Tuesday, March 29, 2005

The Bad Boy Lives Again!

I have just completed the multi-day task of setting up my computer. After rejoining all of the power bricks with the right boxes, sorting through miles of cables, reworking all of my router settings to listen to DSL & Vonage it is finally running again. One more piece of my life is now back in action, only 999 left to go.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Saturday Night @ 8:30...

Pouring rain, dark, wind, the whole area is a giant mud pit... And there is a flashing red light and a loud buzzer emitting from the side of the house! It is the 'Whitewater System' (read highly complicated septic tank with more lights and monitors than my computer) and something is wrong with it. I don a pair of old shoes that I never plan on wearing again, grab a flashlight and head out into the deluge. I arrive at the box and read in the dim flashlight beam, "Warning High Voltage.' Below that is a small switch that reads "Silent - Alarm'. The switch is currently on the alarm setting and as I move it to the left the alarm is silenced but the light is still going. With nothing left to do, I head back to the house wondering if I only have 15 minutes until raw sewage begins pumping out of the downstairs toilet! Later I looked over to the other new house and saw that they too had a red warning light going on the side of their house.

Today I called the service people and a man was dispatched out to the house. The diagnosis: The heavy rain had run over the top of one of the 'system domes' and flooded it, thus drowning the blower motor and shorting out the system. The neighbors 'Crap Trap' had even more problems but all of the parts I needed were ripe for the picking and were moved by the repair guy over to my system so that it is now working fine. The neighbors however, will have to wait until tomorrow for the required parts.

Well I must 'go' now as I have a very important 'job' I need to get started on!

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Even Comes With A Stick To Hang Your Clothes On!

A Rick Pic
The Guest Bedroom Is Complete!

A Rick Pic

Thursday, March 24, 2005

It's Been A Week!

Well being back from China is good, but there sure is alot of stuff to do around the house! New furniture, area rugs, electronics, ATV goodies, you name it and we've hauled it into the house. I will take some photos and post some more detailed information this weekend.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Hello There April!

Please be sure and visit my sister April's Blog! I have created a permanent link to the left for future visits. Oh, it looks like she needs some comments too!

Is Your Virus Checker Up To Date?

Slashdot: News for nerds, stuff that matters: "A BBC article discusses new research revealing that over 1 million computers have been compromised and are being used in bot nets. From the article: 'The largest network spied on by the team was made up of 50,000 hijacked home computers.'"

Site Of The Month #2: One Is Just Not Enough!

LogMeIn https://secure.logmein.com/go.asp?page=home is a fantastic program for logging onto any of your computers remotely from any broadband based computer. The free version lets you do everything but file transfers and if you need to do that, log onto your machine and send yourself the file via Gmail.

New options for secure remote access: "Big companies with booming remote-access demands face some tough choices - widen the circle of IPSec VPN users, invest in an additional Secure Sockets Layer VPN product or service, or let users manage their own connections by sanctioning remote PC control services such as Citrix GoToMyPC, or products such as PCAnywhere or Virtual Network Computing, a free utility.

Until now, there hasn't been a way to offer quick and inexpensive remote control without giving up management control and tight security. But 3am Labs, a new company run by the team that developed RemotelyAnywhere remote control and administration software, this month is debuting three products that aim to do just that: Provide highly secure PC remote access and administrative tools to manage users' connections. And two of the three products are free.

'Not just for some 30-day trial. We mean free forever,' says company CEO Michael Simon.
Similar to GoToMyPC, the LogMeIn service lets users access a desktop PC from any Web-enabled PC, handheld or phone. LogMeIn connections are SSL encrypted, but the service also incorporates Windows authentication policies into existing security schemes such as RSA SecurID, and allows wireless one-time passwords. When a user accesses the Logmein.com site, he's authenticated, and then the LogMeIn gateway forwards the encrypted traffic between a client and a host.

The service works with LogMeIn Scout, a new management tool that's also free. Scout finds all remote-access products deployed on the network, and lets you define and enable LogMeIn usage policies by users, groups of users or machine. You can give some users/groups remote control rights only, others upload/download rights, and others administration rights. GoToMyPC offers similar management features but only in the corporate version, not the personal or small-business editions.

