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 Cr├╝xShadows "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!