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September 2005

Written By: Gary on September 28, 2005 One Comment

So I can’t even tell you how disappointed I was in this weeks episode of Lost (season 2 episode 2). It had two “plots”, don’t worry I’m not going to give much away at all. One was 75% of the show and it was a long elaboration of the last 3 minutes of last week’s episode which offered (pretty much) nothing else and ended at pretty much the same point as last week. The other “plot” was drawn out out on the ocean and you’ll get the gist of it in the intro when you watch it next week. So if you choose Veronica Mars this week (which is probably what they were afraid of) I’m guessing you made the better choice…

FYI, it looks like they are showing encore presentations (reruns) of the Wednesday episodes of Veronica Mars on Sundays at 7 PM.

Written By: Gary on September 26, 2005 One Comment

Once again, Yahoo is having a killer deal with domain name registration. Only $2.99 a year and they let you register for up to five years! Get your name, your kid’s name or business name before someone snatches it up. Usually it’s $9.95 but quite often you can get it on special for $4.95.


Usually cheap prices like this only let you do a year at a time. And you don’t have to use Yahoo for anything else, most web servers let you host your domain name anywhere. Back in the old days of the ‘net, it was $50 a year (I’m not kidding).

I’ve been using this for a few domains since the last deal and I haven’t had any problems. I’m off to get a few more…

Written By: Gary on September 25, 2005 No Comment

So I saw Flight Plan yesterday. I enjoyed it, I definitely wouldn’t have enjoyed the flight. Think Die Hard / Passenger 57 with Jodie Foster as the ultra smart airplane engineer (who has to consider the ideafact that she might be a little crazy) but there is no visible enemy. How do you fight back?

Flightplan (Widescreen Edition) Robert Schwentke, Karen Inwood SomersSo you’re on a plane and have a hysterical mother who’s missing her child during a flight. What do you do? Even if you don’t believe her, what do you do? Lots of screaming and calming down. The movie made a lot of people look suspicious though, it made it hard to pay attention at first.

Very cool plane, a LCD TV in every seat, it was bugging me that I couldn’t figure out how the trays came out (but yet didn’t still block the screen). The soundtrack was very mellow, I expected different from James Horner for this type of movie, please note I didn’t say bad or disappointing, I just thought it’d be a little more ala Brainstorm.

I enjoyed it, it was pretty much what I expected. A few (maybe more than a few) loopholes but it’s a movie and I can can live with that. Most of the reviews I’ve read didn’t seem to like it, but as I said, I enjoyed it.

I’ve always enjoyed Jodie Foster, the earliest memories of her are Paper Moon (TV series) Tom Sawyer and Foxes. The last one, Foxes, always crosses my mind when I think of her, I recall it being really intense and depressing but that was so long ago and I always mean to rent/buy it but I never remember. I know she was in Freaky Friday and Taxi Driver (which I never saw) but I never think of those until I see a list (and sometimes I confuse her movies with Tatum O’Neil (but I think that’s because she was in the Paper Moon movie). I remember reading she was a Macintosh user too…

Pay attention to the beginning five minutes. When she’s with the husband, when she looks out her daughter’s window and the cab driver. I don’t know if they have any relevance, but I sure wish I had paid more attention to the people in those scenes at the beginning. Like I said maybe there is nothing, but at least you’ll know…

Written By: Gary on September 25, 2005 One Comment

Sarah said:
1. Go into your archive.
2. Find your 23rd post (or closest to).
3. Find the fifth sentence (or closest to).
4. Post the text of the sentence in your blog along with these instructions.

“I’m the guy who still hardcodes his own HTML and I just didn’t get it.”

“It” was using special software like Movable Type to run a web log. Why would I every want to do that?

FYI, this was over 800 posts ago on January 5, 2004 and the title was Might as well face it… (I’m addicted to blog!)

Written By: Gary on September 25, 2005 2 Comments

So I was playing with the language translators on-line. I was trying to do a full conversion of my page to french and then back again so you could view the whole thing, but I had technical difficulties. So here’s the original paragraph and next to it that same paragraph converted to french and back to english. The third column is that translation from to spanish and back again.

English So I slept great last night. Lately, a good night’s sleep has been five or six hours, I haven’t even been able to sleep on my days off lately. I’m thinking I got around eleven hours sleep so I’m feeling pretty good today. I actually woke up in a panic around seven that the alarm didn’t go off and I was late for work. But once I realized that wasn’t the case I was able to get back to sleep for another five hours!!! :) English to French to English Thus I slept the great last night. Recently, a sleep of the good night was five or six hours, I could not even sleep my days with far recently. I think that I had around eleven hours sleep thus I smell very good today. I really awoke in a panic around seven that alarm did not go to far and I was late for work. But once that I realized who was not the case I could to obtain again with the sleep during five more hours!!! :) English to Spanish to English I slept yesterday so great at night. Lately, a dream of the good night has been five or six hours, I have not even been able to sleep lately in my days dull. I am thinking that I obtained eleven hours around I sleep so be feeling quite good today. I really woke up in a panic around seven that was not extinguished alarming and was slow for the work. ¡But once he made that it was not the case I could obtain of new to the dream by other five hours!!! :)

Lots of language translators at http://www.humanitas-international.org/newstran/more-trans.htm

The “sleep” paragraph is from a few posts back. It was short and seemed like a good choice.

