Saturday, December 31, 2005

Wishing You A...

H A P P Y N E W Y E A R !

Mount St. Helens Releasing Lava At Astonishing Pace

CNN.com - Dec 30, 2005: "Roughly every three seconds, the equivalent of a large dump truck load of lava -- 10 cubic yards -- oozes into the crater of Mount St. Helens, and with the molten rock comes a steady drumfire of small earthquakes.

The unremitting pace, going on for 15 months now, is uncommon, said U.S. Geological Survey geologist Dave Sherrod. Experts say it is unclear what the activity signifies or how much longer it will continue."

Do You Have Some Christmas Cash?

Get the Logitech Harmony 880 Remote! This is a must get if you have more than 2 remotes (And I know you all do.)

What sets this remote apart from all the others is that it is not device based, but activity based. What does that mean you ask? Let's say you want to watch a DVD. Well, normally you end up pushing a button to turn on the TV, and then one to turn on the DVD, and then one to turn on the receiver, and then one... You get the idea.

With the Harmony, you select the Activity 'Watch a DVD'. With ONE press of a button the TV, DVD, and receiver are all on! But wait there is more... Also the TV is set to Video 1, 16x9 aspect, the receiver is set to input from the DVD, Dolby 5.1, oh and what the hell, the DVD door is opening for you to insert your movie!

All of the programming is done through your browser and is as easy as typing in the model number of your components. (This is located on the back of each one, trust me.) You can customize the remote any way you need, including uploading photos to it for a slide show on it's color screen!

When not in use the remote sits in a charging base station. It has a built in motion sensor so as soon as you move it the screen and buttons light up. Set it down on the couch to start watching your movie, and 10 seconds later the remote goes dark, until you pick it up again.

Check the Harmony 880 out at Logitech. For reviews, click on the Title of this blog article.

I'd like to thank Deb for this fine Christmas gift.

Warning to all men: Once the women figure out everything can be done with one button, you will most likely lose your remote holding privileges! I have started to turn the face of the remote away from Deb as I use it, so she will not notice how easy now it is to control everything! I don't know how long this will last however, as I think she is starting to get suspicious.

2006 Must Have Freeware!

Here is my New Years gift to all of you!

I have put together a list of the MUST HAVE programs for 2006. As an added bonus, all of the programs listed below are absolutely free! Have fun and start installing!

4Google Earth combines satellite imagery, maps and the power of Google Search to put the world's geographic information at your fingertips.

Fly from space to your neighborhood. Type in an address and zoom right in. Search for schools, parks, restaurants, and hotels. Get driving directions. Tilt and rotate the view to see 3D terrain and buildings. Save and share your searches and favorites. Even add your own annotations.

4Microsoft AntiSpyware (Beta) is a security technology that helps protect Windows users from spyware and other potentially unwanted software. Known spyware on your PC can be detected and removed. This helps reduce negative effects caused by spyware, including slow PC performance, annoying pop-up ads, unwanted changes to Internet settings, and unauthorized use of your private information. Continuous protection improves Internet browsing safety by guarding more than 50 ways spyware can enter your PC. Participants in the worldwide SpyNet community play a key role in determining which suspicious programs are classified as spyware. Microsoft researchers quickly develop methods to counteract these threats, and updates are automatically downloaded to your PC so you stay up to date.

4Picasa 2 is software that helps you instantly find, edit and share all the pictures on your PC. Every time you open Picasa, it automatically locates all your pictures (even ones you forgot you had) and sorts them into visual albums organized by date with folder names you will recognize. You can drag and drop to arrange your albums and make labels to create new groups. Picasa makes sure your pictures are always organized.

Picasa also makes advanced editing simple by putting one-click fixes and powerful effects at your fingertips. And Picasa makes it a snap to share your pictures: you can email, print photos home, make gift CDs, instantly share via Hello, and even post pictures on your own blog.

4Spybot - Search & Destroy can detect and remove a multitude of adware files and modules from your computer. Spybot also can clean program and Web-usage tracks from your system, which is especially useful if you share your computer. Modules chosen for removal can be sent directly to the included file shredder, ensuring complete elimination from your system. For advanced users, it allows you to fix Registry inconsistencies related to adware and to malicious program installations. The handy online-update feature ensures that Spybot always has the most current and complete listings of adware, dialers, and other uninvited system residents.

