Friday, December 31, 2004

walmart IMPACT wrenches

I love walmart tires, they are cheap, last a long time, and for the most part the service is fast. I can usually get out in less than 1 hour. with that said, let me tel you something...

WALMART TIRE TECHNICIANS ARE MORONS. I'll give you a few examples, ending in the telling of my most recent climatic event.

everyone knows they are suppose to rotate their tires every 3-5k miles right? well, i kinda think this is alot like that crappy propoganda that they say about changing your engine oil every 3k (I go 10k on my oil change in the diesel). so, after I got my tires I checked what the terms were on my walmart warrenty. it said that you had to go in for regular rotations, or else you wouldn't get your warrenty on the miles of the tires. I got 80k douglas tires for around 55$ each, plus probably 12$ each for road hazard warrenty junk. so, not wanting to screw up my investment I started going in every 5k like a good little customer to get my tires rotated.

the technicians were slow, they opened late (I tried to go in at 8 when they opened) and no one knew the 'correct' torque specs for my tires. now thats just plain bad business. on top of this they would set the lugnuts with the impact wrench (if you get it wrong, you screw the theads in my hub). I would stand and watch them and I was never convinced they used the torque wrench correctly.

so.. screw that, after about 3 times of going in for rotations I just do it myself. I can do it in half the time and I do it the way I like it, slow and CORRECT.

this summer I got jen new tires for the jeep. again walmart had a good deal, so we went in, they were fast to mount and put them on the jeep. now, 6 months later I go to remove the tires to put the studs on (we have alot of snow here now) and I SNAPPED A 3" extender, 1/2" drive. you know what that means? these jokers set the torque at about 150lbs when it should be closer ot 80. so see ya later wallmart. your getting a big letter from me and if i EVER have my studs stretch, break, misthread, or my lugnuts strip I'm sending you the bill.

check out my broken extender.. thanks walmart.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004


Big news! I'm going to enroll in an MBA (master of business) program. if I'm lucky i'll be done after 3 years of night school. check out the GMAT overview, a stupid test I have to take as part of my application.

You begin the GMAT® with the Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA). The AWA consists of two separate writing tasks—Analysis of an Issue and Analysis of an Argument. You are allowed 30 minutes to complete each one.

Now someone correct me if i'm wrong, but this just sounds like the kinda BS kev was born to answer. I hope I do as good as I think kev would do on this, and I really hope they let me use a computer/keyboard to 'write' as I can't even read my own writing.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004


Hey, did you guys ever wonder what the difference was between a circular and Linear polarizer? I knew the difference, but didn't understand the importance. When I stopped to by a stocking stuffer for jen, a Polarizer for the EOS Rebel, the people at the store were unable to find a linear polarizer. all they had was circular ones, so I shelled over my 27$ and bought it. getting home I did a little research and discovered that the Circular was probably what I really wanted as Its needed so the autofocus will work correctly in modern SLR cameras. I"m not too sure if it is required for Digital Rebel but it can't hurt anything. Read Cokin Filter Systems for more info.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Gmini 120

The Gmini 120 was purchased for ofloading pictures from a sandisk 512Meg flash card for my Canon digital rebel SLR Digital camera. we purchased all of this equipment for our 3000 mile motorcycle trip in cananda this last summer. It was all mounted in a Pelican 1300 bright yellow water tight plastic box. The box when packed for the trip included:
Gmini 120
Canon digital rebel body
canon wide angle lense (with body $950? at costco)
canon 75-300mm zoom lense
battery charger and spare battery for camera

With this we were more than set for a week of motorcycling and photography. when the 512meg CF card is full you just take it out of the camera, put it in the CF slot in the Gmini and download it to the interal 20 gig HD. it made for an awesome trip which allowed us to take low or non compressed images on a 6 megapixel camera and not worry about space constraints. I know you can purchase up to about 4 gig CF cards now for a reasonable price, but the Gmini 120 gives you 20 GIG! I Think they were even planning a Gmini 140 (40 gig drive) but I have never seen it for sale. I think I could probably open the Gmini and put a larger drive in it but I haven't had the need yet. The main thing that made this a usable MP3 player was the addition of the CF card reader that allows it to backup CF cards.

one MAJOR downfall of the Gmini is that you can only DOWNLOAD from a CF card. you can't go the other way and put pictures back on the card to look at with your camera. arg.. they gotta fix that. maybe i'll email the manufacture and suggest it.

all in all the gmini is a good and affordable solution to photo storage. I did see a CF to IDE reader/copier in a little box for sale at compusa the other day. it cost $99 wich isn't to bad but it did NOT have the 2.5"ide drive, so you had to do it as kind of a kit. by the time you finish 'building' it i'm sure the price would be closer to 150. so given even the options I have today I'm happy with the gmini as it gives me a good level of refinement. enhancements over the 99$ option?
mp3 player
imbedded rechargable battery
nice USB interface
nice small METAL finish

if ya need it, check it out!

