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Archive for August, 2003

Mad moving skillz…

with 21 comments

We got the fridge upstairs last night. It took us less than an hour, including removing the doors (on the ‘fridge) and taking the box off (at which point the only damage of the night occurred; a small scrape to the stucco on the entrance, not bad). We lifted the fridge over our railing which, even tho’ I knew it “should” work, surprised me by actually working as planned. Very smooth!

Written by jthurber

August 21st, 2003 at 5:16 am

Posted in General

Retraction and follow on re: tha’ Move…

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I’m sorry I said anything negative about Mountain View Garbage (actually Foothill Disposal). They came by Monday evening and picked up everything we had left out for them (without my having to call them).

On the other hand, I am really pissed at Sears Home Delivery. They sent the second team of guys out today, called me to come home in the afternoon (they we supposed to be there between 4-6pm and changed it to 11:14am at 10:30am). However the were unwilling to try and get the ‘fridge box (which is admittedly huge) over the railing of the second level of our split-level main floor. I can sympathize with the delivery guy, who is a contractor and responsible for any damage he causes, but am extremely frustrated by Sears inability to deliver a reasonably sized appliance into a normal home…

So, tonight I hope to have about 6 buddies over for a Bar-B-Q. Our extremely technical plan is just to lift the thing over the banister and get it done! It only weighs 375lbs in the box (which sounds like a lot, but between 4 people should have been totally do-able, 6 should be overkill). Hope everything goes ok, we won’t start drinking beer until after it’s upstairs!

Written by jthurber

August 20th, 2003 at 11:06 am

Posted in mild-rantings

Movin’ is Done!

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“The Move” is complete!

BIG Thanks to:

  • All the Friends and Family that sacrificed their Saturday helping us move!
  • Ryder Trucks – for being way better than U-Haul.
  • Jeers and Derision to:

  • Mountain View Garbage – for not picking up our moving day trash from the old place like we’d arranged.
  • Sears delivery – who screwed up an on-time arrival by not having enough guys to get the ‘fridge up the stairs.
  • U-Haul – for not having a 24″ truck, but having the audacity to suggest that I could move a few days earlier. Thanks guys!
  • All in all it was a very painless move. I’ll have DSL again around the 29th (oh yeah, and we’ll have a washer/dryer that same day, but that’s not nearly as important). Until that time all early morning/late night browsing is via the good graces of Sprint and the wonder of the WirelessModem for the Treo 300.

    Written by jthurber

    August 19th, 2003 at 5:22 am

    Posted in General

    I would buy one!

    with 25 comments

    The Tango is an ultra-narrow, reasonably high-performance electric commuter “car” that is under development right now. If the price is kept low enough (it seems like the sweet spot for these would be in the neighborhood of $10k) then I think these would sell really well!

    Sadly, no one to-date has been able to make the electric commuter-car thing work particularly well (witness Corbin Motors and the Saturn EV-1). Success in this market is definitely a mixture of pricing and performance (and not getting generally screwed by business partners). Hopefully these guys will fare better.

    “Why not Hybrids?”, you may be asking. To my mind here are a few problems with hybrids when compared to pure-electric:

  • No HOV lane access in CA for Hybrids.
  • More expensive to operate
  • Much higher maintenance (all the problems/maintenance of a gas-engine coupled with the life-span of a battery)
  • More expensive to development/manufacture (tho’ both electric and hybrids have this problem right now, the hybrids substantially more complicated powerplant setup should always be more expensive to develop manufacture than either pure gas or electric systems)
  • Found them via John Robb’s Weblog. I’d bet Alex thinks they’re ugly…

    Written by jthurber

    August 14th, 2003 at 2:39 pm

    Posted in General

    If Pirates are the new Monkeys…

    with 25 comments

    Pirate Monkey Image

    Written by jthurber

    August 13th, 2003 at 12:45 pm

    Posted in General

    I don’t know how to feel…

    without comments

    From The Filthy Critic:

    The Filthy Critic was killed in a
    bicycle collision late Thursday night.

    He died the way he lived–wobbling aimlessly in the slow lane.

    Is this the end of Filthy?

    Written by jthurber

    August 12th, 2003 at 7:01 am

    Posted in General

    News from the homefront…

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    So, here we are, several months later and I have experienced (almost) the entire home acquisition process (everything except the fun bit where you’re moved in and unpacked and haven’t yet made your first mortgage payment).

    It’s been fun, except for the ungodly amount of financial documentation the lender needs, the complete inability of anyone to call me back and the (occasional) uncertainty around the question “is the house actually going to be done by the time we have to be out of our current place?”. The answer to that last question has changed from day to day. The answer today is a resounding “maybe” (as compared to yesterday, where the answer was a “probably”).

    One of the biggest dissapointments of the whole process is the state of the house when I walked thru it this afternoon. I guess my expectations were out of line with what I could expect from a big builder, but there’s still a ton of work left to do on the house. I would find that easier to stomach, were it not for the fact the there are some pretty major problems with some of the work that’s already “done”. There are several badly textured areas of wall, in every room. The baseboards in any room with tile (kitchen, dining room, bathrooms) do not sit flush with the tile in all cases. The counter tops in the kitchen aren’t smoothed along the lower edges. Some of the steps are too thin (wall to wall) so there’s a 3″ gap on the left side of each step. Basically I’m a picky SOB, and am having trouble adjusting my expectations down to accepting the cookie-cutter quality that the builder wants to deliver! Hopefully we can find some sort of middle ground by next week!

