Free Zune Pass tracks (Nov)

I think I let my credits from last month expire!  I have set up a monthly reminder now so hopefully I won’t forget again.  This month I used the credits on the new Julian Casablancas album Phrazes For The Young.  That used up 8 of the credits so I used the last two on a couple of songs by Bit Shifter, Antenna and Double Density.  I first heard of Bit Shifter on the Engadget Show.  They’re pretty cool but unfortunately they only have a few songs in the Zune Marketplace.

Really HP?!

I get a tablet PC from you that dies just after the 1 year warranty.  I find that thousands or other HP tablet PC owners have had the same problem.  When I ask you about it you say that you’ve never heard of the problem and that it will cost $400 for a repair that probably won’t last.  Then you have the balls to send me this email.

HP email

Sure HP, you can help me.  Why don’t you give me a hand putting my new Lenovo in my car.  Thanks a lot.

Movado Kenny Scharf watch unboxing.

On our last trip to San Francisco my wife and I bought ourselves Movado watches.  She got ‘Blurple Time’ and I got ‘Universal Time’.  Here are some pictures of the packaging.  There are plenty of good pictures around of the watches themselves so I’ll focus on the packaging.

 

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The outer cardboard has the number of the watch.  (There are only 125 of each design.)

 

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When you slide out the inside box it is made of a thick cardboard printed with the watch design.

 

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Lifting the lid of the inner box reveals the watch box, certificate of authenticity, and envelope with extras.

 

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Close up of the certificate of authenticity.  It has the number of the watch filled in by hand.

 

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The envelope contains an extra watch band.  (Purple for this watch.  Universal time comes with a tan band and the extra one is black.)  It also contains a warranty card and instruction manual.

 

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Close up of the watch box.

 

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The watch box open with ‘Blurple Time’ inside.

New Zune ‘Now Playing’ Screen

I was just listening to the new The Mars Volta album with the Zune software.  When the ‘screensaver’ came on it was the new Zune now playing screen that I have seen in videos of the Zune HD.  It shows pictures of the artist and text with the sing title, number of plays and other information.  This is the first time I have seen this with the current Zune software.  Usually the software shows a rotating background of album covers from my music collection.

Free Zune Pass tracks (June-August)

In June I started off by getting the album Konk, by the Kooks.  In July I got the rest of that album and then tracks 1-7 from To Lose My Life, by White Lies.  In August I completed To Lose My Life and started to get Best. Concert. Ever. by Jonathan Coulton.  I’ll be working on this album for September and October because there are 20 songs on the full album.  This past Friday I saw The Airborne Toxic Event at the Del Mar races.  They played a couple of new songs which sounded great and I’m looking forward to their next album (no word on when to expect it).  Continuing the ‘music’ theme, I saw some video of the Zune HD at the GDGT launch party in SF.  It looks great and I might pick one up, depending on the storage capacity.  Microsoft is building one of their first stores about 40 miles north of me.  Maybe I’ll be able to pick up a new Zune HD at a new Microsoft store.

 

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G.I.Joe movie premier

I just got back from a premier of G.I. Joe here in San Diego.  I’ve gone to a couple of these before but this was the most ‘movie premier’ like.  Two of the stars of the movie were there (Channing Tatum and Marlon Wayans).  They also gave us free popcorn and drinks.  The movie itself was pretty good.  There is a lot of CG and it isn’t the best.  Some parts of the movie look like they actually used G.I.Joe toys as the vehicles.  I think if they wanted to make this movie look as good as they could it would doubled the budget.  Also, the science is TERRIBLE!  If you are a scientist then you need to turn off all scientific thought before watching this movie.  The action sequences are decent, there was one transition from an aerial battle to a sea battle that was really cool.  I was afraid it was going to have a lot of ‘USA is the best’ hype but it didn’t.  If you like action movies I would say it is worth the matinee price.

On a related note.  If you are at a movie, in a movie theater, DON’T TALK DURING THE MOVIE!!  Movie talkers are some of the rudest people in the World!  I think this is one of the reasons movie theaters are seeing a drop in attendance.  I don’t want to pay good money to see a movie on a big screen with great sound if every five minutes some jackass is distracting me with their blabbing.  This concludes the P.S.A.  Thank you.

Windows Home Server Update

     I almost have my home server where I want it.  I picked up a couple of 1Tb WD Green hard drives form Dell for $140.  The drives were delayed about 2 weeks from when I ordered them but it wasn’t too bad.  I installed them in my WHS with no problems and added them to the storage pool.  One of them is installed in a removable enclosure so I can take the drive out in case I have to leave the house in an emergency.  I have folder duplication turned on for all of the shared folders.  I haven’t copied all of my pictures and music to it yet but that’s the plan.  I also have the WHS set to back both my and my wife’s tablet PCs every night.  So far it seems to be working pretty well.  The WHS wakes up the tablets every night to perform the backups.  At first I kept getting an error when trying to back up my HP tx2051 tablet PC.  I ran chkdsk with both repair options selected and it found and repaired some bad sectors.  After the repair the WHS backup ran without any more issues.  My 120 day evaluation key for WHS will expire in about one month at which point I will have to purchase and reinstall the full version of WHS.  Once I do this I will copy all of my music and photos to the WHS where they will be duplicated across the two 1Tb drives to protect against a single drive failure.  Once that is done I will be able to mess with my Ubuntu server which is currently being used as my backup solution.  Right now I am thinking about installing the Windows 7 RC on it and using it as a media center PC with my Xbox 360 as an extender.

