Friday, March 28, 2008

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Rick Astley interviewed about the "Rick Roll"

He's never gonna give you, or let you down. More than likely, he won't run around and hurt you either. He probably won't make you cry, definitely won't say goodbye. I'd be willing to bet he won't tell a lie or desert you either.

Mr Rick Roll himself got interviewed about the phenomenon. Check it out here. If you aren't familiar with what a rick roll is, you can find the info here.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Shady BMW Dealer on Ebay Screws Bidder

This story is starting to take off like a bat out of hell, it basically started as a post on an M3 forum, and after 10 or so pages, had become international news with people from all over Canada and Europe signing up to offer their support. Its got on the front page of Autoblog and the Consumerist, and the rumor is that MSNBC is picking it up.

The quick and dirty is that a BMW dealer in Lincoln Nebraska put an '08 M3 on Ebay, advertising it as the "lowest priced M3 on Ebay". They started the bidding at $60,000 w/no reserve and a buy it now of $65,000 (basically hoping to start a bidding frenzy I'm sure). So it sits and the guy who placed the 1 bid of $60,000 won the auction. They called him and said they wouldn't honor the deal because it was a "mistake". So on and so forth, after thousands upon thousands of people start reading the story, they're discovering that the dealership may have been "schill" bidding on all their auctions to drive up the final sales prices. Below are links to the original thread on the M3 forum and the articles on Consumerist and Autoblog:

Original Thread

Autoblog Article

Consumerist Article

This is another example of people with shady ethics ruining a good (or what used to be a good) thing for all of us. The more "contracts" like this are broken, bad precedents are set for all Ebay sellers, and online commerce in general. Can you imagine if you won an auction for something and the seller decides to back out or offer you another item? Yea, in the non-internet world thats called bait and switch, and is supremely illegal. Now with every state (except Louisiana, go figure) adopting e-commerce laws, all internet transactions are included in the same laws that govern us going to Sears and buying a freakin lawnmower.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

damn you minnesota

So, it was pretty much spring outside. It had gotten warm enough to melt almost all the snow, and stayed warm enough where all the sidewalks were dry! It was awesome, and it kind of felt like we were done with the snow/ice/slop for the year. Nay. We got 6-8 inches of soaking wet snow in two days. It looks like it did two months ago. Problem is, that since its still pretty warm (like 35) its pretty much melting, but there is a ton of it. Its a mess. Not pleased. And in honor of it being Easter:

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Dog Attack Styles

This is pretty cool:


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Sweet Stealth Theme for WIndows XP

I really like having simple themes for windows, and don't like bright colors at all. I used to use Windowsblinds or StyleXP to load cracked and custom themes on my machine, but I ran into some kind of quirky system glitches. The one I always loaded was a straight black XP theme, with really not much else modified except the colors.

Well, I found this baby the other day (it might be old but new to me). Its a factory theme from Microsoft (so no cracks involved, just run the installer) that they were using to promote the Zune music player. Its an all black theme with only the start button being orange. Its sweet, here's a screen shot of my desktop, with a carbon fiber wallpaper to boot:



Like I said, its all Microsoft, so there aren't any changes to your system. Here's the link to the download of the Zune theme from Microsoft: Zune Theme.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Foxcycle.com website re-design

Well, with a little help I got the foxcycle.com website redesigned to be a little more modern and alot cooler looking. There are some modifications yet to be done, but this will do for now. Check it out here.

I added a flash/java driven photo gallery earlier this morning that doesn't have any direct links on the site yet, but you can see it here for now. I'd like some feedback on it, so if you've got some let me have it. The script I'm using for the gallery is generally based on a serve side php build script that will basically allow you dump your pics into a folder on your site, run the script and it will output everything (thumbnails and all). Well, the host I'm using is pretty barebones, and doesn't really give me the option of using PHP or MYSQL on the server side, so I've been manually creating all the galleries, which is kind of time consuming. Of course, after I was done, I found out that there is a script for Photoshop that will do automated builds (takes like 1 minute as opposed to 30-40 manually.) Pretty slick.

So anyway, check it out and let me know what you think. Also, if you have bike pics, email them to me. I'll put 'em up.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Its finally the weekend

I can't believe how excited I am not to have to work. I am getting really sick of working. Not my job necessarily, just working in general. We're straight chillin today, my buddy Marc is coming over to help me with some stuff for the Fox Cycle website and I'm going to fix a couple things around the house.

