Thursday, December 10, 2009

New Life for an Older Netbook

One of the reasons that led me to replacing my Asus Eee PC 901 XP netbook for a newer model was because I was running out of hard drive space as Windows XP with all of its updates, kept on using up all the space of the minute 4GB SSD drive.

It reached a point where the whole device was unusable as kept asking to update and hitting an "out of space" error. Many times it would install updates halfway and get stuck as the system didn't have enough room to unpack the downloaded files.

For months, the netbook sat unused on my shelf. It wasn't until a few days ago that I decided to do something about it. I did some heavy on-line research and discovered that I could either reinstall a stream-lined version of WinXP or install a version of Linux that was designed for netbooks.

Already having too many Windows boxes on my netowrk, I decided to make an attempt to install Linux. On this path, I discovered that there were several versions of Linux that one could choose from. After reading various reviews, I decided that I would try Easy Peasy, formerly Eee PC Linux, which was designed specifically for Eee PC netbooks.

It didn't take that long to install the new OS on the device. Backing up my data actually took longer than the installation process. All in all, Easy Peasy has given my netbook a second chance at life. It is amazingly usable now and I'm am surprised at how stable it is. For the most part, this post was completely composed on it and that included picture processing.

So here's a pic of my older netbook running Easy Peasy

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Slingers!

Here's a teaser for a possible show in 2011. Think of it as a mixture of Cowboy Bebop, Ocean's Eleven, and Firefly. I really hope it gets made.

SLINGERS from Mike Sizemore on Vimeo.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Cheat Sheet for Tech Support


http://xkcd.com/627/

I guess my secret is out. LOL.

Suddenly Poor

I'm suddenly feeling poor after some miscommunication between my doctor's office, my pharmacy, and my prescription insurance carrier. The carrier is not going to cover my new prescriptions because I just refilled my old prescriptions last week. Apparently, my carrier has some kind of monthly limit that I was not made aware of. Instead of normally paying $100, I have to pay $378 if I want to get my new medication.

Should I pay the pharmacy to get my pills and be broke? Or should I wait three weeks to resubmit my prescription, pay less but become sicker than I am now?

At this point, I'm going to have to return some Christmas gifts that I bought this morning. That should get me part of the money that I need.

Lion Voltron Disappointments

Today has been a day of disappointments.

After having a bad morning at the doctor's office (Is there really a good day at the doctor's office?), I spent most of the work day anticipating the arrival of what should have been a "Mint-In-Box" Trendmasters Lion Voltron that I had won on eBay. As I watched the tracking data plot it's course from one side of the country to where I lived, I was deliriously excited when it said it was on my front porch.

At first, I was impressed at the amount of packing material used by the seller. (I think a forest may have been cut down just to fill up the over-sized box). Later I realized that it was likely an attempt to hide something. When I opened the box, I noticed some big scratches and a couple of cracked pieces on the Black Lion. Then, I found that the tip of the Blue Lion's tail had been broken off. This was obviously not "Mint-In-Box." I've been a collector for a very long time and I can say that this Voltron is probably a "C5" or lower on the C Scale.

Lessons Learned: Ask lots of questions to the seller about an item and look at the pictures closely before making a bid. Don't hesitate to ask for more pictures or demand more details about an item especially if the item is pricey. Contact the seller and eBay if you feel you've been deceived. Beware of no return policies. (Unfortunately, my purchase had a no return policy)

All in all, this Voltron will be okay as a display piece although anyone with a functional eye will be able to see the broken parts. I'm considering putting this in my office since it's already damaged. At least I won't have to worry if my co-workers break it.

Below is a picture of the 1998 Trendmaster Voltron next to a 2009 Taiwanese LionBot. They're pretty much the same size with some stylistic differences. I'll write up an more in-depth review and comparison at a later date when I'm a little less pissed off about being scammed.


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Vehicle Voltron Arrives

I wasn't expecting any packages today. So when I found a box on the porch, I was brimming with excitement. I knew it was going to be one of the giant robot figures that I ordered but I didn't know which one it was going to be.

This package apparently contained a 1982 Matchbox Vehicle Voltron. It's vintage and not a knock-off. Being more than 25 years old, I was not surprised at its condition. It has a lot of play wear and some parts were broken but it's overall in good condition. It's perfect for display as the figure will probably not hold up to any kind of heavy play.


Monday, November 2, 2009

The Quest for Voltron

In 1984, Voltron was introduced to the world, and eventually, thousands of children begged their parents for a Voltron robot for their birthday or Christmas.

I was not an exception to this phenomenon, but the reality was that my family couldn't afford the luxurious toy so I never actually owned one. Instead, my parents would take me and my brother to visit the toy at the department store while they did their shopping. I remember staring at the toy from behind the display case glass and imagined how awesome it would have been if I could own and hold the mighty robot my hands.

Some time later, the store on the street near my house actually had a Lion Voltron for sale. I remember that it was still very expensive, and I went to see it almost everyday after school for what seemed like months.

I remember going to the store with my friends and we would stare at it for hours through the store window. We bullshitted about who among us would be the ultimate owner of the toy. As it turned out, none of us would as our families could not afford them. As time marched on, our Voltron craze would be replaced by other childhood infatuations such as yo-yos, G.I. Joes, and BMX bikes.

As I grew up, I kept my eyes out for my chance to buy a Voltron robot but something always got in the way. Either, I didn't have enough money to buy one or the toy was just simply out of season and unavailable. I recall the last chance I had to get a Voltron was in 1994 and I missed it then because I had spent my money buying a CD player.

Eventually, the Internet would be created and web sites like eBay would make the quest for such hard to find collectables less epic. Despite being available online, Voltron still escaped my grasp since the prices of what people were selling them was way too high for a just anyone to buy.

And now that I have a decent job and this year being Voltron's 25th anniversary, I have decided to fulfill my childhood ream and purchase a Voltron figure. Now, I'm not sure how I will get it , but I made a promise to myself that this will be the definitive year.

