Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Mozy added to my craplist

I tried using mozy after using their free service for nearly 2 months. I paid them $82.00 for a 2 year contract. Thus far things aren't going very well. The first time I tried to do a backup the system locked my out and thought that I was on more than 1 server when I wasn't. This happened twice.

Today WhenI tried to continue this I recieved another issue, this time with port 443 not being able to reach their server. I sent out two technical support requests with no avail.

I am getting ready to get rid of them via the wonderful power of a visa chargeback. Thus far I cannot recommend doing business with them due to their colossal incompetence.

I am tired of calling them every time their program bombs. Probably going to try spideroak.


Thursday, July 9, 2009

A tale of Customer Loyalty and why its good

I am one of those people who has the memory of an elephant. While I do believe in forgiving and forgetting (with people), I tend to be very harsh on companies that lie, cheat, or otherwise try to bamboozle me.

I am also especially generous when a company treats me right. If I have a company who I trust, and who loses perhaps a little bit of money on a transaction, I will stay with that company even if their prices are double their nearest dodgy competetor who has wronged me.

Case in point: Tom Tom vs. Garmin. I bought a tom-tom and the thing destroyed itself even before working. The firmware update process wrecked it, and I ended up returning it.

Garmin (I am going on my third garmin now) has pretty decent products, and occasionally has quality issues, but they make up for it. On my first garmin, I had trouble with the auto plug in adapter. They sent me 'free' ones even after the warranty expired (to the tune of about $40.00). So when my trusty street-pilot finally died (7 years!!!) I bought another garmin, the Zumo 550. The zumo recently bit the dust, and garmin STILL honored the warranty even though the device is > 1 year ownership. NO COST other than shipping the defective unit to them.

I will admit that I did have to go through about 3 hours of technical support hell, but ultimately when everything else failed, they gave me a warranty exchange.

So when I didn't want to do the 'cross' ship option (nearly .3 kilodollars) I went to tiger direct and bought, you guessed it, another garmin. So they have made money by honoring the warranty and made me a loyal customer again.


Sunday, July 5, 2009

New Sun Recumbent (LWB)

I got a good deal on a Sun recumbent this weekend. I took it out for a 14 mile spin today. The LWB is really smooth, but takes some getting used to. High speed handling was excellent, the seat (I prefer mesh seats) is not too bad for a 'hard' seat. I will be experimenting with different seats, as well as different tires. I also like the simplicity of the chain drive, as well as 'default' components that aren't expensive to replace.

20 Inch tires are also nice, 20 tire choices vs 3. for the old 16's. I also like the shocks. VERY good, in fact better than my crane creek shock on the old satrday.

LWB is also easier to get up the stairs.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Ereader disaster and don't shop at borders!

Well, since I am going to be going into the hospital for an extended stay, I decided to look at an ereader (ebook) reader from sony, thinking that it would be worth a go.

I went to borders thinking it would be easy to return it, but only to find that they won't accept returns. The sony prs-700 is HORRIBLE. It is unreadable, it has awful resolution and the software blows HUGE chunks. E-ink display technology just isn't there yet, not enough contrast. I also found I had to make the text so large just to read it.

I will be waiting 5 years or so before trying e-ink agian. Otherwise, you are just better off buying a mac and using it to read....

I put it on ebay, and only hope to lose $25.00 in the deal.....will find out. Don't shop at borders, they suck!!!!! They are on my 'i am never going to shop here again regardless of how much they offer me in incentives".

Monday, June 8, 2009

Safari 4 and My thoughts on the Mac

Well, I am writing this on the new safari 4 browser. It seems loads faster than firefox. I can read google without waiting an eternity. If this was the one thing keeping me from going from firefox it was the speed. But safari thus far seems cool, fast, and stable. I will find out more. I also bought the brickmaster 200 by cuisinart. Its basically a convection toaster oven with rocks inside of it to get nice even heating and a good loaf of artesian like bread.

I finally perfected my chia seed loaf, and a friend is editing my book. I also love my new (actually old) noisy clacky keyboard from unicomp (I got the endura pro with the built in track-point). My mouse story also takes an interesting turn. The Microsoft mouse that I so horribly complained about is working fine now, and is my main mouse on the mac. Just don't use the Microsoft mouse drivers!!!!!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Freebsd 7.1 and Zfs for my NAS

Well, I finally updated my nas to 1tb this weekend. ZFS thus far has turned out to be very cool and easy.

1. No waiting 10,000 years for filesystems to format, zfs is instantaneously ready
2. ZFS automatically takes care of mirroring, even correcting 'bad' blocks on EITHER primary or 'mirror' e.g. if bad on primary, will look to 'mirror' for correct blocks. It can then correct the primary.
3. ZFS is still 'experimantal' and requires at least 1gb of memory to work. Here are the tweaks to add to the kernel:


Those entries go into the loader.conf in your /boot directory.

