Thursday, December 31, 2009

Belkin F5D-7230-4 router and Samsung BD-P1590 Blu Ray is a bad combo

This started as a Helping Dan story but went south in a hurry. Dan saw that we had a Blu Ray player that streamed Netflix and wanted that same experience. I can't say I blame him, we love it. He bought a Samsung BD-P1590 Blu Ray player and has a Belkin F5D-7230-4 router. No big deal here, a routers a router and a Blu Ray player is just another device, right? Wrong! He was having trouble streaming movies and asked me to take a look. I dialed into his router using or whatever and saw that the Blu Ray was issued an IP address. I changed the range in case there was some conflict, but old Blu just didn't want to cooperate. All these devices seem to have some kind of network test so I ran that. It failed repeatedly on the third part "connecting to Gateway" or something like that. However, the test before that indicated that it did. Could it be that there were two "identical metallic mint green 1964 Buick Skylark convertibles" I mean gateways? No, I think that Samsung and Sony and the others have a system where when you stream a movie it doesn't go from Netflix directly to you, but from Netflix to Samsung to you, and I said as much too the technician at Samsung when I talked to them. She denied it which makes me think I'm right. Anyway, I established the fact that there was a connection to the internet through the Blu Ray by making a connection to Pandora, the excellent Music internet radio site. Now, I Ax you, how could you connect to one part of the internet and not the other? In the end, by looking at the log files on the router, I saw that it was denying a connection to an outside source. The fact that Dan had been watching Netflix all along points to the fact that things had changed. I ended up using the drastic step of turning off the firewall and that did the trick. This router has two firewalls that are not "identical". One is a N.A.T firewall and the other is S.P.I. I turned off the S.P.I. firewall. Things are working for now but should be better. A point i'd like to make is, HOW COME PEOPLE CAN'T JUST BUY SOMETHING AND TAKE IT HOME AND IT WORKS?

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Why anyone can and can't edit Wikipedia

I'm going to take a wild guess here about the people that read this blog and further, any potential readers. In addition, I want to include a majority (more than 50%) of the people that use the web for the information available and believe what they read is truthful and unbiased. I believe that this slice of the pie chart doesn't know or care how the information on the web is gathered or governed. In particular I want to discuss the venerable Wikipedia, of which I've quoted and used and admired for years. Wikipedia, "the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit". I'm willing to bet that most people don't know or care that they or their neighbors can edit Wikipedia and furthermore, have never done it and don't know anybody who has. This has what you might think of as a "telescope effect". Facebook users understand both ends of the scope of what they're doing. Wikipedia users, on the other hand, don't. Facebook users know that as they edit their own slice of life, they are in control of what users see. Wikipedia, "the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit" may not be free because Jimmy Wales, its founder, is begging for cash and "anyone can edit" doesn't seem to ring true either. I may be the only person I know to have tried to edit a part of Wikipedia (I'm still asking people) and I have never been successful. Once (or more, never kept track) I found typos, like "th" instead of "the", and vainly went back the next day to check out my "contribution" to the internet community. HAH! Gone!  Rescinded! I also added a link to Cleveland Torso Murders (full disclosure: we own it.) to a page on Wikipedia with similiar content, Cleveland Torso Murderer, only to have it pulled the next. This would seem totally self serving and was but was done with some innocence, I assure you. Time to quote "Cage the Elephant": "there ain't no rest for the wicked, money don't grow on trees" (video below).

Anyway, I digress. The point here is there seems to be a shadowy army of "watchers" that keep an eye on articles and if someone has the audacity to change one they just change it back. Wow. That kinda throws mud in the eye of the whole "anyone can edit" thing, huh?
Now I'm not going to use words like "goose stepping fascists" because, first, I'd probably look fascist up on, you guessed it, Wikipedia to make sure I was using the right words for this assault, and I'm not sure anyone "goose steps" anymore either. One thing I didn't do was to register or login or whatever, because I'm a bit of a privacy junky, so I was anonymous, but so was the person who countered my edit, one "Horwendil". This secret society seems to make up a minority who edits for the majority. It sounds like censure to me, but, it is! A weird fact that a lot of people won't care about, is that librarians often are the very group that bans books.

