An interesting read.

Ξ March 29th, 2010 | → 0 Comments | ∇ Moo |

I’ve found myself reading more recently, which is something I’ve been wanting to do for some time. I had this past week off as vacation time and felt I needed to catch up on a book that I had been enjoying.

“A Game of Thrones” by George R.R. Martin is probably one of the best fantasy books I have ever read. The way he writes captivates the reader into becoming completely engrossed in the story. I spent 3 days reading this book and managed to cover 450 pages or so and am almost finished with it. An example of the time I read last week:

In other news a friend linked this to another friend and I found it an interesting read on the ethos of the human character in terms of knowledge people believe they have and where you might fit in the category. Link here.

Original post by mooch

 

I Blame Television

Ξ March 19th, 2010 | → 0 Comments | ∇ Uncategorized |

I’ve had a terrible few weeks at work. Just… and the… with the… it’s just been mind-bogglingly terrible. We’d go into the ridiculous details but I have a strict “Don’t discuss the specifics of work on the Internet” policy. It’s a natural outcome of my patented “So You Want To Write Something On The Internet” Decision Facilitation System:

blah’s SYWTWSOTI DFS

So instead of dwelling on that, let’s do something fun!

… fun?

ˈfün? ˈfən?

I have no idea what this “fun” is. And I blame television.

No, really. I do. I blame television. As a young nerd, I was allowed to watch television. Not a lot of it, mind you, but a little was fine… at least under three conditions:

  1. My assigned tasks – homework, practicing, chores – were all done;
  2. I was doing something constructive while watching; and
  3. The show I wanted to watch was on the approved show list.

It took about three solid weeks of 12+ hour workdays for me to realize just how far-reaching those rules might actually be. Long after I could gorge myself on all the worthless, mind-numbing drivel1 my stomach could take just like Tantalus at his first buffet after making parole, the rules somehow remain.

Rule 1: If There’s Still Work Out There, You’re Procrastinating!
I have no problems going home and not thinking about work… when everything is up to date, when everything is running along smoothly, when I’ve done everything that should be done today. I’m perfectly fine with that. I don’t have to finish everything that needs to be done; I just need to finish everything that needs to be done today. And then I can relax.

I understand intellectually that there will always be crises that come up at work, tasks that push out completion dates for other things, assignments that suddenly take precedence, emergencies that crop up and light half the office on fire. I understand this. Everyone understands this. Because it happens.

But for some reason, I interpret this on an emotional level as procrastination. I can spend sixteen hours in the office, finally go home, and find that I simply can’t relax. I can go through the motions – watch a television show, read a book, play some WoW – because I know intellectually that I need to… but there is this constant, niggling voice at the back of my head that reminds me in a disappointed whisper that I was raised better than that, that I know better to indulge when there are obligations left unmet.

The lesson here is clear: Vote Peter Pan 4 Prez. His “never grow up” stance on healthcare really is shaping up nicely. Kids have a manageable amount of obligations and can finish them in time for Tiny Toons. That’s all I can ever ask for.

Rule 2: Always Be Constructive!
I have a terrible time sitting through movies. I enjoy movies, don’t get me wrong, I really do… but I truly hate sitting through them. That’s two or more hours of doing nothing and that’s something to which I have a deep-seated and long-standing aversion. I know intellectually that watching movies isn’t “nothing”… but I just have a terrible time just sitting and enjoying. I should be doing something and admiring cinematography isn’t enough.

As a little nerdgirl, I did get to watch television. But I couldn’t just sit there and enjoy it. I had to be doing something. That was one of the rules; I could watch T.V. if I wanted to but I had to be doing something constructive while I did so. It started out as latch-hooking. Then cross-stitch. Then embroidery. Then crocheting. Something. Anything. You just couldn’t be idle, time couldn’t be so wasted.

I don’t consider this a bad thing in general. I mean, how many people in this generation actually know how to crochet at expert levels? Things like that are pretty cool. I love that I learned things like this from my mother and grandmother and you can bet your britches that if I have a daughter, she’s going to learn how to do it all too.

