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Month: April 2007

Price hikes for internet radio and how petitions should work

Price hikes for internet radio and how petitions should work

I’m not much of a zealot about most grass-roots stuff, but the Copyright Royalty Board has raised rates for internet radio stations by hundreds of percent to play songs online. I, for one, listen to lots of internet radio at work – and this stinks because it will put some good stations out of business.

These guys (http://capwiz.com/saveinternetradio/home/) have a great system that allows you to enter your name/address and it will find your reps – then allow you to automatically fax or email them.聽 You can also print and snail mail them. Takes about 30 seconds total unless you want to customize the message. This is the way petitions should work.

Dr. Who – again!? BBC

Dr. Who – again!? BBC

I didn’t notice it last season; but the BBC revived Dr. Who. Not the old, shabby ones done on a $10 budget per episode, but now with (only) slightly more believable computer generated effects. It’s not the effects that makes me want to see more, however, its the fact they have comprehensible plots and fun action that are actually interesting. It’s still got a bit of a handy-cam feel, but the actors are much more interesting and fun to watch. Someone mentioned it’s on SciFi, but I don’t have cable. The one episode I saw with them traveling back to the time of Shakespeare was fun and entertaining – I hope they do well.

Here’s the link to the new series: http://www.bbc.co.uk/doctorwho/

Weekend of upgrades!

Weekend of upgrades!

Well, put the latest performance review’s positive outcome to some new hardware this weekend.

First off, bought a new case since my old one wasn’t cutting it with the RAID drives and keeping everything cool. These were on smoking sale at Fry’s so I bought a limited edition Antec P182 – which comes in a wicked-cool gun-metal color.

I can’t say enough about the great fan layout which is super-silent and keeps everything very cool inside (each fan is 3 speed 120mm with external speed control and external removable lint traps for easy cleaning). The style, silent operation, excellent airflow, and functionality (the front audio jacks actually work on this case – finally!) are complimented by the ability to mount any board and its ample drive bays (each drive mounting point has rubber shock mounts and the drive bays have a silky smooth slide operation) which accommodate my 1.2 terabyte RAID just nicely. I have a feeling I’ll be using this case for years to come.

Next up was to finally replace my old laptop. I finally sold my old Dell Inspiron 8000 (P3, 1gig ram, XP, etc). It was a great laptop – the first model to have a 3D accelrator in it (gforce 2) – but weighed a ton and was just too bulky with its old 15″ rectangular screen (they didn’t have widescreen back then). I actually got $450 for the whole setup – about $100 more than I thought. However, compare that to when I found the paperwork and discovered I paid $2700 for it when it came out in 2001 – ouch.

Swallowing that lesson on technologies’ steep capital depreciation curve and vowing not to spend over $1000 ever again, I used the cash towards a new HP dv2000t. It’s a 14″ widescreen Core 2 Duo, 1gig ram, 120gig hd, 128meg nvidia gforce 7200 graphics card, dvd-dl burner, built-in webcam, vista home premium, 802.11/b/g, works, and usual bundleware. I found a $200 off coupon (thanks NotebookForums) and got it all for $800. I really fell in love with the glossy finish and style of this laptop after looking at many 14″ notebooks. Outside of a Mac, I think it’s one of the nicest looking laptops around. I settled on the 14″ because 15″ simply got too big for me anymore. This one was super-nice sized – fits in carrying satchel’s pockets very easily, was very light (tiniest power supplies I’ve seen), was more than powerful enough to play simple 3d games, ran Photoshop CS2, Visual Studio, Office apps, Dreamweaver, etc. On top of that, you don’t even need to boot it to watch dvd’s, just use the touch buttons on the surface. Can’t wait till it arrives in 2 weeks.

An interesting side note is that I got much more for my old Dell laptop on craigslist than what it was selling for on ebay. Similar laptops sold for $275-$325 on ebay, but I had bidding wars all the way to $450 on craigslist. Probably because you meet face-to-face with craigslist (ebay is full of laptop scams), but also people seem to really *REALLY* want used laptops on craigslist. Got a number of starving arts/student types. Interesting.

Woodburn tulip festival

Woodburn tulip festival

The Woodburn tulip festival is just kicking into high gear!

I went last weekend and there were only a few rows up. This weekend, they blooming is up to about 65% of the fields.聽 It should be an amazing week with good weather returning about Wed/Thurs.

If you get a chance, bring your camera and go. Admission is $5 on weekends, but free during week. It can also be exceptionally crowded on the weekends – but it’s shaping up to be one of the best years I’ve seen in the 5 years.

Here’s a picture I took last trip to inspire you: