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.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Wild Cats of Wildwood

I saw a kitten today and maybe the people that used to feed the cats, but it does seem sporadic at best. The system may have broken down. In years past, the cats seemed to stay around the Euclid Creek area but seem to be branching out.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


We watched Ratatouille Saturday night. We're a little late to the game but we get there, okay. Anyhow, it's a good movie. It probably rates rewatchable.

Chagrin River Park Turkeys

We went for a two and a half mile walk this morning at Chagrin River Park in Willoughby. And, for the first time we saw some turkeys. We'ed heard over the years that they're there somewhere, but never saw one. This morning we saw 15 to 20.

While we were watching the turkey, some deer ran across the path right through the turkeys. They didn't seem to care.

Verizon Droid does the dishes too!

So Verizon has a new phone coming out called "droid". Wow, how creative. It's based on Googles "android". Why not hemorrhoid (to painful) or adenoid (pain) or, and I like this one, "steroid"(too strong)! Click Droid for Verizons site about their new baby.

Engadget has a article about it here.

I looked at the source of Verizons site and it says all kinds of wonderful things about the droid:
under description they said;
Droid Does Video;
Droid Does Tunes;
Droid Does Multitasking;
Droid Does Hi-Res;
Droid Does Speech Recognition;
Droid Does Apps;
Droid Does High Speed;
Droid Does Android;
Droid Does Directions
Wow! Droid does a lot. Mary wants to know if it will do the dishes? Oh, Apple? Start shaking in your boots!
And under Keywords Verizon had this to say:
Verizon Wireless Droid,
Droid Phone,
Verizon Wireless Android Phone,
Motorola Droid Phone,
verizon wireless,
Droid Does

Nothing earth shaking there.

Slippery Brick had this to say about the droid called "sholes" here, don't know why, maybe a code word.

And Mobile Whack seems to think it'll come out on October 30! Cool!

One more site has it coming out for Christmas. Thats too late, we want some action now.

I like the look of the phone and especially the slide out keyboard. With the verizon network and all the cool features this may be the new king of the hill.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Updating Vista and Asking for Trouble

Forgive me Blogger for things have happened and I have not blogged for 4 days. But,then all at once, hell breaks loose. Well, computer hell! Let me explain.

Mary has a Toshiba laptop with Windows Vista on it. Nothing earth shaking there, I must admit. Or so I thought. Yesterday, I thought I'd go over it and run Windows update and do some scans. I never got past Windows update. I ran it and clicked on custom (never just blindly install anything, always click on custom) looked it over and, ho hum, just routine. I even went for Internet Explorer 8 because it's Vista, Mary just types stuff and plays games and goes online so no harm no foul.

Foul! Hell and damnation! Vista went into an infinite loop! "Vas ist das? 'infinite loop' "? I've dabbled a bit in programming and it's a bad thing. The computer just kept looping through a series of messages saying it's updating and restarting and this and that but it was never ending. You can feel quite powerless during something like this, let me tell you. I let it run all night to see if there was an end to it. Nope.

I tried some voodoo on it. Even though it said not to, I shut it off in the middle of it all just to see if I could shock it out of it's hypnotic state. Nope. I started it in "safe mode" and tried each one of the choices. Nope. Took the battery out and starved it for awhile to teach it a lesson. Nope. I opened and shut the DVD tray and opened and shut the lid several times (eerily reminiscent of mechanics looking under the hood, but not doing anything in front of you) but, nada.

At this point, I realized I had a real problem on my hands. One, a sputtering laptop that just wanted to loop the loop like an acid freak having some deranged flashbacks, and two, My wife kind of tapping her foot mentally as her genius "I got this" husband of hers looked kind of lost (She really wanted to play "bookworm" right then).

Okay, the one option I didn't use during safe mode was "repair your computer". Duh! I used that trump card and chose "system restore" to go to a prior restore point. The one I chose was made automatically by Vista just before Windows update started it's routine. Way to go Microsoft!! It's almost like they saw trouble coming from someone using their update service. Weird, huh? Update your computer, turns into a brick! Who knew? Maybe it's marketing. It's obsolete, go by a new one, with you know Windows 7 on it!

Well, anyway, it fixed it. Trouble with that, it took all the updates back. Another insult was that I checked with Microsoft and their advice was to run a file called "blah, blah, blah, kb 937287". The important part here being "blah, blah, blah" because that didn't work either. So, I made some notes to help anyone else having this fun experience with Windows update:
  1. Run system restore
  2. Try kb 937287 (search their website for this)
  3. Go to update and choose custom then critical for Vista only (not I.E. 8)
  4. Go to update and get the rest of Vista updates (not I.E 8)
  5. Update, only Office 2003
  6. Update, only Office 2008
  7. Get the rest, always skipping Internet Explorer 8
  8. The very last update, which I skipped would be I.E. 8
Here's why you have to do this in this manner. What probably happened during my computers episode was that it was to many updates all at once and some of those updates were life changing(I.E. 8) to an operating system(Vista). Sometimes you have to be gentle with your computer and I forgot that and paid for it. The reason you have to skip Internet Explorer till the end or not install it at all is it's indeed a huge file intensive update somewhat akin to a sex change on a human. Not a heart transplant by any means but once it's done, it's done and there's no going back. I mean, maybe, but it will be painful.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Danger of Strangers and your Data

The issue: Data loss due to Microsofts inability to recognize it's customer base.

