9.26.2007

I had a new baby today!!!

9.23.2007

Here is some interesting viewing for those who don't believe there is any risk by having huge corporations control your internet, and your tv.

Comcast Censors the news

This is why it is so important to be in favor of net-neutrality. If you are unfamiliar with net-neutrality, it basically means that people providing internet service cannot give favor to some sites over others. For example, if Comcast decided to get in bed with MSN, you might see MSN sites and services at fast speed, and competitors at a degraded speed.

Watch this video for a good explanation of what net-neutrality means.

This has huge implications now that the internet has become the worlds largest free speech medium. If we don't stop corporations from imposing non-neutral service, our only hope will lie with the government... and we don't want them running the internet either!

Support net-neutrality.

9.22.2007

I don't know who I hate more... Comcast, or Fry's.

Ever since my earthlink cable internet got converted over to Comcast, my internet service has went down the crapper. Web pages used to be fast. Downloads were really fast. Ping times were great. And I hardly ever had outages.

But, now things are Comcastic. Comcastic apparently means slow webpages, constant dropouts, high prices, and a monopoly ensuring I have no other choice for cable or cable internet.

Ever since the change, I now receive internet that loads webpages exactly the way they loaded when I used dial-up internet in the 90's. It is absolutely abysmal. I sure hope I can get some fiber internet and cable soon. I hate all the monopolies in this country!

I enjoyed reading about this guy's comcastic experience.

But, they are in second place. First place is handed to the company who not only doesn't deliver the products you buy (like comcast), but also engages in deceptive practices and ultimately has incompetent support.

Fry's is a huge electronics retailer that loves to lure people in the stores with extremely cheap, low quality electronics, and then inundates them with overbearing salespeople and confusing, slow rebate offers.

This is bad enough. I shopped around for an hour in there once finding a cart full of things I needed and then went to buy the laptop I had found on their website. I got ready to checkout and they quoted a price for the laptop significantly higher than what I saw on the website. I pointed out this was wrong and showed the sales rep the printout from their website. He then quickly informed me that they didn't honor the prices on their website.

That's right. They don't honor the prices on their own website. He started to explain that they could sell things more cheaply online than in the store. I quickly told them that I was sure they could because they wouldn't have to pay people like him to walk around in tuxedo shirts and harass people.

But it gets worse. I decided to actually buy something off of their website. I was looking for a new TV, and found a good deal (read "bait") on their website. I ordered it. Two days later I received this email (read "switch"):

Thank you for your order. We apologize but the item(s) you ordered are currently out of stock and we are unable to provide a definite ship date at this time. However, we continually receive new merchandise in our warehouse and we hope to fulfill your order within the next thirty days or sooner if possible.

Nice. This wasn't stated when I ordered the TV. But now it was on backorder. I grumbled, but left it alone.

A week passes and still the Fry's order status page reports "Back Ordered". I call customer service. The rep tells me that they don't know when it will ship, but she can have the manager check and send me an ETA. Great. Do that.

Another week passes. Still nothing! I call again. "Your rep promised me an email and I didn't receive anything. What's going on?"

The second rep says "I don't know why you didn't receive it. I will request it again."

ANOTHER WEEK PASSES! Three weeks. Still nothing. No emails. No status change. No hope.

I called again this morning to give them an earful. I told the girl on the phone that I thought their business was deceptive and that they appeared to be incompetent. I explained how every other sales company I've worked with has always worked hard to communicate with me and follow through with their promises. I told her to mark every check box and fill in every box she could to explain how upset I was and how horrible my experience has been.

I also decided to file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. I'm sure that won't do much, but maybe if enough people do. If you have issues with Fry's, please file a complaint with the BBB!

9.16.2007

Got a few things done yesterday. Washed both of the cars. Cleaned my gun. Sprayed for bugs.

