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February 2008

Written By: Gary on February 26, 2008 No Comment

I’m home sick today, but the view is just gorgeous! And it’s still coming down…

I’ve been lousy since last Tuesday and I’ve been home yesterday and today. Yesterday and Sunday were the worst, I’m way congested in my lungs which cuts into my sleep time, drugs help when I’m sick but sleep and Creamy Tomato Soup help the most. The doctor thinks it’s something viral but still kept me on the anti-biotics she game me last week..

I wish health was more of a science (I’m serious) and we knew more about it. Like, if I had stayed home on Friday (when the cough had started getting really bad) would I have gotten better over the weekend? Or would that have been minor on my road to recovery? Or did I need to get worse to get better?

Back to the snow: It’s really thick on trees and bushes and railings. It’s times like this the I wish I lived with a view and I could sit by the fireplace and watch the snow fall over the landscape (and not have the “Palace Liquor & Deli” be my landscape).

Written By: Gary on February 24, 2008 2 Comments

If this isn’t the cutest review of episode 4 that you’ve ever seen…

I’m sure a few parts were re-shot, but it’s adorable…

Here’s another cute kid video

Written By: Gary on February 22, 2008 2 Comments

So I saw a pilot (or maybe it was a preview) of a new BBC show called Being Human. It’s written by Toby Whithouse who’s written episodes of Doctor Who and Torchwood and I’ve been liking those writers (like Stephen Moffet with Jekyll) so I tuned in. It was a fun show, a Vampire and a Werewolf who try to be more human despite their afflictions. And it’s really treated that way, more as an affliction or disease and they just want to be “normal”.

From the beginning of the episode, I’m not really sure how well they know each other but they decide to rent a flat together. When they ask why it hasn’t rented already (it’s a good location and good price) they’re told that other short-stayed tenants thought there was something creepy about it. Later on they find out it’s a ghost (and she’s way cuter than Casper) and she’s thrilled that someone can see and hear her.

It’s a slow moving show, but they definitely have some interesting thoughts on life, the after life and on being human with a bit of humor tossed in. I’ll be watching this show for a few more episodes, I liked it…

Here’s a short ad / preview of Being Human.

Written By: Gary on February 16, 2008 No Comment

So I found a free offer code for CreditKarma. They’re offering free daily credit scores (from TransUnion). Use code CKFRND as invitation code at https://www.CreditKarma.com/ (I’m not certain I should be giving this code out, so I’m not hot-linking the site address) I found this at SlickDeals.net. The site is appears to besponsored by advertising and you will not be required to enter your credit card information or sign up for trial offers, but you will receive relevant partner offers (i.e. junk mail) based on your profile. This will not affect your credit rating (other than you paying attention to it).

I’ve always wondered how much my credit score fluctuates but even when I’ve had free offers before, but I’ve never bothered to log on every day to check. This looks like that on-line they give you a nice progressive graph from when you started (it’s hard to tell since I’m just on day one), hopefully it keeps a daily tally even when I don’t log in. Plus, they rank you to national stats and other members; their community has a some good credit, I actually score better nationally than with their membership (and I’ve got great credit).

UPDATE: So I’ve done this for a few days and it looks like the graph is just going to get me monthly averages, although it appears to pull the score daily (but it hasn’t changed for me yet).

UPDATE 2: I did ask for a credit increase on Wednesday, I was charging a few vacations so I wanted some wiggle room and I noticed my score went down three points today. I’m not sure if that’s for the credit check or the one vacation I already charged and sine it’s raised my debt level a tiny bit…

Written By: Gary on February 15, 2008 2 Comments

For much not being on television I’ve been highly entertained by the tube this week…