Guess the kitty

I'll give you a clue.. it came in a cardboard box, and as a kitten it was able to jump ontop of full sized doors from the floor.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

out of office

heres the note I am putting on my monitor.....

I [keith] am out of office (think vacation) starting Wednesday Dec22 and will be returning MidMorning Wednesday Dec29

person1 is my alternate on Wednesday, Monday, and Tuesday, so if you need something turn around and say Hi.

If you have an ICT problem talk with person1, person2, or person3
If you have a board test problem talk with just about anyone that’s left in the department.
If you have a new product development issue talk with person2 or person4
If you have a donation for me, leave it on the desk
If you are here to steal something ,you can leave now.
If you are NOT having a merry Christmas feel free to steal something off my desk
If you ARE having a merry Christmas steal me something from someone else’s desk.
[end if]
Merry Christmas!

No more sales Tax!

ok.. not quite that good, but close. the IRS is now giving us a choice between paying sales tax or state tax? hmm.. sounds too good to be true but its on the IRS web page. check out the tables for P600 here and it looks like I'll get back between 600-800 more than I would normally. you see in nevada we don't pay state tax anyway, so I'll be choosing the sales tax refund.
Heres an example:.....

Update: I think this is just a deductions line item so expect 15% of this, or around 100$'s extra.

suprnova dies?!!

Check out The Register Article that talks about how suprnova is getting pushed off of cyber space. ah man.... that sux. also read about it on

Suprnova Closure Faq available is available.

Monday, December 20, 2004

super defense

defense may be a great thing in football, but it has no place in the office. I'm sick of this coorelation that the 'bosses' always draw to working as a TEAM. arg..... the whole thing is irritating.

today I was working a problem. I exhausted about 3 hours of troubleshooting something by myself and couldn't figure it out so I went to the guy that built it. I explained what my problem was and that I was stumped. the first thing He said was
"mr so and so, and you, and this other guy ALL gave me input to this board so if its not working its your fault"

now I'm thinking "oh really?" but instead of provoking him I Just try to calm him down and get one useful piece of information out of him. about that time a guy from across the cube throws some witty remark at him and it just sets him off again (mr sensative.. no wonder he's not married). great.. just great. its like working with the worlds oldest cry-baby.

finally I just left. after a few minutes he came over to talk with me. it was his way of 'making up' i'm sure but I had already determined he didn't have any useful information so I really didn't want him around. its not that I harbor any ill-will against him, its just when your trying to get something to work bystanders are either part of the problem or part of the solution. he was a whiny by-stander, and one that wanted to 'learn'. great.. just great. and He's Senior Engineer? I hope I'm NEVER blessed with that title.

Thursday, December 16, 2004


I'm in good shape. I climb mountains, cut firewood, ride my motorcycle (dirt bike) and even manage to make it on a stupid peddle bike on thanksgiving trips and so this came as somewhat of a shock.

I got a free colesterol check from my works heath clinic because my twin was diagnosed with a tad high cholesterol so in the off chance I had beaten nature I decided to get mine tested as well. nope. I didn't win.

The HDL is alright, but can stand to be improved, nurse said I need more exercise, so I will most likely start workig out over lunch or whenever I get sick of doing my normal job (we have an onsight gym where I work)

the LDL (bad cholesteral) can be improved by diet. i'm vegetarian for the most part (1 burger every 2 weeks... MAYBe....) so all I can do is improve my consumption of walnuts, and flaxseed oil so that My omega3 is improved. probably should cut out some cheese. thats animal product so contains bad cholesteral.

bic proof

one of my coworkers is a bicycle "enthusiast" (think 1/5 of your annual salary worth). He went to buy the best lock on the market and discovered it can be picked with a BIC pen! i'm sure this will go down in history as an engineering screwup.

a better writeup is on Wired, and they say the flaw has been known about since 1992, and the axial pin tumbler was invented more than 50 years ago. many locks including laptop security cables can be vulnerable to this kind of exploit. I wonder if the vending machine is too?

