Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Google gave me a Krismas present!

Google sent me a Cr-48 Chromium laptop for FREE! You can't imagine how awesome it was to find that on my door step. I just went to their beta sign up, and a little more than a week later I had one! If you haven't already signed up for it, give it a shot, and maybe you will see one on your front porch. Here is the link for more info, with sign up at bottom of that page. I'll go into better detail some other time, gotta give it a good test run first.

http://www.google.com/chromeos/pilot-program-cr48.html

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving in under 2 mins

Happy Thanksgiving world! Here is our turkey day feast time-lapsed to under 2 mins. Was a great time!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Android Pumpkin!


So my buddy Dan came over to help carve pumpkins, and gave me the idea to carve an Android one. So I downloaded the pumpkin carving app, and it carved the pumpkin for me. Android phones are so awesome.
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Where are all the billionaires at?


This is a pretty interesting map showing where all of the billionaires are in the world. The bigger the circle, the more money. I suppose it's probably their main home, as they probably all have many of them. If there is a billionaire in the same place, they stack them up. The US is crowded with them. If any of those billionaires want to give me a few million, just send me an email and we'll figure out how to transfer it over. I will be eternally grateful, or at least for another 70 some odd years. Sergey Brin and Larry Page, do you have a PayPal account? Love what you guys are doing with the company. I'm probably not your number one fan, but I'm at least in the top ten. They didn't have a good way to import to a blog, so it's just a trimmed screen shot. Go to the site and check it out for an interactive map.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Three big changes coming

There are three big changes coming that I think will affect our population more than any other.

  • Vertical farming in skyscrapers, growing our food where we live in a closed system allowing maximum growth from minimal resources all while being organic.
  • Clean power, or maybe a better way to store/transport already existing clean power. This could be significantly better batteries, fusion power, neutrino based wireless power, who knows I'm just making stuff up know.
  • Cars that drive themselves.

I should have known that Google would be the one to save the day. Apparently they've already driven 140,000 miles in an automatically driven car in the San Francisco Bay area. I'm excited about this, and can't wait for it to be mainstream. Hopefully it won't take long.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Modest and proud of it

So it's been an interesting time for me lately. The contract that I work for didn't get picked up by my company. Another company was probably going to get it, and we were all going to have to switch companies. Then because of some kind of legalese stuff, maybe we weren't. Then maybe we were going to have to go on furlough, then blah, blah, blah, they don't know. So while all of this stress inducing stuff was going on, I'm also refinancing my home for a lower rate, registering for college at Columbia Southern University to finish my bachelors, and still trying not to be a pig and have some sort of a healthy-ish diet. Then, on top of that, I was trying to find reasons to justify a raise because I felt like I was being under paid for the skill sets and experience I bring to the table. While searching to find other jobs that I would qualify for and what salary they would pay, I came across a job that I would much rather have, and I qualify for it. So I decided to test the limits of my stomach lining and my sanity by trying to get a new job on top of all the other things going on.

So trying to get more money for myself is very difficult for me. I'm basically modest. I can sometimes be cocky, but it's more of a joke than anything else. I am pretty confident in my skills as an electronic technician, but I'd rather prove myself by fixing something than I would by talking about how awesome I am. I'm also more of a jack of all trades than I am an expert in any one particular piece of hardware or software. I have some basic knowledge of a whole bunch of things, and then I've got really good fiddling skills, and I'm not afraid to click buttons or flip switches to figure out what something does. I'm also not afraid of technical manuals, in fact if there is a well written one for whatever new system I'm about to try and fix, then I'd rather dive in to it and learn. I can't say how many times I've "fixed" a system just by following the instructions that no one else wanted to read.

One caveat about the level of confidence that I have, it's based on the Dunning-Kruger effect. Here's the most important parts of it grabbed from Wiki

Kruger and Dunning proposed that, for a given skill, incompetent people will:

  1. tend to overestimate their own level of skill;
  2. fail to recognize genuine skill in others;
  3. fail to recognize the extremity of their inadequacy;
  4. recognize and acknowledge their own previous lack of skill, if they can be trained to substantially improve.

