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May 2011

Written By: Gary on May 30, 2011 2 Comments

Actually, I have no idea what this is, but he was working his way across a bridge over the river. I have no idea what he thought he was going to find?!? I watched him for a while, it must have taken him forever just to get up that high on the bridge!

worm-tm-IMG_9280.png

That’s actually zoomed in on the photo, if you click it, you get a wider view of where he was climbing along (although still pretty zoomed in).

The video is in HD and zooms in really good at the end; the camera on the iPhone 4 is pretty amazing!

Can anyone tell me what kind of creature this is?

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Written By: Gary on May 29, 2011 No Comment

What do you think?

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Talk about the oncoming storm…

Written By: Gary on May 29, 2011 No Comment

Lots of little things to do.

I’ve gotten two 8+ hours of sleep this weekend! Usually I get 11-14 on Friday and then nothing good on Saturday. If I can do this again, I’ll be up early for the sunny day tomorrow and maybe be on track for the rest of the week!

  • Go out to breakfast. Why? Because I never do… Done: Big Boy buffet, a little disappointing, but they had great dessert!
  • Bike ride: Not sure where though. All the Hines Drive entrances are closed from flooding and I’m sure even more so today. Done: I couldn’t really go as far as I wanted, I parked at HFCC and biked over to Hines Drive but the police made me leave…
  • sunwithclouds.pngBut the weather reports are so conflicting on if it’s going to be nicer this morning or early afternoon. Result: It was nicer than it was supposed to be for longer than it was supposed to be!
  • Clean my house (more).
  • Home Depot to replace one of my room darkening blinds, it’s in pretty bad shape. Done: And I even hung it.
  • Dry cleaners to drop off two things to get fixed: a shirt that had a piece of tape (or something) stuck to the back and a belt loop on one of my better pairs of jeans. Done: Dropped off at the Wash Haus which has the best customer service.
  • Costco: I need a bunch of stuff, but the other stuff takes priority. I can do it after work on Tuesday if I don’t do it today (I assume they are closed Memorial Day). Done:
  • Doctor Who: The Complete Fifth Series BBC Warner

  • Watch Doctor Who Confidential (the making of). I want to see what everyone was thinking about the bomb they dropped on us at the end. Done: Not a lot of insight, but it makes me the that it (I’m avoiding spoilers) has only been since the beginning of the season (and not longer).
  • Watch Doctor Who again. Now that I know the ending, and I’ll have seen the making of, I’m ready to pay more attention. Done: Caught a few things I hadn’t before, understood a bunch of things that I caught before but didn’t understand the implications. Enjoyed it again!
  • Kick myself some more that I never realized that Amy has been wearing the same plaid shirt all season (see Doctor Who above). Done: Duh!!!
  • Coca-Cola is on-sale at Kroger, 4 for $10. I really need some cans and bottles! Done: Actually decided to go back get even more.
  • Maybe:

  • Set up that scanner that I keep meaning to set up. But that just sounds like a distraction from cleaning.
  • Tomorrow:

  • Dearborn parade in the morning.
  • Bike and blade multiple times for the rest of the day. Not sure where. I can’t imagine Hines Drive will be any more open then.
  • Written By: Gary on May 24, 2011 No Comment

    Am I silly for wanting this?  It’s Seagate’s new GoFlex Satellite mobile wireless storage. It lets me have 500 GB of storage for my iPhone!!!

    The 500 GB portable hard drive wirelessly connects to any Wi-Fi enabled mobile device, and can be used to store music, movies, pictures and documents of various types.Seagate GoFlex Satellite Mobile Wireless Storage STBF500101-Black Seagate

    iOS users can then access that media using a free companion app from the App Store designed specifically for use with the GoFlex hardware. If you’re using an Android or other device, you can access your media using a web browser. The GoFlex Satellite can stream media to up to three devices at a time (great for family road trips), has a battery life of 5 hours of continuous streaming (or 25 hours in standby mode) and retails for $199.99.

    via Mobile Technology News.

    I read about this a week ago and just keep thinking I should order it!! I think more storage is just the geeky version of wanting bigger power tools!

    Written By: Gary on May 23, 2011 No Comment

    20110523-114555.jpg

    It let’s me snap a photo, but doesnt seem so easy if I already took a great photo that I want to post.

    (This is the wall and dresser in my bedroom. Why? Because I’m in bed.)

    Later: Need a better way to adjust the photo size, it’s a little too big.

