Mar 242005

I’m sick of this Terri Schiavo crap. People have spent massive amounts of time and money to “save” the life of a single person who is missing most of their brain and will never recover. What if instead, that time and money was used in other places to actually save and change lives. Which could be called the moral decision?

Tom Regan has some interesting points on the actions of politicians and the US Constitution.

I broke down and bought the 2405FWP LCD and returned the 2005FPW. It was on super sale through a dell premium site (only a few hundred more than the 2005), and my mind was weak. Quite happy with it so far. USB2 ports work well and the card reader is nice. I wish it did XD memory though (only thing I don’t like about my new camera). The DVI on my new 6600GT makes the picture a lot nicer on the desktop.

Everyone is going nuts over the Sony PSP. I have to admit, it looks pretty cool. Watch movies, play music, use wireless, connect via usb, use up to 1gb memory cards, etc. And you can play games too, almost forgot that.. Heh. Just make sure you get a good screen.

Wooster Collective got photos of Banksy doing his thing. I love this guy. Dressed as a British pensioner, over the last few days Banksy entered each of the galleries and attached one of his own works, complete with authorative name plaque and explanation. The Brooklyn Museum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art, and the Museum of Natural History.

Wow. Blood vessels recovered from T. rex bone. Theme park here we come.

Mar 162005

I posted a few wildflower photos from our trip out to Borrego Springs on Sunday.

{Denzel 10:20:17 PM} Thank you for contacting Dell Consumer Customer Care Chat. My name is Shouvik, but you can call me Denzel. Please allow me a moment to review your question.

I grinned. Being in tech you usually get to talk to Indians at some point. One thing you will quickly notice is that they say their real name, but then ask you to call them an anglo name. “Hi, I’m Satvinder, but call me Bob.” I understand why they do it, but find the whole thing ridiculous. I usually insist on calling them their real name. I expect that they are required by Dell to do this, to set joe-bob customer at ease.

However, I also noticed that some people seem to do this by choice. Most of my Hong Kong & Taiwanese friends in school wasted no time in coming up with anglo names. I knew a Pierre, a Ronald, a Julie, etc. But most (not all) of the Indian, Pakistani, and African immigrants I knew chose to keep their names. Perhaps HK & TW people get sick of english speakers butchering Mandarin and Cantonese names.

Now for your daily grim forecast: The U.S. economy will likely face a recession before President Bush leaves office, and growth in the California economy will be tepid at best for the next several years

News flash to people buying DRM Music. You don’t own anything.

Growing up in B.C. with family in logging and forest service I am no stranger to feller bunchers. But this thing is just crazy. You could paint it black, add some guns, and put it in a SciFi movie.

Hugo Chavez is mouthing Bush off some more. It is interesting to see this develop, Chavez might be next on the axis of evil.

Mar 142005

I was so excited. My birthday was coming up and I was lusting after a new LCD monitor. The Dell 2005FPW went on sale for $487, and I jumped.

Now I’m sad. My monitor arrived today, and it has a giant crack on the inside of the screen. It looks like a pixel spider set up shop in the top left corner. Replacement is on the way, but I was all geared up to try it out. To experience the joy of widescreen gaming. I is not as if I have it bad now though.. I have a 21″ Sun workstation monitor (sony tube) that I bought from a CAD shop a few years back. It is a beast of a monitor (will put your back out) but has a nice picture. I would love the 2405, but I can’t justify that price, I’ll wait.

I’ve always put a big emphasis on monitors, it seems silly to me to spend so little on the translator for your electronic information. I remember plugging my first 19″ monitor in (back when 15″ was normal), and being blown away at how big text was on the boot screen. I think I will have to upgrade to a 50″ DLP to get that kind of feeling again.

Mia phono seems to be decent so far. Signal and clarity seem good. I haven’t figured out how to connect the thing to my computer yet though. I tried with IrDA on a laptop at work, but it was a no go. I have a usb-bluetooth thingy on the way and usb-IrDA from someone else, so I should be able to get it up and running. I don’t care about the calendar or any of that crap, I just want to sync up my contacts so I don’t have to enter them all.

I played with the camera and memory card some more. The camera does surprisingly well outside, but inside it isn’t worth using. The memory card has been fun. My wall paper is Playa Manuel Antonio from my Costa Rica trip, and my ring tone is the howler monkey I recorded at night from my camera. The camera doesn’t do mp3, but it does resampled wavs, which don’t sound too bad on the phone. The camera also has a voice recorder that works surprisingly well.

Update: Managed to get it synced up, but found out that the software doesn’t work with outlook 2003 + patches. Uhg. Ah well, will have to find a pc around here to update it.

Anna, Elaine, and I went out to Borrego Springs yesterday to check out the wild flowers. Seemed to be a lot more than last year in the usual spots, but some of the spots were over grown with other stuff so you couldn’t see the flowers. Too much rain I guess. Should have some photos up tomorrow or the next day.

My favorite part, the citrus orchard perfume, was in full force. It was an assault on your nose – but in a good way. We picked up some bags of grapefruit, tangelos, and dates for 3 bucks a bag. I’m in heaven.

