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Archive for 2005

The Moon

Thursday, November 24th, 2005
Click the moon
Click the moon

Not much to say. I took some shots of the moon and the sky and I liked the results. Click the link, 4 shots and then it loops.

I recommend at least 1280×1024 to view them. I also have an identical but larger set for those of you at 1600×1200.

The first moon shot is done with a cheap 80-320 zoom (at 320mm x1.5 FOV crop 480mm 35mm equivalent), it came out fairly good for the lens I used. The others were taken with the kit lens 18-55mm (F5, 13 second exposure ISO400) that came with my *ist DS. For the fairly standard fare quality of the lenses I was happy with the results. I really need to try and get a hold of my dad’s 10″ mirror telescope, thats an equivalent 2000mm roughly at 35mm and 3000mm with my *ist DS.

So full screen your browsers and check them out. 1280 versions and 1600 versions.


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LCD Blown up Round #2

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2005
2x2 section of white pixels
2×2 section of white pixels

So I wasn’t totally satisfied with the magnification I got on my last round of LCD vs. RGB pics. This time instead of using a straight 100MM Macro lens, I used a 35mm normal lens attached to a bellows. Last time I got around 14x magnification, this time its more like 168x =)


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RX-7 Still ridiculously fast

Thursday, August 4th, 2005
G-force Graph, click for full run data
G-force Graph, click for full run data

While part of me feels like I’m getting old, I know I’m not quite over the hill yet. So I got my car back from the shop after 3 months of engine rebuild. Its not quite running right yet…but in the twisty’s not much is faster. Back in March I made this post about the G-Tech Pro. I never got around to posting any of my runs, so I’ll post this one.

Disclaimer: Pseudo-professional Driver on a Closed Course. (hey it works for the car ads)

While in theory on a closed course I have no fear of crossing the center divider and should have the same cornering room, lets just say I was trying to practice normal style driving, just faster =). Now notice how I’m a total wuss when corning left only getting about 1.0g’s while to the right I peak at 1.34g’s. I know there is more room to run out in case I get in trouble on the rights…

Anyway I just like posting graphs. Enjoy…


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Volkswagen Key Disassembly

Thursday, August 4th, 2005
VW Key
VW Key

Volkswagon, Volkswagen, VW, Beetle, Jetta…ok that should feed the search engines enough variations =P

Ok, need to replace the battery on your VW Key fob? Or need to replace the metal keychain thingy on it? VW will charge you a fortune for either…I made a page a few years back on my personal web page thats pretty popular, so I decided time for some update pictures and add the fix for the broken keychain…

Check out Ralph’s comments for the newer model below!!!
Enjoy the savings!


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RX-8 Sales By Month

Saturday, June 25th, 2005
RX-8 USA Sales. Click for bigger version!
RX-8 USA Sales. Click for bigger version!

I’ve always been a big RX-7 fan, but for some reason or another the RX-8 just doesn’t do it for me looks wise. Anyway, I did this for MY FRIEND ADAM and just remembered one of the reasons I started this site was so that my seemingly pointless efforts may be useful for someone other than just myself.

USA Sales by year
2003 – 12,346
2004 – 23,690
2005 – 6,992
Total – 43,028

P.S. I noticed I didn’t label the graph, so if it isn’t obvious its in cars sold per month.


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Canon Pixma IP8500 and the Epson R800
Canon Pixma IP8500 and the Epson R800

This article is a tad old, but its still very relevant. I recently decided that my cheap ass Canon S520 (paid $50 refurb at Frys) is lacking compared to modern printers. I also recently started doing more photography and decided it might be nice to have a nice printer. Tom’s Hardware did a nice review of the 3 current $300-400 range printers from Canon, Epson and HP. Anyway, so sum up…