We're getting new windows in the next few weeks, so we're excited for that. We're having them all custom made and getting them with this crazy heat mirror technology built in. It is the same type of stuff they use on all glass office buildings to keep them insulated. I guess they just started making the technology available to consumers a few years ago. Anyway that is cool, and we've had a couple contractors come out to give us estimates on refinishing our hardwood floors. Its nice but the two bedrooms aren't finished or weren't refinished with the rest of them so they look like crap. It should be pretty awesome. We're getting this super heavy duty water based polyurethane put on called "Traffic" which is apparently some pretty incredible stuff.

The bike business is slowly starting to pick up some steam. I've got a couple tune ups scheduled for next weekend, and some more inquiries coming in. Big thanks to Brain for helping me get the rest of the tools I needed, you're the best in the business. We got our Mutt Pack put up and we're lovin it. Sara's taking off with the Bear next weekend so she'll get to put the travel part to the test. Here it is in all its glory:



Last week we got to go see the Wild play San Jose for free which was cool. Remember all that virus business I was crying about last week? Well, the manager for the production floor systems group gave me some tickets for my troubles. They were awesome seats, but there really aren't too many bad seats in the Xcel Energy Center anyway. Here's a couple shots from the game:

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Terror of Blimps

This is not my story, but it is to awesome not to post.

Last week while traveling I stopped at a Zany Brainy store and saw that they had a blimp for sale. It's called Airship Earth, and it's a great big balloon with a map of the Earth on it, and two propellers hanging from the bottom. You blow up the balloon with helium put batteries in it, and you have a radio control indoor blimp.

I'd seen these things for sale in Sharper Image catalogs for $60-$75. At Zany Brainy it was on clearance for $15. What a deal!

Last night my wife was playing tennis and it was just my daughter and I at home. I bought a small helium tank from a party store, and last night we put the blimp together.

Let me tell you, it's quite a blimp. It's huge. The balloon has like a 3 ft diameter.

We blew it up with the tank attached the gondola with the propellers, and put in batteries.

Then we balanced the blimp for neutral buoyancy with this putty that came with it, so it hangs in the air by itself neither rising nor falling.

It was easy and fun, and then I blew up another balloon and made Mickey Mouse helium voices for my daughter.

My three year old girl loved it. We flew the blimp all over the house, terrorized the dog, attacked the fish tank, and the controls were so easy my daughter could fly.

Let's face it, blimps are fun.

Alas, the fun had to end and my daughter had to go to sleep. I left the blimp floating in my office downstairs, my wife came home, and we went to bed, and slept the sleep of the righteous.

At this point it is important to know that my house has central heating. I have it configured to blow hot air out on the ground floor and take it in at the second floor to take advantage of the fact that heat rises.

The blimp which was up until this moment a fun toy here embarked on a career of evil. Using the artificial convection of my central heating, the blimp stealthily departed my office. It moved silently through the living and drifted to the staircase. Gliding wraithlike over the staircase it then entered the bedroom where my wife and I lay sleeping peacefully.

Running silently, and gliding six feet or so above the ground on invisible and tiny air currents it approached the bed.

In spite of it's noiseless passage, or perhaps because of it, I awoke. That doesn't really say it properly. Let me try again.

I awoke, the way you awake at 2:00 AM when your sleeping senses suddenly tell you without reason that the forces of evil on converging on you.

That still doesn't do it. Let me try one more time.

I awoke the way you awake when you suddenly know that there is a large levitating sinister presence hovering towards you with menacing intent through the malignant darkness.

Now sometimes I do wake up in the middle of the night thinking that there are large sinister and menacing things floating out of the darkness to do me and mine evil. Usually I open my eyes, look and listen carefully, decide it was a false alarm, and go back to sleep.

So, the fact that I awoke in such a manner was not all that unusual.

On this occasion I awoke to the sense that there was a large menacing presence approaching me silently out of the gloom, so I opened my eyes, and there it was! A LARGE SILENT MENACING PRESENCE WAS APPROACHING ME OUT OF THE GLOOM, AND IT COULD FLY!!!

Somewhere in the control room of my mind a fat little dwarf in a security outfit was paging through a Penthouse while smoking a cigar with his feet up on the table, watching the security monitors of my brain with his peripheral vision. Suddenly he saw the LARGE SILENT SINISTER MENACING FLOATING PRESENCE coming at me, and he pulled every panic switch and hit every alarm that my body has. A full decade's allotment of adrenaline was dumped into my bloodstream all at once. My metabolism went from "restful sleep mode" to HOLY SHIT! FIGHT FOR YOUR LIFE OR DIE!!!! mode" in a nanosecond. My heart went from twenty something beats per minute to about 240 even faster.