ZFS also uses TONS of processor. When I was sending 190gb of files processor was at 80-100%. So a multi core is necessary if you want to use on your 'main' machine....

I also threw in some apple customizations:

first, the MDNSresponder.conf file

# sample mDNSResponder conf file
# name type domain port text record
# ---- ---- ------ ---- -----------
Marilyn _afpovertcp._tcp local. 548
Marilyn _ssh._tcp local. 22

this lives in the /usr/local/etc mDNSResponder.conf file.

You also need to install the netatalk and the Mdnsersponder, and "HOWL" to get apple working. YOu also need the following in your /usr/local/etc/AppleVolumes.default

Just put your shares at the end e.g. /export.

The system went from 20mbps on a 1gbps network to 36mbps with appletalk. Also nice is the fact that I can 'browse' to the share.

The freebsd has seemed very stable, with the appropriate modifications. ZFS does use TONS of memory, however (200mb) on my setup....

Also cool is the ability to 'send' backups to any other nas on the network via a single command, and well as adding to the pool w/o having to do considerable resizing.

I haven't finished my 'time machine' project on it yet, but zfs quotas will ensure that they won't eat up the entire 1tb of disk.

Do Thomas' Dream of Electric Grills?

Well, I decided to get an electric grill this year since my old george foreman grill died after 5 years of hard service.

I had read about the weber q140 electric grill and balked at the price. $220.00 for a stupid grill! I shrieked. So I went to wally world and purchased a 'cheap' grill Still a benjamin, however. The thing turned out to be useless.

So I went out to a local ace (everyone else didn't have the q in stock, and that’s why I went to wally world) , and purchased it.

The other grill barely got up to 200 degrees. Fine for smoking, but for grilling 350 degrees or higher is needed.

My first burger on the q140 was great. Instead of being dry and poorly cooked, the hamburger was juicy, and cooked in only 8 minutes (the wally world special took nearly 15 mins to cook, and the burger was dry and horrid).

Th grill does require a table, since it isn't a free-standing unit. It did cost me $300.00, but I can now successfully grill on the required electric grill (we live in a complex that bans gas grills).

Don't waste your time on 'cheaper' grills.


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Mousetrap, Or How NOT to build one!!

Well, my mouse horrors are finally over. After trying out no less than 5 mice, I finally found one that works well with the mac. Here's the sordid tale:

1. Microsoft bluetooth mouse 4000- drivers wrecked mac, and the bluetooth would randomly wake the pc from sleep. Bluetooth required frequent re-pairings, and never worked reliably

2. Logitech wireless trackball (the coordless trackman optical), logitech control center blows up mac (time machine restore required), and the primary button hurts my thumb

3. Kensington wireless presenter mouse (bluetooth)- wonderful tracking, bluetooth flawless (power switch so it wouldn't turn on the computer from sleep), and no requirement for drivers. Hurts my hand after 5 minutes of use DOH!

4. Targus bluetooth laser mac mouse- it didn't hurt my hand as much, but the optical tracking thing for scrolling really stinks. It also takes longer to hurt my hand, 60 minutes.

5. SUCCESS! Logitech wireless LX8 cordless mouse. Nice tiny reciever, no ()#*()$&#()*%&()$*57 bluetooth, doesn't hurt my hand, has middle click and nice scrolly wheel. Avoid drivers like the plague since they brick the mac....

Tips: DO NOT buy a mouse online. There are so many different ones that its almost dizzying. Most of them suck, even though they look really cool. I bought at a local computer store and went back 4 times!!!!!!!


Saturday, March 21, 2009

Named My mac

I had to re-do my pfsense soekris box yesterday because I forgot the password. In doing this, I found a new name for my mac. Igor (who is a munnster's character, the pet bat that grandpa used to experiment on, the bat is also emotionally sensitive).

I thought it was a very good name for the mac.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Bluetooth Mouse Blues

While I have been very happy with the new mac I bought, I have been VERY unhappy with the bluetooth mouse. I bought it thinking "Hey, no wires to worry about". Well, the stupid thing never works right, is always having to be re-paired, and turns itself off after a ridiculously small amount of time.

Specifically, if you have to buy a bluetooth mouse DON'T buy the Microsoft 5000 bluetooth mouse. My $10.00 corded logitech does much better, and doesn't frustrate the living daylights out of me.

I also did some more research and it explains my 'sleep' problem that I was having with the mac. The unit will randomly wake up the mac. This doesn't happen now that I am not using the stupid thing. All in All, a very horrid waste of $35.00. Just stick with wired. I will try with just the windows pc to see if it is any better. I did like the tracking, but with all the other attendant problems this unit is just 'junk' when considered for mac use. Don't!!!!


