Sunday, December 28, 2008

Truth in Vending

This was a capsule machine I saw that sells junk to kids ya know?

Although it's only partially true as it says 'Good Stuff'.

(read the small text under that)

Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Devil's Food

Keebler Danish Wedding cookies are covered in cocaine powder and
contain several other addictive chemicals such as I think, chocolate,
and other substances known to the state of California to cause
'cancer' in your waistline. By that I mean it will grow uncontrollably.

They are highly addictive and should be placed on The DEA schedule II
drug list along with lemon bars.

Finally, do you see what they are next to?! DEVIL'S FOOD! He calls THAT Devil's Food just to steer you away to a less obvious evil! It's just a red herring!

The prosecution rests.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Yes. It's real.

Paris Hilton's new perfume 'Heiress'. Please God, make it stop.

I cannot stomach a media created "reallity" any longer.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Fuzzy hazy iPhone photos

Ok, I was getting photos with that sort of World of Warcraft 'Full Screen Glow' effect. Like this:

See how bright objects are not clear and sort of glow? (Like my son: he's bright but not always clear. Damn near indecipherable sometimes, but you just nod and say "Orly?")

Turn out it's simple: the lens was dirty. I have a hard case on the iPhone that made it pick up a a bit of dust. Nice case overall with a belt clip it slips in and out of that you don't have to use. It flips open for easy cleaning, so don't worry about that. Quick wipe of the shirt tail and you're done.

(I have the same one for my 1st gen iPhone.)

After cleaning my lens, this was the result.

No more fuzzy! And it wasn't that dirty, but the lens on the iPhone is so small, it makes a big difference.

Reindeer Fun

Once again it is time for festive headgear. They would not, however,
let me join in any games.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Cheapest WiFi Adapter for Xbox 360 and TiVo, and Others

Ok, forget the one Microsoft/TiVo/whoever sells. You don't need it.

What you need is what is called a bridge. It connects wired boxes via a plain old cable to a WiFi network.

So anything that has a network plug can plug into the bridge without buying that special expensive adapter for your TiVo/Xbox/Xbox 360/etc.

Something like this is what you want, and if you want to plug multiple devices in, get a switch or hub.

Sometimes, they have a switch built in like this one:

That is the one I have and it's ROCK SOLID. Not the cheapest, but recommended. You can plug 4 devices into the switch on it. So you saved $20 by not buying the official Xbox 360 adapter, and now you can plug EVERYTHING in your entertainment center into your network.

Good job.

Merry Christmas!

Nothing says Happy Holidays like discount liqour! I got these lovelies
in the mail today.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Twas the night before Christmas

We were hanging our stockings and that whole bit about "The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, in the hopes that St. Nicholas would soon be there" gave me pause.

I don't know about St. Nick, but Santa ain't showing until it's time no matter how carefully you hang them, which is what that line says right?

Maybe the dude just used that to rhyme, unawares he was writing a classic for the ages?

Kids: Santa is not showing until after you are ASLEEP and before you wake up.

Now, back to my long winter's nap.

Still looking for an Xbox 360 Christmas deal?

The Arcade with Rockband 2 is around $200 at Dell, and you can find a 5% coupon and get 4% cash back from (PLEASE drop me an email for an invite so I can benefit.) So, 9% off, might save you a bit or a lot depending on if you get taxed.

Circuit City has a refurb 20 gig drive and WIRELESS controller for $39.99.

So, you get a hard drive, two wireless controllers, and Rockband 2 (in my case) for $228ish.

That system to me has the meat for the 360 experience at a nice cost savings. Heck, Target wants $50 for the controller alone, so you save $10 and get a free hard drive. Plus Rock Band 2 is worth what, at least $35 if you decide to sell it?


Updated 12/11/08: I got the 'Jasper' motherboard with my Dell order. Short story on that: uses less power and generates less heat so lower chance of failures.

Sad Tag: Goodbye Polaroid

This is really a shame. They aren't going to make Polaroid instant camera film any more. I've got a fair amount of pictures of my kids when they were young. The childcare place would take pictures and give them to the parents. Now, no more.

Polaroid hasn't made the cameras for about a year, and the film stock will run out some time in 2009.

I know it's all gone digital, but theroblog is urging you to save it all, and keep backups for gosh sakes. I use two hard drives worth about $1oo each. I use iPhoto, and have a backup of that, AND a backup of my backup.

I don't recommend DVD or optical media, because those have an unknown lifespan. Seldom powered on hard drives are good for yeeeeeaaaaarrrrsss and someday you'll replace it with a much higher capacity drive anyway right?

At least your digital photos won't fade, but do you have your copies made?

Saturday, December 06, 2008


"PC LOAD LETTER?! What the..." See: 'Office Space'.

