I have been accused in the past of being a Halo fanatic. This might have something to do with the thousands of Halo matches I’ve played. However, recent sales numbers seem to indicate these people are simply out of touch. Check this out…

Microsoft says Halo 3 netted $170 million in sales in the U.S. in its first day.
This figure beats all past sales records in the entire entertainment industry.

Sony – Eat your heart out.

Those not familiar with the game might also be interested to know that it’s based on Jihad. Of course they don’t call them Muslim-radicals, but a race of religious zealots spends most of Halo 1 and 2 trying to destroy humanity in order to complete a prophecy.

The little religious zealot aliens even call the human characters infidels. The entire second game was about one zealot who realized his religion was a lie and ends up joining the humans. Funny how the media isn’t really talking about this huh?

My thoughts on Ubuntu

September 26, 2007

Linux is just a kernel (the core of an OS) each “distro” contains a unique set of applications that control the look and feel of linux.

Ubuntu is a Linux “distro” that offers a Vista-like look and feel. Here’s a screenshot of the default install…

Of course there are also Kubuntu, Edubuntu and Xubuntu distros. …These all use the GNOME “Desktop Environment” to display programs, navigate, etc.

Randomly I found this cartoon today. It expresses my feelings on Ubuntu perfectly…

But don’t get me wrong. I don’t hate non-Microsoft operating systems. I just poke fun at them. I think Linux is great for some systems, like servers running as a “black-box” with no monitor or keyboard.

By the way, since we’re on the OS topic again I have to bring up Vista. I love bragging about how well it’s doing, since everyone else keeps lying about it.

You can monitor OS popularity using this NetApps site. I wasn’t surprised to see Vista gained 6.2% since last September while Mac OS gained 0.55% and Mac OS X has only gained 1.98%. So much for that momentum Stevie always talks about.

In all fairness though, I do think Mac OS X is the best Unix distro EVER. It’s a great operating system. I strongly recommend it to people who don’t know how to use a computer and have no interest in learning.

I’ve always said Apple’s OS is great for people who don’t mind drawing inside the lines. *snickers*

Viva La Vista!

Squirrel Brains

September 20, 2007

My friend MK recently sent this video. I donno why, but I love watching squirrels do tricks. This one is pretty smart…

Checkout this video. The kid who gets attacked in this video wasn’t being terribly polite, but he was acting within the boundaries I’ve observed in other collage political forums. Normally there are at least a few questions from passionate people like this. …Then again, few of them bring up the secret brotherhood of death.

This guy said a few flattering about Kerry. Nothing other libs haven’t already said, simply that Kerry should be president and that he technically won the last election (funny, but hey that’s his opinion). He also asked why Kerry didn’t protest the election results and wanted to know why he won’t impeach Bush.

The last question he asked was if Kerry was a member of Skull and Bones. Immediately the dude was jumped. As they drag him out of the room he’s screaming, “Please, what did I do? Why are you arresting me? What did I do?” Then, “Don’t taze me man! Please don’t taze me!!!”

…The taser sounded like a cash register ringing. You know this guy is going to get millions for this. Tasers are a non-lethal-force weapon, but they aren’t supposed to be used without a just cause. There were plenty of people on this guy. They didn’t need to zap him.

I’ll bet this makes plenty of people wonder once again about those outlandish Skull and Bones rumors. It’s odd how things like this keep happening to those investigating the society.

Kerry now says, “I don’t know what transpired”. As you can clearly tell from the video, Kerry was right there the whole time. If you listen to the video you can even hear Kerry mocking the guy as he’s being attacked, “…too bad that young man can’t come up here to swear me in as president” How can anyone respect this guy? He’s such a filthy liar.

I’ve been working on some software for my Treo to replace the Windows Mobile UI for a while now. I think marketing and executives ruined Windows Mobile, and operators like Verizon only multiple the problem with their annoying almost-functional software. The reason I liked the iPod was that it was simple.

Amidst hundreds of flashy, cumbersome and confusing MP3 players the iPod was born. This wonderful Apple device was so easy to use even dogs can use them (though it seems to make them a little fruity)…

Unfortunately Apple has joined the usual suspects and gone flashy with the new iPod Touch and iPhone. I think Apple will refine MultiTouch until the interface is simple and easy to use, but it might take a while. My point is that they didn’t get it on the first try like they did with the iPod, and their new sales figures prove that.

Back to my software, I think your mobile phone should simple know where you are if you have GPS. I don’t want to fiddle with settings and menus. I simply want my phone to know where I am. Is that asking too much? So far I’ve written the interface to the device and the background service. …Next I need to finish my mapping, directions and phonebook services. I’ve only done %5 of the total work, but the rest is http parsing and UI.

Right now most people will have to use an external GPS solution because cell phone carriers are criminals. However, external devices have at least one advantage; they use their own batteries so they won’t be draining your phone.

I chose the GPSlim240 and paid something like $120 for it about a year ago. You can buy one today at MWave for $79. I’ve already got my money out of this gadget, and it lived up to my expectations. That’s rare.