  • Deal or No Deal – I haven’t been watching the show lately but they’ve added a new twist so I’ve been catching it this week. Every time someone does not win a million dollars they’re removing one of the other “cases” and adding a million dollar case. Stupid people who think they can beat the odds have thrown away many many hundreds of thousands dollars who don’t think $250,000 is enough money and draw another case. So sad. The banker is also making low offers to get them to continue to play, he lo balled an offer and was actually boo-ed by the audience (he offered $98,000 when it should have been closer to $200,000). The latest woman got so excited and emotional when she found out 1/2 the cases (13 of 26) had $1,000,000 in it there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. TiVo makes it possible for me to zip through the slow parts or I’d never make it…
  • Torchwood – I was wrong when I thought an episode was on the other night. There were two! After “Adam” I saw “Reboot” which was the first of three episodes with Martha Jones! I had forgotten she was going to be on it. She was a little cocky but it was a good episode and all the other characters were a little jealous that she had an unknown connection with Jack. “Adam”, of course, was brilliant, much too confusing to explain but another great episode by Catherine Tregenna.
  • Stargate Atlantis – Teal’c meets Ronin. And as when all heroes meet the first time, they clash before saving the world. A very fun episode!!!

    Fortunately, I’ve barely caught any news coverage, it’s just embarrassing the way that the networks turn tragedy into entertainment. Or maybe it’s that fact that people watch it like it’s entertainment that makes me feel that way.

    My heart and prayers go out to anyone with any connections to the tragedy at Northern Illinois University.

  • Written By: Gary on February 13, 2008 2 Comments
  • Friday’s Mega Millions is up to $179 Million! So spend a buck and if you win, remember I only need a $1,000,000 tip for the suggestion. For a second million I’ll build a computer lab at an underprivileged school and teach (volunteer) their computer classes (this is in the vicinity of where I retire from the first million, probably Costa Rica). It’s only $110 million if you take the cash option, so take away the taxes and it’s a measly $70 million dollars…
  • Torchwood is on tonight and it’s by the same writer as last week’s “Meat” episode! More secrets of Captain Jack’s past…
  • I really need groceries, but I don’t feel like going shopping. Anyone want to run some errands for me?!?
  • One of my best friends, Melissa, landed in Costa Rica a few hours ago and I’m SO jealous!!
  • Written By: Gary on February 12, 2008 No Comment

    So I just downloaded the AppleTV update called Take 2 (or is it Take2?). I wasn’t thrilled with the changes that I saw in the preview because I thought the interface was pretty great. But I’ll agree that some changes for the new interface was necessary.

    Since you now can shop the whole iTunes store via the AppleTV something to surf around a larger library was necessary. They new sections fill up the cover art at a more than acceptable speed (my cable modem is 6000 down and 384 up) and it flowed pretty nicely. But a lot of the old interface is still around for the sub menus and it they really clash with each other. But I like the shopping on-line option, I’ll try it later just so I can see how well it works. I would have purchased last night’s Kyle XY episode but it wasn’t ready for download yet for some reason…

    The amount of movies and music and TV is just a little overwhelming. There’s just so many options and you can scroll in so many directions! And all the album art just looks fantastic in large high quality images!!! They need a all you can watch or listen to with the music videos, pay a flat rate and go cRaZy for a few hours.

    The podcasts are interesting, You can browse very nicely and you can view/stream but if the site is slow, you’re gonna wait a while for that hi-def video. You can select download and it’ll be there later for you. It’s strange that you can favorite a podcast, not to be confused with subscribing, but you can’t actually subscribe; this would be inconvenient if you don’t actually have a computer.

    The new Flickr photo viewing works great, but I wish there was a way to view the descriptions or titles of the photos. And I wish there was a way to look at thumbnails; for example a person has 500 photos in a folder and there isn’t a way to jump around it just goes to slideshow mode. This never bothered me with my photos, but when looking at someone else’s it jumped right out at me….

    Overall, it’s a great update in that it adds some great functionality. The new interface will grow on me (it’s not like I wouldn’t recommend it to someone). I just feel it’s missing some normal Apple consistency in the Human Interface Guidelines area…

    I’m still missing a way to build a video playlist (or a video shuffle). I’ve got hours of video podcasts and I don’t have a way to string them together as my own private TV channel. I hadn’t heard about it or this release but it just seems like a natural outgrowth of the music playlist and/or shuffle.

    The update took a while and had to reboot more than a few times installing all the features but seems like it worked just fine. I expect they’ll be a update soon to fix a few minor things, like the TV Genre of “Cops and Robberts”.