Looking back, the yearning to own a Voltron robot never really died in me. For 25 years, it has been floating in my subconscious, influencing how I think, what I say, and sometimes what I do. This has been a hole in my soul for far too long and I truly intend to fill it with the real thing and not some kind of substitute.

My quest for Voltron helped me learn three things: 1.) You need to work hard to get what you want; 2.) There are things in this world that you can't have no matter how hard you work at it; 3.) Sometimes, life will give you a second (and sometimes a third) chance with things.

It may sound silly, but if I had a chance to find my long lost childhood friends, I would like to buy each one of them a Voltron robot. Sure, it's highly unlikely that this will ever happened, but one thing is for sure. At one point in time, a handful of kids in the poor section of the Philippines all had the same dream of owning a Voltron robot. This dream gave them something in common and brought them together in their friendship.

What about you? Do you have something that you wanted as a kid but never did get? It may sound foolish, but I hope you know it's not too late. Live your life without regrets!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The C-Monkey

Here's a classic story I found in my archives:

A tourist walks into a pet shop in Redmond, WA and is browsing around the cages on display. While he's there, another customer walks in and says to the shopkeeper, "I'll have a C monkey, please."

The shopkeeper nods, goes over to a cage at the side of the shop and takes out a monkey. He fits a collar and leash and hands it to the customer, saying "That'll be $5000".

The customer pays and walks out with his monkey. Startled, the tourist goes over to the shopkeeper and says "That was a very expensive monkey - most of them are only a few hundred dollars. Why did it cost so much?"

"Ah, that monkey can program in C - very fast, tight code, no bugs, well worth the money."

The tourist looks at the monkey in another cage. "That one's even more expensive - $10,000 dollars! What does it do?"

"Oh, that one's a C++ monkey; it can manage object-oriented programming, Visual C++, even some Java, all the really useful stuff."

The tourist looks around for a little longer and sees a third monkey in a cage of its own; The price tag around its neck says $50,000. He gasps to the shopkeeper, "That one costs more than all the others put together! What on earth does it do?"

"Well, I haven't actually seen it do anything, but it says it's a contractor."

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Credit Card Companies Gone Wild

This morning, I was reading the USA Today's web site and I read an article that has made me somewhat furious. Basically, the article explained that some credit card companies and banks may start to charge you a fee if you pay off your credit card completely each month or if you don't carry a balance from month to month. It's apparently their response to new legislation that will limit their ability to raise interest rates in February 2010.

This means that honest and hard working people, like me, who responsibly manage their credit and minimize their debt in order to get a good credit score are going to be penalized by the credit card companies. The article says that our only options against this is to complain and ask to have the fee removed, or to cancel your account which could have negative repercussions if you're dealing with a credit card that you've had for a long time.

Well, don't take my word for it. Here's a link to the article: http://www.usatoday.com/money/perfi/columnist/block/2009-10-19-bank-of-america-card-fee_N.htm

Monday, October 19, 2009

Disrespected by a Weirdo

While eating lunch with my coworkers today, we encountered a weirdo who decided to loudly play her music from her laptop while she ate. For a while, she ate her salad without any utensils despite being on the table for her to use.

Now, I'm all for listening to music while your eating. I have found that that music sometimes helps with digestions, but do keep your music to yourself when you're dining out at a public restaurant. Some people, like me, just want to have a peaceful and relatively quite lunch break.

For God's sake, this is the exact reason why we invented headphones and ear buds so as to not bother other people with one's music. If you're reading this, Ms. Weirdo, please consider using them next time.

I'm not usually for picking on people, but this whole thing rubbed me the wrong way. I understand people's right for the pursuit of happiness, but your rights are now infringing on my rights. So now I have to invoke my right of expression to let you know that you're actions are irking the rest of the world.

Now, if you're mentally handicapped or neurologically damaged then I'll let you slide because those are the only two excuses I'll accept. If you're socially underdeveloped (or your momma didn't teach you no frakking manners), then perhaps you should get some psychological help. Maybe, you should consider getting a life coach, or maybe just consider getting take-out or delivery.

To sum up, keep your annoyingly loud weirdo music to yourself.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Adding Ringtones for LG Spyder II 840

If you're wondering how to add your own ringtones to the LG Spyder II 840, you'll need to realize that this phone doesn't use standard MP3s for ringtones.

The phone uses QCP files. Which means that you'll need to convert your MP3 ringtones to QCP which turned out to be quite simple because OCP files are basically the same thing as WAV files. So all you need to do is convert your MP3 ringtone to WAV file and then change file extension to QCP. After doing this, you can now load to your phone via an microSDHC card. Just remember to place the files in the "my_audios" folder and not the "my_music" folder on your memory card. Also, you'll discover from the phone prompts that you'll need to copy or move the QCP files to the phone's memory before you can assign them as ringtones.

If you were planning on using a MIDI file, then you shouldn't need to convert the file. The phone will recognize MIDI files just fine.

If you need a program to edit/convert your MP3s into WAV, then I recommend using Audacity. It's free and it works and did I mention FREE.

Overall, the instructions in this post has been tested to work on an LG Spyder II 840 that is offered by Cellular South. Other cellphone service providers may have added special blocks or placed other limitations to keep you from adding your own ringtones, but you're more than welcome to try my method to see if it works on your phone.

Leave me a comment if you find out if this method works or not for you. It might be useful for others who are trolling the web for information about this issue.

Monday, October 12, 2009

A Dog's Breakfast


A Dog's Breakfast was the first film written and directed by David Hewlett who most of Geekdom know as Dr. Rodney McKay from Stargate SG1 and Atlantis. The movie is about a guy named Patrick (played by Hewlett) who is having trouble dealing with sister Marilyn's (played by David's real-life siter Kate Hewlett) new tv star fiancé Paul(played by Paul McGillion who is best known as Dr. Beckett from SG Altantis). Also, Christopher Judge(Teal'c from SG1) and Rachel Luttrell(Teyla Emmagan from SG: Atlantis) are also in it.

