Thursday, December 20, 2007

From the desktop of... Flock

Yeah, I'm testing out this nifty new web browser. You might have heard about it. It's called Flock. You know, no big deal.

Actually, it seems that it will be a big deal. I'm really enjoying this whole integration of media and social tools into a web browser. Sure, everything that is done here in Flock can be done in Firefox with the use of plugins, but it's nice to have something working out of the package like Flock.

Blogged with Flock

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Wii commercials

Crazy that Nintendo is considering pulling Wii advertisements because the system is selling so well. I purchased mine in April of this year, and that was after almost three weeks of searching.

Engadget has the story.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

To do

Things to get done:

  1. Complete the story line to The Elder scrolls IV: Oblivion

  2. Move on to the Shivering Isles expansion for Oblivion

  3. Purchase and complete Bio Shock

  4. Purchase The Orange Box to play through the rest of the Half Life 2 episodes

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Digg recently brought this article to my attention. It's about people who tend to keep to themselves. People who are introverted. I liked it.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

the cost of support

Holy crap!

For lack of a better exclamation. Yeah! Holy crap! The kind of holy crap that's brown and sticky, like a stick. What have I been learning during my training at work? Well, I'm not sure I can say too much. But I've learned that in the first half of a work day there easily 400 calls placed for tech support. 400 people in the first half of the day (and I've heard it can get up to 8000 in a single day) willing to pay $39 to $69 for someone to uninstall and reinstall a freaking piece of software! And that isn't even the business rate! That's the personal home-computer rate for regular people. I understand not everyone has a daughter's boyfriend who can troubleshoot their computer for them. But get this, I'm paid to search through the product websites support page. Yes, that is right. Most everything available to me is available to the public through the product support page. Look here, I've done a search for "blue screen" and come up with lines I can feed the customer over the phone. For $39~$69 per troubleshoot I think I'd look into fixing the problem myself.

-I'm fine with helping people, I just don't agree with the outrageous fees

Sunday, May 06, 2007

More flair

Like Jennifer Aniston's character in the movie Office Space

I don't have enough flair. I mean this in regard to how I write my blog posts. I don't even want to read them myself. Regardless, I begin my training tomorrow as awesome expert-tech support for Symantec's Anti-Virus software. I will keep you posted. And maybe have a little flair. If I make fun of the customers who call then that might bring a little something extra [Edit: I meant if I make fun of them here in my blog. Not on the phone!]. T-Minus 6 hours 30 minutes until I need to wake up (yes, 5am) to get ready for work.

-Totally wicked awesome phone answering guy

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

how to ace an interview

How to ace a job interview.

I'd been looking for work this last week and a half. Usually I'd be working with my professor at the University I attend, continuing the research I've been working on since summer 2004. My professor didn't get the funding she was expecting this year so I've had to look for work elsewhere.

I thought I'd try my luck with emailed resumes this year. It's worked. Monday morning I email a cover letter (forgetting to attach the email) at 9:30am (mere moments after waking up ~ my laptop is set up beside my bed). I get a phone call at 10:25am to set up my assessment and interviews for Wednesday.

How do you ace your interview? Apply somewhere you will be comfortable working. I'd applied at a technical support call center. I'll be working on a computer and telephone speaking with people about something I (for the moment) am interested in. So I showed up at 10:55am and was calm. I smiled and shook hands and dressed to impress. I had written my application and 45 minute assessment and had my first interview within the first half hour. I was asked to come back for a second interview at 3pm and unofficially I had the job. The 3pm interview lasted less than 5 minutes and I was off back with the first interviewer congratulating me on my new employment.

Apply somewhere you will be comfortable working. You'll come across naturally in your interview and make a lasting impression (at least I hope so, I'd like a raise already) on the people you meet.

-Will be looking for a real job for January 2008.

Monday, March 26, 2007

sea monkeys

Raising countless little creatures

I had a great weekend. Most notably, I'd like to reminisce over Saturday. My girlfriend and I visited every single pet store in town. We were hunting. We were looking for artemia salina and we found them! $10 for a 6 gram bottle of suspended brine-shrimp cysts (eggs). $3 for a hefty box of sea (aquarium/rock) salt. $3 for micro-food (egg powder), all found at your local aquaria store. I can only estimate how many brine-shrimp (Sea-Monkey) eggs are contained in 6 grams but I'd guess it is well above the 100,000 mark.