    Written By: Gary on February 9, 2008 One Comment

    HowimetAt Amazon Unbox they have 4 FREE missing episode of ‘How I Met Your Mother’! At least I don’t think I’ve seen them before. You can download these to your Windows based computer or TiVo for free! The 4 missing episodes cover Marshal and Lily’s honeymoon…

    You can get the Infamous “Robin Sparkles” video too!

    UPDATE (Sunday evening): So I finally watched these “episodes”. They weren’t real episodes, they were just a few minutes long and they were “videos” of they’re honeymoon. They’re pretty bad too, but then again aren’t home movies supposed to be? I’m not sure what kind of promotion they shot these for, but they end with a still frame with an advertisement for the show. It was the fact that these appeared to be “lost” episodes that made me ask if the show was canceled, since these aren’t much more than some kind of odd promo/commercial I retract the original question.

    Written By: Gary on February 6, 2008 No Comment

    So this week’s episode of Torchwood is called “Meat”. It’s written by Catherine Tregenna, I bring that up right away because it’s a great episode. Low action but lots of story. Rhys is at the scene of an accident and who shows up? Gwen, with the Mystery Machine and the rest of the gang. So this becomes a big part the story-line (this all happens in the first few seconds and in last week’s preview, don’t worry I won’t give anything else away) and I really enjoyed the episode. Lots of great scenes of Cardiff too!

    The first thing I did after watching it was to look up Catherine Tregenna and what did I find? A few other great episodes: “Captain Jack Harkness” (when Tosh and Jack get trapped in the 1940’s) and “Out of Time” when a plane from the 1950’s comes through the rift. As a bonus, she writes “Adam”, next week’s episode! It looks like she’s written two other upcoming Torchwood episodes: Day In The Death Of (episode 8) and “From Out of the Rain” (episode 10) but I only saw that info mentioned at one place on-line (geos) and it didn’t mention the “Adam” episode (so maybe an episode title changed?). All the other shows she’s written for are other BBC(?) shows that I’ve never seen (I’ve only heard of East Enders). She’s written some plays and been an actress too.Then after “Adam”, Martha Jones joins up for the next three episodes! I believe she’s doing some work for UNIT, but I had assumed she was back finishing up becoming a Doctor…

    Written By: Gary on February 6, 2008 No Comment

    So the snow is making the traffic pretty bad around here, it was the longest ride home from work ever! Probably 45-50 minutes, when on a nice day I can sometimes do it in 20 minutes; I think 15 minutes is my record and that’s not catching any lights and probably some speeding involved since I think it’s 14 miles door-to-door.

    But I gotta say it looks really pretty on all the trees and bushes.

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    Written By: Gary on February 6, 2008 No Comment

    As reported on msnbc.com, United Airlines will charge fliers an extra $25 per bag to check more than one bag starting May 5th, 2008 (“silver” and “premier” frequent-fliers will not be charged).

    It’s a bit, but it’s cheaper than paying the overages for the first bag being over the weight limit. If your itinerary includes international flights you will (may?) still be able to check the second bag for free; this will help me, probably more than half my air travel is international.

    Found at DealMac.com.

    Written By: Gary on February 3, 2008 No Comment

    I waited so long for WordPress For Dummies, by Lisa Sabin-Wilson, and it was well worth the wait. I had been wanting to learn WordPress and had been a fan of Lisa’s blog so it was just what I needed as a motivator.

    It’s a “Dummies” book so it’s got that easy to use format. And it’s a reference book so most of it is not meant to be read linearly. If you’ve always wanted to set up a blog or switch to WordPress this is the way to go. It explains it from the basics up to the advanced. It’s step by step and it’ll get you running on your own host or at WordPress.com with ease.

    It covers Migrating to WP, 10 Great Free Themes, Ten Great Plugins, Using WP as a Content Management System, Understanding Templates and Plug-ins. It covers pretty much everything you need to know but those are the chapters I’ve read the most and use for reference. If you don’t know anything about PHP you’ll painlessly learn the bits that you do need to know for modifying templates (this is optional) and you’ll have picked up enough for when you want to use PHP for other “web stuff”.

