Tuesday, August 29, 2006


I'd also like to get one of these, but I really don't need it. The only thing that REALLY grabs me is the better viewfinder. I'd rather have my D70, with the 18-200 VR. Still, it's nice to see progress.

A dilemma

I have another 18-200mm VR Nikon coming in this week. I had initially planned on selling the ones I received until the prices dropped. They eventually will, when the supply/demand issues get sorted out, and Nikon bumps up the production. However, if it comes in before Friday, I'll be tempted to use it at my grandparents' 60th wedding anniversary, where I'm the default photographer.

It's a great lens, and I'm 100% committed to getting one for myself, but it's hard to keep one when I can sell it for $1000, and they'll eventually be readily available for $699 or less. Then again, that could be some time from now, and I really would have liked to had it for my trip to Michigan this year. I know $700 is a lot for a lens, but I sold several other lenses in order to pay for it, so it's already paid for, in a sense. I originally planned on keeping the one I first ordered.

I think if it gets here by Friday, I'll keep it. I might still try to sell it used, if I can get enough out of it.

EDIT: Well, it's Tuesday, and it's still not here, although I was charged for it days ago. Needless to say, it's going on eBay when it arrives.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

By the way...

I've been using the new Blogger beta. I haven't noticed any difference, except it publishes faster. A LOT faster. Beyond that I'm really not sure what else is different, but I'll assume they're making progress.

I'm also seriously contemplating switching completely to Macs. I really can't stand using my Windows PC anymore. If I'm doing anything, I prefer to do it on my MacBook. The internet loads faster, it doesn't act as flaky, and it's not suddenly giving me fits working with my laser printer like my Windows box is. And it's not because I don't know how to work a computer, believe me.

I also really like the software that's available better (quality, not quantity), although I'm still waiting for Universal Binaries of Photoshop and Nikon Capture NX. Probably the biggest reason is the user interface is so much more appealing. It's hard to quantify it, but I feel at least twice as productive on my MacBook. It would probably be even better if I had a Mac Desktop.

Problem is, I can't decide how I'm going to go about it. Earlier, I posted about a Mac Mini I was getting, but even at $200, I'd have to sink an extra $40 to make it wireless, at least $50 on RAM, and will have no bluetooth, and a 1st generation, rather slow PowerPC CPU with a 40GB hard drive.

I'm hearing rumors that a new Mac Mini is coming. If it is a decent upgrade, with a reasonable price, I might switch over to it for my desktop. I'd really like to get a Mac Pro, but I don't need a dual CPU desktop. I also don't need ECC RAM. And I REALLY don't need to pay for it.

I would like the ability to upgrade the video card, add hard and optical drives, etc. Ideally, Apple will release a single processor (but still dual-core) Mac that has expansion capabilities, but without a built in screen. I have a nice monitor, I don't need one permanently attached to my computer.

I tend to think they'll do it, mainly because they don't have a computer which has the Core 2 Duo CPU in it, which is Intel's main desktop chip right now. A lot of people think the iMacs will get them soon, and they probably will, but I know a lot of people would be very, very happy with a mid-range, user upgradeable, headless Mac. It could very well cannibalize their sales of iMacs, and especially Mac Pros, but I think it would plug an obvious gap in Apple's product line, and the holidays would be a perfect time to do it.


I got my AT&T/Dish situation straightened out for the most part. But I guess that's only true if canceling the service and hooking back up to Comcast counts as being "straightened out". The good news is that Comcast is giving me a deal on the package because I switched from Dish. They're basically giving me an equivalent package to what I wanted to get from AT&T/Dish in the first place, for the same price.

It's ironic. I had to switch from Comcast to Dish in order to get Comcast to give me the price Dish quoted me buy refused to deliver. Sheesh.

On the other hand, I got totally boned on the LCD TV. My brother picked it up for me, because he lives near the store. He ended up getting the wrong one though, and by the time he figured it out, the $250 rebate had expired. That pretty much yanks.

I'm currently selling some things on Craigslist. One of them is a free (so far) 2007wfp LCD I received from Dell. The other is my Canon ip5000 photo printer. Free inks and USB cable with the printer, if anyone is interested. Spread the word.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Couple New Deals

I'm getting a new 37" LCD HDTV. It's a Syntax Olevia, and as usual, I'm getting a pretty solid deal on it. Apparently it debuted at $2999 in March '05. Currently Target has it on sale for $1199.

CompUSA had it on clearance for $999. I checked the Wichita store, which only had the demo left. I got it open box for $849. Here's the kicker. It has a $250 rebate. Basically I'm picking up a solid $1200 TV for half price.

I've read several reviews, and while it's not top of the line, it's apparently a very solid deal for the money, even at $1500+. It performs as well as many name brand models costing upwards of $2000. I asked a buddy who works in home theater sales about it, and he told me he'd buy it out of principle for $600.

