitter - which is probably just because it isn't running as many services.

Here's some of my screenshots from it:

Saturday, September 23, 2006

No More Analog TV

I've said before to most people I see using the old rabbit ears on the televisions that at some point the FCC is going to be stopping the broadcast of analog signals. What this means is that those people using older tvs that aren't using Cable or Satellite are soon just going to be seeing snow on their TVs.

Now, the date was originally December 31, 2006 - which is what I had been telling people for a while - but this date was updated this February to now February 17th, 2009.

"Congress passed a law on February 1, 2006, setting a final deadline for the DTV transition of February 17, 2009. Most television stations will continue broadcasting both analog and digital programming until February 17, 2009, when all analog broadcasting will stop. Analog TVs receiving over-the-air programming will still work after that date, but owners of these TVs will need to buy converter boxes to change digital broadcasts into analog format. Converter boxes will be available from consumer electronic products retailers at that time. Cable and satellite subscribers with analog TVs should contact their service providers about obtaining converter boxes for the DTV transition."

I really don't think if you have cable or satellite anything is going to have change since they can convert this in their equipment before it gets to our houses.

I'm hoping we'll have a new tv before then so we don't have to worry about it. The only question is - how does this affect my htpc since I have 2 tuner cards that accept cable input?

Anyhow, everyone just keep this in mind if you are getting analog broadcasts.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Gatlinburg Trip and I'm on the 'roids

I apologize for not posting very much as of late. I've been fairly busy with work over the last month and as of this week, the wife and I have been in the Smoky Mountains, which doesn't make me want to spend time blogging. We're still here, and I'll do a quick post.

The biggest thing on my mind right now is 3 weeks ago I picked up poison ivy, which I had never been in contact with before. I was trimming a tree in my front yard - and I was in contact with what I thought was just sap on the tree. I wasn't in immediate need to wash it off, which I'm sure was my mistake. Looking back, there was an ivy growing on the inside truck of the tree. I thought I had just been bit by a few mosquitos, but a week later - it started getting fairly bad. At this point it was only on my left leg and right arm. I started taking over the counter stuff for poison ivy and tried several different methods of controlling the itch.

We left for our trip, and despite pleas from Wendy, I didn't go to the doctor before left. I really don't like going so I avoid it at all costs. Finally Wednesday of this week, I agree to go, because, well, it kept spreading more and more and more - to the point it scared me.

I went in, got a 2ml shot of steroids - and I'm now on oral steroids to hopefully curb the reaction to the poison ivy. It's better but still not good yet. The best part almost passing out from the shot (not from nerves, some other reaction). Here are some pics of the poison ivy - but they aren't automatically shown for those who don't want to see them.


Lets just say it has spread to a lot of other areas in addition to these places.

We're having a great time in Gatlinburg though - spending our 4th Anniversary (I can't believe it is 4 already!) and my birthday here. I do consider myself lucky that I've got a wife that in addition to having fun on this trip, she just wants to go back to the room and watch Season 2 of Battlestar Galactica - I consider myself very lucky. :)

We've been hiking and just spending good time here. I'll post more pictures from the trip when we get back. We are going to Dixie Stampede tonight - which should prove to be interesting. Hope everything is going well with everyone.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Additional Treadmill Computer Pictures

I actually can't believe I had a request for more Treadmill Computer pictures, but here we go. I wasn't excited about taking one too bright because it was going to show off the terrible paint job I did in my office this weekend- but here we go:

View from the front again, but this time much brighter. You can easily see the mouse on the handrest of the treadmill and vaguely see the computer behind it. Next is the view from the side - where you can all the messy action is. I don't technically need a keyboard, but it helps sometimes. How else would I ever be able to potentially blog when on the treadmill? The speakers are amazingly loud and the subwoofer honestly makes a huge difference as well. I've got it all resting on some storage containers that I added because of cable length. Maybe one dayI'll get a table or shelf for it.

And here's the picture from the view of me on the treadmill. Digital photography of any monitor or tv never really looks right, but trust me it looks a heck of a lot better than a standard tv. Plus it is a lot bigger.

Just for proof that this really is running Windows - here is a screenshot from the desktop. I need to really either put this on the wireless connection or just get a long network cable.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

My Treadmill Could Use A Mousepad

I've had some seriously bad luck with DVD players that I use with my treadmill. Maybe it is because I buy the cheapest ones on the market or I buy free ones('buy free"?), but since my current one had the cover off, and I had to work with it oh so carefully and put my fingers in it to line up the disc right I felt like it was time for to replace it.