Of course I didn't drop them all in at once. No! Here's what I did.
  1. Measure out 1 litre of room temperature distilled or stale water.
  2. Fill glass container with the 1 litre of water.
  3. Mix in at least 2 teaspoons of aquarium salt until diluted.
  4. Since the eggs stick to the lid of the egg bottle because of static I did the following:
    1. Close lid, shake bottle. This gets eggs stuck to the inside of the lid of the bottle.
    2. Open bottle, hold lid over the water and flick the lid, knocking the eggs into the water.
  5. Do step 4 one or two more times.
  6. Poke at the eggs floating on the surface so they stop floating and start sinking (use a clean spoon or something).
  7. Wait 24 hours before you start seeing little white things (countless white things if you flicked eggs in 3 times) swimming around.
I've done sea-monkeys in the past, but at $10 a shot every time you want to follow their steps 1-2-3 isn't economical. Now I've got sea-monkeys possibly for life and for only$16 too!


We also went hunting around for a Nintendo Wii. Tough luck with that. I've seen Playstation 3 consoles for sale but I have never found a Nintendo Wii available for purchase. Everywhere in a 70km radius sells out their shipment of Nintendo Wii in less than an hour of shelving the units. So I'm on the lookout for them. I've got a keen eye set out and I'm ready. I'll leave school early to get one. Yeah, we're really looking forward to some kinetic fun.

DS Homebrew

Tonight I also purchased a Nintendo DS kit for some extra fun with my DS. Just thought I'd point that out. I need more entertainment like I need... Well at this point I really don't need anything. I should be focusing extra effort into finishing up the last 2 weeks of class and last week of exams before summer starts.

-Hoping to finish my research this summer

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Late-Winter fun

So the bars and clubs people my age go to are usually pretty quiet around this time of year. So I haven't been out dancing/drinking in a while. Last night, however, my girlfriend and I decided to change that. We went out with another couple, first bowling then wandering around WalMart and then out the a local pub, Monashees. We drank, we danced, we went for icecream afterward. It was good fun. Here's a particular quote I remember at the end of the night as Mark, of the other couple, was scooping some icecream from a container his girlfriend Deanne was holding:

M: Ack! I was going for it and you made me pull out and now I've got it all over myself.
All: Hahaha
M: Now I've got a sticky hand.
All: Crying from laughing so hard.

-Reading/Spring break coming up soon

Monday, February 05, 2007

The Watchmen

w00t! Here's to another awesome episode of Heroes

My girlfriend and I love that show. People with super powers coming together to save the day. But what about the people with mediocre powers?

You never hear about the person who never has to sleep or the person who can go without ever having to eat. "Hey, Bob. What's your power? Want to know mine? I'm totally immune to warts."

I suppose the story is where the super powers are. What's so exciting about the mediocre power to stop the growth of your hair and finger nails? The power to sprout zits all over your body. Hey, in a universe populated with people who have special abilities, any of these are possibilities.

-I think there's a graphic novel related to this called 'The Watchmen'

Sleep versus Eating

My girlfriend and I at times debate what would be the preferred power: To never have to sleep or to never have to eat. These are the situations; you can choose to sleep if you like, but you can go without it and still feel like it's the afternoon after a night of 8 hours sleep. Likewise, when you have the power to not eat you never starve. You can eat if you like, but if you go without you still have the satisfied feeling in your stomach like you at a healthy lunch only half an hour before.

With the power to go without sleep, your body never tires. You are never exhausted and are probably in a better mood because of it. You are awake at all hours of the day unless you choose to sleep (even though you don't have to, but it might make your significant other feel better if you do). In being awake you can get so much more accomplished. You'd have so much more time to spend learning that you'd probably become a genius. You can spend your knowledge working from your own home on things in the information technology path. Granted, in being awake all the time you'd probably have to eat more due to a higher metabolism but the money made from your personal home business could offset that.

You might be able to tell I really like the idea of not needing to sleep (though having the option to sleep at any time if I like). The power to go without food, in my opinion, has only the benefit that I'd save that much money in not having to buy groceries or go shopping for food. I'd never have to stop to eat which at times is an inconvenience. I could still choose to eat if I like, and enjoy social time eating with friends, but it doesn't grant me the extra time in the day that going without sleep could provide.

-I had a train of thought but it derailed

Thursday, February 01, 2007

with the ex in laws

The more things change, the more they stay the same

As readers of this blog know, I was involved with someone for a long time. That someone can be referred to as my ex-girlfriend.

I just had lunch with her Dad. They always did treat me well, her parents. I hadn't seen him since March of last year. In fact, he handed me $40 saying he'd missed my birthday and Christmas and that was to make up for it. He said he was proud of me for what I was doing with my life. He said I was always a good guy. He said he'd really like to see me graduate and be there for the ceremony and then I cried. I think it was the bit about being at my ceremony. I hadn't realized how cool he was with me and that brought back the memory of just how much I was welcomed into his family. To be fair, his eyes teared up a bit, too.

