Friday, August 1, 2003

Die Another Day

Hmm. I must remember to go and buy the fourth season of Deep Space Nine on the 5th (or soon after). Hopefully I'll be able to get one that has the bonus DVD (I've gotten them for every other season so far).

Hopefully I'll have money to pay for it…

I thought my workstation here had gone schizophrenic earlier today, as it was only showing the system updates available about 1/4th of the time when I went to Windows Update. Turned out that the proxy firewall I had been using for IE wasn't working…

I hate proxies. Well, 99% of the time.

I think that an Apple G5 has been ordered for us, but I have no idea when it will show up here. That'll be fun.

Posted by mike at 11:55 AM | Hardware , Money , Software , TV , Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Sunday, August 3, 2003

Trickle-Down Economics

The amount of cash in my checking account is deceptively high. I've handed in my rent check, and I have a few bills to pay soon.

I had been planning on going home to get cash out of my bank yesterday morning, but my parents came up to see a concert and brought a check for me with them. I didn't really want to take it, but I really wanted to go to the TCLUG meeting, and heading home to the bank would make it very hard for me to be back in Minneapolis in time. I haven't been able to go to any meetings for months, and was feeling the need to geek out with some Linux people.

I am going to head home this coming weekend, though. It's my mom's birthday on that Monday, so I guess I'll have to pick up something soon.

Negative cashflow sucks.

Went out to Ground Zero last night for the first time in nearly two months, I think… The crowd seemed different from what I was expecting.

I think today will be a chore-heavy day. Groceries, washing dishes, general apartment cleanup, etc.

A few months ago, I felt that my life was finally getting interesting, but things seem to have changed so much. Well, they're probably the same as they ever were.

Working in a male-dominated industry sucks. The fact that the only woman at my workplace is 60 definitely puts a damper on certain things.

Posted by mike at 11:59 AM | Abode , Family , Money , Software , Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Monday, August 4, 2003

Become One with the Static

Weird mind-block day today. I'm stuck between two different projects at work, so nothing is happening today other than random miscellany.

I've tried to get a jump start on some stuff for the upcoming project, but I keep finding out that Microsoft Office applications never like to print the same way twice. Also, dealing with the errors like “blah can't be deleted because it is in use” gets to be annoying (that error is very uncommon in the Unix world). I was trying to rename a folder where one of the files inside it was open, and the system got mad at me.

I hope my paycheck arrives today. That would make going out to buy DS9 at Best Buy much less stressful tomorrow.

Posted by mike at 03:04 PM | Money , Software , TV , Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Dub No Bass with Me

The upstairs neighbor has decided to be loud again, at least while I'm around. It had been fairly quiet in my bedroom for the past few weeks, but now the subwoofer noises just echo around in here. Fortunately, my desktop computer is in my living room, so I don't get annoyed to hell by the noise while I'm Internetting.

Of course, the noise bouncing around in my bedroom makes it impossible to sleep in here. When I feel tired, I may have to nap on the couch for a while…

Posted by mike at 07:57 PM | Abode | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Tuesday, August 5, 2003

To the Power of Foo

Well, after my last entry, the neighbor upstairs became eerily quiet. I ended up in my bed, and slept pretty well until 1 or so, but kept tossing and turning the rest of the night. Probably has something to do with the massive amounts of sugar I ate that evening…

I was really hungry after work, but went home to make a pizza. However, in the 25 minutes it took to preheat and then cook, I'd devoured some fruit snacks and half a bag of gummi Life Savers. Probably won't do anything for my waistline. Then again, neither will the pizza ;-)

I ended up just eating two slices of 'za and putting the rest away in the fridge. I suppose I can eat that instead of going out tonight and feel slightly less bad when I look at my bank balance after buying DS9.