    As I’m writing this post, I’m flipping through the book seeing if there is anything I’ve missed mentioning. There are so many areas of WP that I haven’t explored yet, I’ve read about them in the book and I can’t wait to try out some of the other features!Just about everything I’ve needed to know was in there, the only thing that I couldn’t find was detailed info on custom-fields which was (probably correctly) considered too advanced for a Dummies book.

    There are 3 different flavors of WordPress (they host, you host, and multi-user) and they all share multiple features so just pay attention to which flavor she’s talking about and you’ll be fine.

    It’s an awesome book! If you want to set up your own blog, self-hosted or not, WordPress is easy to use and WordPress For Dummies is the book to use.

    Written By: Gary on February 3, 2008 One Comment

    This is great, it looks like Apple has semi-extended movie rental time limits. I say “semi” because once the 24 hour time limit passes you cannot go back to the beginning of the rental, but you can resume where you left off.

    This makes me very happy because I’ve thought the 24 hour was just too short. My thought from a few weeks ago was “Maybe they can do something to cripple it, maybe after 24 hours any viewed portion is not viewable any more”. It seems (at least on an iPod) that you can’t leave and do something else and still have it resume when you come back (“delete” or “resume” are your choices) your iPod is “stuck” on that screen. Maybe they’ll do it a little different on AppleTV or iTunes…?

    I think the new AppleTV software was supposed to roll out last week so it should be appearing soon.

    Written By: Gary on February 2, 2008 One Comment

    I’ve always been a huge fan of Movable Type, but I’ve been playing with WordPress on and off lately and I think it might become my new blogging platform for anything new I create. I’m not sure if I’m willing to export and import my old blog and lose a bunch of Google results because the pages aren’t named the same or because of something else unforeseen.

    Here’s my whole comparison wrapped up in to two sentences –

    I think WordPress is easier to setup and it’s also easier for beginners to do advanced things with WP than Movable Type. From the other side, I think that doing really advanced things is easier with Movable Type, while doing ultra-advanced things are probably equal between the two.

    The biggest thing I don’t like in WordPress is how dynamic things are and if your web host goofs something up, the dynamic stuff chokes which would be your whole site; I’ve seen this happen with several different hosts. In MT I kept my main page and individual page posts static, and the rest dynamic so at least the whole thing didn’t crash. Also, the dynamic-ishness of the pages slows things down a little. But it’s so very easy, I can’t even tell you how easy it was to do an upgrade (one tip: if you modify a default template to use, be sure to rename the folder it’s in and you won’t accidentally over-write it when you upgrade). On the other hand, when I post something to WP it’s very very quick since it’s not rebuilding things. That’s really nice to be done as soon as you post.

    So far it’s also been much easier to do (incremental) upgrades with WordPress. It’s actually so easy, I’m surprised they haven’t added a few other steps which would make it one-click. It’s really disabling the plug-ins, copying the new directories over the old and reactivating the plug-ins; I’m sure this could be made one-click to “halt” the plug-ins, copy from the path that you specify, clear the cache and start the plug-ins back up.

    Written By: Gary on February 2, 2008 6 Comments

    So I went to the Apple Store today to take a peek at the MacBook Air. Honestly, I had pretty low expectations so I thought I’d get my socks knocked off, but it was just okay. It’s more beautiful than my 12 inch PowerBook, but just by a small margin. It’s light and thin seems pretty durable, and has the beautiful LED display (but a bit of glare). But I thought I’d leave and say “I have to have one”, but it didn’t happen. If I had the extra bucks to spend it on I’d certainly get one, but I think I’d still need a more powerful laptop.

    Pluses: 3 lbs., 13.3 inch low power LED display, small, new track-pad, backlit keyboard. Please note, some of these are huge pluses.
    Minuses: External DVD drive (which I could live with), special MagSafe power adaptor, slow hard drive, lacking ports, 80 GB, maximum HD, no option for a spare battery and (of course) the price. Note that while it’s a metal MacBook it has a shared memory video card like a MacBook, not a MacBook Pro.