I remember a time when I thought I was a lot better at fixing electronics than I actually was. I thought I was the shit, and that I could fix anything just by being near it. I didn't know any better techs than myself. I was in over my head pretty quickly. That pretty much matches a description of someone that doesn't know what they are doing so much so that they can't even identify that they don't know it well. It's been a long road since then, with many lessons learned, and I can see now how naive I was. I also see how much I still don't know, and that most of it will probably remain that way. I've also met some real geniuses that are astounding in the things that they know.

More from Dunning-Kruger effect..

Meanwhile, people with true knowledge tended to underestimate their relative competence. Roughly, participants who found tasks to be relatively easy erroneously assumed, to some extent, that the tasks must also be easy for others.

I also get confused looks quite often, and I falsely assume that things that are simple to me, are actually simple to everyone. So based on the fact that I know I was ignorant before, and that I also know that there is a lot I don't know now, and the confused faces people make when I talk about technology, I have to force myself to be confident, in order to more accurately represent my skill level. So in applying for the new job, I was astounded by the things my references said and wrote about me. Thank you so much, and thanks for giving me a big head. Now I've got to figure my stoked ego into the reverse of the Dunning-Kruger effect? Oh well, who knows. Maybe I'll never know if I'm talented or delusional.

I ended up getting a job with the new company as a Field Support Engineer (FSE) and at a substantial raise. Cool new job title, a job that actually aligns with my talents, experience, and interests, and more money? So is it a happy ending? Well, mostly, but I will have to go overseas again, possibly Iraq, probably Afghanistan. Feeling a little over whelmed being the lowest on the totem pole, and the least trained. Guess we'll see how smart I really am...

And now for one of my favorite quotes. Seems the Dunning-Kruger effect isn't exactly a new idea.

Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science. - Charles Darwin

Now for something that's fucking peristeronic as shit for XKCD.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Cupcakes...


PROBLEM!

There are two things about cupcakes that I don't like. The first being that the icing and the cake are not evenly distributed causing an imbalance of tastiness depending on what part of the cupcake eating event you are at. One viable solution is to take very large bites, therefore giving yourself the correct ratios of cupcake to frosting in your food intake receptacle. That's were my second dislike of cupcakes comes in. Taking large bites can lead to your mouth being to full to accept the necessary amount of milk, it can lead to long awkward pauses in conversation and most dangerously, frosting on the nose.

SOLVED!!!
Not being one to bring up a problem without at least offering a feasible solution, I give you the cupcake sandwich. It's really quite simple, and I'm not sure how I've gone so long without figuring it out. I quite accidentally came across the solution. I was in the midst of a conversation, and was playing with my cupcake, delaying the awkward pause that I was inevitably going to create by taking a bite out of it. When I removed it from the cupcake wrapper, the bottom half cracked a little and almost came off. I haphazardly removed it, and placed it on top (also haphazardly). So I can't really take credit for discovering it, haven't even searched the internets to see if it already exists, but I can at least recognize a good situation and capitalize on it. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Perspective

It's difficult to imagine a world without myself in it. I've never seen the world through anyone else's eyes. Maybe I've seen a movie shot from someone else's point of view, but I still watched it as something external to me, and through my perspective. I've never known what someone was truly thinking.

It's also hard to imagine a day after I've died. Everything that has ever happened with out me there, is irrelevant to me, only the things that I've seen, experienced, felt for myself are real. Every book, every movie, every song, whether fiction or fact, the characters don't actually exist. The tragedies, the comedies, the romances, are only ideas that enter my mind. Some of the ideas stay, set up house, rearrange the person I am, into something new, and other ideas they leave without another thought given to them. There is no external world to me. It is only raw data streaming into my mind. When I die, my world disappears, ceases to exist. Life ends in my world, the sun stops shining, the stars fade, the earth dissolves into nothing. Everything dissolves into nothing, and then even the concept of nothing is gone.

Were any of the things I saw real? Are there other people experiencing their own world too? Does their world exist when mine stops? I don't know. Every bit of the world I've ever known has always existed within some form of myself. How could it possibly exist without me?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

When is the HTC EVO going to get Android 2.2? TODAY!

