Tuesday, June 26, 2012

High Tech Camping

So if you've really read this blog at all you'll know that I'm big into survival, camping, and the outdoors in general. The other day I was reading a tech article on PCMag.com and noticed an article in the sidebar called Equipment for High Tech Camping. So, considering my love for both the techy and the primitive, I obviously had to check it out. I was expecting the usual solar chargers, GPS units, etc. and those were indeed included. However, there were some really neat, useful products that I hadn't seen before.

The TentLEDs are such a no-brainer that I am really shocked that someone hasn't mass-marketed them before. I know I personally trip over the tie ropes on my tent at least once a trip. When you're stumbling around in the dark half asleep, you're going to eventually catch your foot on one of them if you're not careful. The TentLEDs would definitely make it less likely to happen.

Brunton's Flip-n-Drip Coffee Maker
Brunton's Flip-n-Drip Coffee Maker
I'm a big fan of what we call "Cowboy Coffee". I have a campfire coffee pot and we normally drink boiled coffee when we're camping or hunting. That may change now that I've found this little guy. It just looks so damn convenient. You just pour water it in the lower chamber and throw that in the fire. While it is heating up you put coffee in the middle chamber and screw it all back together. Once the water is hot just put the whole thing together, flip it over and let it drip. Pretty flippin' sweet.

The Cave By Heimplanet
The Cave by Heimplanet

There is no way to describe this other than awesome. Ok, maybe convenient works too. It is a tent that uses "air beams" instead of tent poles. You just unroll the whole thing, hook up a hand pump, and in no time you have your tent aired up and ready to go. I can see where there would be times when it wouldn't be "enough" of a tent. Long trips, high winds, etc. But for your day to day trips, this seems like it would be pretty cool. Easy to pack as well. You just pop the air valves and roll the whole thing up and stuff it in the bag. Pretty damn nifty.

Have you guys come across any cool high tech camping gear lately?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Summer Colds Suck

Sorry I've been away for the past few days. I've been dealing with a killer summer cold. I hardly ever get sick, maybe twice a year, but when I do it always seems to knock me on my ass. When it comes to medicine I tend to take an old school approach. As far back as I can remember my grandmother had a recipe for what she called "the syrup". Any time one of us got sick she would mix it up and make us sip on it all day. It is probably the reason I became a borderline alcoholic at such a young age. I figured I would share the recipe with you all. It is pretty simple. No real measurements, just throw all the following into a coffee mug, heat it up, and drink.

Whiskey (I prefer Makers Mark or Jack Daniels but you can use anything. Rum works in a pinch as well)
Honey (Preferably locally grown)
Lemon (Lots of lemon)

Just mixed all this up, throw it into the microwave for about 45 seconds, and sip away. It really does help. You can also grate up some ginger root and add to it. I do this but most people don't like the taste of raw ginger.

Whiskey, Honey, and Lemon
Whiskey, Honey, and Lemon

Hopefully this will help any of you suffering from a summer cold like I am at the moment.

Bottoms up, bitches!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Verizon offers 300Mbps Quantum Internet service... Srsly?

So Verizon has decided to offer a 300Mbps internet service in select markets. This insanely fast service option is part of their FiOS offering which is a Fiber Optic "To The Home" service. Fiber Optic delivers a much more consistent connection so high speeds can be sustained instead of just getting speed "spikes" up to advertised speeds like some cable and DSL providers offer.

Verizon offers 300Mbps Quantum Internet Service
Verizon offers 300Mbps Quantum Internet Service

Verizon is offering four different speed packages for their FiOS service. Their "slowest" package offers 50Mbps downloading speed and 25Mbps uploading speed ($79.99/Month). It is the second number that excites me. Anyone that has ever played a FPS or any other multi-person online game knows that if your upload speed sucks your gameplay experience is going to suck as well. With the Fiber option you're going to have rock solid consistent upload speeds so there should be absolutely no worries about any in-game lag.

The other three packages that round out the offering are 75Mbps/35Mbps ($89.99/Month), 150Mbps/65Mbps ($99.99/Month), and of course the beast... 300Mbps/65Mbps ($209.99/Month!).

While any geek would drool all over themselves for this sort of connection, is it really worth it? I mean, as an individual user, do you do enough with your internet connection to take full advantage of it? Personally I think I would be fine with the 50/25 package. That would be MORE than enough for what I do on the interwebs.

But, then again, Verizon claims that on the 300/65 package you can download a 5GB HD movie in 2.2 minutes. And let us be completely honest... That's just really fucking cool.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Random Lulz

Just in case any of you are having a bad day, here are some random lulz to make it better.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference

So Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference is today. Rumors are running rampant about what is going to be unveiled/talked about/hinted at during the keynote speech. The rumors about an iPhone 5 unveil have slowly withered away and left most expecting a more software oriented address. That is where I would put my money.

We may hear a bit about some new MacBook or something of the like but I think the main focus is going to be on iOS and OS X updates. Apple TV will probably get a few mentions. Some folks are expecting to see an actual Apple TV set unveiled today but my best guess is that we'll see a few updates to the Apple TV software and that will be about it.

I could be wrong but I just don't see any big announcements coming from this Conference. I guess we'll find out later this afternoon.

Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference
Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Brazilian boy comes back to life at funeral, immediately dies again.