Here, we have information for the people, by the people as long as some of the people approve, and we don't know who those people are. Otherwise nobody will ever know what Bob from Denver added to this article, or how Dorothy from Kansas could have enhanced that article. I understand how some control is needed, especially because of the ever present threat from hackers, but the phrase "anyone can edit" is hard to swallow. Maybe if Jimmy has his hand out the spotlight should swing that way and a little transparency is in order. How about a new catchphrase. I think "the free (that can't exist without putting you on a guilt trip for reading it) encyclopedia that the elitists have determined that only they can edit but you can read" sounds better.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Sony Blu - Ray player. Model BDP-N460

We bought this player on December 16. I installed it that night. We have Netflix and one of the reasons we got this was to stream video from Netflix.. It stumbled on playing Midway(streaming) for some reason(the night after it started O.K.). Then we tried Joe Kidd. It played without a flaw at a quality we think you won't see from a DVD. The next night we watched Twister(streaming) and it was great.

On Friday, December 18, I picked my daughter up from the airport and got a bite to eat(Vincenzas) and after we got home I wanted to show her our new toy(the way it streamed video). Well, to my embarrassment, it didn't work! I did trouble shooting and there was no problem on our network. I called Netfix. We determined the problem was on Sonys end of the bargain. I found there was a problem with Sonys "Provisioning server" and reported it to Sony. Seems it was the first they heard of it. One of the main reasons we bought this product was the streaming capability from Netflix. I never realized that Sony was involved in the deal. This is how I understand it:
  1. Netfix streaming:
  • You put movies on your instant queue
  • You stream them to your computer using Internet Explorer directly from Netflix
  1. Sony through Netflix:
  •  You put movies on your instant queue
  • You stream them to your Sony device through Sony and then Netflix
So, what happened was, I spent an 2 hours or so talking to Netfix and then Sony telling them about a problem that should not be a problem. Something we should all know: If Netfix has a problem its one thing. But If you buy this product (Sony Blu - Ray player. Model BDP-N460) if Sony has a problem then you have a problem also.


Lately i haven't blogged as much because I've been quite busy. To whit:
  • December 10: furnace stopped working, spent all day fixing it. It seems the thermocouple and the gas orifices were the problem.
  • December 10: did not go to the Browns/Steelers game. We've had tickets since whenever. Had enough cold with the furnace.
  • December 12: had to put an entry door on my house with the help of Eric and my brother Norm. Took about 5 hours or so.
  • December 15: helping Al.
  • December 16: Bought and installed a Sony Blu - Ray player. Model BDP-N460.
  • December 17: Fixed Beckys computer.
  • December 18: Had problems with the Sony Blu - Ray player. Model BDP-N460.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Helping Al P.

Al's computer wasn't connecting to the internet or anything else. As soon as I saw it, I realized that the drivers probably were not installed right. Time for the quart of blood technique.
  1. I installed the chipset drivers
  2. I installed the video drivers
  3. I installed the USB drivers
  4. I installed the ethernet (LAN) drivers
  5. i installed the audio drivers
  6. I installed the Intel Application Accellerator
After all this, a quart of blood dropped from the computer, but it survived. Being a karate man, I understand that the computer was bruised on the inside. There was cop's, "plural" working on this computer! But in the end, the Karate man prevailed!

The true story is:
I looked up the motherboard after discovering the model number on the inside of the case. When I first saw the computer, I knew the drivers were not installed correctly. I took a quick look at the "system properties" to confirm what I knew and then decided I could be of some help. After all, I am, the " Karate Man"!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Another day at Wildwood

Went down to the lake twice today. I talked to Mark the bird Watcher and a guy named George who's a duck hunter. George wants to duck hunt off the pier in the middle of this picture because it's legal. I'm sorry, but I didn't know. In order to hunt ducks, you have to be off the shoreline. George said he can't hunt off the connected piers, but if he pulls a boat up to a freestanding pier its okay.

New Google Phone

Looks like Google may market their own phone. They recently gave their employees the new phone to test!
Share photos on twitter with Twitpic
I want one! It looks so cool! Rumor has it they may sell it directly to consumers unlocked!

Thursday, December 10, 2009


All this technology. Phone Grandma in Korea while surfing the web and give her turn by turn driving instructions to Yellowstone(lying here). Everything at your fingertips. Space tourism. Probing Mars. Diving the Titanic. Climbing Everest is a tourist attraction. That guy working on a flying car. What I don't get is:
  • Why can't I microwave food by pointing my cellphone at it and saying "cook"?
  • Why can't I taze someone I don't like with my cellphone?
  • Why isn't my cellphone also a retractable dog leash?
  • Why isn't my cell phone a Swiss Army Knife?
  • Wheres the laser pointer?
  • It's not a passport?
  • Boarding pass?
  • Carve a pumpkin?
  • Skin a deer?
  • Change a tire?
  • Open my house door?
I really don't care or want to skin a deer with my phone. What I really want to know, with all the money and technology and genius we have, why can't a cell phone cover Tigers tracks?

