A while back I posted about the HP Mini 1000 and some of the ways it can be upgraded. Probably the easiest upgrade is to the Transcend JetFlash T3 drive that comes with the machine, and fills the recessed USB slot. The Mini comes with a 2GB drive, and the easiest upgrade is to simply purchase a higher capacity Transcend drive in the same line. The 4GB unit is priced at $16.70 on the Transcend store website, or $16.29 from Amazon.
I've recently gotten into the sport / hobby of geocaching. What is geocaching? Think of it like a treasure hunt, or the world's biggest easter egg hunt, and it is going on every day all over the world. The way this sport works is that someone out there hides a container, call the cache, that holds, at a minimum, a logbook for those who find it to sign. The person who hides the cache locates a clever hiding location, and then gets a GPS fix of the location. The hider then registers the cache on a website such as http://www.geocaching.com/ and publishes the lattitude and longitude from the GPS fix of the cache. Once published, anyone else is welcome to use that location data to try to track down the cache. Given this basic description it sounds pretty simple, but clever hiders can make it really fun and interesting to find the cache, even when you know exactly where it should be.
I love my grandmother, very much. We don't see eye to eye on most political issues though. Leading up to the election last year we both said some things that rubbed each other the wrong way. We're family, though, and we love each other, so this was water quickly under the bridge.
My family and I are preparing to move out of the city and into a more rural setting. As part of that move, I've been researching what sorts of internet service will be available to us. At our current residence we have a number of different options for high speed internet service. We currently use the U-Verse service offered by AT&T. We are using the 1.5Mbps service, which adds $15 / month in cost to our U-Verse television bill. Comcast also offers high speed internet service, and I'm sure we could get DSL from any number of folks. Go a few miles outside of a dense residential area and your options quickly become limited.
- Cellular Wireless
- Microwave Wireless
I am a nut about maintaining a budget in our house, and even more so now that we are planning to build a new home. I've used tools in the past, such as Microsoft Money, that allow me to tracker where the money went and to get an idea of what my regular expenses are. The problem I have with these tools is that they are reactive. They are only useful to me after I have spent my cash, not before. In my opinion, systems that give you a postmortem on your finances are not really useful. I want to feel the pain before I spend, not after. If I feel pain before, I have a chance to avoid spending at all, thus alleviating the pain of deviating from our budget (and potentially running into debt).
The system that I've come to use is decidedly low tech, but very effective. Using Google Docs I created a spreadsheet and added worksheets for all of our regular expenses, both monthly and annually. There are additional worksheets for our accounts: credit, checking, savings, loans, etc. Finally, there are worksheets for each of the things we would like to save for throughout the year. I use these worksheets to perform double-entry bookkeeping. Here is the full list of worksheets:
- Credit Card
- Food & Gas
- Car Payment
- Mortgage Payment
- Life Insurance
- Car Insurance
- Plates and Tags
- Christmas Fund
- Birthday Fund
- Personal Allowances
- Slush Fund
One of the only complaints I had about my HP Mini 1000 netbook when I purchased it was the lack of a dedicated microphone jack. The Mini has a combined headphone/microphone jack. You can plug in a set of headphones and get sound, or plug in a mic and record, but not both at once. I like to use Skype, ooVoo, Ventrillo, and other voice applications, and this seemed like an unnecessary limitation.
Here in Indiana, you have a few options when it comes to your license plate. Assuming you are driving a car (not a commercial vehicle, truck, motorcycle, RV, or some other vehicle which requires a different plate) you can choose among the plates shown below.
There is no difference in cost between these. By default, the license branch is supposed to offer the simple blue background plate first, and offer the other two as options upon request. If you would prefer, you may pay extra for a plate that benefits the organization of your choice, such as your favorite university, or perhaps Habitat for Humanity, with a portion of the extra fee given to the organization represented on the plate. Further, Indiana permits personalized license plates (PLPs) with some restrictions on what is allowed on the plate. I'm paraphrasing, but the essence of the restrictions are that the common man will not find your combination of seven letters and numbers offensive.
If you live in Indiana, you've probably seen these plates already, and you may remember that the "In God We Trust" plate got some attention when it debuted. The ACLU brought suit against the state, not for the content of the plate, but to contend that it should carry an extra fee. The ACLU lost the case, and the plate continues to be available to anyone who asks for it at no additional charge.
Now, a bit of trivia. Do you consider the phrase "In God We Trust" to be a religious message? If you said no, the Indiana and US courts would agree with you. You see, "In God We Trust" is the official motto of the United States, and as such, is not considered religious speech. Way back in 1782 the phrase E Pluribus Unum ("out of many, one") was chosen as the text to appear on the Great Seal of the United States. This became the de facto motto for our nation, although there was never any action taken to make it official. In 1956, the lack of an official national motto was apparently a major concern, so congress worked on a bill and President Eisenhower signed into law that "In God We Trust" would become our national motto. This wasn't the first use of the phrase in our government, as it had appeared on our coins and bills since the late 1800's.
That effectively kills any religious argument against the "In God We Trust" plate, but what about speech on PLPs? Should I be able to reserve a PLP with the text "LUVSGOD", "BE GODS", or "NO GODS"? That's exactly what Jason Borneman wants to know. Jason, an atheist, applied for a PLP with the text "NO GODS". His application was rejected on the grounds that it might be offensive, and he is pursuing this through an appeal. Some have suggested that a more positive message might have been accepted, such as "GODFREE" rather than the negative statement "NO GODS". What do you think? If a "BE GODS" PLP is allowed, should a "NO GODS" plate be allowed too?
UPDATE: Mr. Bourneman received notice from the BMV that his PLP application has now been approved, and he will receive his "NO GODS" plate in February.
