duanekeys. Get yours at flagrantdisregard.com/flickr

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

I just read the latest entry in Michael Yon : Online Magazine [via vapor.org] and, wow.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

And from the nut house archives, a church congregation continues to protest at soilder's funerals chanting "God hates fags."

"What does this have to do with a soldiers funeral" you might ask. The group claims that God is punishing our country for harboring homosexuals. <sarcasm>Logical thought process, right?</sarcasm> This Yahoo! news article recounts their most recent protest.

This group recently came to Springfield and basically blackmailed the local talk radio station, KSGF into air time. The radio station opted to give in to the demands versus having them protest at a funeral for a fallen solider here in Springfield. I e-mailed the program director and host of the morning show, Vince Jericho, my thoughts:

I very much regret that I had to go into the office
this morning and couldn't finish the last hour of your
show with Mr. Phelps as your guest (my office has
metal walls and I can't get a reception). I
appreciate what you did to spare the family of that
fallen soilder the unnecessary grief that would have
been caused by Mr. Phelps presence.

However, after listening to Mr. Phelps spout Scripture
that support his hate-mongering views I'm reminded of
Imams spouting similar drivel as quoted from the
Koran. Mr. Phelps' exteremist views make him no
better than Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi.

In fact, the two are so much alike in their hatred of
our great country that perhaps his church should spend
a little more money on plane tickets and get a one way
ticket to Baghdad International Airport. Surley
Zarqawi could use Mr. Phelps' assistance in preaching
hatred and can foot the taxi ride to Fallujah.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

I went to another Springfield Cardinals game last night and had a great time, despite the loss. This is the fourth game I've been to (thanks nameless vendor!). Hammons field is really a first class facility, it's just like being in a major league park and in some ways it's better. I even caught a free t-shirt during one of the t-shirt tosses, sweet!

Monday, August 22, 2005

Back in 2002 I did a bunch of research and settled on a Rear Projection TV to purchase. I used several sites to research but one, hometheatherspot.com, was a big help. It appears that some of the more useful forums are now "members only" and that's unfortunate. One of the tricks I learned in those forums I thought I'd reproduce and share. I'm not taking credit for discovering or coming up with these tips but they are good ones anyway.

The first tip is to purchase the Avia Guide to Home Theater. The step by step calibration guide not only for video but for audio makes this disc worth it's weight in gold for the home theater enthusiast.

The video calibration includes color calibration, brightness and contrast, as well as sharpness. It does a good job of explaining how to use the tests and how to properly set up your TV. It includes little translucent strips of plastic colored red, green, and blue. Using these slips will get your TV as close as possible to the NTSC standard (sometimes referred to as never the same color). This will ensure that you see the film/show as the director intended you to see it, instead of how a sales person wants you to see it. The color bars you see when a TV station goes off the air is actually an NTSC test pattern. This pattern along with dozens of others are included on the Avia disc, along with instructions on how to use them.

When you look at TVs on the sales floor the brightness and contrast settings are jacked way up, to make it look better against the other TVs (brighter is better, no?). But that can cause washing out of details on the screen and in practical terms decreases the life of the TV. Again, the Avia disc covers setting this up along with a host of other video options. This disc will work on any kind of TV not just a Rear Projection. If you've laid out the bucks for a big screen or even a quality "normal" sized TV, spend the extra 40 bucks and order this disc. You'll be amazed at how great your set can look when properly calibrated.

One trick not included on the DVD but is especially useful if your RPTV includes a manual convergence calibration. I also learned this trick on hometheaterspot. By taking the Avia strips and taping them together (see picture above) it makes the daunting task of aligning the RGB guns on the grid very simple.

The above shot shows the points that I can align the guns, difficult to do with the naked eye. The goal is to control the red gun and the blue gun and line it up with the green gun to make a perfect white line. By applying the taped together film it becomes much simpler and easy to see:

As you can see from the above picture, I need to bump the blue line a bit to the left to line up with the green (and red) line.

The audio portion of the disc recommends the purchase of a SPL meter from Radio Shack. I concur with this recommendation. Using a tripod and the calibration tools on the disc you can truly create an acoustic sweet spot in your own living room. With your video and audio settings correctly set up, you'll be able to experience the movie truly as the director intended you to.

This all may seem overkill to some, but for the enthusiast, it's well worth the time.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

I think I'm getting the hang of this reading thing... Which reminds me of the most redneck question one can ask (in your best redneck accent): what'cha readin' for?

Anyway, I finished Tom Clancy's Rainbow six. That's right, it's not just a video game. It's an action-packed paramilitary thriller. I enjoyed it very much, though I think it might have caused more than one sleepless night for my wife as I battled terrorist in my dreams. I'm looking forward to starting my next book, the Da Vinci Code.

I attended the Springfield Blogger's meeting last night. It was a good time. Be sure to listen in on the podcast. Nothing like geeks and alcohol getting together!

In attendance was Matt (kerner on food), Steve (House of Warwick), myself (of the site you're reading), Dan (vapor.org), Dan (Moxie Cinema), Andy (Rhetorica), and John (Curbstone Critic).

We spent some time at the Patton Alley Pub, subjects ranged from technology to Springfield downtown restaurants. We took a tour of the Moxie and it looks great. We're all excited about it opening, soon!

After the Moxie tour we ended the evening in retro fashion playing old arcade games at 1984 (at the corner of Jefferson and Walnut). For 5 bucks you can play the games of your childhood (or your teen or adult years as it was for some of the group) until your heart is content... or they close and kick everyone out. The arcade was complete with 80's music and music videos on the projection screen.

All in all, it was a good time. I met some nice people and look forward to the next meeting (Third Wednesday of the Month, 7:00 PM, Patton Alley Pub).

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

I just heard about Leeroy Jenkins today, watched the video and laughed so hard I cried. If you're not a gamer, you won't find anything funny about this. But if you've ever gamed, watch it!

Some things to note (that I missed the first few times through):

1) The character on the left, Leeroy, is AFK.
2) Abdul is able to crunch the numbers to get a survial rate?
3) Listen close near the end, after the cursing's over... "At least I've got chicken"


Friday, August 12, 2005

I'm really digging the DIY project sites, makes me want to... well, do it myself. The latest one I found is of a custom fabricated linux based car pc. Very cool. See the pic below:

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

I've got a solution to the falling foam problem that is keeping the next shuttle grounded. I had to dig deep into my past life as a student at an engineering school, but I think this is the right answer:

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

You are a Self-Discoverer

You're not religious, but you've created your own kind of spirituality.
Introspective and thoughtful, you tend to look inward for the divine.
You are distrusting of all forms of organized religion.
You especially dislike religious gurus and leaders, who you feel are charlatans.