Low Budget Airshow

We couldn't make it to the airshow this year so we watched from the shade of our patio for a few hours, reading, chatting, and playing with the dog between acts. For those hours of diligence I was only able to catch the following 39 seconds of shaky and out of focus video. Enjoy, if you can.


Three cheezburgers iz too many...

Three cheezburgers iz too many.
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You can tell it's a slow night when...

I have one final idea for a Nintendo DS browser screenshot but I think I'll put it off for another time... stay tuned.

One giant leap for space fashion: MIT team designs sleek, skintight spacesuit - MIT News Office

Photo of Dava Newman by Donna Coveney for MIT News

One giant leap for space fashion: MIT team designs sleek, skintight spacesuit - MIT News Office

Skin-tight-suit-wearing, bubble-helmeted space-babes have been of fixture of science-fiction geek fantasies nearly as long as there has been science-fiction. Thank you MIT!

Joe's Movie Corner on a Nintendo DS

Sorry Joe, your banner layout doesn't show up so well. Most images will resize to fit. I'm not sure why yours didn't. The DS browser can be used in two different viewing modes. This view is SSR mode which I believe stands for Single Screen Reading, or something of that sort. The other view is Overview mode which tries to make a miniature of the page load in the bottom screen with a "magnifier" that you can move around to get a close-up in the top screen. Overview mode seems to work much better for your page. BTW, anything Flash will not show up on the DS, which means most all video clips. I'm not sure but I think Java is a no-no as well. And music and games... fuggedaboudit.


Nintendo DS Browser

OK, I've been a gamer since Space Invaders and Donkey Kong replaced my favorite pinball machines at the local 7-11. I can't tell you how much that pissed me off. Over time I learned to love video games. I've recently purchased the web browser cartridge for my white Nintendo DS Lite. Naturally, the first thing I did was look at all my web pages. The browser cartridge is a bit slow and comes with a memory cartridge that could easily have had far more capacity than it does (but for what price?) and I quickly found that one of my most used sites (Picasa) is barely workable on the DS. Anyway, I thought I'd stop by some sites that I didn't create... so, to cut a long story short, this is what No Smoking in the Skull Cave looks like on the Nintendo DS browser.


I love drive-in movies

My wife and I went to see "Harry Potter & The Order of the Phoenix" and "Ratatouille" at the Melody 49 Drive-In. Sadly, we didn't manage to stay for the second feature, which I've been looking forward to seeing. The Order of the Phoenix was another amazing installment in the Harry Potter series of movies. The images below were shot with my phone during the credits for Potter.

When we arrived the place was nearly full. I work until 8:30-9:00p and getting to the show on time can be troublesome. By some miracle (Lucky Friday the 13th?) we found a spot just one or two cars off-center and directly in front of the concession stand. There simply isn't a better location if you're there to actually watch the movie. This shot is behind my van. Taillights and credit roll line up almost perfectly. It was sweet.

The smell of popcorn and hot dogs all night long was a nice touch. My only complaint was the service door to the concession/projection building kept opening and closing behind with employees taking smoke breaks and the light from inside the building would illuminate the interior of my van, creating a distraction. If we had been two spaces to the right it probably wouldn't have been an issue, and we'd actually have had a slightly more centered space.

With this photo I tried to catch the beam from the projector shining over the roof of my van. Obviously, it didn't work out so well. Next time I'll try it with my digital.

Support your local Drive-In!

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My photos of the "City Life" statues by J. Seward Johnson

Insignia Video (NS-DV4G)

Here's a review of my new MP3 player. By my experience, this review is nearly spot-on, though he seems to consider it a bulky device and I can't imagine why. I have yet to experiment with the FM recording option or the line-in feature, which I look forward to trying as a memo-recorder and/or for importing from unusual sources.

For it's size it has a large bright screen. I occasionally seem to get distorted audio but I haven't determined if my files might be to blame because most of the time it's crystal clear. [Now listening to "Because" from "LOVE", the remixed Beatles music for the Cirque du Soleil show of the same name, and the sound is perfect.] My primary need for this device is for in-car listening via cassette adapter. It works like a dream.

Originally I'd been using an old Rio MP3 CD player ($55 when I bought it new at Best Buy) and my own custom discs for this purpose. It was awesome but finally the player croaked and my first thought was to replace it with a like device. To my great distress such things seem to have gone the way of Laser Disc movies and the few MP3 CD players I finally found specs for were either completely unsatisfactory or completely out of production. Dead End.

Once I accepted the fact that my custom MP3 CD collection (quite impressive, I must say) was now nothing more than a set of future drink coasters I began exploring the far more expensive world of disc-less players. I have a huge collection of (legal) music and needed a player that could accommodate it. 4GB was my initial target but I couldn't afford things in that range at the time.

I settled on a 2GB Samsung YP-U2J. Even at half my desired capacity I found this little gem a pleasure. It was easy to use and worked very well but it was barely larger than a thumb drive and the display could not be read at a glance while driving. No big deal, though, because the controls on the thing were great, so if something came on that I wasn't in the mood for I just hit [>>] and that was that.

I'm not at all sure why the YP-U2J died. It didn't actually die, but it did stop playing music. It's possible that I hit some sort of capacity sore spot because I kept it loaded to the point of trying to find song X that would "just fit" in the space available. One morning after a fresh sync I turned it on and it began it's loading sequence, "Building MLDB", the screen would read after a sync. This time it took longer than usual, noticeably so. When the message disappeared, the player shut down. I have another theory that static may have played a role in it's death. I used to wear the thing on a lanyard between my regular shirt and an undershirt. I never noticed a shock, but it could have happened. Pleh...


My lovely and wonderful wife reminded me that we'd only had the thing about 9 months and we headed to Best Buy to look around. As with the loss of my Rio Volt MP3 CD player, I began looking for an exact replacement. No Samsung YP-U2J MP3 players in racks... has it been discontinued? {shudder} So I pulled myself together to find something similar, ignoring anything that didn't look like a thumb drive in the mistaken belief that they would all be too expensive. I was soon corrected by the $129 price tag on a 4GB device. I didn't expect it to play video, but it does. Bonus! And it was only $20 more than I had in credit for the Samsung. SWEET!

So, with 4 days of use under my belt I can honestly recommend this device to anyone looking for a good value. I know... 4 days is hardly a marathon test drive, but there's not the slightest hint of trouble yet. I didn't even have to install any software to use this puppy with Windows Media Player.

Oh, yeah, that reminds me... I'll have to post later about the sad death of MusicMatch at the hands of the evil Yahoo! empire. You do know that Yahoo! is partner with AT&T broadband services, don't you? AT&T's logo has been called the Death Star more than once. See the connection? Or as Buckaroo Banzai would say, "There! Evil PURE AND SIMPLE by way of the Eighth Dimension!"

In summary, if you need a decent little MP3 & video player get yourself one of these [see the official product page here]:
Insignia :: All about affordable and well designed technology - Insignia 4GB* MP3 Player - Black

This Ramble, Rant, and Rave is officially kaput.


Words fail...

Add two more beef and another shrimp and I'm stuffed.