I like Extra Life Radio, and listen to it as often as I can. Occassionally something comes up in the discussion that gets me thinking, and this week's episode did just that. The host, Scott Johnson, mentioned that one of the things that really irritates him is when he hears folks use the saying "oh, they totally sold out". He mentioned this in response to criticism of the recent Mt. Dew ads featuring a World of Warcraft tie in.
I had an interesting experience at lunch yesterday. My coworkers and I often go out for lunch, and often to the same places. It was on one of these trips that I realized a quarter can be worth a lot more than 25¢ given the right circumstances. There were seven of us heading to the restaurant, so we took two cars. After being seated, we ordered drinks: five waters, a coke, and a diet coke. The waitress (we'll call her "Kay"), returned with the drinks and a scowl on her face. She put all seven drinks at the corner of the table, then unceremoniously dropped seven straws in the center of the table. Not a big deal, but usually a waiter/waitress will pass around drinks and straws individually rather than asking the guest to do it. We placed our food orders and waited for it to arrive...
There is a really interesting case in Wisconsin that got a write-up in the Chicago Tribune. In the case, the judge ruled that the police did not violate the suspect's 4th amendment privacy rights when they acquired a warrant for and placed a GPS tracking device on his vehicle. The defendent in this case was suspected of stalking a woman. The police received a warrant, although there is no law that requires that they do so, in order to place the tracker on the defendent's vehicle. It was retrieved a few weeks later and the data on the tracker used to get a warrant to search his home and vehicle for further evidence of stalking. He was later found guilty.
Own an HP Mini 1000, or looking to buy one, and want to know what parts can be upgraded? I've been poking around to see what is available for this great little netbook, and here are some of the things I've found.
A couple of weeks ago I picked up a HP Mini 1000 netbook. I had a couple of intentions for this netbook. Firstly, I wanted to use it for any personal network use wherever I went. Rather than using my work PC for checking account balances, personal e-mail, and other non-work related network uses, I would use the netbook instead. Second, I wanted a portable machine that I could do some light development on. Nothing complicated mind you, but just the ability to open up a small project, hack some code, and check that it compiles.
News media only makes money if your eyes are on their media. As such, it is in the best interest of the news outlet to sensationalize their story in order to get the most eyes. This can be tricky though, especially when it comes to blurring the line between causation and correlation.
Posted by Adam Jones at 9:58 PM
On January 30th of this year I heard the words dreaded by many during these tough financial times: mass layoff. Our employer had called an all hands meeting for our office, which was not wholly unexpected as we were in the habit of holding all hands meetings on the last Friday of the month for company updates. This was different though, and it was obvious something was up because folks from the home office had flown in. The message was clear, direct, and immediate: the Indianapolis office was to be closed, and the meeting served as our mandatory sixty day notice.
- Act quickly, and decisively
- Don't make different conditions for different groups
- Close quickly
- Expect nothing
- Don't burn bridges
Posted by Adam Jones at 11:30 AM
One option I was considering is the Drobo, which is a USB / Firewire storage device from Data Robotics. The Drobo is a box that can attach to your PC via USB or Firewire, and has slots for up to four hard drives. You can add hard drives in any pattern that you like, and as the system gets full you are prompted to add more storage. It uses a proprietary RAID format, offering some data security (if a drive fails, you won't lose everything). As far as simple solutions, this is tops. Just plug it in and insert your drives. The first generation unit is $350 and the current generation is $450. There is also an add-on piece for $200 that allows you to connect the Drobo directly to the network without any need for a PC to host it. In that form, it can truly be called a NAS.
A couple of weeks ago I posted an article criticizing Microsoft for the lack of innovation in Windows Mobile 6.5. Engadget has had a flurry of articles on the topic over the past month, and there is an interesting trend in the comments. Most commenters are getting into heated fanboi arguments over which is better: iPhone, WM6.5, WebOS, etc. To me this argument misses the point of the chief criticism towards Microsoft and the Windows Mobile 6.5 offering. The point is not to compare WM6.5 with iPhone and others, but instead to compare WM6.5 with WM6.1 and previous versions. Microsoft has stated that WM6.5 will probably not be available until the end of the year, and at that time will only be available on new phones. So the question is, is WM6.5 enough of an improvement over WM6.1 to purchase a new phone?
I just read a post from @absenth referencing an article in Linux Journal about the relevancy of the OS. The crux of the article is that, due to the transition to Cloud Computing and Software as a Service, the host OS is becoming less important. Users are less concerned over the version of Windows or MacOS that the system is running, and more concerned with finding a good web browser and an office suite. This trend is most visible in the netbook arena where most offerings include a stripped down version of Linux at a reduced price.
I tried a little experiment tonight. I wanted to see if my Artigo Pico-ITX machine could act as a Hulu client. I cleared off the machine and installed Ubuntu 8.10. After installing the flash plug-in for Firefox I pulled up Hulu and loaded a 30 second clip from Family Guy. The audio was perfect, but the video was very choppy. I checked the resource monitor and the CPU was just getting hammered. I guess I'm a little disappointed that even with a 1GHz processor and 1GB of memory, this little machine can't display streaming video. YouTube suffers from the same stutter. This is unfortunate, as I had hoped to connect this box to my HDTV as a quick and dirty web video streamer.
I've gotten into the habit of donating blood to the Indiana Blood Center every two months when the blood mobile comes around. Today was no exception, but it was also Friday the 13th. My morning schedule was busy, but it looked liked I could fit everything in:
- 8:00am Brief introduction to potential employer
- 8:30am Donate blood
- 10:30am On-Site interview
Posted by Adam Jones at 2:18 PM