I got some music at Best Buy the other day. I got a CD by Nickel Creek, because I'd heard their awesome “Smoothie Song” in a few places. Unfortunately, when I listen to the rest of the CD, I get the same creepy feeling I get when I hear Christian rock, so I'm not sure if that was the greatest purchase in the world. I got another disc by Maroon 5 (who are apparently billed as The Strokes of Hollywood). That one seems to be better overall, but it feels like they're playing tricks on me, using musical techniques that they know will get people's attention. A few songs sound amazingly like Red Hot Chili Peppers, while some others remind me a lot of Jamiroquai, other songs I can't place, but they sound very familiar…

I see Sarah has become one of the collective and started a LiveJournal account now. I think interlinked online journals are a really interesting result of giving everyone Internet access, although I'm sure more than a few people get freaked out by it at first.

Technology pundits (especially media consolidation apologists) have talked a lot about the Internet being a place where anyone can publish, but except for a relatively small number of sites that generated some traffic, few people really believed that it had any effect. Weblogs change the equation. Most sites still don't generate much traffic, but the important thing is that the people who do read the sites do so on a regular basis.

Or maybe I'm just sleepy and talking out my ass.

Posted by mike at 06:48 AM | Abode , Internet , Music , Sarah , TV , The Media | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Wednesday, August 6, 2003

The Feng Shui Nightmare

I've come across some unappealing insects wandering through my apartment recently. I think they may be roaches, but I'm not even sure what they're supposed to look like. I guess I'll clean up the apartment a bit (amazing what can be done just by tossing out the extra “Super Saver” ads that end up plastered all over the apartment). In addition, I may need to get some fresh ant traps… I think they're supposed to be replaced every 3 months or so.

I mentioned the paycheck problem to my boss, and he talked to the guy at Alphabetas that I talk to. He got the same story that I got, that the guy thought that stuff had been sent out and that he would look into it. But I hadn't heard any more than that since this time last week. I suppose they might have the wrong address, but I know I sent the correct one to them.

So, I'm kind of freaking out. I know I haven't done anything wrong. Perhaps I haven't done enough yet to make everything be right, but I'm just trying to give enough time for things to work out naturally. Things are not working out naturally, so now I have to put effort into it, and that's probably why I'm starting to freak out.

Maybe someone's stealing my mail. But why would someone do that? Why don't they take all of my mail or do other strange things? Maybe they are and I just don't know it… The more reasonable possibility to me seems to be that my mail is not being sent. But why would that be? Ugh.

So, if it turns out that my address is correct in their system, I'd like to have them change it to come here to work instead, and have them notify me (and my boss, probably) when it is sent.


Posted by mike at 12:08 PM | Abode , Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack


I went to Best Buy to get DS9, which they did have, but I had to ask a guy to go look in back for it. Unfortunately, there was no bonus DVD with it, though I'm not sure if there's even supposed to be one for season four. Anyway, I put it on the shelf and left, so I could more appropriately judge the situation before shelling out cash for something when I want the better version…

I got a paycheck today, for the first two weeks of work. The check is dated Monday and the envelope is postmarked yesterday. So, I'll call off the dogs tomorrow once I get back to work.

The unnerving thing is that it's just a check, not the fancy pay stub thing you get for most jobs. I guess that means I'll have to learn more about taxes than I ever wanted to know. What fun.

Posted by mike at 06:45 PM | TV , Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Thursday, August 7, 2003

Show Me the Money

I guess I would have barely skimmed by with my bank account if my parents hadn't brought up some money last week. I would have had $13.79 leftover after my rent check went through. Well, I guess it could have been a little higher, as I went out and bought some CDs, which I wouldn't have done if I couldn't get any money.

Anyway, my bank account is happy now. I should set up a savings account somewhere, though I'm thinking I'd like to do it someplace other than TCF, since TCF tends to have limited accessibility outside of the Twin Cities.