What, I'm Tiger Woods! I can't buy a cell phone and have somebody hack it so Elin sees my "normal" address book when she looks at it and I type, say, "wood" in and there are my 11 girlfriends? No brainer, right? This has cottage industry written all over it. " Sir, would you be interested, perhaps, in the "Tigerphone".(tm). "It's really two phones in one." The "home" phone and the "away" phone. It looks like any other phone! It's like truckers keeping two driving logs or accountants with two books. The Tigerphone(tm). Get "yours" today!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Counting Browns Coaches

Best if sung to the tune of "Count Your Blessings (instead of sheep)" from White Christmas by Bing Crosby

When I look at the schedule and I can't sleep

I count former browns coaches instead of sheep

and I fall asleep counting former browns coaches

when the wins column shows only one

I think of when the Lions lost them all

and I fall asleep counting former browns coaches

Braylon thought it was a nursery when Romeo was its head

edwards cried to be traded, now our seasons dead

If your name is Lerner and you can't sleep

Just count former browns coaches instead of sheep

and you'll fall asleep counting former browns coaches

you know its got to have Mangini seeing red

watching Lewis tiptoe like he was in a tulip bed

If you're worried about our season and you can't sleep

Just count former browns coaches instead of sheep

and you'll fall asleep counting former browns coaches

Proper lyrics are here.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Cat People

Earlier in the week I received an email from Ginger and agreed to meet her at Wildwood State Park to give her and Brian back their cat trap. This is the trap I retro fitted with a remote so as to trap the right cat at the right time. Whether or not they use this new feature is up to them as its optional and I would not accept payment for the service rendered because to me, I just wanted proof of concept.

While down there I did run into Mark, an avid bird watcher, who helped me sort out a bird identification problem.

After that, I talked to a cat feeder, as opposed to a cat trapper and sometimes their opinions weirdly, differ. The feeder didn't seem to mind the trappers as long as no harm was done and seemed more concerned with the loss of past pets than anything else.

Of course, I introduced them, not by name, and watched the interaction. Nothing much happened except  the exchange of trade data about the best prices for cat food. Pet Supplies Plus (I always thought this chain catered to the over weight pet) turns out to have the best prices for food according to Ginger.

Now, here's what's interesting. I'm a photographer. One or many of my subjects were The Wild Cats of Wildwood. By abetting the trappers, I lose source, but I'm neutral on this subject..

The birder, Mark, after talking to him, doesn't seem to mind the cats. Birds gotta fly, cats gotta eat I guess.

The feeder, don't know his name, doesn't seem to care as long as no cats were harmed.

So you have:
  • The feeder
  • The trappers
  • The birders
  • The picture taker
This dynamic fascinates me because they co exist without problems. Further, there is a large population of sport fisherman who have their own opinion about these circumstances and will care one way or the other. My problem is I'm losing subjects to photograph, as I liked the cats for their lens appeal. The trappers are doing a good thing, practicing TNR, Trap, Neuter, Release. The birder doesn't mind. I think the feeders as a group just want to feed to feel they are helping, but some of them don't like what DNR is all about.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Golf is Not a Sport

After recent events, I have to say: "Golf is not a sport". I have golfed, not well, at all, ever. No point of authority here. I will say that most "sportsman", this term is loose, would have defended themselves in some fashion against an assault from a woman with a golf club. Obviously I'm talking about the Tiger Woods situation. My theory of the events:
  • Erin(current wife) hits Tiger in the head with a golf club(nothing else was available, right)
  • Tiger enters the car(and hides)
  • Tiger drives at a low speed evading Erin
  • Tiger mows over objects because his brain is scrambled
  • Erin continues her justified rage, busting out the rear windows of the SUV (suggesting chase)
  • Tigers rescued by the neighbors who called 911
Golf is not a sport scenario:
  • Laurie(Brian's ex) attempts to hit Brian Urlacher in the head with anything.
  • Brian takes the hit and shrugs it off
  • Laurie remembers Brians Old Spice commercial and backs off
  • Brian regales the neighbors with some football talk (supporting video below)

Golf may be more of an activity than a sport. Let's face it, tennis is sometimes questioned, but after Serena Williams recent tirade, I think she would have smacked that club aside and said "what you got, biatch?!".