PS- I slept crummy last night since i got so much sleep the night before…

Written By: Gary on September 25, 2005 No Comment

John Dvorak does an article called “Dvorak’s Blogging Primer” in the October 18, 2005 issue of PC Magazine. It’s just over two pages and it’s not bad. He breaks it down pretty concisely and does a huge sidebar (2/3 of the page) called “Anatomy of a Blog”. It’s interesting so check it out or I can send you a free digital issue (see below).

The article, which starts of page 60, also has some followups by others: One on RSS Feeds and another on creating podcasts.

I use Zinio for some of my magazine subscriptions (including PC Magazine). It’s a digital reader (kind like Adobe Acrobat) for magazines. I get a half dozen magazine subs this way (mostly free from offers on-line). They allow you to send some free issues to people. I’m sure they want you to see how easy it is and have you subscribe. But if you want to try it out leave a comments and say you’d like a free issue and I’ll send an invite, I’m not sure if I have a limit, we’ll see…

FYI on Zinio, some subscriptions are a lot cheaper, some aren’t it just depends. Sometimes you can find free subscriptions on-line. They have a variety of free samples if you poke around. A lot of free trade magazines too. It looks like they have a new feature with different free magazines from different ends of the globe.

They’re starting to offer textbooks, I don’t think I’d like that. Here’s three free samples of the textbooks (genetics, psych and business) too.

Written By: Gary on September 24, 2005 One Comment

So I slept great last night. Lately, a good night’s sleep has been five or six hours, I haven’t even been able to sleep on my days off lately. I’m thinking I got around eleven hours sleep so I’m feeling pretty good today. I actually woke up in a panic around seven that the alarm didn’t go off and I was late for work. But once I realized that wasn’t the case today I was able to get back to sleep for another five hours!!! :)

That’s 16 hours total!

Written By: Gary on September 23, 2005 No Comment

CNN has an interesting hurricane web page, you can go all the way back to Dennis of 2005 for information. The information for the current hurricanes is kept relatively up-to-date.

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Written By: Gary on September 23, 2005 2 Comments

So the more I think about this the more I’m bummed I didn’t think of it. This guy, Alex, is doing a web page and he’s selling pixels for $1 a piece (minimum 100 pixels). He’s sold $100,000 worth so far so he’s well on his way to paying for college. Sure it’s a gimmick, but it’s working :)

My guess is that he’ll top out at 1/4 to 1/3 of a million (400,000 tops) at some point it’s gotta get visually unappaealing.

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Written By: Gary on September 23, 2005 No Comment

So for as much as I’ve been watching it the waves at this web cam in Corpus Christi at the Bob Hall Pier have definetly been getting worse today. They say they’re keeping it up during Hurricane Rita but as I started writing this I noticed people on the pier, so maybe I need to look at a map to see where this is in the path…

Found by Amy at All About Me.

UPDATE: So it looks like they are going to be just (and I do mean just) south of the hurricane’s path. Flooding warnings at the NOAA site.

Also, I fixed the link (it was the wrong one). And they are experiencing traffic difficulties with everyone linking so it’s gotten slower…

Written By: Gary on September 23, 2005 No Comment

So I like maps and when I saw this in someone’s sidebar I felt the need to get one of my own. You can click the bottom to see additional local feeds.

It’s kinda funny since it’s uses the smiley face which is what I used to use as my favicon, now I use the little (you might see it in the address bar of your browser). Click the “Bloggers nearby” for a larger map. I haven’t decided if it’s permanently going in the sidebar yet…

Can any of you geekier types tell me why when on the larger map if you point to most of the other blogs the popup says their name under the site name (and why mine doesn’t)? I’m looking at their source and I don’t see it…

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Written By: Gary on September 22, 2005 3 Comments

WikifallequnoxToday, at 5:23 PM, the Autumnal Equinox occurs (in the southern hemisphere the spring equinox occurs). This is the day when the sun rises exactly in the east and sets exactly in the west. This is when the northern hemisphere starts to get colder as “the Sun crosses over the Earth’s equator on its way south” (more info from Universe in Motion). See the diagram for the Winter solstice to illustrate what it’ll look like in a few months.

I’ve also read that it starts at 14 minutes after the hour (instead of 23, but 23 seems to be most referred to).

I’ve also gotten ready for the season by changing my blog look. It’s very similar to fall a few years ago, but I always liked the leaves.