The Canon and the Epson were very close and better overall than the HP. The Canon IP8500 had the edge in Speed. The Epson R800 has its edge in better Quality and print Longevity (uses pigment based inks instead of dye based). The Epson also had a couple little features I think might be nice the canon doesn’t, roll paper, firewire, and better fine art paper selection. The Canon on the other hand has pictbridge (lets you print from memory cards), duplex printing (double sided) and a user replaceable printhead. The Epson print head is not user replaceable, so if its damaged or clogged and can’t be cleared using self-cleaning it needs to be sent in for repair. Although, I hear in the latest models this is less of a concern, I would use your printer occasionally to keep the heads clean and follow the directions when replacing ink. I’ve also heard one of the caveats of any of Epsons printers is that if you switch print qualities they tend to go crazy about head cleaning and in general they tend to be fussy if you don’t use them often.

I hear the Canon prints can have some color variation compared to the Epson’s when viewed in different lighting conditions, as well as they tend to be a bit exaggerated which can make printing portraits (which have subtle skin tones) a little challenging. On the other hand your average pictures will look brighter and more vibriant.

From pcworld’s review, they both seem to have almost identical photo print costs.

A. So if you need the extra speed and want to sacrifice a very small touch of quality for a nice boost in speed, the Canon is your man.

B. If you demand the highest quality and want fade free water resistant archival quality prints on a variety of papers and follow the directions to keep your heads unclogged the Epson is a winner.

After taking a look at some print samples from both printers, its very very close. I would need to have identical prints to really tell you which one is better, but it does look like the Epson has the edge. Its detail from its 1.5picoliter drop size just seems to edge out the 2picoliter drops on the Canon.

I think for most users the feature list will be the deciding factor since they are so close to each other in quality.

P.S. Ok, I take it back, after reading tons of additional reviews I think the less hassle of the Canon is winning over the archival inks of the Epson. They simply clog too often from user reports than I think is worth it to me. I don’t print every day and I don’t want to waste $10 in ink warming my printer up every couple of weeks.


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So, I was thinking today and it occurred to me that digital photography has changed things a bit. In the past if you took pictures of things that the powers that be didn’t like, they would likely take your camera and smash it and pull out the film and possibly search you for more film and destroy that too.

Well, digital memory can be small, really small! Its also really tough, surviving drops, water, plane crashes, and lots more. So the weird gal that I am I think, hey why not swallow it? My normal SD cards are easily small enough to be swallowed, and MiniSD is even smaller and can be adapted to SD. So you could keep a spare SD card, when they go to take your stuff swap out the card and swallow the important one. Its definitely small enough to pass through, but no guarantees =)

P.S. The image is 90DPI which should be close to real sized on many monitors. 72-100dpi is fairly typical these days. My Dell 20″ is spot on 100DPI.


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Apple and Intel hook up.

Tuesday, June 7th, 2005
Intel Inside
Intel Inside

So if you haven’t heard, yesterday 6/6/05 Apple announced they are moving from the PowerPC CPU to Intel based processors. If I hadn’t heard it from the horses mouth (Steve Jobs) and if he didn’t do it at WWDC (their annual World Wide Developers Conference) I wouldn’t have believed it. Its been rumored for more than 10 years, but this time its real.

My good friend Damien wrote an interesting piece you can read here…
Live from WWDC: Apple switches to Intel. What does it all mean? (By Damien Stolarz)

My understanding is that in the short term, nothing is really changing. In the long term there are many industry ramifications, but to the consumer, it really doesn’t matter. It means some faster Mac laptops and a different logo on your CPU.

For the consumer:
1. You will still need to own a Mac to run OS X (according to Damien Stolarz quoting Apple Senior Vice President Phil Schiller) . Yes, I’m sure there will be interesting hacks to make them work on non-apple machines, but that won’t be supported.
2. Initial non-fat(compiled for both CPU’s) binaries (applications) will run slowly on Intel based macs using “Rosetta” apple’s emulation layer.
3. Interestingly, also according to Damien Stolarz “Schiller said Apple wouldn’t do anything to preclude people running Windows on Intel-based Macs.” Meaning windows fans of the Apple laptops/desktops can run windows.
4. Apple will ship Intel based macs Jun 2006.
5. They will continue to update and create better/faster PPC based machines until at least 2007.