I think we need to reassess our definitions of sports and activities and entertainment and at least realize when they blend and what the border is, no matter how soft or hard it may be. But in the end, for now, golf is not a sport!

Friday, November 27, 2009

John Caparulo

We saw John Caparulo's 7:30 sold out show at Hilarities tonight and "Cap" was great. The first time we saw him was at the Ohio theatre and that show was sold out as well. We always have a good time when we see stand up at Hilarities and tonight was no different. That said, there were a couple minor problems. The first and worst, they took the hilarities club sandwich off the menu. This is a huge problem for us as it was our favorite thing on the menu, the other being the onion rings, which are also GONE! AAAHHH! As a substitute, we had mozzarella sticks and a fried chicken wrap. Mary just said "if I want a wrap, I'll go to La Bodega. They do wraps. We go to Hilarities, we want a Hilarities Wrap! " The other problem was we like to park at the 515 parking garage off Euclid Ave. and we got our ticket validated but it wouldn't work. We didn't have to pay but the guy told us we should get a receipt from now on. We saw the car next to us have the same problem and reconized them from the show. Minor problem, but never happened before. We love going down to East fourth for comedy, but BRING BACK THE CLUB!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

MSE - Microsoft Security Essentials Review

I recently updated my computer help site, jimzcom, and added a link to MSE. I've heard a lot about it but have'nt used it, so here goes. I'm putting it on computer #2, a windows vista/xp dual boot machine. I booted into Vista which already has Avira antivirus, Threatfire and Spybot Search and Destroy (all programs on the Kiss List) and installed it there. It took 5 minutes to install after downloading (a link is on Jimzcom) and then updated itself with new definitions (standard procedure) and started a scan. I don't expect it to find anything, but what the heck, can't hurt, right? Well, it took 12 minutes to scan 23819 items and not find anything. Again I'm not surprised because this isn't a high risk machine. I'd really like to run it on a computer that's already infected and see what it finds. Oh well, I'll give it a "C" because I didn't see it do anything but my computer still starts up.

Chagrin River Park and Wildwood State Park

We went to two parks today, walking about 3 miles between the two.
This picture is from Wildwood.

Euclid Beach is closed for the season 1969.

Lunch Time!

Good day for kayaking I guess!

And this last one is from Chagrin River park.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

La Bodega Again

For lunch today I picked up food from La Bodega. I had a #47 and Mary had the #15. Both were really good.
This time I took pictures too! Above is the # 47.

And to the left is the #15.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Fixing Franks Computer

These are the steps I took to fix a Compaq computer with windows XP on it:
  1. I booted the computer up to see what it was doing. It was exhibiting signs of infection.
  2. I rebooted into safe mode (to do this, before the operating system comes up keep hitting the F8 key. You'll get a menu, choose "safe mode").
  3. Once it's done booting and asking questions, click Start>Run. Type "msconfig" in the box. Here and here give some answers to how to use this tool. I basically went to the Startup tab and unchecked things I didn't like or reconize.
  4. I rebooted. Here's where you can tell if you're on the right track. The computer boots faster and no pop-ups.
  5. Next, I thought it would be fun to install Spybot Search and Destroy. I know it's growing long in the tooth but, it's free and still gets the job done.
  6. After that, Threatfire seemed a good choice. It doesn't use a lot of system resources and once installed you don't notice it, but computers seem more stable with it installed.
  7. Okay, out with the old, in with the new, antivirus that is. Norton had expired, so I clicked Start>Control Panel>Add or Remove Programs. I went through the process of uninstalling Norton antivirus (required a reboot). 
  8. Prior to this step, I had downloaded Avira to the desktop. Consistently rated the best antivirus program, it's the one I recommend (and I'm affiliated with them).
  9. I scanned with Avira after installing, and again after booting back into safe mode.
  10. I also recommended CCleaner as a registry cleaner, located here.
I believe in good Karma, one of the many reasons I posted this How-to on restoring your computer to good health.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Lets feed the Christians(Browns) to the Lions!