Posted by mike at 08:10 PM | Family , Money | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Friday, August 8, 2003

Earth Simulator

This explains something, but I'm not sure what

Posted by mike at 07:49 AM | Comedy | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Saturday, August 9, 2003

The Glut of Irony

Remember the futures market for predicting terrorist actions that the Pentagon wanted to start up a few weeks ago? Some people from MIT, Yale, NYU, and others are now setting up a similar system to predict what strange things our government is going to do next. They have some pretty damning issues as suggestions.

I'm in Byron now. I need to go out sometime to buy a gift for my mom's birthday.

Posted by mike at 09:05 AM | Family , Politics | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Sunday, August 10, 2003

Wave of the Future

Went to the Olive Garden in Rochester for my Mom's not-quite-birthday meal. Serivce was kind of poor (our waitress didn't come around often enough for us to bug her for another basket of breadsticks), and the acoustics there didn't really assist us in our conversation. I guess my Mom has never been to an Olive Garden before, though I'm not so sure about my dad and brother.

My brother and I bought her Shanghai Noon and Shanghai Knights, since she had made noises about those movies back around Mother's Day, but Knights wasn't out then.

I got to feel really embarrassed by showing everyone the TV I want. “So here's the TV that's three times what you guys paid for your big TV a few months ago…”

Yeah, but I figure I should get some decent furniture first. Still, I'd really like to have a nice TV. I've been watching recorded stuff on my laptop for way too long, and the speakers suck so much on that thing that I wear headphones. So, I'd like to connect my laptop to the TV, but I can't get the S-Video port to work, and I don't know if the DVI connection on the TV I want would accept an analog VGA signal from my laptop. So, I might have to get a whole new computer to play video on the thing ;-)

Yeah, I'll be saving my money for a few months yet.

Ugh, there was other stuff, but I forget. It'll come to me.

Posted by mike at 06:08 PM | Family | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Monday, August 11, 2003

Groove to the Beat


I guess I got paid just in time. Er, actually, it looks like I'll have to wait a few weeks yet. And there's no telling how that Ethernet connection works…

Too bad their website sucks. Viewing it in Mozilla gives me no joy.

Posted by mike at 03:03 PM | Hardware , Internet , Music | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Keep Your Eyes on the Road

There were five or six vehicles pulled over to the side of the road this evening when I drove home. That's quite a few. And people seemed to be driving strangely too. Must be the heat.

My car seemed to act funny at a spot or two, but I think it may have been the wind more than anything.

I was getting a bit freaked out over the weekend, as I was worrying that I was destroying the transmission. When I went to get the oil changed two weeks ago, the guy said that I needed a new “transmission fluid pan gasket” and that there was evidence of a fluid leak. I thought I'd measured the fluid level a while before, and it seemed fine, but then again, I'd been measuring it completely wrong.

You cannot measure the transmission fluid level in my car when it is cold. Nor can you measure it when it is hot. The fluid must be warm. Gah.

Anyway, with the assistance of my dad and my brother, we ran the car for a few minutes, cycled through the different gear-select positions, and figured out that the transmission fluid was indeed properly topped off. I guess the procedure really wasn't too bad, but it just seemed to be more complicated than it should have been.

I had a strange experience at Chipotle today. After paying the cashier, I found a fortune from a fortune cookie in my hand. It said, “There's a chance of a romantic encounter soon.” It's one I got a year or two ago, but it just happened to fall out of my wallet.

So, is it a sign? Well, it definitely didn't point me toward the mexican cashier chick. I mean, I know I once mentioned to a person or two that I like Latin women, but I suppose that was just said in a flash of idiocy. I meant Salma Hayek/Jennifer Lopez Latin, not Juanita from down the street Latin—which is unattainable anyway, so I shouldn't even bother mentioning it.

OK, yeah, I'm evil.

Anyway, it would be nice if the fortune came true this time around. I mean, I'm only a few months from turning 25.

Dammit, I'm getting old.

Posted by mike at 08:36 PM | Car , Self | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Fresh Is Spesh

I've been thinking that adding some auxiliary DC power outlets to computers would be a good idea. So many things require little power bricks these days, and it would be much nicer to consolidate the process.