    Written by jthurber

    August 8th, 2003 at 2:50 pm

    Posted in mild-rantings

    Look at the Monkey! :(|)

    with 22 comments

    Set up a CafePress store selling quality “Look at the Monkey” gear…

    Written by jthurber

    August 5th, 2003 at 2:20 pm

    Posted in General

    “Build to Order” Cars

    with 19 comments

    Saw this over at Lockergnome Bytes (not Locker-Byte Gnomes), which in turn pointed to an article at BaselineMag. Apparently a guy named Scott Painter is starting a Build-To-Order car company in Los Angeles. What an awesome idea.

    I was somewhat disappointed by this comment, as it strikes me as irrational (particularly when it’s followed by a similarly “E-Level” description of the advantes of “web-services” as offered by .NET):

    [Chief Information Officer] Lele has largely ruled out using Unix, saying he would like to think ahead.
    “The preconceived notion is that the network will run Unix, but I came to the view that this is a unique opportunity, so why take something that’s decades old?” says Lele.

    But I was impressed by the vision:

    Build-To-Order’s specialty will be assembly. Painter has divvied up the car into 13 modules such as interiors, chassis, panels and braking systems. Each will be pulled together by a supplier, such as Johnson Control or Dana. Each supplier’s factory will sit around a cross—the assembly line—which resembles a street intersection. And each of those suppliers’ factories may in turn be ringed by parts vendors that supply components that arrive minutes before being used in, say, a transmission.

    It’s also sorta cool that they’re considering using E.piphany…

    Written by jthurber

    August 5th, 2003 at 12:33 pm

    Posted in found-on-web

    Bluetooth… what is it good for?

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    My experience with Bluetooth up until now has left me with mixed feelings. On the one hand I have always been quite excited by the promise of Bluetooth. On the other hand, I have had very different experiences with the two Bluetooth implementations I’ve experienced. Two experiences, 180 degrees apart:

  • I got a Jabra FreeSpeak for my Nokia 6310i. It was horrible. Bad reception, lost bindings between it and the phone, random functionality from the buttons on the unit. Generally a case of suffering as an “early adopter” (‘tho as a rampant consumer I am a bit disappointed how long it takes until one isn’t an “early adopter” for things like Bluetooth).
  • My Apple Powerbook 12″ comes with built-in Bluetooth, but it doesn’t (currently) support wireless headsets (which is sort of too bad, as that would make for a pretty compelling VOIP solution, assuming the affordable headsets didn’t suck, which they do, but I digress). I figured that Bluetooth was just another cutesy Apple feature. I was wrong. The combination of Bluetooth and Rendezvous mean that if I want to work with Scott at Starbucks in Hydra, there’s almost no setup. When I’m at work and want to send a configuration file over to one of my Powerbook using brethren I simply use Bluetooth File Exchange (this is both much faster than mounting a share and never mounting network drives avoids the dreaded Interruption of Windows (and in my experience other Macs) Connection Can Cause Computer to Stop Responding problem).
  • Basically it comes down to this. The FreeSpeak promised to make my cell phone more usable, but sacrificed much of the user-experience while not materially delivering on the wireless headset promise. My Powerbook (on the other hand) uses Bluetooth as an enabling technology without sacrificing anything from a usability perspective. Apple continues to impress me with it’s ability to integrate “new” technologies such that they improve the overall experience without making you constantly aware than you’re doing something technically complicated.

    I am looking forward to two developments on the Bluetooth front:

  • 1) The new Treo 600 will support an SD slot (which in turn is supposed to support the SDIO protocol). This means that (for a price) it will also support Bluetooth headsets. I will probably invest in one of the new generation of Bluetooth headsets and see if/how they’ve improved.
  • 2) The new Prius will (supposedly) support Bluetooth in several ways. Most interesting (to me) in the idea that the “key” is simply a Bluetooth transmitter that you carry with you. When you walk up to the car it unlocks, you press the Start button, you drive away. That would be very cool! In addition, the car is supposed to be able to bond with your Bluetooth cell phone. Properly implemented, this could also be (almost as) cool!
  • Written by jthurber

    August 4th, 2003 at 11:40 am

    Posted in review-lite

    D-Link “AirPlus Xtreme” Redux

    without comments

    I got a D-Link D-624 4-port DSL/Cable wireless router a few weeks after getting my new Powerbook 12″.

    It was (relatively) painless to set up, and the transfer speed was awesome between the powerbook and my desktop. Then, a few weeks after I got the D-Link it stopped working with the “Airport Extreme” (Apple’s name for 802.11g) card in the Powerbook. I could connect to the router, but it would not issue a DHCP address. It continued to work with the “Airport” (802.11b) card in the old Powerbook.

    Around this time one of my neighbors had set up a Linksys router (I know this because it showed up in the list of available networks for a few hours until they hid the SSID). Well, <sarcasm>being the analytical debugger that I am</sarcasm>, I spent about two hours trying a bunch of network voodoo-type remedies (reset everything three times, reboot the laptop, reset everything again, reconnect every cable, upgrade the firmware… you get the idea)… nothing worked. So, network voodoo having failed I settled for network frankenstein and hooked my old Linksys wireless router up to the D-Link for the Powerbook to use, and settled down to wait for new firmware.

    Well, new firmware has arrived for the D-Link D-624, and I updated, and it was good, and there was much rejoicing. My old Linksys has been laid to rest to await the day when it will again be called forth to save the home wireless network…

    Written by jthurber

    August 3rd, 2003 at 8:22 pm

    Posted in review-lite