Written By: Gary on September 21, 2005 No Comment

CNN says Rita becomes third most intense hurricane on record:Hurricanerita2005.Accu

“Rita — the powerful Category 5 storm plowing across the Gulf of Mexico – has become the third most intense hurricane on record, according to National Hurricane Center data. Long lines of cars Wednesday headed out of coastal Texas towns and Houston — the fourth most populous city in the country. Evacuating parents were told to take photos of their children and to give them identification in case they get separated.”


Now that’s a nightmare, worrying about getting separated from your babies while during the storm, I can’t even imagine. What the heck is going on with the weather these days?!? I can barely remember any weather disasters compared to any of these hurricanes and tsunamis in the past year. I remember occasional hurricanes and tornados in my life, but it’s just been non-stop lately. They’re having to relocate the relocated people from Katrina. This is like Irwin Allen / Movie of the Week kinda stuff…

My thoughts go out to everyone who’s in this mess. The same for those worried about friends and family.

Tuesday night, the sheriff (from Louisiana) wrote a check for $2.5 million out of the department’s bank account — which only had $23,000 in it — to reserve 150 trailers for his staff.

I’m not sure how long NOAA will have this photo up (551k), but it’s amazing… They keep current events up for about 60 days, check out some of the archive.

Written By: Gary on September 21, 2005 4 Comments

 .macI just noticed that .Mac expanded their storage from 250MB to 1GB (as of August 2007 it’s now 10GB!) which makes it even better! If you have a Macintosh, you’ll love this (especially if you have a laptop or more than one Mac). It’s a remote backup / synchronization / virus checking / file sharing / training / web publishing software service rolled all-in-one! I was going to post an update and I realized I’ve never posted about it before (I’d swear I had, I can’t believe I hadn’t). Here’s a few details:

  • You get an iDisk which just mounts on your desktop like a hard drive, floppy or thumb drive. It has remote storage (off your computer) and will automatically sync when you are on the net (but you can use it even when you aren’t on the net). This is great if you have a laptop. If you lose/break it, you still have you files.

  • These files are then accessible (via password) from most Windows and Macs that are on the Internet.
  • If you have a second (or third computer) it’ll also sync to make sure all the computers have the same files.
  • It does the same for you Bookmarks/Favorites, your Mail settings, your contacts and your calendar. Plus you can log in anywhere from the web to view this information!
  • Plus they give you web space to very easily publish photos and movies (just click a button from iPhoto and iMovie).Banner
  • A yourname@mac.com e-mail address. (You share the storage space with the filespace)
  • Free virus software. (no longer included)
  • Free backup software (to CDs, DVDs, etc.)
  • On-line tutorials for Apple “stuff”
  • Some free garageband loops.
  • All sorts of other stuff!
  • You can buy more storage space and additional mail accounts.

    They offer a 60 day free trial so give it a try, it’s very easy to set up. It is $99 a year (sometimes on-sale) but it’s so easy to use…

    They have some family plans (you get less storage for the four subaccounts) which cost less in the end. You can buy more storage or more e-mail. They are a little pricier but the ease of use is worth it.

    This is a really cool product, I can’t believed I’ve never mentioned it before. And the easy of use makes it even better. If you were geeky enough you could probably do the remote back up much cheaper, but the work involved and that it wouldn’t do all you other preferences and include virus and all the easy web published and tutorials (and more).

    I’m thinking the storage increase must be very new, a lot of the online ads don’t even reflect it yet.

  • Written By: Gary on September 21, 2005 One Comment

    Some of these short little posts about the gas prices just aren’t going to make sense someday when someone looks back at these posts. These days I can just say “$2.38” to someone and it makes sense (they know I’m talking about the gas prices) but if it ever gets reasonable again it won’t be as clear.

    FYI, for gas prices I keep an eye on detroitgasprices.com (not more than 24 hours out of date), I don’t rush out when I see a great price but if I’m heading in the direction I’ll get it. It just gives me an idea of if it’s in the $2.40s or $2.70s today. Also, sites like this are more up-to-date when prices are very high (what ever constitutes high that year). GasBuddy.com is the parent site and lists all over the country.

    They do charts too!


    Yes, I know the charts don’t exactly fit right, click for full size if they look funny. (They do look okay in some browser and some resolutions)

    Written By: Gary on September 21, 2005 4 Comments

    Ugh. I haven’t slept well in days and days. The big problem is in the getting to sleep. At least I don’t have to work in the morning so I can (hopefully) sleep in and catch up a little…

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    Written By: Gary on September 20, 2005 One Comment

    Yes, that’s for a whole gallon!!!

    Ann Arbor Trail and Telegraph (Redford/Dearborn Heights, Michigan).

    Written By: Gary on September 19, 2005 2 Comments

    So Buy.com is selling books at 10% less than Amazon with free shipping. Plus they are giving you $30 off if you sign up for their charge card. So I picked up a few of the books om my Amazon wish list. I wasn’t thinking about it at all when they came in today so I’ll have a few more reviews in the (near?) future. One of them I’m not sure if I actually have it already, I’ll have to check when I get home.

    Speaking of Amazon, I had a second (and third surprise). I got some sheets I ordered a few weeks back and a shirt that I have no idea when I ordered it (both were way on sale). I never order clothes by mail but the shirt was a deal (maybe I ordered it with the sheets?), we’ll see how that works out.

    Written By: Gary on September 18, 2005 2 Comments

    WhirlyBall birthdayI never really gave any followup on the birthday, even after all the great comments, here’s a little more info: So last weekend a group of us went to play WhirlyBall, picture a playing catch with a whiffle ball and scoops, but you’re shooting for a target at the end of the court and you’re driving bumper cars (no, I’m not kidding). It’s hysterical, we had a blast, friends, relatives and people I work (and worked) with. They have a bar there and we had pizzia, munchies and (of course) cake.

    Lot’ of funny cards, gift cards and books. I’m always pretty had to buy for so there were actually lots of gift cards. I’m not good at the whole getting the gifts thing, I was just be pretty happy to have lots of people there. Afterwards some of us, (I’ll define “us” as the ‘kids’ without any aunts/uncles or parents there), went out for some drinks and more conversation. I went out with friend’s and family at other various times: this means meals, drinks and presents :)

    I’ll be mentioning books and music and other things as I read and listen to them. I really need to get a better digital camera for low light (FYI, that’s my Mom in front), maybe I’ll consolidate some of my gift cards and take the plunge. We should have done a posed picture out on the court.

    My cousin Scott was there, who I just found out blogs and he’s already mentioned playing in his blog. Katie was the rebound queen and one of the high scorers and also has a blog. We only had one little kid there, Thomas, but they wouldn’t even let us take him for a spin while oone else was on the court…

    Speaking of blogs, Dave (from eMusings at Chez Goodman) mentioned it was my birthday so I had a few new visitors from his place…

    Thanks again for all the nice wishes! :)

    Written By: Gary on September 17, 2005 5 Comments

    So I don’t usually take these quizzes but this one looked kinda interesting, so I took it. It’s only 16 questions, so give it a try…

    31.25 %

    My weblog owns 31.25 % of me.
    Does your weblog own you?

    Written By: Gary on September 16, 2005 No Comment

    So I have two Internet problems today (last night):
    1) The hotel I’m at has the slowest Internet connection I’ve ever seen or had. But at least it’s free.
    2) My web sites are down, so I don’t know when this will actually get posted.

    Written By: Gary on September 14, 2005 No Comment

    AwizardofmarsI know I’ve mentioned Diane Duane several times before. But I just got her last two Wizardry books (7-The Wizard’s Holiday and 8-Wizards at War, the latter which came out early!) for my birthday (I read the one, but it just recently came out in paperback and I hadn’t gotten it yet since I had it on my Wishlist) the other is my only hard cover of it. She writes a wide gambit of stuff but the Wizardry books are my favorite and the first two are among my favorite books ever. As books like that go, they are probably more Narnia than HP. Part of what I like are there are rules that define How Wizardry Works, you just don’t wave a wand…

    So I’m excited about the new book that’s coming out later next year, A Wizard of Mars, generally if they leave the planet it’s for another galaxy or dimension, this will be pretty close to home. Probably tie into some real science and be more fun that just some make believe planet.

    Written By: Gary on September 14, 2005 One Comment

    Considering it was 60 cents more a week or so ago, this is pretty good. I got a half tank of gasoline so I’m all topped off…

    And what’s just as important as this post is, it’s also important that it wasn’t about music or iPods or Apple.

    It was in Allen Park (or maybe Melvindale), MI at Allen and Outer Drive.

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    Written By: Gary on September 14, 2005 No Comment

    ArstechnicatestedWhile the previous What’s Inside an iPod Nano ?!? examination was more of a vivisection, these folks at ARS Technica took to a new level in a stress test (followed by a dissection). They didn’t expect the patient to live so they had to keep upping the ante of their test. Just so you know, dropping your iPod Nano while you bicycle may not cause any problems at all. Actually, there’s a chance it’ll survive being dropped while your driving the car (at 50 MPH). Don’t worry about running it over, okay, maybe you should worry about running it over, but it doesn’t mean the music will stop playing! (The good stuff starts on page 3)

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    Written By: Gary on September 13, 2005 2 Comments

    So on Systm (actually it was SubSystm, a short show focusing on one topic) they just felt the need to crack open the beautiful iPod nano. They filmed it live so you get to see all the guts inside (here’s the specific episode). Besides a little bit of an iPod infomercial, the show included a putty knife, a screwdriver and some really dangerously thin ribbon cables that he was afraid to break remove.