I got an HP LaserJet 4 with a JetDirect card and 8 Megs of RAM (woo!) for $7 (yes , seven) at a garage sale. I've been using inkjets for a long time and lasers off and on, but for this kind of pricing it's a buy. This thing is a tank. Built in Japan in 1993. Original price on these babies was $2199 retail.

This is an *OFFICE* heavy cycle machine. Rated for tens of thousands of pages per month. There are machines with over 1 million page count out there. This one only has 114,000 or so. A baby still.

Do you think the Brother for $99 at Office Depot is built as well?

OS X is happy with it using Gimp Print and Windows XP is fine with using it as an LPR printer. Vista should work but I got to set that up.

It's industrial, fast enough, the price is right and it will probably work for decades.

Newer ain't necessarily better, and it sure ain't cheaper.

Oh and the movie's excellent by the way.

Friday, December 05, 2008


Updated 12/5 with lots of details.

It started life as a Honey Nut Cheerios box. I used a sheet of thicker cardboard from Hobby Lobby for the bottom back opposite the face part. About 1.5 mm thick. A huge plain piece is like $2 there. Back by the picture frame area near the matting.

Then for the top I put on Durham's Rock hard putty and sanded and painted that. With time, you can make the helmet really smooth but I was pressed for time to make Halloween.

(You can Google both those ingredients.)

Links to the site with tons of patterns are below. For a purist, there are other more accurate patterns there but I think everyone recognizes my version. It's pretty close.

These pieces are just high density foam I glued the pattern to and used an Xacto knife and a dremel with a cutting head for machining the parts I couldn't knife out. Water based acrylic paint.

Hot glued on. There is a bolt that goes through the rangefinder bottom you can't see that is hidden by the top fitting. It is tight enough to stop nicely in the up and down position. There is a stop when it's down to hold it level.

Inside the rangefinder is a blinking red light from a nametag I got somewhere. Quarter sized PCB with an on off button.

The mirror eyepiece is just a piece of window tint. It should be black but I already had the mirrored.

The pistol I painted more realistically later with some silver paint to show spall patterns and chipping. It's a Nerf pistol with the front cut flat to accept the barrel and sight assembly with hot glue attachments.

The barrel is a PVC pipe piece with a smaller pipe inside that is centered with a foam ring I made then hot glued.

The cooling fins are pairs of Q tips with the heads cut off glued together but if you cut pieces from the rubber of a windshield wiper blade it would look cooler.

Drill holes for the cooling shround.

The front sight is a small blade fuse glued prongs up.

The top sight is a cardboard tube from a clothes hangar (like from the dry cleaner) and a washer. It is held on the barrel by more cardboard tubing and hot glue.

I had the wiper blade but ran out of time.

The grenade is a foam ball painted black and dark green with another LED pin I got at a party that flashes patterns when you twist it on in about 3 colors. "He's holding a thermal detonator!" Effective for getting candy or earning higher bounties in distant galaxies.

The armor is from the patterns you can find below and made from cutting a Sterilite trash can and melting with a heat gun for shaping. Paint and affix snaps to the the back with epoxy. You can buy a kit to put snaps on at Wal Mart in the fabric section. Rough up the epoxy so it will stick. JB Weld doesn't stick well to smooth plastic. Use a knife to cross hatch where you are going to put the epoxy.

Makes sure to add a little battle damage and paint that silver for effect. Like gouges and creasing.

Then just snap the armor to the shirt. Kneepads=Roller hockey pads painted black. Flight suit and gloves are my old Air Force issue.

The white logo is just a printout cut with an Xacto to make a pattern with spray paint.

The cape is an old camo poncho doubled over and snapped once around my neck.

Most kids thought it was cool and yet my son was embarrassed by me at
school when I showed up at the bike to "collect the bounty on this one" on Halloween day. He should have 'fought' me like McLovin.

It's only cool to the OTHER kids.


No Audio or Video playback on your Mac?

You downloaded that file of remote control bulldozer pit fighters in Croatia that won't play on your Mac?

Or like me, you wasted a disc to find that it had no audio because the computer couldn't decode it.

I was missing the A52 codec.

The page to download it from the author was bjorken. So, if you have the same sort of problem, download Perian from

It will install a plethora of codecs for you, including the pesky A52.

If you have a similar problem of finding out what's missing, try VLC from

Using VLC, you can find out what the streams are from one of the menu options after you load the video you are having problems with. (The precise one escapes me for the moment) and it will tell you something like 'DivX', 'A52', and more.

If you only want to play the video, then VLC works on just about everything without having to install a codec.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Collectors item

First issue of Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine in good shape. Wonder if it's worth anything? Spring 1977...why, that was even before 'Star Wars' probably (May 25 1977), which for my generation means year 0 in terms of Sci Fi. :)

Trade Secret: Cheap Data Recovery

I've seen it quite a bit: your laptop or desktop breaks, or you get a new one, or switch to a Mac from a PC or (you'll switch back later) from a Mac to a PC.

