Monday, February 20, 2006

Mmm.... Chocolate

I found this excellent little write-up about a guy named Alasdair and his chocolate tasting adventures. He's got some interesting and educational stuff to say about the current state of the chocolate industry and what's perceived as "good" these days. Definitely worth a read.



Sunday, February 12, 2006

More MythTV Goodness

Weekend geek project accomplished? Check!

This weekend I spent some time upgrading the house MythTV box. I pulled the old WinTV card that had been my only tuner card and installed a Hauppage PVR-500. Yes, it's got a MCE (Media Center Edition) designation, but it works fine in linux. PVR-500 short notes: dual tv tuners w/ dbx stereo, dual hardware-based mpg2 encoders, fm radio tuner, and a $140 price tag. It took way longer than I thought it would to wrangle the ivtv drivers to play nicely with the rest of my system. A HowTo at and another specifically geared towards a knopmyth install were a huge help. If it helps, I ended up happily running with firmware 0x02050032 if that helps anyone at all.

I decided a few months ago during a reinstall to use Centos as the base for the Myth install. I wanted something that wouldn't age out from under me and become unsupported as my FC2 install had done, and Centos promised the long-term version stability of the Red Hat Enterprise products without the support options or the cost. Other than the fact that there's not a lot of docs out the with Centos-specific instructions on how to do things, it's been great. Ok, not having v4l as a standard kernel module pushed me off towards the centosplus repository, but that's been good so far.

Task #2 was adding 250G of additional space to the LV set that /home lives on. That doubled the space for MythTV recordings. Of course, it also doubles the failure rate, but all th music and picures live on back-ups anyway. Worse-case I'll have to reinstall the os and MythTV, and download or re-record all the shows that we've got stashed on there. That was amazingly easy to do. Repartition the volume as linux lvm, prepare it as lvm volume, add it to the volume set, expand the logical volume, and resize2fs the filesystem out to use all the new space.

As I was fetching links and checking urls to write this, I discovered that version 0.19 of MythTV had been released earlier today, so that's been downloaded and is compiling as I write. I'll post back with news of my success, or of the new and exciting things that I've learned getting it all to work.


Monday, February 06, 2006

E-mails and egos

E-mails and egos: "Justin Kruger, PhD, and his colleague Nicholas Epley, PhD, of the University of Chicago, have published research that helps explain why electronic misunderstandings occur so frequently. In a study in the December Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (Vol. 89, No. 5, pages 925-936), they find that people overestimate both their ability to convey their intended tone-be it sarcastic, serious or funny-when they send an e-mail, as well as their ability to correctly interpret the tone of messages others send to them."

A good read, and definitely something to keep in mind.


Super Bowl XL Commercials on Google Video

Super Bowl XL Commercials on Google Video
I love Google more and more. They've collected all the commercials from the Supebowl into one convenient place for easy viewing. Beacause, you know, the commercials are really the only reason to watch.


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Saturday, February 04, 2006

And then there were three...

We came home last night to find a happy cat waiting to get outside to use the pine straw, half an hour later he's uncharacteristically flopped next to his food bowl waiting for dinner and panting like crazy. This is so uncaracteristic of Mickey that we crated him up and off we went to the emergency vet, the same one we dealt with Luna with only six or seven weeks ago. They whisked him off to the back, took an amazingly quick look at him (I guess when a diagnosis is this solid and obvious it doesn't take long at all) and told us the prognosis: congestive heart failure and the related pulmonary edema, along with an acute thrombosis blocking bloodflow to his rear limbs. Treatment at this stage is difficult, and rarely effective for very long. So we made the always difficult decision to put him to sleep. They gave the shot while we were cuddling him and talking to him, and it was much like luna - one second they're there, the next they're not. I've done this for more than my share of animals recently.

He arrived in 2000, littermates with Minnie. He was always the big, gangling cat, seeming built like a basketball player (tough to imagine in a cat, I know, but just think very long legs.) He was the ham of the bunch, and was always ready with a dramatic flop to announce his intentions to receive some tummy love. Among the four, he was the get-along-with-everyone character, who bridged the divide and happily coexisted with both Minnie and the two marriage-induced arrivals: Sammy and JoyJoy. Now those three will have to work out the power structures all over again. He was the office cat, having taken over the study since the renovation. The picture was taken one day when he curled up for a nap on the opened scanner. (It's a cat scan!) He had a serious affinity for desk chairs, anything paper, piles of clean laundry, and high-denier nylon luggage. And he had the absolute loudest purr I've ever heard from a cat. And I'm really going to miss him.

Bye, Mickey.


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