Let the price gouges commence!

If the PS3 wasn't expensive/crappy enough as it is, leave it to Fry's to force customers to buy a bundle (no other option!) with all of the nasty games that they can't sell!

Do I hear another nail being driven in the PS3 coffin?


XBox Stuff

Holy crap- I just saw they made a port of XBox Media Center for the PC... Makes sense as the XBox is basically a PC (Celeron 733, 64MB RAM, 9GB HD, nVidia video, USB, etc)- but this makes me question the need for Windows XP Media Center Edition now- The only thing that seems missing is TV Tuner support.

On another note- I saw that there was a MythTV script in the last version of XBMC (for the xBox classic) that I installed- I will have to see if the PC version supports Hauppauge PCI video cards...

XMas Holidays

333595123Just fininishing up my XMas vacation- I go back to work tomorrow... This has been one of the most stress free vacations that I have ever taken- nothing really to do and nothing to worry about.  i.e. it was fraking wonderful!

I got exactly what I wanted for XMas from Diana and Tracy- an XBox 360!  :) 

It ties into Windows XP MCE edition fairly well, and there is a Zune plugin that allows other PCs to stream music/pictures/videos to the xBox- almost as well as my old xBox did with XBox Media Player- but the games on this one look a little better...  :o)

Diana and Tracy both enjoyed their presents- which was the main thing.  We finally got a tree up on Thursday before the weekend (artificial with white lights and all silver ornaments).  Tracy and Diana are now downstairs cooking up a (late) Christmas dinner- filet.

I am glad both of the girls are here for the holidays- it seems more like a home...


Mio DigiWalker Hacking

I picked up a Mio Digiwalker C310x for about $200 at Frys on Tuesday- This thing is an awesome GPS tool! I think I like it better than TomTom 5 on my Palm.

On top of that, it is a PocketPC running Windows CE and with a few monifications, I can access the base operating system...

So far I have installed HPC Media Player and Solitare on it. alt.binaries.warez.pocketpc.movies has become my new favorite newsbin group!


Life, The Universe and What-Not..

(ok, that isn't the real title- how about 'So Long and Thanks for All the Bits?')

XMas time is so much fun- no, really. I am on vacation, I did 90% of my shopping beforehand and I have nothing to do but watch TV, play video games and go to the gym- this is what life is all about!!!

Highlights of the past week:

  • My MSN Direct watch is not broken (it wasn't recharging)- it just will not charge from the USB port on a computer (so I am not sure why they even broke the cable to put a USB A plug in-line).
  • The Wii Weather Channel is now online- that was interesting for about 4 minutes (no, really- check my Wii mail and it shows how long I was in the channel)
  • I got a Mio DigiWalker C310x for $198 at Fry's; It is awesome in the raw, and much more fun after it is hacked; now I have movies (alt.binaries.warez.pocketpc.movies) and a cheesy version of solitaire. MAME and NESTer may be soon, but no control pad?
  • I rebuilt my HTPC with some stuff on sale from Fry's

That is is for now; I need to get back to blogging...

Oh- lots of dreams of Dragon*Con last night- actually pretty weird; I dreamt I was hanging out with Sarah (The dancer from the Cruxshadows) and I woke up; I dreamt of D*C again, but I cannot remember the specifics; I awoke and went back to another dream of D*C- this was concerns about being late and problems with the hotel room...

Strange- three dreams in the same night of the same event...


Yet another Blog Test

So Microsoft OneNote 2007 (and Word) has a 'blog this' option; let's see how this works...


So far, so good- it appears to work with the new Blogger beta API- I guess this gives me one less excuse of why I do not blog- lol!


Ho Ho Ho!

Santa looks pretty damn jolly!


Wierd looking hall at the mall...

I wonder if this is what John Conner saw outside of the camera framing...

Need LOT of water to put out a fire?


Windows Vista - 1st, 2nd and 3rd Impressions

Windows Vista RTM (release to manufacturer) came out a few weeks ago; since we have a MSDN Universal account, we have access to download the software for testing (for development).  Since we really have no intention of ever doing this (moving to Linux for the production systems) I decided to try it out at home (a few of the other guys will as well).

I took the jump- I backed up my main system (Athlon 64 x2 3800, 3GB of RAM) and killed XP and installed Vista (I tried a different HD, but it appears to be a bad drive!).  Not too bad...


  • Nero Burning ROM causes some weird object errors; I thought Vista was completely hosed.  I found some posts commenting on Nero problems, so I uninstalled- and Vista was back to running smoothly.
  • ACDSee 9 has some compatibility issues; hard to put an exact cause, but there was a module that was flagged as incompatible with Vista' during install.  I am trying an older version to see if that works.
  • EnQueues doesn't work- but it looks like it was written specifically to use the Windows XP directory structure- i.e. c:\documents and settings\ path instead of the new c:\users\ configuration...

Everything else seems to work the same (or better) than before.  Programs I have extensively tested:

  • NewsLeacher 3.8b6 (works better)
  • Firefox 2.0
  • Flickr Uploader
  • Macromedia Dreamweaver
  • iTunes (some issues)
  • Harmony Remote Software
  • PalmOne Desktop/Hotsync
  • PrimoPDF
  • Poalr Weblink
  • Trilian
  • WinAmp
  • WinRAR
  • AVG 7.5

I have tried a few others, but that is the main list.  Final result- Vista will remain on my main PC.

Second Test: I installed on a laptop; the laptop is about a 1.2Ghz w/ 1GB of RAM.  It runs OK as to the applications.  It doesn't have a great video card so a lot of the video features are disabled; it runs Ok and seems to resume from standby much faster than XP- however it does seem to burn a little more battery on standby...

Third Test: I replaced the HD in my Windows XP MCE 2005 system (Athlon XP 2800, 2GB RAM)  to try out the new media center.  Vista runs fine in HD (720p) with my Radeon 9600 card; but there are a lot of Codec issues... I tried the FFDShow codec pack and DiVX and XViD seem to work, but not that well for thumbnails.  There were frequent freezes and lockups when changing video folders (hosted on another server via GB network).  The TV record schedule also seems to be a little flaky- skipped recordings, unscheduled recordings and wrong names displayed. 

After about two days I have swapped the HD back- Vista is not ready for a media center (or my system is not ready for Vista!).

Overall, Vista is very stable- and pretty fast.  Memory management seems to be better (i.e. programs that had memory errors before no longer do) and there is better security for installing/removing programs. 

Hardware support is excellent- I only had thee devices that needed additional drivers; my Canon Rebel XT, My Polar watch and my Logitech Webcam- Vista found and installed ALL other drivers (printers, sound card, Dell Axim, Treo, video, sound, USB, etc).

A few patches and vendors updates should have Vista running better than XP!  :o)


Awesome Retro Controller

This purchase was probably a little frivolous, but it is a very cool looking PS2 controller:


I thought I would get a PS2 to USB adaptor and use it on my desktop instead of the Logitech Precision Gamepad... (or maybe I should just drop $40 on the Cordless Rumblepad?)

Anyway- it looks very cool; like an old-school NES gamepad- but with small dual analog sticks and several other buttons...

Windows Live Writer (beta) Updated?

It looks like the latest version of Live Writer (beta) has found my blogger settings- even though it is the beta.blogger.com site (or is it still?)  This is a test post to see how it works!



I have not blogged in a while- I will need to go back and reflect on some of the highlights of the past few weeks; including:
  • Linux Training
  • Getting a Wii
  • Other misc purchases
  • Vacation Time!
  • Slingbox
  • LA Fitness
  • Thanksgiving
  • Logitech MX Mouse
  • etc..
I am writing this tonight as I have FINALLY found the lyrics for the spoken part of Sophia. This is a few lines that are very contemplative; they make me think every time I hear them.

Here it is:

The human animal is a beautiful and terrible creature,
capable of limitless compassion and unfathomable cruelty.

