The Big Think

May 18, 2006

Newest Project

Filed under: Woodworking — jasony @ 8:36 pm

I completed a woodworking project a week or so ago and never posted pictures. Here it is:

IMG_5160.jpgIMG_5158.jpg

I really like the off-center doors. Again, I’m seeing an asian design influence come out in some of my work. I’m not sure where it comes from, but I like it!

The cabinet is quartersawn red oak, soft maple, mahogany, and ebony (door pulls). The QSRO is finished with dye and stain and the whole cabinet was given several coats of shellac. It matches the music cabinet very nicely.

This is a smaller project than I normally work on, but I had a lot of fun doing it. There’s something to be said for working on a more reasonably-sized piece.

I was amazed that the whole cabinet was 9 pieces of wood (11 if you count the handles). I got all of the wood cut in a couple of sessions and thought “is that it?” Finishing something this size was nice, too, since it didn’t take up the whole garage for two weeks (like the bookcase did).

May 17, 2006

Actually, Nevermind

Filed under: Bandwidth Speed — jasony @ 8:40 pm

Erin just reminded me that she doesn’t have an alternate email address yet. Whoops! Go ahead and keep writing her at her current one for the time being.

We now return to our regularly scheduled blogging.

Tivo Time

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 5:32 pm

How are Tivo’s affecting the advertising industry? Ars Technica has an interesting article.

Goodbye Cable, Hello DSL

Filed under: Bandwidth Speed — jasony @ 3:48 pm

After fighting the monthly fight over our sucky cable modem service, I’ve finally given up and decided to give DSL a try. (COX cable modems suck— there, I said it, so now Google with cache it and it’ll be searchable). I got off the phone with AT&T/BELLSOUTH/WHOEVERTHEYMERGEDWITHTHISWEEK a few days ago and the guy there was extremely helpful and knowledgeable. As befits a salesperson, I guess. The real proof will come when we first have problems. Anyway, he said to give the service a week to be connected and the modem ten days or so to arrive. Later that day we got a call saying that the order was in progress and we’d have the service turned on in a week. About 30 minutes later we got a call saying everything was ready! Wow, talk about giving yourselves a large window.

So today- a mere two days later- the box with the modem and other stuff comes in the mail. I have to rewire the outlet in my office to “hear” the other line. I switched the wiring about five years ago when we moved in so I could have an office line, then a year or so later cancelled the line and got it transferred to a cell phone. So I still have some basic wiring to do- hope I can remember what I did and undo it. After that, the modem should (!) be an easy install and we should be up and running.

I got Cox to give us a discounted rate for the next month. We’ll keep them both running simultaneously. If there is a problem with the DSL line we’ll cancel the service and keep Cox (oh, please, no). If not, I’ll have the extreme pleasure of calling Cox and telling them to cut us off. Can’t wait for that moment.

Incidentally, here’s how the old and new service compare:

Cox Communications:

price: $49.95/month (no cable tv bundle). Works out to $622/year after tax.
speed: 4mb down, 256mb up
current phone service: $30/month
internet down about 15% of the day each day of the last four
total internet/phone last year: $1003

SBC/Yahoo DSL
price: $19.99
speed 1/5mb down, 512 up
new phone service (bundle): $35 after tax
hopefully reliable
total quoted cost per month is no more than $60 (I think it was $59 and change)
total/year going forward: $720

So we save $283 this year and have a much better calling plan (not that we’ll call long distance on the wired phones).

It’s not a lot of savings and it looks like we’re giving up 2.5mbps download speed by switching, but I have never… ever… gotten anywhere near that quoted 4mbps that Cox quoted me. DSL is guaranteed bandwidth and should be about on par with what we’re used to.

I’ll let you know how it goes. By the way, for friends and family, please stop writing us at our old Cox.net addresses. For me, just use one of my other addresses (firstnamelastinitial at mac dot com will work for me). We’ll let you know about Erin’s soon. One thing we’re going to do for sure is to stop linking our emails to our service provider so that we can cancel service and go with a better option in the future without having to email all of our friends.