A third product, LogMeIn Pro, costs $12.95 per user per month and is geared to those who need to be fully productive while working at a remote system, not just grab a file on the run. One-button file synchronization makes it easy to keep track of files between two systems. An FTP-like utility eases file uploads and downloads. A "click to share" feature lets you share large files across the Web. A remote printing feature lets you target a file on your corporate system and print it locally.

Because the products are free, IT administrators can use LogMeInScout only to monitor and control remote access connections on the network. Users can download multiple copies of the client onto numerous PCs and other devices, such as media servers or network-attached storage boxes, to access music, video and photos.

How will 3am Labs make money? Simon points to the popularity of GoToMyPC and VNC, the latter of which has 60,000 free downloads per month.

"Our free version's a great alternative to VNC. It's more secure and easier to use, and integrates with Scout. Those 60,000 downloads are up for grabs. If we can get 2 million people to use the free version, we can get a couple of hundred thousand to buy LogMeInPro," Simon says.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Picked This Fine WOOT! Up!

The DMS1 Digital Media Streamer connects to any existing home audio system. Functioning as an intelligent remote control, the DMS1 allows you to play your digital files directly from your home computer and Windows Media Connect for Windows XP or SimpleCenter. Multiple DMS1 units can play different music from one computer simultaneously.

What are you doing? Why are you even trying to listen to “Aqualung” on those tinny little computer speakers when your home audio system is just a couple of rooms away? We understand – you’ve got a backlog of thousands of audio files in your CD-burning queue. Don’t we all? But the Omnifi DMS1 Home Digital Media Streamer eliminates the middle-media and sends your audio files directly from your PC to the home stereo system of your choice. An included wireless adapter gives you access to all of your MP3 and WMA files from anywhere in your home. The logical, intuitive interface mimics the folder hierarchy on your PC, and the onscreen display works whether your TV is on or not. Oh, and there’s a remote control included – we wouldn’t want to disturb your rocking out with anything resembling physical exertion. Make the DMS1 part of your home entertainment system and experience the roar like never before. “But wait,” says Woot in our best ginsu-knife-pitchman voice, “There’s more!” The DMS1 can hook up with the Rhapsody subscription service, as well as Microsoft’s Media Player 10 Media Connect Plug-In (ushering you into other services like Napster, Wal-Mart Music, and more). The included SimpleCenter software quickly and reliably rips tracks from CD to MP3, and it uncannily sniffs out your media and labels it with all the relevant discographical info. OK, all together now: “Sitting on a park bench…”

Omnifi DMS1 Features:

- Home digital audio receiver
- Remote control
- SimpleCenter® software for organizing and scheduling music downloads
- Upgradeable software can be updated to accept format changes
- Wi-Fi (802.11b) wireless router required for wireless transfer of audio files
- DWL-120 USB Wireless USB Adapter included
- Line level (RCA) outputs (connects to your home stereo with supplied cable)
- Composite (RCA) video and S-video outputs
- Accepts a wired Ethernet LAN connection
- MP3 and WMA compatible
- Dimensions: 11-1/16”W x 2-3/16”H x 8-1/4”D
- Warranty: 1 year DMS1 Streamers
- Easy access to all the music on your PC (duh)

Woot! price: $69.00 plus $5 shipping. Should arrive next week when I will post a review. For those of you thinking about rushing to the Woot! site to grab one... they are sold out and gone. I totally lucked out when in Hong Kong as I was up when the 10:00pm deal went on! Gone in less than 2 minutes!

Yup, I Ate This Too...

Global Gourmet Today: "'Thousand Year Old Eggs' are really only about 100 days old. Duck eggs are used instead of chicken eggs. The raw eggs are buried in the ground in a mixture of clay, lime, salt, tea and straw. I have seen recipes calling for pine ash instead of clay. This mixture leaches into the shell and egg, making the interior smooth and creamy - like a ripe avocado in texture. The yolk turns a vivid green and the white various shades of yellow, blue and green. It has been compared to the colors of a black opal. To eat them, wash the eggs clean, shell them and slice into quarters. The flavor is rich, pungent and cheese-like.