Long run questions:
1. Will it mean cheaper Macs? Unclear, but it will at least allow it to happen if Apple chooses to.
2. Will it mean lower quality support from apple? Unclear, but bigger markets are harder and more expensive to support.
3. Will they still innovate? Absolutely, in fact partnering with Intel is probably the best way Apple can drive the industry to support new technologies. Bluetooth, 802.11, 1394 Firewire, USB…apple didn’t invent all of them, but they certainly drove the industry to use them.
4. Will it mean worse Stability? Probably not, they’ve been compiling OS X (every version) and all of the Apple Apps (iTunes/iPhoto/iMovie/etc…) for both Intel and PPC for the past 5 years secretly.
5. Will it mean worse Security? Unknown, A Windows virus might run fine inside an emulated environment. Could it get out?
6. What will it mean for 64-bit computing? Good question, since they are going to keep making PPC’s until at least the end of 2007, Intel could easily come out with a 64-bit chip by then, and really we don’t know what the first chip will be. The development box is a 3.6Ghz P4 for what its worth…

Stay tuned…


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Erie shot from Netercomm's site
Erie shot from Netercomm’s site

I’m not the only one hoping you can’t blow up the world via the Internet right?

Broadband over Gas lines?
So the other day I ran in to this press release from Nethercomm. At first I thought to myself, “this can never work”. But I sat down and really thought it through and I’ve decided its brilliant. Although I’m missing the required electrical engineering knowledge to truly say its going to work, on the limited knowledge I do have, I would say its has a much better chance than broadband over Powerlines which has been all the rage and flop for quite some time now.

Think about it, if you can use all the spectrum you want and all the power you want there would certainly be PLENTY of bandwidth. Now there are limits, such as wavelengths that won’t go around corners nicely. Power may be limited by how much leaks out places like your pilot light as well as how much is practical for the home side to transmit (you might think twice about that $30/month service if you also spent $15 in power to transmit a few hundred watt signal 24/7).

But even more likely, this might just work. You have system that is inherently sealed (save pilot lights and gas appliances in use), a medium that is totally homogenous (low pressure natural gas) and nothing else between you and the customer. Unlike power lines, no messy transformers and other such obstacles to a clear signal, no worries about unshielded lines, etc. The only problem I can think of, is areas where plastic lines are in use, and really its only an issue when they aren’t buried below a few feet of dirt and concrete (which they are most of the time).

I will enjoy seeing how Nethercomm (a local Los Angeles, CA company) works out all the kinks.


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FIOS Installation Success!

Friday, April 29th, 2005
Fiber Connector
Fiber Connector

Fios Success
Wow, it has been over a month since i’ve posted. The fiber installation went totally smooth. The bandwidth rocks! With my 15000/2000 connection I’m getting 1800Kbytes/sec downloads and 230Kbytes uploads (6-10x faster down and up than the typical 1.5/256k cable). The standard DNS servers they set you up with seem to be a tad overloaded (causing initial page lookups to be slow), but I quickly fixed that using a very fast one that pings about 4ms to me and using riskinit.org as a backup DNS (typically pings less than 30ms). Here is a small gallery of the hookup. The provided D-Link 604 (DL-604) is totally adequate for most setups. I setup some port forwarding for the different computers in the house and everything is running smoothly.

Overall I would say I’m very satisfied. FIOS is only $50/month for a great service. I’ve only experienced very short transient outages of maybe 10-15 seconds once or twice in the last month. The average user wouldn’t ever notice this (it’s only because I use my connection 24/7 that I notice even the smallest glitch).

P.S. Limit, drop me an email!


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