Sunday, December 23, 2007

Best of 2007: Pop

I was actually watching MTV today because they there playing videos (correction, MTV doesn't actually play videos, turns out it was MTV Hits) - and every top pop video was about love lost or being separated. And I just don't mean the video, the lyrics for the most part matched. I'm glad I'm not that into current music - I'd be crying myself to sleep every night. Even right now I'm going to have to change the channel to not fall into a serious depression.

Maybe thats why there's so many emo kids out there - but they must listen to this in quiet as I'm sure they wouldn't be caught dead listening to this stuff.

Don't get me wrong, there was plenty of good music that came out this year, this just wasn't a showcase of it.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Did You Know This?

First of all, Henry V is freaking awesome. I wasn't much into Shakespeare at the ripe old age of 12 when I saw it for the first time, but stroke of luck my older brother Jason had just entered high school and in Marching Band played the music from this movie. I don't know if it is just because music and movies that you experience when you are young have a greater impact and hold greater meaning to you over time, but especially the music of Henry V I still listen to from time to time. I haven't seen the movie in a few years but I've got to pull out the DVD and watch it again.

But more importantly, why I post. Who else knew that Christian Bale was in Henry V? Keep in mind this movie came out in 1989. Even though he doesn't have a name in the movie (credited as boy) - I still remember his role clearly. Look for him at 1:43 in the youtube clip above during the famous St. Crispin's Day speech from Henry V.

And if you haven't seen Henry V, you are seriously missing out.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Updates In General - Random Post

I had a few weeks there where work got a bit of control time wise, but now I'm back to normal.

My sister moved to New York City fairly suddenly. Everyone wish her luck!

Something intesting technical wise that I've been working with is Windows Deployment Services, specifically for Windows XP. Vista is fairly easier to deploy using it, but XP is certainly possible. There's a real lack of documentation, and most people are going to get tripped up with many parts of it if used. This is supposed to be an upgrade for RIS, which honestly I felt was always too cumbersome to use.

I'll write a lot more about it, but WDS comes with a program called imagex, which creates .WIM files that are a lot like ghost images, but are file based, not sector based, meaning you can do things like reapply the image to a partition and keep the majority of your data. I know RIS had something like this, but were you able to create and use these files outside of RIS? :)

I'll write a lot more detail about how to use WDS later - I'll try to come up with the most detailed guide on how to use it with a single image that you could install on multiple HALs.

My boss Anthony recommended that I watch Primer. The movie is mainly dealing with time travel, but honestly I can't see any way that anyone could understand this movie the first time through without a guide. It is very smart - I can tell that, but I'm going to need a 3 or 4th time through. There's a lot of WTF??? going on, thinking that scenes must have been cut from the movie, but once I watched all of it, I realized that my brain must be in a for a world of hurt. I'm sure now the movie makes sense, but I'm going to really need to think about it. I read the movie was made for $7000, which even makes Clerks look a high budget movie ($32,000). But nothing in the movie looks wrong to me. It just goes to show a smart movie can be made for not that much cash.

Wow, I've never seen her look so 80s

That being said, Stevie Nicks is still awesome. But look at her hair!

On a side note, it seems a little sad to see her holding a baby as I just read that hse made a conscious decision not to have children (or get married) in order to keep Fleetwood Mac together.

Anyhow, she's awesome. She does some backup vocals for Vanessa Carlton on her new album. I could have picked out her distinctive voice in a heartbeat.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Boo to Subway

Just a warning to everyone - if you go to Subway like I do, and get their wraps because they are low in calories - they've changed the wraps without telling anyone!

The wrap itself used to be 110 calories - and its now 330 calories! Thats nearly 100 more calories than just getting bread. And for those watching carbs, you also might as well just get the bread, seriously.

Its a bad move for Subway, considering the majority of their promotions push about how they are a healthy alternative to fast food. Shame on them.

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Perfect Movie

For me, there isn't just one perfect movie. Some movies when I watch them are just so well executed and done so perfectly though, they just stand out to me. Even my favorite movies I know aren't perfect, but some movies - while not my one favorite movie to beat all other movies are so perfectly done I can't imagine them being any better. The shots are flawless - the music is amazing.

Lost in Translation is one of those movies. Some people may watch this movie and think it is boring, but the style, characters, the visual imagery, and the music make this movie amazing. It came out in 2003, so it might just now be starting to be forgotten, but if you haven't seen it I wholehearedly recommend it.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Why I Don't Like Sony

I refuse to knowingly buy anything from Sony. In fact, I think the only product that I have in my house is a dvd-writer in my desktop, and I felt bad in buying it. I'd rather buy a gas guzzling vehicle at this point than support Sony.