Then I had this brilliant idea. I had an extra computer (of course, don't we all?) and an extra dvd drive. I even had an extra 17' monitor. My tv I had been using was only 13". And of course my extra set of speakers I had been plugging my ipod into from time to time.

Yes, I know I'm a serious dork, but if I just plugged in a network cable I could surf the web while on my treadmill. Someone is going to tell me to pull the plug and get away from computers, but that person wouldn't see the beauty of this. My monitor is somewhere in between a high definition television and a normal tv - but much much closer to an HDTV. I'm running at 1280x1024 resolution - which looks really really good on the monitor. When I'm not using the computer I hit the power button and but the computer in hibernation mode, consuming almost no power at all. I simply hit the button - wait about 20 seconds and I'm back up and going again.

I just wish I had more space for the mouse. :) I can't believe I didn't do this a long, long time ago.

Driving Post

First of all, look very closely at the sign in this picture. It is very "elite". Yes, I'm a dork, but I did take it going 80mph.

And check out the craziest car commercial I've ever seen. It is for the Isuzu Gemini- and it is from the 80s. Most of this stuff couldn't have used too much computer graphics based on the age.

It is really insane - you have to see this.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Romance & Cigarettes

No hidden meaning behind the title of this post - just the name of a movie that nearly no one in the states has seen or even heard of.

You know that feeling when you are anticipating something but keep getting denied it? When you want something even more because you can't get it? Thats how this movie has been for me. Romance and Cigarettes was supposed to be in theaters last August, but due to some trouble after the merger between Sony Pictures and United Artists, this movie had some trouble with distribution. Delay after delay eventually made it seem like it would never be released. Keep in mind the movie had been long since finished.

Then I discovered the distribution overseas was totally fine. It was released in theaters in the UK sometime in March if memory serves me right. I figured eventually things would follow suit here - no dice. On July 17th, it was released on DVD in the UK. Thats when I made my move.

I preordered Romance & Cigarettes on DVD from Amazon UK for about $25 and had it shipped here once it was available. One week later, it was here.

Now, before I talk about the movie, let me go over the cast:

James Gandolfini
Susan Sarandon
Kate Winslet
Steve Buscemi
Christopher Walken
Mandy Moore
Mary-Louise Parker

....and there are more recognizable people in this as well. Produced by the Coen Brothers and directed by John Tuturro. Regardless of plot, this movie has lots of big, current names in it and I'm surprised no one has a made a bigger fuss of this. Here's a link to the trailer in quicktime.

And I just found this today - here's the kicker:
"One of the most deliciously fresh American films of recent years. Kate Winslet is marvellous"**** Film Of The Week TIME OUT

Keep in mind even to this day you can't easily watch this in the US. "One of the most deliciously fresh American films of recent years". And yes Kate Winslet is marvellous in this.

Now, it isn't immediately obvious, but this is a musical of sorts. I want to warn anone that might seen this that it is very raunchy and disjointed, but does have a firm plot - and does break out into song at really unusual moments.

Here's a summary of the plot from imdb without really giving too much away:
Romance and Cigarettes is a down-and-dirty musical love story set in the world of the working class. Nick (James Gandolfini) is an ironworker who builds and repairs bridges. He's married to Kitty (Susan Sarandon), a dressmaker, a strong and gentle woman with whom he has three daughters. He is carrying on a torrid affair with a redheaded woman named Tula (Kate Winslet). Nick is basically a good, hardworking man driven forward by will and blinded by his urges. Like Oedipus at Colonus, he is sent into exile and searches to find his way back through the damage he has done. In an imaginative, humorous, and touching way, Romance and Cigarettes explores the cost and value of a relationship through life and death. When the characters can no longer express themselves with language, they break into song, lip-synching the tunes lodged in their subconscious. It is their way to escape the harsh reality of their world - to dream, to remember, and to connect to another human being.