The Verdict Is In

Filed under: Movies — jasony @ 9:47 am

“I kept thinking of the Energizer Bunny, because it kept going and going and going, and not in a good way”

One especially melodramatic line uttered by Hanks drew prolonged laughter and some catcalls, and the audience continued to titter for much of the film’s remainder.

Some people walked out during the movie’s closing minutes, though there were fewer departures than many Cannes movies provoke among harsh critics. When the credits rolled, there were a few whistles and hisses, and there was none of the scattered applause even bad movies sometimes receive at Cannes.

Cannes Pans Da Vinci code.

Holographic Display

Filed under: Technology — jasony @ 9:45 am

One step closer to the holographic display. And it’s touch sensitive!

So you think a $1,000 toilet seat is expensive?

Filed under: Music — jasony @ 1:29 am

How about a 3.5 million dollar Hammer?

May 16, 2006

Faster!

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 1:09 am

Texas considers raising the speed limit to a “natural safe speed” of 75 or 80mph. We took a road trip to Nebraska and Colorado a few years ago. I remember driving for hours at a legal 75mph and letting it creep up to the 80mph that traffic was doing. I’m an excellent driver (only one ticket in 20 years and no accidents), and have great reflexes, but even so, I got very tired of being “on” at 80mph for hour after hour. I think 75 would be okay as an upper limit if people actually observed it (sheah, right!), but 80? I can’t see how that would really benefit us much. Besides, there’s a huge difference in the amount of fuel burned as you start to exceed 65mph (it’s a Big Oil conspiracy, I tells ya!).

I’m sounding pretty fuddy-duddy to myself here, I realize. I might feel different if the speeders only killed themselves on the road, instead of innocent, safe drivers. 80mph? No thanks.

May 15, 2006

An Army of Davids

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 12:37 am

Too bad Patrick (first name David) wasn’t here this past weekend.

May 13, 2006

Spider Man Disease

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 10:10 am

Ewww… this is yucky, and pretty scary since it’s in Texas.

May 9, 2006

Halo 3!

Filed under: Games — jasony @ 11:59 pm

I’m not an Xbox 360 fanboy or anything (Hey Sean, don’t you have an Xbox?), but this trailer for Halo 3 nearly had shouting loud enough to almost wake Erin up in the next room. I’ve played through the first two games and could never get the feel of it, but I applaud their success and many people love the game. I’m looking forward to playing the third.

Reportedly, Bungie showed this trailer at E3 yesterday to an uproarious crowd. If you have the bandwidth, I’d recommend taking the time to grab the high quality HD trailer. It’s worth it. I dare you not to cheer when it’s over.

What impresses me so much about the trailer is the masterful use of music. The composer hired a 60 piece orchestra and 24 voice choir… for a game trailer. Brings a tear to my eye, it does.

All Hail Halo.

Underfoot

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 11:11 pm

It’s a small thing to some people, but ever since I’ve worked at home I’ve always wanted a wood floor in my office/studio. I had the run of a spare room in our old place in Waco and when we built our current house five years ago, we went with the floorplan that had a nice sized landing upstairs that we walled off and converted into my studio. It still had carpet, though, and so for the last half-decade it’s felt very… unfinished. I haven’t even painted the walls yet since I’ve been too busy doing actual work to pause and tend to the environment.

But the last fifteen hundred days have brought a lot of decorating and it’s finally time to focus on “my” space. I’ve been slowly accumulating all of the pieces for the big upgrade over the last few months so when the time comes I’ll do all of the changes at once. This will keep the workspace downtime to a minimum and have the added benefit of changing everything at once. I hate it when you do one thing and then wait months to do the next step. By the time you’re done everything feels old already and you don’t feel like you accomplished anything. Not for me. This will be a one or two week rush where the room gets stripped to the bones and rebuilt completely. I can’t wait.

The wood floor? Bought it today. All 17 boxes. It’s going to look great. Got it for 10% off the sale price (!). I got the floor underlayment on closeout at 50% off a few weeks ago. Next I have to get new floor trim (or make it myself in the shop). I got window tint on sale a few months back. Once I decide on the paint colors (two different colors) I have to find new curtains that will match the place. Then I’ll pick out a ceiling fan and decide what I want to do about lights (can lights? track lighting? floor lamps?). Oh, and I’m still unsure if I want to go with a big beefy solid-core door (to block sound and for security). It’ll be a ton of work to convert this place, but it’ll look really great once it’s done.