I have not looked for them specifically but am told that you can buy these eggs in American Chinese markets where they are called Pine Flower Eggs."

Eaters Note: It really looked pretty bad, but I dug in and tried it anyway. I was told to lay fresh sliced ginger on top which I did. It really did not taste bad at all but very much like a hard boiled egg that might have been boiled too long. So next time you happen to be offered '1000 year old egg' throw it down the hatch and impress your friends.

I'm Home... And Awake At 2:00am!

Landed at PDX Airport yesterday at 7:30am, arrived home and went straight to bed. I woke up at about 1:30pm with the plan of staying up the rest of the day until normal sleeping time and then having a good nights sleep. After all I had about 7 hours of sleep under my belt for the last 60 hours so this wouldn't be hard, right? I made it until 9:30 last night, sleepy as hell, crashed and burned, until! 2:00am, wide awake, hungry, mind activated, no chance of falling back to sleep! So here I sit in the dark, working on my blog at exactly the same time I would be if I was still in Hong Kong while you all sleep. I do have the fire going and I am at home so I will be okay.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Last Night In Hong Kong...

Just got into my room from the last night! I am ready to be home! Been doing nothing but work and sleep for the last 4 days and I am thankful that it is over. I will get up at 4:30am tomorrow morning and head to the Airport for the long flight home. Off to bed for me.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Hong Kong From Victoria Peak!

A Rick Pic

Friday, March 11, 2005

Just finished reading: 'Last Man Down' is a story about a firefighter in the world trade center collapse who was on the 7th floor when it collapsed and lived to write a book about it! Very good read! I give it a Rick Rating grade of A+

A Rick Pic

Foggy In H.K.

Woke up this morning to the sounds of fog horns. Thick as pea soup outside, add 98% humidity and 70 degrees and you have a sticky day! We are now done seeing people. It is time to write some orders. Got lost in a cab looking for the last place. After many cell phone calls and wild gesturing with the driver we finally got there. Spent the afternoon pounding out 4 P.O.'s so I think this trip will go well. Still have many more to write but this is a good start. Went to a place tonight that specializes in carving things out of mammoth tusks. These tusks are imported from Siberia and are 10 to 60 thousand years old. A small hand carved figurine about the size of a book of matches is about 130 dollars U.S. There were tusks 8+ feet long in there, all carved with the minutest details, had to cost in the 10's of thousands of dollars! I held a tusk in my hand that dated 40 thousand years old. Pretty wild place. Sat in the shop and talked to the guy for about 20 minutes and he told how the tusks were found and how long it took to carve the different types of items, very interesting. I sadly left with no tusky items as they were just too much money, but still worth the visit to the store. I am off to do some reading and go to sleep. Just 4 more days and I am headed home! Yup, I am ready!

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Hong Kong Picture Pile...

A Rick Pic

My Day Today

Good Morning to all of you. Today we saw 4 vendors and say such wonderful things as Christmas lights, Plush, Halloween goodies, and Wicker. After work I went to a place where only yesterday I was measured for 3 new dress shirts. Today I picked them up and they are nice! I picked everything out from the collar to the style of pocket and number of buttons, I even had my initials placed on the sleeve. Each shirt cost about $35 dollars U.S. each and I got a free tie to boot. After that I headed out to dinner and watched the light show again on the Hong Kong side. Tomorrow marks the last day of going out and seeing vendors, after that comes the writing of the Purchase orders. This is where the fun begins. Do we want it, what port does it come from, what is the cube, does it have an import tax, how many, how much, what date does it come in, what is the minimum order quantity, rinse, repeat, for the next four days! The photos will slow to a crawl as I will be stuck in the Hotel all day. I am off to do some reading and hit the sack.
Bamboo is used to build all buildings no matter how big. Why use metal?

A Rick Pic
Go and hug your toilet right now!

A Rick Pic

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Just follow the signs, you can't miss it!

A Rick Pic
This is what a TurboJet boat looks like. This ship moves at 50+ mph, weaves and bobs in and out of ship traffic like a motorcycle on the hightway. I took one of these from Shenzhen to Hong Kong, trip length about one hour.