The title is not so much a statement but a joke, and not so much a joke but a statement. As a joke, it's the eleventh week of the regular season, and to many Browns fans, it's a regular season. It's what we are used to. Losing. Losing is a disease, aah, but curable! (Okay, I'm channeling "The Natural", but with a point) and the point is, the team will win again. Just not now and that's what's unacceptable to the fans with a special thanks to our brilliant sportswriters who fan the flames of discontent no matter what happens. The Browns are going through a rebuilding process and I think we should realize this. More to the point, the entire organization is rebuilding, almost continually, before our eyes and we need to give it a chance. Al Lerner died in 2002, the Browns third year after being reborn. Randy Lerner was thrust into the spotlight as team owner and though it's been seven years, hasn't gotten it right yet. By comparison, the Rooney family has had the Steelers for 76 years. When somebody has an episode, a failure of health, a suspected heart attack, it's common to hear someone say "okay, everybody step back, give him some room, let him breathe!" then they loosen his clothing and let him relax. This team has had an episode and is trying to recover, there's still a pulse, a heartbeat. The team isn't just what we see on the field, it's like an army where for every 1 guy on the field there's ten providing support. Some of those ten should be us, the fans. Acting like a pack of wild dogs, the fans and media have pursued the Browns and nipped at their heels for every misstep they have taken. Sometimes I have to wonder who's side they're on. After watching the Lions lose to the Vikings this past weekend in something resembling style, and recalling the Browns taking the Bengals(who now lead the division) into overtime for a hard fought loss, should we really feed these christians to the lions, or support them even if they lose?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Browns fans suck and Bill Belichick PB&J

We bought the Browns season ticket product last year and it doesn't suck any more or less than this year. This Browns ban sucks! Mary's a Steelers fan and she's disgusted!  Anyhow, here's a nice video of Bill Belichick when he was with the Browns and liked people, for your enjoyment:

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Installing Windows 7

It's Sunday, there's football on, but its time to install windows 7. I ran the upgrade advisor and it says go ahead. I just exported my bookmarks from firefox and transferred some data to other drives. Then I made a list of installed programs. Right now I'm formatting an external hard drive because they advise using one along with "windows easy transfer" located here. I've also decided to install the 64 -bit version of windows 7 (maybe I'll be the first kid on the block with it). And, I'm putting this operating system on computer #1. Oddly, when you purchase windows 7, you get a card that tells you to use windows easy transfer. But after installing windows easy transfer the program contradicts the card. Let me explain. The card say's you need an external hard drive in order to use easy file transfer and goes on to say you can use a USB flash drive or Cds or DVDs  but must copy files manually. Yet the program offers the use of a network option thats not mentioned on the card. Weird, huh?

Anyway, after running this very cool program it ends up wanting to back up a huge amount of stuff (almost 600 GB) and the external drive I'm using is old and small (80GB). This computer has 4 hard drives in it (two for operating systems and two for data) and it picked up the other 3. I went to customize and then advanced and deselected all drives except "c". The result, 315.7 MB is more reasonable.

Wow! A lightning fast transfer time of 5 minutes! That's a wrap!

Step 4 on the card that came with windows 7 says "Insert the windows 7 DVD into your PC. When asked "Which type of installation do you want?" click "Custom (advanced). Only that didn't happen with me. What happened was a message that says "This installation disc isn't compatible with your version of windows. To upgrade, you need the correct installation disc. For more information, check your computer's system information. To install a new copy of windows, restart (boot) your computer using the installation disc, and then select custom(advanced).

I chose to boot with the 64 bit Dvd in the drive to see what would happen. What happened is theres a box asking for a driver for a CD/DVD! I haven't heard this one before. Of course its my fault. I have an add in card for IDE drives because my motherboard only has one. The chipset on it is from Sillycon image. I went to them but had to use the AMD version to get it to work. Well, its installing anyway.

That was at 5:00 its now 7:30 and it hung about an hour or two ago. I'm used to this behavior and will let a computer and/or software try to sort itself out. But, I gave up for today. I rebooted and my original configuration came back I.E. dual boot, 2 o.s.s to choose from. No data gone. No problem.