I haven't even started thinking about when I'm getting the Android 2.2 (Froyo) on my HTC Evo, because the 2.1 upgrade for the HTC Hero took close to 6 months. I wasn't going to even start looking for info on it until Halloween. To my surprise, this morning I woke up to an update notice on my phone that said, 2.2! Wow! That was fast. It's way to early to see if it broke any apps, added any bugs, or if it's super awesome like all the hype is saying. I'll have to do another post about it later, just wanted to say that I was pretty jazzed to get the update so soon. The HTC version is 3.26.651.6 if anyone is interested.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Daily Machinations

Pandora introduced me to Regina Spektor. I'm not a huge fan of some of her songs, they're just alright, but this one is superb. It elicits a vision of a half machine, half human hybrid that is immobilized by all of it's connections to the apartment. Random human like interactions with the apartment are life like in there mannerisms, but completely pointless to the survival of the "machine". Outside, machines are fighting and destroying each other, while a constant supply train is feeding the machine with tea sets, and cute new outfits in exchange for "her" unique perspective and organics. Anyways, here is the music. No video though, sorry, I only give what the internet has to offer.


Saturday, June 19, 2010

Flying Spaghetti Monster Sighting at Fremont Summer Solstice Parade!

I went to the Fremont Summer Solstice parade today. It was a truly unique parade. There were naked painted cyclists at the beginning, which was very fun to watch. Hundreds of painted people, most of them nude and the rest mostly nude riding bikes, and other human powered wheeled vehicles. I was smiling and laughing the whole time along with everyone else in the seriously crowded sidewalks. Then the actual parade started, which had some very simple rules...

  • No written or printed words or logos
  • No animals (except guide dogs and service animals)
  • No motorized vehicles (except wheelchairs)
  • No real weapons or fire
It made for a very different atmosphere than any other parade I've ever been too, and of course it also helped that there are some very free spirits in Fremont/Seattle. I loved it, and hope that I happen to be in town for another one some day. I really liked how it didn't turn into a platform for one cause or another. It was really about the art, and the art was great.

My favorite part? No, not the cyclists, although that was pretty cool. My favorite was the FSM. He came to bless us with his noodley appendages!



For more info about the parade
For more info about the cyclists
For more info about the FSM

And if you want to see the naked painted cyclists, here are some pics I took. NSFW I say again, Not safe for work, although the pictures aren't very high res either. You can also see a few short videos if you follow the above youtube videos to my account.



Friday, June 4, 2010

Thursday, June 3, 2010

All the Android apps I have installed on my HTC Hero

I wanted to write all these down in case I forget one when I migrate to the HTC Evo tomorrow, and I thought that since I'm writing it down, I may as well share it with other people. Maybe you'll find an app that you didn't know about. If you see one that's not listed here that you really like, please tell me about it in the comments. I'm going to do some reviews every once in awhile on Android apps, and when I do I'll edit this post to link to the review. Until then, you'll have to guess what the apps do! Ha! All of these are free except for some of the games. I purchased the full version of Buka, Gem Miner, Abduction, and Robo Defense. They were each only a couple of bucks, and I don't regret spending the money at all.

  1. Mint.com personal finance
  2. Speedtest.net speed test
  3. Key ring reward cards
  4. Buka
  5. Ringdroid
  6. Google Goggles
  7. Google Translate
  8. Google Sky Map
  9. Movies (Flixster)
  10. Google Maps
  11. Gem Miner: Dig Deeper
  12. Totemo Lite
  13. Shazam
  14. Pandora Radio
  15. Bubble
  16. Amazon.com
  17. Robo Defense
  18. Mario Soundboard
  19. Abduction! World Attack

Doing that list, I just realized that I didn't reinstall Pdanet after upgrading to Android 2.1. Need to do that and make sure it works before I travel again!

Can't wait for the HTC Evo 4G tomorrow!

So tomorrow I'm getting up extra early to go get a new android phone. I already have the HTC Hero, but my wife will inherit that and I will be getting the HTC Evo 4G! So excited. I've been (im)patiently waiting since they started talking about it back in march. I really like the Hero and unless they really mess it up, I'll love the Evo. I'm lucky enough to be in Texas where 4g coverage is actually pretty good, so I'll be able to take full advantage of it. If you haven't seen or heard of the phone, it's well worth a Google.

