Monday, September 22, 2008

Bond, James Bond

Important James Bond fact: the total length of all the Bond films on DVD right now is 43.6 hours.  So if you plan to watch them all before Quantum of Solace get to it.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Star Trek 3

We've all heard the theory that even numbered Star Trek movies are good and odd numbered ones are bad. For the sake of Star Trek 11 I hope things change, but today I'm here to argue for Star Trek III. Despite it's odd number, this is an enjoyable movie. I have logical arguments as to why.

  • This is the only Star Trek movie where an act of piracy is commeted.
  • This movie proves that the same man can play Dr. Emmit Brown and the most ruthless Klingon ever (the dude killed his own girlfriend just because she watched a video).
  • For the nerd, this movie is the reason Kirk got busted back down to captain. Thus fufilling his own best destiny once again as the captain of a starship.
  • It has this scene where Uhura puts some guy in his place.
The only real drag of the movie was replacing the actress that played Lt. Saavik. Why do they do that in movies when they could so easily write the old character out and write the new one in as a new, yet similar, character?

Friday, August 15, 2008

Google's Ode to the Geekwagon

I can see my old trailer from Google Street view!

View Larger Map

Edit: October 11, 2011
Years later I am surprised this is still here. I'm sure someday Google will update streetview so I added a picture for when they do.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Sketchup 2x2x2 Rubik's Cube

I had taken apart many of the 3x3x3 Rubik's Cubes and had a good understanding of how they work. The 2x2x2, however, was quite the mystery to me. So I went out and bought one. The first thing I did was take it apart, and now I have made a Sketchup model of it and it's internal components.

Below are some pictures and you can download the model here.

My Letter to Lucas

There is a slashdot article this morning about Lucas doing research for a fifth Indiana Jones film. That being the case I have no choice but to send him a letter.

August 9, 2008

Dear Lucusfilm,

I'll keep this short because all I want to do is get an idea out there.

The first three Indiana Jones movies were loosely based on a major world religion. Perhaps in the fifth movie you should go back to religion. There are still four more major world religions waiting for Indy to revile something mystical and supernatural about them.

Buddhism has roots in India and China, perhaps it could be an opportunity to bring back an adult Short Round.


Doubt anything will actually come of it, but my love for the Indiana Jones series compels me to try.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

SketchUp UFO

Inspired by my sole Rubik's cube comment I decided to make my own UFO. Just like the cube there was a lack of quality 3D Warehouse models. My UFO is based on Bob Lazar's "Sport Model" that Testor turned into a model kit. Not only are there plenty of pictures of this particular craft on the web, but I had this model when I was young and remember the details surprisingly well.

The SketchUp model can be downloaded here, and below are some pictures.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Update on my Detailed Rubik's Cube

I uploaded my detailed Rubik's cube to Google's 3D warehouse. Today I noticed I actually had a comment from some dude who seemed to be impressed and he noted, "This is exactly what we should be doing with [SketchUp]."

Of all the Internet I was able to impress a single person. Good enough for me.

logmein to logmein

I recently learned that changing jobs can cause long gaps in blog postings.

Now that I am settled into a new job I am back to getting my geek on. One of the new tricks I learned about is (don't forget to type the "i" in that url). So of course on of the first things I had to do was logmein to a computer that was able to logmein back to the computer I was on. It gave me this neat mirror mirror effect and rendered my mouse cursor useless.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Nintendo is Trying to Make Me Better

First it was Brain Age, then Wii Sports, and now Wii Fit. These guys are making exercising and thinking hard fun. What's wrong with them?

I've only been playing Wii Fit for a day now and I have to say it is way too much fun for working out. The reward system Nintendo uses in Wii Fit and games like Brain Age totally dig into my game side and make me want to keep going even though the games are telling me to rest.

The really cool thing is, now I can try all those strange things that you'd normally have to go to a gym and work with a trainer. Like yoga. I don't know squat about yoga, but the game makes it easy and fun. True some will argue you can still exercise without a Wii, but what's the fun in that?

It makes since to me that these kinds of games are appealing. Today all we seem to focus on is how we can better entertain ourselves. I can't tell you how often I hear people complain they're board. I used to think it was just all these lazy American's, but I'm beginning to think it's a commonality among developed countries.

I just hope this doesn't turn into another piece of exercise equipment that gets used for a week then turns into a full time dust collector. Given what I've seen so far I think Wii Fit will last at least a month before I start to slack off. Time will tell. Don't tell Brain Age I'm playing Wii Fit, he hasn't seen me in a few months.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Indiana Jones

I know I'm not one to review movie's on my blog, but this is a special occasion. We're talking about Indiana Jones who is back from the 80's almost twenty years later. I have to admit, I'm actually a pretty big Indy fan. I even like to watch Temple of Doom now and then.

