Random Email #32

Another random email I just received…

I have closed my Google Adwords account 6 months ago and you guys are still taking money out of my account. I want it to stop now!!

I’m not Google dude. I didn’t take any money out of your credit card you opened your AdWords account with. Did you try contacting someone at Google by chance? If so, did they tell you to contact me for some reason? :)

Solar Power Panels

Well, I decided a long time ago that it would be neat to put a big solar voltaic system at my new place and try to generate 100% of the electricity needed for the house (and servers and everything else I use since I work from home).

So I ended up going with a system that will be able to generate 42.8kW of power (35.7kW will be the “practical” rating for it), which consists of 252 panels (each panel can general 170 watts of power). The idea is to generate more electricity than you need during the day (running the SDG&E meter backwards), then draw on it at night.

I hope the system has some sort of SNMP probing ability… would be cool to pull up a graph of power output over time.

Blackberry 8100 Pearl (part 2)

Okay, this is what I threw out there in my first post.

Doesn’t work great with Macs (you can sync address book, calendar, email, etc. with a 3rd party program, but the program is really buggy and only works over a USB cable and not Bluetooth [yet]). It also doesn’t mount in the file system on a Mac, so you can’t copy files to it. Bluetooth file transfer from a Mac doesn’t work either. It’s ultimately a phone, so once you get crap on there, it’s good, and it does work flawlessly as an Internet gateway (via bluetooth), which is the most important part.

So I just wanted to clarify a few things after using it for a week or so…

As mentioned above, you *can* sync stuff with PocketMac, but it’s buggy as hell and certainly doesn’t have the usual Apple polished feel to it. Currently it only works with a USB cable, but they are supposed to be coming out with a Bluetooth version soon (I hope they fix the bugs while they are at it).

It turns out it *does* mount in the file system with a USB cable, but only if you have a MicroSD card installed (I threw a 2GB chip into mine for extra storage space).

Bluetooth file transfers *do* work it turns out, but it’s a bit of a kludge. You can’t just browse the device file system like you can with other phones… you can send and receive individual files though.

It’s a cool ass phone… especially considering you can get it for $50 instead of the normal $400-500 (see previous post).

Chargers Send 9 To Pro Bowl

The Chargers sent more players this year to the Pro Bowl than any other team in NFL history (the previous record was 8 players). 5 of the players going to the Pro Bowl this year for the Chargers are going to be Pro Bowl starters as well. Another 5 Chargers are Pro Bowl alternates.

I Think I Got Free Gas

Either the mechanism to measure flow through the gas pump was messed up and gave me free gas, or I can’t do math…

My truck holds 32 gallons of gas. I was *very* empty (it would be a stretch if I had 2 gallons in the tank). Anyway, I fill it up and the pump stops at 20 gallons, so I start it again and it immediately stopped again (like the tank was full). So I check the gas gauge in the car and it shows as being full.

So either my gas tank shrunk by 10 gallons, or that gas pump just gave me ~10 gallons of free gas. Weird…

Blog Tag – 5 Things You Didn’t Know About Me

Augh, I hate these things, thanks to Shoemoney for this. He obviously doesn’t read my blog, because if he did, he wouldn’t have to cry about me not reading my email (haha!). :)

  1. I was born at home with no midwife (parents thought it was a good idea to just buy a book on having a baby)
  2. I never took a book home from school (homework was typically done the 5 minutes before class), and generally was a B student overall (I’m a good test taker)
  3. I went to Russia 2 years ago
  4. I’m building a house (well not me personally)
  5. I’m smarter than the average human being I have flat feet

I’m supposed to tag 5 people to put 5 things people don’t know about them on their blog… unfortunately I don’t think I know 5 people with blogs that haven’t already been tagged, so I’ll do 4 (all I can think of)… and I’m not going to notify them either. If they happen to see this, then cool… otherwise no big. So here goes… Bobby, Julien, Chris and Summer.

San Diego Chargers vs. Kansas City Chiefs

All I have to say is wazzzzzzuuuppp bitches?!? :) Chargers win 20-6, with the best record in the NFL (12-2) with 2 games left in the regular season.

