Monday, December 24, 2007

Cheese Theory of Human Behaviour

photo from ulterior epicureYou can tell a lot about a person by their cheese preference. That's my theory of the week, so let me explain it.

The basis is very simple really. If you like to do certain things you will likely also do other things. There are probably other preferences a person can have that would also correlate, but I'm failing to find one that is more widespread. Certainly food in general works, or places someone would go, but it all gets too complicated. Cheese is simple, and great.

My system postulates that the level of excitement and interestingness you go for in your cheese will correspond with the rest of your life. As an example, if you only like American cheese you're pretty boring. You also have bad taste in cheese. If you like cheddar, provolone, swiss - you like to get out a bit and maybe you live in the suburbs, but you're not likely to be seen wearing a funny hat outside of your circle of friends. If you'll try any cheese, you may end up running around the desert naked at an event like burning man.

As for the other extremes: if you only eat fancy goat cheese then you have very high taste but can't really hang out with the simpler cheese types. And if you don't eat any cheese than you're too picky and can't make logical decisions, which I think is true for most vegans. Feel free to argue this with me.

So this is my cheese theory as it stands. Are there some arguments for or against it? Do you have a better theory. Is there really any point to figuring out your cheese type?

Here's some "what cheese are you" quiz but it doesn't have many possible results.

photo from ulterior epicure

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Sunday, December 02, 2007

Soy milk cheaper than whole milk

On a recent shopping trip, to of all places, walmart, I discovered a surprising thing. A half gallon of soy milk was about 2.40 and a half gallon of whole milk was about 2.60. The brand in question was the "Great Value" generic, but still this is a troubling symptom of something. How can a cow cost more to make this tasty beverage than an intensive factory process with soy plant grinding and filtration. Maybe it really should cost more, but of course there is more demand and supply of cow milk to keep the prices down, yet a gallon of cow milk is over $4 in many places. See the USDA for a price chart. What does this all mean? Is it a sign of the apocalypse? I'm not sure, but I'm drinking some chocolate soy milk right now and it's pretty tasty.

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Toshiba A215-7437 and how to get stuff cheap on black friday without the lines

The Toshiba A215-7437 was a recent black friday deal at circuit city. It is $399 after rebates. Of course, these deals are meant to get you in the store. Now there are some interesting things about circuit city, one is that they have a 30 day price matching guarantee, if they or someone else has a sale within 30 days of purchase they'll price match it. Of course in the store they put up signs saying no returns and no price matching on black friday. What I did was go buy the laptop on Wednesday before it went on sale, went back to the store on the afternoon of black friday, and returned and bought it again. I didn't have any lines and got a receipt for a new purchase. The important thing to do here is that you can't open up the box until you've made the purchase successfully at the sale price. Their return policy charges a restocking fee for opened items.

This notebook computer is pretty decent, especially for the price. On the negative the battery life doesn't appear very good, and it lacks infrared and bluetooth. Also, the AMD Athlon X2 64 TK-53 processor is only about as fast as an Athlon XP 2700+ in benchmarks at 32 bits. Although it would be faster with a 64 bit operating system it ships with Vista Home Premium's 32 bit version, and drivers are not readily available in 64 bits. Hopefully they will be available at some point. The 1GB of memory isn't enough for Vista, especially since the memory is shared with the integrated ATI Xpress video.

Still though, this machine is a dual core machine, and while one thing is about as fast as an XP 2700+ it can do two at once. I run boinc and it runs two processes at the same time at that speed. You can also download applications from AMD that show you how your cpu's are doing.

I'm quite happy with this purchase, but it doesn't quite compete with much more expensive intel core 2 duo machines.

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nokia xpressmusic 5300 - Free Applications and Games Available on Nokia Site

I discovered today that there are some pretty cool applications available for nokia phones, and in particular the phone I'm using. If you go to nokia's european site, you can download some free apps. I found "sensor" a bluetooth mobile social networking program, a 3D snakes game, a decent snowboarding game, and a unit conversion tool. When looking on the US nokia site these apps are not to be found. The apps installed using nokia's pc suite program without difficulty. I do have my phone set to think it's a british phone though to get around t-mobile's blocking of java programs from their cheaper internet service, so this might have helped.

Why does Europe get cooler stuff that the US does without additional cost? I'm not sure. I recommend using NSS and setting your phone up this way if the programs don't work for you.

The program I was really looking for was the nokia sensor app. It allows you to see other phones with the application running and thus see if friends are nearby or meet people. It's probably something like the helios buddy beacon. Of course, if nobody else around is able to run the application then it's worthless.