This will help you if you are doing anything but trying to read a Mac hard drive on a PC. That is possible but beyond the scope of this article.

The little device below (and many like it) that Amazon (and many others--I love parentheses!) sell(s) (see?) are designed so that you remove the hard drive from your old and busted and hook it up to the new hotness as an external drive.

Remember that static electricity kills electronics. Keep one hand on your PC case or something grounded to dissipate this buildup.

Then, you just copy the files you want over to your new gadget. Keep the old drive around for a while. If there's nothing wrong with the hard drive you are copying from, you can also buy an external case and use it for whatever (backups are your friend!).

Linkies: (Sorry about the layout. Comment if you know how I can avoid the linebreaks.)

Make sure you get the right interface type. There are two physical sizes and two interface standards (Ok, SCSI, but you don't see much of those.) So, four possibilities: 2.5", 3.5" and SATA (serial) or Parallel IDE. (Sometime called parallel IDE or PATA, etc.) Don't ask me, Google it!

Monday, December 01, 2008

Lifetime TiVo Service Available Again

Looks like some eligible account holders are getting the offer below:

Your choice: TiVo HD or TiVo HD XL DVR.
Savings of $100 on Product Lifetime service—no monthly bills for the life of your new HD DVR.
FREE Wireless Adapter (a $59 value) to connect you to the world's largest selection of Videos on Demand, including movies and music.
FREE Entertainment Pack (over $50 value) so you can enjoy music and movie rentals on us.

I've had lifetime pretty much for the last 7 years or so, and while expensive up front, pays off HUGE.

I recommend it. Watch your emails TiVo people.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Christmas Time is Here"A Charlie Brown Christmas" by the Vince Guaraldi Trio. This is all the Charlie Brown Christmas song Goodness by the original artist.

$1.99 for 16 tracks of DRM free Christmas memories!

I've already bought my copy.

It's MP3's but of course you can burn it to CD or put it on your iPod, Zen, Zune, etc. because there is no copy protection like that pesky iTunes store.

DON'T PIRATE MUSIC. I've been buying quite a bit (and getting some free) from Amazon lately because the price and deal of the day has been too good and cheap to pass up.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Free Games for Nickelodeon's Nick Npower Fusion Media Player: A tutorial

Ok, here's how you do it.

Plug in the player to a PC or Mac using the mini USB cable that came with it or one of the countless ones you have around your house that came with your camera/portable drive/etc.

Go to this site:

The first game I found that worked was SameGame found in this category.

Download the JAD file and the JAR file.

Drop those files in the E:\JAVA_VM folder that is probably on the drive called "Fusion" that will show under My Computer in Windows. It might have a different drive letter.

Other OS's might have a similar name. If you have a memory card inserted in the Npower Fusion, that will show as another drive. Ignore it.

Eject the player. (Right click the green arrow in Windows XP in the notification area; bottom left.)

When you go to the Games menu on the player now, it will do it's thing for a bit and then the game will be ready in the list of games to play.

SameGame is a simple game, but it's free and it works, so it will get you started.

You can download simple java games all over but trying to find those that work with the Nfusion is hard. Please leave a comment below (anonymous is fine) if you find one.

If you download a JAR file, you will need JADMaker. You can get it here. You unzip that, drag a JAR file on top of the jadmaker.exe file and it creates a JAD file in the same location as the JAR file. Put those on the player as detailed above.

Let me know how it works for you!

For video, Pocket DVD Wizard supposedly will make them. Someone send me a copy and I'll make a tutorial. :)

Buy 5 Sample Games delivered by email with the Paypal button below. At least 3 of these are good. :)

Join the Npower discussion at

If you need a replacement Fusion, there are some used and refurbs on Amazon. Buy through the link and support us please.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Free money! is giving away cash. Well, you have to open a savings account. HORRORS! You will need $250.

Don't have $250? Use one of those credit card checks. They should charge you like $10. But you will make $30 by opening an ING Savings Account. If you refer someone after that, you will make another $10 for each person you refer up to $500 total.

When you open an account with at least $250, they will put $25 in and I will paypal you another $5.

It's a legit, long time company. I've had an account with them for over 7 years. Email me under my picture and I will send you a link.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


For the Shreveport Caddo Magnet High homies.

Recipe of the day

This one's real simple. Get some chopped pecans, pretzels, peppermint, etc. Toast it if it's a nut or a toastable item at about 300 degrees F for about 10-15 minutes. Use more or less heat or time if you like. I prefer lower heat over a longer time.

Then get a cheese grater like this:

Grate some chocolate, almond bark, cheese, etc. over the top of your desired item. Put it in the oven at about 400F. Bake until it's melted. You can also broil it a bit if you want it more caramelized.

In the above example, it's pecans and white almond bark. The melted bark holds the pecans. It's good eatin', fun and easy.

