Wednesday, December 13, 2006


So, its been a long time since I last updated. I haven't really been feeling all that great lately, (mentally, physically, emotionally) but I figured this warrants an update more than anything else I've updated on. Last Wednesday the wife and I went to get her first ultrasound done, because we've know for about a few months now that she is pregnant. She's in her twelfth week, she'll be due in June.

If you can make heads or tails of that, congrats, as no one I've showed it to has been able to :P. I can see it, but that's probably because I was there watching it live, so the process leading up to that image kind of gives you an idea of what you are looking at. Baby was pretty squirmy, but she didn't feel anything yet (its only 5.25 cm at this point).

Exciting times ahead... have a house, two dogs, baby on the way.

Saturday, August 12, 2006


Right now, at my house, I have internet connection speeds that cause most of my friends to 'hate' me. I'd hate me too, if I didn't have these speeds. Observe:

Yes, that is reported correctly. My upload and download speeds are in excess of 9 megabit. And this is piped straight to my home, not a business or at work. As a comparison, DSL would register about 1500 down, maybe 384 up. Cable can be up to 8000 down, same up as DSL, but mine was only about 4000 down. So yes, 10 Mbit up/down for $40 a month is leaps and bounds better than anything else

On August 10th, Surewest finally came out to my house to install fiber optic internet and TV. Together, my speeds are faster than Comcast, I have more television channels, TV in two rooms, and the bill is about $20 cheaper a month. I know, hate me. But getting there... getting there was a pain. I fully expect at least a month's free service for my troubles. You see, Surewest had some problems keeping their appointments for install. We were originally scheduled for install July 28th. I spoke with the Surewest sales representative in my home, signed paperwork and ordered service in the first week of July. I could wait until the 28th because, well, I had internet and TV service currently, and I figured good things come to those who wait.

July 28th rolls around. I took the day off work, so that I could be with a friend returning from Iraq for hopefully his final tour of duty in the Army. Surewest's appointment is from 10-12. 11 o'clock rolls around, TV and internet go out. I look out the front door and there is Comcast, disconnecting the service like I asked them to. 1200 hours, still no Surewest. I call their 800 number to see what is going on, and while I am waiting to speak to the next available representative, I get an incoming call from my sales rep. She informs me that there was some kind of mix up in the paperwork, and they went out the wrong house. Yesterday. She tells me she will see what she can do about sending someone out a bit later, says she will call me back and let me know what she finds out.

I get a call minutes later. All install techs are booked up, and they can't get anyone out until 8/5, or 8 days later.

I forgot to mention something, so I'll mention it now. I already have the fiber box on the side of my house. Fiber is different from cable or DSL, and requires a separate line from their junction box to go to a box on the side of the house. This is a big deal, because there are things like sidewalks and pavement that need to be taken up so the line can run underground and come out of the ground next to the house, to go to this box. We already have this box, so no need to run lines, no cost for install, no lengthy wait while they tear up my yard and the street and/or sidewalk.

Back to the call. I'm not happy. They screwed up; I understand mistakes happen. From my point of view, all they need to do is turn on the service to my box, and plug in the modem and TV boxes. How is this going to take another week to coordinate. I grumpily accept the new install date, and desparately try to contact Comcast to resume service for another week. They explain that since the service has been physically turned off, they would need to send a technician out to turn it back on, and would have to charge me an install fee. I figure for a week of internet/TV, paying an install fee is not desirable and decline the offer.

August 3rd. I want things to go smoothly, so I call Surewest to make sure the appointment is still on, and that they have the right address. Miles assures me they do, and I thank him and end the call.

August 5th. I'm at work, wife is at home waiting for the install between 12 and 2. I get a text message from her at 2:10 saying no one showed up. Again. I call Surewest, and get a guy by the name of Dustin on the line. I also work in call center, so I lighten the mood a bit by joking about how people always get our names wrong (Justin, Duncan, Dunsten, Brian...). I then ask politely what in the hell is going on. He tells me that they changed my install date, yesterday. My new install date is August 19th.