This unit tracks 20 satellites (normal but not great) for up to 8 hours under continuous use (much longer when used sporadically). It connects to your phone using Bluetooth, which is a really special (think small-bus) wireless networking technology. It’s not perfect, but it does exactly what I wanted it to and it’s smaller then I thought it would be. This is what it looks like…

I tethered mine on my keychain because it’s small, and my jeans aren’t going to stop satellite signals. It works well in my pocket and while my key is in the ignition. This is what it looks like while I’m driving…

Here’s a picture of what Microsoft’s cumbersome Live Search Maps program looks like…

I’ll probably blog more about the software I’m working on later. Right now I just wanted to show you the GPSlim240. Hopefully Microsoft will just fix their software before I finish my own, but I’m not holding my breath.

My phone cassette adapter

September 16, 2007

It’s always annoyed me that there isn’t a SIMPLE way to connect audio devices (iPods, CD players, phones, etc.) to cars. It’s fairly common place now in new cars, but not in 1997 when they build my BMW. …So I had to hack a solution.

I sync my favorite playlist to my phone and I wanted to connect that to my car. This is my end result. It cost about $20 to build and it sounds MUCH cleaner than the Bluetooth and FM adapters I’d tried in the past. It also doesn’t skip or pause randomly like Bluetooth, and you don’t have to adjust it all the time like FM adapters.

This is what my cassette adapter looks like…

Below is an up-close shot of the adapter without the phone connected. The Velcro and old Xbox jack hang off a regular cassette adapter I modified to work with my phone. I couldn’t find a cassette adapter that had a 2.5mm jack, CDs, iPods, etc. all use 3.5mm. Cell phone companies use 2.5 (because they’re evil).

Below is the adapter outside of the cassette slot. I realize it’s not that pretty, but it’s always hidden so who cares.

And here’s a video of me explaining what I did and how you can build one. Just post a comment if you have any questions, anybody should be able to do this. Even if they have almost no experience with electronics. The real trick is to go to WalMart and buy a cassette adapter that can be easily taken apart like mine.

48hrs @ Ocean Park

September 14, 2007

A little while ago my sister April (picture below) invited me on a last-minute weekend vacation to my parent’s beach house in Ocean Park, WA. We both have somewhat stressful jobs and we needed a break.

(she wishes that was her bus)

April had also invited my little brother Richard and her friend “Chips” aka Zeinab. Zeinab is an exchange student we know from Senegal. The Friday we left landed on the same day as Richard’s first football game. Fortuitously his game ended up being half way to the beach house. Richard took the bus to the game and we got there just in time to catch the last quarter. Here’s a pic from my camera phone…

After the game we hit the road. An hour later we were parking at the beach house. This map gives you a decent idea of the distances…

After unpacking we ran down to the beach to find ourselves on an empty beach. In the distance we could see one bon-fire. After a strolling for a minute we decided to build our own fire. This trip I constructed a nice blaze eight logs high using the Log Cabin technique. We had a total on two bundles of firewood stacked. It never fell over, but it wasn’t easy. We couldn’t find an Axe and I left my trusty hatchet at home. So… I grabbed the only hammer and got busy, leaving Richard to strip the wood off the logs by hand. He’s younger, it’s good training.

We relaxed by the fire and watched a meteor shower without saying anything. I think we were all just really tired. I know I was, and I enjoyed the silence. Eventually April and Zeinab fell asleep, so we headed back to the beach house.

We woke up the next morning to find ourselves famished. My sister had recently heard about the “ultimate breakfast café” on the peninsula, so we decided to hunt it down.

…April was driving, and we got lost. We were aimlessly wondering the peninsula until I spotted a gray hair and told my sister to pull over. I simply asked, “Hey, do you know where that new café is? You know, the new one that’s supposed to be ‘so-amazing'” Sure enough, he knew right where it was and piped back exact directions. …The gray hairs there know everything.

Within 5-minutes we had found the restaurant. I took a seat at an aging picnic table under a large maple tree while I waited for my dish. There I was entertained by a variety of friendly caterpillars…

My breakfast was an egg sandwich made up of two thick slices of homemade bread, spread with top-shelf butter and sprinkled with a hint of spices. I bet the eggs were gathered that morning, they tasted very fresh.

After the meal we decided to visit Long Beach (the largest city on the peninsula). Along the way we stopped at a garage sale and I scored some toys for my puppy. I think he likes them…

…I just love the facial expression on that elephant (we named him Babar). The puppy is teething, and as you can see he prefers ears.

So, after the garage sale we continued towards Long Beach. Eventually we found parking and headed towards the scooter rental shack where we procured two scooters (Richard and Zeinab don’t have a license yet).

A few minutes later we were the roads of Long Beach!!! Covering half the town only took a few minutes, so we decided to head out towards the Cranberry bogs.

Long Beach produces 20% of the cranberries on the West Coast. It was a fun ripping along the bogs, occasionally sampling the berries (suck on them, don’t bite them).

The scooters 20mph max sort-of felt like a standstill, but as you can see from the videos we still managed to have a good time…

We dropped off the scooters off right next to the go-kart track. The tack in Long Beach is as ghetto as they come. No helmets, no rules, just crappy go-karts on a track lined with rubber tires. …We all hurt ourselves there, but it was fun.

Here’s an aerial shot of the course and action right before we started racing. I had planned on taking a shot while I was racing, but I was so busy spanking Richard and Zeinab that I forgot to.

Talking smack was probably half the fun of racing. I ensured Richard and Zeinab that I would be completely unbiast when blogging about the race….But I never said I wouldn’t lie. Take it or leave it, this is my version of what happened.

The last stop on the trip was the huge frying pan. April and Zeinab couldn’t resist the photo op…