If you wish to find that which becomes the dividing line
between mankind and other biological classifications,
it rests not in brain size, dominance, or even emotional capability,
but lies in the unique capacity for human beings to reflect on their actions and show regret,
what is most certainly the ability to empathize, that gives them their position.

All animals understand love and affection, but only man shows the propensity to place himself into the shoes of another lifeform.
Losing this capability, among individuals of this species, reduces them below their much heralded position,
and readies the climate for the likely fall of man,
the fall from grace...


HD-DVD/Blu-Ray Problems

Ok- I already see on big problem with the HD releases... Terminator 1 & 2 are on Blu-Ray, but part 3 is HD-DVD...

At least Tomb Raider is available in both formats... :-)

Free web at Sears

the new Sears at Gwinett place in Alpharetta, GA has severl kiosks for customers to use to surf the web... NEAT IDEA! Limited to 30 mins, and no downloads, but pretty cool..

wow- AGP and PCI Express on one board...


'Enhance your Experience' is the tag line..

all I can say is whiskey tango foxtrot...


Wow- what a day/night...

3:00am until 8:00pm and everyone was asked to come in early (6:00am) this morning to continue trouble-shooting the systems after the re-IP... Not going to be a good week...


Server Blues...

Good God- I sometimes really hate computers; like when you have been working on an IP change of several several servers for 13+ hours and there is not an end-time in sight...

My prediction is for 6:00pm (making it a 15 hour day) based on prior experiences with such thingies...

Ok- this program is awesome!  :o)

 This is a little table 
 that I inserted with a plugin for Live Writer! 

Yea- Sony will sell a lot of BlueRay drives (sic)

Considering that they want $750 for a first generation Blu-Ray burner, I don't think there are going to be a lot of early adopters to this format; I don't think that includes any software to actually play Blu-Ray movies?

New Blog Software

Of all of the places that I would never look for a blog software that can post to beta.blogger.com, I found myself on Microsoft's live site with Microsoft Live Write Beta...

Looks fairly cool so far- but I have to install dotnet 2.0 to be able to use the Flickr plugin- I will update after I install (and reboot?)

- edit -

Ok, VERY cool FREE software with plugins- and it works with Blogger Beta!  One trick; I had to edit the registry at :

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Windows Live Writer\Weblogs\2e27accf-425c-4996-9c2d-a075aad9307a\

...and replace the 'www.blogger.com' references with 'beta.blogger.com' to make it work (info found here).



Ok, this is a weird video- yet strangely compelling...


Bluetooth Nirvana

I had a (fairly) decent bluetooth experience today; I was able to get my Treo 700p to play stereo music via bluetooth to some Logitech Wireless for MP3 headphones... Sound was good and range was pretty good.

It wasn't easy; the Treo 700p does not support A2DP natively, so I had to install a trial of Softick Audio Gateway. Unfortunately, this program doesn't yet support the Treo 700p. The current version (1.06) does not work at all, but a prior version (1.03) seems to work!

I updated my music player to the newest version of Pocket Tunes and it plays all of the songs I put on my memory card- but it looks like the way that Media Player 11 organizes the songs (in separate folders for artists and album) make is very hard to generate a play list in pTunes (it doesn't seem to be able to scan sub-directories)- I will have to see if there is a way to setup the sync options in Media Player...

I setup the headphones as a trusted device (passcode is '0000' and I guess this is a common use as I could not find it documented on Logitech's web site) and configured it in Audio Gateway. I fired up pTunes and it works!

It does appear that if I turn off the headphones without manually changing the output location of Audio Gateway back to internal, it will manually reset back when the headphones disappear, but I have to hard reset the Treo to get it to work again!


BT Headphones

I received my Logitech Wireless Headphones for MP3 (Bluetooth); I picked them up refurbish off of eBay for about $42 (including shipping). It looks like they have been discontinued by Logitech in favor of their new FreePulse headphones...

The headphones are pretty comfortable and sound very good- which is a pleasant surprise as I heard that there is a lot of compression with Bluetooth. Range is about 20' inside the office- past that it starts 'skipping' a bit. The headphone charge is supposed to last up to 8 hours (!).

This adds two more things that I need to recharge to my gadget list- the headphones and the 3.5mm to Bluetooth adapter.

I was able to pair the headphones with my Treo 700p and get A2DP audio to work with the addition of Softik's Audio Gateway software. Note: I had to download the older 1.03 version as 1.06 does not work correctly with the Treo 700p.

I now need to load some music (hopefully via a sync from Windows Media Player 11) on my 4GB SD card (and upgrade the basic version of PocketTunes on the phone) and I may be able to replace my iPod for the gym! (I also need to fugue out a way to download and install the most recent PodCasts...)


M3 Adaptor Fun

I have been having a lot of fun with my DS Lite this weekend; I have installed Moonshell and I am converting some of my movies over to .dpg format (the format that Moolshell likes) and watching them on my DS- so far I have a few episodes of Blood Trinity, but I will try a movie a little later.

I will definatly bet getting a M3 lite adaptor next pay cycle- if I have anything left over after payign for the Polar S725X watch I bought on eBay... Now the choice is Perfect or Pro (GBA or not GBA)?

Some links I will probably be using for a bit with this guy:

M3 Adapter Home Page
M3 Forums
M3 Wiki
M3 Wikipedia Page (with updates by me!)
Moonshell Page

Google Mobile Maps for PalmOS!


Internets Wanderings

It all started with an email from Divineo.cn featuring the new M3 Lite Pro MicroSD. It is a pre-order that is about 1/2 price of the M3 Lite Perfect MicroSD, so I decided check it out. (I have been looking at this as my current M3 Perfect SD is excessively big for my NDS Lite case)

I checked the M3 Adapter site and I found links to some new themes for the M3 and all kinds of neat stuff in the M3 Forums. (Now I need to remember the directory structure on the M3 for themes!). I also found a DS Linux site- but I was unable to find anything on the new M3 Lite Pro on their site. I decided to send them an email to inquire on the differences. Since I did not want to send an email to a 'pirate hardware company' from any my personal e-mail addresses, I setup a new account on Yahoo! mail (broo98 was the next available 'Broo' address that I found).

While on the Yahoo mail page, I noticed an notice of how to setup Yahoo! email to my Blackberry. This reminded me to search for the v4.2 firmware for the 8700c. No luck, but I did find some cool blackberry themes for the 8700c linked from the Blackberry Forums.

To install these themes, I need the desktop software- and I would like the new 4.2 version as it has a lot of features (that I cannot use without the new firmware!) so I started searching and found the Blackberry FAQ Wiki with all kinds of info. I eventually found the software several layers under the Blackberry 8100 info page.

So now: I am updating the theme on my M3 Adapter and installing Blackberry Desktop 4.2 to install some new themes on my 8700c; strange how all of this started with a single email...

Update: I received a response from M3 Adapter within 15 minutes of my inquiry -and it looks like the difference is the Pro does not support GBA games over 32Mb (were Perfect support all GBA Games); so the Pro is more of a NDS games only where the Perfect is a NDS/GBA setup. (Actually, I checked the news on Divineo.cn and found the information I needed after all of this- lol!)

It was 10:17 pm when Danny from M3 responded; those people work late!


Wow- A radar gun for kids...

I remember when the police used to use these... back before the days of lasers and radar detectors.

Didn't they stop using these when they discoverd a link between prostate cancer and the troopers holding the guns held between their legs (when not pointing it out the window)? Great- so let's sell them to kids now!


Mario and Lugi

Mario and Luigi : Partners in Time for the Gameboy DS is pretty addictive! I started playing on Saturday and I have my guys up to levels 15 (for the baby Mario & Luigi) and 14 (for their older counter-parts)....