I recommend a CONVECTION toaster oven for reheating pizza, french fries, (You do bring those home from the restaurant don't you? You did pay for them.) and baking small items. It's the oven equivalent of a microwave, guys. And it uses a lot less electricity and doesn't heat up the kitchen in summer.

Like this on:

iPhone 2.2 Software Update Review

I installed it on a first generation iPhone last night. Version 2.2, Build 5G77. I used iTunes 8.0.2 on a Macbook with OS X 10.4.11. Backup your phone before you install, just in case.

So by bullet points, my initial impressions.

  • Enhancements to Maps
    • Google Street View*: Meh. Neat, I can see my house from the side now. I can imagine in a large city this might be useful? Readers, what do you use this for? Dancing bear for me.
    • Public transit and walking directions: See above. Meh.
    • Display address of dropped pins: Useful somewhat. But I'm not sure how yet.
    • Share location via email: Pretty cool. Have your friends meet you. Of course, if you have a first generation iPhone and you are not using a WiFi location enabled spot...well, maybe they can find you in the woods if you have a whistle. You did bring your whistle right?
  • Decrease in call setup failures and dropped calls: DING DING DING! We have a winner! If it's true. Too soon to say yet. I certainly hope it's better than before. Cingular, I miss you. (Yes, I think Cingular was better, and I'm not the only one.)
  • Enhancements to Mail
    • Resolved isolated issues with scheduled fetching of email: Didn't have this issue. Sometimes sending didn't work right away though. I use Gmail IMAP.
    • Improved formatting of wide HTML email: Ok, good to know.
  • Podcasts are now available for download in iTunes application (over Wi-Fi and cellular network): Yes, that's a good one. But you better hope it's a small download. Reportedly it's a 10Meg limit for cellular. Probably audio only would be doable. Maybe some small clippy type videos. The National Geographic video podcast might fit, and the kids will like it. Just avoid the one with Bambi and the lion.
  • Improved stability and performance of Safari: Ding Ding! I hate it when Safari crashes. Let's hope.
  • Improved sound quality of Visual Voicemail messages: Great, but whatever. To me they just sounded low bitrate but no big deal.
  • Pressing Home button from any Home screen displays the first Home screen: Ding! I hated scrolling back to the first screen which is where I kept most of the more important apps.
  • Preference to turn on/off auto-correction in Keyboard Settings: I type like I mean it. Just keep typing and correct it later.

A couple of quick thoughts on the Stock Market

I can't help you if you need money right now. But if you need it in about 5 years let's say, I think you could put a list of solid companies (or as solid as they come) on a dartboard and toss one for a bargain.

"11 year low" people. That's a fire sale.

If we're not at the bottom, you're close enough so that you're still going to make some money when it turns around.

Here's something to think about: we're selling selling selling and it's going down down down. Right?

Well, who's buying? Someone is. And those someone's are going to make a lot of money later.

Friday, November 21, 2008

A Funny

This is what I feel like sometimes, but this usually occurs via email or over the phone with me.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Turkey Time

You can tell because the kids dress funnier than usual.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Parallels 3.0 build 5626 has a sloooow update of Windows Desktop Tools

If you installed the update of Nov 5 2008, with the above build number and version on OS X 10.4.11 using Windows XP SP 3 and all updates as your virtual machine, it will take a while. (Whew! That was a lot of keywords for you Googlers.)

Go to lunch and let it complete. I put it on a Core 2 Duo 1.83 Ghz with 2 gigs of RAM and it still takes way long than you thik it should. I just let it sit for a few hours and spin. It eventually completed and now everything looks good!

Good luck. It's Windows and you'll need it.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tired of Spam from your blog?

I added a link to my email (Look to the right below my picture) by using this link.

It's free, doesn't require any special accounts, etc. It makes your browser run a little piece of JavaScript to re-assemble your email address basically.

In theory it should prevent the spammers' mail bots from reading your email address off your website.

I'll go out on a limb and see how it works. Google Mail will probably catch most of the spam that gets through too.

I realized many folks couldn't email me directly, but you could always leave a comment which I'm also notified of.

So, mail away!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Cold Houston Weather

See what it has reduced the cat to? It's so cold he has to curl up vs.
His normal lengthwise sprawl!

We had a cold snap of *54* degrees!

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Man, this sounds painful! Is there a cream for symptom treatment?!


This is my Microsoft TechNet event. The back row is where all the cool
kids hang out. Yay, a script tutorial!

Anyone got an old Apple Xserve G4 for sale cheap/partial trade?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Liberal Media For Change

I don't like to get too political, but I want change too. But not in some of the ways the liberal media might want.

Curmudgeon mode on! (Do you have to be 40 for that?)