The only bad things I've heard are that it's too big, doesn't have good battery life, and won't get the newest version of Android anytime soon. I don't think it will be too big for me, but it's a personal preference, so that one is up to you. I've only heard battery life sucked from a few places, and those were not all that reliable, or had unrealistic expectations. All phones are using basically the same battery technology. There hasn't been a huge technological breakthrough that will suddenly give new phones super batteries. Super smart phones are doing so much more than just being a phone, and battery technology isn't keeping pace. I don't expect a hand held computer to do everything and also last for days on end, in fact, I don't even expect all day. If I was only using it as a phone, and had everything turned off, in a place that had good wireless coverage, then I would expect it to last all day, and I think the Evo will. I plan on using it for directions, surfing the web, streaming audio from pandora, and watching videos, and when I'm doing that on top of it still being a phone, then I plan on plugging it in while in the car and at my desk. I also have an extra battery pack that takes double A batteries and plugs into usb phones. If that's too much to ask from you, then the phone probably isn't for you. I suggest a plain old flip phone, its battery will last you nicely.

Lastly, Android 2.2 is already being released, and because HTC packages their phones with an additional user interface called Sense, it takes longer for them to release updates. It will come from the store with 2.1, and probably won't get an update until the later half of the year. There will be a ton of rumors saying it's getting the update on such and such date, but I'm not even going to pay attention and I'll get it when I get it. Would I rather have 2.2 sooner than later? Of course, but it's not a big deal. I like 2.1 on the hero, and it doesn't even have all of 2.1 unlocked. Stay tuned for a review coming soon.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

How to configure AKO email on your Android phone

*Edited SEP 08, 2010 to incorporate changes and compatibility notes for different types of android phones. Should work for most Android phones now, please let me know if it didn't work for you, or if there was something different. Details of what was changed at bottom of post. Thanks for everyones input.

AKO is the army's internet site/mail server for soldiers and some DOD/contractors. These steps are written so that anyone should be able to configure this on their Android phone, but you can possibly also use the info to configure it on other phones as well. A lot of the information automatically prefills after you've entered it once, so if it's already entered, then just ignore and move on. In order for this to work you have to allow non-CAC logins from AKO. In the AKO main page select My Account dropdown menu, then select Account settings and then Change Password. There is a check mark labeled "Set CAC Only Login" that must not be selected for this to work. You may have to login to AKO with your CAC and enter a new password to do this.

Incoming Mail Settings

  1. IMAP
  2. SSL required (for the Samsung Vibrant and probably for other Galaxy S phones select SSL required - accept all certificates)
  3. The IMAP Server is imap.us.army.mil
  4. Port 993
Outgoing Mail Settings
  1. SSL required (for the Samsung Vibrant and probably for other Galaxy S phones select SSL required - accept all certificates)
  2. The SMTP server is mailrouter.us.army.mil
  3. The port is 465

NOTE The following steps are specifically for the HTC Hero, and the HTC EVO running 2.1 (and 2.2), but may also be helpful to anyone running HTC Sense or other Android phones.

The first time you open the mail client (cleverly named "Mail" under all programs) it asks you to choose a mail provider, or if you already have other email accounts setup open the mail client. Select Menu, then more, then new account, or you can select the circle with a little triangle in it at the top left of the screen and then select new account.

