Saturday, January 31, 2009

Big Boys' Toys Part 947:

Ok, so everyone wants a jetpack or rocketpack, right?

Except they have a bad habit of ending up with either a fireball or a rather, um, hard landing...

Which is why this one is such a great idea!

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Friday, January 30, 2009

Back in the Dwarf!

Slashdot is referring to this Guardian article, stating that a new two-part series of Red Dwarf is currently under production, due around Easter time in the UK (and very shortly thereafter on Channel BT, no doubt!).

I might have to go watch the 8 previous series of the Boys from the Dwarf just to get back into the swing of things... :-D

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

This is worse than evil!

It did WHAT?!?

Ok, I highly recommend reading
this story on the ABC news website.

Short version: Snake eats snake. Snake crawls out of snake's mouth. Both snakes slither away...

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Video footage of that plane ditching in New York

Here ya go. The action starts just after 2 minutes in.

Star Wars with a difference...

What you might think happened in the movies if you never actually watched them...

Star Wars: Retold (by someone who hasn't seen it) from Joe Nicolosi on Vimeo.

Initial thoughts on Windows 7

Well, I got around to installing the beta earlier in the week. It was a relatively painless process. I had a spare hard disk (it used to be my data store, but 160GB just isn't enough these days, so I bought a 750 for that), and just pointed the installer to that after booting from the install DVD. It took about an hour, all up, including downloading updated drivers for my Nvidia vid card & the onboard sound.

The only hitches were (1) that it picked the wrong monitor to assign as my primary (oh, yes, let's use the 17" screen as the primary, and the 22" as the secondary, that makes sense!), and (2) I couldn't see my WinXP drive anywhere in Windows Explorer.

Both were easily fixed - the Nvidia control panel let me swap the screens, while the disk management console (when I eventually figured out how to access it) let me assign a drive letter to the WinXP partition. I think that might have been an issue because it was a "C:" partition too. But there's no problem accessing it in Win7 now.

Generally, it works well. The GUI is different - the new task bar is much more usable - more like the Mac OS X dock. I still haven't quite wrapped my head around the new start menu, but that's because I've barely used it.

Armed Assault & World of Warcraft both work well, as does Firefox (including sharing the same profile - bookmarks, toolbars, etc - between the versions installed under Win7 & WinXP). I haven't run into any show stoppers yet. For beta software, Win7 is pretty good.

So, while I'm not entirely happy about the DRM / content protection side of things, that's not really an issue so far, as (a) I use VLC to play all of my media, (b) I don't actually have a Blu-Ray drive or discs, and (c) I can always boot into Linux... :-D

Actually, there's another issue - the Win7 installer overwrote the GRUB boot sector, so I'll have to boot off a disc to restore GRUB so I can boot into Linux.

Anyway, it's good to know that there will be a functional version of Windows for my gaming needs after WinXP goes the way of the dodo (which I believe is officially at the end of January - although you will still be able to get it in some OEM systems until May or June).

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Here's something worth watching!

Thanks to Dan for highlighting this vid on his blog.

Monday, January 12, 2009

XKCD FTW again!

I actually downloaded the Windows 7 beta on Saturday. Had to wait until Sunday to get a key to install it, though. And then didn't install it, because (a) we went to see a movie (The Day the Earth Stood Still - not bad), then (b) I spent the rest of the day working on my speakers.

Sanded back the filler I'd put on the sub (to fill the cracks at the panel joins), sanded back the main I'd given a preliminary coat of paint - and discovered that acrylic paint doesn't sand too well unless it's super dry - it'd only been on there about 20 hours, which apparently wasn't enough. Although some of the issues I saw may have been because of the very smooth & sealed primer on there - the acrylic had trouble bonding to the primer, I think.

Then I spent a few hours making up grill frames for the front mains. Cut some 12mm MDF to size, then marked & cut out the holes in the middle. Gonna take a while to sand / finish it, but the bulk of the work is done. I need a new 54mm holesaw, though - the el-cheapo one I've got is now very, very blunt, after being used to cut another 24 holes! :D

Anyway, back to work...

Saturday, January 3, 2009

That's a good feeling

I logged into the internet banking site of our bank this evening to pay a phone bill. While there, I noticed that our mortgage balance is $536.67.


(i.e. positive balance, money in the bank so to speak)
It's a good thing to know that the mortgage is paid off. We're not completely debt free (we have investment loans and some small amounts on credit cards), but at least the house is ours. Bought & paid for, in full! :D

Well, ok, the house is also security against the investment loans, but then, so are the investments we have. Which aren't worth anywhere near what they were a year ago, but the price/earnings ratios are just ridiculous at the moment (i.e. many shares seem to be very under-valued on the stock market). I expect the prices will eventually climb, a lot, and in the meantime any dividends we get will help to manage the investment loans. After all, in the past few years they've helped us pay off our house, a mere 20 years early... :D