    It looks to me like it’ll be easy to replace the battery in the future. It also looks like (assuming the hardware will support it) that it might be easy to replace the memory chips with something larger in the (far) future. Even if it won’t supoort it, they’ll adapt it, everything else is done (you can’t make it much smaller with a screen and a clickwheel), it’s just getting the size of the memory down (a 60GB nano would be nice someday).

    Systm is a show that Kevin and some of the other Screen Savers create and distribute on-line (and via podcasts) Kevin said that there wasn’t a TV out on it like on the iPod photo, I thought (maybe just assumed?) that there was one :(

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    Written By: Gary on September 11, 2005 5 Comments

    Thanks for all the nice comments about my birthday. They were all really great! Today’s the actually day and we’re just about run out to dinner, so I’ll give a little more of a run down tonight or tomorrow. Thanks again!

    Written By: Gary on September 9, 2005 No Comment
    1] Would you accept $1,000,000 to leave your country and never step foot in it again? Why/why not?
    If I could get a waiver to come back for when my Mom needs me (older/sick/etc.), I’d take the deal! Where do I sign?!? I like it here, but to retire and go live somewhere and the only work I’d have to do is stuff I’d like and live off the rest, I’m already packing the bags and booking my flight to Costa Rica (or wherever).


    2] If your friends and acquaintances were willing to bluntly and honestly tell you what they really thought of you, would you want them to? Why/why not? Do you feel that your friends and family members *already* are pretty honest with you?
    I’m hoping if there is something that would be a shock that I’d have already been told by now, so it wouldn’t be a shock. So I’m assuming they are already, but you never know…

    3] You notice a severe, self-destructive behavior pattern in a friend who is clearly unaware of it. Would you point it out? Why/why not?
    Heck yeah! Why? Because it’s self-desructive, that’s why.


    4] If you could script the basic plot for the dream you will have tonight, what would the story be?
    Sorry, I try to keep this blog rated G (or even PG).


    5] How often do you step back and reflect upon the way you are living and where you are headed? Do you often set goals for yourself? Why/why not?
    Yeah, but they haven’t been being met lately. Most of them revolve around dating or children so some of it’s a little out of my control… But I’m back into looking into adopting again. A co-worker just did it and seems happy with the organization she worked with.

    From the Friday Forum.

    I’m actually doing a Friday Meme on Friday, what are the odds of that?!?

    Written By: Gary on September 9, 2005 8 Comments

    My whine(?) for the month (I try not to very often):
    I remember when September 11 was a regular day and it just meant it was my birthday (and probably 1/365th of everyone else in the world’s birthday too) it was special to me. These last few years it’s been more of an anti-holiday. It’s been nice that it hasn’t been overshadowed with depressing stuff this year, but it’s probably partially due to the other disaster’s going on right now so it’s not really a plus… :(

    Written By: Gary on September 9, 2005 One Comment

    So I found this cool meme and the object is to make a list of 101 goals and get them done in 1001 days. I’m going to put something together and see how far I get. This ties in with today’s Friday Forum (goals and reflections) and 9/11 (no, not that 9/11, the other one).

    Actually, I didn’t find it Sarah did.

    Written By: Gary on September 9, 2005 No Comment

    I’m at Wendy’s right now (a single with cheese/lettuce/tomato, a potato and a coca-cola, since you asked) and they’re playing Breathe 2AM by Anna Nalick. I just love that song. It was strange, because I could feel it before I figured out what it was (volume is low and the restaurant is loud).

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    Written By: Gary on September 9, 2005 No Comment

    So I know all it seems like is that I’m talking about these days is phones, music, iPods and cable bills lately, but I’ve been really geeked about the new Apple “toys” and I always like reducing costs on recurring charges (like phones, cell phones and cable). Saving $10-15 a month each on your phone, cell and cable, while avoiding any overages could be $500 year. That’s not being cheap, it’s avoiding being wasteful. If you don’t care about saving money this’ll be a boring post so just skip it.

    Speaking of reducing charges, I’ve also reduced my cell phone bill and maybe my savings can help you too. I’m with Sprint, whom I occasionally hear people complain about, but I think they’re great at home (Detroit Area) and when traveling I’ve almost always had great service (it was a weak in the Grand Canyon). I had a lot of minutes on my phone, I haven’t been using them all (not even a third) but I’d rather have a cushion and not go over than the pay the huge overages (100 minutes over at 40 cents a minute is $40!). But they’ve had this fair and flexible plan which if you go over they charge by blocks of minutes at a much more reasonable rate. I looked at them before and they didn’t strike me as great, but I just looked again and it seemed a better deal (I don’t know if it changed or I just wasn’t paying attention). I lowered my plan by 400 minutes so I’m saving $15 a month and it’s $5 increments for 100 minute blocks if you go over (a lot cheaper) after that. So unless I go over 300 hundred minutes I’ll be paying the same price but at the rate I’ve been going, I’ll definitely be saving money. YMMV with other phone companies…

    I also just made the leap to ditch my POTS land line, so I really wanted to make sure I’m not going to get nailed for overages. At $40+ a month with taxes, that with my other savings is another month’s mortgage payment. FYI, if you can make an extra mortgage payment a year it shaves about 7 years off your total mortgage.