From this article titled "Obama Weighs Quick Undoing of Bush Policy"

"In January 2001, on his first full day in office, Mr. Bush reinstated the so-called global gag rule, initiated during the Reagan administration and overturned by President Bill Clinton, which prohibited taxpayer dollars from being given to international family planning groups that perform abortions and provide abortion counseling. "

I didn't see ANYWHERE in the text that Obama was considering undoing that. The title of the piece was "Obama Weighs Quick Undoing of Bush Policy". The damned dirty hippies at the NYTimes put the above quoted paragraph in the article, THEN move on to mention some stuff Obama MIGHT actually do.

Evidently their (or do they expect our) line of reasoning to wind its way thus: Obama's in and might change some stuff-=>Obama's making a list of stuff he could change-=>here's one thing Bush did-=>Hey, Obama's for abortion and Bush was bad so we are/should be too!

Did you actually need that paragraph? NO. I love how it's slipped in to snag the careless reader and start that ball rolling.

In other news, Obama MIGHT:

  • normalize relations with Cuba
  • Legalize marijauna
  • wear nothing but leisure suits the entire term
  • return all his excess campaign funds as a taxpayer rebate
  • have the letter 'M' stricken from the English language
You heard it here first folks! We might as well get everyone's wished for changes into the rumor mill going if we want it to happen.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

It's Sweeping the nation!

I have a new product idea...add the ice cream, put in the mixin's, squish, cut off the corner, and voila!

If you like, Aaron is available for product endorsements. More of his work is here. (scroll down)

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Looks like fun!

This is sunrise over KAXH. Low fog layer and I bet it's glass smooth.

Taken 1 Nov 08. Last Halloween we got fog. This year it arrived a
little later.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Harbor Freight Funny

Someone has a sense of humor. $8.99 if you're interested. I used it on my Mandalorian armor construction.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Because it's been a long time...

...since we had kitty porn!

How can we take this cat seriously now?

Friday, October 24, 2008

Personal Watermelon

You know, to go with your Pizza Hut personal pizza.

Free Beer!

Free beer at the Sienna golf club! No wimpy sample. A full 15 ounces! And refills!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

How to Recover a Lost or Damaged JPEG

First, Thorsten Lemke of deserves HUGE Kudos for showing me personally how to do the 'recovery'. A textual description would be all you get from most people. He took the time to send me a MOVIE.

If you have corrupted photos, you can sometimes still extract the smaller built in preview thumbnail that is in a JPEG. So you still have the photo, just smaller and of course lower resolution.

I've posted the movie and steps here.

It shows how to use his software, GraphicConverter, to extract a thumbnail preview from a JPEG.

It's hard to se in the video, but basically you select "Convert and Modify" under the File menu, then change the function to "Extract EXIF Jpeg Previews" and batch convert.

I got to this point by using Prosoft Engineering's Data Rescue II. I recovered these files from a Compact Flash card attached with a USB card reader to my Macbook.

So, the JPEGs had mangled data which shows up as the grey bars in the pictures you see in the movie. BUT the preview data contained in the file was good.

I lost big pictures, I can at least recover a smaller version, and I get to keep that.

In summary, we used Data Rescue II to undelete the files, then GraphicConverter to extract the thumbnails as a new (albeit smaller and lower resolution) JPEG. Voila.

Saturday, October 18, 2008


Kids fastptitch. It's all about losing control of the ball less,
stealing a base when someone overthrows, and getting beaned by the

If you can control the ball better, then you win. Batting is secondary.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

CD (Compact Disc) Repair: Scratched and got holes? No problem!

I bought a bunch of CD's at a garage sale for on the order of 25 cents each. Mind you, this is good stuff. I mean, like 80's and 90's old guy stuff; examples: Dire Straits' "Brothers in Arms", Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' "Damn the Torpedoes", and many from artists like ZZ Top, Bob Seger, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and more. So you're jealous of my deal, BUT...

When I got them home and started examining them, a lot were scratched on the plastic layer like they had been used for Frisbees.

That's not a big deal, as you can polish that out.

Worse, in may cases, the oxide layer where the information lives had pinholes and big gouges in it. So the information that was there is GONE.

NOT TO WORRY! I found this blurb-

"The digital encoding for error detection and correction is called the Cross Interleave Reed-Solomon Code or CIRC. To describe this as simply as possible, the CIRC code consists of two parts: interleaving of data so that a dropout or damage will be spread over enough physical area (hopefully) to be reconstructed and a CRC (Cyclic Redundancy Check) like error correcting code. Taken together, these two techniques are capable of some remarkable error correction. The assumption here is that most errors will occur in bursts as a result of dust specs, scratches, imperfections such as pinholes in the aluminum coating, etc. For example, the codes are powerful enough to totally recover a burst error of greater than 4,000 consecutive bits - about 2.5 mm on the disc. With full error correction implemented (this is not always the case with every CD player), it is possible to put a piece of 2 mm tape radially on the disc or drill a 2 mm hole in the disc and have no audio degradation. Some test CDs have just this type of defect introduced deliberately. "

So, a pinhole is not a problem! I also found out that the information starts in the middle of the CD by the hole.

