Aug. 5th, 2012 08:42 pm
captpackrat: (Camera)
LiveJournal really messed up the gallery.  It's a royal pain in the ass to upload and post images now.  Clicky on any of these to see the full image.

Macrophotograph of a screw.

Storms in the distance, and the water tower that was recently erected nearby.

I wish this bike helmet came in my size.

A couple toads I saw in a well head while looking at houses with a friend.

This show is boring!

Cool story, bro.


Something every Skyrim fan should have.

This tastes like ass.

Mmmmm...  Hooves....

I ordered a pork tenderloin sandwich from a local diner.  This is what I got.
captpackrat: (Gadget Laughing)
A recent Wii Everybody Votes Channel poll asked whether people eat bananas by peeling them a little at a time, or all at once.

Me:  Who peels a banana all at once?  If you do that, it loses its structural integrity!
My SO:  That was the geekiest thing I've ever heard.
captpackrat: (Goat)
Goats have a rather peculiar habit of "pinging" each other.  One bleats and another will respond.  My SO and I were talking about this, and I made the suggestion, "Oh, it's like an ACK packet!"

Sometimes two goats will start pinging back and forth incessantly, getting louder and louder each time.  I guess you could call that a ping flood.
captpackrat: (Stone Trek)
[Error: unknown template qotd]
Lt. Gary Stu, since he always ends up saving the day.   ;-)
captpackrat: (TV)
They don't make TV theme songs like this anymore.


May. 17th, 2010 12:44 am
captpackrat: (Memetic Hazard) says I'm an Uber Cool Nerd God.  Click here to take the Nerd Test


Mar. 11th, 2009 11:56 pm
captpackrat: (Evil Geniuses)
There's an empty 3 gallon water bottle sitting on the porch, which is somewhere around freezing (it's about 18°F outside).  The cold is causing the air inside the bottle to contract.  The cap is just slightly loose, so the air leaking into the bottle is making a noise that sounds almost exactly like a modem handshake.


Feb. 28th, 2009 04:53 am
captpackrat: (YIFFY)
I saw this just now:  Back to the Future license plate replica: OUTATIME.   I think I'd rather have one that said RYLOS.
captpackrat: (Gadget Thinking)
Chumby or Nabaztag?
captpackrat: (Gadget Parts Left Over)
My roommate found this device in his basement.  It was apparently something a former roommate had built.  He doesn't know what it does.  When I flip the switch, the green LED comes on, but turning the dials don't seem to do anything in particular, at least that I can see.

One of the IC's is labeled MC14013BCP, which Google says is a "Dual D-Type Flip-Flop". Another is labeled LM324N, "Quad Operational Amplifier". The third is a 7555CN, a "CMOS Timer, Gen-Purpose".

Anyone know what this thing does?  I have enough skill in electronics to know what the parts are, but not enough to figure out what they do together.

captpackrat: (Evil Geniuses)
A Dutch company called Spranq has come up with a font that will save up to 20% on ink and toner usage.  Ecofont is full of holes, and obviously you don't use any ink when you print holes.  It's not pretty, but it's perfect for home use or internal company documents.  Best of all, it's a free download.
captpackrat: (Gadget Parts Left Over)
In the latest episode of CSI, the killer reveals the location of one of his victims as the corner of Boulder Highway and Hasbrook.  I can't find a Hasbrook on the map, but Boulder Highway runs from Las Vegas to Boulder City, Nevada.  They show a train passing over the bridge where the body is hidden, and it is clearly a Metrolink train.

Metrolink only runs in Southern California.  The closest any Metrolink train gets to Nevada is San Bernardino, about 185 miles away!


If I had to guess, I'd say that scene was shot on the Antelope Valley Line, somewhere in Soledad Canyon around Agua Dolce Canyon. 

And if I'm not mistaken, the engine is an EMD F59PH; the number appears to be 861.  This particular engine was involved in an accident in 2000, a tractor-trailer got stuck on the tracks and was struck by the train.  The truck's load crushed the cab and injured the engineer.  She was still able to radio the next train which stopped just 60 feet from the wreck.

captpackrat: (Evil Geniuses)
Over a month ago, I preordered a 64GB Solid State Drive for my Dell Mini 9 netbook.  It finally arrived today!  Now I have tons of space on this thing!

The version of Ubuntu Linux that Dell provided was all kinds of broken, so with the new drive, I started out with a fresh install of Ubuntu 8.10 (Intrepid Ibex).  Just a plain vanilla install managed to get almost everything working, the Bluetooth, the WiFi, even the webcam (which is more than I could say for Dell's Crapuntu).  It also recognizes all 2 Gigs of RAM I have installed, Dell's version couldn't.  The only thing that didn't work was the sound, but that just required adding a single line to a configuration file.

I've still got tons of stuff to install on this machine.  I need to get it to automatically recognize my Bluetooth mouse, I need to tether my cellphone to it for mobile Internet access, I need to set up e-mail, IM, Skype and FurryMUCK, and then I have to do all the various program tweaks and stuff that I always do.
captpackrat: (MacGyver)
5 weeks ago I ordered a Dell Mini 9 netbook.  It's a tiny little laptop, only 9 inches wide.  It uses an Intel Atom processor, has no optical drive and uses a Solid State Drive (SSD) instead of a regular hard drive, so it has no moving parts.  It's available with Windows XP or Ubuntu Linux; I ordered the latter.