This is by no means a tech related topic, but it is too weird not to comment on. Apparently, a 2-year-old boy from Brazil came back to life an hour before his funeral was suppose to take place. According to the articles I've read this morning the boy sat up and asked his father for a drink of water and then just laid back down again; dead. The story is blowing up all over the internet. It does seem completely unbelievable. Even more unbelievable, if it really did happen, is the fact that they still buried him later that day.

Here is one of the articles: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2155245/Dead-Brazilian-boy-wakes-funeral-asks-WATER-lying-lifeless.html?ito=feeds-newsxml

What do you think? Real or hoax?

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Backorder Blues - An Update

So I spoke with my sales rep and told him I couldn't wait for the board to get back into stock. We looked at several other equivalent options and I ended up getting a board that was just a bit more expensive, though not quite as awesome as the one I originally ordered, for the same price. My RAM is going to be throttled down a bit but for what this computer is going to be used for it shouldn't really matter. The board is on its way and should be here Friday.

As soon as it gets here I'm dropping it in and getting everything set up. I'm hoping it gets here early enough that I can have it all installed and ready to go by the time I leave for the weekend. Here is a shot of the case awaiting its new board.

I'm not gonna lie, if dude slips up just once, this computer is going to be mine. I have already contemplated re-routing all the monitor, keyboard, and mouse cables between my computer and his. He probably wouldn't even notice the difference since my system is fairly badass as well. And since we share an office and his desk is only like 8 feet from mine, it could easily be done.

I'll keep you updated.

Windows Phone to overtake Iphone's iOS market share by 2016?

Today, Lance Whitney from CNET posted an article highlighting a recent study of market trends in mobile phone sales. The study claims that by 2016, Windows Phone platform could rise above Apple's iOS platform in total mobile sales. It is a long-term projection based upon past trends and the advances Windows has made in the mobile market. It seems that much of the speculation rests upon recent sales of the Nokia Lumia which is running the Windows Phone platform.

Apple iOS vs Android vs Windows Phone
Apple iOS vs Android vs Windows Phone

Personally I think it is way too soon to tell how Windows Phone will hold up long-term. Sure, the Lumia has garnered a decent reception, but in my opinion Android and Apple will be the kings of the mobile market for many years to come.

What say you?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Backorder Blues

As mentioned in my previous post, I recently ordered a computer to replace one here at the office that shat itself. I thought all was well... I got an order confirmation, a shipping notification, and have even been tracking the shipment in anticipation of its arrival.

I get to the office this morning and am greeted by this message (Bold/Italics indicates my edits):
Hi You Poor Bastard,
On checking your order from Friday … I note that the above part shows a back order status because God hates you … I am checking into this and will get back to you with an update or I'll just let you sit there and stare at your monitor helplessly while waiting for an update that will never come … 
Messenger of Satan

So, yeah... Later today I will have a big box of parts with nothing to connect them to. I hope you're all having a better day than I am.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Co-worker's computer crashes, epic frustration ensues.

So I got to work Tuesday looking forward to a short week due to the long holiday weekend. My optimism was short lived though. Shortly after arriving at the office I was informed that one of our design computers had shat itself over the weekend. When I tried to boot it up I was greeted with this:

Reboot and Select proper Boot device
Reboot and Select proper Boot device

Now, first let me explain why I am the one who was informed of this problem. While I am merely the lowly graphic designer here, I spent over 10 years as an IT Manager/Computer Tech/Network Administrator for various companies.

Tech Support
Tech Support

I mistakenly included this information on my resume. So now I get to take care of all of the little computer issues that come up around here.

I get to work around 8am every morning. The guy who the troubled computer belongs to gets here around 7am. So I ask him what happened. He said he had shut down his computer Friday afternoon and when he got there Tuesday morning and tried to boot it up, the Boot device message came up. It was a little something like this:

Right. Ok, so I go through the various troubleshooting steps. Popped into the Bios to see what was up. The drive was being detected. Kinda. It was showing the wrong capacity and the name of the drive was "@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@". Pretty awesome, huh?

I went through a few trial and error routines and was getting the same result each time. So, not wanting to spend more time on it than necessary I just chalked it up to a dead hard drive and decided to order another one. If I was wrong? I've got an extra hard drive. No harm, no foul. So I order a Solid State Drive, a 2.5"-3.5" adapter, and new cables. Yesterday morning it finally came in so I popped in the new drive, got everything connected, tossed in the Windows XP CD, fired it up and got everything installed and it was running like a champ.

So I get to work this morning and am told to go check out the same computer again. I get upstairs and see this:


Ok, so it turns out it wasn't the drive. After more intensive tests I chalked it up to a dying motherboard. Yes, this is the generic tech diagnosis when we have no fucking clue what is wrong. But you know what? Fuck that computer. I hated it anyway. It was too old and too slow. Besides, I have my suspicions that there were more serious and threatening issues here anyway.

Anyway. So today I ordered a new barebones system to put together as a replacement.

It has an Intel i7-2600K processor, 16GB RAM, 120GB SSD hard drive, etc. etc. Compared to what it is replacing it is a fucking beast. When I told dude he was FINALLY getting a new computer, he reacted just as I thought he would.

So, yeah, that has pretty much been my week.