Thats about right - think Raizing Arizona meets Moulin Rouge! meets some really dirty movie. I wasn't into the musical portion of things as much as I was with for instance Moulin Rouge!, but it still worked. I know a lot of people aren't going to like this movie (my wife started watching it and conveniently found a way to leave the room)

James Gandolfini - I think really a great performance from him and have never heard him sing before. I last saw him in a Coen Brother's film - The Man Who Wasn't Really There and thought he did a great job in both - with very different roles.
Kate Winslet - it is no secret that I think she is fantastic in nearly everything I've ever seen her in - and this is the dirtiest role I've ever seen her in. I'm imagining this is a lot of acting on her part. :) There is no nudity - unlikely many other movies she's been in but still a big departure from most other things I've seen her in.
Steve Buscemi & Christopher Walken - their parts weren't very big in the movie - but honestly I think theyshould have a part in every movie.

I'm not going to reveal more about the plot but I'm just going to close in saying that
1. Yes - it is definitely worth watching
2. Be prepared for something very, very weird.
3. If bad, overtly sexual language (I don't just mean profanity) makes you uncomfortable this movie isn't for you.

The DVD - other that previews - has no extra features. None, unless English subtitles are an added feature.

***If you get the clever idea that you want to buy this from Amazon UK - feel free but just make sure you have a region free dvd player (or one that reads Region 2) or find another way to remove the region coding.

And while I am writing about movies, I'm putting my final plug in for "An Unfinished Life". This movie is great, on DVD now, and needs to be seen if you haven't seen it. I don't care if you try to tell me you are boycotting all Jennifer Lopez movies since Gigi, make an exception for this one. She just happens to be in this movie.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Digital Picture Frame

I've tried in the past to make my own digital picture frame. With many of the ones out there not terribly expensive, but actually having monthly fees per month (which is insane). Prices have really fallen on units like these, so what I did wasn't a tremendous cost savings, but it does allow you to customize it to your liking and mine can actually do a lot more if I feel like doing some upgrades.

Before we moved to North Carolina, I had built a larger one out of an old internet appliance called an I-Opener. It was a 10" passive matrix display, and loud. On the plus side, I had it running Windows Server 2003 and it had a wireless usb connection to the network. Not bad for a computer running a 200Mhz processor. By alas, it was too loud for my wife to accept in the living room and it just didn't look right.

I'm not going to go through a serious step by step process with pictures because what took me about a month last year, only took my an evening and I got it going.

The digital picture frame you see above is make up of only 4 parts.

1. An 8" LCD TV. I chose the Buslink 8" LCD TV because I could get it for $90 after coupon on An 8" screen will fit exactly into a 5x7 frame. This is definitely the highest priced item.
2. Sandisk SDV1-A . Truth be told, I went as cheap as I could on this. This is simply a digital card reader for display on the tv. It doesn't matter what I model you get as long as it support RCA video out and it will do a slideshow. If you want to get really fancy, some of the card readers for televisions support things like music and video. I went with the one that was $18 after coupon on I think I must have bought one of the last ones they had but you can get it elsewhere.
3. A memory card. You don't need a very big memory card, and the ridiculously small ones that comes with new digital cameras work fine unless you need a really large variety of pictures. Lucky for me I've got a couple compact flash cards just collecting dust and I pulled out my 256mb and popped it in.
4. Any 5x7 frame that is to your liking. I chose a black one at target that about $20.

Total cost: ~$128
I also picked up some hooks that I screwed into the back of the frame to mount the tv onto it. The best part of the tv is it already has a stand built into it to keep the picture from up! I plugged everything together and discovered I had no way of turning the tv on. So I drilled a small hole for the remote control sensor on the tv and had it up and going. The Sandisk card reader has a remote of its own so thats how I know how 2 remotes for this thing.

Like I said, I had it going in one evening. My only regret was not getting the proper tools so the wood around the hole for the remote sensor is a little bit raised on the front and I had to take a sharpee to it to make it black again, but I'm okay with it. For some reason, that imperfection is a lot more obvious in a photo than real life so I'm not posting it with the flash on. :)

Since the tv supports rca in, I could conceivably hook up anything to it in a pinch. I could put a dvd player up to it and bring it into the bedroom since we don't have a tv in there. If I wanted to get real fancy, I'd mount the card reader to the back, but at this point since all of it is black it really doesn't look too bad.

Definitely a lot quieter (virtually silent) and better looking than the i-opener turned out last year.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

On no, the humanity......

Updated 6/21/06

Ok Folks, I'm doing it and you can't stop me. Top 20 movie list in no particular order. It's my list so I'm making the rules. Movie series, no matter how long count as 1. This is probably more interesting to me that to anyone else reading this - but I've tried to pick out movies that I've that are really "Tony" movies as my wife would say. If you haven't seen anyone of these, I of course recommend them since they are my favorites and I'll defend my choices.