GPS Tracking on a Treo

Mologogo was a pretty neat application I used in the past, but it appears to only work with Nextel blackberry devices at this time... However I did find a nice configuration setup for my Treo 700p on OpenDMTP, but it requires me to setup an Apache server to use (sounds like my next weekend project!).

I wonder how long I could keep GPS records of my trips before I run out of space? (or would my phone die and need to be replaced first!)


Cool Clock!

A really neat clock at Traders in East Atlanta- but where the heck would I put something like this?

Now how the Hell do I get Flickr to auto-post this stuff to my Blogger account?!?


New Bike!

I finally broke down and bought a new bike on Saturday; but I will need to do a little work with it before it is ready to ride again.

It was only $100 at Target (+ $20 for the speedometer; possibly soon to be replaced by a Polar S150)

It is amazing how much certain muscles can be completly out of shape when the rest of you feels pretty good... I learned pretty quickly that my quadraceps have not been used nearly as much from my jogging as they need to be used in bicycling- lol!

Great Shirt!

lol- I think I should get a shirt like this for Dragon*Con next year...


I am probably two years late in finding this, but I finally stumbled across the short-lived Wonderfalls TV series- and it is completley awesome!

I actually began looking for this as Ellen Muth (from Dead Like Me) said that was one of the shows she watched during an interview at DragonCon; so I started searching the newsgroups (with no initial luck). I eneded up finding them via BitTorrent and downloading all of the episodes- and I started to watch... Around episode 4 or 5 I realized that these are completely awesome!

I tried a few times to make a cool DVD and convert the DivX files to standard MPG2 (DVD format), but I was unimpressed with the final product (but I made some really cool menus with Ulead DVD Movie Factory 5)- so I purchased the (last copy of the) DVD set at BestBuy on Thursday. (See- file sharing does pay off for the artist!)

I found the title track "I Wonder Why the Wonderfalls" by Andy Partridge on a "joss is a hottie" webiste (I think referring to Joss Whedon)- and it is a fairly addictive song that I started playing on continueous repeat at work on Wednesday... :o)

(I have also ordered the "Boom Boom Ba" track by Metisse from their website - a song from the 'sister' show Dead Like Me )


Long Day

God- what a day...

I went to bed fairly early last night (12:00am) so I could get up and go to the gym this morning. At 4:00am I got a call on the pager that someone had their acocunt locked out; in the next 2 hours that followed, I recieved about 10 phone calls and several pages for three other issues that occurred during the scheduled server maintenance. I ended up going into work at 6:30am...

I did leave work early and made it home around 4:00pm, but other things at work made the pager go off until about 9:30pm. By this point I had given up on sleep and went back to working on Movable Type and CSS settings...

I just went to Kroger and picked up some food and beverages for the weekend (the lines move much faster at 12:00am at the grocery store). I spent 45 minutes playing solitare on my Treo and now it is almost time for bed!


Bloggers and Such

I have been playing around with Movable Type as Blogger seems to have some use restrictions with the various blogger clients; So far I have gotten the code installed and have a basic page up, but I am still fiddling with the templates, the CSS settings and trying to figure out if there is a way to bring my current Blogger account into my own database...

I also moved to the beta version of blogger- and now NONE of the blogger tools I used before will work- this is all through the Blogger create post page...


New Toys

New Gadgets/Gizmos purchased over the weekend:

This is a really small headset that I just stick in my ear and it stays there; it is so light that I was looking for it the other day, thinking I had lost it- and Bonnie pointed out that I had it in my ear!
It was about $70 at Fry's, but it is much better than the three other bluetooth headsets I have tried (especially compared to the Soyo Freestyler headset I purchased and immediatley returned 15 minutes earlier at Frys)
Ok, I was over Apple's stuff and then they released the new iTunes w/ all the awesome new features- and dropped the price of their new Nanos to the price of the Sandisk Sans e260 I had purchased two weeks prior.
Luckily there is a 30 day return policy at BestBuy, so I returned the e260 and bought an iPod from Frys (I would have purchased it from BestBuy but no one was working in that area!). I would have probably kept the e260, but it was having some issues with locking up and 'refreshing database' each time I turned it on...
I have been trying to find a picture of the new Nano, but nothing from a Google Search will fit in the blog very well; but AppleInsider has a few "box opening" pics. It also looks like someone went to a good bit of trouble documenting the insides of the oirginal Nano.


Betty & Diddly

This is a video I took while playing with Betty (our dog):

Isn't technology (in this case, technology being a digital camera and YouTube) wonderful?

Something for Bonnie at Best Buy!

Here is something that I saw at BestBuy today that I am sure Bonnie would love (she is a Golden Tee kind of person)...

Interesting Site


yea- I started linking in most of my sites...


I saw something that really disturbed me today.

I was headed back on the interstate and almost home when traffic suddendly started slowing down. I saw a cardboard box in the road and people were trying to avoid it. It turned out it wasn't a cardboard box- it was a dog...

I saw the dog and the look of sheer panic on its face as it tried to dodge the cars as they tried to dodge it. The animal had no idea what to do and one car hit the dog and it spun around; another car tried to avoid it but the dog rolled right under the car... It tried to get up and it was still trying to get away- and then it was gone from my view. This all happened in about two seconds.

There were so many cars that there was no way to stop without causing a pile-up, and no where to turn off to get back...

I know animals get hit by cars all the time, but I always thought it was just a single car would hit them, they would die instantly and that was it- I didn't conider that it could be such a tramatic event for an animal...

It didn't look like a wild, unkept animal- but more of a groomed animal that was someone's beloved pet (and not big enough for a hunting dog). I have been going over how dog like this ended up in the middle of seven lanes of traffic? There was a 4' tall concrete divider in the middle, and traffic was pretty thick for as far as I could see. Did it fall out of a vehicle traveling down the interstate?

When I got home I held our Chiauau for a while...




Good lord; yesterday it was game switches with terminal outputs and today it is PCI video cards- what is the actual throughput on a PCI bus?

After a bit of thought, I am assuming this is for multi-monitor systems where your AGP/PCI-E is in use and you want another monitor...

I eneded up buying a GeForce 7600GS to see if it was any better than my Gigabyte GV-3D1 (and a little less noisy); it isn't, so it goes back to BestBuy tomorrow. 3DMark06 gave me a 2200 rating for my system with the 7600GS and I hada 2800 rating with my old GV-3D1... So- you were right Chris! :o)


Voicemail Upgrade

Voicemail Upgrade
Here are bonnie and omar checking out the new voicemail upgradea at work- we are changing the 70s beige to 90s cobalt blue....

Who still has a TV with screw terminals?!?

Who still has a TV with screw terminals?!?
I found a shelf at Fry's Electronics with 7 versions of the above- I doubt they sell a lot of these- but I guess there are still some TVs that have 'rabbit-ears' antenna on them. (The old external antennas also use coax cable now, don't they?)


This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.

On another note, I have been having some issues getting my posts to blog with picturemail- and it looks like the one that did go through didn't keep the settings I wanted... (grumble)...

I would think it would be easy to send a picture to Flickr and have it post t Blogger, but I guess it is a little more difficult than that!


This is a great Weird Al Video:



I finally figured out how to make .TS (transport stream) HD files play in Windows Media Center Edition (MCE); There is a program called HDTVPump that adds this functionality... Now I can watch Episode III, The Pink Panther, Pee Wee's Big Adventure and CHUD in HD! :o)


HTPC (Home Theater PC)

I decieded that SageTV was a wash- I was very close to purchasing the software, but I realized what it is lacking once I took it out of the Vista environment:
  • Codecs; primaily XviD
  • Thumbnails
  • Orginization of video files (and most likey audio/images)

The later was the big stumble for me- I have three shares on my file server (Movies, Videos and xxx) and this program dumped them all into one big direcory- so my Egypt documentaries were right along side 12 Monkeys...