     On a separate note, since the internal wireless card on my tx2051 failed I have been using a USB Wi-Fi dingle and it is still working fine (knock on wood).

HP tx2000 problems

So I have started having problems with my HP tx2051.  All of a sudden the wireless adaptor stopped being recognized.  I contacted HP support and went through a few steps to try and fix the problem.  I reinstalled the most recent BIOS, reinstalled the wireless drivers, and finally removed and reseated the wireless card.  After physically removing and reinstalling the wireless card it came back to life for 1 boot.  After I rebooted it disappeared again and hasn’t come back.  HP support now wants me to do a complete system restore but I have a feeling the problem is hardware related not software.  There appears to be a build defect in the HP tx1000 and tx2000 notebooks that causes the nVidia chip to overheat and cause problems.  HP knows about the same problem in some of their other notebook models and has an extended warranty for them.  Unfortunately HP has so far failed to admit that the same problem occurs in the tx1000 and tx2000 series and they are not covered under the extended warranty.  The way to repair the problem is to replace the motherboard and since my tx2051 is 4 months out of warranty that will cost me over $300.  I am a little reluctant to pay for the repair and am hoping HP will add the tx2000 series to the extended warranty.  As a workaround I am using a USB wireless adaptor and it seems to be working OK.  From reading the forums (here and here) it seems like the problems with the notebook might get worse with time including display, rebooting, and not booting issues.  I have everything backed up and will keep using it as long as I can.

Absinthe on Virgin America

Last night I flew from San Diego to San Francisco on Virgin America. They now serve absinthe on board so I decided to give it a try. I just tried it mixed with water and it was pretty good. It tastes like licorice. I don't know if I would pay for it but if I am in first class again I will try it again.

 

 

P.S. I am sending this from my phone and I took the picture of the bottle with my phone also.

Windows Home Server build

Last weekend I built my first Windows Home Server.  Right now I am not using it to it’s fullest extent because I am only on the 120-day evaluation license.  I am a little reluctant to fully commit to the current version or WHS because a new version may be released soon.  It was easy to install and set up but it did take a while.  The complete install took about 3 hours to completely install the OD and all of the updates.  I only have one computer connected to the server right now, my HP tx2051 tablet running Vista Ultimate.  Here’s what I used for the build.

Old ATX case and DVD drive

Biostar MCP6P M2+ motherboard

AMD LE-1640 processor

Antec Earthwatts 380W power supply

2Gb PC6400 OCZ memory

Samsung Spinpoint 200Gb hard drive

Right now the server has very little storage.  I plan on adding a 3x4 SATA hot swap enclosure so I can add and easily upgrade 4 drives.  The added storage will allow me to back up my 2 laptops and store all of my music and photos with duplication.  So far I have only used the server to stream videos to my Xbox 360 but I am looking forward to taking advantage of more if it’s capabilities soon.

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Free Zune Pass tracks (April 2009)

This month my wife won out.  We used our 10 song credits on the new album by P!nk called Funhouse.  The album has 12 songs so I had use points to purchase the last 2 tracks.  On another note, I have seen the rumors about the new Zune HD and it looks pretty cool.  I hope there is a 120Gb version because the whole reason I have an MP3 player is so I can have my entire music collection with me at all times.  Currently I have an 80Gb and it is over half full.  Hopefully I won’t have to wait too long to get the official specs.

 

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Free Zune Pass tracks (Feb-Mar 2009)

I thought I would write about the songs I decide to purchase with the 10 free songs I get with my Zune Pass.  Actually I split it with my wife so the purchases have to be a compromise.  I try to make sure all of the purchases are in MP3 format.  Last month I got the self titled album from The Airborne Toxic Event.  It worked out that the album had 10 songs so it was totally free.  This month I got the new Lily Allen album “It’s Not Me, It’s You”.  I discovered this album from the new releases section in the Zune software.  I find myself checking back every week to see what the new releases are in the independent rock genre.

HP tx2051 graphics driver

My HP tx2051 tablet PC has the NVIDIA GeForce Go 6150 graphics card in it.  I have been running it with driver version 7.5.11.5682, dated 11/8/2007.  Recently Windows Update showed there was a newer driver, dated 12/20/2008.  I went ahead and updated the driver and reran the Windows Experience Index.  I got the same score as before so the driver didn’t seem to improve the graphics performance.  I did notice that the computer would take longer to recover from sleep or hibernate mode.  The screen would go black for 2-3 seconds before returning to the desktop.  Since the driver update didn’t seem to improve anything I decided to roll back  to the previous version.  I simply used the Roll Back Driver option under the graphics card properties in the Device Manager.  The older driver was restored and the black screen problem went away.