Thursday, June 30, 2005

linux HDD

in my never fulfilled quest to persue embedded technology I ran across an ethernet hard disk drive with wireless acess, a USB port, and I presume a print server that is Linux based for $85. now that seems pretty reasonable to me.

see it on
referenced from


I rather like this animated gif, probably the BEST use of an animated GIF I've seen to date, in the almost 10 year history of the animated GIF

google video

google video bassed in part on VLC should be VERY interesting. I can't wait.

according to this the player was cracked by the author of deCSS

here is the so sue me page

hires wallpaper

its always nice to find something nice to look at

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

it looks like google is getting its feet wet in yet an even more expanded map product. to bad its in beta and I can't get a copy of it to play with.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005


I'm all for the CGA, VGA, SVGA sayings, but i'm totally lost with the newer list of 'sizes' to convert back to pixels, consult this chart for

Friday, June 24, 2005


I need a subscription to this! a dead battery, the storm is setting, how do you get the car started. I love this!

credit score

here is a little info on the illusive credit score model. I for one had heard it said that it was not good to have credit cards with high limits. this I learned is FALSE, as a high limit with none of it used INCREASES your avalable credit to used credit ratio. I also learned that it IS good to have multiple sources of credit (at least 3) as this is required to come up with an average.

and.. to the young among is, did you know the credit score was not utilitzed in aquiring a home mortgage until the mid 90's? our forefathers and grandfathers didn't have to worry about this crap!

made in america

I saw a bumper sticker that said

If all our cars are imports, where will our kids work?

it was on a honda.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

GIANTS flock to reno

this is a less than informative article on the housing boom in reno. kind of washed up numbers but at least it lists a few of the builders.

choosing tennants

good screaning process identifies good tenants talk to some of the warning signs that some potential tenants give. I like the one about bragging what they did to their last landlord. we actually had some of the applicants for one of our properties do this, and I remember thinking at the time what an IDIOT. does he not know I would be his landlord and its like telling me to my face that he is a jerk! a good read for the property investor among you.

shoe jobs

I received authorization yesterday to visit the shoe store and pick up a pair of safety shoes on the comany dime (since I work in manufacturing). I was fairly happy with the selection at redwing shoes and was able to find a pair of steel toe shoes WITH ES (electro static) protection. they kind of look like old grandma shoes but they'll serve the purpose. you can see it in all its ugly glory here. I was hoping for something a bit more professional but that was all they had in the store and I didn't fee like waiting for a special order.

the shoes retailed for around 140$, so with the mandatory discount for doing business with my company it came to 115$ after taxes or something. heres the funnny part. the shoes were on SALE for 99$ so the mandatory discount actually cost the company money. this is not the first time i've seen this happen, and from what i"ve witnessed it seems to be more of a norm than the exception for the company to get screwed by their own strong arming.

heres the cool part. the old guy running the store was like "hey, thats the exact same shoe someone from blah-blah-blah got last week!". now, anyone that needs a steel toe AND ESD protection definatly works in similar line of work that I do. (elecrtronic assembly / production). he gave me the names of two local business's that do similar work to mine and i'd never heard of them!

Next time I need to find a job, screw the temp agency, i'll go the a specialty shoe store and ask who bought 'this type of shoe'

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

bird to the head

this morning I was riding the BMW 1200GS to work, and was following a guy (maybe a gal) riding a harley. we were doing about 60 and a bird came in at a right angle to our path, and sideswiped this person in the head. I hope I don't get an early morning wake up call like that!

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

bram cohen

the author of Bit Torrent has a little blog type comments thing HERE. I think its some interesting reading, particularly the comments about rowing efficiency!

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Custom maps

Finally! after 2 years of trying I stumbled across the tools needed and finally had enough braincells active to understand the process of making your very own custom GPS map (for use on garmins only). it is as simple as 1,2,3, (4)!!

1) You need to capture your map. the garmin units use a Vector based system so you will need to use a tool to draw/trace the features you want in your map. I started with quakemap and have actually registered it. the vectors get exported to XML format

2) you then translate it. I have been using gpsmapedit a free program to convert to the strange format of .MP. so far I have not found a way to batch convert the vectors so I painstakinly go through, right click on each one and convert to poly line.

3) Compile it! this tool has been around for some time, but untill the recent addition of GUI interfaces to actually draw the vector content it seemed very unapealing. the free version does all that I need so far and can be found at they have some website that will do the conversion online (and I presume keep a copy of what it compiles) and I Think the online tool has more options that the free one. just something to keep in mind. some people have used another program called mapdekode, but I haven't looked into that yet.

4) I almost forgot this step, UPLOAD it! there is an accompanying program called sendmap that can do the job, or if your feeling a littly giddy you can try the hack on mapsource to view and upload it with garmins own tools. I've used sendmap. fast, simple, and it works.

