Month: November 2007

Earphones and more!

The standard earphones that come with the iPod are in a word lousy. They don’t seat properly in the ear canal and so you have to basically crank the volume up just to hear whatever it is you’re listening to. And my earphones were pretty beat up, the little rubber pieces on the phones themselves and the sleeve on the plug disintegrated.

I had seen Shure E2C’s at Staples of all places but when I went in recently there were none to be found. There were Sony and JVC units around the same price point but to be honest they looked cheap.

Then I looked at the bubble packed Philips SHN2500’s. This employs active and passive elements. There are gasketed earphones with different sized gaskets so the phones fit snugly in the ear canal. Then it uses active noise suppression. This is particularly good for getting rid of the noise of fans that run constantly, cars on the road, bus noise, etc. It does so by sampling outside noise and then emitting that same noise except inverted or phased about 180 degrees from normal. The effect is to cancel out the noise.

I have to say since using it I’ve cut the volume on the iPod down to half or less what it was. Same is true when I use them with my PC. The system volume is down on it’s first notch yet audio quality and level is perfect. The bass response is awesome too.

The best part of it all is that the earphones and noise canceler only cost me $29 plus tax. With the difference from the Sony ($99) and JVC($79) I ordered some electronics parts for projects I want to do.

1 x Breadboard Small Self-Adhesive (SKU#: PRT-00137)
1 x LED Matrix – Dual Color – Medium (SKU#: COM-00682)
1 x Arduino USB Board (SKU#: DEV-00666)
1 x RF Link – 2400bps – 434MHz (SKU#: WRL-00872)

The most intriguing part is the Arduino USB (Decimilia). It’s an open source hardware platform and programmable in a C like language that is fairly simple to grasp.

The RF link – that’s for another part of the same project.

Got it all from Sparkfun Electronics. I like how the company started, they needed some PC boards made and that sent them on a quest to find a good PC board manufacturer which led to them doing tutorials and stocking parts for kits, etc.

The tutorials are very good. They even link the kits for the tutorial at the beginning of the article. And the topics cover everything from basic soldering to more complex things like embedded processors, etc.

{Updated 11/23/2007}
I got the parts in today. I’m just learning how to play with the Arduino board. And I found my 16F88 PIC too. So now I have three microcontrollers. Fun!

Wireless fun!

So my Linksys WAP54G bit the dust a couple weeks ago. I’ve been fighting the battle with Linksys (A division of Cisco) this entire time. Finally I got them to agree it should be replaced so they gave me a case number. Problem is, when I go to their web site to get an RMA it tells me the case number is not valid. What the fuck! So now I have to wait until tomorrow and call their sorry asses.

Of course right now I’m using a Belkin router which is no picnic. I can see my speed magically drop from 54mbps to 24mbps without moving the laptop. I get absolutely perfect speeds if I tape the router to the back of my screen but that defeats the purpose of a wireless computer.

Who the hell makes a reliable access point these days? Linksys blows, Belkin eats shit so who’s left? D-Link? I’ve had experience with their wired products and that alone makes me steer clear of them. Netgear is a possibility as I’ve got a Netgear FVS318 that runs like a charm and has for a few years now.

I just want something that will give me good performance and that won’t die after a year or so.

The reading level required of this blog

This is too funny.

cash advance

I got this from Sticky Crows, his is an elementary school level reading level.

I also ran through our local rag The Providence Journal and they came out with a High School rating along with the Washington Post, LA Times and The Guardian. The NY Times came in with a Junior High rating.

The Atlantic Monthly and my former employer The RI Sec of State’s pages came up as Genius. I see an algorithm here, one that looks pretty easy to trick.

Wonder why fuel is so expensive?

An article on Raw Story tells us that the U.S. military uses 340,000 barrels of oil a day.

A barrel is 55 U.S. gallons. So that’s 18,700,000 gallons of oil per day, 6,825,500,000. Yes, 6.8 billion gallons. At $100 per barrel that comes up to $12,410,000,000. $12 billion dollars a year just for fuel.

But even though 18.7 million gallons a day is only a twenty fifth total U.S. oil usage, you can bet your ass it helps increase the price.

One of the biggest factors in oil pricing is fear. Fear of reduction in capacity to be precise.

And by tapping out an extra almost 19 million a day, you can see supply goes up but so too does demand changing the equilibrium point so it now resides around $100 a barrel.

Firefox promotional movie

I’ve been a long time Firefox user so I feel I’m in a unique position to recommend this software. It works with pretty much everything on the web.

There are some must have extensions/add-ons though. Adblock is one though I note it’s not working to well lately. I fear the developers have given into the dark side. Others I have are IETab which makes the web site you visit think you’re using IE and it renders some IE elements.

Anyhow, this is the video

Moral Orel

This stop-motion animation on Adult Swim is too funny. It pokes fun at Christianity for the most part. Poor little Orel, he’s trying to be so good but gets himself into some sticky situations because of it.

Here’s “Why did You marry Dad?”. The line “If men married men and women married women we’d all give birth to fairysexuals.” is too funny.

Then there’s this one titled “Hating Nipples”. The premise is that the coach Stopframe has a crush on Orel’s dad and it’s becoming a bit obvious. Anyhow the line from this one is “In fact, gay men would have it made in the shade if it weren’t for one thing. God hates em’.”

And in this one the kids visit Ripperly’s, obviously a take-off from Ripley’s. I love how the guide presses the “Push to Learn” button and it says “Believe it or else!”. And of course the replica of the skeleton of the baby Jesus is too funny.

And Wrongteus is funny. Orel tries to do the right thing but his dad has to explain: “You see somehow you’ve turned things topsy turvy young man. You’ve made it inconvenient for the racists not the racers and at that point why even discriminate.”