Here are the previous examples of issues i've had with Sony:
Romance and Cigarettes
Casino Royale

Sony likes doing things their own way. Their own standards - and all of their equipment works together great. But only with itself. Its been this way as far as I can remember. Beta vs. VHS. Mini-disc vs CD. Memory stick vs. Any other memory card Standard (SD, Compact Flash, xD, etc). Sony was on the losing end of all of these battles. Yes, they had limited success, but people that purchase their electronics are left out in the cold for any kind of interoperability with other products in the future. Sony even puts anti copy technology in their DVDs so that they have bad sectors in them and other issues so that may DVD players and computers can't even play them. And it doesn't even stop people from copying the DVDs. :)

And to top all this, Sony products generally cost substantially more. I'm not saying that they aren't quality products, they generally are good. I'm just not going to buy all Sony products for the rest of my life so that everything works together.

And now HD-DVD vs. Blu-Ray. Blu-Ray is being backed by Sony primarily. I don't care of Blu-Ray has a larger capacity, and technically slightly higher quality of picture. If Blu-Ray didn't exist, HD-DVD would already be the standard and I'd already have the player. But with Sony being a movie studio now, some movies are going to ONLY be on Blu-Ray in the future. Some will only be on HD-DVD. Some will be on both. Blu-Ray players are in the ballpark of $300 at the cheapest. HD-DVD players are on special for $99, but are more commonly found at $200. I really think HD-DVD will become the standard (and I predict it will be) because.

1. Sony does not play well with others.
2. HD-DVD will cost less for the movies, players, and burners in the long term.

Sure, there are a lot of Blu-Ray players because of the Playstation 3, but if I were to buy a gaming console, it would be a Wii or possibly an XBox 360, never anything by Sony.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Suspend Your Disbelief - HOUSE PICTURES

Before I lose some friends here, I took the time to post a complete walkthrough of our new house.


Sunday, July 22, 2007

Where can I find this?

For whatever reason, some artists have a slightly different version of a song that is released as a single, and then it is nearly impossible to find the often superior version of the song since it was never on an album. Whether it is the Voodoo Economics Remix of Desire from U2 (which is a nice change from the original, but I wouldn't call it superior), or in the case of the video linked here Only Love (The Ballad of Sleeping Beauty) from Sophie B. Hawkins. I literally have not heard this version of this song since high school (I graduated in 1996). Thanks to Youtube, I can at least see the video and hear the radio version of the song(and you can too). Sure - the album version which I have the CD for actually is pretty decent, but this version is way better. Hearing this seriously takes me back. Does anyone know where I can get a high quality digital recording of this song in this version?

Oh, and my parents are coming to visit on Tuesday, so I'm forced to do a good cleaning of the house (and i'll take pictures of every room before then) I'll finally come through!

Monday, July 09, 2007

Always Underpromise and Overdeliver

If I only listened to myself. As Mrs Smith pointed out, I fell back on my word about posting any pictures of the house. Here's picture #1. Once you walk in the front door, after the
entryway, this is pretty much the first thing you see. The living room isn't finalized yet as we are getting a nice flat screen once it is delivered As I clean up each room, you'll see another post with another room. Since we're seeing Harry Potter And the Goblet of Fire at IMAX tuesday night (at midnight), I've got a feeling no pictures will come tomorrow, but hopefully the day after that.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

What, all this time and all I get is this lousy post?

I fraking love this movie. Holly Hunter is at her peak of craziness in the grave digging scene from a Life Less Ordinary. If you haven't seen this movie, you probably won't get it, but it is fantastic.

The new house is clean so i'll take pictures and post them this weekend. Consider that a promise.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

We've Moved

Well, we are moved into our new house. I'll take some pictures once everything in unboxed (hold your breath for about 1 year).

And today's thought of the day is - why can't anything just be easy for me?

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Open Question to Netflix

Oh, Netflix, why must you tease me? You've got me watching Coupling Season 1 through your "Watch Now" Service, but you don't have Season 2. And just to taunt me more, you've got Seasons 3 and 4 available.

Thats right folks, they've got seasons 1, 3, and 4 on Watch Now, but not season 2. Whats up with that?

Friday, April 27, 2007

Netflix - Watch Now!

Since Netflix had started offering some subscribers the "Watch Now" online streaming movie option instead of getting DVDs in the mail, i've been hoping to become one of those lucky few that have had this option. I know everyone will be able to do it starting in June, but I hope not to wait until then.