I know it's been done in a few cases. One of the Sony VAIO laptops at work has a DC output. I may have actually gotten the idea via osmosis from sitting next to the thing for a few days straight.

At any rate, it wouldn't be too difficult to do—two of the most common voltages for power bricks (5V and 12V) are the main power levels already supplied inside a computer. Heck, in many cases, a computer PS would produce a much more clean and reliable voltage than those black cancers that fit somewhere between the wall and your favorite little device.

I've been fretting so much about getting paid that I've almost forgotten how to spend money. I just remembered a moment ago to pay my cable bill (due tomorrow). Hopefully I'll get back in the cycle of things now that my checking account is happy again.

I need to debate several items on my to-do list. I'd like to get a replacement PDA—especially a nice one—but I am getting nervous about plunking down a lot of cash for that. So, I'll have to see what's available in the medium to low end of the scale.

I don't think I've bought any clothes since about this time last year, so that will have to change. There are various other things, like getting a microwave (my brother's is returning to him soon), a stand for that, and possibly some cabinets or drawers for organizing some of my computer junk. I may have already mentioned that something other than a card table for kitchen dining would be nice.

Anyway, I suspect my checking account will take a bit of a beating this weekend, but it shouldn't be too bad. Fortunately, reinforcements will be coming in on a regular basis for at least the next few months.

Posted by mike at 08:47 PM | Abode , Hardware , Money | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Oh yeah. Here's a Daily Show clip of Rob Corddry following the “Monsters of Government” to Rochester and Minneapolis. I thought it was pretty funny.

The file's nearly 30 MB, so I'll only be able to keep it on my site for a little while before I need to reclaim the space. I might put up a somewhat smaller copy later…

Posted by mike at 08:52 PM | Daily Show | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Modern English

The strange orangish-pink goo is collecting in my bathtub yet again. I feel like I need to call in The Ghostbusters, but for now bathroom cleaner must do.

I'm not exactly sure what it is, but it's slippery, so I need to clean it up every few weeks in the interest of safety. My best guess is that it's a combination of soap scum and rust from the water, but I don't really know.

I try to keep it from forming, but the faucet leaks a little bit, especially when there's a column of water standing in the pipe leading to the shower head. If I remember, I tap the thing that lets all the water flow out after I take a shower, but I usually forget, and it all drips out over the course of my workday.

Other than getting slimed, not much else is happening in my world. I've observed that the oft-shirtless guy living in my apartment building appears to have upgraded to a large Toyota SUV from his old purple Geo Metro. I just had to think, “People who still have Geo Metros are never going to give them up since they get great mileage,” and he went and got a new car.

So, I'm counter-controlling you all with my subconscious mind. Except I'm not. If I imagined myself as a bum, I'd be a millionaire or at least have a nice girlfriend. Yeah, think negative. That must be the ticket.

Oh, I'm also suffering from rebootitis (no, nothing to do with tits). It's a condition that affects long-time Linux users when they're forced into an environment that requires them to restart the computer whenever they install or uninstall anything. Mostly, the symptoms involve slightly erratic twitching, but it'll pass.

Posted by mike at 08:05 PM | Abode , Car , Software , Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Thursday, August 14, 2003

This Computer Is A Granny Smith

I guess Apple shipped a Mac G5 seed unit to us yesterday, but there's no word on when it'll get here. “Seed” is a word that Apple uses much like other companies use “beta.” Therefore, I probably won't be able to say much about the machine once it arrives. I guess we'll only have it for less than 4 weeks, which is unfortunate, but better than shelling out the $2-3000 for a permanent new box.

The intern that has been working here this summer is expected to leave on Friday, so I guess we'll all be treated to Applebee's for a goodbye lunch.

Free food! Woo!