The BEST codec pack I have found is FFDShow; the only thing it seems to be lacking so far are MOV (QuickTime) and .TS (HD MPEG2) support (The later may just need to be associated with Media Center).


High School Pics

Ok, as I stated before- I have scanned some ancient pictures of myself and put them up on flickr. Click the ID badge for more:

Film vs. Digital Pictures

I found some old (1980s) pictures in a box with my old high school year books, and I realized how much the old pont-and-shoot cameras SUCKED! I had taken pictures with the old 220 film, some kodak disk pictures and one that I cannot seem to identify... all of were very grainy- something that would be totally unacceptable on digital prints today. It is funny to see how much standards have changed in the past 20 (or so) years...

Coming soon: Pictures of me from the 80s! woo hoo! (this should be funny!)

Remember the fan scene in Highlander II?

Well- the Highlander scene was bullshit! I had a run-in with a little CPU fan, and I would loved to have seen Sean Connery try to stop this bastard:

Who would have thought such a little fan (at 4000 rpm+ I guess was the issue) could draw so much blood? (I had drips all over my room- more pics to follow?)

Maybe they shouldn't have made the blades so pointy- or perhaps put a cage around the fan? Oh wait- what dumb-ass is going to be sticking his hand into a computer case with the power on and the fan spinning at full speed?

In the end, I abandoned the fan and went with a huge copper heat sink.

My plans for an upgraded MCE computer? Abandoned: I ended up putting the same sysytem back in place (minus the external drives) and building a 'file server' PC (with seven hard drives and a little over 1.5TB of storage space).

I tried Windows Vista RC1 for the Media Center, and it looks great- but it cannot play DivX or XviD movies (about 80% of my library)... and is slow as all of creation when creating thumbnails for my movies (on an old Athlon XP 2800 w/ 1GB RAM).

I am trying out SageTV v5 as an alternative, but it has some issue as well (distorted movie displays, no thumbnails for movies). I may end up going back to Windows MCE 2005- but this time with the FFDShow codec pack...


The Cruxshadows in Billboard Top 10!

Wow- The Cruxshadows made #7 of the Billboard Top Singles sales chart for last week with their single Sophia. So does this mean a resurgance of Goth/Darkwave in the new millenium? (They were up there with The Pussycat Dolls and Justin Timberlake)

Gratz to all the band and all of their fans (myself included!)
Friday Lunch...
new ipods are not in at the apple store yet- still 4GB Nanos for 250.00.

I have until the 27th to return my Sandisk Sansa e260 and get the Nano instead...

I may be able to get about 250.00 foe my 60GB ipod w/ video on ebay and put another $100 with it to get the new 80GB- like a car trade-in... lol!

bonnie and I are going to Panera to pickup lunch as the other guys are out. right now we are at the Nike store and she is tring on shoes...


Hard Drive Retirements

Here is a crap-load of old hard drives that need to be formatted wiht Kill Dsk and retired... the ones that won't spin up will be taken downstairs to the garage and 'retired' via a 12lb sledge hammer...

Most of the drives are 4.1GB and 9.1GB drives (with a few 18.2GB and 36.4GB models), but some people still want them if we are getting rid of them. So after a good 7 hour DOD approved format, they are good to go...


Test from another blog program...
so the last program was Ok, but it looks like there are issues with the Treo 700 (and 650) and images... do'h!

this program is called mo:blog, and it states that 'attachments are not suppprted by the blogger API'...

looks like I may be posting via email through Flickr..
Test fromLBlogger on Treo...

[Posted with hblogger 2.0 http://www.normsoft.com/hblogger/]

Treo News + New Software

Good news from Palm; they have released the ESN for my Treo 700w to Sprint and I should be able to activate it tomorrow. If so, there should be a bit more random picture/video posts, and I will be using HBlogger for Palm to post more blogs...

New Software I am trying out today:
  • iTunes v7 - The latest software for my iPod (now with video support + other crap)
  • KLS Backup 2006 - A backup-to-disk software to copy 'My Documents' and all my MP3s to a removable media device (gotta keep the pictures backed up!)
  • Advanced Window Care v2 - A registry cleaner/spyware inhibitor/website blacklist/privacy protector/swiss-army-knife type program
  • Perfect Disk 8 - An automated defragment tool with scheduler
  • Windows Media Player 11 beta 2 - (Almost forgot this one) In moving away from the iPod world and trying to get my Sansa synched up, WMP seems to be a lot of things right!


Late Night in the Server Cage

There was a network issue with a server (actully two, but only one I was working on) so I spent the past 8 hours trying to figure out what was wrong and waiting for the Network Engineers to figure out what happend; at keast I was able to clear a few more levels on Bomberman while waiting... lol!


Sunday Afternoon

I slept until about 10:00am- after working until about 4:00am last night. The UPS hardware upgrade went great; power capacity was increased by 50% and the battery capacity was increased by about 40%. But the ISM update went south- the unit is DOA with a failed OS install (I think). I will have to contact APC tomorrow to see about resolving that...

I went to the gym and my Sandisk e260 locked up on me- even before I started working out! I upgraded to Windows Media Player 11b2, and I am wondering if that had something to do with it (and that I added another 100+ songs to the player). I had to take it apart when I got home (back is removable for user-replacable battery) and rebooted it; It seems to work Ok after that. I am also doing a firmware update on it- so far it is taking a long time to 'refresh database' and finish.

Worst part was that I really didn not feel like workign out after that- it isn't as much fun if there is nothing to listen to, save my own breathing... I did one full set of upper body and added on a set of arm curls and military press and then left (I wasn't feeling too energetic either). I think I need some sleep! :o)

I also started to organize my MP3s in Media Player 11; lots of ratings to set (I am up to 'M'), lots of empty fields to fill in, and lots of album art to find!

Things I learned today:
  • the Sandisk Sansa seems to much more functional with USB mode set as a MSC Device (Mass-Storage Controller) vs. a MTP Device (Media Transfer Protocol).
  • The Sansa should reboot if you hold the power button down for 20 seconds (no 10!).
  • In WMP11 if you hightlight a group of songs and then right click to change one setting, it changes ALL of the selected items! (very good- I may not need The Godfather as much).


NDS + Other stuff

I have found a new addiction; the Nindendo DS version of Bomberman. So far I have made it to the 1/2 way save point of level 4- so I am about 45% through the entire game.

I am going in at 12:00am to do some maintenance window work at my office; I am upgrading the RAM in a development server and upgrading the UPS with 10KvA power modules and batteries (It is an APC InfraStruXure UPS system) and upgrade the firmware on the management module (to offer ehnanced reporting info).

I am leaving in about an hour, so I guess (out of courtesy for my co-workers) I should get a shower! lol!


Treo Woes

I went to activate my new Treo 700w with Sprint today, and I was unable to as the ESN numbers have not been released to Sprint... So I went ahead and signed up for a phone (I will get free calls to all Sprint and Nextel users) and got a $10 Samsung SPH-A420 (Nice phone actually) for $10 (with contract- but I have to have a contract either with the Treo or a new phone- so this way I ahve a spare if the Treo breaks) I contacted Palm and they determined it was an issue with the warehouse not releasing the ESNs to Sprint and they will correct it ASAP.

The service at Sprint was actually fairly exceptional; I met a sales person named Rorey and he was soft spoken and very helpful through the entire process. As other customers came in, he acknowledged them and helped them while he was on hold awaiting responses for my activation- he was very good at balancing multiple tasks. I was honestly impressed...

So I have a 'disposable' phone that I can use until the Treo issue is resolved. I am now looking for data cables for the phone and it looks like I will be totaly out of luck- lol!


Back into the Grind

Pretty busy day back at work; a few surprises that will keep me busy for a while. I also have a UPS system upgrade scheduled for this weekend from 1:00am -3:00am; shouldn't be too bad unless the firmware on the InfraStuXure Manager is bitchy and takes a long time (over serial).