Euclid Creek

This morning we went for a walk in the Euclid Creek Reservation. A little chilly but a good day for a walk.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Wildwood/Wildwood Cats

I stopped down at Wildwood yesterday one, because it was so nice, and two, to see if Brain and Ginger were down there catching the wild cats. Well, no Brian and Ginger and no cats. I did see three cats on Thursday including the little orange kitten. He (or she) is not so little anymore so he's probably eating well. I've stopping after work most every day hoping to see Brian so as to give his trap back. I completed the project to make it remote controlled and I'm anxious to see it work.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

To Windows 7 or not to Windows 7, that is the question

Let me explain. I use two main computers. Computer #1 has a dual boot system installed, both Windows XP, one for productivity and the other for games. Both have two accounts set up, one as general(limited) and the other as maintenance(administrative). This is how everybody should have their computer set up, as far as accounts are considered.
Computer #2 is also dual boot, with Windows Vista and Windows XP options. Either operating system has general as well as maintenance options. Now, I have to decide how and why to put Windows 7 on which computer. The why is obvious, as I've already beta tested it and I want to keep up on current operating systems. How is a little more complicated, as I'm quite happy with what I have going on. As I write this on computer#1, I'm uploading pictures to pikshures and indexing all the pictures on computer#2 with Picasa after booting into Vista. Why screw things up? Probably because I'm getting a little bored and need a challenge, so, I'm going to install Windows 7 onto computer#1 sometime this week. Stay tuned!

Lakeview Cemetery and Wade Park Lagoon

Sounds like a broken record. We went to Lakeview Cemetery this morning and then afterwords visited the Wade Park Lagoon, the proper name for the waterspace behind the Cleveland Museum of Art next to Severance.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

La Bodega

After walking in the cemetery we went to La Bodega because all that walking makes you hungry. Mary got #27 again, but as a wrap (I had this before and shared it with her, well, actually she took it and wouldn't give it back) and I got #31, a Cajun Chicken Salad, Corn, Black Beans, Colored Peppers, Lettuce, Tomato, Onion, as a Wrap. This may have been the best sandwich I've gotten yet from there. There's a little bit of heat, but it's balanced by the rest of the ingredients. Every things always fresh and even the next day (because sometimes the portions are generous, especially the wraps) it's still good. This is my new favorite!

Lake View Cemetery

Did Lakeview again today, maybe a two mile walk.

We really wanted to see Charles Pinkey's grave. A minor leaguer killed by a pitch during a game on September 15, 1909. There's an article here and here that gives more detail on his life and death. He lies in what was an unmarked grave until recently. Kotecki monuments said that they would donate a headstone. I went in and asked without knowing his name and came up empty.

We still walked around and visited Ray Chapmen's grave among others. It was quite crowded, just not by the living. After that, it was off to La Bodega.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Add music to a web page

Seems like a simple enough procedure, right? Wrong! This is for The Emijj, to juice his page up a bit. I had some of his music already ripped in MP3 and WMA but my web development package Microsoft Expression Web) only recognizes WAVs and some other crappy formats and I wanted to just knock this out and be done. Well, the WAV file size is 39.1 MB and even with most people having broadband, it seems to big. I'm pretty sure that the file downloads first, then plays, so, no, we're not going to do that. Option two is to take that big WAV file and cut it down to size. Audacity will help, so I downloaded it and installed. I imported the WAV file, selected about 30 seconds, played it to check what I selected, then cut it and pasted it into a new project. Then I exported it as a WAV file.
  • The result is a file size of 5.12 MB for 30 seconds
  • The original WAV was 39.1 MB for 3 minutes 52 seconds
  • The original MP3 was 8.88 MB for 3 minutes 52 seconds
  • The original WMA was 3.58 MB for 3 minutes 52 seconds
Then I uploaded it and it doesn't work. Well, it works in internet explorer but not in firefox. For now. Till I find a way to make it work. Because this is doable!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Missing Mark by Julie Kramer

Forgot to post about "Missing Mark". I finished this book about a week or so ago and went on to "1491" by Charles C. Mann. I read "Stalking Susan" first and was pleased enough to want more. They are both easy reads, but I believe in a good mix of books. I really like the insight from a newsroom perspective.

The West Woods at The Geauga Park District

Went for about a three mile walk this morning at The West Woods, a new park(for us anyway). This park has around seven miles of trails and we loved it. We'll be going back.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Emijj's web site

Did a little update to The Emijj today. I changed the logo and the background. Not much but it's always small steps.

Wild Cats of Wildwood: Remote Control Project

This is an attempt to add remote control capabilities to a live animal trap. 
I started looking around for parts yesterday and came up with a Tyco Phantom R/C car. Brian provided the trap and I have to figure out how to do it. I got the idea off of a YouTube video after searching the web.