Er, I hope it's free (but it won't kill me anymore if I have to pay ;-)

Posted by mike at 11:58 AM | Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack

United Parcel Service

As seen on Slashdot:

Didn't anyone notice the time the blackout happened? 4:11pm! That's 4-11! OH MY GOD! THE TERRORISTS WANT INFORMATION!

Posted by mike at 06:14 PM | News | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Friday, August 15, 2003

Taka Taka Taka

A pretty eerie drive into work today. The fog was hanging just enough to make you think about it, which seemed to make the people on the road pay more attention. That was nice, so I had a less stressful drive into work, even though the fog had a look that just made me think, “Someone's engine is burning a hell of a lot of oil.”

Went to Applebee's for lunch. Had steak. Mmmm.

Got the G5 in at work. All shiny and aluminuminumy. Mmmm. Friggin' huge heatsinks, though.

Last day of work for the intern—he's heading to Rochester in a week to start a “co-op” there. It's really just a fancy name for an internship that IBM seems to be fond of. They must have invented it a generation ago, just to confuse all of the hippies ;-)

Went home early: “It's Friday in the summer. Go home.”

This weekend: shopping spree.

Posted by mike at 05:28 PM | Hardware , Work | Comments (2) | TrackBack


Heh. I like this story.

The Sci-Fi Channel in the United States has cancelled an Arnold Schwarzenegger day after the star announced his intention to run for governor of California.

Instead of Terminator 2, The Running Man and Conan the Destroyer, viewers will see a day of California disaster movies.

Emphasis mine.

Posted by mike at 08:55 PM | Politics , TV , The Media | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Saturday, August 16, 2003

Click the Button

The bastard upstairs turned on his music at 8:30 AM today. Oh joy.

Someday, I'll have a house.

I got up after a little while and did the normal morning things, except breakfast. So, by 9:00, I was out the door and headed out shopping.

I got a plastic 3-drawer storage thingy at Target, a 256MB USB drive at Best Buy for ~$60, some miscellaneous cables at Radio Shack, and some jeans at J.C. Penney's.

Yes, for the first time in a year, I bought clothes. Not much, but the weekend's not over yet.

I think I might get a new PDA this weekend. I've been looking at the Palm Tungsten T and the Sony Clié PEG-TG50. The Clié would be fun since it has a nifty keyboard on it, but the Tungsten can be made very small. Beyond that, they're both fairly balanced with Bluetooth, fairly speedy processors, and relatively high-resolution color displays.

Wave bye-bye to that paycheck…

Posted by mike at 03:57 PM | Hardware | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Sunday, August 17, 2003

The House-Elf Liberation Front

Well, I'm halfway through Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, though I don't know when I'll get around to attacking the most recent book. Other than reading, today kind of just turned into another day.

I tried to drag myself out to do some stuff, but just ended up pacing around Best Buy a little, then going for a drive. It felt like a good day to get a bit lost, but it might have been more enjoyable if I'd turned on the A/C in my car. I ended up driving across the river on a bridge that has metal grating for the road surface. It's a bit creepy, since the grid seems to grab hold of the tires and wiggle the car from side to side.

Reminded me of something I saw on TV about the Mackinac Bridge, where the middle two lanes are metal grating. I've thought it might be fun to take a long weekend or a week to drive up to Duluth, through Wisconsin to Michigan, and then take the bridge south as I went through Detroit, then swung back to Minnesota by going through Chicago, Milwaukee, etc.

Though there are probably more exciting things I could do with my time ;-)

Posted by mike at 11:39 PM | Books , Car | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Monday, August 18, 2003

I Just Crushed Woody Allen

Discovered today that the testing lab I've been working in was infested with ants. At first, I thought there were just a few, but it quickly dawned on me that it was a fairly big problem.

At first, I was thinking that a few must have hitched a ride along with the G5 on it's trip to Minnesota, but it turned out that there was a nest poking through in a part of the lab that was pretty far away from the cardboard box the computer had been shipped in. And, of course, there's no way in hell the box could have had that many ants in it.