I came back and found my new Treo 700p on my desk! (I recieved this as an incentive for beta testing a Treo 700wx a few months ago). So far, it is really cool- and runs a little better than the 700wx! Looks like I will need to get another SD card though- so I can use the treo for music and such... I will need to see if TomTom works as well on the PalmOS as it does on my Dell Axim x51v (WM5)- and if I can use a bluetooth GPS with this phone! I will be activating with Sprint tomorrow- What sucks is that I have to sign a 2 year contract when I am not even getting a discount for buying a new phone! The good thing is that I will have free cellular call minutes to any Spint or Nextel users (including Tracy, Diana, Wally, etc.)

I also received my CrüxShadows "Sophia Single" CD and another copy of "Mystery of the Whisper/Until The Voices Fade" CD (I purchased one at Dragon*Con- not knowing that they were promoting the single more!) Sophia is pretty good- but it will probably take a bit for it to grow on me. I now have own all 11 of their CDs- which is a new record for me (last record was The Church with 10 albums). I have their new DreamCypher on pre-order; it is scheduled to be released January 15th. lol- I don't think I have anticipated anything this much in quite a while; save for season 3 of Battlestar Galactica!

...and it looks like there are 'webisodes' for Galactica up until the October 9th season premier; neat little snag by SciFi.

Wow- it is already Friday! I need to start getting to bed a little earlier; my DragonCon sleep pattern has not worn off yet!

Music this Morn

I awoke with 'Cruelty' by the CruxShadows running through my head... Now I have 'Monument' doing the same; wierd shift this mornign...

And yes- I am linking the above to bootleg MP3 sites to play the tracks; hopefully people linking ot their site will escalate their bandwidth bill. :o)

Dragon*Con 2006 Pics

I have posted a link to my Dragon*Con pics for this year in the sidebar of this page; be warned that there are 700+ of them (but some are of panels and other boring things).

If you are having problems seeing this bar (frames + CSS on the page) then here is another link to my DC2006 Pics.

Remember ICQ?

Wow- I cannot remember my own cell phone number, but I remember my ICQ number that I setup back in 1998- 4797963. I checked and my account it still active...

This was an account I setup when I was first started using the internet (with SLIP dial-up) and it was the only IM out there! (God, this shows how old I am.)


Last Day of Vacation

Last day of my vacation... *sigh*

Today was a fracking beautiful day to be home; it was in the upper 70s this morning and the sun was shining. I took Betty (our chiuaua) out on the upstairs deck and just sat out and enjoyed the weather.

What else have I done today? I have been playing with this damn Pronto Neo remote and discovering how complex I can make this thing. I have loaded the NeoEdit (for the .ncf files the Pronto Neo uses) and then installed the ProntoEdit (for .ccf configuration files!) and ProntoEdit NG (for .pcf configuration codes!!). The later two programs are currently useless to me, but I need them to extract the discrete IR codes from other configuration files made by Philips and other people...

What are discrete IR codes? These are codes that usually aren't on a remote control and are needed to change variable states to a specific state. For example, the power button on a TV toggles it on and off- so depending on what state the TV is in, it will change to the opposite state when I press the power button. Discrete IR codes will have a 'button' setting that will turn the TV on (or leave it on) or turn it off (or leave it off) no matter what state the TV is in... Doesn't sound all that important, but these are VERY useful when you setup a macro to control your stereo equipment like TV on -> receiver on -> DVD on -> switch receiver to DVD -> switch TV to AV1 input -> switch menu to DVD player...

Anyway... I also went over to Tracy's Aunt's house (our old house) to fix the Internet connection- turns out the cable bill was past due and they turned off the internet; easy fix. Also managed to get Himachi working and opened up the VNC port in Windows firewall (port 5900).

I went to the gym this afternoon, but my heart wasn't into it- I didn't even finish two sets of upper body today- I just feel tired since the con. I also tanned afterwards; I doubt I will be doing a whole lot more of that...

I added a counter to my webpage and played around some more with the flickr badge. I also found some wonderful time wasting sites at 43things.com and 43places.com (and also related AllConsuming.net).

I tried using AudioBlogger, but all I got were three dead-silent blogs; two from my cell phone and the other via Gizmo.

I am off to dinner tonight with Diana in a bit- I think we are headed to Little Azio.


DC2006 Reflections

Dragon*Con is over, and I (once again) have that strange feeling of loss- as if I will not see a good friend for a long time (about 361 days at this moment). Not that I have any friends that go to the Con (except for Diana this year), but I just miss the gathering of people and the abscense of the normal world intruding.

Next year I think I will get a room so I don't have to miss The Cruxshadows or any other 2:00am tom-foolery- I think I will try to get a room at the Marriot Marquis as it seems to have more elevators... (it will also give me a private restroom- for when the need calls and the public restrooms look like a bus station).

Neat websites I have found due to the con:

That is all I can think of for now- as I get distracted and join AtlantaMojo...

Note: the 'Recover Post' option in blogger ROX!!!


Day 3 About to Start

Ok, I couldn't hang last night so I left the Con at about 11:00pm or so (just after I finished the last blog, actually). I went to work (crazy traffic on Piedmont!) and picked up my Pronto Neo from work...

The Neo is in good shape, but it was missing the programming cable. I left the con so I could get home early and get some sleep, but I stayed up until 2am making a cable (Info on pinout here, and I used an old serial cable and a cheap set of headphones for the wires- wow, that sounds a little like McGyer) and playing with the NeoEdit software and working with some NCF files... Pretty fun, but I have a lot of IR learning to do between my old an new units (luckily the learnign is pretty easy).

So... now I am washing my (favorite pair for Dragon Con) jeans and getting ready for a shower (phew- 14+ hours at the con yesterday) and making sure all of my batteries are charged. I also still need to install ACDSee and uplod the 600+ pics from yesterday!

Notes from yesterday:
  • Canon 50mm lens is not very useful in variable distance photograpy
  • Make sure to turn off or close TomTom on PDA as this overrides power settings
  • It is sometimes easier to go the long way (down 3 floors to the conference level and then back up two levels) in the Marriot rather than fighting the escalatiors down to the Ballroom level.
  • People are starting to get greedy for parking $$- i.e. $15 for Special Event parking.


Day 2 of the Con

Dragon*Con 2oo6 has been pretty fun so far... I have about 500 pictures from the parade this morning and a few hundered more from other places around the Con. I am uploading these to a Dragon*Con 2006 set on Flickr.

I have embedded a fickr button on my website (see to the right) that shows my most recent uploads and links back to my flickr site (I got the idea from the "Web Cam Girls" discussion panel earlier tonight).

Right now I am sitting in my car loader, in the parking garage and trying to decide if I want to stay until 1:00am (actually 2:00 - 2:30am before they actually start) and see The Cruxshadows or if I should just go home and get some sleep (I am getting old...)

In the mean-time I am downlading Flickr Uploader and some warez versions of ACDSee and WinRAR (to open ACDSee) to prep today's pics for upload; warez-bb.org is my friend (warezbb.org and UseNET as well).

Today is Diana's Birthday and she met me at the Con; we walked around and I took some pics. I wanted to have her take a picture of me with the CruxShadow girls, but they were no-where to be found (they showed up later that afternoon- with some awesome outfits!). We went through the dealer room- even though she has no badge (security is wierd in the buildings this time).

...and so I sit in my car; typing in my blog and wondering if I should go to the office and pickup my eBay package (a pronto remote for $62!) and go home, or if I should hang around and wait for the concert and the ensuing photo oportunities that only occur post midnight in the ballroom area of the Marriot!


D*C Prep Work

Busy getting ready for D*C.  Vacation started yesterday.  