Here's how to do it:
  1. Remove the body
  2. I removed the front wheel assembly because i saw that I could do it and it gives a more compact package
  3. After removing the front, there were two wires for steering. I clipped one and tested to see if it still worked.
  4. It still worked so I clipped the other wire
  5. Now you have to remove the tires off the rear wheels leaving the hubs
  6. drill a hole a little smaller than 3/16" through the right rear wheel. I drilled mine slightly off center so as to miss the axle
  7. Mount the body with the battery compartment up so you can replace the batteries. Pay attention to where the on/off switch is located
  8. The wheel you drilled should be sticking off the side of the cage so the rod you attach to it can move freely
  9. I purchased 3/16" threaded rod about a foot long and after attaching two nuts to it screwed it through the hole I drilled
  10. I also purchased an 3/16" eye bolt and attached it to the threaded rod with two nuts, one nut was extra long. You need to lock it all together
  11. I tied a piece of nylon rope to the trigger mechanism and tied the other end to the eye bolt
  12. As you can see in the pictures, the eye bolt starts in the top position and swings down, gaining momentum
  13. Wheel rotation is important. In my example, I use reverse to actuate the trigger

Rear wheels are already removed

Remove the body

remove the front end

After everything's removed, it's a small and compact.
I duct taped a piece of wood to the circuit board area to prevent any short circuits.

Drilling the hole

Try to get it off center

Like this

This was my initial placement. I ended up moving it towards the back of the cage.

The trigger mechanism

The final mounting

Front view

Here you can see eye bolt and nuts. Note the longer nut

Another view

Finished and ready to trigger!

Wild Cats of Wildwood

After work yesterday I met Brian and Ginger down at Wildwood and got skunked! They didn't catch any cats but did see a couple (I didn't). I told them about a video on youtube about retrofitting a trap with a remote control and we agreed that I'll attempt to do this (I looked around yesterday and I have an old remote controlled car that should work for this purpose). Whether or not I succeed I'll post the results here and maybe submit an article to wikihow.

I also found some sites related to the "Trap, Neuter and Release" (TNR) effort, which is what Ginger and Brian are practicing. Neighborhood Cats is one such organization that provides a wealth of information. The ASPCA has a Feral Cats FAQ that answers a lot of questions that you may have.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Wild Cats of Wildwood: Cat Trap Fever

After work today I went down by Wildwood State Park and there wasn't much going on. I was about to leave when I noticed some people setting out what turned out to be live traps. I met them and ended up helping them, more with information than anything else because I've been observing the cats down here by taking pictures of them.

I've noticed a change in their behavior because they are much more noticeable now and seem to be branching out. I thought maybe there was an interruption in their food supply (which seems to be a shadowy network of 2 to 6 individuals who come at all times of day and night to care for the cats, besides, you know, the natural method of feeding)

because there was less evidence like empty food containers and such.

Ginger and Brian have been rescuing wild cats for at least 2 years. They trap them and take them to the APL where they are assessed and spayed/neutered and then put up for adoption or possibly euthanized or released back into the environment at Wildwood. Sort of a catch and release program. They currently support feeding the cats at least as winter is coming and the cats caloric intake roughly doubles during cold temperatures.

The fishermen we talked to estimate about a hundred cats in the area, and Ginger and Brian caught 4, just a dent, but their best outing yet. I modestly attributed their good luck to my presence. Together, they not only work on the situation at Wildwood, but the Euclid Beach area to the west and also where East 156 Street dead ends at the lake a little more west. Also, there seems to be a community of feral felines at the intersection of East 156 Street and Grovewood that they are involved with.

Out of four cats caught, two seemed recoverable and two, one feral with bad paws and a red nose and the other with three good legs, did not look like they would be re-introduced or adopted. Obviously, Brian and Ginger are doing a hands on service to our community that many people would not want to undertake. My hats off to them, and I'll continue to follow this story. For additional pictures from this story, please click here.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Lakeshore Reservation, Lake Metroparks

This morning, Mutzi and I took Mary to a new park, the Lakeshore Reservation in Lake Metroparks. It was definitely "new sniffs" for Mary and I and also Mutzi.

The park is dog friendly and has a nice variety of trails and habitat that should keep bird and wildlife watchers happy. We liked the sculptures and steep steps leading down to the rather primitive beach.

Weirdly, right in the middle of this park, there seems to be a residence, which is off limits, obviously, but isn't mentioned outright on the parks website, but is shown on the trail map as a "restricted area". Now, this is lake county, and we're from Cleveland, slightly unfamiliar with the local trails and customs, did not wander onto the "restricted area", only because We researched our visit, but the unfamiliar visitor may just go "off trail".