As for a review of this phone, I haven't found the music buttons to be very useful so if I hadn't enabled these extra features and applications (I also have installed msn's search program that can show live traffic and google maps and mail) then this phone would be a complete piece of junk.

As it is I'm rather happy with it, although I can't wait for a google phone.

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Saturday, October 06, 2007

TV on your computer

Why get satellite or cable anymore if you have hi-speed? I don't know. Two new services are running now, joost and graboid.

Joost just came out in beta and is awesome with a great interface and lots of things to watch. You can find all the shows you'd have a hard time finding on cable and would need a dvr to record if you have, like, a work or play life. You can also chat with others watching the channel, although nobody was when I was there, which is fine with me. There are some options for news too but they are quite limited and dated now, don't expect news flashes as of yet. The video quality is pretty good too. The best part is that it's free! This does mean that it has advertisements in between the shows, but it seems much better than normal tv.

Get Joost

Graboid has some subscription options for different download quotas.
Graboid will also let you save videos, but it's really just a newsgroup aggregator. I'm not sure how long it will be around since it let's you get movies that are in theaters, and I don't think it's paying the studios for that privilege.

Get Graboid

Sunday, September 23, 2007

A way to make money, hooray

My friend Garth started doing this thing a while back where he loans out money and earns interest (around 12-25% a year). No, he's not a loan shark, he's "buying loans" at You can also get a loan at lower than bank rates apparently to pay off credit cards or whatever. I'm starting off small, hoping to bid $50 on someone's loan this week. You bid in $50 increments, so if someone is loaning $1000 it can come from up to 20 people. Prosper actually takes care of the loan details, you're just purchasing that part of it, taking the risk and the interest earned. They also have deals with collection agencies if your lender defaults on you. It's not foolproof, but it seems to work, and people have a sense of community with who they are borrowing from.

They have a deal right now where you get $25 after making your first loan (as a lender). That's a 50% return right there. Follow this link to do that.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

more free gadgets - nintendo wii

Ok, here's another deal to sign up for and get something free. I've done this before to get a free ipod with a different deal. This time I'm going for a free nintendo wii.

Here's the link

Sign up, get something fun for yourself or give it as a gift.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Audiovox PPC 6600 Review

Originally uploaded by marcymakesaparty.
Here's a picture of someone's broken ppc 6600, luckily mine isn't this broken.

I like this phone. It is a pocket PC, which allows it to all kinds of crazy things. I use a freeware VNC called .NET VNC viewer to view my ubuntu machine. I also use to see my PC desktop. Both are free, and both work pretty sort of ok. I've found it's actually much faster to do some kind of remote desktop thing and open a complicated webpage remotely and view it over a cellphone connection than to try to open it directly with the phones browser. When I so open web pages directly, I use the opera browser.

There are also lots of instant messenger apps that you can get, but they cost way too much money and don't work that well. I've tried im+, agile messenger, and some others. They usually cause lockups and cause me to miss calls. This could be more the phone than the software, but I don't' have any way to tell.

The last part of the puzzle with this phone is the sprint service. It's CDMA service, which is pretty widespread. I've had some trouble in the mountains, but you can roam and use Verizon. Of course when you roam data service doesn't work. The good thing about sprint is the internet service is unlimited, and you can easily talk a sprint representative into giving you the vision service for $10 a month. The bad thing is this phone can't do data and get calls at the same time very well. It's also not as fast as the new services I suppose.

This phone can also use Bluetooth to work with a Bluetooth GPS and you can load tomtom on it. That is cool, but it does weird things to the phone, like load up whenever it feels like it. It takes a LONG time to load up too.

One real headache is to try this phone as a dial up networking device. You're pretty much limited to using Bluetooth, especially if you use a Mac or Linux as the phone isn't recognized on those devices. If you use a PC you have to disable activesync, but I haven't bothered to try it since my PC is connected to a much faster internet route and isn't portable. On the Mac using OS X you can setup a Bluetooth wireless DUN connection, but I couldn't find any way to make it reliable, and have had to recreate the connection each time I wanted to use it. I also had to make the phone less secure so I could easily pair it, but I'm not too worried about Bluetooth attacks due to its limited range. I haven't been able to get ubuntu to work with it, but I have read of some success from others. I might also be experiencing issues due to my cheap USB Bluetooth dongle, in addition to any quirks the phone has. So to sum it up, DUN on this phone is way more difficult than a normal phone but it is possible. It seems even slower than my old TMobile phone that worked fine with a USB cable, but that's what you get I guess.