I made a quick map (about 160 routes) around my place of residence. that coverse probably a 10 mile by 10 mile region. I'm hoping it will help me find all those tricky hidden backroads that you can only seem to find when you have a satelite view. this map (to my amazement) compiled to 10k. it was 450k as an XML file. thats great news, because my unit, a rhino 120 has 8meg.

if this isn't a good enough thing to get you guys going, read this other summary HERE I'm sure there are better and faster ways to do this, but right now i'm just happy its posible. i'll let you know if I find better ways to do it.

img2gps, front end for sendmap
gps visualizer
spatial data for POI starting point
convert to .MP format
dem2topo $250 but may be worth it.
dlg from usgs

Friday, June 17, 2005


I rarely read, but sometimes I wish I did more.
someday I'll have to get the complete ashes series. I've read several and really liked the mind numbing it bestowed. ISBN's here

a coworker has recomended the Pliocene Exiles from Julian May, more info found here. some of the early ones may no longer be in print. the series is comprised of Pliocene Exiles, Intervention, and Galactic Milieu

Thursday, June 16, 2005

next gen DVD has a VERY good writup on the nextgen DVD standards. it contains a great comparison of the HD-DVD and Blu-Ray standards as well as introducing some even more next generation concepts like holographic storage. if your a geek hop on over and give it a read. if you've never heard of Blu-Ray, don't waste your time reading it, you'll get lost. instead just rest content in the knowladge that great things will come in optical storage in the next 5 years.

brown nosing tuesdays

I work for big corporate america, and like all good places, the employees often get together and try to start trends, fashions, and what not. you've probably heard of the most famous, hawaiin fridays, where everyone is invited to wear a hawaiin shirt on fridays, or casual fridays, where everyone is invited to wear jeans....

well, we have the almost normal hawaiin thing, except it is on thursday. the cafeteria, which use to be not for profit, found a profitible ploy to offer free icecream to the hawaiin thursday crowd. they'll have to do better than that to get me join in on that.

then theres another group of people that always wear slacks, nice shirt, and a tie on MONDAY. yup.. never could get into that either...

the newest one I learned about is 'brown nosing tuesdays'. why I haven't heard about it before is beyond me, but I'm very happy to now consider myself that on tuesdays. its a small group of people that have a sarcastic sense of humor. brown nosing tuesdays consists of wearing a company shirt with a company logo on tuesdays. to the untrained eye it appears as though we are so proud of the company we like the strange dress wear we win or receive for various stupid work assignements, but to the intelect among us it is 'brown nosing tuesday', a sarcastic jab at the brown nosers higher on the corporate latter than we have been able to make it.

Monday, June 13, 2005

too old?

I know you guys are sick of painting, but I'm not. so lucky you, you get to read through another boring post about pigment enriched shed spread.

I was wandering around out back looking for my old illegally stashed paint cans. they use to be in the garage but they were taking up 'precious crap' space, so they got the boot and now reside outside on a random patch of earth with a 2x4 ontop. i'm not sure what purpose the 2x4 held, but thats how I found the stash of about 10 1-gal paint cans.

I was hoping beyond hope that one of these ancient things had a little of the trim paint left so I could do the upper trim on the shed. I was just beside myself when I found one that looked to have the right color smeared on the outside. the lable had long since desentigrated so reading what it was suppose to be was not an option.

I got the 1-gal stirrer our and attached to the dewalt cordless. I was hoping that even though the outside of the can was a little rusty things would be squeeky clean inside. imagine my surprise when I found more rust on the inside of the can than the outside! oh well.... nothing a good blending won't fix.. and its just going on the shed anyway.

once blended you could hardly tell it use to contain rust chips. I learned my lesson last time on the 5-gal bucket 'DONT SCRAPE THE SIDES' so that may have been one reason the paint looked usable.

after painting I re-sealed the can. the thing is so far gone I was concerned I wouldn't be able to get it to seal up again, but with the aid of several hammer blows the lid started to go down. its ready for another 5 year rest until someone needs it again.

Friday, June 10, 2005


S/PDIF is a digital format for sending audio. I've heard of it, but never done any thing or had anything that used it. it can be used in two flavors. optical or electrical (rca). the new DVD player has a digital (S/PDIF) out, and this got me thinking. awhile ago, a friend of mine gave me some digital speakers. what an oxymoron. how can speakers, something that generate compression waves (in the analog realm) be digital? have no fear. they still employe analog, it is just contained to the amplifier in the speaker. the link from the source to the speaker is what is using digital.