If you don't see something really high on the list and you think I'm nuts for forgetting it, I probably just forgot and I'll add it in later. That is unless it didn't make the cut. Miss anything, let me know.

Top 20 List
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Indiana Jones Trilogy
Star Wars (from best to worst - Episode V, IV, III, II,VI,I)
Lord of the Rings Trilogy (Extended)
The 5th Element
Raising Arizona
Moulin Rouge!
A Life Less Ordinary
Hudson Hawk (thanks Zigzag!)
Total Recall
Adaptation (updated 6/21/06 - Thanks Dan!)
The Shawshank Redemption
Rob Roy
Lost In Translation
Garden State
L.A. Story
12 Monkeys
Star Trek (II,VI,VIII,IV,VII,III,IX,X,I,V) - Ordered from Best to Greek Tragedy

Honorable Mentions
The Matrix (first one only)
Edward Scissorhands
Strange Days
Die Hard I and III
Big Fish
Harry Potter Series
Real Genius
Office Space
Super Troopers
The Green Mile
Before Sunrise (and Before Sunset)
Terminator 2
The Bourne Identity
Playing by Heart
Love Actually
Finding Neverland
A Guy Thing
Dark City
Pulp Fiction
High Fidelity
Field of Dreams
Back to the Future Trilogy (how could I forget this?)

Edit: Forgot Hudson Hawk and BTTF.

Try making a list yourself. It is harder than you think!

Thanks for all the suggestions everyone!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Saw This on Craigslist Free Stuff Today

I seriously found this on craigslist today

Free cat! Looking for pure white cat to replace.
Reply to:!%20Looking%20for%20pure%20white%20cat%20to%20replace.Date: 2006-06-13, 3:51PM EDT

We have had this cat since it was a baby, but unfortunately my family has decided, with our new political/social beliefs, that it just no longer fits in with us. We're looking to find a replacement cat, preferably a kitten. The only requirement is that it must be pure white, no blotch of black or yellow or red in it. Anything less than 100% white will not suffice. The temperment of white cats is calm, thoughtful, intelligent, whereas that of the black cats is aggressive and demanding.

· this is in or around Raleigh
· no -- it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests


It has since been deleted from Craigslist, but WOW. Just WOW.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Microsoft Time

Just at techie thing, but look closely at the % I've downloaded so far of Vista Beta 2. I've always made fun of their time estimates, but know I know their programmers were on crack when determining any numbers estimating time. This is not a doctored image.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Jump Into the Mower

Other than most likely insects - I just want to warn that that nothing dies in the blog entry, despite what the title suggests.

People always hear my complaining about the size of yard we have for mowing reasons. Normally they ask me how long it takes to mow it with my push mower. I think my answer has always been 4-6 hours. Today - I did the whole thing by myself in one day. With 2 breaks of a few hours the answer is 11 hours. I really need to get a riding mower. Probably without breaks it was about 7.

There's a lot of insects and other debree that fly out of the moving as I mow so I'm kind of used to either:

A. Insects jumping/running/flying out of the way.
B. Leaves, grass, and sometime some insects and other things flying out of the mower. Sometimes the insects are totally fine. Sometimes they are bees coming to get me. (See my first blog posting)

Anyhow, with about 2 hours left in moving, I see something small HOPPING away from the mower. Turns out it was just a baby rabbit. If blogger stops screwing up I'll post a picture of it.
Now I understand survival instict so I'm glad it was hopping away and not, well - coming out of the mower. I clearly didn't want it to die.

I go on with my mowing after it was very far away and all of a sudden I see it hopping towards the running mower and me. Thinking it will just go some other direction - I keep mowing. No such luck.

I stopped the mower just in time for it to be literally within 1 inch of the side of the mower. Maybe it thought the mower was its mother, who knows.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Jewel Kilcher

I get on music kicks from time to time. One artist or another - and then I play it until I'm sick of it. Then I add it to my collection and play it from time to time.

Right now, it is Jewel. Yes, that Jewel. Not any of the stuff from the mid to late 90s though. She just released an album a few months ago(not that I could tell that from the radio here - I'm sure it is being overplayed whereever you are at and I'm just a dork - I don't care) In my opinion, this is actually a GREAT album. I don't care if some of it is very pop - I just think it is good.

