Category Archives: Tech

It’s ALIVE!

Andrea just finished building Mom a new computer.  I had nothing to do with it.  She ordered all the parts, and assembled the whole thing.  She did a perfect job too from what I can tell!

Prepping the empty case.

There's something so clean an pure about building a new computer. It's like a blank canvas to paint on. And no one has mucked it up for you with stuff you'll never use.

The mother-to-be installing the motherboard.

Installing dual DVD burners, baby!

While Andrea was working on Mom's computer, Sydney knocked the the coolest coffee mug off the counter. It was so cool we never used it, just displayed it. Turns out one of our previous visitors stashed $40 in there. I'm guessing it was one of the moms. No one has fessed up yet though!

Fully built! Time to install and setup! Worked perfectly of course! I think this computer might be better than ours now!

First post of July. Randomness to follow

Aye carrumba.  What a crazy few weeks it’s been.  I haven’t posted, and really I haven’t been online much at all.  The biggest factor has been the promotion I got at work.  Our Operations Manager took a new job so I had the opportunity to move up to that position.  It’s going to be a new challenge, and one I think I’m definitely ready for.  But right now, I’m still carrying a lot of my old duties while we get people trained and it’s a lot of extra hours for now.  Eventually though it won’t be too bad.

A family friend, Dave Boyce died this past week and I was hoping we could make it up for the funeral in Woodlawn.  I was hoping we could make it up, but our Camaro giveaway and the extra workload would have made it real crazy.  I wasn’t that close to him personally, but he’s one of those guys that I just remember always being around when I was a kid and always there whenever I went back to Sabetha.  It just goes to show ya that we could all take our last ride any day.

I’ve been walking to work alot lately.  It’s only about 5 blocks from the house so 10 minutes is about my daily commute by foot.  I don’t know if it’s really contributed, but I’ve lost about 5 pounds in the last month.  The last few days have been so damn hot though, 100+ and if I walk home for lunch, I’m just a stinky sweaty mess by the time I get back to work.  And nobody wants that.

I finally broke down and got a smart phone.  The HTC Hero.  Andrea has been dead-set on an Android phone since Nextech Wireless got them in.  And I’ll admit, I’ve been sorta itching to jump on the smartphone bandwagon.  Having my gmail and calendar with me all the time is REALLY attractive.  So I’ve been messing with it for a while so far and really been liking it.  The typing on the touchscreen is going to take some getting used to though.

So I think I’m just laying low this weekend.  Kinda re-grouping.  I have tons around here that needs done, but none of it right away.  So for now, back to piddling with this damn phone!

Posting blog from Word 2010 Beta

This is pretty friggin’ sweet! Haha

I’m such a nerd.

Web Nostalgia of the Day: excite.com

Current excite.com homepage.

Back when Internet Explorer and Netscape were duking it out, so were search sites like Excite, Lycos, and Altavista.  I remember much debate over which search site was the best.  Of course I always preferred the one that ranked my Helen Hunt website the highest at the time.  Ha ha!

Search sites were truly awful back then.  If you don’t believe me, head over to the current Excite.com website and search for anything you might search for today.  Excite has updated their search algorithms as much as they’ve updated their homepage in the last 10 years is seems.

1999 Excite homepage from archive.org.

Of course in addition to searching, Excite was a mish-mash of all sorts of information and services.  I used to have an Excite e-mail address, custom Excite homepage, and even used good old Excite Chat, also known as Virtual Places (VP).

VP was basically just a chat program that used webpages as the chat rooms.  They had a bunch of specific Excite Super Chat pages with themed backgrounds for whatever your interest happened to be (though any URL on the internet could be a chatroom).  And upon entering any of these rooms you were thrown into the jungle of random immaturity, heated arguments, and suggestive (or sometimes just plain explicit) chatting.  I suppose the internet hasn’t changed much in that regard.

