10/25/2005

What was the inventor of some of this shell scripting stuff thinking? Take ksh for example. “I think I’ll make a language that goes insane if you put spaces around an equals sign. Yeah, that’ll be hilarious. Let’s do some cute things with backwards words too…I was always a fan of that.”

It’s the video to the Nigerian hit, I Go Chop You Dollar. The singer sings about how the 419 Nigerian email scams are just a game. He is da winna. You are da losa.

Download (54 MB zip file) acoustic cover versions of some famous 80’s songs and TV themes from The B.A. Baracus band. There’ll be at least one in there you hate…and maybe even one you like.

As I rode my bike home from the bus last night, I realized it’s dark now while I’m riding. Time to get out the old magnet powered bike light so I wouldn’t get run over. Amazingly, I got it working on the bike.

Technical stuff: 0, Nathan: 1

Vanessa told me last night that the doorbell isn’t working. I looked up on the internet how to fix them. Connected wires at button manually. No go. Chime seems ok. There’s supposed to be a transformer hiding in a closet somewhere but I couldn’t find it.

Technical stuff: 1, Nathan: 1

The Sharkport came in that would let me write out a savegame from the internet that turned off the corner dance pad buttons while playing DDR Extreme so that we could actually play it. (Turns out the “Sharkport” is just a USB crosslink cable and some software on both sides.) I hooked it up and put the blue disc into the PS2. Turns out blue is the PS2’s least favorite disc color and it choked. Turns out the old PS2 wouldn’t even read old PS1 games. No way technical stuff is going to beat me this evening. Looked it up on internet and it turns out I need to realign the CD laser. After getting confused as to which version of PS2 I had, I finally get it open and fix it by around midnight. Corner buttons in the game are turned off…and we’ve only had the game for a year now.

Technical stuff: 1, Nathan: 2…Nathan wins! Unprecedented!

The Rapid Ride buses in Albuquerque now have free wireless internet! “All of the city’s 12 Rapid Ride vehicles now have wireless web access. There are 83 hot spots along the route that allow the buses to establish a connection from zone to zone.” I was browsing the web on the PSP this morning. Beefity. Now I can read slashdot while trying to figure out what that interesting bus smell is coming from.

10/10/2005

I was thinking, it’d be great to configure the house alarm to work via wireless internet to call a cell phone. Thus, we could get rid of alarm monitoring service.

An advantage of living in the desert…people come to launch rockets here. This past weekend was the Personal Spaceflight Expo in our very own Las Cruces, NM. (Here are some pics.) Alas, I did not think to attend. In other technology events, there was the DARPA grand challenge. The team sent a robotic vehicle driving 132 miles across the desert. I am amazed that someone got a vehicle across the finish line, given that nobody even got close last year. I need to borrow that half million dollar VW that won to brave the balloon fiesta traffic. I’d just sit there playing games as some computer drives me through the horrid traffic.

We went to Albuquerque Old Town this weekend. Oddly, I’d never been there. (I’ve lived here how long?) Anyway, it’s somewhat like the plaza in Santa Fe. It’s probably got the highest tourist concentration of any place in Albuquerque. The main park area in the center reminded me of The Village in The Prisoner. Be seeing you!

They had a birthday party for 1-year old Evan who was visiting. They had a bin with a few inches of water and rubber duckies floating in it. The babies were happily splashing in the water and Sean kept dunking his head in it.

We went to the hot air balloon glow Friday evening. Throughout the evening, they do countdowns and then all balloons fire off their propane. There are balloons glowing all over the place. Too bad digital cameras are usually really bad at night shots unless you buy a really expensive one. If you turn off the flash, they usually leave the shutter open longer to capture more light, allowing for more blur. There was an impressive fireworks display afterward. This may sound pretty commercially, but eat Johnsonville brats. Them are good.

I figured out the problem with slow DVD playback on the media computer was Media Player Classic that I was using. I tried a different program that came with a drive and it worked much better. Now, I can use DVD Decrypt, copy Netflix stuff to the hard drive, and mail them back quickly to get the next ones in the queue. Then, we can watch them and delete them later at our leisure. It’s Operation Netflix Bandwidth Increase. It’s like a super TIVO. I’ve been watching The Drew Carrey Green Screen show (not out on DVD). It’s Whose Line Is it Anyway, except it’s funny. The only change is that they improvise in front of a green screen and animators animate what’s going on around them.

While trying to get cousin Ryan setup for games the other night, we realized that his computer sound was somehow getting channeled back into his mic input. We went through a lot of trouble trying to get it to mic only and in the end, his sound card drivers ended up getting blown away. Poor Ryan said he reformatted his PC to try to fix it. My theory of computer setup comes through again. The time a computer or network will need the most maintenance is when you are trying to play a game.