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

projector idea

This thing seems to sell for $130 at radio shack. I think it has external video input, so whats to keep me from taking the screen apart and putting a lamp behind it to make a projector (add a few lenses, heat protection, and some cooling). this solves the problem of how to get video into your LCD.

Monday, December 13, 2004

hack the printer

I absolutly hate inkjets. maybe its because they ALWAYS clog on me just when I thought I was going to print something. and since I've never owned one I am no expert on cleaning or for that matter even getting one to work properly. it seems I'm not the only one to have this problem. check out unclogging epson inkjet heads and it seems I'm not the only one to have this problem. following one of the links from this page it talks about building a CIS (continuous inking system). this is a must see as his printer looks like it was runover by a semi. just like I wish the inkjet "all in one" unit would look here at work. translation.... I wish it looked dead. this website is a must see, and later on it talks about the chiphacks to get the ink running. i'm all for color laser. and even given the exceptional price (1500$+) I still think its worth it.. oh wait. the HP 2550L is $500. since the cartridges are 100$ each I wonder if the ones that come with it are full?

Thursday, December 09, 2004

ever wanted some artificial intelegence (one that can spell) guess what your thinking? then head on over to and give it a go.

maybe its because the game is sensored, but it was unable to get what I was thinking of (a booger) after 30 questions, so I 'won'. heres the censorship info:

The Game is censored. The moderators assign a censorship level to assign to each new object and question. The Game will not choose questions or guessing objects above the player's current censorship level.

If you are playing as anonymous, the game will be G rated (suitable for all audiences). If you become a member, you may change your rating level from the options page.

its guesses for what I was thinking (booger)
I am guessing that it is a breath mint?
Yes , No , Close
29. I guess that it is a cough drop? No.
28. Does it contain Vitamin C? Irrelevant.
27. Could it be found in a classroom? Yes.
26. I guess that it is chewing gum? No.
25. Would you use it in the dark? Yes.
24. Would you find it in an office? Yes.
23. Is it a common household object? Yes.
22. Can it be dried? Yes.
21. Can you control it? Irrelevant.
20. I guess that it is a stick of gum? No.
19. Is it straight? Sometimes.
18. Can it affect you (cause an effect to you)? Yes.
17. Do you chew it? Yes.
16. Is it smaller than a golf ball? Yes.
15. Can you put something into it? No.
14. Is it multicolored? No.
13. Can you eat it? Yes.
12. Do you use it in cooking? No.
11. Is it a synthetic material? No.
10. Can it be used more than once? No.
9. Do you use it at work? Probably.
8. Is it soft? Yes.
7. Is it man made? Yes.
6. Does it have a hole in it? No.
5. Does it get wet? Yes.
4. Is it a tool? No.
3. Can you get information by using it? No.
2. Is it larger than a microwave oven (or bread box)? No.
1. It is classified as Other.

Its the End.....

Sing with me now.. "its the end of the world as we know it......" If I do nothing else I hope I get that tune stuck in your head. its the least I can do for this you as we are all stuck in this pitiful day we call THURSDAY.

Its the END of the IBM PC! wow.. its been what, 25 years? and billions of dollars spent cloning and improving the architecture and big blue SELLS out! to CHINA no less. That was a no brainer... how fitting they do this as all of the news has already been looking at 'outsourcing to china' and I can't say I blame em.

Lenovo is the lucky recipiant and its nice to read that IBM is reportedly doing the its best to transisition the technology and personal in a manner that will disrupt as few lives in both companies. that maintains my view that IBM is indeed a good company.

Hurahhh!!! now instead of the clone wars (not star wars either) we'll have xChina nock off instead of ibm pc COMPATIBLE.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

QNX pitch

today I'm taking the bulk of the day in a QNX presentation and i'll share what I have learned so far.

This is on of the leading RTOS (real time operating systems) in existance. of course people always claim they are better than their competetors but in this case I believe it.

Must be a 32-bit CPU
must have an MMU (memory management unit)

programs are NOT compiled with the kernel. they share normal memory space so are much easier to debug. as a result a machine can be upgraded without turning it off as the program is just updated without takign the kernel offline.

Standard coding methods (endian vs Endian and memory vs IO method) they let you write device drivers in a standard way so regardless of the end target (x86, PPC, etc) your code is the same, it is the work of the compiler to translate.

remote control. a process can be way away on a backplane, over serial, over ethernet, where ever and the kernel handles everything transparent to the program.

its an interesting method. who knows how much the license is, but it was pretty interesting when they said they could gurantee the origions of all of their code (remember the linux issues of open source?) so there are no problems in the future. This is most definatly NOT opensource.

windows CE (haha)

and a few others I cant remember.

back to the meeting where I only understand 10% =). maybe i'll learn something through osmosis.