4The Yahoo Widgets Engine (formerly known as 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 Yahoo! Widget Engine 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, Yahoo! Widget Engine 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.

4DVD Profiler's unique combination of desktop application and online data access sets it apart from competing alternatives.

With a database of over 150,000 DVDs created by an enormous community of dedicated users worldwide, DVD Profiler has become the most complete, most accurate, and most compelling source of DVD information anywhere.

Keep track of your entire DVD collection - DVD Profiler can manage any size collection. Extensive data collection, filtering and reporting features specific to DVD, and unique to DVD Profiler. Put simply, DVD Profiler is the best way to track your DVD addiction!

One-step entry - Just enter the UPC from the DVD case and DVD Profiler does the rest! If you have a DVD-ROM drive, its even easier. Put the DVD in the drive and let DVD Profiler recognize it automatically. Don't have the UPC yet? Add it by title using powerful search criteria.

Peruse your collection with ease - Extensive, powerful search and filter functions let you find what you're looking for fast. Or, browse your collection by actor or director through a filmography customized to your collection. DVD Profiler's complete and customizable reporting engine let's you take your collection from the computer to the coffee table in style. Check the downloads section for a huge repository of user-created reports.

Keep track of loaned DVDs - Build a database of users who borrow (or just watch) your DVDs and track lendings and/or viewings. Monitor loan status, view and edit history by user or DVD, and generate reports to keep tabs on your collection.

... And much, much more! - Powerful price search engine, Charts and graphs to track trends, Customizable HTML skin capability, Parental control, Personal "My Profiler" site to let others browse your colletion, Seamless integration with DVD Profiler Pocket (future product)

4A Better Web Experience Firefox 1.5 has an intuitive interface and blocks viruses, spyware, and popup ads. It delivers Web pages faster than ever. And it's easy to install and import your favorites. Packed with useful features like tabbed browsing, Live Bookmarks, and an integrated Search bar, Firefox will change the way you experience the Web, for the better.

Faster Browsing Enjoy quick page loading as you navigate back and forward in a browsing session. Improvements to the engine that powers Firefox deliver more accurate display of complex Web sites, support for new Web standards, and better overall performance.

Automatic Updates The new Software Update feature makes it easy to get the latest security and feature updates to Firefox. Firefox automatically downloads these small updates in the background and prompts you when they are ready to be installed.

Tabbed Browsing Use tabbed browsing to open multiple Web pages in a single browser window, and quickly flip back and forth. Drag and drop open tabs to keep related pages together.

Improved Pop-up Blocking Firefox's built-in pop-up blocker has been enhanced to block more unwanted pop-up and pop-under ads.

Integrated Search Tap into the power of the Web's most popular search engines with the built-in Search bar, and easily add new engines.

Stronger Security Firefox keeps you more secure when you're browsing the Web, closing the door on spyware, worms, and viruses. The Firefox community of developers and security experts works around the clock to monitor security issues and release updates to better protect you.

Clear Private Data Protect your privacy with the new Clear Private Data tool. With a single click, you can delete all personal data, including browsing history, cookies, Web form entries and passwords.

Live Bookmarks Stay up to date with your favorite Web sites and blogs. Use Live Bookmarks that update themselves automatically with the latest content from the Web.

Accessibility Firefox 1.5 delivers easier navigation for everyone, including those who are visually or motor-impaired. Firefox is the first browser to support DHTML accessibility, which, when enabled by Web authors, allows rich Web applications to be read aloud. Users may navigate with keystrokes rather than mouse clicks, reducing the tabbing required to navigate documents such as spreadsheets. Firefox 1.5 (Windows version) is also the first browser to meet US federal government requirements that software be easily accessible to users with physical impairments.

Customize Firefox Select new button controls for your toolbars, install extensions to add new features, or change the look of your browser with themes - the way Firefox looks and works is under your control.

Next Generation Web Support Innovative new Web applications and services deliver a richer Web experience. Support for open Web standards in Firefox ensures you can get the most out of this emerging class of Web-based tools.

