31 December, 2008

Zune 30 GB Crash

Per Microsoft, the problem should resolve itself around noon on January 1'st.  We shall see.

More information can be found here:  http://forums.zune.net/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=408989

Dan Reams previously wrote:
    Holy crap!  My Zune crashed!  I wonder if my experience is related to everyone else's.


20 December, 2008

Snow Thrower - The Stages of Becoming a Man

In the beginning, there was the mitten
The child learned to push snow this way and that
In for hot chocolate to avoid being frost bitten
Slush clogging his kid boots and hat

When he got his first apartment he took a shovel
To help him dig out his old beater
To passers by he'd look quite agile
But he'd run in to sit on the heater

He bought his very own condo
Remembrances of his old apartment
Inevitably came the first snow
So down to Ace Hardware he went

Snow Throwers all so new and shiny
The man said "The big one's the rage"
Their price tags were not so tiny
So he said, "I'll just take the single-stage"

The first snowfall was just North of one inch
He stripped off the plastic, filled up the tank
It blew off the sidewalk and didn't flinch
He said, "Hey I just made my first snowbank!"

A week later a blizzard did come
The lil' shooter was valiantly run
When it got gummed up in the slush he felt dumb
"My mama didn't raise her no idiot son"

Grabbing the emergency credit card he returned to the store
Said "Man I can't take this no more
My back aches like a man three times my age
Here's my card please deliver me a dual-stage"

Tuning one's HDTV with the 'Video Essentials' DVD, Sound Meter at Radio Shack

A letter to my pal, Jason, regarding tuning my HDTV.  We bond this way.

-------- Original Message --------

I tuned the new TV last night using my used $6 copy of 'Video Essentials' that I'd picked up at CD Max [Brookfield, WI.].  Of course, the difference was night and day, but the process left me feeling somewhat empty.  Like you, I am a stickler for detail, when making technical adjustments, so it was disconcerting to me that the old 'Video Essentials' was not really cut from a mold to properly fit my monitor.

For example, the monitor refused to "blossom" the gray box or cause the straight line to curve when adjusting the contrast.  While this should indicate that my monitor does a great job with its brightness, I was left with a feeling that perhaps the paradigm is different with an LCD HDTV than for a tube monitor for which the DVD was designed.  Similarly, the Sharpness control, when raised to the maximum, did not distort the resulting picture much at all, although at its highest level, there were noticiable new boundaries around objects.  When viewing the sample pictures, on the DVD, they actually looked BETTER with the sharpness cranked to maximum.  Conversely, with the contrast all the way off, the images became blurry.  Because the middle position of the Sharpness setting is zero, I opted to set it there.  At least this did not contradict the DVD, which advised that some monitors' Sharpness controls tend to wash out images at the lowest settings, so I was okay with leaving it at zero.

Fortunately, the color and tint were nasty screwed up, and adjusting them made all the difference in the world.  Indeed, setting the blues ended up being a compromise; I could get the right one perfect, or the left one, but not both simultaneously, even with back-and-forth between color and tint controls.  I found a happy medium -- subtle anyway -- and then ended up watching an hour of 'Revenge of the Sith' just...because.  Of course I first tracked down all the automatic adjustment settings and turned them the hell off.

Thanks forever for turning me onto the disc.  I'll likely pick up the HD version if I see it used somewhere.  My monitors have saturation and hue settings, for all the colors, and I had to leave them alone, not knowing what adjusting them would do to my experience.

I know it's time for me to pick up a sound meter, in preparation for my new sound system.  I had considered going with the ole classic Radio Shack model, that you have (and as featured in video essentials), but I might pay the extra $5 and get the digital readout model.  Both can be seen here:  http://www.radioshack.com/search/index.jsp?kwCatId=&kw=sound%20meter&origkw=sound%20meter&sr=1

Hoping all is well with you,

- Dan

[Postscript: I ended up buying the Blu-Ray/HD version of 'Video Essentials', from Amazon, later in the day.  As of this writing it can be found at this link: http://www.amazon.com/Digital-Video-Essentials-Basics-Blu-ray/dp/B000V6LST0/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=dvd&qid=1229823036&sr=8-1

04 December, 2008

Snow Thing

To the Tune and Cadence of "Wild Thing", by Ton Loc

Let's throw it
Workin' all week drivin' home on empty tummy
Rollin' down the street I made to turn into my driveway
I turned my wheel and got the feel of my car a slippin slidin
I hit the brake but it didn't take and I landed in the garden
Thought 'Of course I'm stuck, it's just my luck, I do this annually'
So I locked the door and grabbed my pizzas to feed my fam-i-ly
I told my wife and then my kids that Daddy didn't git far
My wife said, "Man, one of these years, you're gonna hit MY own car"

Snow thing (Say What?!)

Diggin' out my tires kneeling down and sweepin' snow
My puffy pants and face mask on I'm a gangsta Eskimo
Straightened my tires rev'd up my four and put it to the floor
Shot into the street I parked it neat and turned to work the pow-der
I sauntered up the drive and I opened the third bay
I topped off the tank & hit the starter... I didn't want to wait all day
The garage's red and green and white lights didn't remind me none of Spring
I thought "Man I'm warm and cozy and I kind of dig this crazy Snow thing"

Snow thing
I love to do that Snow thing
Snow thing
Shoot it far and wide

I blew the drive I blew it hard I went on the attack
I even got the stuff that the plow guy had put back
Crisscross I went like a frosting drizzle in a grid pat-tern
Up and down and in and out, Man I was nurturing the burn
I went up to the neighbor's damn they'd already been blowin'
Good thing their little putt putt hadn't done much more than sidewalk rubbin'
I cleaned 'em good like I should my lines true and straight and long
And when I finished I cocked the chute and shot the rest on their front lawn

Snow thing
You can't keep me from chillin'
You're comin' down and I'm comin' up
And I'll meet you in the middle

Goin' down to Joey's place I see something awry
There are thrower tracks on the sidewalk all the way up to MY driveway!
I'm used to blowin' ALL the walk to ease his access-ing
'Oh no!' I think, I'm quite disturbed, Joey'd fired up HIS Snow thing!

Say WHAT?!?
That ain't right
Snow thing
Joey's job was tight
Yeah...that guy can throw the snow
He's got RANGE.....

Snow thing

So let me tell you playa with your shovel and your blower
That you're not supposed to drive home in the snow like you're in a big bull dozer
Not when you're driving a car of plastic that gets hung up on the edging
You might end up paying a guy with a truck to hook up and do his Snow thing

Say what?
I ain't payin' no towing
Yeah, I'm gonna keep diggin' it out myself, Man
I'm gonna push pull and tug on that thing until it moves
And then I'm gonna light up my thrower and make it right
Yeah Man next year I'm gonna make that turn, my wheels will bite
Bite this you crazy

Snow thing....