The part that makes it memorable for me though are all the little avatars folks would use.  Tiny little images there were about half the size of a postage stamp that you could create and little speech bubbles would pop out of them as you chatted.  You could move them around the screen.  Usually to harass other users as you changed your avatar to something like “LOSER” with an arrow pointing at the avatar next to you.  Then watch as they try to move away from you.

Of course Excite.com was a casualty of the “Dot Com Bust”.  And once Google picked up steam, I know I for one left those old search engines behind and never looked back.  But it’s interesting to look back and see how the online landscape has changed in such a short amount of time.  Then we all pretty much consumed content that was created and placed in front of us.  And now-a-days it’s all about user generated stuff like YouTube and Facebook.  Stuff like the dancing baby and fart soundboards are relegated to e-mail forwards and internet obscurity.

But don’t forget those simpler times.  When sites like Excite had EVERYTHING you’d EVER need!

Purely for nostalgia.

Well I’ve been wanting to build a nostalgia machine for a while. I don’t really have all the pieces I need, so I created a virtual install of Windows 98. (I wanted to install Windows 95, but I couldn’t find an install disc anywhere!) It’s not QUITE the same. I mean with the LCD monitor and the laser mouse and all. Nothing really is ever going to bring back the experience of chatting in ICQ or the Excite chat rooms. Or seeing “This site is best viewed in Internet Explorer 4.  600×800 resolution.” Those days are long lost, left only to my somewhat blurry memory.

The Wayback Machine has been helpful to some extent, but I wish there was a way to route all traffic through archived sites. That sounds like more work than I’m willing to put forth.

Sweet!  I can get 40 free hours of AOL!

Sweet! I can get 40 free hours of AOL!

It has been fairly nostalgic though flipping through all the old built in wallpaper patterns.  Enjoying the retro screen savers like 3-D maze, and 3-D pipes.  If it was 3-D it was friggin’ awesome!  I might have to install my copy of Unreal Tournament to really relive the experience.  Software rendering FTW!

A freakin’ podcast!

Here’s a new one!  Believe it or don’t.  If you don’t believe it click the link below.  This is a special collaboration between biebsworld.com and this place.   It’s hosted on a new server, so if you have trouble accessing it please comment and I’ll see what is up.

Topics:

  • Piratebay.org trial
  • Net Nutrality
  • Content Providers
  • Randomness

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN

Pixlr

Quite a few of the pictures here are run through a Photoshop wringer before they get uploaded.  Most of the time it’s just cropping something, or making adjustments to try to make up for my crappy picture taking.  Now there’s a great website out there that has all the basic functionality of Photoshop.  It’s free.  And you don’t need to install anything, so you can use it on any computer with internet access.

Pixlr

Here’s a quick example of some editing that took just a couple minutes.

First pick the image you want to edit.  You can either load a picture off your hard drive, or use the URL of any image on the web.  I used a picture from my Picasa gallery, but you could also use an image you found in a Google image search as well.

Heres what you see once your image is loaded.

Here's what you see once your image is loaded.

You can easily crop images, or adjust levels to make up for bad lighting.

Cell phones dont take the best pictures.

Cell phones don't take the best pictures.

While not as powerful as Photoshop by any means, there are a few more advanced tools you can have fun with!

Now she looks more psycho than she actually is.

Now she looks more psycho than she actually is.

So there ya go.  Head over to the site and piddle around with it, and have some fun!

Haven’t posted lately…

So I decided it’s about time to post about SOMETHING!

Honestly, there’s really not much to report on.  Things are plugging along as usual, and to be honest that’s how I like it.  No news is good news right?

I built a little directional Wi-Fi antenna that was posted on Lifehacker.com For some paper and tin foil that I already had laying around the house the return on investment is well worth it.  We ditched our old router for this one a while back and it made a big improvement.  But we’d still lose the connection once in a while.  But since I added this, I’m getting 95% – 100% signal strength to our server in the living room!  Not bad!

