It's a Gas!

When I was a kid I recall the song "It's a Gas" by Alfred E. Newman in Mad Magazine. It came inside the magazine on a tearoff page. Didn't last that long because...well let's say at that age I never knew it would be so valuable.

These vids take it to new heights or lows depending on how you view the topic.

A word of warning is that I refuse to totally grow up...Watch out when I've been eating garlic because either end it decides to go is trecherous.

TechZilla News - My First Look At Vista

 TechZilla News

TechZilla News is a free service of

TechZilla Says: 

The other day I was installing a keyboard on a laptop that had been recently upgraded to the new "Vista" operating system. My first assumption was that it looked like XP with a different theme and then the person told me it was Vista. In addition to several keys missing off the keyboard, he couldn't seem to get his Dell all-in-one printer to work. Apparently, Dell support had tried to help him but had no luck. The guy was partially deaf and the other occupants were totally deaf so I was able to communicate through him to the others what I was doing and would try to fix it for them. Poor guy bought Vista as a Valentines Day gift for his wife and probably now wishes he had bought flowers instead.

I checked the Dell Support site for Vista drivers for the printer but only found Windows XP. I was able to get the driver to install eventually. Vista seems to want to ask permission to do anything. It's worse than an overactive personal firewall in learn mode. Everything I know about navigating and managing the computer is at least 1/2 way out the window when it comes to Vista. The Start Button menu for instance, calls "My Computer" just "Computer". I bet Dell had the same trouble as the registered operating system for that system was actually XP.

From what I've heard, the upgrade versions of Vista actually require Windows XP to be installed on the system unlike earlier Windows upgrades. All you would have to do was insert the previous version cd in the cdrom drive when it asked for it. Actually this isn't entirely true and there is a workaround for this from what I recently read.

The guys in the video editing discussion group I belong to are finding that many of the applications they use don't work in Vista. They all recommend to wait until all the Vista patches are out for all the software they use or they may find they are out of luck. A good word of advice.

I'm not sure if the clients printer was actually in working condition or not regardless of the operating system,,,but it failed to print anything with Vista.

Based on my "First Look", I would say if you are curious about upgrading or changing to Vista, buy a new computer with Vista already loaded and all the software and hardware you need for it at the same time....all being "Vista Ready".  Microsoft was ready to release Vista but the rest of the world isn't ready to support it yet. As with all other Microsoft Operating systems...wait until Service Pack 2 is released and you may have a stable operating system and all the software and hardware vendors will have worked out some of the bugs as well.

Microsoft has just extended support for XP home and Pro so there really is no hurry to jump on the wagon.


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QotD: Survivor

If you were stranded on a desert island, what five people would you eat first?
Submitted by James Poling.

The first 5 dead ones I could find...fresh roadkill yummmy!

Seriously though I would find it very difficult to make that decision. I have nothing against canabalism per se. The cultures that believed in it needed to do that to survive. The 1993 movie "Alive" was based on a true story about the Uraguay rugby players who crashed in the Andes mountains and eventually resort to canabalism to survive.

In the movie, they had the advantage of snow for refrigeration which preserved the bodies long enough until they made that personal decision. Not sure how that would be done on a Deserted Island.

Let's see let's Plan this out...ok I'm surrounded by ocean...ocean is full of salt. So I need to figure out a way to evaporate out enough salt to preserve 5 bodies. I look around and don't see any coconut trees so can't use the shells.

In the ocean I see some abolone shells....maybe I'll use those. Darn things still have abalonies in them...with everyone I eat, I have one more evaporation pot to work with. Ok now that I totally hate abalone which is something I though never would happen It's time to see how my idea is working.

Several months have past and I have managed to collect about 10 pounds so far. The rains are coming soon so now I need to figure out how to keep the salt dry. I've got enough shells that I think I could pile the salt on some large leaves (if I can find them) and cover them over with the ab shells.

There is still some time left so I would search the island for alternatives because the ab shells would also be good to collect water with since fresh water is so scarce also. So I manage somehow to kill a few reptiles, birds and other animals to experiment with. This wasn't very productive. I'd end up eating what I caught and there wouldn't be much left that was usable for my project.

While I was searching around the island I found some lime deposits. This gave me an idea, I started gathering pebbles, shells and limestone and piled it next to a hole I was digging on the beach. I kind of got lost in the hole and when I climbed out I noticed it was kind of shaped like a large kidney.

When I was done with the hole, I started mixing up my ingredients and made a crude form of concrete to line my hole with. Eventually I would have a great place to store the fresh water.

By the second year I would have built a decent shelter near the concrete pond I built out of concrete blocks and stuff that washed up on the beach. By the time that was completed I also had managed somehow to get the concrete pond filled with water.