For everyone that doesn't now about the program, basically for every dollar you spend per month, you can watch one hour of movie. The movies appear to be using DRM from Windows Media. The quality is honestly pretty darn good for streaming video. So far I've only watched Clue and SherryBaby. Using our standard, non High Definition television on my HTPC, I couldn't tell the difference between this and a DVD.

Here's the positives about the service:
1. Good video quality. Might not look as good on a HDTV, but we aren't at that level in terms of internet bandwidth.
2. With approximately 20 hours per month IN ADDITION to the normal DVDs in the mail, this is truly a value added service that the competitors don't offer.

And the negatives:
1. Small video selection. Most of the movies are older movies, but there as a few more current selections.
2. The DRM is a pain. I had to first upgrade to WMP 11 (which I don't think was absolutely necessary), but then I had to change a number of different settings and rename a couple of DRM license folders. Truthfully, it just a 5 minute pain for me, but I could see the average Netflix using getting frustrated and giving up.
3. Normally DVD features like subtitles are nonexistant of course.
4. Since this is a streaming service, any inconsistencies in your internet connection will cause skipping or hanging in the movie. I only saw the movie have to catch up once or twice during Clue, but generally not a big deal. There were no skips in SherryBaby. It might have been an encoding problem in the original rip of the movie.

I recommend using the service once it is available to you if you have Netflix. I just hope there are more movies available soon.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Motolora Q Vs. Blackberry 8703e

A couple months back, I had the thought of trying out the Motorola Q. I had used the Blackberry 7250 for about a year and then last November upgraded to the Blackberry 8703e, which was a vast improvement.

Here are the big advantages of the Motrolora Q:

1. Small, thin and lightweight.
2. Runs Windows Mobile Smartphone Edition, so it doesn't require a separate server. It can use Exchange Activesync directly.
3. Has a mini-SD slot for expansion.
4. Can stream video. I even had it set up to stream all my programs I had recorded from my DVR anywhere I can had decent cell phone reception. That was pretty sweet!
5. Has a working full speed Nintendo Emulator. I used this feature like crazy. Having all of these classic Nintendo games available anywhere was amazing.

The bad:
1. Battery life was amazingly bad. We are talking 8 hours tops not even making calls. With an extended life battery I could get thought an entire day with really light use. I found myself charging it all the time.
2. Generally it could not make or receive phone calls. The phone almost never rang in the same places my Blackberry had no issues - for example my desk at work.
3. The interface, while I could figure it out in a few days is not very intuitive and would be a hindrance to the average user.
4. The standard holster is very flimsy.

In the end the inability to make and receive phone calls made me switch back to the Blackberry 8703e. I thoroughly do not recommend the Motorola Q unless you are a glutton for punishment and don't care about using it as a phone. Truthfully if you aren't getting email on it, or are just using some personal email account it would be only poor, not terrible. It is too bad though since it has so many cool features.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Work/Life Balance

I fully endorse the idea, it doesn't matter who you are reading this, that having a good work/life balance is necessary in order to really have happiness. You really can't work 80 hours per week and still be happy. It just isn't possible. It doesn't matter who you are, if you are working too much, do not do it for an extended amount of time. I know this seems obvious, but that is what I've been up to. I'm not saying I've been working 80 hours a week since my last blog post, but it has been 60 hours a week minimum. I've just had it, and for the time being I'm not working outside of my normal hours at work for a little while.

Much has happened since the "guy love" post. I've been promoted at my job, we've been trapped by snow in the mountains, and we're buying a house. We won't close until mid-May, so as soon as the place is ours, we're put lots of information on here. Until that point in time, here's a teaser of a view from the backyard. :)

Oh, and the song on the left hand side is updated. Tilly and the Wall - Bad Education.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Why aren't you watching Scrubs?

Since Scrubs was put on Comedy Central, we just can't get enough of it in our household. The latest recent episode was entirely a musical - but I have a feeling this song was written first and they built the episode around it.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Never Leave a Man Behind!

Possibly the greatest 8 minutes of movie making.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

The Blue Screen of Death Fallacy (Tech Post)

Notice: For whatever reason the newer blogger interface isn't letting my format this post - So just pretend that there are logical breaks in it.