I bought a new camera bag from BestBuy- and took back the Case Logic bag to Frys.  While at Fry’s I picked up a CF-to-PCMCIA adaptor for $2… yea- $2!  I bought another ’14-in-one’ memory card reader just in case it turned out the $2 one was a piece of crap; but so far, so good…

Trying to organize my stuff for the Con.  I am going downtown at about 7:00ish to pickup by badge (they are doing badge pickups today from 4:00pm to 11:00pm).  Then I need to pick Diana up from work and take her to get her car back from Kauffman (brakes were making a noise).

Friday I want to pickup some Cruxshadows’ shirts if they have any.  I also want to see if they have the Sophia CD out (due out from ISO Tank on the 5th).  I doubt they will have anything for DreamCipher (due out January 15th).  I have already pre-ordered both from ISO Tank, but it will be nice to have more than one copy (and support the band) if they do have anything on sale… (also Mystery of the Whisper is on order, but not shipped yet!)

I have made a budget of about $200 for the con- that includes T-Shirts (estimating 4), CDs/DVDs (two or three) and food… if I see a good sword in the dealer’s room I may have to go a little over budget- lol!


Google Calendar

Only 3 more days until Dragon*Con!

I have been up until 2:00am the past two nights converting the PDF format schedule from the Dragon*Con website into a format that is importable into Outlook (well, one full night and the other was checking that everything was correct).

I have posted downloads for this on rapidshare.de via the LiveJournal pages

I have also setup an online calendar with my schedule interests for this year- in case anyone is wondering where I will be- on a Google Calendar

I am on vacation starting tomorrow and going through September 6th… (8 days total with 4 of them at the con) Woo hoo!


Forbidden Forest

Wow- more C64 nostalgia today.  There is a website dedicated entirely to Forbidden Forest on the C64…  (get the SID Player and the SID file for some great old 3 voice sounds)


Wow… I just ran across an article for GEOS on a website via DIGG and found the specs on my old C64 machine:
  1. 1 MHz 8-bit MOS Technology 6510 ProcessorThe 6510 was a 6502-based processor, that which can be found (as variants) in the Atari 2600, NES, Apple II & BBC Micro computers. It is a RISC style processor, utilizing very few registers (Just A, X, Y & a 256-byte Stack)

  2. 64 Kilobytes RAM (+20K ROM of which 7 KB Kernal)

  3. 16 Colours in 40x25 text mode (320 x 200 resolution)

  4. 8 Sprites

  5. MOS 6581 (C64rA,B) / 8580 (C64rC) SID sound chipThree sound channels (2 MIDI like sound synthesizers, and one White Noise)

  6. 'Datassette' Tape Drive, later, 1541 Disk DrivePrograms on tape cassette. Later a 5¼" Disk Drive was released with support for 170 KB per disk.

I remember it played Ultima III and IV pretty damn fast!  lol!

Power Issues

Getting close to the Con!  Only 7 days left!

I fried a power supply last night; I put a SCA drive on a SCA-to-SCSI adaptor and (unknowingly) grounded out part of the adaptor on the drive.  The drive wouldn’t spin, so I moved the adaptor a bit and noticed a bright orange glow- I then got a few nice sparks and pops from my 380W Antec Power supply (time for it to go out).  I replaced the power supply with an old ThermalTake 420W from the attic, but I haven’t had time to test it out yet.  Hopefully my Gigabyte board is not fried…


Digital Convergance

I am still amazed that I how much digital media has progressed…

  • Nine years ago I was making mixed cassette tapes on a dual cassette system (I guess that shows my age); Now I make smart play lists in iTunes and play them through my Honda’s stock head unit via an Ice>Link Plus

  • I purchased my first (A Ricoh MP6200A 2x/2x/8x) CD-RW drive in February 1998; I now have a (16x/8x/16x DVD+RW, 16x/6x/16x DVD-RW, 8x DVD+R DL, 4x DVD-R DL, 48x/24x/48x CD-RW) Lite-On SHM-165H6S Dual Layer DVD±RW Writer

  • All of my music is in MP3 format, (and stored on two MP3 Players); Most of my DVDs have been converted to DivX (playable from my xBox running XBMC).   I buy CDs and immediately rip them with CDex (at 224kps) and put the CDs on a shelf.  My DVDs are ripped with DVD Decrypter (don’t try this at home kids) and later encoded with Auto Gordian Knot.

  • I have two PVRs running (one MCE2005, one Comcast HD DVR cable box) recording my TV shows.  I used to use a ReplayTV (Panasonic PV-HS2000) to do this, but media was limited to one TV.

  • In 2001 I was amazed that I could run an s-video cable to my TV and watch the video output of a WinAMP plugin in full screen (albeit in 640x480 res); now I run everything over component video in 720p (1080i capable, but text looks like crap).
It has been a long road to digital (near) convergence…



Is it me, or do thunderstorms seem to be getting worse this year?  We have been having a fairly hot summer (as I hear many places have been) and the thunderstorms seem to come every night- and now the lighting strikes seem to be more frequent and close: sometimes 4 strikes in under a minute…

Maybe it’s the global warming and other ecological changes that ‘ole mother Earth is trying to correct…


Using Blogger in a Web Page

Blogger can be used as the body for your personal website by ‘cleaning’ it up a bit; this requires some HTML/CSS knowledge and a little experimenting.

The way I did it is by creating a page with two frames; a small frame at the top (90rows) and a larger one at the bottom (* or remainder). The top frame is a menu bar for navigating around, while the bottom is a link to the Blogger page (i.e. broo2.blogspot.com)

Some modifications need to be made to the ‘Template’ Tab of the in Blogger settings:

1. Remove the ‘Blogger Navigation Bar’ by inserting the following after the <style type="text/css"> entry:

#b-navbar {

2. Remove the title bar by removing the <h3 class="post-title"> to the closing </h3>- which starts a little under the <Blogger> heading in the <body> of the HTML.

3. Change the width of the text from width:660px to width:100% under #content and #footer (if you use a footer). I also changed the #main from 410px to 79% and the #sidebar from 220px to 20% to allow them to resize as needed for different browser windows.

4. The last (and probably hardest) will be to make the text/background/formatting of the title and the Blogger frames match. I found it easiest to take the Blogger style sheet and edit it (taking out the Blogger specific entries) for use with my web page.

There are lots of other settings you can tweak- like font size, spacing, etc. I found some good CSS info at W3 Schools; also a good color wheel at Well Styled.

Hopefully this wasn’t too technical for the newbie; if it was, please respond to this post and I will answer to the best of my ability.

Weekend Cliff Notes

I woke early on Saturday to go with Diana to drop her car off at Kauffman Tire to get her tires rotated, a slow leak fixed, and have her brakes inspected/repaired.  We went around shopping a few places (I will make a list of the junk I bought later) and had breakfast… and lunch... and 9 hours later her car was ready.  Now if the counter guy would have mentioned that two of the mechanics were out and they were backed up for most of the day, we would have made plans and did other things- but they didn’t so we were a little irate (more Diana than myself)…

Today I have been working on my website (embedding Blogger in the body of my page and working on CSS), got a haircut, went to the gym, went to tan and dyed my hair (getting ready for Dragon*Con in another 11 days!)  

A little earlier today I went over to our old house and replaced the DSL modem (a Cayman 3220 router w/ integrated DSL Alcatel modem and a 4 port hub) with a Cable modem. (Tracy has been paying for both for over a month now- and now she can cancel the entire Bellsouth phone line).  It was rather painless except for the ”Comcastic” crap I had to install during setup of the modem.  Broadband speed tests were about 6.1Mbps down and 380Kbps up…

I have been deploying the Himachi mini-VPN client on the PCs that I may have to work with anytime in the near future- great client that allows me to tunnel most applications (Remote Desktop, VNC, computer management, etc) across a transparent tunnel via a fake IP address (currently in the range).

Back to the gym in the morning (cardio) and then off to work- only another seven days of actual work and I am on vacation for 8 days!    