You can imagine at this point I'm hopping mad, They pushed me back another 2 weeks, and didn't even bother to tell me? Why am I waiting around for an install tech if they aren't coming because they pushed back the install again!?!? Dustin goes to speak with a supervisor and offers to call me back to see if there is anything they can do to get a sooner install date. I'd be happy with today, but I can settle for Monday. 2 weeks is not acceptable. Dustin calls back an hour later, saying that they tried manually turning it on, but there was some kind of problem with the provisioning and it didn't work. He said the supervisor would call back on 8/8 because there isn't much they can do over the weekend. I take the rest of the day off work (2 hours) to talk to them and attempt to fix my internet problem, because at this point we aren't just inconvenienced, my wife's business relies on being able to submit orders online, and we are down because we don't have a connection. I buy a $50 wireless adapter, move my wife's computer into the kitchen, and leech off an open network I find to get online.

August 7th. More than a month since I've spoken to the sales person. I wait all day for a call from the supervisor, and receive none. I call Surewest on my way home from work, at about 4:30. I wait on hold for an HOUR, after the automated system told me my wait was longer than six minutes. Well, yes, it was longer... but an hour? Madness. I get Miles again. I explain, very calmly, that his company has broken their commitment to me 3 times now, and while I can forgive one as a mistake, the second two were clearly their fault, as they changed my appointment without telling me. Miles attemps to regain control of the call, saying that if I would give him a chance to fix things he would. I tell him that I am open to giving people chances, but my faith in the company at this point is very dim. He offers to have a supervisor call me back, I tell him one was supposed to call me, but it is now 6 o'clock and I've still heard nothing from them. He then asks to put me on hold while he tries to find another install date earlier than the 19th. I get his contact info in case I need to call him back, or we get disconnected, and go to hold.

While I am on hold, I get an incoming call from a phone number that looks similar to the number he gave me. Thinking there might have been a problem with the phone system and he was calling me back, I pick up. It's Nina, the supervisor. She says that some install dates opened up, and wanted to know what would work for me. I tell her anything, as soon as possible, you pick a time and a day and you be there like you say you will and I'll be there too. Amazing how that works. She says she will call me back and let me know what day/time. I switch back to Surewest on my other line and Miles is back. He says the earliest day he can find is the 17th. I tell him about Nina, and ask that we leave the install date at its current day as to not fuck things up any further. If she's changing it to sooner, I'd rather not have it botched because we changed it already.

I wait an hour, and then give Nina a call back (caller ID == teh win!). I get her voicemail, and leave my name a number asking her to call me with the install times so I can tell my wife when to expect them.

August 9th. Early in the morning I receive two calls that go to voicemail. One is Nina saying she has an earlier date and Dispatch will be calling to confirm, but it looks to be going through on August 10th. The other message is dispatch, giving me the date and time they will be out.

August 10th, I go home for lunch, Surewest is finishing up installing. I sign the paperwork. Done.

First thing I did after confirming the internet worked was run the speedtest and take the screenshot above.

The End...?

Monday, May 01, 2006

It's alive!

So I got my computer all done about a week or so ago, just have been basking in the glory of my new machine. It's fast. Way fast. And has an upgrade path, should I need to. To throw some numbers out there, I can run FEAR on max graphical and physics settings at 1024x768 and average 60 FPS. Doom at 1280x1024 also maxed with FSAA and AA about the same. And the Half-Life 2: Lost Coast demo at 79 FPS, everything once again turned fully on. The only game I have been able to give the machine pause is Oblivion... that is one monster of a game. Guild Wars runs like a dream. So without further ado, the pics. I didn't take nearly as many as the last machine I built, but you still get the general gist.

This is the Motherboard. Damn, you might say, that is one sweet board. Wish I took a picture of it out of the box.. but I was in a rush to get it installed. Lets just say it is the best board I've ever laid eyes on. You'll see interior images with the board a bit later.