WARNING: Spoilers Below

Before I bash it, I must say it was good to see Indiana on the big screen. There were a lot of things I did like about this movie. I loved how they played into Harrison Ford's age. I think they nailed the 50's quite well. Story wise they worked in the warehouse scene that has the ark in it, and over all there was a lot of classic Indy action. For Indy fans, they'll love the references to the first and third movie.

I have a couple of minor complaints. I was under the impression we'd get to see Sallah again. Granted the movie never went to his part of the world, but he is a great character. I also think, but didn't expect it, this movie would have been a great for an adult Short Round appearance. Indy always has friends he runs into along the way anyway, why not have one we already know a little bit of his background?

Of course, my major complaint is the plot device. Lucas, Spielberg, and Ford have been reviewing scripts surrounding the crystal skull for almost 20 years and when it's all said and done aliens is the best they could come up with? Really? I'm sorry Inter-dimensional being that go to "the space between." Yeah yeah I get it, Ford didn't want to be in another Lucas movie with aliens so they played with names, but they look like aliens and act like aliens so they are freakin' aliens as far as I'm concerned.

The first three movies stuck to major world religions. Raiders was all about Judaism, Temple of Doom was about Hinduism (granted in kind of a dark degrading way), and Crusade was obviously Christianity. In all of those movies Indy doesn't believe the mythology behind the artifact, but through the course of the movie he learns there is something more to it and the audience comes to understand things on a greater scale (like maybe no single religion is right but there is something mystic about them all).

Last I checked we still have four major world religions the Indy series hasn't touched. How about we use those before we jump to aliens? Regardless of my complaints I would still recommend seeing this movie in the theater. Most likely this will be the last Indy movie, so if you want to see Jones on the big screen again (or for some of us the first time) this could be your only chance.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Quick Cube Update

In the time between this post and the last one, I had lunch and redesigned the middle of my cube. That is a totally attributed to how easy Sketchup is. It downright amazes me sometimes.

The redesigned middle allows me to actually rotate the faces of my cube now. Before it was just a big solid non-rotating brick.

Detailed Rubik's Cube in Google Sketchup

WARNING: Many pictures ahead and they were all harmed during the making of this post! Load at your own risk.

Finally my masterpiece is finished. I'm sure everyone wonders why did I waste my time with creating a rubik's cube in Google Sketchup? I mean, there so easy to make, and so many have already been made. What makes mine so special?

Well, mine has mad detail. It's way more than a cube divided up into 9 parts and colored in. I crafted each component separately, and to scale.

I was going to go into even more detail, but at this small of a scale Sketchup cannot do some things. For example, you can't make a circle with a radius of 1/64th of an inch. What gives? I just want to round some square corners.

Below are some images I took that looked interesting in Sketchup. Now, I need to figure out how to animate things and I'll really be in business.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Going to the Moon, brb

Look mom, I'll be on the moon. Anyone else want to go? Feel free to sign up here. All you have to do is click and type your name. You're sure to have a seat right next to Seymour Butts.

Monday, May 05, 2008

The General Grant

Seeing the General Lee across the street from the shop on a regular basis now made me think about things. I don't know if I would want to drive a car around with a confederate flag painted on the roof. This train of thought lead me to the picture below. It's so great what you can do with Google Sketchup these days.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Stimulus Package, where is the catch?

Because the last two digits of my SSN ends between 00 and 20, I got my economic stimulus payment today. I was very much under the impression this was a bogus deal. I was pretty sure the money was basically a forward of our 2008 tax return. After perusing the site I found this in the stimulus package faq.

Q. Will the payment I receive in 2008 reduce my 2008 refund or increase the amount I owe for 2008?
A. No, the stimulus payment will not reduce your refund or increase the amount you owe when you file your 2008 return.
As far as I can tell, I was wrong. It really is free money from the government. Perhaps not free, I did learn (from Yahoo Answers no less) the stimulus package is basically a loan taken out by the government and passed down to us lowly individuals.

On the other hand don't the expert say we're in this financial mess partly because American's are in so much debt? Should not the government strive to the same financial goals as individuals. Surly they could set an example.

Mr. President, your stimulus payment insults me. Try managing the money I gave you in taxes for the last 13 years better before you concern yourself with my personal finances.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Civ by Mail

So I got together with my girlfriend and a couple of long distance friends and started the longest game of Civilization 4 ever to be recorded. We're going to play by email.