Computer Status

God, I think I am becoming one of the users that I hate to try to support -I have a plethora of things running in my system tray.

Currently I have the following running on my computer:


Bad Software!

I installed a program called 'Sound Taxi'- a program that can convert one format of audio files to another (also remove DRM).

It BSOD'ed on isntall; apparently it makes changes to the way Windows uses sound cards/audio drivers by installing a custom sound device to capture all audio...

On reboot, sound card was hosed- along with most USB devices and my DVD-ROM devices. A little experimenting and I got the later two items to work- but ended up doign a re-install of Windows to get my sound back!

Advice: stay the Hell away form any program called 'Sound Taxi'!!!


Birthdays and Expenses...

Let's see- Tracy's birthday is at the end of the month; I have ordered her a digital camera from digitalfotocllub.com (the Fuji F470)...

Diana's birthday is at the beginning of September; I am probably giving her cash as she is moving and will need furniture...

Tracy's Dad's birthday is this month (and my vehicle is registered in his name so Ad Valorum tax is due this month!)

Dragon*Con is on the weekend the same as Diana's birthday; I am trying to get a Digital Rebel XT camera for that

Bonnie's wedding is the same day as Dragon*Con, Diana's Birthday...

Wow- this is going to be a busy weekend for labor day!

Web Hosting

Well I think my old web hosting provider went down today- I am not sure if it is a permanent thing or not... My email stopped arriving to anything @brooskie.com and it took me a good day to realize this. I have went back to my DNS registrar and setup a blanket *@brooskie.com to forward to my gmail account and messages are finding their way in.

Funny part was that my WebCam XP program was completely hosed as it could not upload via FTP to my site; it just kind of locked up as I guess the DNS name resolves to an IP and there is some form of connectivity still associated with the IP.

Now I must decide who to use for a new web host if LFHosting does not come back up... Go daddy is one option ($48/year) as is directNIC ($15/year)- but I am trying to be as frugal as possible as I am trying to buy a Canon EOS Digital Reble XT DSLR camera for Dragon*Con (under 50 days to go!)


4th of July Weekend

I had a good 4 day weekend (I took off Monday as a vacation day) and what did I do?

I spent the first two days trying to hack my Nintendo DS Lite (NDS Lite) via WiFiMe and such, only to find that it cannot be done on this firmware... I ended up ordering a M3 SD Lite and Passekey3 from Divieno.cn- should be here by Friday; I will probably end up flashing the BIOS with FlashMe_Lite.

Interesting spots for Info on DS hacking:

I spent the remainder of the vacation playing New Super Mario Brothers (I bought a mag with lots of info on the secret levels and such, so I had to go back) and rebuilding my PC.

For some reason Windows freaked out and would not talk to my router any more- and it was about time to rebuild anyway... I also ended up re-organizing my MP3 collection (iTunes is gonna completely freak out) and downloading album art (via TagRunner or Album Art Downloader) and fixing the ID3 tags up a bit (via The Godfather and Windows Media Player 10). I need to rebuild my Media Center 2005 PC next as it seems to have freaked out since I upgraded to Windows Media Player 11...

I have been going through and ripping all of my DVDs (via DVD Decryptor) and encoding them to 2GB DivX files (with AC3 5.1 audio) with Gordian Knot; great results so far, but two issues:
  • Gordian goes nuts on multi-angle movies; the beginning of star wars sucks- but I think I can tell Decryptor to pull out the other angles. I tried this on The Goonies and had problems though.

  • Gordian appears to crop video to make it wide screen in some situations- like on the 5th Element and The Goonies; not sure why... Looks Ok, except for the opening credits.

  • I have been getting my Axim working and I finally got TomTom working again! (this program ROCKS for GPS!) Now if I could just find a version of MameCE that works on WM5 and VGA res!

    I did make it to the gym and tanning bed on Sunday- and I died my hair again on Monday (it is pretty damn close to black as it gets now- I think my next step is red streaks so I look like a punk).

    From all of the above I think I have had a pretty complete weekend.


    New Sites

    www.mobuzztv.com; some short tech videos that are usually delivered with a funny twist
    new www.digg.com website format
    the new www.tikibartv.com video is up; it is ok, but nothing all that great...

    Replacemnet program (wow- that was quick)

    Ok, it looks like there is no way to set Dobly Digital 5.1 (or EX) in CloneDVD Mobile, so that program has fallen to the way-side. I have found Auto Gordian Knot and this seem to do just about everything. It is a little slower (about 2 horus vs. 1 hour) but it supports the digital multi-chanel audio (make sure your settings are correct in the AC3 codec on the system you are plaing the video on!) and the video quality is MUCH better!

    I have been setting sizes of about 2GB for the output file and I cannot really tell the difference between the orignal DVD and the DiVX5 version.

    The only issue I have is multi-angle shots are merged together- like the differnet language versions of the introduction scroll on the start of the Star Wars movies.


    New Proggie for DVD -> DivX

    Ok, I FINALLY found a DVD to DivX conversion program that doesn't lose sync, skip or have other agrivating-ass problems: CloneDVD mobile from SlySoft.

    It is a simple interface, but it allows me to select the output resolution (appears to be based on the input source), runs fairly quiclky (30-70 minutes for a whole DVD) and doesn't look like complete crap when it is done! I have converted about 7 movies so far (Blade Runner, Logan's Run, StarGate, GhostBusters, Total Recall, Episode III and Tomb Raider 2) and no real issues.

    The one problem I am having is that the audio output does not seem to be DD5.1- but I am not sure if that is an issue with MCE2005 or the encoding of the program...

    New Crazy Theory for the Day...

    One theory that time travel will never be possible is that we have never met anyone from the future, so it will never be possible. Is this statement true- has no one in history ever met anyone from another time- or is this a common occurrence that no one has really related to time travel, but rather to something more 'believable' such as aliens or government conspiracies or lost civilizations?

    I chose/want to believe in life outside of Earth, but if we have been visited by beings from many light years away, then the technology used to travel these distances is incredible- maybe something equivalent to a wormhole tat can create a 'hole' in time/space and allow matter to pass through to any other point in our 3D universe (and I am sure there are many more dimensions than 3- but that is another theory for another day).  So what limits these visits to existing in our time and not thousands/millions/billions of years in the past/future?

    What if all of the UFOs we have seen are actually visits from different versions of genetically evolved/modified humans from the future?  Most of them seem to interested in collecting DNA or something- perhaps they are just anthropologists of the future studying the primitive evolution of mankind? 

    Future visitors really would only be able to go back an watch/study the past as if they did interfere in any of history (say going back and killing Hitler before he came into power) as they would risk changing the path of human interaction and possibly cause themselves to never exist (creating a paradox that should correct itself?).

    So are aliens actually archaeologists from the year 2750?  Perhaps the pyramids and Stonehenge were created by these visitors as fixed calendars from which to determine the exact coordinates in space/time for travelers?  Maybe Atlantis was a city-sized research vessel that was stationed in the Atlantic and was returned to its own time after it was discovered by too many of the primitive humans from that time?

    Just some ADD ramblings...


    Home Alone!

    The girls are gone to San Francisco for a few days; Madonna concert was Wednesday night and now they are enjoying a few days on the West coast.  I am enjoying a few days of peace with no one else around...

    I am beta testing all kinda good things:  Office 2007, Windows Media Player 11 and IE 7- and all of them are awesome.  I am also beta testing a phone, but I had to sign a NDA to get that, so I cannot say more except that the phone is awesome and I want one!  :o)

    My media center project is almost done- but I think I may have screwed up putting media player 11 on Windows Media Center Edition 2005.  I changed the chipset fan today so it is in stealth mode, and I wired the LED to the mobo connection so I can tell when it is on standby . The next step may be to get a case to enable some of my drives to be NAS devices so I can move the movies from my main PC...