So, if you like Stargate like me. This movie should be highly entertaining to you. For more information about this movie visit www.adogsbreakfastmovie.com. For the wiki entry for this movie, click here.

Optimus Prime does the Evolution of Dance

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Virgin Mobile LG Rumor 2

It looks I'm going through a LG Electronics phase.

After upgrading my primary post paid mobile phone to the LG Sypder II 840, I decided that it was also time to upgrade my backup prepaid mobile phone which has become quite outdated. (I did buy the thing back during in 2004 during Hurricane Ivan).

So, armed with a little info from @VMAngel, I decided to grab the LG Rumor2 from Virgin Mobile. As you can see from the picture, it's one of those full QWERTY keyboard messaging mobile phones. The main feature on this phone is it's ability to group your text messages by sender and display it much like an online chat session.

The phone call quality is pretty decent and messaging features are pretty cool. It supports MicroSD cards and Bluetooth. It has a 1.3 megapixel camera for picture messaging which is perfect for photoblogging.

Overall, I love the LG Rumor 2 as much as I love my LG Spyder II. Visit the Virgin Mobile web site if you want more details about this phone.

Friday, October 9, 2009

PhotoSketch: Doom for Graphic Designers?

PhotoSketch: Internet Image Montage from Tao Chen on Vimeo.

Remember how document layout designers and type setters got pissed when desktop publishing empowered untalented people the ability to create their own crappy documents? Well, it's the graphic artists', designers', and Photoshop masters' turn to gripe. Look at this video which describes a very early technology that promises to let allow anyone to create digital compositions based on sketches and keywords.

Piano Stairs


Here's a social experiment to see if there was a way to make people use the stairs more than the escalator at a subway station in Odenplan, Stockholm (Sweden). See what they did and what happened.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Got Milk?


The screen cap above is not from a B-rated sci-fi movie (nor a porn flick), it's from "Battle for Milkquarious," an over-the-top, online rock-opera - about "milk'. Yes, I said milk.

It's the creation of the California Milk Processor Board and ad agency called Goodby Silverstein & Partners San Francisco. (That's the same group that brought you the Got Milk ad campaign). Obviously, this is advert for drinking milk, but it's also part of a contest for students in California. Students will compete in recreating scenes of the rock-opera in order to win money for their school's art education program. Lucky bastards. I wish Florida would come up with something like this.

You can watch and enjoy the whole rock-opera movie at http://www.milkquarious.com. It's definitely something to see and something that will go viral really soon (if it hasn't already).

(via @Pixelfish)

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Make My Logo Bigger Cream



Thanks to @spiffy.

My New Phone: LG Spyder II 840

After being burned by the Motorola Evoke QA4 (Read: A Phone Upgrade Story), I decided that I would wait a while before getting a new phone. Well, when the key pads on my old Motorola ROKR z6m started to peel off, I decided that it may be time again to look into getting a new phone.

This time around, I decided that I would do a lot more research than what I had done for the Evoke. I looked through several cell phone forums and read many user reviews while bypassing anything that was obviously product marketing material.

With everything that I read, I decided that the LG Spyder II 840 at Cellular South would sufficiently meet all my needs in a mobile phone. (Those needs which were: a decent digital camera, ability to set custom ring tones, picture and text messaging, and a decent web browser). All these features were supposedly on this phone, and if it all proved to be true, then I would definitely go for this phone.

I decided to forgo ordering the phone online despite the possibility of being able save a few dollars. Personally, I'm the kind of person who needs to see and hold a phone in my hands especially since it's something that I'll be using all the time. When I saw first saw the phone, I was a bit hesitant. It looked too good to be true. It reminded me too much of the Motorola Evoke with all it's shiny accents, and I have learned that looks can be quite deceiving when it comes to performance

When I finally got around to playing with the phone, I was actually impressed at how intuitive the menu and how responsive the touch screen was. The phone supposedly had widgets but I discovered that they weren't really widgets or apps. They were more like shortcuts to applications that the phone had. The camera on the phone is awesome. It's 1 more megapixel than Motorola Evoke making it a capable 3 MP camera. The phone also plays MP3 music and is able to take a standard set of headphones with it's standard headphone jack. I haven't tried the video recording on it but I wasn't really interested in that feature since you can't send videos on the Cellular South network. All in all, I was impressed enough with the phone that I decided to buy it.

I have had the phone since September 26th and I haven't encountered anything bad or weird. The only thing that took me some time to figure out was how to upload my own personal/custom ring tones. It turns out that the key to getting your own ringtones on the Spyder II is realizing that QCP files are basically renamed WAV files which means that you'll need to convert your old MP3 ringtones to WAV files and rename the extension to OCP to make them work.

So far, I'm enjoying the LG Spyder II 840. It's my first LG phone and the Spyder II has really made a good impression on me.

If you want to do more research on the phone, you'll discover that it's also called the LG Tritan under Alltel and U.S. Cellular. All in all, I recommend getting the Spyder II from Cellular South. since they have the best and cheapest unlimited plan for mobile phones.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

2009 Pensacola Seafood Festival



After much anticipation, I finally made to the Pensacola Seafood Festival on it's last day. The festival started on Friday but I had work that day, and on Saturday, I had to go out of town to get a new phone (I'll post about that later). So, it wasn't until Sunday that I would be able to go.

I manage to get there around 3PM and you could see the crowds gathering from blocks away. At the festival, I saw the types of food vendors who were serving a plethora of seafood albeit most of it was breaded and fried. There were some selling grilled food, but that tended to be the chicken, beef, and pork kind. I did my usual thing and grabbed a couple of chicken shiskabobs and a soda. I did notice something that wasn't there in previous years; I saw someone selling turkey legs. They also served beer and other cocktails at this year's event.

I have two gripes about the festival. First, the price of food is getting a bit rediculous. I paid $10 for two shiskabobs and I saw a sign that said $7 for an Italian sausage. For Pensacola, this price level is insane. If the price goes up next year, I don't think I'll be buying any food there anymore. Secondly, the music venue needs to get better. I have lots of respect to the local bands that play at these events, but it feels like it's the same band that plays at all the festivals. Whoever organizes this event needs to try to get some big name bands to come if they really want to market this event as one of the Gulf Coasts best events.