4Open Office 2 is both an open-source product and a project. The product is a multiplatform office productivity suite. It includes desktop applications such as a word processor, a spreadsheet program, a presentation manager, and a drawing program, with a user interface and feature set similar to those of other office suites. OpenOffice.org also works transparently with a variety of file formats, including those of Microsoft Office. Check out the features.

4Ad-Aware SE Personal Edition provides advanced protection from known data-mining, aggressive advertising, Trojans, dialers, malware, browser hijackers, and tracking components.

4And last but not least... The Google Toolbar does it all! Check out the features.

That's 10 Total!

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Ricci Adams' Musictheory

Ricci Adams' Musictheory.net

Want to brush up on your music theory? This is a very cool site with Flash Tutorials.

Snooze, You Win

Snooze, You Win - Improve your mental and physical performance by power napping: "Snooze, You Win

According to new studies, nothing tunes up mind and body like a good nap. But there's an art to catching the right kind of z's."

I consider myself a nap connoisseur!

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

One Of...

The Top 10 Craziest Science Stuff you didn't know

Picking one's nose and eating it might be healthy.

Mucophagy (literally mucus-eating, also referred as picking one's nose and eating it) is the consumption of the nasal mucus, boogers, and other detritus obtained from nose-picking.

Some research suggests that mucophagy may be a natural and even healthy activity, which exposes the digestive system to bacteria accumulated in the mucus, thereby helping to strengthen the immune system. "

There are 9 more of 'em! I just liked this one the most!

Monday, December 26, 2005

Tree Strike Update...

Today was the day to begin clearing the tree from the deck and dealing with the hole in the roof. Water began dripping from the heat vent in the bedroom around 9:00 pm last night. I had placed a plastic bin up in the attic to avoid this very event, but after crawling up there again late last night I discovered several other holes in the wood, including the one that was producing all of the water. After some new bins were added, and some towels laid down the dripping stopped inside and there appears to be no sheetrock damage.

So after a restless night, we hit it early this morning, cutting up the tree and removing the debris to a large pile.

All of this came off of the deck!

I had spent almost a half hour calling places to get someone to come out and fix the roof but not a single place was open. It was then that my next door neighbor came to the rescue! "I can help you fix your roof." It was a few minutes later and he is up on the roof like it was nothing. I assure you that I do not have what it takes to get up on our roof, way too high! (How high is it Rick?) After about 2 hours of work and a trip to Home Depot we are in much better shape! Tomorrow I am going to pick up the roof shakes that match our current color and we will be done with the roof repair.

It doesn't look that bad...

but trust me, it was.

Todd the neighbor cut out the bad fiberboard, replaced it with new, positioned new felt paper and re-attached the old tiles until tomorrow. As soon as we finished up the interim repairs it started to pour down rain! Tomorrow we'll pull off the bad tiles, replace with the new ones, and it will be as good as new. Thank You Todd!

The deck does not look any worse for the wear...

Well, maybe a little bit worse!

Well not too much longer now and I can start to relax on my vacation... Right?

Sunday, December 25, 2005

TREE STRIKE!!!

First Report: A tree fell and hit the house around 4:04 am this morning. Deb and I are fine and the damage seems to be minor as best I can tell in the dark. I will post a full report with photos as soon as possible.

Update @ 7:49 am: Sun is coming up and soon I will be able to get some good video and photos. Here is the story so far. Deb gets up at 4:00 am to use the bathroom and as I wake up we both start hearing debris hitting the roof and deck. We look out onto the deck to see a very strong wind squall going on! The trees and really whipping around and small limbs and pine cones are peppering the house. I rush downstairs and check to see if there is a weather alert and to check the wind speed and direction. The wind is gusting to 37 mph and coming at the house from the Southwest. This is strange because the wind usually comes in strong from the east.

I head back up stairs and Deb lays in bed while I stand at the sliding glass door in the bedroom and look out at the wild panoramic of swaying trees! The whole time I am watching the entire house is echoing sounds of debris landing on it with a background of loud wind!

CRASH! One second the deck is clear, the next I am staring at the gnarled end of a 20 foot long section of tree only an inch off of the glass protecting me from the outside! I jump back! It is raining branches and the sound is amazing! The deck furniture is gone, a pile of twisted metal and glass pieces. The sliding glass door screen is torn by the broken end of the fallen tree, only an inch from the glass. Branches and bark and debris are everywhere! And that quickly it is over.