We did appreciate the many weird sculptures that gave it a "Stonehenge" of Lake County feel, but to me, it seemed kind of haphazard and not well planned. This is a newer park and maybe it needs to "age". Mutzi liked it, it was a 3 bagger.

What's the Mather?

On Saturday, Mary and I toured the Mather, sans dog (Mutzi). The Mather is a former Great Lakes bulk freighter. It was interesting and cold!

Our tickets were complimentary from our sailboat excursion in July and we dragged our feet until now. A word of warning, there's no heat or air conditioning, so if you go, plan for that. We enjoyed ourselves and would recommend the tour.

One thing we liked is that it's self guided. Sometimes on guided tours, you don't have the time to fully check things out and get the full experience you paid for. We liked the view from the deck of the ship (you walk from stern to stem, or aft to bow? O.K. I'm not BoatBoy) you see Browns stadium and downtown from an angle and height you're not used to.

We would go back and do it again, but it would be cool if you could get something to eat or drink (like hot chocolate, it was like 40 degrees). If I owned it and had Bill Gates money, I'd cut holes in the sides of the hold and put a decent restaurant in the there, with heat and air conditioning and valet parking and definitely serve those little ears of corn.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Dual booting Vista and XP

Today our episode begins with our trusty hero(me) and his hearty sidekick(Mutzi, sleeping) attempting to install windows vista with windows xp already installed hoping to arrive at a dual booting solution. Lets watch.

The scenario thus far:
  • An existing windows xp install on an 80 GB hard drive (IDE) volume label: WinXp
  • A free 80 GB hard drive (IDE)
  • A 1.5 TB hard drive with data
  • A 400 GB hard drive with data
Where I want to end up:
  • An existing windows xp install on an 80 GB hard drive (IDE)
  • An existing windows vista install on an 80 GB hard drive (IDE)
  • A 1.5 TB hard drive with data (SATA)
  • A 400 GB hard drive with data (SATA)
  • The ability to boot into either operating system
  • No loss of data
The steps taken:
  1. I took the precaution of unplugging the two SATA drive data cables for safety.
  2. I had to swap out the cd burner and swap in a DVD-Rom (Vista comes on a DVD).
  3. After booting up, I put the dvd in the drive.
  4. It asked if I wanted to do a compatibility check or install now. I chose install now.
  5. Chose "go online to get the latest updates for installation".
  6. Product activation time, type in the code.
  7. I accept the terms
  8. "which type of installation do you want? We chose custom(advanced)
  9. Here's the reason why I labeled my xp install "WinXp". It wants to know which disk to install to. The one not labeled "WinXp"! Duh!
  10. It's doing it's thing (the time is 2:55 P.M.)
  11. Once, twice, three times the reboot (unless I counted wrong) and.....
  12. And, Presto! Done! (the time is 3:20 P.M.)
  13. Well, I thought we were done....
  14. and presto, done, I guess (the time is 3:28)

The aftermath:
  • In device manager, the only things with exclamation marks are the RAID controller and the SM Bus controller
  • Vista works
  • Upon, restarting, WinXP works!
  • Problems: I'm using a DFI motherboard, it's old and there are no drivers for the Silicon Image 3114 SataRaid Controller.
  • Silicon Image does provide a driver
  • It still doesn't work right. When it does, I'll update
  • Mutzi, still sleeping
The afterword:

This is not the first time I have installed Vista. I just never used it and didn't care for it. Still, I own it and should use it because lots of other people don't have the option not to own or use it. It came with the computer they bought and maybe at the time it seemed like a good idea. The old saying goes "you gotta dance with the one who brung ya". So I'm gonna suffer with you. Besides, Microsoft finally gave birth to Windows 7 so I'll end up installing that again too.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Littoral Combat Ships - U.S.S. Freedom

I saw this Yahoo article about the Navy's newer ships and recalled that Dan and I visited the U.S.S. Freedom when it passed through Cleveland on its way to the Atlantic seaboard. It was a one day visit and we waited hours to see it. It was well worth it to actually get on board something just built and cutting edge. My gallery is here on Pikshures. I started digging and came up with this from Lockheed Martin and this, their Flickr gallery.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Euclid Creek photo shoot

After work I went to to Euclid Creek with Dan to take some pictures. While we were there, we saw a woman I've seen in the past who feeds the chipmunks that seem to be concentrated at the east end of the the park. We talked to her for awhile and she said she feeds them peanuts in the shell and sunflower seeds.

I looked through my pictures and found some from 2008 that I took of her and her Friends.