This year, I failed to get a t-shirt to add to my collection of festival shirts. I actually do not collect these shirts but I do buy one to support the events. I wasn't able to get a shirt this year because they ran out of large and above sizes. (I guess people in Pensacola are getting heftier each year). I didn't want to just buy any shirt, so I decided to keep my money. Better luck next year, I guess.

I'll be posting some more pictures in the photoblog and on this site. I need to find my cables or my card reader so I can get them out of my digital camera. I'm not digging through my box of cables tonight, so, I probably won't get to it until some time tomorrow.

Well, that's if for now. Until next post. Bye!

ipadio: Audio Posting via ipadio

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Darth Vader In Love

Hilarious!!! Totally awesome.

When Google Talk Breaks, My World Slows Down

I never realized how much I depend on Google Talk for communicating with my colleagues during the workday.

When Google's chat service went down today, I resorted to calling people on the phone and sending them emails to get answers to my questions. The whole process felt painfully slow as I tried to wait for people to call me back (since most of these bastards screen their calls) or write an email replies.

I guess I'm just spoiled from having everyone accessible with just one click.

Email Overload


I'm hoping that something happened to the email server last night. There's no possible way I could have that many emails come in over night. I'm not that popular or infamous.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

My New Wireless Keyboard



Apparently, my new wireless keyboard came in yesterday. It's nothing cutting edge or fancy but it does sport a built-in trackball which a major improvement over my last standard cordless keyboard. This particular keyboard is the Adesso WKB-3000UB.

So far, everything is working fine. I'm actually typing this post with it. I'll y'all know if something weird comes up with it.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The IT Crowd


Except for a couple of people that I know, it seems to me that not many people in the US are familiar with the British comedy show, "The IT Crowd." If you work in the IT field and you haven't heard about this show, then your geek life is seriously incomplete. If you have heard about it, then you know how funny and awesome this show is . . . and you'd know that there's not enough room on this blog for me to explain it's awesomeness.

To get a better idea of why I'm raving about this show, go here http://www.youtube.com/user/ITCrowdChannel and sample the show. If you like it, you'll be glad to know that all three seasons of the show is now available on DVDs at your favorite movie retailer.

There's an App for That

Le Wrath di Khan

New Site Design

Well, I got tired of looking at the old site and decided it was time to do a redesign.

I've been yearning to do something a bit more fun and creative. At work, I'm trapped within the approved templates and scripts and working in them is not something that I would really consider fun. It's a very intense and tedious task that requires you to deal with a lot of "spaghetti code." Let's not even talk about the departmental politics that have to be always considered. Patience is not just a virtue at my workplace. It's a required skill.

So, whenever I have a chance to work on my own sites, I take it as an opportunity to dust off some of my web design skills that I don't usually always use at work (Such as my PhotoShop skills and JavaScript/VB scripting). The whole thing is quite a cathartic process.

With this version of my site, I decided that the monkey needed to wear some clothes, since he is supposed to be at work and someone who considers himself more evolved than the average monkey.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Geeking Out On-the-Road

Well, I know I promised that I would post a lot more than what I've been doing, but life keeps getting in the way.

Most of my free time has been eaten up by my whoring myself into doing in-house computer repairs and 1-on-1 computer training sessions for people who want to learn more about their computers. Sure, it's not the glamorous work you'd expect a 13-year web development veteran to be doing, but to be honest, I really need the money. Good web projects are starting to get hard to come by and these days I'm taking anything that comes my way.

Lately, I've been finding myself on the road a lot more. As a result, I convinced myself to get a decent detachable WiFi antenna rig mounted on my car. Aside from war-driving, it allows me to get a stronger and more stable connection to any public hot-spots in the area. Last night was my first field test of my rig and it worked out pretty well. The rig consists of a Hawking USB wireless network adapter (the kind of that has a removable antenna) and a generic magnet mounted WiFi antenna that I found on eBay. So far, the whole thing is working as expected. I'm using my Asus netbook for this project since it is small enough to carry around. There is one drawback. My car now screams "geek-inside" whenever I'm parked somewhere looking for wifi.

Friday, September 11, 2009

9/11

It's the 8th anniversary of the 9/11. This is a time of reflection and rememberance. If you can, light a candle sometime today to honor those have were lost

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Running Around

It's a good thing I'm wearing semi-comfortable shoes today. Out of the blue, I find myself running around trying to get other people's projects done.

This would not be such a dreadful task if the projects were limited to working in front of a computer, but my luck hasn't been the same since that night I taunted a gypsy in an effort to lose weight.

No. I'm having to run around the whole company complex and setting up non-interactive(yeah I know, lame) kiosks.

Beyond the technical and meaningful tasks, I also need to pickup a large printed map from the otherside of the complex so that I can mount them into the kiosk.

All in all, I didn't realize being a code monkey meant that I'd have to also be errand boy!

Monday, August 10, 2009

In a state of "Broke-Broke"

Well folks, I'm broke-broke. My main computer that I use at home died and I had plunk down some serious cash to get a replacement. If it weren't for the side-projects that I need to finish up rather soon, then I probably would've waited a few more weeks before getting a new computer.

At the moment, I'm ldown $900 dollars. I'm hoping that my side projects will be able to help cover this untimely expense, but I was really hoping that this money would help me get ahead with all my bills.

This whole event wasn't something unexpected. For a while now, I noticed that there was something wrong with my laptop and I've been trying my best to patch things up and work around the problems that annoyingly kept popping up. The fact that the machine would randomly reboot itself and give me more and more blue screens of death and hardware errors was a sure sign that I needed to make plans to get a replacement, but I didn't think this would happen anytime soon. To be honest, I was hoping it wouldn't happen until I got paid for my projects.