Anyway, we had an exterminator come to attack the problem. Hopefully the ants will subside soon.

I spent some more time looking over the G5 with another guy at work. The CD-ROM drive cover has an interesting feature—rather than folding down, it actually drops vertically to let the tray come out. I'll have to take a look at the mechanism that does that. Definitely a lot cooler than the old panels that would just flop down to let the tray out…

We'll have to find something to run on the machine just to show how fast it is. The damn thing has a 1GHz frontside bus. I have not seen a computer with a 2:1 ratio between CPU speed and bus speed in ages and ages. It must just blaze when the right software is put on it.

Posted by mike at 07:56 PM | Hardware , Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

Elvis Has Peed on Your Rug

The naming of Erin's cat reminded me of this image I saw

I imagine some G.I. must have done that, as the military is starting to call reports on the whereabouts of Saddam Hussein “Elvis sightings.”

Anyway, my mom called me at work today, asking about the buckled higway in Hudson. I guess someone on the radio said that the road had buckled yesterday, and they said that it was backing up traffic really badly. In reality, it appears to me that the road had buckled over the weekend, and had been quickly patched with some asphalt late Sunday or early Monday, since it was still rough when I was jolted awake by it that morning.

Today, a crew was out with the flashing lights and everything, but nothing had really started by the time I drove over the (now flattened) patch on my way to work. Over lunchtime, it looked like the work crew was putting down new concrete, which was probably slowing traffic a bit, but I doubt it was really significant.

It was a lot scarier coming home today, as I hit some pretty heavy rain not long after crossing back into Minnesota. I almost put on the hazard lights and stopped on the side of the road, but I figured that might be more dangerous than staying on the highway. I wouldn't want someone to follow me onto the shoulder if they wanted to stay on the road.

Anyway, the temperature swung quite a bit through my trip home, though. Pretty hot at work to fairly cool near the rain back to sweltering in Minneapolis. Don't you wish you drove 30 miles everyday?

Posted by mike at 07:49 PM | Car , Erin , Family , War | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Virus Warning

Came home today to find 46 messages in my inbox, most likely generated by the Sobig.F worm variant floating around now. Most of the messages were errors returning undeliverable mail. So, a worm is sitting on someone's computer using my address in the From: field, what fun.

I finished Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire yesterday night. Now that I'm done with that, I'll need to spend some time cleaning up in my apartment. Whee.

Posted by mike at 06:05 PM | Abode , Books , Internet | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Thursday, August 21, 2003

Ooooo It's Soooo Biiiig

Lots of worm-related antics at work today. It appears that none of the systems I touch on a regular basis had any problems, but the programmers upstairs got their Ethernet ports shut off.

Despite some alarmist news reports to the contrary, the thing seems to be slowing down—I got about half as many bounce messages today as I got yesterday.

I got Bowling for Columbine at Target today, so I might watch it later.

Dum de dum dum.

Oooo! HDTV!

Posted by mike at 07:59 PM | Hardware , Internet , TV , Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Friday, August 22, 2003

Eet's Pononced “Wirus”

Hey, I found a computer that apparently had the MSBlast worm on it, though it hadn't been rebooting itself (I think it was supposed to). Naturally, one of the last people to touch the machine was one of the programmers, who apparently didn't update the system…

Anyway, in process of re-imaging and Windows Update-ing now. What fun.

Posted by mike at 02:57 PM | Internet , Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Internet Exploder

With the various nasty things floating around, I should point out to the Windows lusers out there that has a free virus scanner you run through Internet Explorer. But everyone I know is already using their free University-subsidized copy of [brand name here] Anti-Virus, right?

I've seen a few Minnesota (and possibly Twin Cities) RoadRunner IP addresses show up in the bounce mail I've been getting. So check your boxes.

Posted by mike at 07:48 PM | Internet | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Sunday, August 24, 2003

Total World Domination

Well, that pcHDTV card I talked about has hit Slashdot. I was going to send a link, but I decided to wait until my card arrives before advertising it to the world too much. It should show up at work on Monday.