I was getting nowhere fast though on my salt collecting so had to go back to eating abalone again to be able step up production. At low tide, fish and crabs would get trapped in my AB holes so at least I had a variety of delicacies to offer my future guests.

Several years have passed and I now have about 500 pounds of salt squirreled away so I'm almost ready now. All I need is a sign. I figure sooner or later someone will fly over and see would read as follows:

TechZilla's Seaside Resort  a great place to EAT Friends

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This brings me back a few years

Back in eighth grade metal shop class I was the shop foreman. The teacher was also the guy who ran the R/C club. We teamed up and built a plane together. I built the servo units and the remote control box from plans and he assembled the plane. We got a few good flights out of it before it died. I never kept up the hobby because of costs but it was lot's of fun.

A few months ago I ran into a guy that has been doing R/C stuff like what you will see in the video. He had a couple of wings 12 foot wings he was building and a few smaller planes he had built. They have a club here that has a piece of property up in the hills that they meet on the weekends.  Very Serious R/C people.

The New Toy solves a problem

I just picked up a Buffalo wireless Link Theatre that allows me to stream videos I download directly to the TV. No longer really have to burn a dvd to watch the flic. Was Easy to Setup by reading the manual....arrrrgh! $250 bucks on EBAY.



LinkTheater™ Wireless-A&G Network Media Player includes 802.11a/g wireless networking, digital 5.1 audio outputs, a USB port, S-video and component video outputs, and the ability to natively play many of the latest audio/video formats. It will stream multimedia from a Windows PC, a LinkStation™ Home Server, a TeraStation™ Home Server, USB storage devices, or any DLNA CERTIFIED™ media server device. Listen to music, view photos, watch videos and browse files - all on your TV!


Intel® Viiv™ Technology-Verified Media Player

• Dual-band 2.4 GHz 802.11g and 5 GHz 802.11a wireless for interference-free playback
• Play back from any Windows® PC, Intel® Viiv™ PC, Buffalo Home Server, DLNA CERTIFIED™ Media Server, UPnP Server or USB storage device
• Video formats: MPEG1, MPEG2, MPEG4, XviD, WMV, H.264 (MPEG4 AVC)
• Audio formats: MP3, WAV, WMA, M4A (AAC), LPCM, AC3
• Image formats: JPG, BMP, PNG
• Video modes: 480i, 480p, and 720p
• Included Remote Control for Easy Access to all Media Content (Batteries Included)
• Easy Playback from Buffalo LinkStation™ Home Server and/or TeraStation™ Home Server Series Products (sold separately)
• Built-in 10/100 LAN Port
• Analog (Composite) Audio/Video Connectors
• D4/Component Video Connectors

• Optical Audio Connectors

Seems to work fairly well unless I'm downloading other things. I've knocked off the video stream a few times already and had to start over. I'll probably run a cat5 wire from my router directly to it eventually...but for now...

The latest Vongo Build still applies the DRM stuff but I am able to watch the movies thru the new toy now without having to run it through Tunebite. They moved the default library folder to an odd place in a hidden folder. The server can see the folder now that I unhid it and since Vongo changed the way they format the files. Before you could only watch the movies through thier player but now they also play through Windows Media Player. This is what prompted me to pick up the LinkTheatre.

Eventually I'm gonna get a 2TB external drive that has raid-5 so if a drive goes out It can rebuild the data. I'll still need to backup of course but not as often. Since this works actually better than expected, I'll do that after the taxman coughs up my loot.

I'm thinking that Vongo Has over a 1000 movies available to download and watch at any one time so I'll never actually get bored with my collection. Unfortunately, there is no settings in the software to move the library folder Vongo uses so I have to modify the registry when I'm ready. That will be easy since I found the reg key and exported it. Pretty easy to modify it and then merge it back into the registry at any time. 

My biggest gripe is the wireless dropping and causing a vid to rebuffer. So at this point I called Buffalo tech support and he suggested possibly locking down the router to either channel 1, 6 or 11 because they aren't shared channels. I asked him also about thier fileservers and reliability that they have seen etc. Odds of two drives going down at same time are almost non-existent and data recovery is almost always successful. Thier units us a web-based software raid setup.

Anyway I've set the router to wireless g only mode and forced channel 6 and a movie is playing ok at the moment.

This just IN.....

Works great be back later gott download some new movies!


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Labors of Love

My son's recent comment, "That's just sounds like a metric assload of work! Talk about a labor of love. :)", on my DVD project got me to thinking. Ok why am I doing this? and Why am I willing to put out so much energy and time to do it? This opens up many thoughts.