At the moment, I'm moving my files off of the old hard drive and into a one of my external usb drives. I have hooked both of them to my netbook and it is taking a very long time to move my files. Honestly, I don't think the netbook was designed for this task, but it's the only system I have access to that's working right now. I'm not worried about my data though. I have disc images of the hard drive and back ups on several other drives.

I'll write about what I chose as a replacement system in another post. Right now, I need to get by programs, applications, etc. installed and get back to work.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A Need to Post. A Need to Vent.

It's been a while since I last posted anything of substantial, but today I am to change that. Recent events at work has me somewhat perturbed and wanting to scream my brains out, but I honestly am too busy (and lazy) to do something that require that much calories.

What's gotten me riled up at the moment is how some people can sometimes act like they have no idea what they did wrong when in fact they know that they are guilty. I recently had a client who decided to delete pages off their web server and then had the audacity to come back to me to say that my custom-built content management system was bad or that I'm not keeping up with their site.

What these people didn't realize is that every time they log into the server and the CMS, all their actions are being logged. There's enough prompts before doing anything that asks whether you're sure or not to make a sane person cry. To honest, accidentally deleting something is somewhat highly improbable. The system is idiot proof and unless you're reached a threshold beyond idiot (perhaps some level between comatose and retardation), then I'm sorry but you're not responsible enough to own a web site. I'll have to become the Web Nazi and say "No Web Site for You!!!"

So, before you go and tell off your web guy, web gal, or web monkey and yell at them for their web site sucking, I need you to calm down and ask yourself the following questions:
  1. Was it something I did to make the web site break?
  2. Did I irresponsibly give the password to my web site to any of the following:
    • someone who hates me
    • my bastard children
    • my ex-spouse
    • a wandering hobo on the street
    • the prostitute I hired the other night
    • the cute waitress at the bar
  3. Am I mentally challenged or have some kind of mental defect that doesn't allow me to understand the word "delete"?

  4. Can I speak and understand American English?

  5. Am I currently inebriated/drunk?

  6. Am I high on illegal narcotics?

  7. Have you recently seen Jesus/the Virgin Mary/Michael Jackson in your cereal or morning pastry products?

  8. Do I tell everyone that I know how make web sites because I was able to save a document in HTML in MS Word?

  9. Do I tell people that I can program web pages because I have a MySpace, Facebook, or Twitter page?

  10. Do I pretend to know how to make web sites to impress the opposite sex and hope that no one calls my bluff ?

  11. Am I too irresponsible or immature to own a web site?

If you answered, yes to any of these question, you should not have a web site and your so-called web guy probably thinks you're an infantile moron who deserves to eaten alive by velociraptors.

Monday, July 6, 2009

A Phone Upgrade Story

Two weeks ago, I decided that I would trade-in my Motorola ROKR Z6M for the new Motorola Evoke QA4. Little did I know that my plans to upgrade would lead me to path of disappointment and 200 miles of driving.

Everyday until my upgrade, I visited the Cellular South web site, hoping to find out when their new phones would come out. I was waiting for a new Motorola phone to be released. I wanted one that would work with my Motorola Phone Tools software which allowed me to manage my contact list, calendar, and ring tones. I was also hoping for a phone that had a touch-screen and possibly a slide out number pad since I'm used to using it for fast texting. When I a promotional email from Cellular South that the Motorola Evoke QA4 was coming soon, I was completely ecstatic. I had thought that I found the phone of my dreams. It had a touch-screen, a number pad, and a really cool looking interface. I started to visit the Cellular South web site more often to see when they would start offering the new phone available.

It was Saturday, June 27, 2009 when I found out that the Evoke was out. I drove 54 miles to the Cellular South store on Airport Boulevard in Mobile, Alabama to get the phone. I paid over $300 for the phone since I didn't really want to renew my contract (I'm proud to say that I have been contract-free since 2001).

I was helped by Shasta Crager, the Discover Center Specialist ,at the Airport/Mobile store. She showed me the basics of the phone and I was excited to see all the other bells and whistles that came with the phone. Perhaps, I was blinded by all the new fancy things that his phone could do that I forgot to ask one important thing: Could this phone support MMS/Picture message? Since the phone had a camera on it, I assumed that it could send out picture messages like all the other Motorola phone that I had owned. It seemed silly to me that they would omit such a now-standard feature. So, I didn't think much of it.

When I got home, I started to try to familiarize myself with the phone. I easily added all my contacts and WAP browser bookmarks. Eventually, I managed to set up my Gmail email account to work with the email client. That afternoon, I got a call from a friend of mine asking if I received the picture message that she sent me. I told her that I just switched to a new phone and it was probably trying to make it's way to my new phone. But, hours went by and I didn't receive the picture.

I looked into the quick start guide and then into the thick bi-lingual user manual. I read that in order for me to share my pictures, I could upload it to Picassa or send it via email using the POP account that I had set up. Nowhere in the manual did it mention how I was going to receive pictures sent to me at my telephone number. With my old ROKR phone, this was not a problem. I received my pictures like I received text message. Now, I had no clue at all.

I email Cellular South asking how I could receive picture messages. I even talked to their Twitter person. Both told me that I had to use email to send out pictures and that people could email me at my email address to receive pictures. This would all have been fine and dandy, except for one thing. I was paying for MMS/Picture messaging service. This was included with my Total Unlimited plan.

I went to the Motorola website and posted in their user support forum. Afater a couple of days waiting for a reply, a poster representing Motorola told me that the phone could not receive MMS and that it was designed that way. I would have to use the email to send and receive my pictures. Now, keep in mind that the phone only checks email ever 30 minutes, so if someone sent you a picture to your email address, you wouldn't know about it for quiet some time depending on how close you were to the next sync session.

At that point, it looked to me as if Motorola's desire to emulate the iPhone, they had also copied one of their most criticized missing feature. I asked why Motorola chose to not support MMS, but the poster declined to comment on their company's decisions and cited statistics that showed a decline in MMS use among smartphone users. Also, during my time at the forum, I discovered that the QA4 did not work with Motorola Phone Tools because it used a brand new type of operating system. This was two strikes off of my list. Keeping this phone was starting to annoy me.