(Ok techies, I know it error correction isn't this simple in total, and some info might be missing, but as long as I can't hear the miss, then big deal. I rip my CD's to 160kbit too, they sound fine to me!)

So, depending on where your damage is, and how big, that CD may be fine to play.

Better yet, you can still rips some tracks as an MP3 (if not all were readable) and reburn it, or as I did, just use a CD copying program to copy it.

You would want to do this if you have a CD that skips due to scratches, because the computer can read it slowly, correct the errors, and then burn you a nice unscratched legal copy.

Note: If you are using Toast 9 (and perhaps other versions) I would deselect the option to 'Use Disc Recovery' when you make your copy as that will not truly recover all your data. I'm not sure what it would do to an audio disc, but with a file, your data will not be there if the scratch is too big.

In my case, CDs copied and verified just fine, pinholes and all. It's perfectly legal, as you own the CD.

I'm even keeping my copy of ZZ Top's "Greatest Hits" that suffered what looks like shotgun damage because I own another original copy, and I can gift or sell that one with a copy, probably that's legal too as I own two original CD's.

Happy CD Recovery!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

iPhone Shortcomings Apple Needs to Fix

Here's my problem: the iPhone is schizo.

I'm not talking in terms of it being a convergence device, though that's true. It's a phone, iPod, still camera, a very capable internet machine, and a decent gaming device.

It's the fact that it does a lot of things sooooo successfully (bordering on amazingly) and then some basics are left out.

I'm a fan of whatever platform works. I've been PC, I've been Mac, I've been Windows Mobile and now iPhone. I'll use whatever seems to work the best. Right now I'm moving towards Apple.
The things it does so well make me willing to overlook the shortcomings and hope Apple fixes them. Which I think they will, as to me, they seem to care the most about their customer base.

Here's my beefs:

1. No video on the camera. Every cheap phone out does this. People throw phones away that do this. Seriously, Apple?

2. No cut and paste. Related: no undo. Example: you're emailing that photo out, and accidentally delete the photo but the rest of your text is still there. Gotta start over. COME ON. You can't undo and you can't cut and paste what you do have into a new message. Crap. How about letting us insert an attachment into the email, like, say, A PHOTO.

3. No tethering. An option on so many phones on the AT&T network, so why not the iPhone? Is it because it would be too simple to use on the iPhone and people might actually use it? This one I can sort of understand and live without, but it would be nice for once in a while. I think you can suck just about as much data without it, so why not add it?

4. No notes sync. Anywhere. With Outlook or with the Mac. Just add it to iTunes or create a simple little app to edit them on the Mac. Or build it into iTunes through the OS X text editor. This shouldn't be so hard to add.

5. No SMS forwarding. Kinda a pain sometimes.

Really, fix that stuff and I'll be pretty darn happy.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Apple problems too

I got a new iPhone as a warranty replacement. Firmware upgraded to latest version, same as the backup I made before bringing my old one in. I left with a blank activated phone.

I did the restore, but when I tried to reinstall all the apps, I got the Error 0x800002E: itunes won't update - Mac Forums error. I could sync but not install apps.

I did a reset to the factory settings, reinstalled the firmware and then restored. Voila. Hope this helps someone.

Halloween Time!

The container kid

This is the same kid in the bucket from yesterday.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Peek Spotted at Target

Here's the official site.

Or you can get it at Amazon:

It's a simple device that does JUST email for $20 a month. But for that price per month, you could get a 1st Generation iPhone. But it would cost 3x as much with no warranty perhaps. It's supposed to have really long battery life and be simple to work.

Decisions, Decisions.

It's not for tech heads, but for those of you with a basic cell phone, or perhaps prepaid service, this might work.

It's $20 a month with no contract.

Summary: Not for techies, but it could work well for many people.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Outlook 2002 Reactivation Fails

It complains that I need to reactivate because my machine is too different basically. True, it used to be on my HP ZE4100 but I used Parallels to move that install to my Macbook. My wife owns that piece of kit, as the Brits might say.

You cannot apparently use a different OEM CD to reactivate it. The file (OUTRET.MSI) that it asks for on the CD is named the same but something is different because you cannot repair or reactivate it in any fashion that I could find.

Unlike Vista, you cannot get help over the phone either; there is no option to do so.

This situation arrives if say, you sell a Windows Mobile PDA and your Outlook 2002 CD that came with it, and perhaps, move your install to another machine later.

Thanks as always to Microsoft, for which the end solution is to reinstall product X. Hope it's not your OS.

I just copied my .PST files, uninstalled it, reinstalled it, did updates, and then imported the .PST files.


Then I dumpd the POS and moved all my contacts to my iPhone.