  1. Select "Other (POP3/IMAP)"
  2. Enter your full email address
  3. Enter your password, this is case sensitive. I click show password so I can see if I typed it wrong. Don't do this if there are spies around.
  4. Click next or manual setup, it doesn't matter because there isn't a profile built into Android for AKO, so clicking next just brings you to the manual setup screen anyways.
  5. You should now be in the incoming settings page. In the drop down menu for protocol select IMAP
  6. Enter your full email address.
  7. Enter your user name. It will probably autofill with your email address, but that isn't your username. Your username is what you use to log into AKO. As far as I know, that is your email address minus the @us.army.mil part. That's what worked for me anyways, if yours is different, please let me know in the comments.
  8. Enter your password.
  9. Enter imap.us.army.mil for the IMAP server.
  10. In the security type dropdown select SSL.
  11. The server port needs to be 993.
  12. Select "next". If it asks you about certificates (it asks the first time), accept them. It will verify account information and if you entered everything right it will bring you to the outgoing server settings.
  13. Select "Login required"
  14. Enter your username
  15. Enter your password
  16. Enter mailrouter.us.army.mil for the SMTP Server.
  17. In the security type dropdown select SSL.
  18. The server port needs to be 465.
  19. Select next. It will verify account information again, and if you entered everything right it will bring you to the Edit account page.
  20. Enter an account name. You can leave it with the default that it auto fills, or you can name it whatever you like. This name is for when you select different mail accounts. I named mine AKO, because I like coming up with unique exotic names.
  21. Enter your name.
  22. Select Finish setup.

You should now be able to send and recieve emails from your AKO email. If you aren't getting updates frequently enough (or to frequently) or if you aren't seeing certain emails in your inbox, change the Send & Receive settings by selecting Menu, then more, then settings. It also by default adds a signature to all out going emails which can be changed or stopped from General settings. Please let me know if you have any questions or suggestions.

*I edited this post to reflect the differences that my army buddy Dan pointed out. Depending if you are running straight Android, or HTC Sense, or some other user interface for Android, then the steps are going to be slightly different, so I've just added a list of the settings and then below that is the detailed steps needed specifically for the HTC Hero, the HTC EVO 4G, and in all likelyhood any HTC Android Phone with the Sense UI. Also edited to show the slight change that the Samsung Vibrant (and likely other Galaxy S phones) have to do in order to accept certificates. On my HTC Evo if someone sends a message with a digital signature from Outlook, it says mail is on the server. Tested this with a Nexus One and a Samsung Vibrant (what my friends happen to have) and neither one of those had the same problem. Seems to be an HTC thing. If you are having the same problem you can configure your email as POP, or try using K-9 mail like Pat says below. Thanks Evan for pointing out how to change the settings to POP and thanks to Pat for explaining the difference and why it's (probably) best not to use POP.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Everyone draw Mohammed

Okay, so I'm a day late, don't kill me...




So the reason you aren't supposed to depict Mohamed is so that you don't idolatrize him. I promise I won't idolatrize him, if you promise not to try and kill me. I thought Islam is the religion of peace? Why is it that I"m afraid to post a silly picture?

Friday, May 14, 2010

Slurry of posts and a new blog banner?

So months of inactivity, and then three posts in short rapid fire succession and then on top of that, a new blog banner? Oh wait, there isn't a new blog banner? Hmmm, okay, that's because I can't decide on what to take a panoramic picture of to show the essence of this blog. Any ideas? Has to be something to do with a minority, technology, and atheism.

Where are my vertical farms?

So I came across this article on Discovery news talking about whether organic farming was better or worse than regular farming. Organic farming produces about half the yield, but increases the biodiversity of nature by %12 (including weeds if that's good?). If you are interested, go ahead and follow the link over and read about it, but for me, I was just disapointed. I saw the discussion as pointless because there is another alternative to both organic and normal farming, that has numerous benefits over both and shouldn't be difficult to do. Apparently I grossly underestimated how hard it was to grow plants inside, or how many of the benefits there would be when I blogged about vertical farms and then right afterwards about circular farming almost two years ago! I expected it to take awhile for vertical farms to really take off and be the main staple of our food source, but I didn't think nothing would happen at all. Yeah there are some better drawings available, and maybe a restaurant in Dubai to have an indoor garden/vertical farm, but that's it. I really expected a city like Austin or Seattle to pioneer the first organic vertical farm with lush delicious fruits and vegetables available year round, locally grown, with no pesticides and maybe even growing sustainable fish. So which multi-millionaire (or billionaire) out there is going to grab this idea and make a change that will forever affect humanity? You will make money and save little starving kids, or cut down pollution, or whatever you want to make it about. Anyone? Come on Oprah, I know you follow this blog and want to change the world. You've got the money right? Ah, oh well. Guess I'll start a garden in my garage.