True we could play over the net, but that would require us to all be on at the same time. Email gives us all a chance to play and gives us the opportunity to really mull over our decisions in game. I'm very much looking forward to this game.

We even decided to blog our game experiences together in a new blog called CivbyMail. This excites me too because I don't get to collaborate with people all that much. Not like this anyhow.

Friday, April 25, 2008

No Freakin' Way

Not two minutes after I post about the General Lee I find the Bandit parked out front!

Now all I need is a Ghostbuster car and I'll be all set. I've seen a KITT running around town, but never got a picture. Maybe I should look out the windows around the shop more often.

Not Every Day

Occasionally I'll look out the window of the shop to see what goes on outside. A few minuets ago I was very surprised to see the General Lee was outside. Immediately I grabbed the camera and took a picture because it is just to cool to have the General Lee outside the workshop window. The whole time it was there I was very distracted from computer work. I couldn't seem to get an Acer to boot up off the CD drive until the General Lee left.

Now I have the Duke's of Hazzard theme song stuck in my head, but that's okay; I like that song.

Clicking on the image will display it in much greater detail.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

A New Money Saving Theory

This particular theory I've been practicing for some time, but I finally figured out how to articulate it correctly. I buy cheap stuff. Let me explain more.

A good example is my coffee maker. I bought it over 6 years ago, and it cost me under $20. Now it's great I can say I got so much time out of it for so little (it gets used daily), but that's not the point of buying a cheap coffee pot. The real point is to learn what coffee pots are all about. Learn how they work, how to maintain them, what features I wish my cheap coffee pot had. So that the next coffee pot I buy can actually be a more expensive, I know what I want out of it, and it will save me money because I made all my mistakes on the cheep one.

Now with the coffee pot I've been lucky. If I had broken it in the first month though, it wouldn't have been a big deal. I recently applied this same theory to a blender. The one we bought was $15 (Hey we had a coupon). So far I have learned that, with my next blender, I want mad blending power. I learned with this cheap blender what someone else I know learned on a $50 blender. When I decide to get a better blender I'll know more about what I want.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Google Lacks Ghostbuster Love

The new version of Google Earth is awesome. You can read all about the new features at their blog, or go check it out for yourself. However I am disappointed.

Photo-realistic 3D buildings are a nice improvement over the old gray shapes they called buildings. Also, the ability to click on a building and have information pop up is very slick. What disappoints me is when I head over to 14 N. Moore St. in New York, NY there is still a big gray rectangular prism. There should be a clickable photo realistic firehouse. It's only the most famous firehouse ever.

Here is a picture for you Google. Get it right in the next version. We'll talk about Dana Barrett's apartment building in the next release.

Sunday, April 13, 2008


The SCP-4700 is a cellular phone from Sanyo that can be used on the Sprint network. It is the only reason I am still a Sprint customer. The thing just won't die.

I don't remember when exactly I got it, but a good guess is sometime in 2001. They were all the rage at the time, and I ended up with it because my first phone from Sprint died after about 6 months.

Here it is, still working great after 7 or 8 years. Still on the original battery. It can still last a four day trip to Houston without the charger. It has outlasted Sprint customer service which has done nothing but go down hill. I keep thinking I'll switch services when this thing finally dies.

Now it has become an experiment to see how long it will last. I wonder if I can be the last person on the Sprint network still using this phone. Later I'll post a picture of my actual phone. The one pictured here is new, so you can imagine mine looks a little different by now.

Friday, April 11, 2008

I Have the Power

Lately I've been reading up on solar and wind power, and the more I read the more I realized how dumb I am about electricity. Being dumb about electricity I started with some basics. Basics like how a generator works. After seeing the video I thought to myself, "I have seen something like that before."

Low and behold I was right. A case fan looks just like a generator. Immediately I stripped some wires and busted out with my multimeter to discover I can indeed create electricity by spinning a case fan by hand. In fact, I could power an LED with it.

All of this thinking about electricity has helped me decide on my major at school. While English is interesting, and I still plan to write, electronics is what my heart desires.

Speaking of power, that picture was taken with my old school Sony Digital Mavica. I found a battery for it on Ebay for all of $6 after shipping. Still works great, but it's too bad it only stores pictures on a floppy disk (observe the craptacular quality).

EDIT: Hey I made a video!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

More Work on the Demo PC at the Shop

Most of what I do lately has been work related, so it has been showing up in the Sidtek blog. All the cool stuff is labeled case mod. Unfortunately my cascading style sheet skills are lacking. For some reason almost every page of the blog looks different. Oh well, I'm sure I'll get it in order one day.