    With Sprint, changing your plan means generally (99% of the time, especially if lowering your plan) means redoing a 2 year contract. I had 6 months left so I really only ended up tacking on 18 more months. Plus, they gave me $150 to spend towards a new phone if I want it since I renewed the contract (for my mother’s line they only offered me $75 towards a new phone).

    They also offer 6 o’clock nights so if you do a lot of you calling starting then you can add that to save some minutes (if you have a 9pm nights plan it’s $5 for 7pm and $10 for 6pm to start unlimited calling). If you’ve been with them for a bit you can usually get them to waive the 7pm fee. A little haggling and you can get them to wave the $5 for mobile to mobile free calling and if you really have been with them for a while you can get a 5% courtesy discount, I know there are people with better plans than that, but I haven’t been able to do better. To get any of the “discounts” like these you have to ask several times and sometimes re-word it before they give you some of the options. I haven’t been able to get them to give me the 6pm nights for even $5, they want to throw away my $5 discount and charge me the whole $10, we’ll see how the plan works with the new stuff.

    They’ve also lowered altered the Vision data plans, it looks like if you don’t have a camera (or video-player) in your phone you can get the $10 plan ($5 for additional phones) instead of the $15 plan.

    Written By: Gary on September 8, 2005 No Comment

    Apple iTunes music store statistics: I’m listening to the keynote as I get stuff done here and I thought some of the numbers were huge enough to mention. They sell 1.8 million songs a day. They have 82% of the market share in the us, 85% of the market of the world wide music stores. They have 2,000,000 song vs. 200,000 from 2.5 years ago. And they have ten million accounts on iTunes.

    For podcasting, which they just added few months ago, they have over 15,000 feeds and 7,000,000 subscriptions.

    I wasn’t sure yesterday but the Harry Potter content is exclusive to iTunes and so is the selling of individual Madonna tracks.

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    Written By: Gary on September 8, 2005 One Comment

    So yesterday Apple released the iPod Nano. You’d think with the other stuff going on I would have realized there was just one more thing…

    The iPod Nano has 2GB and 4GB models, color screen, click wheel, thin as a pencil (3.5 x 1.6 x 0.27 inches and 1.5 ounces) and I think it’s all solid state (no hard drive) so it doesn’t skip and that should help the battery life too. It’ll hold up to 1,000 songs or 25,000 photos (4GB version) and it comes in black or white. The more I look the more I like. My question is how small can they keep them this size but still get them up to 80 (or 100) GB?

    I’m sorry that I’m such an Apple geek, I just think they make really stuff (I’m not really sorry). And with the iPods everyone (even Windows people) can benefit from it. I’m sure these work as external storage devices too. Photo/diagram in the extended entry.


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    Written By: Gary on September 7, 2005 One Comment

    Plus: So they’ve finally released a phone with Apple iTunes it’s the ROKR by Motorola (with a camera and speakers built in), it’s sorta like a shuffle with a display. Very cool! 100 Songs on your phone to sync with iTunes (I assumed you would be able download via the phone but I don’t see any references to that, so I guess not). It’s $249, but I’m sure it’ll drop by the holidays… (It looks like you can get it for $99 after rebates and activating a plan)

    Minus: They release a new version of iTunes, which seems great but it screwed up on the import of the old data, it gave me an error and renamed my library to “iTunes Library (Damaged)”. It screwed up my list of podcasts, moved all of them to the regular music library and deleted my subscriptions. I could re-add them, if I could remember them :(

    Warning: Extra-geeky content follows…

    In addition, from the iPod it deleted 6GB of podcasts and says it can’t sync (error -39) but no suggestions on recovering.

    UPDATE: So I couldn’t get it to sync, ran Disk Utility (etc.). Deleted the photo sync cache. I removed all the photos. Told it not to sync any photos. Tried adding podcasts, deleting podcasts. Then not to sync any Podcasts. Somewhere in the I had two podcast playlists (and another playlist was upset with that, which I deleted way earlier) so I made sure those were gone (I still have the podcast group). Eventually it started working okay. Probably one of the steps towards the end. Who knows…

    I adding a gajillion podcasts back in. Added my photos and I seem to be a-okay (so far).

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    Written By: Gary on September 7, 2005 No Comment

    Ipodhpcrest So I’ve seen many complaints on-line that they’ve never released harry Potter as an eBook, I’m not sure if they’ve every released it as a downloadable Audio Book (I’m thinking no). So the iTunes store has released the books are Audio Book and you can get the complete set for $249. Or you can get a specially engraved 20GB iPod with with the Hogwarts Crest and all the audio books for $549. A little pricey if you ask me, I’m assuming you can by the Audio Books on CD for about the same price (and still have a backup).

