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Blog Archives for December 2009

My New Dingoo

Sunday, December 27th, 2009 - Comments (5) in Gadgets, Life

For Christmas this year we decided to just get each other one item that we each really wanted. So we each picked out something and the other bought it and wrapped it up. I really had no idea, like usual, what I wanted. There are always things that I want but they're mostly too expensive. A few weeks ago I got home from work and looked through a ThinkGeek catalog that came in the mail and found what I wanted: the A320 Pocket Retro Game Emulator, also known as a Dingoo. It's basically a Gameboy that plays game roms dumped from Nintendo, Super Nintendo and tons of other systems. It's got 4GB of internal storage for games and a slot for a mini-SD card (up to 32GB). It not only plays games, but will play videos, music, show pictures and do other stuff too.

Dingoo a320

Dingoo a320

Dingoo a320

These things come from China and have a terribly translated user interface. Luckily there is a community of American nerds writing software for these things, so you can flash it with a custom firmware that fixes the spelling mistakes and chinglish. There is also a small linux distribution designed for this device called Dingux. I've heard there are more emulators that run better for the linux OS on this device, but I have yet to try it. I did flash it to allow the loading of Dingux, but I don't have a mini-SD card yet. In fact, I didn't know mini-SD cards existed; I have regular SD and micro SD cards, but nothing between those two.

So far I love this thing. It allows me to carry around and play all the games that remind me of my childhood when ever and where ever I want. It will also last around 8 hours on a single battery charge. The ability to run linux also opens up many more game ports: Duke Nukem 3d, Doom, Quake...awesome!

New Camera!

Sunday, December 13th, 2009 - Comments (0) in Gadgets, Life, Nerd Stuff

A couple weeks ago I purchased a new digital camera. I had been using a 7.1mp Nikon point-and-shooter but it wasn't going to be able to keep up with my future demands. I still like the little Nikon, it takes wonderful pictures, but it's just too slow. When using the flash it takes like 4 seconds to recharge to take the next picture. At a wedding that means you have 1 shot at getting the bride walking down the aisle.

I wanted to a digital SLR because their so much more versatile. I could get a monster zoom lens to snoop on the neighbors, and still take macro shots of little stuff to sell on Craigslist. The ability to tweak things like aperture, shutter speed and ISO ('film' speed) make it so much easier to get a good picture in a much wider range of environments.

These cameras are rather expensive and since I'm a cheap bastard I decided to raise the money by selling random stuff I had around the house on eBay, Craigslist and a friend's garage sale. I also got some money for my birthday from my parents that I added to the pot.

I ended up getting a Canon Rebel T1i (500D) bundled with an 18-55mm image-stabilizing lens. I was looking at possibly getting the XSi because it was cheaper, but that technology is a few years old. I don't often have to have the latest and greatest, but this time I did. It's 15mp so I can print posters from the pictures I take and it takes high-definition video! It'll do 1080p at 20fps (useless), or 720p at 30fps using H.264 as the codec wrapped up in a quicktime (.mov) container. This format can be uploaded directly from the camera to sites like Youtube without any processing.

Canon Rebel T1i

I like this camera so far and the more I learn how to use it the more I like it. I'm not sure I like the lens that came with the kit though. Generally speaking it's okay, but pictures seem to be a little softer than I think they should be. Even when I switch to manual focus it's tough to get a really sharp picture. I've done some research and found that the most inexpensive lens Canon makes in their EF line is a 50mm that supposedly takes razor-sharp pictures. It also supposedly takes excellent low light shots. Maybe I'll sell some more crap and buy one of those lenses to play with. Sure it doesn't zoom, but I can always zoom with my feet.

 

Xmas Tree

Sunday, December 13th, 2009 - Comments (2) in Holidays, Life

Since the baby is scheduled to arrive in mid January we're spending Christmas at our house for the first time ever. It'll be nice to be able to lounge around and play with our toys without having to rush around and travel.

This weekend we got our Christmas tree from Grossmans out in Penfield; it was a rather delightful experience. Their trees were already cut and setup inside for you to pick through. This was wonderful because it was colder than a well-diggers ass outside. We just pointed to the one we wanted and they buttoned it up and tied it to the roof of my car.

The only downside was the lady running the cash register. She was rather chatty and took like 20 minutes to ring up 2 people each with only a few items.

xmas 2009

Experts Exchange Snow Globe

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009 - Comments (0) in Computers, Holidays, Life, Nerd Stuff

Today at work I found a package addressed to me in the main office. I recently ordered some stuff (drives, printers) but this box was too small for any of that and it was sent via USPS which resellers never use.

I opened the box and found a holiday thank-you card and a snow globe from Experts Exchange! If you're not familiar with EE, it's a website where you can ask or answer computer related questions. I've been a member for years now (back when it was free) and frequently share my nerd knowledge. The more questions you answer the more points you get. As you get more points you go up the ranks. Each new rank you get you achieve, you can get a t-shirt. I thought that was cool enough, but it was a nice surprise to get this gift with a hand written note.

experts-exchange.com snow globe

Fun fact: Rachelle likes to say I'm on "that sex change site" when I'm looking at EE. If you take the hyphen out of the URL it could easily be mistaken as ExpertSexChange rather than ExpertsExchange.

Swapping Tires

Friday, December 4th, 2009 - Comments (0) in Cars, Life

Last night I put Rachelle's snow tires on her car. She has all-season tires, but they just don't do well in snow. Her normal tires are also at the end of their lives; they were original to the car, have 72K miles on them and are finally getting down to the wear-bars.

Before driving to Jersey for Thanksgiving I noticed one of her tires was down to 20 psi when all the others were around 31. I filled it back up and it held the pressure, so I assumed some kid probably let the air out of it in a parking lot somewhere. Last night while changing the tires I found out why it lost air, and boy am I glad I had leather gloves on:

nail in the tire..

This was on the inside of the rear driver's side tire. I guess it had worked itself into a position where it wasn't leaking air after the first 10 lbs because the tire was still up around 30psi and we had just driven over 600 miles on it. Who knows how long that thing has been there.

I only found it when it snagged my glove, if I had done the job in bare hands it would've done some major damage.

First Snow...

Friday, December 4th, 2009 - Comments (0) in Life

As a Rochesterian, I feel lucky this year that we had so far avoided snow. I can remember years when there was snow on the ground for Halloween, so making it all the way to December is quite a feat. Our snow-less streak ended this week.

bah, snow!

Sure it wasn't much and it was gone by mid day, but it's just depressing to wake up and see this out the window.

Hopefully being snow-less for so long means that we're going to have a very mild winter. Or it could just mean we're going to get our asses handed to us some time in February. Sigh...