    Written By: Gary on May 23, 2011 No Comment

    Finally, a preview for Torchwood: Miracle Day. The Torchwood Encyclopedia Gary Russell

    What happens if all of a sudden, everyone stops dying? How long until the world isn’t big enough to support it? Four months! I’m not sure if I agree with that time-line but that’s not really the point, it’s a mystery and they need Captain Jack Harkness and Gwen Cooper to save the day!!!

    Watch the Torchwood preview in HD.

    Looks like Starz is picking Torchwood up, not sure if it’s taking place in the US or not. Starts July 8th, 2011! I can’t wait :)

    Written By: Gary on May 20, 2011 No Comment

    So I recently downloaded Onavo for my iPhone. It cuts down on your data usage by compressing cellular data on the fly. I guess it zips up the text and lowers the quality of images (I usually don’t notice, but sometimes I do) SprintPCS used to do this on their 1G(?) network and it was great.

    onavo.jpgI’m getting over 50% overall compression. It’s free but it’s likely they’ll eventually start charging (so try it now, while it’s free!). But if you’re just squeaking by on a 250 MB plan, this could keep you from jumping up to the next plan at $10 more a month, I assumed it’d be less than $5 a month(?). Most apps it’s compresses 70-80%, others no compression and some others at 30-50%. It works on the iPad too. It’s compression on the downloading, not on the uploading. It says that it has no effect on tethering.

    I love it! I actually think it speeds my data up (if it’s only pushing half of it around, but they aren’t marketing it that way). It doesn’t touch secure data and doesn’t appear to touch your mail unless you specifically enable it (and it has to be MS Exchange); it converts your e-mails to text, but I actually think that’s better on the smaller screen. I did just change my gMail config to use the MS Exchange protocol to test it out (Google does support this); I’m getting 50+% compression.

    I have the data unlimited plan so this isn’t such an issue for me, but I might be tempted to pay for a international data plan next time I travel. Although, now that I look at the list, I don’t see Costa Rica in the list, I thought it was there before…

    I’m grandfathered in on the unlimited plan with ATT, but I have friends considering the iPhone 5 (4s?) whom 250MB might not be enough, but 500MB could certainly be enough. Sometimes I think it might be eating my data more, but I’ve been forcing the phone to stay on 3G and not join any WiFi networks so that I can see the savings.

    Written By: Gary on May 18, 2011 No Comment

    I saw the Hasbro my3D at the store yesterday and just had to have it. It makes for an interesting interactive 3D experience. Hasbro 362190000 my3D Viewer for iPod Touch and iPhone - White Hasbro CEYou need an iPhone or iPod Touch to use it and I think it works better with the newer ones that have the gyroscope built-in. But there are a half-dozen my3D apps you can get from the Apple App store for free and a few you can pay for; as of today five my3D apps are free and one is 99 cents and another is $4.99 (both have free “lite” versions). A few months ago, they were giving all the games away for free, so I grabbed them while they were free(!)

    Sector 17 is the space game, looks pretty cool and is fun for the bit that I played with it. The image below is the two halves of the image that I was looking at alternating; if you can alternately wink at three-tenths of a second, it probably looks 3D to you.

    sector-17-ani.gif

    All the games have no more than two buttons to play (where your thumbs stick into the device), but you do a lot of head tilting and spinning around to make some of the games work. Sector 17 and 360° Sharks really require standing. Sector 17 has a “couch mode” but it’s a lot harder to play; I believe not having a gyroscope model if the iDevice is like playing in “couch mode”. My old first generation iPod Touch (I think it’s 1st gen) works with the few games I tried.

    shark-360.jpg

    They’ve got a pretty good thing going here, $35 for a hunk of plastic and a few games, plus they’ll charge you for more games in the future. At 99 cents, I’d probably buy most of them to try it out, at $4.99 I’d probably try the lite version until I was bored (for $4.99 the space game does look pretty cool).

    There is a Teleport L.A. game (that is more for kids) on a pier in Los Angeles which is all 3D 360° that you can pan around, this would be cooler if it were the Grand Canyon, the Moon or the Pyramids! And there is another more kid-like game called Bubble Bolt that you can roll around in a hamster ball collecting points. The iamge below is how is it looks on your iPhone screen.

    teleport-la-both frames.PNG

    A game called ShatterStorm is like the classic Tempest, but I thought it was a little hard to control. Spinning my head around like I did the controller back in the ’80s just doesn’t work for me.

    There are separate snap on trays trays for different iDevice models (they could be labeled better) and there is a open cutout for the camera on my iPhone 4, so some interactive 3D VR type games are a possibility!

    Pluses:

    • I don’t need my (reading) glasses to use it.
    • It’s 3D and 3D is cool!