Saturday, February 7, 2009

Found place to Hawk my new book

I am going to be teaching some cooking classes (gluten free) at the local earth fair store. Basically I will be helping gluten intolerant people to cook things that taste good.

It will be a good venue to sell my book.


VIrtualization experience under Mac

I tried vmware fusion under the mac. It was awful. It was so slow I deleted it within an hour. Parallels was interesting, but the import of my windows (yech!) machine resulted in adobe programs that didn't work. I was also unhappy with the lagginess of the apps. It would be nice for 'temporary' use, but for heavy duty desktop publishing, it was terrible. It went into the trash can as well.

So I guess virtulizing for DTP is a "NO Winner" in my book.


New Mac makes editing Book really easy

Well, I sprang for a new mac, mostly because of a cool writing tool known as 'scrivner'. It basically allows a completely non-sequenial person like me to write.

I am currently writing a gluten free reciepe book, and dreaded the thought of having to take all 85 of my reciepes and get them into a single file.

Well, scrivner let me avoid doing that. I took the html files, opened them in firefox, selected the text, and dropped into scrivner. It automatically created the new titles for me, and put the text into the body of the document.

What makes scrivner so different is that you don't edit a whole document. You chop it into little bits, and then put those bits together (at the end) once you decide on structure etc. I can drag and drop 'index cards' or chapters within the text, not having to bother with the stupid word tricks etc.

Anyway, it is a MUCH cooler process than just word processing. It also allows me to take 'snapshots' prior to doing some major editing, rather live cvs, or git. I can 'roll' back to previous versions. Very nice feature. The price is also right: $39.00.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Palm Treo 680`

I just got the palm treo 680 at the advice of my friend Will. I really like it. It has a nice switch to make it 'quiet' and has a very nice interface. I got it for $99.00 on ebay. I also find that it syncs nicely with my Outhouse at work, as well as being nice for bible study. I am using a copy of something from 'olivetree' which is indeed a nice bible. Added to the mix is 'plucker' which lets me put my html stuff into my palm (nice for my book conversion project).

I have also began doing OCR on a devotional book that I study. I found a cool secret in 'openoffice' that allows me to autogen a nic toc. The toc is clickable, using just heading 1 2 and 3 styles. The main trick is to put the 'hyperlink' on the item type between the "E" and the other item "looks like an L' inside the item. The hyperlink has to be before and after. Otherwise it doesn't work. Its accessed by going to the insert index and tables, entries tab,

It is the second, and the fourth entries. between what looks like the 'e' and the 'f' entry. Its kind of hard to explain but play with it and you will see. Just look at the 'preview'.

Anyways, thats it, other than the fact that I have discovered a cool new (not really that new) thing spiritually:

Its called the "fathers love letter". Google it.


Friday, January 16, 2009

Using Visio to export and search Network Diagrams

One of the great annoyances of visio is its inablity to search for Ip addresses within large network diagrams.

If you go to the 'save as web' option within the export function of Visio, it creates a happy web page (unfortunately IE is required to use!), and it allows you to search, and will even put a nice arrow where the object occurs within the diagram.

At some point I will figure out how to do a screen cast.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Recieved my Bass Clarinet

I have had my Bass Clarinet for two days. Its beautiful. I need to photograph it and put on the site. It is WAY smaller than I expected (the case is only 1/3rd the size of my old bass from 22 years ago!). It only weights about 8lbs, and sounds wonderful.

Its a Yamaha, and the case is green. I played on it for about 20 minutes today, and tried to learn Greensleeves again. Funny how that is. I found that starting on "a" middle register produced a most pleasing rendition. I still have a lot to learn on the keys, however! The chromatics still get me after 22 years...


Saturday, January 3, 2009

Bought Bass Clarinet today

Well after 10 years of mulling whether or not to buy a bass clarinet, I finally took the plunge. I have been looking for a way to get outside of spending all my time on the computer, and thought that a resurrection of my music skill (from high school days, 20 years ago this year....gads how the time flies!), might be in order.

I finally chose:

70696 YAMAHA YCL-221 BASS CLARINET K 1 $1649.00 $329.80
123811 Pomarico Bass Clari BsCL Mpc J 1 $144.95 $28.99
78810 Legere BC275 Bass Clarinet ree 1 $18.99 $3.80
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The really cool thing is that I got 20% off on the whole deal! So you see that I saved $400.00 on the whole package. The second item bears some discussion. I want to learn jazz playing on this clarinet, and have read that crystal mouthpieces make a very bright, jazzy sound. So I picked up the Pomarico (an italian firm that makes fancy mouthpieces). I also am trying another marvel of technology, the 'synthetic' reed. Supposed to last a long time (I hope so, for $18.00/reed!!!!!). Anyway, my cookbook is coming along nicely as well. I worked on Lesson '2' from Adobe Indesign cs3 one on one (a great book btw).

That clinches it.