Oh yeah, and there’s this guy too… {shrug}

LaDainian Tomlinson had a career-long 85-yard touchdown run in the second quarter against the Chiefs on Sunday, giving the Chargers running back:

• His 31st TD, extending the single-season record he set a week ago.

• 186 points, extending the single-season record he set in the first quarter. With a 15-yard TD run on San Diego’s opening drive, Tomlinson broke Paul Hornung’s 46-year-old NFL season record of 176.

• 28 TDs rushing — the most ever in a season. He also has three TD catches.

• Eight straight multi-touchdown games, breaking the record he shared with John Riggins.

http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/recap?gameId=261217024

5V ≠ 12V

A couple weeks ago my network router at home finally died (it was a Linksys WRT54G), but I certainly got my money out of it (I got it when it first came out which was probably 4 or 5 years ago). Every light on it flashed, which couldn’t be good… so I replaced it.

Long story short is I bought another one (same model) and just swapped it out with the new one (using the old power supply). Well it was doing some weirdness every 24 hours or so where the power light would flash and it would loose Internet connectivity (all other lights were fine) and if you unplugged it and plugged it back in, you were golden again. Everything I looked at online was saying a flashing power light meant the firmware was screwed up (I didn’t change anything with it). Finally I decided to look closer at the power supply… even though it was the same model, the new version runs on 12 volts and the old one ran on 5 volts.

So I guess you can run a 12 volt piece of equipment on a 5 volt power supply and it will work (for awhile anyway).

Update

Ironically, you would think I would have learned my lesson about wireless security especially after the MPAA/Universal are suing me. But alas I didn’t… I have better things to do than muck with it. Rather annoying that Linksys routers come configured to be wide open (wireless) by default… Hopefully no one did any nastiness from an IP address I “own” in the last 2 weeks. :) I probably would have never noticed it except I was in the config area trying to figure out what the hell was wrong with it.

BlackBerry 8100 Pearl

Okay, so I finally found a new cell phone that I like (enough) to get a new one…

The good:

  • It’s the same size as my RAZR (same thickness, 0.5″ taller and 0.25″ skinnier)
  • Fast internet (speed test put it at 205kbit/sec for me)
  • Use it as an Internet gateway for your computer (great for traveling)
  • Quad-band GSM (use pretty much anywhere in the world)
  • User interface is really nice
  • Pseudo QUERTY keyboard
  • Nice camera… good quality, decent resolution
  • Gmail and Google Maps applications are pretty nice (better than web based access to the services).
  • Support for MicroSD cards, so you can slap another 2GB of memory in it (it comes with 64MB internally).

The bad:

  • $400 (although with a new contract you can get it for $50 [see below])
  • No GPS
  • Camera does not shoot video
  • Doesn’t work great with Macs (you can sync address book, calendar, email, etc. with a 3rd party program, but the program is really buggy and only works over a USB cable and not Bluetooth [yet]). It also doesn’t mount in the file system on a Mac, so you can’t copy files to it. Bluetooth file transfer from a Mac doesn’t work either. It’s ultimately a phone, so once you get crap on there, it’s good, and it does work flawlessly as an Internet gateway (via bluetooth), which is the most important part.
  • I wish you could create folders for your list of applications.

If they could just make it work better with Macs (like if iSync supported it via Bluetooth and if Bluetooth file transfers worked), my only real complaint would be the lack of an internal GPS.

Where to get one for $50 (thanks to Julien for this):

World’s Tallest Man Saves Dolphins

The world’s tallest man doesn’t play basketball, he saves dolphins…

The dolphins at an aquarium in Fushun, Liaoning Province, had fallen sick after swallowing the plastic from the edge of their pool, and attempts to use surgical instruments to remove the plastic failed because of the contraction of the dolphins’ stomachs in response to the instruments, the China Daily newspaper reported.

Veterinarians than decided to ask for help from Bao Xishun, a 2.36-metre-tall herdsman from Inner Mongolia.

Bao, 54, was confirmed last year by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s tallest living man.

The official Xinhua news agency said Bao, using his arm length of 1.06 metres, was able to reach deep enough into the dolphins to pull out the plastic.