    Downsides:

    • I have to remove my iPhone from the case to use it.
    • Lots of game load times, these programs are very large (one was 500 MB!) and they have lots of loading time between levels and menus.

    • The default volume for the music in the background is very loud (it drowns out the game sounds), but it’s all adjustable (and so is the sound effects volume).
    • The games seem to work better if you have the model with the gyroscope, it’s more intuitive; you just look verses tilting your head. Although some games like the Tempest clone are just tilting your head left or right.

    It’s actually cheaper shipped on-line (via Target at Amazon) then at the store (I paid $35), I asked at the counter but they wouldn’t match their own price (“that’s just to compete with other on-line services”), but I guess it didn’t matter, I bought it anyways. The plastic part will come down in price, they actually have a unique code on the viewfinder you need to input (one time) into a game before you play it.

    UPDATE: And as of the update a few minutes ago, my3D Sector 17 started working with Apple’s Game Center. Also, this app has shrunk in size (from 434MB to 270MB).

    Written By: Gary on May 11, 2011 3 Comments

    So I’ve been needing a new bicycle rack for the last few years; ever since the bicycle accident where a tire rolled off a car and while I managed to swerve, out of the way, it still managed to ruin my bicycle and my bike rack (both of which I really really liked). I’d gotten a new bike and it just didn’t fit right (the bar on my new bike is tilted) so it didn’t fit on the new rack (or the old rack) all that well. So I had to use the old rack and put the bike on upside down (which actually worked pretty well) but I had to use pliers to tighten the old rack and it just wasn’t as convenient as before.

    So I’ve been googling, eBaying and sticking my head into bike shops all over, looking for a new rack. Something that plugs into my trailer hitch (which I only have to support a bike rack) and the bike sits into it (these are generally referred to as cradles, carriers or platforms) and isn’t too huge (I have a tiny garage). Actually, that’s pretty much exactly what I got…

    bike-rack-with-bike-IMG_3548.JPG

    I love it!!! Not only does it hold the the bike up higher than the old rack, I can actually close the garage door with one bike on the rack (I didn’t try it with two); so if I want to set it up for morning or just leave it on for the next day, I’m good to go! Until late last summer, I didn’t see any similar to this that weren’t either huge or expensive then I spotted this Hollywood rack on Hines Drive (which looks identical except the knobs and the cool up/down sliders that I don’t have). I just wish it was supposed to be sunny tomorrow…

    Minor complaint: It’s even smart enough to fold down for a SUV or some vehicle with a rear door (which I don’t have), so I think it’s going to rattle a bit more (update) rattling is not a issue for me at all. And the knobs are a little hard to twist, but once I get them most of them adjusted, I won’t need to adjust them any more (just the up/down one). It’s hard to see the up/down support, but you can see them on the links below. And the site lists it as a “powder coat rust resistant finish” but I’m not sure what the “powder” part is, it’s smooth steel, I kind of expected a slightly rougher surface (but I don’t really know these things).

    bike-rack-folded-IMG_3550.jpg

    Here’s a picture of it folded up on the back of the car, so it does get quite a bit smaller. And while it’s pretty compact, it doesn’t really stand up on it’s own once you take it off. It fits my 1.25″ trailer hitch and comes with the adapter for a 2″ hitch. It took me (just like the box said) about fifteen minutes tops to put it together, it was only two bolts and all the hand tighteners.

    I ended up buying it from Proline Products they have several other (more expensive) similar 2 bike racks and some 4 bike racks. I ordered it Monday from Greg (at extension 202) and it got here Wednesday the same wek; I only called on the phone since the site listed a scratched one (for less) and I couldn’t get it into my cart, but I think it’s in excellent shape.

    Written By: Gary on May 8, 2011 No Comment

    Happy Mother’s Day to my Mom! My Mom still worries about me and does all that other Mom stuff that she’s supposed to do and I love her for it!

    mom-costa-rica-IMG-8107.jpgAs you can see, I did get my Mom to Costa Rica this year! She’s at the top of a overlook in Montezuma. We must have drove and parked nearby because I know I didn’t make her walk up that steep hill to get there (we had walked enough as it was!).

    We had problems with flights at both ends of the trip (and a piece of my luggage was lost, I’m so thankful it wasn’t one of hers!).

    And to all you other Mom’s out there, just do your best and don’t worry too (so) much. As kids we’re pretty durable and can weather much more than you think we can; and I’m talking both physically, mentally and emotionally. So just be a Mom and love us, model appropriate behavior and odds are that we’ll (mostly) turn out okay!

    I’ve got to go! It’s time to get over to Mom’s and make our yearly Bahama Breeze pilgrimage!

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