Archive for the 'video' Category


Pumpkin 2008 and the Arduino Project

I guess this is becoming somewhat of a tradition.  Last year for Halloween, I carved the Pirates logo into my pumpkin.  This year, I decided to spend less time on the carving and more time on the lighting:

After the break, I have some info on the Arduino project and how I got involved.

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Ridiculous AT&T Commercials

Over the last few months, AT&T has aired a series of commercials trying to convince the American public that they should use AT&T as their wireless carriers so they can avoid having “no bars” in Belgium, Finland, France, Spain, and, presumably, by extension, Europe in general (and Hong Kong). When I first saw these ads, I couldn’t help wonder how effective these ads could be given that the average American doesn’t go to Europe very often. Any person who decides to go with AT&T on the off chance they wind up in Europe and want to use their American cell phone there has just made a very foolish decision.

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How you should spend July 3rd

Last summer, Heather and I got into watching a show on the USA cable network called “Burn Notice“.  It’s about a former spy who got “burned” by the government.  Essentially, that means that they deemed him to be a security threat, froze all his assets, cut off all his government contacts, and dumped him (alive) in Miami.  The show is about him trying to figure out who is responsible for his burn notice and how he can get unburned.  In the meantime, he uses his special training to do various jobs for various people in Miami.

It turns out that the show is really entertaining and might teach you a thing or two about spy skills.  A new season is beginning on July 10th.  However, tomorrow USA is having a marathon of all of last season’s episodes back to back to back…  All the fun starts at 6:30am and the last episode ends at 7pm.  So, head on out to the grocery store tonight and buy yourself lots of snacks for your 12 1/2 hour Burn Notice viewing.  Or, you could just set up your TiVo or MythTV to tape the whole thing.


Air Guitar Nation

Last Saturday night, Heather and I were flipping through the channels looking for something decent to watch.  I had just finished watching the end of something like “Top 100 One Hit Wonders” on VH1 and they said that the next show would be a documentary called “Air Guitar Nation”.  It looked pretty entertaining, so I thought I’d give it a try.

I’m glad I did: it was hilarious.  The basic synopsis is this: in 2002 two American guys find out about the World Air Guitar Championships held in Finland so they go – not as competitors – only observers.  They are struck by the fact that there are no Americans in the competition, so they resolve to organize championship events in the US in order to send a US champion to the world championship the following year.  I don’t want to give much more than that away because the story is really good.  Anyway, if you’ve ever pretended to perform a guitar solo in your bedroom, this documentary is for you.

The documentary is out on DVD, so you can get it on Netflix or something.  Or, if you want to watch it for free, it’ll be on VH1 at 1PM tomorrow (Feb. 13th), so set up your Tivo.  The trailer (which I think doesn’t really do it justice) is here.


3rd time’s a charm?

About a year and a half ago, a friend of mine gave me a computer he was no longer using.  I went ahead and bought a Hauppauge PVR-350 TV tuner card with onboard MPEG-2 encoding and decoding with the hopes of turning the computer into a nice PVR.  Tonight marks the third time (at least) that I have tried to set up this program.  I tried once using KnoppMyth, a Linux distribution based on Knoppix (which is based on Debian) that is meant to simplify the task of setting up MythTV (which is notoriously difficult).  I got to, I don’t know, 75% perhaps and then ran into some snags and gave up for awhile.  Some time later, I tried installing Ubuntu and then installing MythTV on top of that.  I got to probably 90% and then hit snags, got sick of working on it, and gave up.   Over the weekend, I decided I would try installing it again.  So, today I downloaded the installation ISO for Mythbuntu.  I’m in the process of trying to get everything working.  I’ll let you know how it turns out.


Mmmm… Bacon

Bacon needs no introduction.


Raise the Jolly Roger x 2

Today the Pirates began a series of 4 games against the Cincinnati Reds.  The series was kicked off with a “twi-night” doubleheader, the first game of which was a make-up for the August 5th game, which was postponed due to rain.  Both the Pirates and the Reds had been doing well coming into today’s games.  The Pirates had won their last three series and 7 out of their last 10 games.  However, the Reds were riding a 6-game winning streak coming into today’s games.  I knew that one team would have to falter and I was nervous that it was going to be the Pirates.  Fortunately, the Pirates put my fears to rest by winning the first game 6-4, due, in no small part, to Freddy Sanchez’ first career grand slam.  They followed up their victory with another victory, beating the Reds 3-2 in the second game.

With their two victories tonight, the Pirates advance to 59-72 (.450).  This lifts them out of last place in the NL Central, putting them a game and a half ahead of Houston.  In addition, it puts them only half a game behind Cincinnati.  A win in tomorrow’s game would move them to fourth place in the NL Central.  For those of you paying attention, if the Pirates are to post a winning season, they must win 23 of their remaining 31 games – which allows them only 8 losses for the rest of the season.  This is unlikely, but not impossible.  Afterall, they are 8-2 in their last 10 games…

Finally, those of you who might be frustrated by what looks like another disappointing season should consider the following: last year on this date, the Pirates had a record of 51-81 (.386), which meant that a winning season was already impossible.  In addition, they were a whopping 19.5 games behind first place.  This year, they’re at 59-72 (.450) and they’re only 8.5 games behind first place.  I’m not saying that they’re going to win the division, but they could.  Don’t forget that the Padres won the NL West in 2005 with a record of 82-80, the worst possible winning record and the worst record ever by a team that made it into the postseason.  So, while the Pirates aren’t doing quite as well as we might like, they’re definitely moving in the right direction.

PS: Interestingly, tonight the Pirates tied the franchise record for most home runs hit by the team in any calendar month.  The record has stood at 43 since August of 1947 and, since there are still 3 more games left in August, it stands a good chance of being broken by the 2007 squad.


Tax Rap

I saw this in the Boston Metro (a free newspaper distributed at public transit stations). TurboTax is sponsoring a competition where people rap about taxes and using TurboTax. The contest is “hosted” by Vanilla Ice and involves a $25,000 prize for the winner. Anyway, I took a look at some of the submissions and some of them are painful to watch. However, there are some that are really good. In the Metro article, they recommended “Keep Your Refund FATTER” by 401Cakes & Samuel L. Taxin’. I think it’s really good, so take a look:

If you want to peruse all the entries, look here. If you want to see the contest home page, check here. Some of the stuff is really good, but don’t be surprised if you find something that is both embarrassing and painful to watch. You’ve been warned.


June 2022

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