    Written By: Gary on September 7, 2005 No Comment

    So I’ve been getting some promos from Talk America for their DSL which is only $25 a month (first month free and free modem) and they claim 4MB service. They also offer free dial-up for travel (but the guy on the phone referred to is as a backup plan). I love Talk America. I use them for my phone service: my local calling area is much larger (most of metro Detroit), unlimited minutes and unlimited member to member calling for 22.95.

    I thought I’d try it, it’s free, right? But the computer at their end was dead so I have to wait. But then I called my cable company (Comcast) and hassled them (generally it’s best to call the disconnect / cancel service departments for these calls. I got them to drop my cable modem costs $10 a month (for the next 12 months) with no problem. A little more haggling and I got them down $15 a month, so I’m not as cheap as the DSL but I’m definitely in the range of where I want to be and it’s been good service so I’m happy with it (I did this about 8 months ago and they gave me a similar, but not as good as this, discount for six months).

    Back to Talk phone service: Call Waiting, Repeat Dialing, Speed Calling 8, 3-Way Calling, Call Return and Caller ID are $5.00 more a month for all (not each). Statewide or Nationwide unlimited calling are $12 or $18. And I don’t know what they charge now (but it used to be cheap) for a second number, same line just a second number than rings differently (so if it’s not for you you don’t bother to get it!), this is always a cool feature to have especially with roommates or kids.

    I’m not selling this I just think it’s a good deal for people with land lines.
    Talk DSL: 1-866-714-9883
    Talk Phone service: 1-800-608-0577

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    Written By: Gary on September 5, 2005 3 Comments

    So I just passed about twenty gasoline stations from Dearborn to Wyandotte and every single one (except one) was $2.99. That’s every station from Michigan and Schaefer/Coolidge to Jefferson/Biddle and Eureka. That’s pretty good from the stories I’m hearing out there. Oh and the one the wasn’t $2.99, it was $2.92! (it was at Biddle and Northline if you’re from around here). I also noticed places like http://www.detroitgasprices.com/ have been keeping their information up-to-date with these higher prices…

    Written By: Gary on September 4, 2005 No Comment

    10 years ago – I lived in Haslett (east of East Lansing), I still worked at the Department of Education for the State of Michigan. I really miss both, I loved the job (I left because my boss left and I went to work for him at another job) and I really miss the Lansing area. I definitely miss the (lack of) traffic and (lack of) construction that we have in the Detroit area. I miss my little apartment too, I was right next door to a 24 hour Quality Dairy (w/laundramat) so I could get ice cream, donuts, milk, do laundry, get lottery tickets and use an ATM any time of the day or night. And I was right by Lake Lansing, I could put in all my laundry (not just one load) and go sit at the park by they lake or rollerblade around the lake… Did I say I missed living there?!?
    5 years ago – I’m thinking I was sick. I only remember because it was the year I bought my condo (in October) and I remember being so very sick that September with (I don’t even remember exactly) some kind of lung infection. I had moved back to the Detroit area the year before and I don’t remember much else.

    1 years ago – I don’t have a clue what I was up to last year at this time (same job, same home, same stuff). I don’t even remember what I did for labor day (I hope that’s not insulting to anyone).
    1 day ago – After all the chaos of starting up the school year, I had a nice quiet day at work (we were closed so no one was around) and got to catch up. In the evening I hung out with a bunch of my high school friends (some were in town for a reunion, so we all got together). Always great fun to see all of them!

    One day ago is referring to Friday, since I wrote this late Saturday but I try not to post that late at night since it ends to be garbly posts that need to be corrected later. This one probably would have been okay :)

    Now I’m really missing mid-Michigan though…

    Written By: Gary on September 4, 2005 One Comment

    I was very excited when I looked at the Sunday funnies today, Calvin and Hobbes was right there with a big color strip above the fold! It was a pretty generic entry, it had today’s date on it but with a little surfing I found out it’s reruns.

    It’s interesting because it’s supposedly out just to get people hyped about the three volume $150 collection that’s coming out in a month (only $94.50 at Amazon). But Bill Watterson has never really been to interested in marketing, according to the Detroit Free Press

    There never was an officially licensed Hobbes, nor was there any genuine “Calvin and Hobbes” product other than the strips or the books in which they’re collected.

    Now I don’t know how much money the guy has made on C & H but all he has to do is say the word and he could have many millions more (at least I’d guess so). And probably a few more if they let them do a TV show/movies/video…

    Written By: Gary on September 3, 2005 3 Comments

    When they say they are evacuating a city I always assumed (uh oh) that meant they were doing something to get people out. Not just telling them to leave. To me, evacuation means busses and trucks to get people out and (probably) a destination to go to. Am I wrong? Have I watched to many movies?