It finally arrived today, and it's really sweet.  It's soooo small.  The MacBook Air has nothing on this thing.  You can set two of them on top of a standard laptop.  It's totally silent; there's no CPU fan, no power supply fan and no hard drive.  The keys are smaller than usual and are a bit tricky to type on, and the small touchpad will take some getting used to, but otherwise, it's a really neat device.  The screen is small but very clear.

I ordered a 16 GB SSD with mine, but the schmucks at Dell only partitioned 3.5 Gigs worth.  They left the remainer totally unpartitioned and unusable.  I fired up GParted to see if there was anything I could do, but it wouldn't let me unmount the system drive while Ubuntu was running.

The system came with an Ubuntu DVD, but it doesn't have a DVD drive, and I didn't order an external drive, so I couldn't use the bootable Ubuntu DVD to repartition the drive.

The MacGyver moment:  I dug up an 8 year old 6x CD-RW drive with a missing faceplate, hooked it up to a spare power supply for juice, and then used an IDE to USB adaptor I had lying around to connect it to the Dell.  That wouldn't let me boot to the DVD, but fortunately I had a previous version of Ubuntu on CD-ROM so I booted to it, then used GParted to resize the partition.  I shut down, unhooked the frankenCD, and restarted the Dell.

Bingo!  I now have the full 16 Gigs of space available, minus Dell's utility partition, of course.

New phone

Mar. 11th, 2008 01:09 am
captpackrat: (Ratphone)
My Verizon contract expires in a few days, and their service here is horrible (it's fun to get a call about a job and have the call drop), so I had been looking to switch providers.  I was highly impressed by the performance of my Kindle, which uses Sprint and gets 5 bars all the time.

My Dell Axim PDA is getting a bit long in the tooth (and short in the battery), so I decided to get a PDA-phone.  I have a bunch of software for Windows Mobile already, so that brought my choices down to three, the Treo 700w, the HTC Touch or the HTC Mogul.  I've dealt with Treos before and didn't like them, so it was between the Touch and the Mogul.  The Touch is a bit slimmer and came with GPS and Sprint TV capability, while the Mogul has a slide-out keyboard.  I opted for the Mogul because I tend to text more often than I make calls.

I spent Saturday night and most of Sunday installing software and getting my new phone tweaked out just the way I wanted it.

And wouldn't you know it, HTC released a ROM update Monday.  Installing the update wipes the memory on the unit, destroying all the work that I did the past couple days.  But the new ROM adds high-speed Internet access, GPS capability, a task manager, improved Bluetooth performance and some software fixes.  It's annoying that I have to reinstall everything, but the upgrade is definitely worth it.

I'll post pics and a review soon.

EDIT:  YES!!!  The new GPS capability works perfectly with Google Maps Mobile!  No need to pay Sprint $10 a month for their navigation software when I can use Google for free!
captpackrat: (Close Encounters)
I didn't realize I had that many geeks reading my LJ.  :)

The icon is the Curwen Hand Signs for the 5 note theme from Close Encounters of the Third Kind.  It is used by Claude Lacombe (François Truffaut) to illustrate the 5 notes and to greet the alien near the end of the film.

The 5 notes are:

ray - me - doh - doh (lower octive) - soh


Jul. 11th, 2007 12:10 am
captpackrat: (Homer in the Land of Chocolate)

From the avatar generator on
captpackrat: (Evil Geniuses)
Several years ago, Microsoft was sued in California and settled.  As part of that settlement, anyone who'd bought a copy of DOS, Windows or Office (or bought a computer with this software) in California between 1995 and 2001 could file to receive part of the settlement.  I had a ton of Microsoft software, so I was expecting a pretty big refund.

After many years, I finally got a voucher for $240.  The only hitch is that I have to buy software or computer equipment (monitor, keyboard, printer, scanner, mouse or a complete pre-fab computer) to cash in the voucher.  I don't need any software, I don't need a printer or scanner, I build my own computers, and I certainly don't need $240 worth of keyboards and/or mice.  But I did have an old 17" monitor, and LCD's have come WAY down in price, so I figured that would be the way to go.

I did some shopping around and found that Sam's Club has a 22" widescreen ViewSonic VG2230wm for $299, a pretty good deal in its own right.  With tax and after the voucher it came to a mere $80!

I wanted to use the new monitor along with my old 17" in a dual-display setup, but my antique Matrox G400 (real men use graphics cards without fans!) couldn't handle two monitors with different resolutions.  Fortunately, my SO gave me his ATI X1600, so I was able to get the two hooked up.  And the old monitor looked SOOOO horrible next to the new one.   So small and so dim.  I was immediately tempted to go buy another 22" monitor.

So today I did.

Oh...  My...  God...

This setup is soooooo freaking amazing.  44 inches of monitor!  3360x1050 of desktop.  It takes up almost my entire desk!  I have a half dozen windows open, all at the same time with nothing covered up.

This is just...   wow.

And I now have a video card that can support modern games.  Too bad I'm still running Windows 2000.


captpackrat: (Default)
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