Archive for October, 2004
I went to the movies on Friday with Yelena and we saw Team America. This is quite possibly the funniest movie I have ever seen in my entire life.
If you just want to be entertained and aren’t caught up in being “politically correct” it’s one damn funny flick.
One of the best parts was the freedom fighters theme song that they listened to when fighting terrorists (it’s a heavy metal/rock tune)…
Comin’ again to save the mother fuckin’ day, yeah!
Trust me, you just have to hear it… I wish I had the MP3.
Update: you can hear the beginning of the song if you have iTunes installed. Just click here (you can pay $0.99 if you want and download the whole thing to iTunes).
Had a little longer to play with the Xbox Media Center from my previous post, and this thing just gets cooler and cooler the more I dive into it.
- It has Mplayer built into it so it basically can play any audio/video format without problems including streaming content
- Audio visualization (like WinAMP)
- Organizes music, pictures, video, programs, etc.
- Shows the weather from cities you predefine (pulls from weather.com)
- Plays Internet radio
- Supports numerous network shares for media (Windows/SMB, iTunes, etc.)
- Plays movie trailers (picks them up from Apple’s movie trailer website)
- Supports Python scripting language, so anything it DOESN’T do, you can make it do
Did I mention that this thing is bad ass? Oh yeah, I did.
I was checking out some of the TiVo stuff, and me first thought is why do these things have phone jacks to dial out instead of Ethernet ports? Phone lines are so “old school”.
I hear everyone talk about TiVo competitors, but I don’t know of any specifically. If someone knows of something similar to TiVo that uses the Internet to get programming data (rather than a phone line), please leave a comment telling me what it is.
Well, I finally decided to do a “photo shoot” with my old truck (a white Toyota Tacoma) so I could put it up for sale. So I got it washed today and also put a new battery in it. So while I was at it, I took a couple pictures of my new car (a Hummer).
When I was getting a new battery for the Tacoma, I forgot to use the parking brake (and I forgot to put it in gear too). This is bad because it’s a manual transmission. I guess I’ve just gotten used to driving an automatic now (this is what I thought as I got out and my Tacoma started rolling away.. heh).
I got the Hummer washed today as well, and it was pretty comical watching them try to wash it. First they put it part of the way in the mechanical car wash, and basically have a bunch of guys in there washing it by hand. Then they back it out, and finish it in the detailing section (it was planned, I guess they have done it before). Then what was the best part was they had a lady who must have been about 4′ 8″ drying the Hummer. The top of her head didn’t even come up to the hood.
This is one cool cell phone. It’s a flip phone that when closed is less than 1/2″ thick.
As far as I can tell, it’s only going to work with Cingular service though, and I don’t like Cingular, so I won’t be getting one. But either way, it’s amazing what they can pack into such a small design (quad-band [whatever that means], USB port, MP3 ring tones, camera [with zoom], MPEG-4 support, bluetooth, etc.)
They should make one for Verizon, and then I would switch to Verizon.
Oh, and it’s going to be $700 when it comes out next month. I’ve seen some “unlocked” ones on eBay for a little more as well.
I was flipping through the H2 owner’s manual to see if there was anything interesting…
You got to love a car that comes with specific instructions on how to drive over logs, drive over boulders and drive your new car through a river.
Rumors are running rampant these days about a new 60GB iPod that Apple will be releasing in the next 30-60 days (it’s claimed to already be in production).
New things it has/can do:
- 60GB hard drive (40GB was the previous largest)
- Higher resolution color LCD screen
- iPhoto synchronization for storing photos (I wonder if this means there is a Windows version of iPhoto coming soon like iTunes)?
- Audio/video out (display your pictures on a TV for example)
- $100 more than the previous high-end iPod
If this turns out to be true, I’m getting one, I have the original 1st generation 5GB iPod that could use an upgrade.
Normally Onstar charges $0.30 – $0.47 per minute (depending on how many minute you pre-purchase) to use the built in phone. Well now Onstar and Verizon have a new (well in the last few months) partnership that allows you to use your Verizon cell phone plan minutes for the phone in your car.
This was a smart move for both companies, because my Onstar service is free for the first year with my new car. The cheapest plan ($15/month) is not worth it for me to pay for it at the end of the year. The partnership makes me want to keep the $15/month Onstar plan as well as switch my cell phone service from Sprint PCS to Verizon. Neither company would have made any money from me otherwise.