I plugged the speakers in with a standard RCA/RCA cable (usually used to plug your old style VCR into the TV before the advent of S-Video. this got me thinking.. the p4s800 motherboard I purchased over a year ago may have had a digital output. I dug through manuals online because I"ve lost mine, and i'm to lazy to actually stick my head around and look on the back of the computer. I thought it was particularly interesting that I was able to remember the model number of the motherboard yet be to lazy to look at it. maybe I am a geek. the online manual confirmed my board had SPDIF output. I plugged the cable in and NOTHING. how disapointing. then it dawned on me it must be a driver issue. 10 minutes later.. NOTHING. then it dawned on me it must be a BIOS issue. a reboot and a looksee and NOTHING..

hmm.. how weird. whats the point of an SPDIF output if it doesnt' actually do anything? when I restarted the machine it magically worked. it must be some autodetect on the hardware level to see if its plugged in, or autodetect in windows or something. soo....... digital output.

whats the downside? I use line in, and the soundcard does not automaticaly resample the line in and put it out the SPDIF. I was looking for a fullduplex utility to buffer my line in, and put it out (in essense using the computer to convert from analog to SPDIF) but I haven't found a utility in the 5 minutes of looking. all I really need is something that can record and playback at the same time. kind of like tivo for audio. if anyone sees it let me know.

now to find a few digital buffers, some resistors to cut the voltage back to 1vpp, and an isolation transformer from an old network card and I'll make an SPDIF with two inputs (one for the DVD, and one for the computer) so I don't have to pay 100$ or more for a stupid receiver that can switch SPDIF.

new house floor plan

2302 sq feet. 2 story, 4 bed, 3 bath, 3 car garage (pull through)

Thursday, June 09, 2005

new DVD burner

I figure its about time to join the 21'st century. I placed an order for a pioneer DVD burner and a 100pack of 16x media. thanks newegg. the total came to $93. the drive is suppose to do 6x DL disks, and just about everything else trendy. I wasn't going to splurge on the 16x media and was origionally planning on buying a 50 pack of 4x for around 15$ but if I bumped up to a 100 pack it cost around the same price per disk except I got 16x. i'll probably burn through that.


The philips DVP642 is a standalone DVD player that you can pickup at walmart, bestbuy, compusa, etc.. its an entry level player and mine was 59$ at bestbuy. after tax it came to $64. I had two 25$ giftcards so out of pocket expense was around 14$.

you can learn a little about it at

plays divx
plays xvid
plays mp3
plays JPG
region free by code punched in with remote
slim design
firmware upgradable
at $59 it is afforadable even if it had to be used as a boat anchor.

I gave it a bit of a rundown last night which was a little difficult because I don't own a TV. I pushed the video through the capture card. for some reason the program I was using (WINDVR) gets a big fat white box in the middle of the screen when playing DVD's but it didnt do this during any of my other testing. i'm sure its because my copy of windvr isn't registered correctly. how ironic. a piece of software that i actually OWN and it doesn't work right. that really makes you want to purchase software doesn't it.. but i digress.

things that would make this worth 10$ more:
show me more of the filename. it only shows the first 11 characters
read the TOC faster.. it can take 30 seconds to load a pretty big CD
play mp3's in random order. it may do this but I didn't read the manual yet.

all in all.. i'm very happy with the purchase. it will be lent out to some of my technological deprived friends who still watch video on a standard A/V system and don't have a method for alternative formats.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

sleepy painting

yesterday I got up before 4 in the morning to get to work at 5am. it was my big unanounced check on my employee day. I was secretly hoping that there would be several people late, no show, etc.. but everyone that was suppose to start at 5 was there and working. amazing. out of my 19 employees that start between 5 and 9. there were only two that were a few minutes late. of course they had the usual excuses and said they'd make up their time.

let me give you guys a little clue. I know alot of people don't believe in kissing the bosses butt and I have always been one of those people.. UNTIL I became a boss. the kisses are kind of nice, for a while, but after only a few days, you know what I like better? brevity. i'm not sure if I spelled that right, or if its even a word, but somewhere way down in my sub conscience (now I know thAT one has a spelling problem) that was what popped up. I am now a big appreciator of someone that can come to me with something in clear, and short terms tell me what their problem is and then LEAVE. alot of people think that when they stick around to chit-chat they are following doing a little kissing of the hinny, but in fact they are not.

phew.. with that out of the way...

since I started at 5 in the morning, I was home before 3. what a nice change! what to do with my new found afternoon?! paint the shed of course. a few weeks ago a spanish guy nocked on the door and said he noticed my shed wasn't painted. I declined his offer and told him i'd get to it later this summer. he gave me an annoyed look and then explained he was a contractor and had 5 gals of paint that was a pretty good match to my house if I wanted it. I sheapeshly agreed (why I thought he was offering to paint it i'm not sure.. it was just what I assumed). when he brought it over I tried to pay him for it but he declined. he lives a few houses down.

so... I painted 3 sides. to do the 4'th I'll have to take the fence down, paint and then put the fence back up. the paint is a good match, and with the 5 gals I may be able to touch up some of the house.