    The solid-state 64 GB drive is a plus, but the $1000 price tag is certainly a minus…

    If I had a 17 inch PowerBook, the MacBook Air would make a great addition as a “day” computer, when I don’t need the power or DVD drive and didn’t want the 6.8 pounds to lug around. If I could only have one machine I’d probably take a loaded MacBook 13.3 inch (5 pounds). If I could “create” an ultimate machine it would be a 12 (or 13.3) inch MacBook Pro; I could even live with an external DVD drive it it could lower the size and weight…

    This kind of fits with my initial thoughts when I first saw the announcement of the MacBook Air, it’s not what I was hoping for. If you haven’t seen it, this is the MacBook Air ad.

    Written By: Gary on February 2, 2008 No Comment

    WordPress.com is a place where you can have your own blog, it’s got lots of great features and it’s free! They do have some advance features you can pay for like your own custom domain name, more disk space and other great features.

    Here’s the newest great part: they used to only have free storage of 50 MB of files and they just upgraded your free space to 3 GB (that’s 3,000 MB) so that’s a heck of a free upgrade! It’s not that 50 MB is all that small, but a bunch of photos from your 8-megapixel camera and you can fill it up pretty quick, 3 gig is a very generous amount of free space. Now they are selling 5 GB upgrades for the old price of 1 GB upgrades. If you already purchased a storage upgrade they’ve automatically increased the storage space.

    One of the many reasons I’m liking the WordPress community more and more…

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    Written By: Gary on February 2, 2008 No Comment

    Who cares!?! Unless you own stock in Yahoo, of course :)

    Microsoft has nothing to offer Yahoo, IMHO, they’ve never been great with the internet (search, MSN, webTV, etc.) and that’s okay. Really, Bill, it’s okay. It really is.

    I’m assuming Yahoo! will take the money and run, unless they’ve got a lot of debt, this is a nice chunk of change (and if they’ve got a lot of debt, this’ll pay it off).

    I do worry about Flickr, Del.icio.us, the nice mobile web portals and whatever other sites that Yahoo owns. But at the end of the day, I think the ‘net will be okay and not have anything to worry about…I don’t really understand the concept of business at 44 billion dollars, so maybe I don’t know what I’m talking about but I promise I’d be a fast learner if anyone ever put me into into a situation where I would need to learn about it…

    I just think about Guy Kawasaki and he must be really kicking himself for not taking Yahoo’s offer to be president way back in the day. Several years ago I saw him speak and he mentioned that tidbit after mentioning other people’s famous mistakes like “640k is all anyone will ever need”.

    Written By: Gary on February 1, 2008 No Comment

    I’ve got a few posts about WordPress that I’ve never finished up (including a book review). So I plan to post them and get them out of my drafts folder. I’m writing this down so that I’ll remind myself to finally get this done :)

    Aren’t you excited!?!I’ll probably take my tree down too…

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    Written By: Gary on February 1, 2008 2 Comments

    The Internet is truly magical:

  • Thursday
  • 7:00 am – Stove catches on fire!!!
  • 7:05 am – It’s just the heating element for the oven (I was warming my plate for breakfast), as soon as I turned it off the heating element disintegrated.
  • 7:10 am – I’ve found the model number for my stove (I’ll need this).
  • 10:00 am – After 5 minutes on-line I’ve ordered the part from the GE.com web site.
  • Friday
  • 1:36 pm – Part arrives via FedEx.
  • 6:30 pm – I look for the right size socket (10 minutes later I find it).
  • 6:40 pm – Five minutes and two screws later, I’ve got my stove fixed!

    This is not my area of expertise in the least but this looked pretty simple so thought instead of waiting for a repair guy I could do it myself. I saw the part on-line cheaper, but I wasn’t sure they’d ship it fast, I knew GE would get it out and not have to order the part from somewhere else. Total $79.14 shipped overnight!

    I guess I could have looked local but I didn’t have to spend any time looking for this part or calling anywhere so this really worked out for me…

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