This phone is capable of so many many things, but this may also be a weakness. The camera is crap, although can shoot crappy video. The keyboard is tiny and is on the wrong side, although the sliding is cool. For some reason my phone won't "turn off" when pressing the off button anymore, the case is separating, and it got some snow in it in the recent Denver blizzard. It still does work though. Oh, it also has a habit of losing all its data so you have to restore it from a SD card or a computer. Backing up to an SD card takes hours for some reason too. But it was cheap, and it works often.

LCD Topgun lightgun review

So I like light gun games, a lot. Even if I suck at them. So I heard about this new lightgun thing, I like. Of course by the time I found out about it it can't be found through the previously reported means. This is because the company violated some law and Sony or some game company the manufacturer shut down. Anywho, I found the gun for sale at and ordered it.

The neat thing about this gun is that it doesn't work the same way earlier lightguns did. Instead of getting a signal from the tv screen, it has infrared lightbars that go on the sides of the screen to figure out where it's pointing. This allows it to work with projectors, LCD screens, etc. Theoretically this should also make it more accurate. It also means it has to be calibrated if anything moves. Since I have the 100 inch screen this seems like a good idea.

Unfortunately the 100 inch screen is too much for the included lightbars. So I ordered the "blaze stands" to accommodate the larger screen. I haven't received these yet, but perhaps I'll update this review when I get them.

As it is I've been able to use the gun with my much much smaller computer monitor. It did work, although I had to stand as far away from my desk as possible to make it work, which is about 4 1/2 feet (I have a small apartment). It did work pretty well, and it was configurable with included computer software. The gun comes with two USB plugs, one of which is purely to make the recoil function work. It doesn't seem to work well with a 15 foot USB extension chord, probably loses signal, so I'm not sure how to use it with the 100 inch screen anyway.

It also has a laser, which is cool. All in all, its the only gun I know of that works with PC's, ps2's, xboxes and projection screens. I'm not sure if you can use two guns with a PC. It has lots of chords hanging around for all the lightbars. It looks cool. That's about it.

Student Loan Consolidation

After the many years I've spent in college, and the many years I have yet to come, I've certainly racked up my share of student loans. There are a few companies out there to help consolidate them, and I've looked into many. Then of course after you do choose one, it will probably be bought out by another company, so maybe they are all the same one. I'm not sure, but remind me that I have to consolidate once again, as I seem to have two companies asking me for money now. Yuck.

Cheap Auto Insurance

It's time once again for me to search for cheap car insurance. I've done progressive, geico, and now state farm. I even switched back and forth between geico and progressive as they gave me better offers.

Having never had to claim anything against my own auto insurance company, its more of a nuisance than anything else, but at least I can be comfortable having coverage. Mostly I'm worried about getting hit by some uninsured person who sends me to the hospital. This is why I go for the 100k/300k uninsured motor vehicle coverage, even on my motorcycle. This almost came in handly when I was rear ended by a mexican national a few months back, but the damage was superficial on my car, which already has more than 200k miles, so I didn't bother doing anything about it.

So back to the search; I've been seeing these cool commercials from with animated motorcycle and car drivers, and it propogates itself as the insurance for the hip set. I'm not sure if I'm hip, but at least I can use a more computerized internet friendly company. I just filled out the quote info and they would indeed save me a few bucks. Then they also have a comparison search, which is something progressive likes to advertise, and it showed a far cheaper price. So off I go to some other website, and after giving away all my sensitive personal information, the new website, travellers, tells me the quote is even higher than what I'm paying now. So much for comparison searches.

After all is said and done, I decided to just stick with state farm. In this technological age it seems nice to just have some guy to call up and complain to, if anything did happen. I think my agent wasn't able to conceptualize my views about the fate of the stock market and retirement plans, but that is for another post.


L'uomo e la Vita
Originally uploaded by MoMaStalker.
I found this great photo while perusing flickr. One thing you have to watch out for when urban exploring is asbestos. This is why urban explorers often wear P100 respirators. The dangers of asbestos inhalation are mesothelioma, asbestosis, interstitial fibrosis, pneumoconiosis and lung cancer. These diseases can take years to develop, so you wouldn't know you had them for some time.

When exploring abandoned buildings, look out for crocidolite and amosite asbestos, known as amphibole asbestos, as they are the most dangerous forms. Of course, since we aren't experts on this stuff, we'll just protect ourselves as we can. Many urbexers choose to wear P100 respirators for protection. 3M makes a decent respirator that can be found on ebay for about $20, medium size seems to work for most people. The filters are pink though.

The other thing to note is that the people who have cancer now often were handling it in close proximity for years. I wonder if just being in a building for a day is all that harmful.

You can read more about asbestos dangers and mesothelioma and other asbestos related cancers here Handyman asbestos page and here Mesothelioma site.

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