Now, I'm in the process of designing an appropriate home theater PC that has the necessary CPU power to decode the video stream nicely. This will be a challenge, since I also ultimately want to have a system that is quiet. I think I've figured out what I want for the base system, though. Probably going to get an Athlon XP 3000+ running on a VIA KT600-powered motherboard. That gives me all the goodies like USB2, FireWire, Serial ATA, and whatnot. I would go for an nVidia nForce2-based system since they're faster, but nVidia only has closed-source drivers for some stuff, and nVidia motherboards apparently don't play nicely with non-nVidia video cards, at least in Linux.

I am looking at getting one of the wacky Zalman fan-shaped CPU coolers, but I guess the extreme size of these heatsinks could actually damage the CPU in certain situations. However, they're very quiet.

It would be awesome to get one of the Ahanix cases, but they're very spendy. I'm still hunting for a good power supply and some good fans as well, but I guess I can't find all of the parts I want right away—I may have to try a few different things before I get things just the way I like.

But, once everything is set up properly, it should last me a long time. The PC would replace the functionality of several A/V components, and it would be infinitely configurable and expandable.

This is one happy day ;-)

Monday, August 25, 2003

You Don't Have a Package?



No package. Boo UPS.

Oh well, I hadn't gotten an actual tracking number out of anyone so maybe it hasn't even really shipped. However, the day has not yet turned to dusk, so maybe UPS will come by again.

I'm in serious need of entertainment. I should have gone to the Fair on Saturday or done other things over the weekend, but I was busily plotting out ways to saturate my tissue with even more electromagnetic energy.

Bah. Back to work.

Posted by mike at 02:44 PM | Hardware | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Well, it looks now like my order hadn't actually been shipped when I had first gotten a notice about it. Maybe they'd put it in a box or something, but it hadn't been graced with the mark of UPS until tonight. So, I guess that means maybe Wednesday. I'll try checking the tracking number again later to see what the brown bastards say.

Maybe I'll get my next paycheck by the time it arrives. That would be nice.

Posted by mike at 08:27 PM | Hardware | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

The Revolution Will Be Digitized

Well, I guess my package has gotten through Des Moines. Maybe it'll show up in the morning, maybe the afternoon. It'd be nice to get it early, but then I would just want to leave early that much more ;-)

Of course, it's likely that my efforts will be for naught, as reception sucks when you're in an apartment halfway underground. Still, I hear that miraculous things can happen with $3 bow-tie antennas from Radio Shack (digital transmissions generally go in the UHF band). I've only got bunny ears at the moment, so we'll see what else I can find.

Now let's see if my “forward thinking” boss will declare again today that 4:45 is in fact 5 o'clock. Heh.

Posted by mike at 04:36 PM | Hardware , TV , Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

Use the Wand of Power

Got my package. Woo! Now I'll spend the next week trying out various antennae ;-)

Hopefully I'll be able to pick up at least one station. We'll see how that goes. According to AntennaWeb, most of the stations in the Twin Cities are 45-50° from north at my apartment. Not exactly the best angle.

I got my car checked out today. At my last oil change, a guy had suggested that I get a new gasket for the transmission fluid pan, since there was some seepage there. I'd also thought that I had felt the car acting strangely. But, I guess the guy was just trying to milk me for some money, as the repairman I talked to today couldn't stop saying what “beautiful” condition the car was in. He said that there was some seepage, like the other guy had said, but that's just a normal thing—especially for an older car like mine.

The most valuable thing was getting the mechanic's advice on what sorts of warning signs would actually exist if the fluid went low. One thing is that the fluid can change color—actually burning up a bit if the transmission starts slipping. Another consequence of the slippage would be having the engine rev up without making the car go any faster. That behavior would first be noticed when going around curves, as fluid would slosh to one side, making it hard for the sump to pull fluid out of the bottom of the transmission.