I realize that I'm weighing in a little late on this issue, but I have to say, "really?". I have a Sidekick, but her name is Mutzi and she doesn't need batteries, just bones. But I do have a Blackberry, so, I can feel some pain. No, I don't back up my data off my phone. I should. I just don't. And, nobody I know does it either. I had my "Blackberry User Tools" installed, but changed motherboards, hard drives etc. I liked the software because it had Roxio on it and it wasn't locked to an optical drive. Sweet! I backed up 1 time, after I installed it. It was a pain in the butt! I know better, but nope, not gonna do it!

Hey, seems the sidekickers didn't either. Seems funny, though, that the phrase "stranger danger" didn't pop into their little heads. After all, the company Microsoft bought to ensure the safety of their information is named, ahem, "Danger, Inc." I quote directly from Danger Inc.'s website "It is the business of the future to be dangerous" by mathematician, logician and philosopher Alfred Whitehead. I did not see a title like "datatician", "Supreme Protector of info" or possibly "Datadude". Weirdly, Al W. also said "Culture is activity of thought, and receptiveness to human beauty. Scraps of information have nothing to do with it". I'm thinking here that Danger Inc. chose the wrong mascot and the people who own sidekicks want their "scraps of information" back!

Microsofts customer base is the average person. They have trouble programming a remote, but they can use one. Too much technology too quickly has numbed a good many of us. We will not, as a group, back up much of anything. As we, the users, watch football and drink beer, this might cut into the opening kick off. We rely, as a group, on "you got that, right" to companies like Microsoft, cause they got that, right? Nope. They hired "Danger Inc.". (bought it) Yea, well, they decided to keep data "in the cloud". This means not on your device(the sidekick).

I don't mean to pick, but who in the marketing department thought "danger" was a good company name when your business was safe guarding data? And Microsoft was like, "hey, I like that, "Danger!", sounds edgy, buy that company!".

Then again, keeping your data in "the cloud" doesn't sound secure. Science tells us that clouds dissapate! In English, this means "go away". That's what happened to the data, it "went away". Microsofts idea of the cloud isn't even the cloud, it's "Mesh". They have a "SkyDrive"(25GB, free), kind of a thumbdrive you can't touch (but who can?). Adobe has "AIR", I think. At least it's closer to cloud. Did you know that Google has "Gears".

Here's the straight deal: data is the most important part of computing, period! Pictures, mp3s, resumes whatev, this is you. Any data is or should be transferable to any device or operating system! If it's important, yes, back it up! And remember, this can be done in an analog fashion if its a password or a phone number. This means pen and paper! Duh!

Just remember, if say, you're heading out to "One Microsoft Way"(Microsoft, Duh) and your "Gears" won't "Mesh" just take the "Skydrive" to Mountain View(Google) and as you climb into the "Cloud"s, don't run out of "AIR".

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest

Awhile back we ordered the third and unfortunately last book by Stieg Larsson, "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest". A great Swedish author who met his rather early death after beginning his fourth book, Stieg Larsson will be sorely missed by Mary and I and the rest of his adoring fans.

This book, as does the prior two, continues the story of Lizbeth Salander, an unlikely heroine if ever there was one. Tattooed, diminutive and antisocial, most readers, I think, would initially dislike her or be repelled by her physical non attributes. However, after completing the first few chapters of the first book "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo", you simply must read what comes next. We actually took the unusual step with the second and third books of ordering them early through Powells and getting them from the U.K. as you see, the third comes out in the states in July 2010 and we just couldn't wait.

Monday, October 12, 2009

2012 The movie

Hey, thanks Mike for the tip. This movie looks great. The preview is here.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Inland SATA/IDE Combo Drive Adapter USB 2.0

Search for ide sata usb adapter
I have used this adapter in all kinds of situations and would definitely buy it again. Without too much fuss, you can hook up a 3.5" or 2.5" IDE drive or any SATA drive through your existing USB
port and format, recover data, really anything you want to do and no drivers are needed. The only time it seems to act up is when there's a problem with the drive it's connected with. It's cheap, gets the job done and can be invaluable if you do the kind of stuff I do.

This is vary similar to the inland item I use.

Search for ide sata usb adapter