08/24/2005

Well, tomorrow, we’re planning to head off to the San Diego area to visit relatives. This means tomorrow is baby-on-the-plane-in-our-laps day. Hopefully we can get through that without headaches. 🙂 We’ll be returning by September 1st.

I think it’s amusing how discussion sites like slashdot (and even myself) said, “nobody will buy DRM.” (encrypted music files) Yet, teenagers are buying itunes in droves. “Nobody will buy overpriced Sony UMD movies for PSP when it’s such a ripoff.” These are also selling well enough for Sony to release a lot more. I agree with the silliness of these formats, but I think savvy nerds underestimate general consumer ignorance. Sure, some minority of nerds are going to insist on open formats. Savvy Nerd wants to freely copy mp3s and videos between several computers without restrictions or any special itunes program. But Jane Teenager just wants to easily get a 3 Doors Down single on her ipod and doesn’t care if it’s all locked up in DRM. Jane Teenager outnumbers Savvy Nerd by far. Guess whose money companies will listen to? At this rate, with more evil cooperation on the hardware side, I wonder if proprietary DRM formats might eventually win. I mean, they’re even going to lock down monitors and TVs at the hardware level! We’re getting beyond the days of just encasing a chip in epoxy so the customer can’t look at it. Companies are getting better at locking up their stuff, trying to get from a platform of selling things for a one-time fee to a platform of selling subscriptions for continual fees. There is growing proof that the majority of customers just don’t care. 🙁

I was just chatting with my cousin about the “cloneburbs” in the US. All new housing developments around the US are being built in the same way. He told me he’s getting a new house in San Antonio. I asked him, “Home Depot or Lowes and Target or Walmart nearby? Minor architectural differences between one house and the next?” “Yeah, somewhat.” There’s also usually a community center nearby with a park and gym. I think it’s funny that I can look at my neighborhood in Albuquerque and predict what a new suburb in Idaho will look like. Sure, they’ll use wood instead of stucco and grass instead of gravel, but that’s about the only difference.

A couple of flash apps to make a custom Lego head or Lego body.

03/25/2005

Here, have a sweet mp3. Ratatat – Seventeen Years

It’s the music video to The Bees – Chicken Payback in streaming Windows Media or Real Video. Best music video I’ve seen in a while.

So, on the Sony PSP couldn’t they have let you open a simple text file from the memory card? Is that too much to ask? Maybe Sony would let you do it if all you could put in the text file is “I love Sony”. I really hope someone eventually hacks the machine to run executables from the memory card. Of course, Sony would hate the idea. I love seeing proprietary stuff fixed to run the way the consumer wants it to.

Last night, it was round 3 in gramma Peny’s Scrabble Champeenship. Amazingly, I actually won. My first word was rigatoni which got rid of all my letters and gave me a 50 point bonus. Part of the game feels like luck, though. I mean, I sometimes wonder if expert players could still win if they were drawing all vowels like we were the other night. I just found a Scrabble page with a dictionary and even a cheat field to offer suggestions when you tell it what letters you have. This page has a text file of scrabble words that would probably serve as a dictionary. Good to put on a PDA.

02/14/2005

Vanessa was talking about how the computer at her mom’s restaurant is filled with spyware. I need to find some way to change the Internet Explorer shortcut to go to Firefox but still show up as a blue E so that the users would just think they were using Internet Explorer.

Vanessa says she may or may not have seen this guy at the mall where there were lots of possible movie trailers about. I bet minor stars get a lot of “Will she recognize me? Is she actually going to know my name? Nope, didn’t recognize me.” moments.

Wanted to clarify a few points about about America for tourists who might visit the U.S. We all ride horses and wear cowboy hats. When you meet someone new, the custom is to say, “Warbly wap der sipaday.” You must then come up with three words that sound the same but have different spellings and meanings. The funny look they will give you is a look of respect. Thank you. Carry on. (Yeah, don’t follow that advice, ok.)

What is a serif and how did it get in my cereal? That little hangy-offy thing on the tips of the letters in some fonts was originally to keep the dust from collecting on letters when they were carved into stone in ancient Italy.

5/12/2004

Ah, another day of fighting with Microsoft Word formatting. I have what is seemingly a series of tables or perhaps one big table that I want to split. Mission impossible. I’ll just call up Microsoft for some help. (Yeah, right)

Ya know what my favorite cereal is? Cracklin’ Oat Bran. Creepy, I know, but have you tried that stuff? It’s like little cookies in milk!

We just installed AIM on the Dell Axim. Strangely, it is free at the UK website but is $20 at the US website. Hmm, choices choices eh?