A Rick Pic
Something I saw in the window of Hardrock Cafe'

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Waiting For The Bus. (Note: 13 Hong Kong dollars in my hand, about 2 dollars U.S.)

A Rick Pic
The Hustle And Bustle Of Hong Kong!

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This strange 'short sink' is enough to make a man not want to brush his teeth!

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Some Boats I've Seen.

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Back In Hong Kong

Glad to be back in Hong Kong and checking into a room for the last time before I head home. Took a TurboJet boat back from Shenzhen and arrived here at about 3:00pm. We are now staying at the Shangrila Hotel and it is a nice place with large rooms. Did a little shopping tonight and got some very cool stuff. I will not disclose these 'gifts' online as some of the readers might be the intended recipients. Went to a place called Stanley Bay right off of the ocean with many 'hole in the wall' shops and twisty paths. I took a double decker bus there and sat on the top deck in the front seat like a good tourist! I did take many good photos today but I am just too tired to upload any so you will have to wait until tomorrow. I will complete my trip here in Hong Kong and head home in a little more than a week. I have been watching the weather at home and I just want to prepare you all because I guarantee it will start raining the day I get back. I am off to sleep.
The man cooking my egg. Note: Meal is greatly enhanced by the cigarette smoke provided by our host and fellow travelers! (far left center of image) I endure at least 20+ cancer sticks a day in very small rooms with no ventilation.

A Rick Pic

Monday, March 07, 2005

The Parkview Hotel At Night. This is a very nice hotel where we stay in Shenzhen. Very modern compaired to the surrounding city.

A Rick Pic
This fine dish consists of a raw egg with the top carefully taken off and the yolk removed. A small amount of goose liver is cooked and diced to be sprinkled into the hole in the top of the egg. Water is poured onto the grill and a lid placed on top to steam the egg. After steaming caviar is spooned on top and the egg is served with a small spoon. How does it taste? Like liver, egg whites and salty fish eggs! It is not awful but not something I would have thought of on my own!

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Yup, Looks Like China To Me!

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My laundry. It is so nice and packaged that I almost don't want to open it! P.S. Deb I guess we don't have to get me new underwear after all!

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Hand Painting Ceramics. When I new line is started a group like this will produce 100 finished pieces a day. Once they learn the new design they will jump up to 500 a day. Everyone is hired with no experiance and is trained to do what ever job. You learn one job and that is what you do forever. It takes most people a month of training to become an accomplished painter.

A Rick Pic
Dormatories At The Factory. Average starting wage: $3.75 U.S. a week. Work week: 7 days a week with only one day off a month which is payday. Hours: 7:30am to 9:00pm. Working age: Law says 18 years, reality 13 years and up. Housing and food: Housing is provided as well as meals, cost is .50 cents a week. Laundry: Done and home and line dried!

A Rick Pic

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Good Morning From Dongguan China! The Hong Kong driver that brings you into China can not take you past a certain point and you must switch to another vehicle and a driver who lives in Main Land China. The lamps you see in the background represent the end of Chinese New Year. This celebration lasts 15 days and the lanterns mean it is time to go back to work!

A Rick Pic
Due to my remote location I can not actually see my own blog. I am posting photos through a secondary server but can not access any U.S.A. web sites! Pretty wild eh? So just like these people are looking at you right now, someone is watching me too. I will continue to upload photos this way but will be limited to the amount of text I can upload.

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The New Jeep 'BASIC'

Festival Of Lights In China!

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Shenzhen Cab?

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Mary & Me Having Lunch In Shenzhen, China

A Rick Pic

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Riding The MTR

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Saturday After Noon In Tsim-Sha-Tsui

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Some Random Travel Stuff!

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Friday, March 04, 2005

Symphony Of Light Hong Kong

Symphony Of Light Hong Kong: "Tourism forms a vital part of Hong Kong's economy. The Hong Kong Tourism Commission engaged Laservision as their consultants with a brief to develop the idea of creating a permanent 'light show' based on the illumination of significant buildings in Hong Kong."

Let Me Tell You About Your Tomorrow!