Here is my first youtube video.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Sidtek Blog and an Idea for Google

At work we revamped our web site, and it is long past due in my opinion. I was able to talk the boss into starting an official Sidtek Blog. It still needs some work, but at least it is functional now. It gives me a place to blog about work related things. I was surprised at the number of ideas I've already come up with for it.

So far I've put a little information about net neutrality, our demo machine, a strange computer repair problem I ran into today, and I even have a draft about energy conservation I'll be posting Monday.

Today I sent Google another email with awesome ideas for them. This time it's called Googlealogy. A family tree maker hosted by Google so that people who use their computer to keep track of Genealogy won't loose it if their computer fails on them. Old people would eat it up, and Google could use the opportunity to link them all together and create a giant world wide family tree so we all feel small in the universe.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Powder Coated Optical Drive

Finally got it back together this morning. I'll probably paint the white circle on top red, but I am undecided on whether or not to paint the front red. I'll mull it over...and paint it later.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Quest of the Avatar

Having been an Ultima fan for ages, I thought it was time I actually sat down and played through Ultima IV. How can I be a fan without ever having completed the Quest of the Avatar? Last night I was in Yew asking druids about the shrine of Justice when I ran into a kid named Short Round. Obviously a parody of Indiana Jones, but he did tell me to let Mr. Garriott know I was emjoying his game.

This morning I was looking for contact information, but of course I couldn't find anything directly to Mr. Garriott. So I shot an email to NCsoft's PR department in hopes it would get to him.

Below is my letter, and I'll post any reply I get.


Please let Mr. Garriott know, as recommended by Short Round, I am enjoying playing through Ultima IV for the first time. I have been a big fan of the Ultima series for a very long time, but somehow I never played through Ultima IV until now. Also, tell him good luck on his space journy.


PS: the ncsoft site does not seem to work very well in firefox :(

Monday, March 24, 2008

Powder Coated Parts

Here are some pictures of some of the parts I got powder coated for the Demo Machine at the shop. The only part not here is the optical drive. I'll have pictures of that as soon as I get it back together.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

One Laptop Per Child

The One Laptop Per Child program is kinda neat. Basically the goal is to make a laptop cheap enough to get into the hands of poor children so they can learn about computer, and learn with computers.

I have the pleasure of having one of these come into my shop. At first I was a little baffled, but the customer told me they had some kind of deal that basically charged her double for her laptop, and they gave one away in some other country.

After getting my hands on it I had some mixed opinions about it. First of all, it's very toy like. Beneath it's toy exterior is a Linux based operating system. Granted the interface for it was also toyish, but there was an easily accessible terminal. It was pretty easy to get online, once I started thinking the right way. At first the controls seamed complicated to my Windows oriented mind. After I figured out that moving the cursor to any corner of the screen brought up the menu options I was on the right track. My only networking complaint is that it can only connect to a wireless network; no ethernet port. Interestingly, the home page for the web browser has a nice easy interface for kids that will take them directly to educational things like a dictionary and encyclopedia. The encyclopedia link goes to Wikipedia; take that English 1302...not a real source my butt.

It also has some interesting kid-oriented programs. Tamtamjam, is a noise making program that I'm sure some talented kid could make sound like music, but I am tone def. It has games, a word processor, and a remarkably clear web cam; over all it is surprisingly functional.

The only thing I didn't get to try is networking it to a desktop. I was curious to see if I could transfer files to and from it, but I didn't really have time to play around on it too much. My only other minor complaint is the keyboard. It's basically a tiny version of those rubber "indestructible" roll up keyboards. Functional, but very hard to type with any speed on (this is coming from a guy who types slow as it is).

Over all, it is a rather complete computer. Perfect for perusing the web and having children learn new things. Exactly what it was designed for. It could be considered a great engineering success.

Anyone interesting in getting their own (probably for your kids) could start at the OLPC site. It is a little difficult to find where to purchase one, but expect to pay more than the $100 or so they cost to make (they're trying to help people duh). I couldn't find much information about the "Give one get one" program. The customer told me it took a long time for her to get it. I can only assume they may have stopped it because too many people were doing it.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

My Opinion on the Second Amendment

I made a profound realization the other day. My opinion counts, at least to me, and I have an opinion about the second amendment.

I don't really know if I'm pro-gun or anti-gun. I can see both side of this argument. On the one hand a gun is an easy way to protect ones home. On the other hand a gun is an easy, life threatening tool of abuse. Personally, I do not own a gun nor do I intend to. I can clearly state, especially after having served in the military, I am not anti-gun simply because I don't have one.

