Margarita v. 1.0

I searched, I purchased, I made. But it didn’t really taste all that great. Welcome to margarita version 1.0.

Thanks to a generous gift from April and Steve, I now have the beginnings of a home cocktail setup. As my first action, I went out and purchased all the necessary ingredients to make a “good margarita.” Looks like the one thing you need is practice, which you cannot buy.

My first attempt came out really sour and reasonably strong. I definitely need to work on it further to get it to a good combination of taste and kick. Right now I have a lot of sour and not so much sweet. All of this is being done without the pre-made mixes you find in every US supermarket, so I shouldn’t be surprised at the outcome.

I’ll try again soon and see how that goes.

Home, Rainy Home

I’ve just gotten home from the joy that is holiday air travel. And its raining, so I’m hoping for some really good powder to ski on soon.

I’ve just gotten home from the joy that is holiday air travel. As is typical for me, it was freezing cold weather for most of the OK stay, and upon returning to “always sunny” San Jose it is raining. On the upside, that should mean some awesome new snow up in Tahoe, so I’m hoping for some really good powder to ski on soon.

WordPress 1.2.2 Upgrade

Wordpress latest release now installed and operational.

After some fussing (and there are still some broken plugins) I have the latest version of WordPress, V. 1.2.2, installed and running on this site. Let’s see if it runs more smoothly than before.

Dearth of Newsletters

I would write a newsletter if I could stand to be in front of my PC for a few hours. Really I would!

I am having a hard time writing a newsletter to send out. What I have discovered is that after 3 years of using LCD monitors at work and on laptops I simply cannot stand to stare at a blurry screen for more than an hour or two.

This means that I either must crank the resolution way, way down or hijack someone else’s laptop to get a newsletter written. I could also get a new job, as that, presumably, would also have access to LCD displays again.

In the mean time I’ll spend a little time in front of the CRT and a lot of time away from it.

Internet P2P Television

I learned that with BitTorrent and a lot of patience there is no TV show that I have to miss any longer.

A funny thing happened to me this week. Actually, something funny always seems to happen to me, it just isn’t usually ha-ha kind of funny. I discovered the wealth of TV shows archived and presented for my (and your) viewing enjoyment on the internet.

And it’s not just any old internet. This is the super secret world of back room P2P file sharing, growing up and making it more tolerable for the masses. Using a combination of BitTorrent technology with the P2P search engine of the moment, ISOHunt, and a suitable download client on Windows, called Azureus, I have found that you can download just about any episode of any popular (and some not-so-popular) television shows. Seeing as how I currently have more time than common sense, I have installed all of this P2P-ware on one of my PCs and tried it.

I started off with an easy one: CSI. I found that virtually every show this season is online. Next I went looking for something I haven’t seen: Desparate Housewives. Not only did I find all the episodes, but some nice folks have bundled up the first 6 shows into a single archive. Whats better still is that most of these programs are HDTV transfers, so on my 21″ monitor I’m watching full screen goodness, not the SD (standard definition) postage stamp size video with horrible artifacts.

All of this learning has taught me a few things:

  • TV distribution has to change to suit the consumer
  • Higher quality programming wins the day, no matter where your audience is located
  • PVRs that try to control what you watch and how you watch are doomed
  • It must suck to be a TV advertiser

All of this TV, all in HDTV, all without commercials. It is truly amazing and as the bandwidth to the home continues to go up I don’t see how the TV market will survive in its current form. Lets hope they wake up and make the right moves for the consumer before they get Napser-ized like the record companies did.

3 Drives Enter, One Drive Leaves

I have the luck of the Irish when it comes to PCs: I brought two drives “back to life” and managed to have another one die.

It was too good to be true. I had two drives that appeared to die so I pulled them out of where they were and added them to a new system. Everything seemed great, and they worked for 3 or 4 days. Yay for me.

The problem is that this morning I woke up, came down to work on the PC and found a “click of death” sound coming from my PC. It could only be one thing: a dead IBM hard drive, the Deskstar (affectionately know as the Death Star). Now I shouldn’t complain too much, as this drive is 4 years old. But is sucks that I just spent the better part of a week making it work the way I wanted (it was my new PC’s boot drive).

So while I didn’t lose any data I did just lose a ton of setup time. Time to order up some new drives, it appears.

Shocking Discoveries

Two hard drives die in a single day and I learn the lesson of patience with power outlets.

In an incredible turn of events, two relatively new hard disks have died on the same day — today. What is more incredible is that both were in different machines, on different interfaces, from different manufacturers. Both were protected via my APC UPS, so power was not to blame. Worse, one is a RAID backup drive for my documents, so I have to replace it soon. It just makes no sense that this would happen all at once.

On to the saga that is replacing light switches: I managed to give myself enough of a shock today that I had to sit down and take stock of what was going on. It seems that in my desire to hurry up the re-install of each of the light sockets, I left on an adjoining breaker that shares the wall box with one of the switches. As I was putting the new switch into place I got a significant jolt, saw a spark, then heard the breaker snap off.

When I regained my composure I discovered my newly “fused” wiring on the side of the old light switch. It took me some time to figure out that I had the ground hit the side of the other switch’s neutral wire, giving me the jolt and blowing the breaker. Needless to say, after that incident, almost all the breakers on the first floor went off so I wouldn’t do that again. The install is all done for the switches so I think I’ll take a break from AC wiring for a while.

Another Ski Trip in the Can

One more ski trip up to Heavenly is finished after a very short 24-hour period. And it wasn’t as good as it should have been.

I just got back from a ski trip to Heavenly and although its good to hit the snow this trip was a bit of a let down for a couple of reasons.

  • Not enough snow
  • Temperature was too high (48 F)
  • Rocks on the trails
  • Too many folks in lift lines

Don’t get me wrong, I am thankful to be up in Tahoe hitting the snow. But I just wish it were good, functional snow. 4 hours each way for crappy snow just isn’t much fun when you think about the time spent. Maybe next time will be better.

Vanity Googling Coolness

When you absolutely, positively, have to find someone you know in writing on the web, look no further than Google. Even if it is for yourself.

I was just looking up some old colleagues of mine when I decided to do a vanity search on Google. Since I’m such a big, important guy, I expected a lot of hits and Google didn’t disappoint. What I didn’t expect to find is this:

???? ?????

Coolness! According to Tom’s Hardware Russian language site, that’s my name in Cyrillic. You learn something new every day.