Friday, December 31, 2004

Have A...

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 30, 2004

We Have An Offer!

At 4:51pm today we received an offer on our house of $172,000. This was our asking price and has only 2 requirements: a home inspection, and that their financing goes through. So Tomorrow we go in and sign the offer and away we go! I will post more later... Rick out!

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Pretty Strange Eh?

A Rick Pic

LavNav Toilet Night Light

LavNav Toilet Night Light - Toilet Light - Boys 'n Girls Potty Night Light - Automatic Soap Dispenser - Gadgets: "Bathroom lights can be painfully bright in the middle of the night and can disturb you or your partner's sleep. Unfortunately, most night lights waste electricity all night long, occupy valuable electrical sockets, and don't put light where you need it. The LavNav is a better solution. It turns on when you approach in the dark, and turns off after you leave, shining gentle yet sufficient light where you need it, when you need it. Better yet, the LavNav uses RED or GREEN light to cleverly show the position of the seat. It's smart, energy efficient lighting that makes the bathroom safe and easy to use at night.

Beyond its obvious value for use in your home, the LavNav also provides an ideal solution for RV's and motorhomes, portable restrooms, and yachts and other boats having living quarters attached."

Vroooooom!

Slashdot: News for nerds, stuff that matters: "The BBC tells how broadband internet usage has soared over in the U.S. 'More and more Americans are joining the internet's fast lane, according to official figures. The number of people and business connected to broadband jumped by 38% in a year, said the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC).'"

What Are The Odds?

Slashdot: News for nerds, stuff that matters: "Mars Rover Opportunity, a few meters shy of the 2km mark on its odometer, has come across the remains of the heat shield from its landing. This map traces the path of the rover for the past 11 months. It's been averaging about 6 meters/sol.

Spirit, which had to stop to dislodge a rock, is still climbing the "Columbia Hills". It's tough going, and Spirit experiences slippage of up to 80% as it climbs the hills."

Tsunami Information:

Slashdot: News for nerds, stuff that matters: "This week's deadly Asian Quake and Tsunami may have been so powerful, that it changed the rate of Earth's rotation. In a Reuters article, a NASA geophysicist theorizes that the quake compacted the Earth enough to speed up the planet's rotation by 3 microseconds. A second article says the quake moved undersea tectonic plates by up to 98 feet, shifting islands near Sumatra out to sea an unknown distance. Also, a USGS team wants images from commercial satellite operators to help pinpoint coastline damage. Lastly, an interesting article from the Australian Spaceguard Survey about the need for a Tsunami warning system in the Indian Ocean. The author comments that tsunami warnings may not help much, as people often flock to the coastline to see the giant waves." The current estimated death toll is now nearly 70,000; Amazon and Google, among others, have added front-page links to simplify donating to the disaster relief effort.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

The Holidays

Well here it is already Sunday night and it's all done except for the over filled recycle bins on the curbs outside. I'm talking, of course, about Christmas. I believe my festivities mirrored many others as I followed the 10 requirements of the Holidays:

1) Drive at least 4+ hours in one day. Bonus points for heavy fog and rain in the dark. Double Bonus Points if you tell your spouse that they are not doing their job as a passenger by not creating stimulating conversation or worse yet closing their eyes and maybe even taking a nap!

2) Communicate with a difficult person. This includes: Boring conversation, a one sided conversation, a story you heard last year or every Holiday, any type of story about that persons children or anyone with a voice that involves more nose than thoat. Bonus points for leaving the conversation and shooting 'The Look" at your spouse, showing that you are about ready to snap. Double Bonus Points for avoiding that person for the rest of the function or for leaving early.

3) Eating food on paper plates. Bonus points for having to bend the plate into a 'U' shape to increase its' load bearing capacity. Double Bonus Points for having to be told to use the plates and not just stand in front of the table and forage right out of the serving plates.

4) Having to watch some cheesy home video made by someone who thinks they are Steven Spielberg just because they own a video camera. Bonus points if you had to watch it more than once. Double Bonus Points if you manage to have to use the rest room during the showing and slip out.