I always knew this was going to happen. I always knew that skepticism and science were mere psychological decorations and vanities. Deep in our alligator brains we all know that the world is just chock full of evil and monsters and sinister forces aligned against us, and it is only a matter of time until they show up. Evolution know this, too. It knows what to do when the silent terror comes at you from out of the dark.

When 50 million years worth of evolutionary survival instinct hits you all at once flat in the gut at 200 mph it is not a pleasant sensation.

Without volition I screamed my battle cry (which is indistinguishable to the sound a little girl makes when you drop a spider down her dress (not that I'd know what that sounds like,) and lept out of bed in my underwear.

I struck the approaching menace with all my strength and almost fell over at the total lack of resistance that a helium balloon offers when you punch the living shit out of it with all the strength that sudden middle of the night terror produces.

It's trajectory took it straight into the ceiling fan which whipped it about the room at terrifying velocity.

Seeking a weapon, I ripped the alarm clock out of its plug and hurled it at the now High Velocity Menacing presence (breaking the clock and putting a nice hole in the wall.)

Somehow at this moment I suddenly realized that I was fighting the blimp, and not a monster. It might have been funny if I didn't truly and actually feel like I was having a legitimate heart-attack.

On quivering legs I went to the bathroom and literally gagged into the toilet while shaking uncontrollably with the shock of the reaction I'd had.

Unbelievably, both my wife and daughter had completely slept through the incident. When I decided that I wasn't having a heart attack after all I went back into the bedroom and found the blimp which had somehow survived the incident.

I took it to the walk in closet and released it inside where it floated around with the air currents released from the vents in there. I closed the door, this sealing it in, and went back to bed. About 500 years later I fell asleep.


***

At about 7 am my wife awoke. She had been playing tennis and wasn't aware that we have assembled the blimp the previous evening, and that is was now floating around the the walk-in closet that she approached.

The dynamic between the existing air currents of the closet and the suction caused by opening the door was just enough to give the blimp the appearance of an Evil Sinister Menace flying straight towards her.

This time the blimp did not survive the encounter, nor almost, did I, as I had to explain to my very angry spouse what motivated me to hide an evil lurking presence in the closet for her to find at 7 am.

I can order replacement balloons on the internet but I don't think I will.

Some blimps are better off dead.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Mutt Pack buddy discount

Hey everyone, my friend Matt from The Mutt Pack gave me a coupon for a "buddy discount" on the Traveler version of the Mutt Pack. It's normally $69.96, but with the code its $45, thats 35% off roughly. He figured that it would be good to get it off the ground by getting some people hooked up for cheap. Sara and I just got ours and it's pretty awesome.

So, to get the discount, go to http://www.shop.themuttpack.com and select whatever color "Traveler" model Mutt Pack that you want, and at check out enter the coupon code: 25OFF03070 which should get the total to $45.

Feel free to pass this coupon code on to your friends, it will be good for a week or so.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Viruses again

I wound up working until like 1:00 am Tuesday night because of another virus issue on one of our production servers. Its a long story that no one would care about, but basically what happens is some of our production line computers go out to this server to verify what version of a certain software they're running when they boot up (via an .exe file). These computers have a share on that server mapped as a local drive, so one unpatched computer caught w32/madangel.b which basically tears up every exe file on your machine by adding 5 bytes to the binary. It then sniffs for open network shares wherever it can find them and tries to spread. So a guy from Austin called and said that some of our machines were port scanning his servers. So we cleaned them up, but since they have that share mapped as a local drive, one of the infected machines then infected the entire share of the server (all the exe's) so whenever another machine went out to the server to verify its software, bam, re-infected. So I wound up finding a solution to the server part which stopped the outbreak, but we're still playing clean up with the rest of them. What a pain in the ass. So on that note:


Monday, March 03, 2008

Back in business

Well, I decided to start doing bike repairs again. I've got my shop about 85% set up (not nearly as swank as Brain's shop) and I'm starting to take appointments. I've got about 5-6 so far, so thats good I guess. I've got a quickie website up at www.foxcycle.com and plan on doing some more development soon. What I would like to do is have a "tech" and "blog" section where my fellow mechanics can post tech stuff, reviews, procedures, videos, pics, etc. I'm trying to decided whether or not to develop the blog into the site, or just link to an external site (i.e. blogger or wordpress). Let me know what you think. Peace.