Back in my camping and hiking days, I recall usually hauling out more garbage than I came with when I left. Or making sure things were better than when I first found it. I got a lot of self-satisfaction out of that. I could probably boil up several examples, but basically it points to my need to fix things or make things better than it is to start with.

So to answer my two questions I would say I'm doing it because that's who I am and I care.

While editing my video frame by frame, I have to make decisions as to what to fix and how that fix will effect the overall picture while maintaining the integrity of the origional. Fortunately, there is an undo and I have saved the origional frames just in case. We can't do that in life though.

There often times that we may identify something in our lives as needing fixing. Somethings being easy, and some thing's being hard. There is likely no undo but on occation we are afforded the opportunity of a do-over.  I suppose to realize something is wrong and be willing to do something about it would require one to care how other people view our personal movie. Just a few bad frames, doesn't always ruin the movie and most likely will go unnoticed or just overlooked. These you have to find by yourself.

Fixing your personal movie can be a long tedious task. We just can't edit out entire sections of our lives like you can a video. What we can do though is look at a problem frame-by-frame and make "little" changes that ultimately improves  and maintains the origional integrity of our movie. 

We are who we are but we can be better and our movie can be better. Anybody who saw your movie before and hated it. would probably never give it a second look. This would be true likely even if you did something drastic to it like changing genres. Only people who truely love care about you will afford you that. For this to happen though, we need to be one of the people who love you.

So basically what Im saying here is "Labors of Love" start by loving yourself. There is only 1 deadline to meet and we are in total control of the production of our movie...frame-by-frame.

If your movie is constantly getting better, then likely people viewing the final cut will fast forward the old VCR to the good parts and watch it from there. We have to keep in mind that we also won't be around to put in the credits in the end of the movie. A very important thing to remember.

The very best you can do is to let the people who make a difference in your life aware of the fact they do well in advance of the end of the movie....Be wierd put the credits in the middle.





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More on the DVD project

Here's an example of some of the challenges I'm facing in my project. Below are before and after shots of a single video frame. The actual frame is a transition frame that joins 2 sequences of several. I have been meticulously editing out the little things that catch the eye as the movie plays...frame-by-frame. There are 1530 frames in this sequence and I have been working on this off and on for 2-3 weeks. What you see is frame 435.








When I'm done with this clip, I believe I may copyright it as a restored version due to the amount of work involved. I purchaced the clip online because it was actually the best I could find. I believe that this peticular clip played in the drive-ins in the 50's-60's so the origional actually is public domain. Many of the drive-in clips that are available have been copied off 16mm and 35mm film salvaged by collectors. I suppose if I actually ran into any actual footage that was unique, I would buy that and have it converted to digital form. My real goal is not to make this clip perfect...just better than anything else available while still maintaining the integrity of an old clip.

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Interesting Perspective on Things

You are the Hanged Man

Self-sacrifice, Sacrifice, Devotion, Bound.

With the Hanged man there is often a sense of fatalism, waiting for something to happen. Or a fear of loss from a situation, rather than gain.

The Hanged Man is perhaps the most fascinating card in the deck. It reflects the story of Odin who offered himself as a sacrifice in order to gain knowledge. Hanging from the world tree, wounded by a spear, given no bread or mead, he hung for nine days. On the last day, he saw on the ground runes that had fallen from the tree, understood their meaning, and, coming down, scooped them up for his own. All knowledge is to be found in these runes.

The Hanged Man, in similar fashion, is a card about suspension, not life or death. It signifies selflessness, sacrifice and prophecy. You make yourself vulnerable and in doing so, gain illumination. You see the world differently, with almost mystical insights.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.


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Technical Term Manure:

 In the 16th and 17th centuries, everything had to be  transported by ship and it was also before the invention of  commercial  fertilizers, so large shipments of manure were common.   It was shipped dry, because in dry form it weighed a lot less  than when  wet, but once water (at sea) hit it, it not only became heavier,  but  the process of fermentation began again, of which a by-product  is methane gas.   As the stuff was stored below decks in bundles, you can see what  could  (and did) happen.  Methane began to build up below decks and the  first time  someone came below at night with a lantern, BOOOOM!   Several ships were destroyed in this manner before it was  determined  just what was happening.   After that, the bundles of manure were always stamped with the  term  "Ship High In Transit" on them, which meant for the sailors to  stow it  high enough off the lower decks so that any water that came into  the  hold would not touch this volatile cargo and start the  production of methane.   Thus evolved the term "S.H.I.T.," (Ship High In Transport),  which has  come down through the centuries and is in use to this very day.   You probably did not know the true history of this word.   Neither did I.  I had always thought it was a golf term.

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