0304 - the second newest album was a big departure for Jewel from her older stuff - Intuition and Stand were good in their own rights - but I get the impression that she was trying to go way commercial (or was it supposed to be sarcastic?) based on the videos. I still like the songs, but 2 Become 1 was a much better track off the album. I just couldn't get into the dance type stuff from her as much.

The latest album is "Goodbye Alice In Wonderland". The best tracks on it are the two singles released so far - the title track (Goodbye Alice In Wonderland) and Again and Again. Also listen to Drive to You and Satellite. Heck, I listen to the whole album straight through. I'm not going to let whether the radio is playing this or not ruin this for me. All I'm saying is check out the album. It seems a closer return to what is known as Jewel and to me is just tons better.

On the last track of the album is an interview where she says she has over 500 songs written and when making the last album she just picked from her "collection" and recorded them. Maybe I don't know much about musicians but I'd classify her as a "songwriter" by that!

Anyhow to sum up - I still liked her stuff from the 90s - but in my mind this is her best album yet. And I'm doubting the radio will eat it up.

And once again the free 2 weeks of RealRhapsody is alive again. No CC required, no valid email address needed. And you can hear this album on there.

Like Jewel or the new album? Put it in the comments. Don't like it? I don't care, but also put it in the comments.

Oh, and here the video for Again and Again on youtube. :P

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Myspace Rant

I don't think myspace is a fad necessarily - but I think people need to take a serious look at how readable their profiles are.

I'm not on myspace. Will I ever be? I don't know - I just don't see what the big deal is. It seems like it is all about getting as many "friends" as possible and throwing as much crap on your profile page as possible. If I wanted to list out all of my interests, throw a song in the background, list my top 8 "friends" i've linked to, and allow people to put whatever comments they wanted to on my profile for me and others to read, I'd join myspace. Like I said, I just don't get it.

Back to my biggest issue- the design element. When I first made a couple of webpages back in the mid to late 90s - I'll admit they were hard to read and lacked design. Here is an example that is apparently still up on AOL (ha!). And to think, that was the REDESIGN to make it look cleaner and better. I'll fully admit it is bad.

It is very important when making a webpage to make the text readable - so, I don't know - people can read it. People are new to design tend to put more stuff on the page and care less about how usable it is.

Here's my brother's myspace profile. Jason - is that a Nelly Furtato video on your blog? :)
Anyway - I'm going to give him an A on myspace for keeping the text readable. Black background with white text. An easy ready.

Here's my sister's myspace profile. B for design because of the background image. Still kind of hard to read the text.

But here's my point - these are my examples of good myspace profiles. Many are even harder to read.

And honestly, I don't want to open up a webpage and hear the same song everytime I go to it.

Someone give me a convincing argument to start a myspace profile. I'm not saying I've got the best looking blog out there, but I just don't want to put that much crap on one page.

Sunday, May 07, 2006


Last night Wendy and I were driving to go grab some dinner and movie and I pulled over for the first time in North Carolina. Just for the record, I have expired plates in Illinois that I'm taking care of next week.

I apparently was doing 64 in a 50 work zone - although it is the road right by my house and I guarantee there was no one working - it wasn't like I was endangering anyone.

For the first time in my life I was pulled over and got a warning. Every other time I've been penalized within the maximum sentence of the law. I am still amazed.

Looks like Karma finally caught up with me - in a good way.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Expensive IPod Speakers

Expensive IPod Speaker Docks

I was out at Linens and Things yesterday picking up my $14 toaster oven (since I am a deal hunter – I’m not that domestic), I noticed for the 100th time another place selling ipod speakers that most ipods can plug into for upwards of $100. For instance. I really feel that’s highway robbery. So in the spirit of doing it yourself and Make Magazine, here’s my guide to making your own ipod speaker setup. I made mine from existing parts I had, but you can expect to spend no more than $30 with a small subwoofer.

First, you need to start with an ipod.

Now I recommend the 60GB Ipod Video in Black, but any model will work with this setup, even the Nano. I’ll even go so far as saying this will even support whatever apple puts out next. In fact, this is so universal it will work with non apple mp3 players as well. Take that apple.

Next go out and find a set of computer speakers.