Now, I install iTunes in Parallels, sync with that, then sync with iTunes on the Mac. I'll still keep Outlooks sync'd too probably, in case I go back. It's sort of an experiment to see if I can live with the iPhone. Mine is a used 2G (1st generation) so at least my data plan costs the same.

Is it worth $10 a month for 3g and GPS? Dunno. We'll see I guess.

Update: The first generation iPhone I have has really weak WiFi reception compared to my wifes. To the Apple Store, Robin!

Every OS Sucks

This song is too true. I'm reminded of it when I work on my PC/Mac/iPhone/Windows Mobile device. "Every OS sucks...and the same time!"

Friday, October 03, 2008

Google Top 100 Search Terms

Here's the just now cut n pasted top 100 Google search terms. I bet if I pasted these into a post every day, I'd get a lot more hits. But I ain't no punk.

This being the internet, porn takes the #1 spot. Again.

I will now attempt the ultimate blog post. Difficulty of 10.

Anyone seen that porn video with Jenny Rivera and Usher narrated by the famous American, James Earl Jones? It's called "Trading Places: A Flow Chart". It's set in Beverly Hills and tells the story of Carol 'Mel' Watts, a bluegrass singer who snowboards as a hobby with her chihuahua.

Sarah Palin said could hardly believe it, and strictly speaking, she'd rather watch an endless tape of Rosie O'Donnell . This was during her press conference on the HR 1424 bailout bill details.

I nailed the landing!

Who's going to write the first script for pulling Google search terms into a madlib?

1. video porno de jenny rivera
2. usher trading places video
3. james earl jones
4. american carol
5. sarah palin debate flow chart
6. brp can am spyder
7. chelcie ross
8. shemar moore
9. mel watts
10. hardly strictly bluegrass
11. bailout bill details
12. burton snowboards
13. beverly hills chihuahua
14. lawrence phillips
15. hr 1424
16. fossett secret project
17. kyle brandt
18. palin wink
19. homemade halloween costumes
20. micoley and company
21. howard stern wedding
22. addie polk
23. elite xc
24. zeitgeist addendum
25. jenny rivera sex tape
26. topsfield fair
27. nate miles
28. uss grunion
29. miramar air show
30. zeitgeist 2
31. tom petters
32. rosie o donnell
33. bobby valentine
34. mental health parity
35. h.r. 1424
36. nick and norah s infinite playlist
37. deliberative
38. farrah johnson
39. letter to my daughter
40. shemar moore official website
41. nick reynolds
42. house passes bailout
43. american royal bbq
44. helio castroneves
45. maya angelou
46. senate bailout bill text
47. naked girl snowboards
48. bailout pork
49. tempe oktoberfest
50. house vote on bailout bill
51. deep flight challenger
52. bailout earmarks
53. cmt
54. biden lies
55. gamer grub
56. trading places site
57. shaun livingston
58. jose francisco torres
59. naughty beach walkthrough
60. the ex list
61. ci host
62. kingston trio
63. haunted houses
64. nailin palin
65. bail out bill 2008
66. harriet christian
67. fells point festival
68. kat dennings
69. oktoberfest san francisco
70. palin tax returns
71. vp debate transcript
72. riverfest wilmington nc
73. adennak
74. steve jobs heart attack
75. age of chivalry
76. buy the rumor sell the news
77. naughty snowboards
78. bill o reilly barney frank
79. the office season 5 episode 2
80. chris marinelli
81. busy phillips
82. mensa for kids
83. bayfest
85. blindness
86. hr 6867
87. bluegrass festival san francisco
88. burton love
89. portland marathon
90. schadenfreude definition
91. army ten miler
92. atlanta greek festival
93. wells fargo wachovia
94. house bail out vote
95. dixie classic fair
96. michelle waterson
97. uss grunion ss 216
98. economic rescue bill
99. salt caves
100. bill passed

Commission Junction is Shady, IRHO (In Rob's Humble Opinion)

I was going to add some affiliate links (you click, I get paid) for, whom I really like. My family are repeat customers for them.


Their affiliate program is through Commission Junctiom,, who IMHO steal from smaller publishers like yours truly.

What happens is that they will deactivate your account if you do not sell enough, have enough clicks, etc.

So, whatever small amount you earn disappears. They will not reactivate. If you want a new account, you have to have a new email. Which they are happy to give. And if that doesn't do well, deactivation.

Google and Amazon don't do this. Which is why we use them.

But then, they're good companies.


Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Movie Buddy

My purry movie buddy, because I was never much good at gadgets like him.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Palin vs. other Politicians: A brief thought in passing

Would it really be so bad to have someone in the White House who strikes me as an average person?

Someone who's not a millionaire, male, white, D.C. insider, etc etc?

It's not like she's running the whole show and with the current economic meltdown and the war in Iraq (let's not forget Afghanistan, the Iraq war's little brother) could she do a worse job?

