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November 2006

Written By: Gary on November 30, 2006 35 Comments

So I was watching television the other day and I knew the picture looked a little dim. I use a computer projector for my TV so I use the wall as my screen (it’s about 100 inches diagonally) and it’s great for movies and regular TV. So I checked the hours for the bulb and it was supposed to be good for another 350 hours but then it abruptly died that night.

My intent when I bought the projector a few years ago was to keep it until it died and replace it with a much brighter one with more features once I used up the bulb (bulbs are about $300). Projectors drop significantly in price all the time. For example, the cheapest Epson projector 5 years ago was in the $2200 range and now a significantly brighter model (possibly with a higher resolution) is now $675-ish (those are education prices and I’d have to pay more). But I don’t want the comparable model, I want the deluxe model!

So now I’ve got a dilemma, do I replace the bulb ($300) or buy the projector I want ($2000 that I wasn’t ready to spend) knowing the prices will keep dropping and features will keep growing?? The answer was the Black Friday ads, I saw multiple projectors for $400 (after rebate) and $500. I settled on the $500 Acer XD1150 DLP Digital Projector (from Staples), no rebate and it was available to ship. It looks like the one in the picture but the one in the picture is the next model up but still looks the same.


So, for spending $500 for the projector instead of $300 for the bulb, I got a new smaller, lighter (under 5 pounds) in-warranty projector a brighter bulb (1800 lumens vs. 1100 lumens) and it’s smaller. It’s got inputs for composite video (regular video), s-video (like from your DVD player) and SVGA (which doubles as a component video port which supports 480p). It doesn’t have any audio inputs but I run it through the stereo so that’s okay. It came with a remote and a great carrying bad too.

I like it a lot, even pulling it out of the box was nice. It was packaged excellent everything individually wrapped. It wasn’t the same experience of opening up an Apple product but it made me think of it. I came with a composite video cable, a 15 pin SVGA cable but no S-video cable. It came with a CD (which I haven’t looked at yet) and a 20 page manual. Actually it was a one page manual, the other 19 pages were the same page in 19 other languages. The zoom is limited but it got the picture where I needed it so I was okay with that. It’s also got a digital zoom which is great for watching non-HD shows on the HD channels. The focus was a bit touchy, I may need to look at another one later to see if it’s just mine or if they are all that way. All in all I’m very happy with my new TV!

I did just notice there is a 45 page on-line manual in English. I’d guess that’s on the CD if I had put it in…

Written By: Gary on November 25, 2006 No Comment

FirststeplogoActually since I mentioned the local shelter in the last post I thought I’d mention their next fundraiser at Ikea. It’s $25 to get it and you get 15% off your purchase at Ikea (only on December 10th). Plus in the evening they’ll have entertainment, food, desserts and other drawings (at least they usually do at these types of events). Check out the website and flyer for more information. Oh and Santa will be there too!

If you donate $100 you get a bag with goodies and a Swedish food basket from Ikea (and your name mentioned in the newsletter). More than that ($250-$5000) and you get more tickets, more stuff in the gift baskets, signage at the event, and larger mentions in the newsletter (up to a full page). Be sure to click on the link to the PDF flyer to get all the details….

Written By: Gary on November 25, 2006 2 Comments

Please be aware that ChangeNotes seems to be gone.
I’ve been using ChangeDetection.com for the same purpose now.
It appears to offer pretty much the same service.

ChangenotesI really like ChangeNotes and I don’t think I’ve mentioned it before so here’s some info for you. It’s a free service and they monitor web pages and let you know when they change. To me this is only useful on pages that don’t change very often. I use this on pages such as I’m waiting for information on a new book from an author, when the local shelter is doing a fund raiser, when the Mags For Miles list changes, or other pages that don’t change very often.

They’ll let you put a link on your page to make it easy for people to sign up so they’re alerted when your site changes. This isn’t so useful if you have a blog that changes daily, but for something that doesn’t change very often it’d be great.

The downside: It’s generally a slow site but since you don’t go there very often, that’s okay with me. I’m not really sure if they check the pages every day (but it’s at least every few days). Sometimes you get alerts when a page they check has time-out errors.

Written By: Gary on November 20, 2006 One Comment

Stolen from Dean’s World.

I laughed so hard when I watched this the waitress had to come see what was so funny.

Written By: Gary on November 19, 2006 No Comment

So it’s been a musical week for me. This is my third outing for music in the last four days.

  • Thursday I saw Sia at the Majestic Theater in Detroit.
  • Friday was the Indie Chick Night at Trixie’s coffeehouse in Roseville, MI. They were raising money money for a shelter. The only performers I had seen before were Audra Kubat and Lisa Hurt. But now I’ve seen Silent Violet (who’s off to London to record an album), Jessika Carmichael and lil’ Emily too.
  • Sunday it’s the Bittersweet Cafe at the Buzz Bar in Detroit. This is usually Blair and Audra (but she called and canceled since she’s sick) and as usual they have a guest so that’ll be Loretta And Julie Lucas (whom I’ve never heard).
  • And next Saturday is Jewel in Mt. Clemens at the Emerald Theater!
  • Written By: Gary on November 18, 2006 One Comment

    So I’m eating at the new Olga’s in Allen Park (Michigan) and I just went to plug my laptop into my cell phone to check my e-mail and the WiFi network “Olgas” popped up! And voila, free WiFi! And to think I thought I was afraid I going to get a crappy signal in the not-near-the-window spot where they put me.

    FYI, it’s totally dead here and I got a great parking spot. Is there a football game or something on?!?

    Written By: Gary on November 17, 2006 No Comment

    “If you want a better world…
    …you’re going to have have to be better people”

    Found on the chalkboard at Trixie’s coffeehouse in Roseville, MI.