5) Having to keep one Christmas get together from the other Christmas get together because you know the two parties would never get together. Bonus points if at some point you mention something that screws up the timeline but then put it back together with no one figuring out you messed up. Double bonus points if you think you fooled them but you didn't. (You'll never know... you might as well get some points for it, right?")

6) Dropping some type of food or liquid on the host carpet or floor and making a half hearted attempt to discretely clean it up. Bonus Points if the said food falls from a 'U' shaped plate. Double Bonus Points if didn't try to clean it up but just did the side to side look to see if anyone else saw and seeing that no one did you just walk on.

7) Calculating in your head the known value of your gift to them versus your preceved value of their gift to you. Bonus Points if your gift kicked their gifts' ass! Double Bonus Points if your gift was much cheaper than it looks or re-gifted from the 'secret' get together from #5.

8) Doing 'just a little' snooping while using the bathroom or walking to the bathroom. Bonus Points for reading any prescription bottles. Double Bonus Points for using any holiday decoration for drying your hands.

9) Watching someone save all of the bows and refold wrap, "You know, for next year." Bonus Points for ripping the person doing the saving. Double Bonus Points if you normally do it too, but since your not doing it now, you act like you never do it.

10) Taking an awful digital photograph of someone, showing them the photograph because you know it's awful, having them beg for you to delete it, telling them you will and even going through the motion of doing it but don't so you can use it against them later. Bonus Points if you know who you are. Double Bonus Points if you did the same thing to me!

Disclaimer: The above 10 items are put together as a joke and in no way represent my joyful holiday get togethers. It is not my intention to upset or offend anyone in anyway. ...but, Oh MAN! did my gift kick your gifts' ass!

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Have A...

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Bring Santa BACK! I Fixed It!

A Rick Pic

Success!

Alright, I dug deep, and entered the closet of parts that no mortal man should enter. There was a chance I would not come out again alive. I came out, alive, and with replacement CD-ROMS! Then I put some hurt on the B-Hautch 'puter, show'n my lEEt status. Translation: It's working now. Call Santa back, we can have Christmas now!
Me In The Kitchen

A Rick Pic
Computer HELL!

A Rick Pic

The Computer That Would Not Live.

About three weeks ago while driving to a store I thought of an idea. An idea to make my sister a computer out of the many parts laying around the house. These parts, good parts, had come from other computers and needed a home, a home that was not my home, or more importantly, not Debs home.

So the plan was hatched. I had a nice Dell case, 400 MHz Pentium 2, 196 megs of RAM, 8 Gig Hard disk, 4x burner, and all of the little things that would make a decent internet surfer, non-gamer, utility rig. Just what my sister needed. I lovingly gathered all of the parts and began building what I thought would be a 2-3 hour job. I was wrong.

Open it up, clean it out, hook up the drives, connect the cables, clear the CMOS, close her up, plug her in, and push the power button. Floppy drive does a head seek... and does not stop! It sounds like a jackhammer and I can acutally feel the vibrations through the case. I kill the power and reverse the IDE cable. In other words... My fault. Second power up, RAM check freezes in mid stride. Kill the power and reseat the RAM. Third power up, no devices detected, none. Tear it apart, reseat everything, re-run the cables, try again... You starting to get the idea? This continues for a long time with many strange events with no rhyme or reason.

I am now on my 3rd hour and I just got the thing to boot up and have started to install the operating system on it... and the CD-ROM dies! That is okay because a have another one. DEAD! Three hours gone, have to go and buy a new CD-ROM drive tomorrow, and this thing is supposed her friggen Christmas present. So much for the easy computer build. Fruit cake is starting to sound a whole lot easier!