"HOLY SHIT!"

Update @ 8:34 am: Some first photos.




View from the bedroom
View from the Family Room

View from the dining Room Window. Note: The top right of the photo shows the break off point. Also for size reference the actual piece of timber resting on the deck is about 18 feet long.
Ground Zero!
Update @ 10:46 am: Headed out to the deck with a ladder to inspect the roof. There is quite a dent in the gutter, but nothing I can't bend out. I pulled all of the limbs off of the roof, and there is indeed some pretty ugly damage to the shingles and plywood underneath in a section about the size of a pizza pan. Of course it is raining, and of course it is Christmas Day, so there is no way I'll be able to get anyone out today.
I also looked at the deck rail that took the brunt of the force. The railing will have to be replaced as it is badly cracked as well as the ballasters that have all pulled out under the impact point.
I think we are now at the point where the insurance company is due for a call. Out for now.
Update @ 12:58 pm: Headed up to the attic to see if the damage had indeed penetrated the roof. Yup, I peer over into the dark corner of the attic and I see daylight. I carefully headed into the corner with a large plastic bin to catch any water that might make it in before tomorrow when I will have a roofer fix it.
Up in the attic a 'just in case' bin. Let's try not to add water damage to the event!

A close up of the breech!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Never Lose The WD40 Straw Again

4X4REVIEW.COM: Never lose the WD40 straw again: "WD-40 Company, maker of WD-40, the world's most well-known all-purpose problem solver, is making an American icon even better. The company is introducing the WD-40 Smart Straw: the original beloved WD-40 formula that comes with a permanently attached straw."

All I Want For Christmas Is...

R I P S A W !

Monday, December 19, 2005

The Farting Preacher

This video does indeed mix religion and gas! You have been warned!

Sunday, December 18, 2005

800 Miles, 19 Gallons, In a V8?

A great segment where Jeremy attempts to drive 800 miles on a single 19 gallon tank of gas in an Audi A8 with a diesel V8 Twin turbo.

The Secrets Of Sushi Revealed!

Morning ATV Ride...


Since the rain is coming and the freezing temperatures will soon be over, I thought it would be nice to get some shots of Salmon Creek with ice on it. The forecast calls for the possibility of freezing rain on Sunday night. We'll see.

Popular Toys Of The Last 100 Years

Popular toys of the last 100 years - Forbes.com - MSNBC.com: "Popular toys of the last 100 years 'Must-have' items from decades past

The most popular toys

1900-1909 Crayola Crayons
1910-1919 Raggedy Ann Dolls
1920-1929 Madame Alexander Collectible Dolls
1930-1939 View-Master 3-D Viewer
1940-1949 Candy Land
1950-1959 Mr. Potato Head
1960-1969 G.I. Joe
1970-1979 Rubik's Cube
1980-1989 Cabbage Patch Kids
1990-1999 Beanie Babies
2000- Now Razor Scooter

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The Evil In My House!

Mishra The Cat

Urza The Cat
I was going through some photos on my laptop and I came across these fine examples of why you never turn your back on a cat! Sure, they act like they love you, but I think you'll agree by the looks of these photos that they can't be trusted.

DirectTV to Pay $5.4M in Privacy Fines

"Remember the do-not-call registry? DirecTV is in big trouble for violating the list, and faces the largest civil assessment ever obtained of $5.4M for harassing people over the phone at home and ignoring the registry. Although it looks like DirecTV was outsourcing all their telemarketing (obviously), the FTC recieved 1.4 million complaints, the biggest category of do-not-call violations ever recieved." From the article: "Majoras was quick to emphasize that the most important part of the settlement is that it sends a warning to companies that they cannot hire telemarketers and then turn their backs on whether or not the rules are followed."

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Saturday, December 10, 2005

The Other Frozen Pipe.

Turned on the faucet by the garage this afternoon and not a drop of water came out. I half expected this due to the well head freeze earlier in the morning. I was not surprised. Out came the handy brazing torch, and a few moments later the water was flowing again! I headed to the newly discovered shut off valve above the water heater and PRESTO the water slowed and dripped to a stop! I just left the faucet wide open and I can now sleep with no fear of a burst pipe in my garage wall.