So, I was now faced with either keeping this phone and paying for services that I could not use on the phone, or driving back to Mobile and returning the phone. I really hated the idea of paying for something that I can't use and the cell phone company didn't want to discount my rate because the feature is apparently part of a bundle. They did offer to turn off the service, but I wasn't going to get any compensation on my bill.

Now don't get me wrong, I love Cellular South. I've been with them since 1999. They have always been professional and provide great personalized help. Whenever I had a problem, they always found a way to help me. Well, this time they couldn't find a way for me to receive pictures sent to my phone number. It was essentially a physical limitation of the phone. There wasn't anything Cellular South or I could do. One of their customer representative, Scott Watson, explained to me that situation and offered to take my phone back for a refund or exchange as long as I brought it back relatively soon.

On Friday, July 3rd, I drove back to Mobile, Alabama to return my new shiny phone and returned to my old battle-scarred ROKR Z6M phone. In total, I drove over 200 miles back and forth from Pensacola to Mobile to resolve this issue. I had the Evoke QA4 for one week. I loved the touch screen, the full HTML browser, and the virtual full QWERTY keyboard. I can say that it was a neat phone to use albeit with some significant flaws that irked me way too much. The whole experience made me appreciate my old ROKR phone a lot more and I was reminded of that saying that goes: “not all that glitters is gold.”

For now, I'll be waiting for the next batch of phones to come out from Cellular South. I'm hoping they'll have a new Motorola phone that will meet my needs and wants. Until then, I'm sticking to my current phone and you can be sure that I'll do a lot more research on a phone before I spend any more of my time and money.

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Indepence Day Fireworks in Pensacola Florida

Here's the video I took of the fireworks during Indepence Day celebration in Pensacola, Florida. This was taken on Palafox Pier, the former location of the Bayfront Auditorium.





Sunday, June 14, 2009

Japan Builds First Gundam Robot; World Cowers in Fear


In Tokyo, a 1:1 scale model of a Mobile Suit Gundam has been built in celebration of Gundam's 30th anniversary. The huge robot model is supposedly 59 feet tall, has lighted parts, and has an automated moveable head. It is a replica of the original RX-78-2 Gundam from the original Anime series that ran in 1979. Click here for more info.

Audio Posts

I'm in the process of setting up an audio-based blog for sharing my thougths at times when I can't type like when I'm driving from a job or the an office.

I'm going to see if I can salvage Utterli and use it as the main posting engine for it. Consider this my giving Utterli a second chance to win me back. I hope that Utterli doesn't fail in this endeavor. It is, after all, the core feature of this service which apparently isn't unique anymore.

As it turns out, Tumblr is now allowing people to also call-in their posts.

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Life Update

Well, it’s been a while since I updated anything interesting and I truly apologize for that. For the most part, I’ve been really busy with work lately, and ‘busy’ is probably an understatement.

In the last couple of months, I’ve been made to give presentations to staff members at the company I work for on the subject of social media and social networking. Although, I don’t consider myself a “guru,” it would seem that I have become the in-house expert on the matter.

Altogether, a good part of my time is spent working on my presentation. The rest of my work time is spent doing what I’m supposed to be doing which is build and maintain the company websites and social media accounts.

Personally, I’m looking at buying a house in the next year or so. I know I want a place that is close to my work which means that I have to wait a little while and save more money to afford any of the houses in that area. At this point, I’m just looking around. I don’t have the money to commit to anything right now, but in about a year, I’ll definitely be in a better financial position. (It feels weird putting that in writing. About a year ago, that was just a joke in my head. Now, it seems like an inevitability). If any of you have gone through the house buying process and have some tips, I’d appreciate any advice you may have.

In other quirky gadgetry news, I’m thinking about getting an iPod Touch to have a portable web surfing device on hand. Do any of you have one? How is the web browser on it? Does it support Adobe Flash? Earlier this year, I bought the Sony Mylo Com-2 and I was sorely disappointed. The WiFi range and battery life was horrible but the web browser was somewhat decent since it supported Flash. I really want something that will have a decent WiFi range, something with Flash, and battery life. Is the iPod Touch the device for me?

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My Picture posts on Utterli is Not Rendering

Dear @UtterliTeam

I'd like to know when I can expect a fix for my cellphone picture posts through Cellular South not rendering correctly on Utterli. It's been literally over six months since I last heard from you and nothing has been fixed. Please let me know if this something that you can not or do not want to fix. I'd like to know so I can say my goodbyes to everyone.

I have come to realize that there are other services out there that is similar to Utterli which will actually work with my cellphone company, and despite being a loyal user since the days of Utterz, I have decided that I have to move on if this issue can not be resolved.

Don't get me wrong. I have come to love this community of quirky people, and I would feel really terrible if I have to leave. But more and more, I'm sensing that Utterli is dying. I think everyone has noticed that site's front page is way outdated, and there really hasn't been any significant improvements or changes done in a very long time with the exception of the phone number changing.

Overall, I really liked Utterz/Utterli. It literally gave people a voice on the Internet and added a new dimension to people's posting beyond text and pictures. But the lack of support and lack of compatibility with my cellphone company makes it difficult for me recommend it to many of my friends who are also on Cellular South,

All in all, I know you guys are probably really busy. So, if I don't hear anything from you relatively soon, then I'll take that as an acknowlegement that you either don't care or you can't fix the problem. Either way, there is a fork in the road for me and your answer determines which road I take.


Sincerely,

ByteMonkey

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Sunday, June 7, 2009

Fun at an Anime Convention

This past weekend, an old friend asked me if I wanted to go to the first Amine convention in Mobile, Alabama. Being the Anime fan that I am, I decided I would check it out on Saturday. The convention was held at the Renaissance Riverview Plaza Hotel from June 5-7th.