I went with an old set from most likely the late 90s. You can tell from all the marks on it that these are definitely not brand new. Keep in mind mp3s were not as popular then, and even though it doesn’t say specifically it is compatible with the ipod, trust me – it still is. Those crazy people at Altec Lansing must have been really thinking ahead when they designed these to work with a product that didn’t even exist yet! :P

Once you have a set of general computer speakers - take a look at the connectors on it. You should have two connectors that are going to be used at this point in time.

First of all the power connector. (You power connector might look slightly different than mine)

You may have seen this power connector on many of your household electronic items.

And the audio connector. Also referred to as a mini stereo plug.

You me be surprised to find that this looks a heck of lot like the headphone connector you use to plug into your ipod already. Hmmmmm.

First, plug the speakers into a wall electrical outlet. If it doesn't fit the plug might be polarized - and you should just turn it around and try again. Don't be a Hero! If you can't figure this part out get some assistance.

Then plug the audio connector from your speakers into the ipod. You should feel it snap easily into place.

Here's a closeup of the audio connector properly installed.

And Voila. You've successfully created your own home speaker system for your ipod or other audio player.

You can trick it out some by adding the kickstand case to have your ipod sit up on it's own. Play some tunes of your own and rock out without paying the big bucks.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Wasp update

Yeah, one started buzzing around my office about 10 minutes after I posted last. How the heck did it get in here????

I used Hornet and Wasp Killer spray without testing it first. I managed to kill the guy (I hope - he appears to be dead - i'm giving him some time) but what I neglected to do was to test the spray first. It is a foam (didn't know) for outdoor use only. Needless to say- I made a mess.

Part of me just wants to close all the windows and just turn the A/C. I don't care this makes me a wuss(it does) - I just have a phobia of being stung by anything especially after what happened last summer. And to me, wasps just look more poisonous. Is that crazy?

Blog Mega Post

Obviously I haven't posted in a while - sorry all. I've been extremely busy with work over the last month and my internet connection hasn't been all in all that reliable. Good times. This post will go in no particular order for topics, so hang on.

I started this blog shortly after being stung by bees back in last August I think. Based on my current research - it was actually yellow jackets (a member of the wasp family - not W.A.S.P. even though I live in the Bible Belt). Anyhow, we've got more wasps that we had last year but weren't giving us much of a problem. The wasps are paper wasps - and are not especially dangerous or aggressive, but still a huge pain.

Our wasps have the long, creepy legs but are more burgandy in color. Anyhow, these buggers either find a way to pry open a panel of our awning - or it just cracked out the other day on its own and they wanted to start nesting these. I went outside yesterday and wanted to just enjoy a day off in 85 degree weather - and was surrounded by these guys.

They just aren't in the picture since it was later in the day. So today - I went out, bought a ladder and hammered the opening shut. I knew they could come out at any time and the ground wasn't level so I didn't do a spectaular job closing it up, but it should hold for a little while. I'll drive some more nails in later.

So, I haven't seen the nest yet (it is early in the season, it may not even be well formed yet) but i'm assuming I've now got wasps trapped in my attic. I got 3 bug bombs and put them up there about 3 hours ago and hopefully any suckers up there are dead. I'm going to have to check later in the evening when they'd be sleeping if anything (or really angry).

I forgot why, but I was checking out Back to the Future at Wikipedia (I think I was looking up something about the flux capacitor) I skimmed the article - and I discovered something that was brand new to me - maybe everyone else already knew this - when the producers of Back to the Future couldn't get Michael J. Fox to play the part of Marty - they cast Eric Stoltz instead and filmed about 1/3 of the movie. Then, when they figured out that they cast the wrong person - MJF's scheduled opened up enough to put him into the movie.

I'm sure that it is mildly embarrassing that he got cut out of such a big movie - but I think he's a great actor and i'm just curious to see the video sometime.

And this part of the blog should only reach one person really (Jason - my brother) - but Queensryche - Operation: Mindcrime II has recently been release. Who knew that all these years later they'd finish the story (i'm assuming). We all knew Mary had committed suicide and was not actually murdered because of the end credits of Operation: Livecrime - I wonder if they'll reveal it on this album. Those guys from Queensryche are some weird guys. :)

Oh, and now that it is getting warm here, i'm releasing I once again don't have money to buy air conditioning for my car. I spend a good chunk of the tax return on other car repairs for both of our cars. Great.....

Thats all I got for now. My internet connection has died a number of times while I'm writing this so I better get this out there before it goes down again. Ignore any extra proofing errors in this one. :)