After completing the garage mission I headed out to the well head and stuffed it full of insulation. I figure that this fix will work most of the time, but I may have to wire up some heat tape if it stays cold like this for an extended period of time. I could find out as soon as tomorrow morning. I will keep you posted.

What Cigarette Do You Smoke, Doctor?

These are commercial video clips from the early 1950s. Some funny commercials with doctors saying how much they love their camel cigarette.

Honey... The Water Stopped.

I stare through the crack in the bathroom door at Deb.

"You couldn't have waited until I finished?!"

"I thought about it, does that count?"

So began my morning. Obviously something had frozen up outside in the 20 degree air, but what, and where? I had been worrying about the hose bib on the side of the house freezing up, but this was certainly topping that! I had in my possession the phone number for the plumber, sent to me buy the builder just yesterday, but it is early on a Saturday morning, would he answer?

I dial the phone as I walk around the house looking for any faucet that will produce running water. Doug the plumber answers!

"Did you put insulation around your well head?" he asks.

"No, I didn't know I had too."

"Well, I'm just the plumber, not the well guy." he is quick to add. "But you need to put some insulation inside the well cover... After you heat up the pipes and get the water going again."

"Heat up the pipes?"

I am instructed to take a blow dryer out to the well head and heat up the pipes. I my mind, as he is talking I see myself firing up the brazing torch and "Gettin' 'er done!" My mind snaps back as he says, some "Crazy" guys might even do it with a torch, but I wouldn't advise it, "cuz you wouldn't want to end up melt'n someth'n."

I thank him and then ask the question I originally planned on calling him for... The garage wall hose bib.

"There is a valve right above the water heater that will shut off the whole outside wall." He says dead pan, like everybody should know that! Note to self: Call builder and thank him for all of the useful information about insulating my well, and the secret shut off valve for the hose bib.

Time to get the water flowing again! I head outside into the bitter cold armed with a phone, (so Deb can call me when the water starts running) and a BRAZING TORCH! What kind of man hauls out an extension cord and fires up a hair drier when he owns a TORCH! A fire breathing, blue flame producing, makes a satisfying hiss while it's running TORCH! "Crazy, my ass!"

I get out to the concrete cover, but it is frozen onto the base. I think about hitting it with some heat, but imagine the lid cracking into multiple pieces. I eventually end up just rolling the whole base and lid off as one unit. And there are the pipes that need to be heated. But wait, there also is an electrical box with some wires and... STUFF I COULD MELT! I actually thought about the hair dryer option for almost a second before the index finger on my possessed right hand pulled the trigger on the torch.

I took less than 2 minutes before the phone rang in my pocket, "It's on!" I check the wires... No damage done!

I will pick up some insulation today from Lowe's, (makers of fine artificial Christmas Trees I might add) and then work on shutting off the garage wall hose bib... If it is not already too late!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

IMPACT! ???

It's Called Apophis. It's 390 Meters Wide. And It Could Hit Earth In 31 Years Time...

Space.com

MSNBC

Christian Science Monitor

Guardian

Pravda

NASA

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Wasps Could Replace Bomb, Drug Dogs

USATODAY.com - Wasps could replace bomb, drug dogs: "Trained wasps could someday replace dogs for sniffing out drugs, bombs and bodies. No kidding.
Scientists say a species of non-stinging wasps can be trained in only five minutes and are just as sensitive to odors as man's best friend, which can require up to six months of training at a cost of about $15,000 per dog."

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Funny Stuff...

Hawaiian Lava Water Fall!

Hawaiian lava eruption puts on a show - Tech News & Reviews - MSNBC.com: "HAWAII VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK, Hawaii - About 44 acres (18 hectares) of coastline collapsed into the ocean this week, setting loose a glowing stream of lava that shot out from the newly exposed cliffside 45 feet (14 meters) above the water."

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Trees Are Tough!

Nothing But Net!

Everybody Dance Now...

Watch Out For The Squirrles!

BBC NEWS | Europe | Russian squirrel pack 'kills dog': "Russian squirrel pack 'kills dog'

Squirrels have bitten to death a stray dog which was barking at them in a Russian park, local media report.

Passers-by were reportedly too late to stop the attack by the black squirrels in a village in the far east, which reportedly lasted about a minute."