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

This One Hits Close To Home

NEWS of the WEIRD - Current News: "Despite a $7.5 million budget deficit, the city of Berkeley, Calif., bought a 40-foot-long refrigerated trailer last year for the sole purpose of storing shopping carts that had been commandeered by homeless people for their 'stuff' but then abandoned. According to a November 2004 report in the San Francisco Chronicle, the city says the freezer prevents vermin infestation while authorities wait (up to 90 days) for the 'owners' to reclaim their belongings. Critics of the program said the city should just confiscate the shopping carts, most of which had been stolen from merchants in the first place and almost all of which are never claimed, anyway. [San Francisco Chronicle, 11-16-04] "

Yea For Internet! Boo For Inflight Cell Phones!

Slashdot: News for nerds, stuff that matters: "The FCC has unanimously voted to allow wireless internet connections on airplanes. If everything goes according to plans, airplanes might be offering passengers internet service by as soon as 2006. Furthermore, the FCC is also soliciting comments about the possibility of lifting the in-flight ban on cellphone use. While this could be new profit source for the cash-strapped airlines, it might also be a new way to annoy your neighbor sitting next to you."

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Site Of The Month!

This one is pretty well done...

Welcome to SeatGuru.com, the ultimate source for airplane seating and in-flight services information.

• Do you want a seat with extra legroom? A seat with a non-restricted recline? A seat that is extra quiet?

• Would you like to compare the First Class, Business Class and Coach Class seat pitch and seat width of different airline carriers?

• Are you traveling for business and need to know which airplanes have laptop power at your seat and what type of adapter you'll need?

• Have a long flight and want to know what type of in-flight entertainment is featured on your flight and what movies are playing this month?

http://www.seatguru.com/

High Tea At The Empress!


High Tea At The Empress!
Originally uploaded by Richard Whitten.

A shot from the archives offered as a replacement for lack of good photo opportunity during todays journey.

Stopped By The House Last Night...

And the wood flooring is in! Hard to believe, but it made the great room look bigger! Kind of like a long basketball court with no hoops. Of course, I had to view all of this with my face pressed against the window since we are still locked out. I called the builder and asked about the lock and he said I could call him anytime and he would let us in. So, I will have to give this a try this weekend as the photos will be lacking until I can get in there and shoot some new ones.

I am typing this from the Rogue Regency in Medford, Oregon. A lovely meal from Taco Bell and I am now tucked away in my room working on the blog. The whole world must be working on their blogs, as the site is very slow tonight. I was going to take a photo today on my way down but since the leaves have now fallen off of all the trees and it was smoggy there were no good shots to be had. I'll go dig up an old one from the archives.

Special Offers Inside LOTR Extended Version...

Inside the case is an insert with two special offers:

1) For $3.00 you can get an Extended Version Slipcase. This case will hold all three extended version DVD's in one box. Offer ends March 31, 2005.

2) If you purchased the first release of the movie 5 months back you can get a $5.00 rebate since you bought the extended version. Offer ends March 31, 2005.

I ordered the slip case, and will turn in the rebate next. Now what to do with my left over $2.00?
LOTR The Return Of The King Extended Edition!
Out Today! Picked up mine at Fry's for $20.99

A Rick Pic

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Even MORE Photos Of The House...

Maybe you aren't sick of the House yet...

http://spaces.msn.com/members/richardwhitten/
Carnival Ride For Food

A Rick Pic
Master Bath Counters

A Rick Pic
Kitchen Counters Are In!

A Rick Pic

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Locked Out...

Went out to the house today and discovered that a lock had been put on the front door and all of the sliders where blocked with wood, AND the garage doors were locked. This does not come as a surprise as expensive stuff is now going into the house, stuff that could be stolen in the night with no problem. We pressed our faces against the glass and saw that the Bathroom flooring we picked out is now down. Deb really wanted to see the cabinets but alas we could not get in. I will try to call the builder tomorrow and see if we might be able to get special visitation rights. Cross your fingers.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Check This Out...

It has been a week!

Here I sit on a Friday night. Just got back from having a nice dinner with both my sisters. April is visiting from California, it was good to see her!

We have had someone look at the house each and every day since putting it up for sale 7 days ago. We wonder what people coming through say, think, and look at. It is a strange thing to have someone come and look at your stuff while you are gone at work! The cats know all of this of course, but won't tell us.