    I have been going to the gym a lot more over the past few weeks- and I am starting to see more muscle mass in my shoulders and triceps.  I am also taking Hydroxycut to work on my Buddha belly...

    PocketCaster Test

    Found a new service called PocketCaster that lets me stream live video from my phone to the web- pretty neat...

    I have uploaded a sample video here


    Sony DCR-SR100 Review!

    There is a review of the camcorder of my dreams up on Camcorder Info... Still looks pretty nice- a little better than the JVC, but $1000 is still a little much for me...

    Robot Chicken DVDs!

    Robot Chicken DVDs!
    Originally uploaded by Broo2.
    I purchased Robot Chicken season 1 on DVD toady; if you don't know what this is, then you need to watch Adult Swim on Cartoon Network and check out the Robot Chicken Website! This some funny (albet sometimes a little sick) stuff.

    On a second note, this is a test blog sent via email through Flickr- and then forwarded on to Blogger with a link back to the original image (not my pic- stolen from the web)


    I Want This for Dragon*Con!

    There is a (not-so) new HDD camcorder from Sony: the DCR-SR100.

    The estimated ship date is May 12, so the only review up is a preview on camcorderinfo.

    If this unit does well in low-light, this will be the camcorder to get for Dragon*Con (in downtown Atlanta September 1st - 4th this year).  My first other consideration was the JVC Everio series- but even their 2nd generation cameras as getting pretty bad reviews for image quality...

    And if both of these still suck and cost $1000 in 5 months from now, I will just get a Panasonic PV-GS500 and use archaic DV tape media... (I have rejected the mini-DVD format as it also leaves much to be desired in the area of video quality).

    ...or the Sony HDR-HC3 HD Camcorder that can record 1080i... <drool>

    New Item for the Casa...

    The roommie is trying to get the house all finished up, so she is wanting to install the house-wide audio system I wired for during construction.  During this, we chanced upon an auction on eBay a SpeakerCraft MZC-66 multi-zone controller with keypads..  She bid and won- now we have to find out if the deal is legit or not as it was a fairly new seller (2 months) and his score was 2 (no negatives).  The auction was for about $800 less than the going price on the Internet...

    If this is a legit auction then I will be very busy one weekend coming up- both tying in those extra CAT5 cables I ran in the walls and trying to locate the speaker cables in the ceilings!  Look for LOTS of pics and notes on this bastard if that comes to pass...

    And here is the MZC-66 Manual...

    Printer for Cheap!

    I love the closeout sales at stores; but the odd thing is that some chain stores decide to get rid of something while the surrounding stores in the area (same chain) do not- maybe it is a locally measured movement rate that triggers this...

    I picked up a HP PhotoSmart 335 printer for $60 - $26 mail-in rebate = ~$36 (takes add another $4.80 here, so say $40).  So far the printer has some awesome print quality; I picked up a 100 pack of the 'premium plus' photo paper and another ink cartridge from WalMart yesterday (everything else was closed!).  Today I chanced upon the B&W ink for this printer for $6.24 on closeout at Target- sweet!  And to thing I was going do drop $150-$200 on a very similar printer a few weeks ago...

    Print tests have been very good so far- I cannot tell it is from a printer for 95% of the pints- the ones I can tell are very over-saturated images- taken incorrectly- that are more noticeable on a printed surface than on the screen. 

    The printer comes with the entire range of memory card readers (even XD for my Fuji S500), and it has an optional battery and bluetooth USB dongle (which uses the PictBridge interface if you are so inclined). Print time is probably about 1 pic a minute, but it is worth the wait.

    Note: on the 'premium plus' paper it is a high gloss surface and it takes a little while longer to dry- so don't stick the pictures immediately into a photo album! (I found out the hard way).  The premium plus also has a 1/4" perforated tab that you tear off when the ink is completely dry- this is used (I guess) to handle the pictures while they are wet...

    The roommie picked up a HP 2550N Color LaserJet for $300, but that is another review for another time (when I get done playing with this guy!).


    Awesome Proggie...

    Stumbled across a good freeware album cover art download program while I was setting up my MP3s to work with Media Player 10- looks like it updates an actuall ID3 tag property and makes the album art tied to the MP3- so iTunes sees the image as well as Media player!  :o)

    New Client and X51v Updates

    There is a new Semagic client out that will let a person post to a blog (deigned for livejournal, but also will work with Blogger, MSN Spaces and MetaWeblog API) and includes such nice things as spell check, WYSIWYG editing, and other such things. 

    Recently the author has added support for posting images to Flickr.com, Photobucket.com, or Imageshack (but no ImageEvent.com?)- and since I have been trying to update this blog with image from Flickr (their paid account is friggin awesome! unlimited storage, unlimited bandwith- and a 2GB upload/month cap)

    Anyway: here it goes- a Test post:

    Screen Shots of the X51v VGA Screen

    Axim X51v update:

    Ok, so I have had my Axim for about a week now; and I am pretty impressed - fast, great screen, awesome sound (the sound blows my G5 iPod away), and lots of expandability; I have a 2GB SD card (for music, videos, etc) and a 512MB CF flash installed (apps, DBs, etc).  I also purchased a (non-OEM) extended run battery pack from eBay- and luckily the Rhino case I bought from eBay was designed for this. I have an extra sync/charger cable, four extra styluses and some screen protectors on order (from eBay as well).


    • Awesome Screen
    • Lots of expandability
    • Great sound
    • Integrated IE browser, Outlook eMail- add in a RSS reader and you are done
    • Bluetooth connectivity
    • Integrated 802.11b


    • Battery life is about 3 hours (or less) even when on standby- of course, I left Bluetooth and Wifi on and there were background apps running during this.  The extended run battery makes it last most of the day, so not really an issue.
    • There is some incompatibility with Windows Mobile 5 and the older apps; I am probably getting 8/10 applications I test to run with no issue, but the other 20% are usually causing weird issues that require a rest.
    • The screen has some kind of issues when used in landscape- I noticed this when playing Age of Empires; i had trouble focusing on the screen- kind of like being in a 3D movie with those prismatic glasses and sitting too close to the front.  I noticed this again when I played a video in landscape mode.  Everything looks fine in portrait mode- I am guessing the LCD screen was not designed to be viewed at this angle...
    • I had an absolute nightmare getting ActiveSync to setup correctly:
      • There appears to be an issue (which I sort of knew about) wit Dell USB ports- I could NOT get this to sync on my work PC
      • There are occasionally issues with the Install and Windows Media 10 syncing files after everything else appears to be working; solution- uninstall and re-install; now it works great (I did use the MS website version the 2nd time and not the Dell CD version)

    GPS Stuff:

    I have tried iNavigate and had some issues (cannot find the VGA executable, but it will run when manually selected) and I had to rebuild XP to get MS Streets & Trips installed on my main PC (either Picassa or ACDSee 8 corrupted a good part of my HKEY\Local User registry- I am leaning towards blaming Picassa)- but both are installed (to CF) and I have been able to run them (iNav also has a great demo mode). 

    So far both look like decent GPS programs (I am still waiting on my Pharos Bluetooth base) but iNav provides 3D driving and is a lot easier to figure out what to do if I do need to glance at it.  The audio prompts are also MUCH better on iNav as well.

    Overall, this is a great Pocket PC.  It ran me about $400 with shipping and the extras from Dell- but that is much less than I could have bought a comparable HP off the shelf at Frys. 

    In comparison to the Nokia 770, it is dramatically faster and will do all the functionality of the 770 for about the same price; the screen is sharp, but the Nokia 770 was much better.  I think the trade of speed and the extra application/game base for the Nokia's screen (and Linux) makes the Axim a much better deal.

    The only things I would have added to make it perfect would be a camera (at least 2MB) and a GSM phone with EDGE support- however a Skype client may overcome the phone issue- so long as I can stay within range of a hotspot!  :o)