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.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Financial Review of 2007

To adequately review 2007, I had to go back to 2006. Unfortunately, the way I kept track of finances in 2006 was a little different than 2007. Over the years I find new, improved, and interesting ways to keep meticulous financial data. I spent a little time going back over 2006 so that I could organize my data in a way that it was comparable to 2007.

The results were somewhat interesting, at least to me. I made 1% more than I spent both years. Which makes perfect since to me when I look at my savings account and compare it to how much I made each year. I thought I was doing well on savings, but only saving 1% of what I made in two years makes me feel like I could have done better.

I paid off more debt in 2007. Most of that debt was accumulated in 2006. Auto maintenance and gas spending doubled. It was 3% in 2006, but 6% in 2007. I think it was because in 2006 and major auto repair went into debt. In 2007 I was able to pay for all auto expenses out of pocket and keep them off the credit card.

I stopped reporting monthly financial reviews on my blog because they were boring, even to me. Annual reviews, I learned today, are also boring. That being said I think 2008's financial review, when compared with 2007, will be more interesting because now I can compare two life styles: trailer life versus apartment life. I think I'll go ahead and even make some 2008 predictions.

- Bills will increase in 2008, but probably about as much as they did from 2006 to 2007.
- Other spending (luxury items and things that don't fit neatly into a category) will be down because I've started bringing my lunch to work.
- Auto spending will be down, I hope way down. I started riding my bike to work. Obviously I'll save on gas, but I'm also hoping that if I use my truck less I'll also save on maintenance and maybe even put off a repair or two.

I have to admit, moving did have me sweating finances at first. Granted it has only been two weeks into 2008, but so far finances have been better than ever before. Some of that can be accounted for by the sell of the trailer and the little extra I get from the GI Bill for going back to school. I also think that there was a hidden cost with trailer life. Anything that went wrong came out of my pocket. When I had to replace the air conditioner, it was up to me to fund the new one. Same goes for the power converter. In the apartment, on the other hand, when something breaks I don't sweat it. I just tell the front office to send maintenance to come fix my problem. This might really work out to my advantage this year.

The inner ring is 2006, and the outer ring is 2007. Click for larger image.

Friday, January 11, 2008

IE7 Surprise

Like most, I find IE7 amusing because it copied so many features from Firefox. True, many of Firefox's features were copied from other web browsers like Netscape and Opera; but it is safe to say it was Firefox that popularized those features.

I did eventually get to playing around with IE7, and to my surprise I discovered something I would like to see in Firefox. Multiple home pages. At first I was like, "Why do I need many home pages?" I was under the impression it was like another favorites. Like my favorite favorites, and that would be lame. Then it dawned on me, all those home pages open in tabs when you open IE7. That could be convent in Firefox. It even sounds like something Firefox could do, so I looked through all it's options and came up short. Perhaps there is a plug in. I'll probably just wait to see if it comes with Firefox 3.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Unusual Network Adapter Problem

This morning I may have encountered one of the most unique computer problems yet. A customers onboard network adapter was not obtaining an IP address, even after a nice fresh install of windows and even on a Linux live CD. This I had seen before. Simple fix, pop int a PCI network card and call it a day.

Not so fast, the PCI network card would do the exact same thing. I tried two more, one of those of a different brand, with the same results. On top of that I got the exact same results under Linux. The only thing the PCI network cards and the on board network card has in common is the PCI buss. To make it weirder, a USB Ethernet adapter works just fine.

Obviously my recommendation is to simply use a USB Ethernet adapter. I just found it to be a strange problem.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Magic the Gathering

The Magic collectible card game has always fascinated me. I used to play, back when they didn't release expansions every week and you didn't have to spend a small fortune to get a decent collection of cards. Even though I don't play, the game that interested me so much is still there. There is a bit of preplanned strategy, a bit of luck, and some skill. Hopefully your strategy and skill are good enough to make up for bad luck, and occasionally good luck will help out those that lack the rest.

I've been going through a lot of my old cards now that we've moved and I have a place to keep them. I was hoping to find that they were worth a fortune, but they are still worth about what I paid for them. Over all it has gotten me to read up on how the game works again, and while a lot has changed the basics are the same.

I don't plan to start buying cards again so I can spend hours building a deck. Then get owned by some 12 year old; then spend hours tweaking my deck again. That part of the game, while fun, doesn't interest me as much anymore. I'm more interested in the preconstructed decks. They are already made so you don't have to spend a lot of money collecting cards. You don't have to spend a lot of time to find out which cards work well together. They are all about equally powerful when played against each other. You simply get to sit down and play, and thats cool to me.

Also, while reading up on Magic again, I found a neat little open source program that lets you create your own cards. And to think, I used to do that in MS Paint!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Saving Money in 2008

On my last trip to my parents house I grabbed my old bicycle. The idea is to ride it to work and save some gas. Not that I really think my short ride to work will really save the environment, but I know it will save me some money. If my guesses are close, I could save about $150 a month in gas money.

I also get a little bit of a work out. I see this as a cool trade off because I really have a hard time exercising. I actually like to exercise, I just feel like it is a time waster. How can a treadmill not feel like a waste of time? Riding to work, on the other hand, is exercise with a purpose. I like exercise like that. I should try to find more of that kind of exercise.

I've ridden to work twice now and I can see there are a few bike upgrades I would really like to get my hands on. First of all, a new seat. I don't recall bike seats being that hard, but I was 12. Now I'm 28 and desire a squishy soft seat with big springs to protect my tush from all those bumps and dips in the road. There are millions of bumps and dips between my place and work.

The other thing I need is some kind of storage compartment. I found a behind the seat platform with bungee cords, but it doesn't fit where it is supposed to. I may have to do some rigging to make that work. If I can rig that, I'll have a place to store lunch and small things I need to take between work and home. Bringing lunch to work will save me a lot more than a little gas money.