Yesterday we went on a tour of the San Juan Generation Station near Farmington. It was a pretty neat tour
Here is a picture I thought was reminiscent of a DEVO video. Inside the plant was hot and dusty with coal dust. The plant basically works like those old steam locomotives. A nearby coal mine produces the coal that they burn to heat water into steam to push huge turbines. Power flows into the western grid and goes wherever it is needed. Apparently, much of the electricity produced there goes to L.A. One interesting thing was all of the effort they go through to re-use water and to catch as much pollutant as possible using static electricity. In one area of the plant, they even do their own water and sewage processing. Still, it looks like the ongoing drought is going to cause problems because of the huge amount of water needed. They lose a lot to evaporation.

I think I got my PC back to normal without reinstalling Windows. I reinstalled the Intel Application Accelerator and it’s back up to speed. That’s the second time I’ve recently been able to snatch Windows XP from the jaws of re-installation. It happened at work too. Now to try to get the DVD burning problem fixed. I will be trying this.

1/20/2004

Looks like they installed free wireless internet access at Civic Plaza here in Albuquerque. Wow, our first free hot spot.

6 Music says The Cure and Kraftwerk will be at Coachella this year. Kraftwerk…wow…they never show up anywhere that I know of.

We solved our last internet problem. It was a bit embarrassing. I called up Comcast and they helped me determine that my cable modem was turned off and I needed to push the power button. A real duh moment.

Hmm, I really haven’t been getting outside much. It often seems to be this way in the winter. Just too cold to do much outside. Maybe I just shouldn’t be such a wimp. Ah well, I still try to exercise indoors with DDR and now eyetoy. My kung foo is improving. It’s a game you play with a camera on the Playstation 2. I can defend myself quite well from dim sum being tossed at me.

7/30/2003

Ah, the weird problem with Comcast’s FTP servers is solved. They changed the name of the FTP server to mywpages.comcast.net instead of mywebpages.comcast.net. Thanks for letting us know, Comcast. Worst…Support…Ever. They have more changes to the server names coming, they said in an e-mail.

He he. DDR Russian propaganda photoshop.

It’s insane how many subscription cards they put in magazines. Before I read a magazine, I have to go through about 5 sections where they’ve put in silly fliers and subscription cards to rip them out and toss them.

Ah, it’s the NIV bible on 7 mp3 CDs. Non-dramatized version. $45.

I put a daily reminder just before lunchtime to tell myself, “Don’t drink soda.” But now I’m like, “You can’t tell me what to do. You’re not the boss of me!”

2/24/2003

We’re having a hard time finding an NIV bible for our PDA. The program with the best interface doesn’t offer the NIV version. Vanessa found a site with free older books for your PDA. She downloaded a Sherlock book for me. I was talking with Vanessa about the idea of clipping the index fingernail to sharp point to use as a natural stylus for the PDA, but then one might accidentally scratch people and things.

Over The Top was on cable again last night. It’s the arm wrestling movie featuring Sylvester Stallone with his signature “over the top” arm wrestling move in which he cunningly moves his fingers “over the top” of the opponent’s fist. Yes, one of those artsy intellectual films. I think this movie should be shown at immigration centers to show new Americans what is expected of them. They will be expected to arm wrestle, drive semis, grow large beards, double their weight and drink motor oil like the rest of us…yes, even that Latvian woman sitting in the back will be expected to do this. Allow me to paraphrase the wise words of Sylvie from the film, “When I turn my hat around. I change…I’m like a machine…like this truck.” I’ll have to remember that when I’m programming at my keyboard at work.

We saw flamenco dancing yesterday at UNM. The star of the show was some guy who looked like your average guy on the street…but he sang like Gypsy Kings and flamencoed very well. He sweated his heart out there on the stage. (He was literally flinging the sweat from his hair upon his “clapping crew” as he danced furiously. I saw one of them flinch.) There were many students dancing in the show. It included an unexpected “flamenco to classical music.” Anyway, I’d like to see these people play Dance Dance Revolution. They’d be unbelievable. After flamenco, we went to a Mexican bakery with the mum-in-law and gramma Peny. I got an apple pastry thing and something with “orange stuff” inside that was pretty good. For lunch, we had gone to Cafe Istanbul with me two brothers. They were not exactly crazy for the food. I have to give them points for trying though.

1/31/2002

Vince came over and we nerded till 2 AM. (on a school night!) The nerding included DDRMAX, Need For Speed, WC III, Jedi Outcast, many Euro music videos and lots of Crystal Lite for some reason. I installed the old realplayer 8. Realplayer 8 was evil, but the new Realplayer is just insane. They automatically check the “wanna buy a monkey” checkbox.