But to this day, I have a terrible time just sitting and enjoying myself. There’s always something I should be doing… crocheting an afghan while I watch Mythbusters or crunching code while I’m playing WoW. I have this firmly-rooted belief that time should not be wasted… and that fun, for the sheer sake of fun, is wasteful. How sad is that?

And I wonder why I get stressed out. Jeez.

Rule 3: Censorship By The State (Or: “This One Is Really Just An Excuse To Search YouTube For Clips From Square One Television”)
The list of approved shows was rather limited… and really, aside from having to make up for huge gaps in pop culture knowledge and not entirely succeeding, that’s fine with me. I still watch these shows when I can and mourn the loss of the ones I can’t find!

As I labored towards sentience, I was allowed to watch two television shows and only if I could read the clock well enough to ask to watch them in time: Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. This list was eventually expanded to include anything on PBS (including the Koh-I-Noor level gem of television programming that was Square One Television2)… most cartoons (though I had to formally request special dispensation to stay up to watch the thirty minutes of Looney Tunes that started at 7:30 pm on Nickelodeon)… a few family-friendly sitcoms that made it through the approval process… and, of course, Star Trek. (If you’re humming to yourself, yeah, that last one was my dad’s contribution to the playlist.)

Everything else was implicitly forbidden, though a few shows did make it onto an explicit blacklist: The Simpsons, You Can’t Do That On Television, Punky Brewster4, and anything airing after 8pm.

But that was all fine. Really. I mean, yeah, it took me years to even start to catch up on the massive Simpsons pop culture deficit and I’ve still got years to go… but I mean… Who didn’t want to grow up to be Kate Monday3?

Though somehow ‘To Cogitate And To Solve’ seemed more glamorous back then.

Though now that I think about it, I bet Kate had pretty good stress management skills.


  1. I watched the first episode of Jersey Shore recently. I really did. I have to go ShamWOW! my brain up from the puddle it made on the floor before I can even begin to post about the experience.
  2. Pro tip: Don’t bust out with “Probabiiiiliiiityyyyyyyy… DON’T YOU MESS WITH ME” during design meetings if you’re not fairly certain that your coworkers share the same frame of reference.
  3. Do you remember that they changed Kate Monday for Pat Tuesday right about the same time they changed Beverly Crusher for Katherine Pulaski? Crusher came back. Monday never did. Those were dark, dark days.
  4. This wasn’t always on the No Fly list. It was a special addition when I had an apparently loud nightmare about being stuck in a refrigerator, inconveniently following an episode that had someone getting stuck in a refrigerator. Bam! Blacklisted.
  5. Original post by blah

     

iPhone vs. Motorola Droid

Ξ March 16th, 2010 | → 0 Comments | ∇ Technology |

iPhone vs. Motorola Droid

For the past year i have had the opportunity to use an iPhone for work. The iphone 3G was heads and tails above the windows mobile Motorola Q that i currently had. I used it in its full glory. The phone was pushed to the limits. This cannot be done on a stock iPhone however, it needs to be jailbroken. So in my comparison i will have 2 iphone categories, stock and jailbroken.

One week ago my dear wife flushed her enV2 down the toilet and killed her phone. We picked up a pair of Motorola Droids in the buy one get one free deal. So we both got one. So far i have loved my droid, even coming from an iphone. Now, as with the iphone, the droid can be unlocked as well. Rooting is the term used in the droid sense. Some features are only available on a rooter droid, and i will mark them as such.

A note about rooting/jailbreaking. Both are easy to do. Both need to have an eye on them when new updates come out, as it could break the mod.

This is by far a comprehensive list, this is only a list of things i have come across thus far, and i will try to update this list as i come across them. Some things i will put pros and cons, others i will just pick one that is better ;)

Apps:


iPhone - (100K+) TONS, any app you can think of. In a nice little app store.
+ ease of app store
+ tied to your itunes account
- restricted to what apple thinks you shold have
- no apps outside the app store
Jailbroken
+ ANY app, not just approved apps
+ works with all non-jailbroken apps
- can be slow
- buggy

Droid - (30K +) Lots of apps, but not the same apps
+ Marketplace is fast
+ Open, no filtering of content.
+ tied to your google account
- comparable apps can cost money vs free on iphone
- less apps to choose from
Rooted:
+ vendor specific apps, i.e.: t-mobile app on a verizon phone.