All in all, the event seemed humbly small. It wasn’t as grand and elaborate as some of the convention that I had been to in the past, but it was a good freshman effort. Hopefully, they’ll get much better next year.

When I attended on Saturday, they were having the costume judging. Lost of kids were dressed up as their favorite anime characters and sci-fi characters.

If you want to learn more about the event, you can visit http://www.animealabama.com/ for more details.

Below is a quick video that I took from the event. More pics are available in my Photoblog.

Fun at the Bass Pro Shop in Spanish Fort, Alabama

Before going to the Anime convention in Mobile, AL, my friend decided to show me the Bass Pro Shop in Spanish Fort, AL. Imagine a gigantic store devoted to the outdoor sports and recreation. Below are some photos I took while we were there. The rest should be posted in my Tumblr photoblog.

Mounted Deer


This place is huge!


Fishing gear area

Friday, June 5, 2009

Flash Mob: Hammer Pants Dance (HD)


I love flash mobs. The planning and execution of something like this must be really fun.

Monday, June 1, 2009

My Picture posts on Utterli is Not Rendering

Dear @UtterliTeam

I'd like to know when I can expect a fix for my cellphone picture posts through Cellular South not rendering correctly on Utterli. It's been literally over six months since I last heard from you and nothing has been fixed. Please let me know if this something that you can not or do not want to fix. I'd like to know so I can say my goodbyes to everyone.

I have come to realize that there are other services out there that is similar to Utterli which will actually work with my cellphone company, and despite being a loyal user since the days of Utterz, I have decided that I have to move on if this issue can not be resolved.

Don't get me wrong. I have come to love this community of quirky people, and I would feel really terrible if I have to leave. But more and more, I'm sensing that Utterli is dying. I think everyone has noticed that site's front page is way outdated, and there really hasn't been any significant improvements or changes done in a very long time with the exception of the phone number changing.

Overall, I really liked Utterz/Utterli. It literally gave people a voice on the Internet and added a new dimension to people's posting beyond text and pictures. But the lack of support and lack of compatibility with my cellphone company makes it difficult for me recommend it to many of my friends who are also on Cellular South,
All in all, I know you guys are probably really busy. So, if I don't hear anything from you relatively soon, then I'll take that as an acknowlegement that you either don't care or you can't fix the problem. Either way, there is a fork in the road for me and your answer determines which road I take.


Sincerely,

ByteMonkey

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Friday, May 29, 2009

Beam Me Up, Scotty!!!



I got bored last night and decided to read up on hacking my cell phone to try to personlize it beyond what is typically customizable to normal users.

As I trolled the web, I discovered how to change the "open slide" tone for a Motorola ROKR Z6m. Apparently, it's not really that hard and you can read up on how to access the phone's file system to overwrite the ROKR's open.mp3 file at http://www.modmymoto.com/forums/showthread.php?t=57333.

Please know that I do not recommend for anyone to do this unless they are sure of what they are doing. Doing things the wrong way can lead to you bricking your phone. Plus, hacking your phone's firware is a sure way to void your warranty. (Mine has been out of warranty for a while now.) So, if you have a new phone, don't even try thinking about doing this.

Now that I learned how to access the hidden file system of my phone, I decided to feed my inner Trek Geek and replace the "open slide" tone with the Star Trek TOS communicator chirp.

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Monday, May 25, 2009

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Terminator Salvation

Well, I caved-in and saw Terminator Salvation last Thursday night after being badgered into seeing it by my friends.

In my humble opinion, the movie did a greatjob of filling in the back story of how John Connor meet his future father Kyle Reese. Also in the movie, we actually get to see a personfied version of SkyNet as portrayed by Helena Bonham Carter. The homage to the to the original Terminator, Arnold Schwarzenegger, was also very cool.

Everything else in the movie seemed very trite to me. The character of Marcus Wright’s struggle to accept the fact that he is a machine who eventually chose the side of humanity was not very surprising to me. I think I would have been more surprised if he sided with the humans. Plus, his self-sacrifice at the end felt like very obvious since it made no sense at all as to why SkyNet would make a robot with a human heart. For what is supposedly a very logical computer system, SkyNet seemed really dumnb for putting in such a flaw into her robotic design. The only reason I could see was that his heart would eventually play some kind element in wrapping up the story.

Overall, it was a decent action sci-fi/action movie and it ties in pretty well with the other Terminator movies. It's not a movie that I would probably see again unlike Star Trek. Terminator Salvation took itself too way seriously with all it's doom-and-gloom vibe as compared to Star Trek which was able to toss in a little bit comedy along side the sci-fi and action.


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Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Original Captain James T. Kirk: Awesome

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Found this on the web a long time ago and the recent Star Trek movie inspired me to pull this out of my archives and use it as my desktop wallpaper.

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The Truth about Chinese Food!



It's time for this monkey to perform a public service and educate everyone about Chinese food. Here's a clip from New York Times Reporter Jennifer 8. Lee's presentation about the origins of familiar Chinese-American dishes.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

To Boldly Go . . .

I went to see the new Star Trek movie last Thursday, but I've been so busy since then that I haven't had a chance to post about it. All in all, I liked the movie a lot and I've decided that I'm probably going to see it again.

Being a Geek, I went to the movie wearing my TOS Tunic T-shirt from ThinkGeek.com. I chose to wear the red shirt to honor all the expendable crew members of the Enterprise who had fallen. When I go to watch the movie again, I might wear my blue shirt to show homage to Spock and Bones.

I love the fact that the movie was full of action from the get go and some of dialog was funny. I thought Scotty was hillarious especially with what he said he did to Archer's beagle.

The actors that played Kirk, Spock, and Bones did a fantastic job in my opinion. Bones freaking out about space flight was really funny to me. Also, tying in Captain Pike was a nice touch.

If you're thinking about seeing the movie, I don't think you'll be disappointed. If you go see it at the Rave Theater on Bayou Boulevard, you might see me geeking out in my Trek shirt and telling people to "live long and prosper."

Sent on the go from my Peek.