Diaspora

This is something I'm keeping my eyes on. It seems like it could be a much better alternative for social networking. Check it out.
http://www.joindiaspora.com/

Sunday, April 18, 2010

P90X week um, I'm not sure

So it's been three weeks since I started P90X. I have only kind of been following it, missing more days than I do. Excuses? Yeah, I have them, but mostly it just comes down to time. It's hard to add an hour of working out to an already busy schedule. I'm working on it, and hopefully it will become habit. More when there is more.

Monday, March 29, 2010

P90X Week one Day one!


Wow am I tired. I am going to be hurting tomorrow (and for the next 90+ days presumably), and I couldn't even keep up with them at all! I'd post my before pictures, but those are only motivational if you look better than they do. I'll report back in once a week at minimum, and maybe more for some of the really brutal ones. Right now I'm 5' 10' and 240.8 lbs. Do your best and forget the rest.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

St. Patty's Day parade and storm troopers!


I'm on a business trip to Linthicum, MD. Last Sunday a co worker and I decided to go to Baltimore and check out the inner harbor. By luck we just happened to pick a great day. Baltimore was celebrating St. Patty's day with a 5K marathon and a parade. We showed up just in time to catch a bite to eat. We asked a local where to eat and he said that J. Paul's Dining Saloon was his summer hang out and we should try that. So we did, and it was good. I had the JP's 89 Burger which was worth the impending heart attack that it will probably cause. It was a huge burger piled with BBQ pulled pork, cole slaw and onion rings. While it was hard to handle and ended up falling apart, it was delicious. We finished eating and walked over to watch the runners finish up the 5K. I've never seen so much spandex, red faces, and green shirts. Shortly thereafter the parade started. I've seen better parades on tv, but never in person. I was pretty impressed and we stayed for the whole thing.



My favorite part was an irish dance group that stopped right in front of us and did a little jig. Unfortunately the video on my phone sucks and I forgot my camera. You can get the gist, but you can't tell how really cute it is. The girls in the video look a lot older than they really were because the video quality sucks, and the crowd that they are in front of is actually little kids sitting down, not adults. The girls in the front are probably 5/6 years old and then they got older as they went back to probably no older than 15. It was one of the cutest things I've seen in awhile.

Last, but far from least, after the parade there was a green storm trooper walking around. He had a very high quality costume, and the green made it even better. When he talked it even sounded like it was a "real" storm trooper. A chick walked by and asked him what he was supposed to be. Really? I thought it was pretty obvious, but I suppose there are still people out there that haven't seen Star Wars. Anyways, thought I would share. We had a great time.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Where have you been?



I don't think that I have to many followers, but if you are still out there and wondering where I have been then this post is for you. I got back from Afghanistan safely, I'm out of the army now (mostly), I'm back in my old military contracting job, and I'm taking a little bit of college. I should finish up my associates degree this semester, although I had to switch out of computer electronics and into a general studies because I couldn't make my schedule work with the last two classes I needed and it's been over two years since I was in school (holy run on sentence Batman!) Time to finish that up and move on to not completing my bachelor's degree for a couple of years.

Biggest thing going on in my life right now? I'm always tired. So tired in fact, that I'm going to get a sleep study tonight to hopefully figure out what's wrong with me. After all the blood work they've narrowed it down to either sleep apnea, narcolepsy or idiopathic hypersomnia (big words for being tired, but they don't know why). They can only figure out which one of those it is by a sleep study, hence the, uh, sleep study tonight. I'm a little nervous about what they'll find, and don't really know what to think about it. Hopefully they find something small and easy to fix so I can put this behind me and not be so tired. More to follow when I actually know what's up.

What to expect from me in the future? More blog posts! Yay! I love blog posts! I've been watching my blog hits and where they come from. Seems that by far my tech reviews get the most hits, especially my green vs black hard drive comparison, which is about five minutes away from an update. I would expect more tech reviews, since that's what the masses apparently want from a godless geek, but not to worry, I'll still rant about religion, politics, and of course the upcoming Jelly Belly jelly bean scandal.