This week at the new house the kitchen and bathroom cabinets went in. We picked out all of the flooring and carpet and such last weekend so it will not be long until that all starts going in. We are trying to stay calm and not get too excited as the deal is not done yet. When our house sells it will be a good day with much celebration!

Well I am off to play online.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Interesting!

Slashdot: News for nerds, stuff that matters: "PC World reports that Memory-Tech has developed a dual DVD, HD-DVD disc, which stores DVD content on the upper layer and HD-DVD content on the lower. The DVD data can be read by standard DVD players, giving customers the incentive to buy now, and reap future benefits by buying an HD-DVD player at a later time. Blu-ray suffered a heavy blow when HD-DVD gained the support of four major movie studios; could this be the knockout punch?" (The format was developed jointly with Toshiba.)

Monday, December 06, 2004

The Joy Of Home Selling

This fine duo of stories comes in two parts:

Part One - ‘The Key’

We arrive home from doing errands and buying groceries today and begin unloading the Jeep into the kitchen. We are both ready to be done, ready to just hang out for the rest of Sunday and maybe watch a movie. Deb and I pass each other a couple of times in the garage as we make trips back and forth from the Jeep to the kitchen counter. I enter the garage with the last load and find Deb standing in front of the door into the house with a look on her face, “Did you lock the door?” “No, I’ve just been hauling stuff back and forth.” “The doors Locked and my keys are on the counter.” Says Deb. So we both remember the emergency key we have stashed in the garage for this very reason! And then we remember me giving that key to the real estate lady for the lock box! Crap! Now we are hosed. No key, food inside the house the needs to go in the fridge, no car keys to drive for help, my cell phone is almost dead and might be able to make one more call. Thinking. Who will it be? Janet the lady who cleans our house! I call, she’s there, and says she will drive the key over! Whew, thank goodness that is over, now we can get to relaxing…

Part Two – “We’d like to show your house’

So now we spread out, doing laundry, pay the bills, I tear out the cat door to clean it, thinking about changing into my pajamas and then the phone rings, we don’t hear it because we are working on messing up the house just a little bit more. “I would like to show your house in the next hour and a half if that is okay… click” Deb hears the ‘beeb’ of the answering machine and listens to the message, we are not happy! We stop everything, clean up the whole house, and head out into the world for the next hour and a half. We do a whole lot of nothing as we imagine what it would be like to just be sitting on our butts at home. Two hours later we get home but there is not the required card from the home sales person on the counter. What’s up? We wanna be home! Deb calls the lady and asks if she has been to the house or is still coming? “Oh, what’s your address? Ahhh, no we didn’t make it there cuz it got dark.” Wow, that must have been a big surprise when it got dark like that!

The above stories took up 3 hours but is seemed much longer than that. I feel better now.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Sites Still Under Attack!

Slashdot: News for nerds, stuff that matters: "CNet News.com reports that popular BitTorrent tracker hosts such as Suprnova and LokiTorrent underwent DDoS attacks on Wednesday (I'll bet you noticed). The culprits are primarily unknown, but these sites were flooded beyond control from the attack. This appears to be striking an interest in revising the BT protocol and Suprnova's interest in making their own protocol."

Switched To A New Photo Host

I have switched to www.flikr.com for my Photo Hosting. This will allow full resolution photos to be available on my blog. Click on the Jeep below for a sample of what flikr can do. If you want to share photos with family online, this is the site to do it with!

Jeep!


Jeep!
Originally uploaded by Richard Whitten.

As I set here in the dark at 3:00am I dream of being out in the woods somewhere tooling around in the Jeep with no top!

Loren's Birthday Celebration Continues Across The Globe!

A Rick Pic

Volcano Is Washington States's Biggest Polluter

kgw.com | News for Oregon and SW Washington | Environment: "MOUNT ST. HELENS -- Since it began erupting in October, Mount St. Helens has been Washington state's worst air polluter.
The volcano spews 50 to 250 tons of sulfur dioxide into the air each day. That compares with about 120 tons a day from all the state's industries combined."