Now I feel better knowing for certain that the car is in good shape.

Watch me go out and hit a deer :-p

Posted by mike at 02:02 PM | Car , Hardware , TV | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Well my tuner card works. It probably doesn't have the greatest tuner in the world, but I've been able to get it to have a suitable signal on 4 channels: KTCI-16, WFTC-21, KMSP-26, and KTCA-34, though they tend to need slightly different antenna locations/orientations (of course). Two or three other channels taunt me by being just under the threshold. I'm curious if an amplifier would help with that, but it would probably just make things worse.

I'd really like to be able to pick up the big 3 networks, though I'll have to see what can be done with the ones I am able to receive. So far, the software I have has only been able to decode 480i programming. Higher resolutions seem to make the player app go nuts. But, I entirely expected some problems… Besides, the important thing is that the hardware works.

Anyway, I picked up a nifty looking antenna at Best Buy. People seemed to like it from what I read online, so I got it. It's kind of entertaining wandering through the apartment with it, since I almost feel like I'm carrying a divining rod…

Unfortunately, it sounds like the encoding method used for American broadcast digital TV is not well suited for urban environments. It outperforms the European standard over long distances, but people just a few miles from the tower can have problems.

Ah, America…

Posted by mike at 10:29 PM | Hardware , Software , TV | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Thursday, August 28, 2003

Just Don't Think About “Alien”

Aaagh! My head hurts. Headache headache headache.

I must be sleep deprived. I'm going to bed.

Posted by mike at 10:17 PM | Self | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Friday, August 29, 2003

t.A.T.u.s Don't Go Away


I've only seen stills of it, but there was this whole thing at the MTV VMAs with Britney, Christina, and Madonna. Then it suddenly became very Britney and very Madonna, and then very Christina and very Madonna.

This whole lesbian fad is just becoming disturbing…

Posted by mike at 10:39 AM | Music , TV | Comments (0) | TrackBack

And I Just Had It Washed

Hopefully this one isn't Dan's mom's car ;-)

Actually, it's from a mudslide in Switzerland…

Posted by mike at 11:27 PM | Car | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Saturday, August 30, 2003

Who Wants to Marry a Computer Geek

First off, some linkage. People interested in HDTV in the Twin Cities area should go take a look at TPT's bulletin board. Lots of good information, and it looks like techs from most or all of the local stations hang out there. 2-channel audio working fine, but Dolby Digital 5.1 dropping out? Mention it there and they'll fix it ;-)

Another site, HDTV Twin Cities has some info on how to get high definition video in this area, whether from cable, satellite, or air. They have a convenient listing of what formats the local stations are broadcasting in.

I tried to show off my HDTV tuner card to my family, since they were up for moving my brother into his dorm room, but the curse of technology demos hit me, and nothing happened with it.

I think I'm going to assemble a new box over the next week or two to test it out more thoroughly.

Okay, back to less costly things. Sort of.

I chatted with an old friend of mine from marching band. I guess she's getting married in about a month and a half, and is going nuts with She mentioned that some other people from the band had gotten hitched recently. I suppose that if I got around to catching up with people I knew then, I'd hear all sorts of similar stories, which is, y'know…

I'll have to get out and do something this weekend. I've been getting kind of bored.

Posted by mike at 06:26 PM | Hardware , School , TV | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Sunday, August 31, 2003

Where Can't You Go Today?

Someone appears to be DoSing my Yahoo! account, giving me an error along the lines of, “Maximum number of login tries exceeded. Try again in 12 hours.”

For all I know, it's me—my web browser might be trying to log in all of the time or something. I'll see if I can avoid Yahoo web sites for the night, and see if I can log in tomorrow. If I still get an error, I may have to ask them to delete my account.

I don't think there's any information in there that could help anyone do anything, but I'd rather be safe than sorry…

Posted by mike at 04:52 PM | Internet | Comments (0) | TrackBack