We have a spider situation in our yard that is now a little out of control. It looks like spider-man lives in our backyard. I sprayed with 3 bottles of 50% Malathion. I think this will kill tons of bugs, but I don't think it will hurt the spiders at all. I confirmed that this morning... most spiders had completely rebuilt their webs somewhere else, and the huge banana spider up in the tree just went right back to her web.

So, after some research this morning on pesticides that do kill spiders, I decided to buy some of this stuff. It is called "Demon WP" and it is one of the most common pesticides used by professional bug people. It is labeled "Professional Use Only" and is not sold in some states, which means... I'm excited. I bought a huge 1 pound jar of this stuff which makes about 50 gallons. I think I'm going to dress up like John Goodman (the exterminator in Arachnophobia) once I get this stuff in :)

9.13.2007

We didn't even receive much rain! The storm made landfall a considerable distance from where they had predicted 12 hours ago. Man, One more reason to not trust those predicted paths for hurricanes.

9.12.2007

Sounds like Tropical Storm Humberto is about to bear down on us. Will probably have to power down all the computers soon.

9.11.2007

I installed Ubuntu Gutsy Tribe 5 (an alpha release) on my ASUS G2S. Things all seem to be working except the NVIDIA driver. Actually, it looks like the NVIDIA driver is working, but I just can't get the xorg.conf settings correct. Not sure what the problem is. For now, I fell back to running the VESA driver at 1920x1200.

Wow that's a big resolution. It really hits home when you start typing in a terminal :)

Sound seems to work. Also, wireless is detected and is working, but for some reason, my encryption key is not being accepted for my WEP encrypted wireless network. I haven't tried my network without encryption yet, so I don't know if this is a Ubuntu software problem, a configuration problem, or a wireless driver problem. It does detect the wireless networks though, so it seems like the wireless driver is working.

If anyone gets their G2S running with the NVIDIA proprietary driver, please let me know.

9.09.2007

I had a great birthday today.
After playing around with Windows Vista Media Center on my new laptop, I must say, I have been impressed. There are lots of things that can be annoying when running mythTV: the lack of drivers on linux, the fact that no mythTV front-ends/clients exist for windows, and the latest one, that the TV listings are no longer free.

So now I am in a bit of a pickle. Do I pay for a mythTV listing service and spend the time to upgrade my mythTV server, thus supporting free and open software, or pay upfront for a copy of Vista and give media center a shot. I really don't know at this point.

I think I would have went with Media Center pretty easily except for one thing. In the latest version of Media Center, I can't play DVD files off the network. The only reason I can think of for why Microsoft would disable this functionality is due to movie industry pressures. This alone makes me scared to start using their products. Only after I added a separate piece of software called My Movies was I able to list and play DVD files over the network.

Not only was I able to play them, but My Movies (which is free) also categorized them, downloaded DVD cover images for them, and organized data for all the movies including directors, actor and actresses, MPAA rating, etc. Pretty amazing!

So, this got my wondering... why isn't this part of Media Center to begin with? This seems so in tune to what people want to do with their movie collections (same as with their music collections), so why do I have to add on a separate package to do this?

I'm not sure what I'm going to do on the TV front. Maybe I'll give MediaPortal another shot. I dunno...

9.08.2007

I've got a new work laptop. It's an ASUS G2S. (Image courtesy of notebookreview.com)

The laptop is awesome, although it has some sort of weird power problem. At first, I was having lots of problems with windows Vista... audio popping, bad performance, video lagging, etc. But, after a bios update and reinstalling the INF update for the chipset, things are much better. The only thing left is this weird power problem, which may have been my problem all along.

The issue is that sometimes the audio popping and lagging and bad performance returns. The weird part is that if I unplug the power adapter and run off of batteries, everything runs great. Plug the power back in... horribly jumpy jerky performance again.

Power cycling with the power already plugged in seems to reduce the likelihood of this occurring. Once I get into Vista without the problems, I can go on and off of battery power all I want and things run great.

9.07.2007

My Saints lost last night. Boy did they lose. They fell apart.

Of course, Peyton Manning just seems superhuman. It's like watching Joe Montana all over again.