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    Written By: Gary on November 17, 2006 No Comment

    Millionaire raffleSo Michigan is doing a special lottery. Only 500,000 tickets will be sold! Five $1,000,000 winners will be drawn, Ten $100,000 winners and Seven-hundred-fifty $1,000 winners will be drawn. You have 1 in 100,000 of being a millionaire and 1 in 645 of winning at least $1,000. Half the tickets are sold already!

    “The odds of being hit by a car on the way to buy your lottery ticket are higher than that of actually winning”

    I think I heard Robin WIlliams say that, but I can’t be sure.

    What I don’t like is the tickets are $20. That’s a lot of money for some families. I really wish they’d retool the lottery to have more winners. If the lottery prize is over some huge amount, let’s say 25 million, if the big prize doesn’t win they should keep drawing until they hit a $1,000,000. How cool would that be? A million dollar winner each drawing instead of no winner for weeks and it gets up to some outrageous amount. They should also draw a few more winning numbers and give away a few $50,000 and several hundred $1,000 winners, that would be awesome. It would barely affect the huge prizes and think of all the happy winners.


    I was looking for something for the gift exchange at work, usually it’s goofy gifts or a gift certificate, this is something a little different…

    Of course I’ll get one for me too!

    Written By: Gary on November 16, 2006 3 Comments

    Hey everyone, there’s a Woot Off today!!!

    This means instead of one Woot all day, they add a new one every time an item sells out!

    UPDATE: It’s Friday and the sale is still going on. (As I’ve said before, Woot has great sales once a day and a Woot Off is non-stop sales all day).

    UPDATE 2: It’s all over. It lasted almost two days…

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    Written By: Gary on November 13, 2006 No Comment
    1. Nick :: Saint
    2. Focus :: Glasses
    3. Police :: Car
    4. Miles :: Airline
    5. Earn :: Money
    6. Twice :: More
    7. Razor :: Shave
    8. Personality :: Happy
    9. Dumped :: Crushed
    10. Reliable :: Car

    From Unconscious Mutterings

    Written By: Gary on November 12, 2006 One Comment

    So when I can’t find a free offer for a magazine I’ll generally trade airline miles (you can gift the magazines to others too). I generally use a different airline every-time I fly so I never get enough miles, so instead of wasting them I’ll trade them for miles. Obviously if you use all of your miles this isn’t a good option for you. Sometimes an airline will mail me an offer like this (more likely it’s from the magazine) and I’ll fill out the form (calling the number on the form often reveals other magazine choices) don’t be afraid to say you want 3 years (the max), just write it in. Otherwise, I’ll use these web sites:

  • https://nwa.mpmvp.com/magazine/choose.asp – This is for NorthWest Air and I’ve used this. It says new subscribers but I’m sure I’ve used it for renewals. You could modify the URL for some other airlines, such as American, Midwest and Delta.
  • http://www.magsformiles.com/ – I’m not 100% sure I’ve used this one (I think it offers you a bunch of other crap before you complete the form), a lot of the mags here you can get real cheap on-line or sometimes free (especially for the Zinio digital editions).
  • http://points.com/ does something similar (I think they run one or both of the above) but it seems more complicated and I’m not finding magazines in the list anymore…
  • Written By: Gary on November 11, 2006 One Comment

    GarypuravidaSo I’m heading back off the continent again. Actually, I’m not 100% sure that’s true, Costa Rica is on the isthmus which connects North America and South America and while I think that makes it not part of South or North America I’m not sure if it’s “off” the continent. but I digress…

    So it’s time for some sun and relaxing. Want to try to get to some different places this trip but the trip is starting back in Jaco, my favorite town so far. I’m trying to find somewhere out on the peninsula that’s on the northwest part of the country for somewhere different to go.

    “Pura Vida” is kind of a catch phrase / motto there, it means “pure life”. I did the magazine cover shown here after my last trip.


    I’ll be crossing two items items off my 101 in 1001 list with this trip: traveling somewhere warm this winter and returning to Costa Rica. I’ve also talked about eventually moving there if I make a decision (either way) I can cross that off the list too…

    Written By: Gary on November 8, 2006 2 Comments

    I liked this

    Plans are useless, but planning is invaluable.

    – Winston Churchill

    I stole this from Sizzle’s


    It reminds me of

    Man Plans… God laughs…

    But I’m not sure who said it. Einstein?

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    Written By: Gary on November 3, 2006 No Comment

    So check out LineRider. Just draw a slope (not too steep) and hit play! Hit stop and you can modify your drawing. It’s entertaining (at least for a few minutes)

    From Rocketboom.

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    Written By: Gary on November 1, 2006 2 Comments

    So I know I’ve got habits and patterns but you never know how much people actually notice them. I’ve been eating at Einstein Brothers lately and I generally get the same thing (Tasty Turkey on Asiago with no cucumbers, soup [cheddar broccoli or chicken noodle] and a bottomless Coca-Cola). And they’ve got great cellular reception so I’ll hook up the laptop and hang out for a while. While they don’t have my order down yet, the cashier pointed out to me today that there was someone at “my table”. I hadn’t realized I had established such a seating pattern at that place :)


    As I said, I do generally get the same things at the same restaurants:

  • Wendy’s – Spicy Chicken or Single with cheese (both with lettuce, tomato and onion only).
  • McDonald’s – A #3 (QP w/cheese) no pickle and no mustard.
  • Burger King – This is where I mix it up at my fast food places (woo hoo!). Generally a Whopper with cheese (no pickle, no mustard, no mayo) or a Chicken Tendercrisp (no mayo) but sometimes I get a Junior or a cheeseburger (no pickle, no mustard, no mayo on either of course)!

    The rule is generally no pickles (even on the side), no mustard and no mayo. Preferably with a Coke.

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