Archive for January, 2008

FiOS in less than 24 hrs.

Posted on 2008.01.28 (Monday). Filed under: Entertainment, Hardware, Internet, Optimum Online, Service Providers, Speed Tests, Technology, Television, Verizon FiOS | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Fios___Verizon_logo

So, we received a phone call from Verizon yesterday asking that we make accessible all things which the Verizon FiOS technician needs to access. The ethernet wires, the coaxial into-the-house (although I have an idea of relocating that), the televisions, and the telephone wiring (which I believe I want to switch around), I suppose. I tidied up all my horrible-looking, dangling telephone and coaxial cable lines earlier this morning, as well. I figure if it looks somewhat neat, the next guy would feel a bit more obligated to do something neat as well.

Right now, as it is, I have my cable modem in the basement connected to the first splitter off the incoming coaxial cable. From there, the CAT6 travels to my D-Link router upstairs here on the first floor, and from there it goes back downstairs thru the air-conditioning duct along fifty feet of CAT5 to my main computer, and about two feet to my desk right here.

The telephone. My telephone (one of three lines), which is VOIP comes from the cable modem downstairs, across fifty feet of narrow/thin telephone wire, to this same room, where it exits thru the wall and out to the telephone box on the side of the house, which in turn goes back into the house’s internal telephone wiring. It seems rather redundant for it to go from the basement, outside, to a box, and back to the basement — but as this house was built in 1932, and there are two separate telephone lines running through the walls, Cablevision decided for the sake of it all, to do it this way. I suppose the box outside always worked, so why not do it that way, rather than run new wires to the main telephone connections inside.

The coaxial cable. At the moment, there is a very old and beat-up cable coming from outside to the first splitter in the basement. From there it splits off into the cable modem and a signal amplifier. From there (the signal amplifier) it goes to a 5-way splitter, dispersed to different televisions in the house. There are two unused coaxial cables there. One comes into this particular room, and the other goes to my garage.

What I have thought would work best… I did a lot of thinking about how this will all run. I’ve decided that the best way to do it, would to have their stuff installed right here in this room. It would be advantageous to do so, as it would be in a drier place, more accessible, and running on newer wires. Also, having the wireless Actiontec router that Verizon supplies on my 1st floor, rather than basement, would be a bit more beneficial in granting me more “useable” range; I want to use my laptop wirelessly on the 1st and 2nd floors, I don’t care about it being used in the basement.

The total schematic running through my mind is as follows:

(Mind you, the ONT and Router are not the same things, but as both are being used to provide all the incoming services, I refer to them as one unit)

  • ONT/Router –> Ethernet cables on 1st floor (den) –> 2 Computers
  • ONT/Router –> Telephone jack on 1st floor (den) –> Box on outside of house –> Internal phone wires.
  • ONT/Router –> Unused coaxial cable on 1st floor (den) –> First splitter off old coaxial-in –> televisions.

I am hoping that all the above can be achieved. It seems that this would be the best way to install everything, I wouldn’t need two routers or a wireless hub/repeater, and it’d all be someplace I can keep an eye on it.

Some photographs, before/after my wiring cleanup.. for the hell of it:

ExhaustLoom1 ExhaustLoom2

WindowLoom1 WindowLoom2

Notice anything that I did not mention?

Less than 24 hrs for FiOS. I can’t wait!

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Number crunching & brain numbing computer games

Posted on 2008.01.22 (Tuesday). Filed under: Gaming, News, Optimum Online, PC Games, Service Providers, Strategy, Web Games | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

So, I’m an avid EVE-Online player, and since my Optimum Online internet connection has been less than trustworthy this past week, I’ve had to find other things, less dependent upon a stable connection, to play.jim data center1

My good friend Jim (pictured at his datacenter on the right) has set up a game called Black Nova Traders on his personal website, for private play amongst friends.

It’s not a bad game at all, and it has killed countless hours of boredom. Its built on the idea of the older “Trade Wars“, with an updated spin on things and web-based. From their own website, this is the description:

“BlackNova Traders is a turn-based space strategy game where you start off with minimal resources which you must use wisely to make money, money is power. As the game goes on you upgrade your ship, make alliances and colonize planets to produce more money in your quest for top rank and domination.”

I was off to a slow start there, not being able to figure out how anything works, to becoming dominant and shooting at planets that have decimated me. Oops. – With my billions of credits I have accrued, however, it hasn’t kept me out of the game for long. Which is the good thing about this game; you can get back up as fast as you got knocked down. Right at this moment, I’m all out of turns, so I’ve turned to the blog for occupation of my encephalon.