Classic SNL: Last Voyage of the Starship Enterprise



Classic SNL skit. Nuff said.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A Song for Mother's Day


For all you husbands, fathers, and sons, trying to figure out what to get or do for your wife/mom for this Mother's Day weekend. I emplore you to heed these words of wisdom from Brad Paisely.

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Sunday, May 3, 2009

Quick Review for X-Men Origins: Wolverine

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I've been meaning to post something about this movie since I went to see it last Friday night, but I've been distracted with a few personal projects.

I won't summarize the movie here. There's enough people online doing that already. I will say that this movie was not a disappointment. The battle scenes and action was awesome, and the story was a decent adaptation of various comic books. The purists and true believers will easily notice the changes in the story, but it's done so well that it's quite acceptable.

Deadpool's introduction and background is interesting. There's rumors of a Deadpool movie being developed but I don't really know anything about it. I suggest you Google for it you want more info.

The movie ties in pretty well into the X-Men movies except for the fact that Sabertooth and Wolverine's relationship from this Origins movie, somehow, did not cary over.

All in all, I say it was a really good movie. I don't think anyone will be disappointed.

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Look at the Pretty Colors

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A rainbow appeared across the street after a little rain drizzling.

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Saturday, May 2, 2009

Blogging from my Peek Pronto

I recently decided to get a Peek mobile email device as a way to access my email on-the-go without going broke, which is what would've happened if I got a Blackberry or an iPhone.

Someone argued with me that it would cost the same to get and operate a Blackberry if I just signed a 2-year contract. Well, I have no desire to sign a contract. I have been contract free since 2002 and I am not going back. Besides, it would cost me around $400 to get one without a contract and pay an extra $40 per month on top of my current phone plan. Compare that to the Peek which cost me about $80 and is $20 per month.

Don't get me wrong. I love my cellphone company and my Motorola ROKR cellphone. I just can't afford to spend more than I really need to. I think all of you can understand that. The Peek compliments my phone and bridges the gap between it and a smart phone.

The Peek is a very simple device. It does one thing: email. And it does it pretty well. I got the Peek Pronto and it's proving to be vey useful. I love the qwerty keyboard and the small form-factor of the device. It definitely meets my needs for getting email on-the-go.

You can learn more about the peek at www.getpeek.com.

This was sent on the go from my Peek

Pensacola Crawfish Festival


The Pensacola Crawfish Festival is happening this weekend. I went this afternoon and managed to take some crappy video with my phone. (That should teach me not to roam about without my digital camera!).

There was a big crowd today and the food was as awesome as it always has. This year, I tried some alligator sausage on a stick for the very first time and I actually think it was pretty good. Without saying, I also had some crawfish at the festival.

The Zydeco music was cool. The crowd was good. The food was really good. It was actually pretty good event!

If you're in Pensacola, you should really try to make it tonight, or tomorrow.
Hit my photoblog here for some camera phone snapshots that I took at the festival!

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Monday, April 27, 2009

Swine Flu and You

Since I work in the healthcare industry, people have been bugging me about the Swine Flu. Well, I'm not a doctor or a nurse, so I'm not really qualified to give any medical advice or give any information regarding the matter.

What I do have is a widget from the Center for Disease Control that has links to Swine Flu information on their site. I figured that I really did not need to repost something they already have. Besides, I don't think any of you would actually listen to a monkey regarding health issues.

If I do hear anything important, I'll make sure to post something.

From what I do know, there are no confirmed cases in Northwest Florida at the time of this posting.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Fox killed Terminator

I'm still pissed off at learning that Fox canceled "Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles". Because of that, I have decided to boycott the "Terminator: Salvation" movie.

I know my one person protest isn't going to bring back the show, but it's a matter of principle. I have always believed is supporting the people and things that makes me happy and keeps me entertained. On the other hand, if something makes me unhappy, I make no hesitation at all in taking my business elsewhere.

At this point, I'm going only going to watch the other Fox shows that I like, "House MD" and "Dollhouse", on Hulu. That should essentially kill the effectiveness of any commercials on Fox on me.

Know that I'm not asking anyone to join me. I'm just exercising my right of expression and letting my wallet make my voice be heard.

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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Meet the Tweebots

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I’m not prone to writing about cute things, but when I accidentally stumbled up on www.tweenbots.com I decided to break my rule this once. Besides, it’s also about robots and humanity; topics that are both close to my heart.

What are Tweenbots? They are part of the Kacie Kinzer's thesis at ITP in New York which aims to answer the following question:
“. . .could a human-like object traverse sidewalks and streets along with us, and in so doing, create a narrative about our relationship to space and our willingness to interact with what we find in it? More importantly, how could our actions be seen within a larger context of human connection that emerges from the complexity of the city itself?”
To answer that question, she built robots! These robots were named “tweenbots.” Kinzer defines “tweenbots” as:
". . .human-dependent robots that navigate the city with the help of pedestrians they encounter. Rolling at a constant speed, in a straight line, Tweenbots have a destination displayed on a flag, and rely on people they meet to read this flag and to aim them in the right direction to reach their goal."
Personally, I think it’s a great project. It demonstrates the propensity of good people to be helpful, and shows how can empathize with someone (or some thing) that is lost or trying to find its way back home. Real decent people will always want to help out someone who is in need. It also doesn’t hurt to have that cheerful happy face.

Find out more about the Tweenbots at http://www.tweenbots.com/





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Sunday, April 12, 2009

Smell like Kirk!

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Have you ever wished that you had the confidence and charisma of the greatest Captain of the Star Fleet, James T. Kirk?

Well, tough luck. You or anyone else will never be as awesome as Captain Kirk, but now, you can at least smell like him.

According to EntertainmentEarth.com, you'll be able to order the Tiberius Cologne for men in May 2009. They describe it as "a casual yet commanding cologne spiked with freshness and sensuality."

So put down that Axe cologne and spray some Kirk on you, and start attracting bold women from places where no man has gone before.


Read it for yourself: http://www.entertainmentearth.com/…odinfo.asp

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