Here is the processor. ->
Same core I put into the last machine I made, only $300 cheaper. That's what happens to prices on products sometimes several months later. I believe I bought the last one June of '05, when they had JUST come out. It screams.

Also, the RAM rocks. Notice the sticker on it that reads: Best for A8N32-SLI. See above picture of Motherboard.

Sweet, sweet nectar. ->
This graphics card is the best card $200 can buy, and it came with a $30 rebate. I am SOOO tempted to buy another and SLI my rig right now, but money will be tight (another post to follow as to why). PCI-e, 256MB RAM, and nVidia's latest and greated GPU == pure gaming bliss.

<- This pair of hard drives doesn't look like much, but they don't have to look pretty. SATA II, 80 GB Hitachi's in RAID 0. Only wish they were 10,000 RPM... but not everyone can afford a Raptor...

<- I've continued to be amazed at just how slick these Rosewill power supplies are. I bought the last one on a whim cause it looked cool, and it turned out to be great. This one is anodized red (matches the overall theme of my case), modular (only plug in the cables you need) and has a red light inside it illuminating the fan. Damn sexy.

As you can see, the finished product is very nice looking. Silver and red all over, with black PCB instead of the normal drab green. Red braided power cables, slim red SATA cables (no need for rounded IDEs on this machine), red 120mm case fans front and back... and she runs like a dream too. Windows installed in about 20 minutes, maybe 25. I leave you with a picture of the installation screen, my mouse, and my keyboard. Yes, that keyboard is glowing. Red backlit keys, my friend.

Friday, April 21, 2006

New PC for me!

Been a while since I posted here, and the wife was making fun of me for not updating enough in my blog. Quick blurb here, will be updated a bit later on.

I'm building a new computer for myself. The last one of its kind was built in the last quarter of 2001... and I've been patching on new technolog as it becomes available ever since. In fact, the computer I'm posting this on from now is that very same computer. To give you an idea of its age, is uses RAMBUS, doesn't have USB 2.0, no SATA, and still uses AGP 8x. I know, I know, ANCIENT. So to give myself a platform on which to last me another 5 years, I got myself a top of the line motherboard from ASUS. It's the A8N32-SLI Deluxe.

Lets just say, this board is beautiful. Dual gigabit LAN. Onboard 8-channel audio. SATA II, built in RAID, PCIe 16x times two (a feature not many boards have). I have ordered all the parts from NewEgg and everything but the keyboard has arrived (wait until you see the keyboard, it rocks!). I'll be taking pictures of the process as I did with the last computer I built, and soon my next post will be posted from the new computer.

All I need is a new name for it.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Real Transformer

Gotta quick post here, just a video of a robot that someone created that transforms!

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Happy New Year!

So, 2006. Wow, ten years ago I was a freshman in High School. Now I work for a highly successful company, my position is secure, and they are already looking at how they can better use my talent. Life is good. ('cept my dog sucks, I think he is smarter than us sometimes and has managed to undo any housetraining we taught him, except for the rare times we are in the same room as him and he wants a treat. Then he'll go in his litterbox.)

Car is running decently (knock on wood), holidays are over, Scrubs is new tonight and Lost is new next week, booya. Got me a black iPod 30GB that plays video, and it has come in handy at work, let me tell you. Christmas was insanely busy for us. A few days after, we had something like 14,000 ABANDONED calls in the iPod queue. That's 14,000 people who called in and hung up before they even got to us. Macworld is in a week, and I have a feeling that there will be a release of some new products that will make us even busier. Hope its a new iBook, or Powerbook, with an Intel processor. Intel, BTW, has changed their 37 year old logo to this:

I think it's kinda bland actually, I liked the old one with the dropped 'e'. Oh well, change is inevitable.

Anywho, 2 new Scrubs' episodes in about 30 minutes, gotta go!