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News & Updates in November 2009

Madlax (from Madlax)
Friday, November 19, 2009

Posted the character profiles of Gure (from Dragon Ball Z), Tarble (from Dragon Ball Z).

Wow, I haven't posted anything about what's going on with me in forever. I think the last time was in August, so I've got a lot of catching up to do. Okay, so the first thing is that my wife set a date to get her hip replaced. It will be happening December 21st, and yes, this is the same hip she got replaced last time. It's causing her a lot of pain and making horrible squeaking, crunching, and grinding noises, so there's definitely something wrong that needs to be fixed, and we feel that it just can't wait any longer.

Changing subjects, on Sunday we went over to have dinner at my wife's friend's place, as as typical when we were there I looked at the computer as she had been having problems with it. Normally I can just run a whole suite of cleaning utilities and do make some manual tweaks to get things working again, but not this time. Her laptop was severely infected with viruses that just would not go away no matter how many times the anti-virus and anti-rootkit programs were run. Hijacked browsers and missing Windows options were just a few of the problems they caused, so the only hope here was to back up all her data and do a complete re-install. We couldn't do it at the time, though, since she had nowhere to back up her data, so I didn't get to finish that up until yesterday.

On November 1st, we went to Turtle Bay to see the Lego exhibit. Now, I was expecting to see a whole bunch of really cool Lego setups like you see in those Lego stores with them all over the room, high and low... but that's not how it was at all. It was more like a museum with each Lego sculpture sitting isolated on a pedestal of some sort. The biggest one was a Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton, with the next biggest being a giant spider on the wall. Then there were also some pictures on the wall made out of Legos, and busts of people. The sculptures were cool, but lacked the excitement and wonder I was expecting. It's like you go up to one, look at it a little, and then move on to the next. Not like the Lego store where there was a whole town with a Godzilla monster attacking and so much going on that you could just keep looking and looking and seeing new things every time.

I had an interview on October 28th with a local company about doing some PHP and MySQL work, which by now I am quite familiar with. The interview was originally set up for earlier in the month, but he had to cancel and reschedule several times. He explain a little about the job, which was just fixing up their existing code to add new features and such, all stuff I could do fairly easily. Thing is, he said he had a long list of fixes in changes that he wanted but had a real hard time thinking up any of them. So while I think it would have been nice to have a steady paycheck (currently I do contract work so my paychecks come at all different times in all different amounts) while my wife goes through her surgery and recovery, I'm kind of thinking it was probably a good thing that I never heard back from him.

Okay, on to movies. We saw Zombieland in the theater, though we missed the midnight showing and ended up catching it on Sunday, October 25th. Oh, speaking of movies, for a couple of years now I've been really wanting to put all of our DVDs on a computer and use that as a media server to watch them, kinda like how we watch recorded shows on TiVo. So last month I finally took the plunge and bought one of these devices called a Network Media Tank. At first I bought the WD TV Live, but then even before it arrived I decided to switch to the eGreat eg-m34a, as its remote was way more extensive than the simplified WD TV Live's remote. Luckily, I was able to turn around and sell the WD TV Live on eBay for a small profit.

Setting up eGreat EG-M34A was a snap, for the most part. After plugging it up and waiting for it to boot, I went into the setup, had it download and install updated firmware, and created a network share to a folder that was already being shared on my PC. From that folder I could browse to a couple DVD folders and hit play, and the thing went to work bringing up the DVD menu. I started the movie and it played, over my home network, without a hiccup. Of course it's on a wired network, but still. Next, I hooked up a 1.5TB internal hard drive directly to SATA port on the side so the NMT (Networked Media Tank) could format the drive how it liked, then moved the drive into my PC where I could rip my DVDs directly to the drive rather than trying to copy them across the network. Since the NMT uses Linux and formatted the drive as ext3, I had to get Ext2Fsd so Windows could read it.

After that, it was all about learning the nuances of the device. One such annoyance I discovered was that I had to share every folder that I wanted to create a network share for, even if a parent folder is already being shared. It's kind of annoying because it means more folders popping up in My Network Places for no good reason. Another annoyance was that it takes like 40 seconds to boot up, and while standby mode is super quick, for some reason it still sends out some kind of signal through the HDMI cable when in standby because it doesn't cause our automatic HDMI switch to flick over to the next active HDMI connection. There's other little things as well, such as you can't re-order your network shares, and it's not alphabetical, it's the order in which you added them.

Anyway, the NMT is working great, so I figure it's time to sell my 300 disc DVD changers. I listed one on Craigslist starting at $450 (want to have room to negotiate down) and after a few days with no hits I also listed it on Amazon.com. Then I finally got a nibble on Craigslist, and last Wednesday the guy came over to check them out. I had one unhooked sitting out so he could look it all over and had the other one still hooked up in order to demonstrate how it works. He asked some typical questions which I easily answered as I operated the machine, and then the most surprising question escaped from his lips "would you take $80 for both of them?"... my jaw literally dropped as I was completely caught off guard. He thought I was selling them for $45 dollars each, not $450... and then a little later on I realized that even $45 per unit wasn't quite good enough for this guy as he was trying to get me down to $40 each. Just, wow.

What else... on Monday October 12th my parents and grandparents visited. I had spent the previous couple weeks selling a ton of stuff on Craigslist and just generally getting the placed cleaned up nice. Even bought a new mop, one of those micro-fiber ones, which seems to work pretty good. Definitely better than my old sponge mop. On Monday morning someone stopped by to get a couple computers and box of computer junk I had up for sale on Craislist, and we also got new bark put in the front yard. Anyway, when they arrived we chatted, had lunch, played a little Rock Band, then went out to dinner at Logan's followed by breakfast at Denny's the next morning, after which they all headed home. It was a nice visit.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Posted my review of Up (4 Disc Combo Pack with Digital Copy and DVD).

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Posted my review of G.I. Joe: Resolute.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Posted my review of Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Posted my review of Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs.


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