Of course that is over now. Both he and his wife are great people. I'll give them a call when it comes time for me to graduate. Maybe I'll get around to going for a bike ride with him some time in the summer.

I've got another great family welcoming me in right now. I've got a great girl who replies to my I love you's. I don't think I could be in a better place right now. My time is being invested in the future I have going this very moment. I love my girl. We have a great future together and that can get even better now after making peace with another part of my past.

-Here's to a bright future, Crystal!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

digg ringtone

w00t! DiggNation ringtone!

Using Audacity I 'trimmed' the excess podcast off the latest episode of DiggNation (episode 79) leaving only the introductory music. I have a Motorola RAZR v3c through Canada's Telus Mobility which kind of sucks ass.
It sucks ass not due to the phone itself because I'm having a great time playing with it. The situation Telus puts you in sucks ass.

The idea behind getting a new cell phone is that you want to put your own custom ringtones and wallpapers on there and be able to transfer off the images you snap with the digital camera. The idea Telus has is that they want to make that as difficult for you as possible. Using the tools mentioned in the next paragraph you are able to upload the "ringtones" you like (but Telus makes sure they go to the "audio" folder and not the ringtone folder). But when you go to assign the uploaded audio file as a ringtone, you can only play it! There's no option to set it as a ringtone.

Well! Thanks to the forward-thinking people at Motorola (Phone Tools) and the beautiful minds behind BitPIM we can finally stick it to Telus.

Want to know how to get those audio files out of the audio folder and instead being read as a ringtone? I found these instructions (1, 2) which I will paraphrase here:

Note)) The following instructions can be followed with the phone plugged in to the computer via a USB cable the entire time, until specifically stated. The USB cable I used was the same cable that came with my SanDisk Sansa m240 1gb MP3 player. The following are instructions for WindowsXP when using Motorola Phone Tools and either Windows or Linux for BitPIM (though I tested on my windows partition).

Using the Motorola Phone Tools (MPT for short) that you purchased from Motorola you can upload as many mp3 or wav (possibly midi but I haven't tested that) as you like. This is done from the "Multimedia Studio" tab, and then inside there from within the "Melody Studio" tab.

After you have transferred the audio files you want to eventually use as ringtones, close the MPT.

Open up BitPIM and follow these very important steps for the Motorola RAZR v3c.

You may have noticed your phone was auto-recognized. Forget that. Open up the phone profile settings "Edit -> Settings" and change the phone type from v3c to "Other CDMA phone".

Click the Com Port "Browse ..." button from within the "Edit -> Settings" menu and select the "(*) Motorola USB Modem" (which should have been installed when you plugged your v3c into your computer the first time. The Motorola USB Modem drivers install off the MPT install cd. The warnings from WinXP during that install are normal).

Click "OK" to finish the manual setup of the v3c in BitPIM. You should now be back at the BitPIM screen.

Select that you want to view the file system on the phone by clicking "View -> View Filesystem" or hot-keys "Alt-V F".

Click "Filesystem" in the very left browse window and expand the root directory "+/" in the second browse window by clicking the plus beside the directory. (As a reminder, we are still inside BitPIM. We closed MPT long ago).

Another directory will appear under the root directory that says "retrieving". This will happen for a few seconds while BitPIM reads the content on the v3c.

In the last browse window on the very right of the BitPIM screen will be a long list of files. You want to locate "MyToneDB.db" and "TmpTneDB.db" and delete them. Yes, delete them. This worked for me when following the instructions on the previously mentioned site. If you are sceptical, I'll note my phone's firmware version right now. It worked for me when using firmware version GATW_06.08.00R and you can find your firmware version by clicking "Edit -> Phone Info".

After you have right clicked the two .db files mentioned above and selected "delete" for each of them, you can then close BitPIM and then unplug your phone.

Before browsing to look for your ringtones, turn off your phone (press and hold the red phone button on the right side of the v3c's keypad).

Turn on your phone by pressing and holding the red phone button on your v3c. The phone will restart and generate new "MyToneDB" and "TmpTneDB" .db files which will include your audio files as ringtones.

Now you can browse to assign your ringtones. If you look in the "Media Gallery -> Sounds" you'll notice there is still no option to assign the audio file as a ringtone. Instead, go to "Settings -> Ring Styles" and then "-> {whatever} Detail" and from there you can change the ringtone to your own audio files.

Note)) Your ringtones can be found at the bottom of the list, regardless of alphabetization. They are easily found by immediately browsing "up" the list rather than scanning down through the entire list.

Enjoy your new ringtones!

-Hopefully helping the community