I got some paint stirrers for the drill. one is for a 1gal can, and the other a 5gal can. the smaller cost 2.99 and the other 3.99 at lowes. full metal, good quality. I was able to mix the thing without getting paint all over the inside of the garage (and new motorcycle) so that was a plus. I tried to purchase a cheap 4" brush, but they were out, so I was forced to get a 7$ brush. I painted about 128 sqft with an old crappy 2.5" brush. that went pretty good. then the brush started to gum up so I busted out the new 7$ beuty. WHAT A DIFFERENCE. everyone always says pay your good money in trim brushes but for me and my painting skill the 7$ brush was WELL WORTH IT. I could go almost twice as fast (not just because the brush was about twice was wide) but because with the higher quality bristles I actually had to make less strokes to get the paint into weird areas of the textured siding.

woulnd't you konw it.. this morning it was raining. I think the paint was sufficiently setup before it started raining but i'll look closer tonight.

I used alot less paint than I thought I would. maybe 1.5 qts for almost 300 sq feet. i'll have to look at the container I was using but that seemed pretty good to me. jen promptly said that I needed another coat so maybe my eyes and method arn't as good as I thought they were.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

high altitude pics

here some hams got together and made a high altitude balloon with a gps a camera payload. the cameras were disposable the the GPS receiver was 20$ on closeout from radio shack. the thrifty among us could learn alot from these guys. one step above dumpster diving in my book.

nock around cam?

I've been looking for a cheap nock around cam that I can take where I usually wouldn't take a camera. like mount it on the front of the motercycle. put it in a pouch during rock climbing. try a ziplock underwater... that kind of thing.

it seems 130$ may get you pocket dv2 a cam capable of 1280 by 1024 stills, and low quality video. AND it can write to a 512meg compact flash! hmm... might just be the cheap hunk o junk i'm looking for.

this was from a article I was reading about a disposalbe 20 min. video camera for $30. that may be worth something to if it is hacked.

supposedly there is an even better one than the dv2 the dv350 I'll have to keep reading.

other links
a blogger that used the cvs video camera
hacking the cvs still

Sunday, June 05, 2005

no new cycle, BUT....

so we were planning on going to look at an F650gs (motorcycle) for sale this weekend, but we got side tracked. instead, I ended up fixing a CAT backhoe (blown fuse), and we bought another house. I know.. I know, a bit different than what we thought we'd be doing.

the house? 2300 sqft, 2 story, lot is 6600 sq feet. if you punch that into google you'll see that that is the definition of a POSTAGE STAMP. the house will be done jan31. in the $400k range.

we are thinking of building a climbing wall in the dining room. it is open to the full height of the 2 story, so that should get the appetite going.

anybody wanna buy my current house? if you don't want to buy it, i'll consider renting it to you. it has a nice new slightly illegal shed that fits 4 motorcycles. if you have more than I do, you may be able to fit 6 in it.

Friday, June 03, 2005

BMW F650GS tour the world

4 F650GS's tour the world here and really tempts me to buy one for sale for $4k in the local paper. I wonder what the differences are between the 01 model and the current production model?
f650 review
f650 classifieds

energy storage

I'm a sucker for technology, not just the micro electronics, but the macro electronics as well, specifically power generation and storage. I ran across an interesting place HERE that re-introduced me to a few storage methods I had forgotten about, and some I never knew hit production (like the fly wheel).

- ZnBr
- NaS
- Li-Ion
- Super Capacitor
- Flywheels
- Lead-Acid Battery
- Pumped Hydro Storage
- Metal–Air Battery

Wednesday, June 01, 2005


I recieved a letter about a month ago that said my application to the masters program was missing two forms. I filled this stuff out and sent it back, and on the cover sheet of the fax said PLEASE CALL ME OR EMAIL ME and tell me the status of the application. is anything missing or is it complete?

they never called or wrote so this morning I called up to the people that I faxed the paperwork to and they had no idea what i was talking about, they said I needed to talk to the grad school. so I called them, they had no idea what I was talking about. they said my application had been received and approved months ago. they also said it was my fault for receiving a letter and not acting on it a month ago.

now wait a sec... I received a letter that had wrong information and now your accusing me of being stupid for not acting on it? and now that I have, you say you have no idea?

this masters thing is going to FUN. i can see that already. you'd think a business school would know how to shuffle papers, but apparently not.

bottom line. i still don't know if everything was received, but people 'say' everything was taken care of months ago, but no one will pull the file to verify.