    Written By: Gary on September 3, 2005 4 Comments

    It’s sad, but I was excited last night to only pay $2.99 for a gallon of gasoline.

    In case you’re from the Michigan Detroit-area, the $2.99 stations I saw yesterday were: the Meijer at 14 and Coolidge, a station at 10 and Coolidge, also a startion at Ann Arbor Trail and Telegraph. YMMV (ha!)

    Written By: Gary on September 2, 2005 5 Comments

    Yahoo! is still offering domain name registration for only $2 $4.98. I thought this was a one day only deal so if you didn’t get it when I mentioned it yesterday. So if you’ve ever wanted to be http://www.yournamehere.com/, now’s the time!!!

    UPDATE: Sorry, The price just went up to $4.98.

    Even if you aren’t going to use it this month/year. This 5 year registration is cheaper than a 2 year registration at most places and this stops someone else from getting it instead of you. So even if you’re not going to use it for 3 years, you’re still ahead of the game.

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    Written By: Gary on September 2, 2005 No Comment

    This is a great thought, in an effort to support Hurricane Relief, Dean says:

    For a confirmed donation of $50 to the American Red Cross, I’ll write a 600 word essay on the subject of your choice, with a minimum of two references.

    Deanesmay-Donatenow 200I say you’ll be getting a deal for fifty bucks and he’ll post it or e-mail it to you privately. If you don’t read Dean’s World check it out (he blogs from Michigan). He’s “Defending the liberal tradition in history, science, and philosophy” and he talks about normal stuff like TV shows and the like…

    I’m sure this is a limited time offer (and void where prohibited).

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    Written By: Gary on September 2, 2005 No Comment

    tori amosSo I never got around to saying much about the Tori Amos concert the other night. I ended up getting great tickets, they freed some up a few hours before the show, so I ended up getting in the orchestra section a little on the right (row 4) so it was great. Totally different concert from when she was here in the spring, she played lots of old stuff then and (unfortunately) very little old stuff here.

    One of the cooler songs she played was a excellent mix of God and Running Up That Hill, the latter being a Kate Bush song. She also played Starry, Starry Night I have heard her play before and I like it. A few other covers too, but I didn’t know them (I suppose they could have been a new song that I didn’t recognize). (I’m back, I just googled a set list) So here’s what she played, I would have guessed there were more songs, I thought she played close to two hours (at least 90 min). Tori Amos

    Toriaug2005-2Click the thumbnails for a larger image. Not the best quality, but it was mostly dark and there were heads bobbing around in front of me…

    Written By: Gary on September 1, 2005 One Comment

    CreditmapThree times a year (by law) you can get a Free Credit Report ; that’s once each from each of the credit report companies (Equifax, Transunion and Experian). They’ve been rolling this out by different parts of the country, today marks the day when now the whole country hass free access.

    I posted a virtually identical post earlier this year, but since they opened up the rest of the US and I think it’s pretty important that you check and it’s free, I felt it was worth mentioning again.

    I think I like the Equifax one the best, it seemed the most complete and understandable (IMHO). The first time I ever did one I had over a dozen open credit cards that should have been closed. The FTC has more info on-line.

    There is two ways to do this, get all three at once if you really want to clear things up, or get one every four months to keep an eye on it. Be sure to print it out when you get it, it’s really hard to see the 10+ page report on the display.

    They will ask you personal information to determine if you are really you, this includes: SS number, mortgage and loan companies, monthly payments, past addresses, etc. But they do much of it as multiple choice questions (and some answers are ‘none of the above’). A charge card number is NOT required to get the free report.

    There is no catch but they will try to sell you your score (or other services). But if you’ve got wrong info on your report who cares what your score is? Clear up the problems, close the cards you don’t use and get the score the next time around. If you close a few of your cards you can write to all of the companies (Equifax, Transunion and Experian) to close them (and ask that they send you a corrected report they might just send you one for free). Then see how clear the other ones looks the next time around. Do NOT close your oldest cards even if you don’t use them, it’s good to have a long credit history.

    I’ve done mine a few times over the past few years and I’ve noticed they’re about 80% the same (they generally don’t list my jobs or previous addresses very completely). If you see you’ve got things wrong you can dispute on-line. Don’t wait to do this, some times it takes ages for things to appear (or disappear), so if you ever need your report to look nice you can’t wait until the last minute…

    Written By: Gary on September 1, 2005 2 Comments

    Yahoo! is offering domain name registration for only $2.00 for today only. It looks like you can register it for up to 5 years! This is an incredible deal, most offers like this do not allow you to register for more than one year! This is SO cheap for this type of thing, it’s basically free. Ten years ago registrations were $50 a year (minimum two year registration).

    I’m now the proud owner of 5 more domains… :)

    Later: Looks like the price went up, it’s $9.95 normally, but this link generally is $4.95)

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