Big Blue Marble

Filed under: Space — jasony @ 3:02 pm

Beautiful satellite pictures of Earth (thanks, Scott)

May 6, 2006

Inspiration

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 12:43 pm

A little inspiration and perspective as you go about your day. link

All Together Now

Filed under: Humor and Fun,Technology — jasony @ 10:17 am

Hilarious cell-phone symphony prank.

May 4, 2006

Thank You

Filed under: Technology — jasony @ 3:37 pm

Okay, Katherine inspired me to write my own. Pay it forward, and all that.

Dear printer cartridge repair guy,

Thank you for taking so much time with my old empty printer cartridge today. I know that you are a small business, and by the empty look of the store today, I don’t know if you get much work. I hope I’m wrong. After my experience with your service today, I don’t know how that could be. I went in there for a simple forty dollar refill of my laser toner cartridge (a new one was almost seventy bucks) and, after wrestling with it for an hour, you told me that the gears and springs on the inside of the plastic shell were broken. That’s why it leaked what little toner it had left onto my carpet when I took it out of the printer, and onto your counter when I brought it in. The pitiful thing was like a war victim being brought into a MASH unit. Can you fix him up, doc? We’ll do the best we can, son.

Things looked grim. I thought all was lost until you volunteered to completely rebuild the inside of the toner cartridge for me. You took another hour out of your day to muck around inside the plastic body and fix the little broken gears and springs, refilled it, and tested it out. Then you surprised me by not charging me anything extra. For almost two hours of your time I only paid $40 and got a perfect toner cart. You, sir, got a loyal customer in return.

If you’re in the Austin area and need toner or ink, I know just the place.

May 3, 2006

The $10,000 Car Wash

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 11:51 pm

Yes, seriously. I wonder what they would do if I brought my battered old 1992 truck in for a cleaning. I didn’t even pay ten grand for the thing when it was new.

Firefly

Filed under: Movies — jasony @ 10:59 pm

Erin loves 24. Every Monday night she’ll adjust the rabbit ears on our low-tech TV (what a terrible husband I am), and catch the next episode. I’ve learned that it’s wise to find something very quiet to do on Monday nights when the show comes on. I mean, she loves the show. I tell you this so you’ll understand the full meaning of it when I repeat what she told me tonight. We had just finished watching the final episode of Firefly. She has now seen the entire 13 episode series that Fox abortively canceled in 2002. Upon watching the “That’s How It Was” making-of on the final DVD, Erin said “If I had to pick between 24 and Firefly, I’d choose Firefly”. You have no idea what this means. We unplugged our TV almost a year ago. I don’t miss TV. I just miss good tv. Sadly, the only place to find it is on DVD.

May 2, 2006

New Mac Commercials!

Filed under: Macintosh — jasony @ 9:47 am

“Hello, I’m a Mac, and I’m a PC” They’re finally doing a, ahem, side-by-side comparison.

May 1, 2006

Music to My Hands

Filed under: Woodworking — jasony @ 6:03 pm

I’m almost done with the medicine chest for the guest bathroom. It’s going through the finishing stage (that is, I’m applying a dye/stain/shellac finish process). I took it up to the bathroom to hold in the spot to see what the final piece looked like, but I made the mistake of holding it up to the wall above the recently finished book case. It never did make it up to the bathroom. The asian inspired lines and quartersawn oak are a very nice contrast to the Arts and Crafts style of the book case. The new, er, wall cabinet also has contrasting maple doors, a mahogany accent panel, and simple ebony handles that echo the ebony accents of the larger piece. It turns out I was making a companion piece for the book case this whole time and didn’t know it.

It’s beautiful next to the book case (if I do say so myself) and as soon as it’s finished I’ll hang it and post some pictures. Guess this means I’ve got to go make a medicine chest now. I’d do it tonight, if it wasn’t at the end of the day.

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