I’m plugging along on my next N64 re-review.  I don’t really want to say what game I’m working on, but to at least half the folks that read my blog here, probably know.  I will say that so far after all these years, the game has been compelling enough for me to want to beat it again before posting about it.  A true testament to how great the game is.

I remember being a kid and loving and living for winter.  All the snow, it was so pretty and so fun.  But I’ll be honest, I’m ready for spring.  And this has been quite the mild winter even!  I’m excited to get out and work on the cars.  We’re looking to repaint Andrea’s car next month, and I need to get my front end rebuilt on mine.  I am looking forward to getting some flowers planted out front.  And maybe even some grass to grow in the back yard!  But I’m trying to stay realistic here!

I think Andrea and I have found ourselves a nice church that we both like.  An interesting story…  The first day we went apparently they had a “guest pastor”.  All well and good, except the guy ended up SCREAMING at the congregation for the whole sermon.  Truly one of those “fire and brimstone” preachers.  It was an…. intersting experience.  For example, part of his sermon included talking about a young guy he wittnessed to and later that week got in a car crash with (and I quote) “brains all over the car” and he sure hoped that boy had taken Jesus as his savior.  Now don’t get me wrong.  I agree with him in message…. but that’s a little more graphic than I go for on my Sunday mornings.  The regular preacher seems like a real nice guy.  He’s a little charasmatic at times too, but he seems a lot more sincere about it.  Make it more tolerable I suppose.  For now we’re going to keep attending, and someday soon we might chat with them about membership.

I do know it’s nice to be going again though.   I was really involved in church back when I was in school in Ingalls.  But I think I got in over my head.  I was leading the youth group there, and even preaching sermons when the pastor was gone one Sundays.  Shoot I was only 16 or 17 at the time.  And it seemed like the church always kept asking me to do more and more.  To be honest my memory is kinda vague as to how it happened, but over a short time, I just sort of got frustrated, burned out, and fell away.  Getting back into it has been harder than I ever imagined.  But now that we’re going, it’s so much easier!  I don’t know about Andrea, but it’s a refreshing feeling.

That’s about it.

My new toy

I finally got my laptop. Actually, they call it a netbook. They’re not made to do stuff that involves a lot of memory or graphics, just the normal checking your emails and stuff like that. Unless you want to try to get it to do all of that stuff.

It went down in price, so I broke down and bought it. Heck, when you’ve been watching something for a month and notice that the price dropped $100, you’re gonna get it right? Here’s a few pics of it.

Isnt she purrrdy!

Isn't she purrrdy!

Now, this pic might show the beauty of it, but not exactly the size.

And this isnt a mini bottle!

And this isn't a mini bottle!

Yup, she’s only got a 10″ screen. Not too bad, I actually really like it. I just mostly wanted it to be able to sit in the living room, watch tv and chat/surf at the same time.

Cox Kansas throttles internet service

This story popped up on my Google Reader the other day claiming that Cox will be trying to control their network traffic by slowing down “non-time sensitive” content during peak congestion times.  They state things like file-transfers  aren’t as critical as on-demand content like loading web pages, online games, and streaming videos.

At home, I really don’t have a problem with this.  A majority of my time is spent surfing the net, or playing Guild Wars.  But at work the core of what I do relies heavily on file transfers.  I have over 10 hours of audio content that I have to transfer to our on-air computer in Hays, and a majority of that has to first be downloaded from another source.  At the present rate it takes about 20 minutes to transfer one hour of mp3 audio to Hays at a measly 40 k/s.  That’s ALREADY a P.I.T.A.  I certainly don’t need it to take even longer.

Lifehacker also recently published a link to a set of tools to test what (if anything) is being throttled by your provider.  I’m anxious to put this to the test and see what protocols exactly are being throttled and by how much.  And if it significantly impacts my work, you can bet they’ll hear from me…as futile as my cry may be.