I am now finishing up Friday and you all are just starting it. For those inclined, just add 4 hours to the time and reverse the AM to PM or the PM to AM and you'll be over here with me. Even after being given four days to adjust my body is still in denile! Wake up in the middle of the new night and be wide awake and hungry. I don't seem to be hungry for dinner but I am starving for breakfast.

Today we saw Christmas, Toys, and Plastic Ware. I had the most fun at the Christmas place and hope I picked out some good products. I am off to get some sleep and lay low for awhile.

Anyone For A...

Teppanyaki Christmas?

Imagine a 40,000 square foot warehouse with nothing in it but Christmas! Miles and miles of it, a friggen MAZE of Santa's knick knacks! Now think about how hungry you would be after that long walk. Please place yourself in the chair to my left and dig in! The item directly in front of me is cuttlefish: a squid like item cooked in some really excellent seasoning. It looks pretty bad but tastes pretty good!

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Hong Kong Sky Line!

Light Show!

This light show is done every night at 8:00pm with music and laser lights!
High Speed Train In Hong Kong

This is the train you take from the Airport to Hong Kong. Very fast and smooth with information screens in the backs of each seat. Once you get off of the train you still have to catch a cab to get to your hotel.

Greetings From Hong Kong!

Sitting here in the Hotel Niko after a fun day of seeing toys and plush. Quite tired today as I think my body is starting to realize that I wont be going back to the 'right way' for awhile. I hope to get a good nights sleep tonight and should be my normal self for the rest of the trip. Pretty chilly for Hong Kong and I have even thought of going out and buying a light jacket or something to keep warm. No, I did not bring something warm on this trip because it has never been cooler than 70 degrees anywhere I have been in Asia! The locals here are wearing monster winter coats that we would leave in the closet unless it was in the teens or lower! The usual smog covers the city here and the cough I was almost over with is making a come back.

Now for the bitch: With the exception of one individual who knows who he is, I am lacking ANY comments on my blog entries in quite awhile. Imagine that if this blog were say a church, comments whould be the offering. Now at this point in time the blog God, (Me) is not a very happy camper and seeing that I am in a distant land away from my wife and new home I could use a few stinking comments!

Well, with that off of my chest I will let you all go for now and I will update you all later.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Site Of The Month!

This is a 'Must Get!" Very cool program that makes your desktop fun to look at and quite useful! Even in Asia, I'm taking care of you!

What is Konfabulator?: "Konfabulator is a JavaScript runtime engine for Windows and Mac OS X that lets you run little files called Widgets that can do pretty much whatever you want them to. Widgets can be alarm clocks, calculators, can tell you your WiFi signal strength, will fetch the latest stock quotes for your preferred symbols, and even give your current local weather.

What sets Konfabulator apart from other scripting applications is that it takes full advantage of today's advanced graphics. This allows Widgets to blend fluidly into your desktop without the constraints of traditional window borders. Toss in some sliding and fading, and these little guys are right at home in Windows XP and Mac OS X.

The format for these Widgets is completely open and easy to learn so creating your own Widgets is an extremely easy task.

For the 'skinning' crowd, Konfabulator is a dream come true. You can easily change the look, feel, layout, even functionality of a Widget so that it matches your lifestyle, your desktop, or the pants or skirt you have on that day.

Konfabulator is the first product from Pixoria Inc."

Front Of The Sherwood Hotel In Tiawan

A Rick Pic

Greetings From Taiwan!

My first full day in Asia comes to a close as I prepare myself for bed. Saw 3 clients today and looked at plastics, cookware, and acrylic products. All of my systems seem to be working fine and I figure I will feel really good after tonights sleep. Foggy and rainy here with temps in the low 60's. The ride from the airport last night was a wild one with the guy doing 100 mph + for the 30 miles to the hotel, all of this in a driving rain storm! I was so sleepy that all I could do was stare at the gauges on the dash and wonder what the speed was in kilometers. What do you tip a guy that scares the crap out of you? Well, I made it, so that is all that matters.

I have taken some good photos despite the rain and mist. I will upload one or two. Next update will come from Hong Kong.