Friday, December 03, 2004

Happy Birthday Loren!

My sister Loren turned 38 today! Please say a prayer tonight as she edges ever closer to the big 40. (The end of life as we know it.)

Thursday, December 02, 2004

TiVo Is The Future... Accept It!

Engadget - www.engadget.com: "So one of our least favorite things that the TV networks have been doing to mess with their competitors -- padding a few extra minutes to the end of shows in order to create scheduling conflicts so that TiVos and other digital video recorders won't record a show on another channel that comes on afterwards -- is apparently getting worse, with Nielsen Media Research reporting that lots more shows are doing this. The networks might think they're being clever, and on one level we're at least little impressed that they're even thinking about this sort of stuff, but in the long run all they're doing is alienating people and convincing DVR owners that they either need to download shows online or upgrade to a dual-tuner DVR that eliminates scheduling conflicts."

Pending - Off Market!

http://www.homesbywestside.com/Salmon%20Creek%20West.htm

The future home of the Whitten's is now on hold awaiting the sale of our current residence.

Check Your Credit History...

Slashdot: News for nerds, stuff that matters: "Under the terms of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions (FACT) Act, passed last year, and amid growing concerns over privacy and disclosure of sensitive financial data, the three leading credit reporting agencies must provide consumers with a free summary once a year of all credit information on file for that person. Consumers in 13 Western states will be able to grab free online copies of their credit reports starting Wednesday."

Sometimes Free IS Better.

Slashdot: News for nerds, stuff that matters: "In the December, 2004 issue of PC World, the author of an article titled Poor Defenders concludes that most commercial anti-spyware software is ineffective. In tests using a fresh install of XP and 6 typical spyware infections the commercial software failed to stack up against freeware competitor Spybot Search and Destroy. Four out of seven commercial products failed to remove any of the infections. One product even installed 57 spyware files itself! Conclusion: Use freeware products like Spybot and Lavasoft's Ad-Aware SE Personal.' "

'The Swarm' 2 Is Almost Here!

Slashdot: News for nerds, stuff that matters: "Exeem is a new file-sharing application being developed by the folks at SuprNova.org. Exeem is a decentralized BitTorrent network that basically makes everyone a Tracker. Individuals will share Torrents, and seed shared files to the network. At this time, details and the full potential of this project are being kept very quiet. However it appears this P2P application will completely replace SuprNova.org; no more web mirrors, no more bottle necks and no more slow downs. Exeem will marry the best features of a decentralized network, the easy searchability of an indexing server and the swarming powers of the BitTorrent network into one program. Currently, the network is in beta testing and already has 5,000 users (the beta testing is closed.) Once this program goes public, its potential is enormous. ' "
Looking Towards The Kitchen

A Rick Pic
View Out Of The Dining Room

A Rick Pic
The Living Room

A Rick Pic

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Home Update...

Much has happened since the last update.

Settled on a deal with the builder that gives us a 3 month guarantee for first rights to buy with no possible bump in position on the new house. The upside of the deal is, as long as we sell our current house in the next three months our new house will be waiting for us off the market and locked so no one else can buy it out from under us. The downside is, if we screw up and can not sell our house or back out of the deal in any way the $3000 bucks we gave the builder to hold the house becomes his! So cross your fingers... or, come buy the house!

Our current house is now up for sale! I arrived home today to a large "For Sale" sign in the front yard. Tommorow I am told we will have our first walk through with an interested party. The upside of this deal is if we sell the house we are one step closer to moving into the new one. The downside is, I now have to make the bed every morning and pick up my underwear off of the floor!

Saturday we go and pick out all of the internal organs of the new house. This includes, Carpet, Wood Flooring, Light Fixtures, Appliances, Molding around the Fireplace, and some other stuff I am sure. The upside is, we get to spend hours picking out just the right parts for our dream home. The downside is, we get to spend hours picking out just the right parts for our dream home.

That's it for now. Well, it is off to make some Mac & Cheese and Kool-Aid... The new rule is: Buy a new house, step back a decade in the quality of your dinner!