Shuttle G5 8300mc

'm sick of having my work laptop be so slow from being loaded with applications, but with no other place to do webdev, sound and video editing. Also, having a powerhorse at home will let me serve web pages (Jinzora, remote desktop) off a dyndns, and subvert filtering by routing my POP/SMTP on nonstandard ports or a VPN redirector through home.


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Tahoe: Squaw and Heavenly

Went to Tahoe for the annual ski trip, this time 4 days of skiing with a group of 12 guys. We stayed at the Embassy Suites (free breakfast and booze, 2 minute walk from Heavenly Gondola and several casinos). Great snow - 4-8" new every night we were there, and some patches of sun during the days. Highlights: all of Squaw Valley (but avoid the slow lifts when it's cold), Mott's canyon @Heavenly, and all the glade/tree runs. Since the area was heavily mined in the last century, apparently trees were thinned to 1 out of 3, making for perfect, long burners as we zipped between trees through untouched powder. Tahoe.jpgTahoe2.jpgTahoe3.jpgTahoe4.jpgTahoe6.jpgTahoe7.jpgTahoe9.jpgTahoe10.jpgTahoe11.jpgTahoe12.jpgTahoe13.jpgTahoe14.jpgTahoe15.jpgTahoe16.jpgTahoe17.jpgTahoe1.jpgmap1.jpg

Why, Alex, Why?

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Why do I come to extremely value certain things that Alex publishes, but this revaluation always happens after 4-6 months after poo-poo-ing them as technodrivel or unapplicable to my interests? Examples:
  • Moveable Type, the blogging software run by blog().this
  • The concept of Wikis
  • Del.icio.us and his shared bookmarks technique
  • The brilliance of everything by Phillip Greenspun (ok, 4-6 years)
Because of Alex, I was exposed to all of this stuff almost eight months before any of them become "well known". But how does he pick them up a year before that happens? Maybe if I had a real engineering job. And how do I sort this "useful on a delay timer" stuff out from the other stuff he publishes that I ALSO blow off as "not relevant" to me? Bluegrass? Motorcycles? Shameless opinion? Offending my Muslim friends? All I can predict is that as much as I think it's impractical and stupid right now, in 4 months I'll probably be engaged in a 50 month interest free loan. And riding a bicycle daily.

Weekend in Lake Geneva

Stayed two nights at a charming Bed and Breakfast called Watersedge on Lake Como, just outside Lake Genevy. Had a pricey but good dinner at Kirsch's. Nordic skiied the Scuppernog trail of Kettle Morraine South (3.5 mi) on Sunday - $18 park fees, beautiful sunny yet cold weather, fast trails due to packed, cold surface. It was a really relaxing, enjoyable weekend, and I'd recommend it to anyone looking for something different, to get away from the city and still enjoy the winter.

Opera: Rigoletto

On Friday, Jeremy and Bobbie Bredfeldt treated us to the opera Rigoletto at the Lyric Opera House. It was surprisingly enjoyable. They translate the Italian lyrics into English and project them as supertitles above the stage. 

 It was funny to see the translation of La Donne e Mobile, a song that most people have heard and could hum along to without ever identifying the source. It's an upbeat and noble tune that sounds like it would be cooing about love, but it's actually complaining about women: "Woman is fickle, like a feather in the wind, she changes the tone of her voice and her thoughts and her thoughts, and her thoughts! Always a sweet, pretty face, in tears or in laughter, she is always lying He is always miserable who trusts in her who to her confides, his unwary heart!" 

To make any opera enjoyable, my advice is to read about it beforehand, and remember coffee and binoculars (really). And arrive in style in a stretch limo.

Sailing in Belieze

These are long past due. In July, to cap off our trip in Guatemala, we went sailing in belieze for a week with our friends. The best part was that since Abel has a great sailing resume, we were able to rent a boat that sleeps eight and not charter a captain - so it was just us. I'll post more pictures periodically over the coming months. DSC00475.JPG

Big Monitor, Little Hacked Router

First urge was to apologize - I've never been so blog lazy that I am missing a month on my index - but then I realized, "Who are you kidding, you self-important crack? Was it the hundreds of people emailing you, complaining about the wake left by your erudite mind's absence from the web, that finally convinced you to post for everyone? To satiate that hunger?" Anyway, I've come to share some geekl0ve. Pause - remember way back in the day? (PS - did you know that whenever you talk about "back in the day", it was actually a Wednesday? Yea. That's just a fun fact. Chew on it. It's Delicious.*) Back in the day, Rebecca used to post on "our" blog. Those days are over, and the blog needs a new title. Problem is, there's no theme besides me being jacked about being a bigger nerd than my friends. Let's begin. For our wedding, my parents' gift was something that I had been soiling myself about quite regularly - a 37" flat panel computer monitor, the Westinghouse LVM-37w1. 1920x1080, works nights as a TV. Lots of inputs, and THE PRICE! I mean, I didn't buy it for myself, but if you're into this stuff, you know that this is absolutely the best size*features/price for any LCD available - around $1600. Sometimes I just get really close and count the pixels until I reach 2 million. Does the highest HDTV spec: 1080p. It is NOT the best for pure TV-philes, but it is a flawless computer monitor. Sorry for being so braggy, but I get so excited I want to kick myself in the face. WETLVM37W1.jpg My other tip to share is my experience with hacked open-source firmware for the common Linksys WRT54G router. It's Geekilicious - it runs linux and can be reprogrammed to do things that usually require networking equipment many times the price.
  • Want to run a captive portal? (When people associate with the wireless, it redirects client web browser to a page you specify)
  • Want to play with some sophisticated wireless security scams?
  • Wish you had bought a wireless bridge instead for much more $$$?
While this all sounds fascinating, I needed to do the last one. We recently received a HP OfficeJet 7310 all-in-one Printer/Copier/Fax/Scanner with automatic document feeder (!). It has a built in ethernet port, similar to a HP JetDirect embedded print server. How would you get this device on your wireless network? Well you could use a USB wireless print server, but that would force you to use the HP's USB interface. What you need is something called a wireless bridge - there are several flavors, but think of it as a way to connect two wired networks, in this case, my all-in-one plugged into the back of the WRT54G and my cable modem/D-Link router/wireless access point. Works great. Since Linksys released the original firmware under the GPL, there have been many feature-rich firmware replacements out there. I'm using DD-WRT, and if you don't mind the politics, you could also consider the non-free ones from Sveasoft. Lesson learned: If you want to do these hacks, you cannot use the newest common model, the WRT54G v5 (runs VmWare. Get the WRT54GL if buying new). *Dane Cook material. Stolen. I saw him live - great stuff.

Vyduna Wedding Picture: Our Current Favorite

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This picture makes me wonder how long I can push off sinking money into a DSLR camera. Right now, DJing a friend's wedding for cheap makes a pretty good gift - but you don't get to enjoy the event as much. What better a gift than acting as an amateur backup photog the whole time? Capture that one precious moment the others miss, print and frame - and you have a really unique wedding present. At our wedding, we pulled a practical joke that I don't think anyone has on film. When the band fired up "The Stripper Theme", I whipped my jacket off with a flick of the wrist and warmed my palms for the time honored tradition of going up my new bride's dress to retrieve the garter. That way, the guy who catches it can sauce it up a poor girl's leg, just because she caught some flowers thrown at her. Instead, to poke fun at the tradition, I pulled out a TiVo from under Rebecca's dress (thanks to a trick David Copperfield showed me involving a long tablecloth and a boozed audience) and threw it over my head into the pack of eager elegibles. The professional photog and the videographer were off the clock, but I wish I had a snap of the chicane.