I mean no offense to Palin, but I could stand a little 'average American' if this is what the opposite gets you.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

It's still Vancouver

Today we went to the neighborhood around the hotel. Lots of Asian influence, almost exclusively. You can't swing a dead cat without hitting a sushi bar or oriental restaurant.

We had mango tea with coconut jelly, sushi, inari, teriyaki and of course for my difficult daughter: mac and cheese.

It *was* made by an oriental lady; does that count?

International Traveler

If you're 7, a 13in screen is HUGE.

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Bay

In Vancouver, eh? Let me tell you about it.

Vancouver is Gorgeous


Seagulls Like Peanuts

But not salami slices. I think this gull has done this before. Good morning to you too.

Lap Swim

Dairy Queen in Vancouver

So THAT'S how they make those cakes.

Weird meter: what the heck is poutine? Looks like a bowl of ries with some sort of red sauce and white daubs on it.

Update 9/26/08:

"Poutine is a dish consisting of French fries topped with fresh cheese curds, covered with brown gravy and sometimes additional ingredients. [1] The freshness of the curds is important as it makes them soft in the warm fries, without completely melting. It is a quintessential Canadian comfort food, especially, yet not exclusively among Québécois and Maritime Acadian Canadians."

So, it's some sort of laxative then? Yikes.

Fast Fish

This is the aqaurium in Vancouver,B.C. Canada.

It's lap swim tim!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Got a good cat pic? Here's my plug for lolcats.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Last Flight

Today was probably my last bit of flying for ExpressJet, at least for a while. I'm furloughed Sep 30, which for you lay people, means I will get called back at some point in the future if they don't go out of business. Oil is still expensive and of course you can't charge what it should actually cost for a ticket, can you?

Getting out of Chicago (O'Hare) is like fighting your way out of a semi-crazed beehive and in most cases you can't even read things back. It slows down the radio traffic. We get out rather decently but it's only Tuesday, so traffic's not bad.

I climb at a little faster airspeed than normal because the captain wants home and so do I. The last day of a 4 day trip. 3 different beds in 3 different hotels with early wakeups 2 of those days. The last day always seems to be the earliest, and this one's no different. 340AM in my time zone. That's not too bad, because we had about 13 hours on the ground between flights. Sometimes it's as little as 9 hours from wheels down to wheels up.

We fly southwest of Chicago which today looks flat and green. Puffy cotton ball clouds are everywhere. We spot forest fires and call them in and pass the time with idle chitchat as usual. You don't want to get into spirited discussions or anything deep when you tired and you've been locked into a closet with the same person for something like 22 hours of the last 68.

We get shortcuts and pass over Little Rock. I look down at the Air Force base and wonder what might have been different had I been a navigator on the C-130 instead of the E-3.

We've sustained Mach .79x forever and we're looking at TWENTY minutes early. .80M is the limit. I don't want it to end but it's been a long day, and home's good too.

The captain goes to the bathroom before we get to the busy descent, and then I go after. 3 hours in the same seat folks. When ya gotta, ya gotta. My feet would dance on the rudder pedals like an overjuiced 3 year old if I didn't.

In the descent, Daisetta at 250KTS and 10,000'. Then the bad news, we have to use runway 8R which means going aaaaaaaall the way to the OTHER side of the airport and following 8 or so other aircraft in. Now 20 minutes early is 4 minutes late.

We're 3-4 miles in trail of a 737, which means it's turbulence time. It's my leg so my landing.

In spite of all the turbulence from Continental, it's a greaser. A good way to end a chapter in flying.

Like golf, these shots and landings that keep you coming back, you know?

We taxi in and shutdown and there's someone with a clipboard. GREAT. Someone is getting reassigned or something undesirable is happening.

Remember that pee I took? Well, ExpressJet wants another for a random drug test. So much for slightly late, now I'm really late. And my near-last company duty is not hustling a 44,000 pound jet onto the concrete at something like 160MPH, but peeing in a plastic cup.

Oh how the mighty have fallen.

At any rate, I'll be back for the free peanuts and the adventure. And the view from the office can't be beat.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Candy Tree

A simple plan.

Foam cone from hobby lobby, Tootsie Pops, and popsicle sticks. Glue chocolate candy to the sticks with the open wrapper side out. Glue Dots or candies directly to tree for decoration only.

Insert sticks and popsicle sticks into foam. Voila!

Pick and eat.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Pain, as well as inconvenience, is a relative thing.

I offered to move the TiVo up to the game room for my kids and hook it up to the 55in TV.

(Lest you think we are too spoiled, I got the TiVo with a lifetime subscription for 20 bux at a garage sale. The TV was 150 dollars gently used. It's a decent standard def rear projection.)

We just got power back a few hours ago after Hurricane Ike passed 72 hrs ago.

1.6 million people still do not have power here.

My son's complaint: 'Nooo! I don't want to have to climb the stairs just to watch TV!'

Ahh, so soon the standard is raised again.

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