In case you didn't know, I HATE extended warranties, but I purchased it on this one. I got a 4 year warranty for $50. It's normally $129, but I got it at cost. Even so, I still might not have done it if the TV weren't a floor model that's been running constantly for the last year and a half.

For my second act, CompUSA had a refurbed, original model Mac Mini for $200. I'm going to do the warranty swap and basically trade my 2 year old video card for the Mini.

Basically, I'm going to end up getting the 37" LCD for $600 and the Mini for free. I love FatWallet, and I also love inside connections.

Friday, August 18, 2006

I finally figured out why I haven't had a landline in 5 years.

I'm pretty fed up with the new AT&T/SBC/Dish conglomerate already, and I've only had their "service" for a couple weeks. Basically, I switched from Comcast cable so I could have a phone line that would work with my alarm system. Plus, according to the AT&T rep I spoke with on the phone, I could get it done for about the same price I was paying Comcast for similar service with no landline.

It would have been great, had she not been lying through her teeth.

The first problem I had was when the installer set up my TV. I have an HDTV, but unfortunately it has a 4:3 aspect ratio. I realize I'll have black bars at the top and bottom of my screen when I watch widescreen content. I'm used to it. What I didn't expect is that in addition to those, I get black bars on ALL FOUR SIDES of my TV when watching 4:3 content. WTF? If I'm watching 4:3 content on a 4:3 television, there should be NO letterboxing, much less letterboxing on all 4 sides. The installer said every TV he'd installed Dish on did the same thing. Well, that's great, but my Comcast HD box didn't do it. I suddenly have a TV that's effectively a 27" instead of a 32".

Then I noticed I'm not subscribed to some of the channels I'm supposed to be hooked up with. Then I try to use the DVR feature to record the William Shatner Roast on Comedy Central this Saturday. It doesn't work. I call tech support for Dish, and they tell me I'm subscribed to the Bronze package, and don't have a DVR.

I get transferred to AT&T, and they tell me they don't have access to Dish's stuff, so they transfer me back to Dish. I talk to them, they blame the problem on AT&T, and transfer me back to them. Lo and behold, I've been on the phone long enough that it's after 9PM, and they're closed. So here I am, with no DVR, missing some of my favorite channels, and I'm getting ripped on the price.

I was told I could get the Silver Package, Unlimited Long Distance, a landline, DSL, HD, and a DVR for 117/month. As it turns out, I'm only getting bronze, and no DVR for 114/month. And I'm in a contract. And their customer service sucks.

Their tech support goons tried to tell me for an hour that my router was broken, so I finally hung up on them. As it turns out, they gave me bad information during the setup, and I fixed it myself in 15 minutes.

I'm REALLY not pleased so far. I'll keep you updated as I try to get out of my F'ing contract. This ruling might help, actually, but I'll have to see what happens on appeal first.

On a related note, some of you may remember my problems with FedEx losing a MacBook Pro I shipped with them. It appears my very first angry lawyer letter did the trick. They hopped on it immediately, apologized, and sent me a check for the full amount.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


I've been going to the YMCA lately, and contrary to what the Village People would have you believe, it's not fun. I really need to get in shape again though, and it's a good start. Hillary and I have been going most nights, and it seems to be helping already. I'll have to keep it up.

Oh, and we might go on a Snakes on a Plane field trip at work on Friday. If you haven't heard this yet, you've gotta check it out. It made my F'ing day.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

While we're on the subject of Patton

I very vividly remember George C. Scott playing George S. Patton in the 1970 movie Patton. I always liked war movies when I was a kid, but most of the ones I had seen up to this point were the John Wayne ones, which were not nearly as, well, profane. The first time I saw Patton my mom fast forwarded through the famous opening scene. I guess the real thing was even worse.

You've gotta admit, if I were getting ready to go up against the Wehrmacht in June of 1944, I'd need something of that caliber to get me motivated.

Battle of the Bulge

Unlike George S. Patton, I'm not fighting Nazis. I'm fighting my waistline. I'm beginning to get a bit heavier than I would like, and it's time to do something about it. I'm starting to exercise a little bit. Hillary and I have memberships at the YMCA, and we've been going a lot more often lately.

I've always hated exercise, but I think that's mainly the preparation. Once I start, it's usually not so bad, and when I'm done I feel pretty good. Sort of like mowing the lawn.

Listening to our iPods makes the exercise much easier. Hillary has an iPod Mini, and I picked up a Shuffle recently for $50. It's a refurb, but I couldn't tell. It came with a free armband, and is perfect for working out. I just load it up with a bunch of songs that make me want to beat somebody up, and click play. The interface is far from ideal if you want to browse through your music, but I want to avoid having to do that if I'm working out anyway.

When I get a new car, I'll get a real iPod. I want to get a CD player that interfaces directly with the iPod and charges it. Add another item to my list.