Friday, December 03, 2004

no speakers

speakers should be outlawed in a 'work' environment, that is if they want me to get any 'work' done. my last cube mate would play songs each and every day. its really hard to concentrate when someone else is playing THEIR music to the world. If i'm not mistaken thats why they invented the head phones. for PRIVATE enjoyment.

on that note another coworker only listens to ONE song one last breath. he listens to it on his SPEAKERS about once every two months. cranks it up for the first half of the song and then turns it back down. I've gotta say, listening to one decent song every 2 months on speakers is much more enjoyable to having a cube try his hand at mixing each and every day.

since one last breath is a little depressing it gives great insight into his mood. usually he plays it when a project is due.. or when its friday. I'd think its more of a monday song but maybe thats just me.

Thursday, December 02, 2004


openTCPis the the free stack that is included with the NE64 demo kit. I did some reading about it over lunch and depending on the target I think the target needs almost 20k of flash and 2600bytes of ram. I think the free tools that come with the demo kit will only compile up to 12k of program so i'm wondering how much of the openstack I can fit in there without having to shell out a ton for the real dev. tools. the only way to tell is to just do it. its cold so I'm out of excuses for not spending more time developing on my off time. oh wait.. one more excuse, bittorrent =)

VXworks vs QNX

I really wanted to learn more about embedded development. since I'm an EE I've had minimal exposure to code level development although it seems I'm able to fix the programmers problems fairly well. when I was an intern at qwest I debugged some mainframe code in about 10 minutes because I Just wanted to go back to my desk. because of that the lead programmer dude offered me a job when he transfered to a startup. now in this job I seem to be the only one to know what an RTOS is. the guy across the cube is writting code for an HC08 and I"ve gotta tell him what he's doing. how ironic. but i digress.....

is what I wanted to say is that we do some work with VXworks, but we have brought in a speaker on QNX next week so we can compare to the competition. I got myself signed up for the lecture (even though I"m not an official programmer (yet)) so that should be fun. I'm really looking forward to learning more about it and I seem to remember something about QNX having an opensource offering? I haven't looked it up but I thought it was them. ahh.. I might even get a free lunch out of it.

stupid nerds

I work with stupid nerds. I Posted this outside my cube and people keep coming back because they can't figure it out.

BYO LCD Projector

ever though of building your own LCD video projector? well I Have. and now I see someone has done EXACTLY what I was going to do and it works! how awesome is that. the contrast/brightness is probably a bit poor. (as in you will only be able to watch it in a dark room) but who cares. its cheep! now all I gotta find is an old video projector that takes those 10$ bulbs (as compared to the 300$ bulbs in the professional projectrs). check it out at TOMs hardware and be sure to go through a few pages and get the 20meg video to watch of how to construct it.


you guys ever heard of a honeypot? I'm not talking about the winny the pohh either. its a nice little system used for all kinds of things. mostly I interpret it as a big piece of BAIT set out there to get hacked so you can learn what the 'bad guys' methods are, or get an early warning on incoming threats.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Blu-ray vs HD-DVD

Blu-Ray and HD-DVD are the new standards in portable optical storage. Do the rest of you remember the jump from 1.44meg diskette to 650mb CD's? that was awesome, a gain of 450. With this type of improvement we need too START our next standard at 293gig. yeah, you read that right, we need to START there. not this measly 25gig crap. how am I suppose to back up a 400gig HD on 25gig media. thats stupid.

Blu-ray is projected to hit 200gig when they get to 8 layers thick. HD-DVD is starting out at 15gig with projections to hit 30gig. 4 major studios (45% market share) are now backing the crappy HD-DVD standard with toshiba. the rest of the industry is moving to blu-ray.

I vote for blu-ray, but its still lacking.

i'm Aqua

Proof I have a split personality. I'll be like this monday, but you better look out on wednesday


You enjoy life, humor, and being exuberant. Wherever you go you usually find yourself stealing the spotlight without even trying. You love to let go and have fun.

Find out your color at Quiz Me!

Your score was 134/180.
1,835,427 people have taken this quiz.
And 153,961 got Aqua like you.

Dirt Dumper

well where else am I suppose to dump my dirt?