Service:


Not a phone specific quality, but a carrier…
Droid (Verizon) and iPone (ATT)
Droid iPhone

The iPhone has selected areas where 3g is available, whereas the verizon network is the exact opposite. It has select areas where the ISN'T 3g. Droid wins.

Call Quality:


when the phone has a decent signal, i have been satisfied with both. Neither stood out.
Tie

Speed:


iPhone 3G (sorry, i don't have a 3GS to try) vs Droid
Droid iPhone. The iphone seemed very nice when i got it, but its bogged down now. Some apps take a long time to initialize and start, some. Some apps are smooth and load well. Some apps like Cydia take forever to load. The Moto Droid is very snappy, i pop in and out of apps almost as fast as i can click them. The one app that both phones use is the camera app. The droid loaded this faster.

Droid is much faster than the 3G, again, not the 3GS.

Pictures:


I took two photos, one with each phone. I won't say which is which, so that you can formulate your own opinion on photo quality. Click the picture to see which is which.
I personally think the droid is less grainy. This is a tough one, as the focus point isn't the same on both. I will try to make a new shot later.

Video Recording:


iPhone:
-no built in video recording
iPhone (jailbreak):
+cycoder will shoot decent video, depending on the light. Link.

Droid:
+ Built in 720×480 video, light dependent. Link.
- can make large videos

Multitasking:


iPhone:
- None
iPhone (jailbreak)
- multitasking of sort, phone gets hot and battery drains quickly.

Droid:
+ multitasks very well
+ snaps between apps without losing place in an app

Quick Picks:


iPhone:
+ feels nice in your hand,
+ lots of apps
+ tether (jailbreak)
+ mms
+ indoor GPS
- touch keyboard is nice
- push notifications can't be put aside for later
- can be slow
- locked down by apple
- no themes (jailbreak only)
- no multitasking

Droid:
+ notification bar.
+ speed
+ themes
+ mms
+ "share" feature on media
+ tether (rooted)
+ custom roms (rooted)
+ Physical keyboard
+ multitasking
+ outdoor GPS
- Visual voicemail costs money
- heat sensor needs some tweaking
- touch keyboard needs tweeking, 3rd party app
- Indoor GPS

Not covered (yet):
- exchange
- calendars
- Security
- audio player

Sources:
http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2009/11/04appstore.html
http://androinica.com/2010/03/16/androi … id+Blog%29

Original post by Extreme

 

New Tivo :) (HTPC)

Ξ March 7th, 2010 | → 0 Comments | ∇ Computers |

Hello all. I have been living in this house for roughly one year now. Back in Idaho we had dish network with a DVR. I loved it! All this time here without one was starting to get to me. Hulu and downloading episodes did hold me over, but it wasn't how i wanted it to be. I get the most basic of basic cable service through comcast. 10$ a month. a steal of a deal. In order to get a comcast DVR i would have to upgrade to at least a higher plan, plus the cost the rent the unit, and 15$ more for HD unit.

Being me, i hate to pay for things that i can get for free. So i dropped 120$ for the Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-2250. It has dual HD tuners so I could watch something and record something at the same time, HD or SD.

Initially my budget was spent the instant i bought that capture card. So i took some old computer parts i had and built a machine. AMD 3800+, 2gb ddr400 ram, 7800gt video, and a whopping 80gb IDE hard drive.

This was my concept machine, it worked for all intents and purposes. I was originally going to run MythTV on ubuntu. This was shot down rather quickly because my TV card did not support analog in linux :( sad face. I then put windows 7 on the machine and tried out SageTV. I was quite happy with SageTV. It did HD tv, timers, recordings, etc. My favorite part was the mpg format it recorded! Unfortuantly, it had some issues with some or my channels. It would either not see them right or fail to get a guide listing.