Anna and I managed to catch only one film at the Latin Film Fest this weekend, but hope to catch more this week. We watched Caribe, a Costa Rican film. It was not as polished as we are used to, but it was a good show. It made me want to visit the caribbean side of the country, where the film took place. We only did the center and the pacific side when we were in Costa Rica, it would seem a caribbean side visit is a must as well. So little time and money, so many places to visit.

Mar 092005

My poor old nokia 8265 has given its all. It has performed well for 2 years, but is at the end of its life. The zero and end buttons work about 20% of the time. But more frustrating, it randomly drops calls from certain cell towers. Including the one near my house.

While Verizon seems to still have the best coverage, they are expensive, technophobes, and extremely greedy. They must be the sole provider of technology to you, and you to pay for everything. Email, photos, ring tones, Bluetooth, programs, etc. If your phone lets you get around this – say by transferring photos to your computer via Bluetooth, a memory card, or using your own internet services, you can expect Verizon to disable those parts of your phone. Needless to say, I don’t like this attitude towards customers. Sure you can get around parts of that (read up on the v710 for more background), but should you really have to flash a new bios to your cell to get it to work properly?

We decided to go with Cingular (AT&T GSM) for now. If their reception sucks, we have 30 days to drop them. For the time being we will keep our existing cell accounts, incase we decide to drop them. I was tempted to get a V3 Razr, or the s710, but spending 600 bucks on two cells wasn’t high on my list. We decided to go with 2 Siemens S66 phones. Bit on the large side, but a nice screen, email client, IM client, Bluetooth, 32mb flash card, and 1.3 camera sounded like a good deal for 99 bucks. Being able to sync to my computer and use puppetmaster sound handy. Don’t believe it has a headphone jack, so it is BT headsets only.

One thing that surprised me was Cingular’s phone rate to Canada. 59c per minute, Mexico is only 49c. Unreal. Of course, if you subscribe to their plan that price drops to 19c, which is still too much. So I think I will just have to phone card their asses. I’ll take 4c per minute on a Tier 1 carrier (with no fees) any day over their crap plan.

Mar 092005

Busy busy. Intoxicated with the smell of rosemary and pink jasmine, we purchased a crap load of plants this weekend. Some were gifts, the rest are going in the garden and the back porch. I stumbled my way around the side of the roof to chop the trees back, now we have a bit of a view of downtown from our back porch, so I’d like to pretty it up.

I couldn’t help myself, I bought a dwarf satsuma (tangerine). I don’t know if I can ever get it to fruit, but there are a few satsuma’s in the neighborhood, so I hope I can get some cross fertilization action. I would love to plant an avocado tree in the back yard, but have to figure out how to drag 16 or 24 gal through the back gate.

Wandering around the neighborhood I snapped some photos of the greenery:

While not as fun as the Grey Album mix, CCC’s Revolved seems like an entertaining mashup for Beatles fans. Torrent file here.

Update: After giving it a full couple of listens, there are a couple tracks that sort of fall down, but also some gems in there. Who doesn’t like Bond theme music with the Beatles? Crazy people.

Mar 012005

I’m back from Chicago. Had a good time there, I like the city. I did alright with my first taste of cold in quite a few years. Living with the wind in my face for years in Alberta meant that Chicago winter was a piece of cake. Chicago actually reminded me a lot of Calgary. The weather, city layout, trails/parks around the water, and even avoiding green goose crap on the sidewalk seemed very familiar.

We flew into Midway and rode the Orange line into town. I’m not sure why everyone hates Midway, seemed just fine to me, and the train ride was fast and cheap (subway/L is $1.75). We stayed at the Hilton near the water, were treated like shit the first night, and put up in a smoking floor/room because we were “priceline customers”. Not fun. The next day we talked to Jerry, the MAN. He hooked us up with a swanky room and was the definition of outstanding customer service. Funny how one person can change your experience so completely.

That day we wandered around the city and did some sight seeing. I had really wanted to check out the bean, but it was covered up with a big white tent. The glass projection block things were only half working as well. Ah well, the bridge at Millennium Park was still cool.

We walked up the loop and then continued up to the Mag-Mile. I love Chicago architecture. I have always been a fan of 30’s deco/futurism style, and Chicago has plenty of it. We continued on the tourist theme, had dinner at Lou Malnatis, and went up the Hancock Observatory.

The next morning we went to the Gospel Brunch at HoB. I was a good time. Decent food, and the choir was fun. Then we spent most of the day at the Art Institute. Really great museum. Who would have thought paper weights would make an interesting collection. Or that miniature houses would be so cool?

Monday I had to bust out my had, as it snowed all day. I had lunch at the old Marshal Fields building, then spent the afternoon at the Field Museum. Then was time to check out the deep-dish at Gino’s East. Good stuff, but twice the price of Lou’s. Then I hopped the train back to Midway with my leftover Pizza for the plane. I’m sure half of the subway wanted to mug me for a slice. Once on the plane with my little treasure I learned that, unlike NY style, deep-dish makes for horrible cold pizza. Mind you, it was still worlds better than snack pack crap they were handing out.