Showing posts from 2007

Orange Box

' Orange Box ' is a suite of games from Valve Software released in October of 2007 including Half Life 2, HL2: Episode One, HL2: Episode Two, Portal, and Team Fortress 2. I remember when the very first 'first person shooter' came out- Wolfenstein 3D by iD software- back in 1992. Specifically to play that game, I bought a Sound Blaster (the original 8 bit card) for my 386dx40 PC so I could hear more realistic stereo sounds instead of the beeps that eminated from my PC speaker. Wow, what an experience- I remember 'sneaking' around corners in the game to hear the speakers belt out 'Gustaffe!' as a Nazi guard finds me and starts shooting at me. With the lights down, in 1992, believe me- that was an amazing gaming experience. Now of course, every game puts that experience to shame. After Wolfenstein came Spear of Destiny, then later iD released Doom which, in addition to a different storyline, brought a new and exciting element of gameplay- network g

Wow, What a Cop

I've had many a police officer tell me that the stupidity of criminals is what allows police to be successful in their jobs.  The fact that most criminals aren't the brightest bulbs in the box, eventually leads to their demise.  However, in this case, it's the cop's stupidity that causes his own demise.

Spam & Scams

Email spam is a ubiquitous problem on the Internet. Anyone with an email address has most likely received spam, and if you're like me, and have email addresses that have been around for almost a decade, lots of spam. I generally get about 2000 spam email messages a month on the handful of email accounts I regularly use. Fortunately, about 99.9% of those are caught by my spam filtering service, and I never receive them. Personally, I use a service called Vanquish but there are many other good anti-spam solutions out there some in the form of software, some in the form of a service. None are perfect, but they can help you to reclaim your inbox if you find yourself innundated by spam as most people now do. From cheap software to cheap pills, mortgages to investment 'opportunities,' spam advertises just about anything. Of course, the old adage applies... "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is." The reason email spam works is because it's cheap to s

Soccer... Car Style :-)

Check out this video from Top Gear.. Soccer.. from cars. Very cool. :-)

Pinnacle Studio

I apologize that it's been a while since my last post. It's not like I've been busy or anything, I just got married , which has been great. :-) Anyway, I have been having a lot of fun creating a DVD of the wedding and reception. I have used Pinnacle Studio Plus since version 8, and it had innumerable problems in versions 8-10 with them slowly getting better and providing fixes. I can finally say that as of version 11, I think they finally have a stable product that does a great job for most home users' video production needs. About the only thing it lacks is multiple video tracks, for multiple camera angles, but this can still be done on a single video timeline, as I did in my wedding DVD. I ran it on my Dual Core (2.66GHz) 64-bit Vista system with 2GB RAM and it ran very well, and amazingly, never crashed. That's a first in my experiences using Pinnacle Studio. This DVD will be about the 10th that I've authored, so I'm getting fairly good at it and

And You Thought Gravity Just Pulled You Down?

Gravity... it's something you don't put a lot of thought into most of the time. It's what pulls you straight down, right? Wrong. If you remember from your basic high school physics, gravity is the attraction between two objects. The amount of gravity is directly proportional to the mass of an object. The Sun's gravity is what keeps the Earth from flying out into space as it orbits at 67,000 miles per hour. The Earth's gravity is what keeps the moon in orbit. And the Earth's gravity is what pulls you down toward the ground... what most people don't think about is that space is not the only place where gravity varies. The mass of an object determines it's gravitational force. The mass of, say, a mountain range pulls you toward it. The image at left is from Discover magazine's article Grace in Space . It is a map of the gravitational measurements that two 'Grace' satellites have taken of Earth. It shows the gravitational fluctuations of matter

Opening Up the WRT54G

The Linksys WRT54G. It is perhaps one of the most popular consumer routers in existence. For you non-techies out there, a router is responsible for connecting different networks. In the case of a consumer router, it's job is usually to connect your home (private network) to the Internet (a public network). It typically does this through Network Address Translation (NAT) and also serves as a firewall. You can get consumer grade routers for around $40-$60. However, the WRT54G has a trick up it's sleeve. You can turn this router into a $600 router with all kinds of advanced commercial capabilities for free, nearly rivaling much more advanced routers/firewalls from Cisco (which now owns Linksys) or SonicWall. As it turns out, Linksys' original firmware for the WRT54G included components of Linux, which is under a free General Public License . Soo... long story short, many people started demanding that Linksys release the source (programming) code to the WRT54G which they were

The Power of the Internet

Being a pilot myself, I my sympathies go out to Steve Fossett and his family, since he has been missing since September 3rd. It is presumed that his plane crashed somewhere in Nevada. He is an intrepid aviation adventurer and it's unfortunate that he is most likely gone. Still, a glimmer of hope exists for those who continue to help search for his plane. This tragedy has resulted in increased popularity of a very powerful concept- that of using the Internet and the power of people to make otherwise insurmountable tasks possible. Richard Branson , friend of Steve Fossett, asked Google if they could help find Steve, and Google answered the call. Google Earth is known by many as one of the 'coolest' programs on the Internet- covering a virtual globe with relatively up to date aerial (and satellite) imagery of the Earth. You can then browse around and look at anything you want from an aerial view. Having worked in GIS myself, I know the power of a system like this to

OpenDNS is Cool

I was listening to my favorite podcast today, This Week in Tech with Leo Laporte, Patrick Norton, John C. Dvorak and others (pretty much the old TechTV gang when it was an awesome cable channel, before they were bought by G4 and subsequently run into the ground). But I digress... anyway, they were discussing an awesome service called OpenDNS , so of course I decided to check it out when I got back from lunch. Sure enough, this is a very cool, completely free DNS (domain name service). For those of you who don't know, DNS is what converts Internet name addresses (i.e. ) to it's actual IP Address (i.e. DNS was created in the early days of the Internet because humans can remember names a lot easier than number combinations. Typically, when you type an address into a web browser, for example, it goes and runs to your Internet Service Provider's DNS server to say "where the heck is" to which your ISP's DNS server

Wow, What a Data Center!

Now I've been in the IT industry for a while now, so I've seen some impressive data centers in my day, but I am very impressed with an online walkthrough / tour I just watched of an Equinix data center. Very impressive indeed. Take a look Data centers like these are where most of the major companies house their servers, for maximum uptime, lowest latency, and maximum bandwidth.

Go Toyota

What an awesome commercial from Toyota. I am a loyal Toyota fan not only for the quality built into their vehicles, but the fact that they stand behind their vehicles and that they When I had my 1988 Toyota 4Runner, and it had a head gasket problem at only 115,000 miles, Toyota fixed the issue under warranty, even though my used vehicle was long since out of warranty. Problems like that are extremely rare with Toyotas, but when they happen, they have a habit of standing behind their vehicles, something that cannot be said for many other manufacturers. My parents just purchased a 2006 Tacoma 4x4 4 door, in addition to their 2003 Toyota Prius, 1993 Toyota Camry, three 1983 Toyota Tercels, their 1983 Toyota Pickup Truck and their 1978 Toyota / Chinook Camper. See a pattern there?

First Post / Google

This is the first post to my blog, testing out the functionality of from Google. Google is working on taking over the world. :-) Don't believe me? Check out Google 411 . Not to mention rumours of a partnership between Sprint and Google, and Google eyeing the 700Mhz Spectrum that goes up for grabs January 16, 2008. They could teach the wireless companies (Verizon, AT&T, et. al.) a thing or two about open standards and customer service. I just hope Google keeps up their philosophy of 'don't be evil .'