July 2005 Archives

Harry Potter 6


finished reading it, I have.

links for 2005-07-31


links for 2005-07-30


links for 2005-07-29


Harry Potter 5


After 2 years, I finally finished Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. I'm starting now on Book 6, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. Let's hope it doesn't take me 2 years to finish this one too.

Retrieving Contacts from a RAZR


One of my co-workers has what I have diagnosed as a gadget destruction field.

When he bought a computer parts to put together a machine by himself, he found that the computer that resulted from his craftmanship was quite possibly the only brand new AMD that was slower than a Tandy TRS-80. When he bought a cellphone, it was only 2 months before the cellphone took a suicidal leap off his belt clip (remember folks -- phones on belt clips are NOT a fashion accesory) and into the toilet. A year ago, when he bought a 4G iPod, it had to be exchanged the next day due to inexplicable problems.

He also tends to be an early adopter of new gadgetry, so it did not surprise me in the least that when his cell phone contract expired last month that he traded in his old Nokia for a Motorola RAZR V3. After a month of use, his RAZR was malfunctional. The buttons with the exception of power on/off refused to accept input.

The replacement phone arrived fast enough, but he had saved all of his phone numbers to the phone's internal memory, not to the SIM card -- so then began the process of extracting the numbers off the phone without the use of the keypad. Luckily for my co-worker, Motorola has a USB mini-B plug on the side of the RAZR, and I happened to have a USB cable that would fit. After looking on the web for some installation instructions for Motorola phones, I stumbled across a step-by-step tutorial
for installing the Motorola Mobile Phone Tools

No sign yet of any problems, but we did notice that the phone tools did not allow us to access wherever the commercial ringtones were stored.

I do have to give Motorola credit for having the foresight to have a USB port that uses a standard wire connector rather than some proprietary connection method like other cell phone companies.

Which brings me to my gripe. Why is it that cell phone companies feel the need to not include software with their phones? I ask this rhetorically because I know the answer: it's because phone companies want you to pay for the ringtones, graphics and games that you put on there, and if it was easy to do through included software, they'd lose out on revenue.

On Video Game Violence


Maintaining the 850

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My 850i is due for registration renewal. That's not too bad of a problem except that it's been sitting on a parking lot for the last six months, which means that the batteries (yes, plural) are completely discharged. So I spent some time this weekend getting to the batteries.

The batteries are accessed through the trunk and located above the driver and passenger side rear wheel wells. In most cars, swapping out the car battery is a simple procedure -- pop the hood, unhook the connectors and pull the battery out, put in the new battery, hook up the connectors and away you go.

My car, the 850, not so convenient.

As I mentioned before, the battery is accessed through the trunk. An interesting feature of this car is that almost everything is powered. Trunk included. So before I can even open the trunk, first I must power the vehicle, which means hooking up a pair of jumper cables from the Celica to the 850. When I do this and power up the BMW, I discover a feature not mentioned to me by the previous owner -- a car alarm.

Yes, the 850 was honking its horn and flashing its lights after having power. After disabling the alarm, I opened the trunk and started disassembling the interior to get to the battery -- trunk mat, driver side interior panel, passenger side interior panel, portable jack, cd changer all have to be removed before I can even access the batteries. Since I've done this before, the procedure is fairly quick, and the batteries are removed. The batteries are still under warranty, so I will get them replaced.

I notice that some of the paint on the car is starting to crack and chip (It's an 14 year old car with the original paint -- I suppose it is time)

links for 2005-07-21

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links for 2005-07-20


links for 2005-07-19


E85 not as good as thought...

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It turns out ethanol is not quite as good as what people have thought, according to

a Berkeley study
that revealed that it would be more expensive and that bacteria would favor ethanol over gasoline (meaning the breakdown of gasoline through would be slower).

Potato Head Pun-ishment...


Darth Tater can now command an army of Spud Troopers.

I'm curious how far they can go with the Star Wars theme...

How about:

Luke and Anakin Frywalker?

Au-Gra Tin Kenobi

Quite Done Jinn

Jabba the Spud

Mash Windu

Yam Solo and Stewbacca in their chip, the Millenium Hash Brown

Lando Crisscuttan



Darth Saladius

Padme Steamedspuda

Jar Jar Bakes

Emperor Roastatine

And they could have a Potatoine Playset... imagine a fight with Im-peel-ial Fry Fighters and the X-Wing Starch Fighters...

Internet! (Day 1: San Diego Comic Con)


We are weak. We finally caved into the lack of internet access today. After seeing the San Diego Convention Center's ridiculous rates for internet (4.95 for 1 hour access), the hotel's rate of 9.95 for 24 hoour access seemed much better. So Team Uni broke down and bought hotel internet today instead of leeching off the the Catalyst conference's network access downstairs.

My thoughts on the comic con so far is this: The San Diego Comic-Con encompasses far more than just comics these days -- with big mainstream media moving in, it feels less like comics and more like pop culture. There are still comics to be sure, but there's also quite a bit of non-comic stuff too. I actually fear what all this big media money will do to the con -- I've seen anime cons change with the influx of big media money, and it turns what used to be a gathering for hobbyists into a PR event for the major companies.

I'm still aching from tai ji, and I fear it may be hampering my ability to effectively move across the convention hall.

I have no cash. I must find an ATM if I wish to survive the most challenging days ahead. Bank of America's ATM network in downtown San Diego has failed me.

I haven't noticed many cosplayers yet, but seeing how the masquerade isn't until Saturday, I don't expect to see them en masse until then. However, The Stormtrooper Elvis has been spotted.

Today I managed to catch the following sessions:

  • Coloring Comics Part I
  • Bruce Campbell
  • Cartoon Network: How to Pitch a Show for Adult Swim

links for 2005-07-14


Flickr: Seattle


Since I'm now back from Seattle, I've posted up some new photosets:

Seattle Public Library

Post Alley (and the Wall of Gum)

Frank Gehry's Experience Music Project

What Your Cellphone Company Doesn't Want You to Know


Although Mythbusters showed that driving while talking on a cellphone is as dangerous as driving drunk a little while ago, a recent study shows that
Crash Risk is Higher while using Cellphones

The article goes on to reveal that the research was done in Australia, and although they did try to get the study done in the United States, North American cellphone companies would not make the billing records available, even with the permission of the cellphone owner.

Since this study is published by the Insurance Institute, Insurance companies will find some way of raising rates based on this new data (just as crash ratings and airbags have factored into the price of insurance).

links for 2005-07-12


Sushi Nirvana


A heavenly sushi restaurant in Seattle was discovered tonight. Saito's in downtown has some of the best sushi I've ever had. The sushi is on the pricey side, but well worth every penny for the portion and the quality of the fish. Saito's also happens to have a very large sake bar with each one of them described and rated for dryness. The uni was the most fabulously fantastic I've ever had.

Bombing in London

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If you haven't heard by now, an Islamic terrorist group bombed the London Underground and blasted apart a double decker bus.

My sympathies and heart goes out to everyone over there and everyone over here with friends and family in London.

I'm in utter shock right now as to what has happened. It's just unbelievable.

Weekend Photos



I took another huge batch of photographs this weekend. The fireworks didn't come out quite as well as I expected (I'll need to work on my fireworks photography technique) but some of the more interesting results I've displayed to show you what camerashake can do to a photo.

Rodin Sculptures at Stanford


New Flickr Photosets