One thing I am for sure on, I'm pro-constitution. Here is the text that matters.
A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.
From what I have been hearing in the news, the dilemma comes from interpreting what this text means. Recently, the supreme court decided to pretty much ignore the first four words of this amendment. I find it hard to believe the founding fathers put in something about a militia but, with their wisdom, didn't really think it was important. I'm sure they just wrote these amendments off the cuff and didn't even review every word they wrote, or bothered to have it ratified by the states it governed. Right?

To the contrary, they painstakingly chose their words, sentences, and even punctuation. Have no fear, I've got all the answers. I actually think I've come up with a way to satisfy both sides of the argument and even stay true to the original wording of the second amendment.

We need a database, with everyone who owns a gun and people who buy guns will be added to it. We no longer have a need for state militias, but we have a standing army. Gun owners would be the first to be called on in a draft. Citizens that chose not to own guns won't be drafted in a time of war (except maybe in an extreme emergency). Gun owners, in accordance to the second amendment, would be called up to fight right after reservists.

I'm sure there are holes in my plan. I'm sure we would still need some gun regulation laws that prevent people from buying automatic weapons. Over all I think a plan like that would work. Perhaps I'll write my senator. Then maybe someone will actually read my idea.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Exult in Ubuntu

Oh man, 2 blog posts in one day. What can I say? I have things to talk about.

Yesterday I successfully compiled my first program on Linux (noobuntu lawls). Of course it was Exult and came with plenty of documentation. I did have to do some things not found in the documentation, and I may add to this post when I get home to explain what I had to do to make it work for me.

It is interesting to me that Ultima 7 has had such a huge impact on my life. Back in the day, when you had to make a boot disk to play U7 I got to playing with autoexec.bat and config.sys files to do different things. That is what really sparked my interest with computers. Now I can say Exult inspired me to learn a little more about Linux.

I'd like to be able to say Exult inspired me to learn how to program, but even with Ultima inspiration programming feels out of my grasp.

The Hardware that Makes Me Sad

Old computer parts make me sad. Today I've been going through a lot of old computer hardware testing to see what is good and what is trash. Some of the gems I found; Creative Sound Blaster Live 5.1, GeForce 3 TI 500 and a TI 200, Geforce 4 MX 440, and an ATI Rage Theater (and the tuner still tunes).

What makes me sad is that these components still work. They didn't die out after years of hard gaming. They weren't victims of some power surge. They didn't meet their end because they were mishandled or abused by armature enthusiast. They have simply outlived their usefulness. Been betrayed by the very technology that created them. Surpassed by cheaper, and probably intergraded, components.

In a way, they are a tribute to their manufactures. Products of such awesome quality that one day they will have nothing better to do than collect dust on a shelf.

PS - I did not win the lottery. I didn't even get a single number!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Lottery Ticket

I don't play the lottery. The Texas Lottery was created so that we don't have to pay more taxes (like an income tax). So, if I don't play the lottery, I'm not paying taxes. By not playing, I win. Despite all this, I found a coupon for a free lottery ticket. A free lottery ticket is arguably not a gamble.
I think I get the lottery now though. It's not about winning, but about the anticipation of not winning. I won't find out for another four hours if I win anything. I'm pretty sure I won't see a dime of the 59 million jackpot, but so far I've had a blast talking to my co-workers about what I would do with a lot of money. We even talked about what we could do with the measly ten thousand I could win if I hit five of the six numbers. Over all it has been fun. I guess it will be all over when I find out I don't win jack.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

For Those That Wonder

Just in case anyone wanted to know if it was possible to put DDR in backwards and close the claps that hold it in place, it totally is. That's what came through the repair shop this morning. Amazingly, after turning it around the machine booted up and detected the ram just fine.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Star Trek Teaser Trailer

I don't go to the movies often, but this weekend my girlfriend talked me into seeing Cloverfield. There is not much to say about a monster movie in New York. I have seen New York destroyed in movies so many different ways it is hard to find something interesting about that. However, the best part, in my opinion, was the Star Trek teaser trailer before the movie.

Like many other geeks out there, I've kept an eye on the Internet about new information pertaining to the eleventh Trek film. I have high hopes for this one. Whatever that mathematical formula is for making movies come back and do well, like Die Hard, Rambo, or Indiana Jones; I hope they apply it to this one.

Sometime today the teaser should be on the official site. A version of the teaser can be found on youtube, and it is the expected quality for a video taken in the theater with a camera phone. Below I also added all three teaser posters. I didn't even know there were three already.

Finally, here is a confirmed fake image of the new Enterprise for the movie. It's fake because it was made by Gabriel Koerner well before the movie was in production. In any case, it's a nice picture and I would imagine the new Enterprise might look something like it.