Jul 31, 2008

Possible 15% discount on my cell bill?


Check this out. I signed up for it, and I'm awaiting confirmation. I'm still enrolled at my college, so I'm hoping for a slight discount! :)

Your Mileage May Vary

Jul 24, 2008

Giving In To A Higher "Power"

So last week I had the computer idling, when all of a sudden the screen went blank and never came back.. I thought windows had halted on the sleep mode, but I was totally wrong. There was power still coming to the board and fans. Really weird. After spending half a night figuring out what was wrong, I ended up giving into a higher power. I've become acquaintences with the guys at Computer Wizards, and I had them do a diagnostic to figure out what exactly was the culprit.

Turns out the power supply is dead on the 12v side.. ugh.. That's TWO power supplies killed in TWO years. Wonder if I can get warranty? :) Either way I'm not going back to an Antec.. *shudders* The guys at Computer Wizards suggested Seasonic power supplies, and I checked it out on Newegg and elsewhere. Definitely great reviews, and a 5 year warranty. 5 freakin years! Also they do have a modular design which will help with cleaner wiring and only using the cables I need. I'll bite the bullet for the price that it is. Just need 30ish amps on the 12v rail =)

I should be back up Monday, and hopefully for a LONG time.

Jul 13, 2008

iPhone 3G baby!

Simply put, I wanted this phone since I heard they were doing a 3G version. I waited in line for 5 hours (5:30AM until 10:15) and got the 4th to last phone that the local ATT store had.
Okay, side story here... Take a look at the tool on the left in the white hat. This guy was trying to get a phone for him and his wife whom both had plans with ATT. Now, the wife couldn't be in line (1 phone per person), so he asked the associates before they opened up at 8 if he could bring his son in line to vouch as an "authorized user" for the 2nd phone. They agreed to it. NOW.. the kicker.. A friend of theirs drops the 2 year old off in his stroller, and they wait in line. Some of the guys immediately behind him were giving him heat for pulling some shenanigans with this, and rightfully so considering we were getting the last few phones. We get inside, and while I'm ahead waiting for the next rep, they tell the guy that they can only sell him one because the kid came AFTER they opened at 8, which essentially counts as gipping in line! The dude obviously flips out, and gives a dramatic speech about having his son out in the heat and telling them they lied to him.. it was priceless. This nerdy dude was complaining the entire morning about them being tight lipped, "lying" to him about what was left in the store, etc. He got what he deserved.

*end rant*

Anyways, I know have this beast of a phone, and I must say I am impressed, but there is some room for improvement.

  • WiFi RULES on this phone. Lightning fast speeds, instant streaming of music.
  • GPS RULES on this phone. The locator is fast, and nearly dead-on.
  • Free Apps and Web Apps work really well! All the ones I have tried out so far really do make use of the phone well.
  • The camera is definitely a step up from my CU500. The quality of picture is smoother.
  • Built in features are nice, plus the headphone jack is perfect for my car.
  • Mostly smaller quirks, but the firmware is a little weird at times. Almost like random actions. I'll unlock the phone from sleep and it goes straight to contacts. Safari randomly closes too.
  • Programs stopping when you hit the home button. Lame
  • Battery life, but that was already a known fact.
  • The accelerometer is very picky. Sometimes it's instantaneous in flipping sideways, other times it takes a few for it to kick over.
  • Bluetooth compatibility. I can't use my HT820 Stereo Headphones! The stock earbuds are a little loose for me, but I can deal with it for now. Looks like I need to get a regular pair of headphones again. Ugh.
Overall, it's small things that I can deal with, but this phone is capable of way more things that I need around. It is worth the investment.

Improving the 1lber

A few weeks ago, I stopped by my friend Jim's in South Philly to catch up on things and also to work on my 1lb bot "Absolutely Naut VDD".
The bot took the worst beating it has in 2 years at Motorama. As you can see, after the teardown was done, there was more damage I didn't see. The aluminum support on this side was tweaked... 1/4" aluminum.. TWEAKED! Ugh. In any case, Jim and myself did some machining to improve the only weak part left on the bot: The weapon supports.
Here's one of the rails we did. More meat in the center, switching to a dead shaft for strength. We also changed over from timing belts to round belts.
All that's left to do is get needle bearings for the pulleys, and buy some roll pins to hold everything together. I also need to rework the frame, as I think it's time to get away from carbon fiber rod. It's strong, but the joints are the weakest spot on the frame. Come Moto, this will probably be Naut's last hurrah in its illustrious 4 year run. Hopefully finishing in the top 3 for the 3rd year in a row.

Jul 8, 2008

Rob from the rich, and give to the poor!

So I just found out my Sceptre's ATSC/QAM tuner can pick up un-encrypted cable signals.. Hahaha this rules!

At home, we don't have a cable box, but we do have analog cable. Looks like they don't protect a ton of channels in the area here ;-)

UPDATE: So, I really do get a ton of channels!
  • 25+ Extra Digital channels (HD, 420i) with totally better resolution than Analog cable, Dolby Digital
  • Most of the Music Channels, Dolby Digital
  • Only 5 HD Channels tho.. signal gets weak after channel 113 on the tuner. TRUE 720p HD with 5.1 surround!! Incredibly sick!!
I won't complain for free, but I wish I got G4 and MORE HD channels! :-p

Out with the old, in with the new!

So after looking to mess around with the Mini PC's motherboard (spreading the heatsink to help dissipate heat) it appears I've killed the board. It boots up, but gives no display :( Oh well. I have no use for the intel d201gly2 for a while now anyways...

But on the bright side, I did pick up a PSP on a trade for my RC18T. The PSP comes with custom firmware. Dark Alex's 3.40 OE-A to be exact. It's a nifty CFW with an easy recovery menu. It took me a little, but I got the hang of it. I've got World Tour Soccer on a standalone .iso and it runs great!

Only downside to it is that it is a redundant system for me... The web browser has a nice proof of concept but sucks for streaming media. Good for quick browsing on the go. It will most likely end up being traded in when I go for the PS3, but we'll see. It's fun to experiment with considering you can essentially brick the system and recover it... every time!

Jul 5, 2008

The new TV!

Last week I got myself a new toy :-D Newegg.com - SCEPTRE 32" 16:9 8ms 720p LCD HDTV X32BV-Naga+

For the $550 price tag (and free shipping when I got it..) you get an LCD tv that uses OEM components, and can support 1080i! After toying around with it for several days, I can say that running my main PC from DVI to HDMI is the sickest thing I've seen... Playing CoD4 on there is AMAZING.. the framerate stays near 60FPS at the TV's native resolution! (1360x768p). Also it smokes away my mini-pc in terms of video performance on DVD. Until I get a PS3, this will definitely suffice for my DVD player.