Everyone hates the Blue Screen of Death (or BSoD) that Windows has when it gets certain errors. Here's an example from Windows XP. I always read whenever there a mention of Windows going anywhere except on a PC - like into a car or home automation, etc about how their car is going to crash just like the computers running Windows. Of course this is coming from the Mac fanboys and Open Source Propeller Heads.
Do I have any problem with Macs or Linux? Of course not, I'm only referring to the nuts - not those who have a level view about the role of each operating system. I think Macs are wonderful and being able to run nearly any x86 operating system on a Mac I think is fantastic - if not overpriced. Mac OS X is great and once it gets even more mainstream and more applications and games are written for it I think it has a great chance of taking over. Right now I believe if it wasn't having to be bundled with Mac hardware, it would be about a 50/50 split in the OS market. Linux - well, with Ubuntu it is getting closer to actual home user use but unless you take even more away from the command line and have a good central source for documentation, it'll never reach the mass market. Over the last 10 years, it has come a long way and based on the rate of maturity, it about another 10 it will be all the way there for your grandparents.
Back to my original topic on hand. I've only initally tested the final version of Vista Business so far, but in all honesty people need to stop picking on Microsoft for blue screens at least. You don't have to agree with the way they do things, but I see maybe 3-5 blue screens per year. I'm talking with Windows XP. Now 3-5 may seem like a lot, but considering I work in IT and work on hundreds of computers regularly, that % is actually pretty low. The most common reason for a BSoD? Hardware. Bad RAM, a dead hard drive, the file system getting corrupt because of a bad Hard Drive. I think think the OS throwing an exception like that when there is faulty hardware is that crazy - honestly I'd like to know when hardware is failing.
Windows got its reputation for the BSoD because of Windows 95/98/Me. The move to XP was so substantial for the home market because once the core became NT based, the systems became a ton more stable. Working with the Win9x core in retrospect was a nightmare because of a lack of stability that everyone just dealt with.
Back when I was using Windows 95 and 98 (never ME on my personal stuff) I would have to back everything up and do a reinstall of Windows every 9-12 months just to have a level of stability. Installing applications and it just seemed the age of the OS install caused instability that only a reformat would fix. I've had my current install of Windows XP Professional installed on my home computer since I upgraded my system last. That was December of 2003. Yes, thats over 3 years and I have no intention of doing a reinstall unless I have to, which doesn't seem likely. I've upgraded plenty of hardware since then save the motherboard and processor, but there's been no reason to do a reinstall. It has been rock solid for this long.
But what about spyware and viruses, you ask? Windows XP gets those by the truckload! Microsoft did a good job with XP in being stable. Was it the most secure? No - I'm not denying that. It wasn't designed for internet security in mind. The problems it solved with stability were then replaced by spyware and viruses. Yes I run antivirus - I'm not stupid. It just runs in the background and gets updates daily. I have a router on my network to act as a basic NAT firewall. Spyware? I have a bad habit of running IE as my default browser, although I use Firefox a lot as well. Guess what? No spyware on my computer - never really has been any. I even run my computer an administrator. Am I lucky? No - I'm just not stupid enough to click on stuff I know to be spyware. On my work network no one gets spyware anymore unless for some reason someone granted them local admin permissions - which is really uncommon. They only use IE as a browser - and IE6 for the most part at this point. And now Vista by prompting you for your password before you do anything that can alter your system (much like how Ubuntu does it) the chance of getting spyware would even be less.
So from my experience in using Windows if you:
A. Use some sort of hardware firewall (or at least software - but I don't recommend that alone)
B. Don't run as a local administrator for everything (or use DropMyRights on your web browser honestly) or run Firefox
C. Run some reputable antivirus
D. Have decent hardware
E. Have a small dose of common sense
You should have next to no issues with stability. I honestly haven't.
Windows XP as the flagship OS from Microsoft has been out since October of 2001. Thats over 5 years ago. Can't we just get away from the rumors that the BS0Ds come hand in hand with Windows? I'm not a Windows fanboy despite what this post appears to say. My only point is that the reputation Windows has gotten since XP was released is somewhat uncalled for and while based on some truth, does not properly reflect how mature of a product it really is.

Kinda New Look

I'm surprised you are reading this. After nearly 2 months with no post, you've found your way here. First of all welcome to the pseudo new look. Blogger did a pretty good job of updating my template out of force but I still had to fix some things it doesn't look exactly the same. It is a lot easier to add content and make changes to the layout so I'm pretty happy with that.

I will be adding more content to this soon and have more frequent posts. Consider this to be a New Years Resolution.

As for now - I've added music to my page (no i'm still not a myspace junkie). You won't ever hear it by force, I'll just mention it if I change out a song. I'll start with a fairly unknown song that I love. Its "It Isn't Easy To Live That Well" by The Headlights. To hear it, click the arrow by the link that says "Click Arrow to Listen" under the music header.

Welcome to 2007.