Photographs showed the jaws of one of the dolphins being held back by towels so Bao could reach inside the animal without being bitten.

“Some very small plastic pieces are still left in the dolphins’ stomachs,” Zhu Xiaoling, a local doctor, told Xinhua.

“However, the dolphins will be able to digest these and are expected to recover soon.”

San Diego Chargers Sweep Broncos

Just got back from the Charger game, and saw LaDainian Tomlinson set the single season touchdown record (and he still has 3 games left). San Diego came out on top 48-20… (they also clinched their division) LT ended up with three touchdowns and Antonio Gates had two as well.

Shawne Merriman had 2 sacks and 2 forced fumbles (he had 2 forced fumbles and 2 sacks last week as well). Which puts him in the NFL lead with 12.5 sacks for the season (even though he missed 4 games with a suspension). San Diego also has the #3 sack leader in the NFL (Shaun Phillips).

http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/recap?gameId=261210024

On a related note, Jacksonville crushed Indianapolis 44-17. This is cool because it puts San Diego in sole possession of the best record in the AFC and in the driver’s seat for a first-round bye and home field throughout the playoffs.

http://sports-att.espn.go.com/nfl/recap?gameId=261210030

World of Warcraft Via P2P

It looks like Blizzard is one of the growing number of companies that have realized that peer-to-peer file sharing technology has some great uses. I just noticed they distribute World of Warcraft (full DVD and updates) via P2P technology. Cheaper because it uses the end user’s upstream bandwidth.

Neat!

The Cingular Comedy Hour

So I called Cingular to double-check when my contract was up so I could switch my cell phone service to another carrier, and I spent about 30 minutes on the phone with this lady who couldn’t tell me anything about my account…

Her: I need your account password in order to do anything on your account.
Me: I didn’t set a password.
Her: Someone did.
Me: Well it wasn’t me.
Her: Do you want to try and guess it?
Me: Not really, but if you want to sit here all day with me, I guess we could go through every possible password in the universe.
Her: You can always request to have the password taken off the account.
Me: Okay, I’m making that request now.
Her: You need to write a letter with your account number and social security number on it and mail it in.
Me: Does it have to be notarized or something so you know it’s me?
Her: No.
Me: How about I just give you that info over the phone then?
Her: I can’t do that.
Me: Why not?
Her: Because you might not be you.
Me: But a letter proves it’s me?
Her: Hmmm, I guess not.
Me: So you can’t tell me anything about my account without this secret password, but I can make a payment?
Her: Right.
Me: What if I don’t want someone else to make a payment on my account?
Her: They would be able to.
Me: So you’re telling me I can get into my bank account by them verifying info about me, but not my cell phone?
Her: Yes.
Me: Well that’s dumb, don’t you think?
Her: Kind of, yes.
Me: At least we agree on that. What if I just want to cancel my service right now?
Her: You can’t cancel your service without the password.
Me: Okay, so the only way to stop my service if I don’t know this password is to just stop paying the bill?
Her: Well, your phone would be shut off for non-payment, but you still would be billed your monthly charges going forward.
Me: For how long?
Her: Forever.
Me: Hahaha… so I can’t cancel my service, I can’t see anything on my account or anything else because someone put a password lock on my account?
Her: Right.
Me: That’s kind of funny… {looking on website at the same time} Okay, I found a place on your website where I can log into my account with my secret password, so I guess I’ll write a script that just tries every possible password.
Her: Well if you get the wrong one 4 times, it will lock your whole account and you will have to call to get it unlocked.
Me: Well I guess I’ll try that… thanks.

{trying random passwords until my account is locked and call customer service back and get a different guy}

Me: Hey man, I need to get my account unlocked because I’m trying to hack my account since I don’t know what the password is and I failed too many times.
Him: {looking at my account} Your password is the last 4 digits of your social security number. Probably someone entering your account into our system added it by accident. I’ll just take the password off your account.
Me: Sweet thanks. By the way, when does my contract expire?
Him: The 20th of this month.
Me: Thanks, bye.