My next trial was with the new windows media center. Those who know me, know this hurt me. I HATE windows media center. WMC scanned for channels without me telling me anything but my zip code. The TV interface was easier than SageTV, so the wife liked it better. Its been quite nice really. THERE! I SAID IT! Now to the complaint. It records in a stupid format. .wtv, wtf? Who uses wtv? No one! *sigh*

I used this setup for a couple months. It was working rather well actually. Then the issues started. 1. Random blue screens. something between a windows update and the divers were not getting along. (64-bit). Sometimes it would happen a few times a night, other times nothing. 2. Freezing. It would randomly freeze up. 3. It would overheat due to the POS case it was in. 4. it was LOUD.

This year i have been saving up for something nice, nothing in particular. SO i asked for computer parts to build a new htpc.

-AMD Phenom X3 8750
-ASUS M3N78-VM
-2 GB DDR2 1066 ram
-Western Digital WD10000LSRTL Caviar Black 1TB
-Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-2250
-hec SECC 7K09 Micro ATX Media Center

I chose a small case the fit inside my tv cabinet. I plan to use an HDMI cable to run the video and audio to my TV then from my TV to my receiver through an optical cable.

Here are some of the parts. Processor, Mobo, and Ram.

Here is the case, its sleek and black.

This is the case with the ram, mobo, and processor.

Here is the cpu :)

Here is the nice evenly spread thermal paste :)

Here is the computer about 90% put together. Everything is is installed except the capture card. I was starting to get worried that the card would not fit in the pci slot.

As you can see they have a nice little heatsink sitting where a card should sit. At this point i have not tested it to see if it will fit.

This is the back end of the machine with the capture card and its input extender.

last image

I've been using the new machine for about 24 hours now. I spent a good 12 hours copying media over to the new hard drive. 500 gigs of movie rips to happily watch without mucking with DVD's. yay! The HDMI output works great, and no reboots or blue screens :) yay! I did move to 32 bit windows to attempt to rid the BSOD.

My next venture is to get the remote working with media player classic or VLC.

I use coreAVC for my HD media. Media player classic uses this nicely, but it has to be set up. To set it up right click, options, external filters, add. Add CoreAVC, then click the Prefer button. This will let CUDA do the video rendering if you have a 8 series or higher NVIDIA card. You know its working if you see a green dot in the tray. This uses MUCH less cpu than without it. Very nice.

Oh, and hulu now works in full screen without stuttering, yay!

Original post by Extreme

 

VMWare Tinkering

Ξ March 3rd, 2010 | → 0 Comments | ∇ Moo |

I just want to start off saying that windows 7 is awesome. So I had an idea that since I’ve upgraded my PC and I have a super awesome setup that I should go about working with virtual machines on my new setup.

So today, after working on getting my system setup with a legal copy of windows 7 (thanks sheena) after the beta had expired decided I would keep a streamlined system. I’m only installing the bare essentials and I’ve noticed that in a lot of cases when I install software to program with, or do other things on, I have a hard time getting things to run as smoothly as they once did. So I decided I don’t want to clutter things up anymore.

Here enters VMWare Workstation. I plan on doing my development inside of a virtual machine and then leave my computer clogged free of whatever it my feel to pollute itself with.

I loaded up the install of VMWare, input my serial, and then loaded up a copy of windows xp x64 bit to work off of. Why XP x64? Well for one, I had a legal key of this from school and I want to have a virgin VMware to work on since I’m taking it directly from the MSDN iso. That and I thought why not start with a development environment that is more or less as close to what “the common medium” have as an operating system. It’s not xp x32 bit, which you will see on 90% of computers out there today, but it is a close second. I could have gone with windows 7 in my VM, but I had reasons of not doing so.

Anywhoozles, I installed XP 64 bit in the VM without any issues. Loaded up some service pack 2 and then plopped on visual studio 2008. Got myself a development box! So I went overboard some more and I’ve now got ubuntu 9.10 in a virtual machine and also going to get google chrome OS and OSX loaded on there.

Original post by mooch

 

Make the Logo Bigger!

Ξ March 3rd, 2010 | → 0 Comments | ∇ Life, Graphic Design, Doodles |

Can we add a violator to that? Can we add a disclaimer to that? What if we moved the logo to the right? To the left? What about adding a star burst in the background? Can we switch the font to Arial?

After a long phone conversation with the above-mentioned questions, I looked down at my doodle:

Shoot Me

Apparently I’m not alone.

Original post by melktart

 

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