Too bad the website to get info (like pricing) isn’t really functional right now.
I’ve had my new car for about a month now, and about a week ago, I realized I could actually talk to my car (and it talks back). It’s amazing how well it works too. Not only that, I realized that the Onstar system that comes in cars has a phone number assigned to it, so you can call your car (makes sense now that I think about it). You can say “dial xxxxxxxxxx” as you would naturally, just rattling off the numbers and it gets the right number all the time.
I remember when my mom got a new car when I was a kid, and I though it was super high-tech because it had a button (that’s right, 1 button for the A/C). But it was cool because it lit up green when you pushed it.
Now you can talk to your car, navigation systems tell you how to get anywhere (or where the closest ATM/restaurant is), the computer analyzes how dirty your oil is in real time to tell you when you should change it (rather than just doing it every 3,000 miles), radio is being beamed down from satellites, etc.
Now we just need flying cars, and I’ll be happy.
I found these a few months ago at Ralphs grocery store. It’s an apple that tastes like a grape.
I figured it was some new genetically engineered fruit, so I went online to check it out. No such luck… it’s just a normal fuji apple that is “bathed through a patented process and in a few days the entire apple takes on the essence and mouth-watering taste of Concord grapes”.
Oh well… not as cool, but they are still tasty.
Sometimes I really feel like people are incapable of thinking for themselves… Let’s take a home loan for example.
It’s widely known that you can write off the interest of the loan (not the principal) in your income taxes. Soon I’ll be building a house, and everyone keeps telling me that I should get a loan so I can write off the interest. Okay, that’s nice… but why not just pay for it outright I ask them? Their response is always, “Because then you can’t write off the interest.”
So if people would stop repeating what other people say and actually think about it, they might not think that way. Let’s do the math here… A 30 year loan for $1,000,000 at 7% interest would be $6,653.02 per month. That means you have paid $2,395,087.20 over the course of the loan (roughly $1.4M in interest). Wow, that’s fantastic, eh? Now you can write off $1.4M that you paid out that you otherwise could have simply kept. Which at a 30% tax bracket would be a savings of $420,000 because of your write off.
Hmmmm… pay $1,395,087.20 so you can get back (“save”) $418,526.16. What a deal!
It is a good thing, but if you can pay cash, that’s better… it’s funny to see people argue that you should “keep” your money rather than pay off your loan so that you can have the tax “break”.
If you are reading this, and you think it’s a good idea, maybe you should shop around for the highest interest rate you can find, because then you get a bigger tax write off.
One thing I have noticed since I started driving a Hummer is that when you are driving, everyone is really nice (much more so than my Toyota truck). Probably because people are scared you are going to drive them over.
There is one rather funny exception to this though. Small cars (I’m assuming the drivers are pissed off that people drive Hummers) are the only cars that have cut me off (and they do it a lot) since I’ve had it. Doesn’t matter what kind, but they all probably get 40 miles per gallon. I’ve seen lots of Geo Metro, Ford Focus, Honda Hybrids, etc. up close lately.
Personally, I wish the Hummer got better mileage, but regardless I think it would be funny to have the following license plate (the California DMV website has a pretty cool tool for building a license plate and checking if it’s available, which is where I made it). Although that’s just asking for an angry hippie to key your car. heh
Someone already has that license plate BTW.
I have an Xbox that I bought 3 years ago (pretty much when they first came out), that I use about once every 6 months. While at a friends house, he showed me his Xbox that was modded so he could copy games and stuff.
While I wasn’t really interested in the copying of games, some of the other things you can do looked interesting enough that I decided to see if I could do something like that without ruining my Xbox.
First up… for $59, I got an Xecuter 3 mod chip which comes with everything you need (except a soldering iron and solder).
I got mine from Mod Chip Man.
Much to my amazement, I soldered everything in correctly to the Xbox motherboard on my first try without ruining the board (it’s been 13 years since I’ve soldered anything).
Then I installed a replacement dashboard… For this I went with EvolutionX (also free).
I haven’t installed much stuff on the Xbox yet, but I did install Xbox Media Center… and all I can say is this one program alone is going to make me actually use my Xbox. It lets you manage your CDs and MP3s, etc. from your Xbox. It has network/Internet connectivity so it can also give you the latest news via RSS feeds, the weather for whatever cities you want and my favorite part… It can mount network volumes from other machines or access iTunes play lists via the network. All I can say is WOW. I would have done this years ago if I knew about it.