The first person I talked to was funny to talk to, but could have saved a lot of time if I got the other guy first. :)

San Diego Chargers Are Current Super Bowl Favorite

At least Bill Simmons knows what’s up. :)

1. San Diego
More weapons than anyone, fewer weaknesses than anyone, and if that’s not enough, LDT just submitted one of the greatest two-month statistical stretches in NFL history. Put it this way: When the only reason people are doubting you is because your coach has a history of blowing big games, then you’re the unequivocal favorite.

Which brings me to my final point: Just look at everything that happened this decade so far. Roy Williams, Tom Izzo, Larry Brown, Tony LaRussa and Bill Cowher won championships. The Patriots won three Super Bowls. The Red Sox and White Sox won World Series in back-to-back years. Phil Mickelson won a couple of majors. The Pistons won a championship without a franchise player. Trent Dilfer and Brad Johnson won Super Bowls. Steve Nash won back-to-back MVPs. The Diamondbacks and Marlins both beat the Yankees to win the World Series. Pete Carroll won back-to-back national titles.

Seriously, you’re telling me that San Diego can’t win a Super Bowl? Beware of the Chargers, I say. In an upside-down decade for sports, Marty Schottenheimer might prove to be a bigger asset than you think.

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=simmons/061208

The Passion Of David Naylor

I would just like to thank David Naylor for confirming (against my will) that I find no enjoyment in kissing another man. God damn Brits.

I think it might be the only time in my life that my tongue has touched another man’s tongue. :) Tastes a bit like a buffalo burger. Blah…

Shoemoney avenged this deed by beaten him down at thumb wrestling. Oh wait, I think that was before…

(I ripped off the name of this post from Shoemoney, but it seemed the name was a bit more appropriate for my entry. heh)

Hilton In Chicago… The Good, The Bad & The Weird

The good part about the Hilton in Chicago is that it has nice marble floors. The bad part is this place has Internet that costs $35 for 5 hours of use, and then when you buy it, it doesn’t work anyway, so in reality this hotel has “Internet” that doesn’t work for a cost that works out to $168 per day. And by “not work”, I mean it actually doesn’t work (for about 3 days now).

The weird part of the Hilton is the 5th floor… Somehow Vanessa Fox ended up on the 5th floor (not really sure how that happened) and said it was weird. So of course we (Randfish, Jen, Shoemoney’s sister [hah] and myself) had to go (the elevators don’t go to the 5th floor, so we had to take the stairs)… and yes, it was indeed weird and semi-abandoned (all the lights where on, and room doors were open, but the rooms were kind of tore up). Some others (I wasn’t involved in this) went up there and found out that the mini-bars were all stocked and unlocked, so I guess for some people that’s a good thing about the Hilton (free snacks and alcohol).

Either way, all the good and weird stuff isn’t enough to outweigh the fact that this stupid hotel doesn’t have Internet that works.

Chargers, Bears, & Colts…

These are the three teams tied for the best record in the NFL (10-2). I went to the Bears/Viking game at Soldier Field in Chicago this morning, and uhm… it was COLD. Chicago in general is f’ing cold and I don’t know why anyone would willingly live here. :) Did I mention it’s cold?

Anyway, the Chargers beat the Bills today in Buffalo (LT scored 2 more touchdowns). Merriman was back after his 4 game steroid suspension and had 2 sacks and 2 forced fumbles.

The Colts lost today too, which is really nice because now the Chargers are tied for the best record in the league (not sure who holds the tiebreaker between the Colts and Chargers for home field advantage in the payoffs).

Back to the Bears game… the Bears defense is scary good, their quarterback threw 3 interceptions and had a passer rating of 1.3 (no joke), and they still won thanks to their defense.

Chargers vs. Bears in the Super Bowl? :)

Second Best Thing About Vegas

When you are bored in the airport on a layover on the way to Chicago, you can win $2,000 on a $5 bet. :)

I played a total of $20 (I played 6 total hands for $5 each, winning my first hand also) on video poker with my last $5 and hit 4 2s and an ace on “Dues’ Wild Poker”. The only hand that would have paid more would have been a royal flush for $4,000.