Figuring out the numbers in Black Nova Traders isn’t all too difficult; you’re messing with percentages and production values, and that’s about it. If you’re interested in installing your own copy, Black Nova Traders is an open-source project, and you can get all the information you require at their forums.

top After days of playing this game, and looking for ways to keep busy while out of turns, I turned to another web-based strategy game called Earth: 2025. I couldn’t particularly get all into it, as the turns only re-tick every half-hour, and I was going it alone. I’ll get back to it at some point, with some more people, if possible. That particular game, though, gets more involved with numbers, and lots more management from spies to industry to residents, military, etc. One step in involvement above BNT, and just a tad bit brain-numbing.

Now, let’s take a step back from these web-based games and look at something that has forever boggled my mind. Hearts of Iron II: Doomsday. Wow. Just typing the title of the game sets off little neurons in my brain shouting “Oh no! Not that!”.

hoi2dd boxshot Hearts of Iron II is a grand-strategy game, by Paradox Interactive. It’s somewhat of a legend in the community of grand-strategy gamers, but I have yet to ever figure out the first damned thing to do within this game. You can play as any country in existence (circa 1936), and do almost anything imaginable with your country. You control everything, down to politics, single battalions of troops, all naval units, air units, the infrastructure, diplomacy, and taxes. I’ve installed the game at least six or seven times on my computer over time, since it has been released in 2006, and still, it beats me. Every time, I install this this thing, telling myself “This game can’t beat you. It’s a computer game for crying out loud, you should be able to figure it out”, and I just don’t get it yet. I’m bound to try it again later this week, after having taken three months at least, off from it. In fact, I challenge anyone reading this blog to try the damn thing, and if you can figure it out and teach me what the hell I’m doing wrong, I’ll kiss your feet (granted that they’re healthy, clean, and free of any unfavorable scents). There are tons of numbers to crunch in this particular game, and it is the specific reason for the title of this posting. ARGH. My brain hurts just typing about it.

Other games I’m looking into trying, currently consist of:

Earth: 2025 (again)

Lost Empire: Immortals

City Life 2008 (not sure about this one)

Star Trek Online (developers laid off on January 18th... Hoping its picked up again)

Dark Orbit

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It’s Too Cold in Green Bay, but for who?

Posted on 2008.01.21 (Monday). Filed under: Football (American), Sports | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

gal_bp_01_21_2008All week long I’ve been reading the papers and watching previews and post-game gal_fp_01_21_2008reports and pre-game reports and this.. and that.. and the other thing too. — Everyone’s said it. It’s wayyyy too cold for the New York Giants to be able to compete in Lambeau Field against the Green Bay Packers. The Giants, with 9 straight on-the-road wins, would never be able to pull it off! Not in a million years!

The Giants are playing with a banged-up secondary. The Giants got lucky against the Dallas Cowboys because it was a divisional rivalry — the two teams already knew each other well. Jeremy Shockey is out. Plaxico Burress is questionable! Sam Madison might not play. Eli Manning has only been lucky — he’s bound to screw up sooner or later! “The “Frozen Tundra” of Lambeau Field will play host for the NFC Championship Game giving the Packers a clear advantage playing at home.” Blah-blah-blah.

Green Bay was listed as a 8 point favorite. Tampa Bay gave the Giants 3 points. Dallas gave the Giants 7 points. Green Bay whooped Seattle 42-20 last week. Hell, they even whooped the Giants 35-13 in week two of the season on September 16th.

WHAT HAPPENED?

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FINAL: GIANTS 23, PACKERS 20

Quite simply… everyone was against the Giants, and they could not have been more wrong! It’s too cold in Green Bay.. for the PACKERS!

I love it when the rest of the country is against us. It does nothing but help the Giants. A team that has something to prove, a team that has the opportunity to play against all the odds and win… is a dangerous team.

So just how dangerous were we? I dunno… Green Bay in all its greatness rushed for a total of gal_frontpage_0118what…28 yards. WOW. Favre had 2 interceptions; the latter interception killed any chances of getting into Super Bowl XLII.

Did we do our best? There were 2 or 3 other chances that I can recall where we should have won the game. We didn’t. It took a lot more than it should have. Of course I have my complaints about the our offense, and our penalties… but hey.. end of the day, we’re GOING TO THE SUPER BOWL.

Some facts:

  • they became the first team in history to win 10 games as visitors in one season.
  • became the third team in history to advance to the Super Bowl by winning three road games, joining the 1985 Patriots and 2005 Pittsburgh Steelers.
  • This was the 3rd coldest game ever, in NFL history.

Some headlines:

As Wellington Mara said after we kicked the Minnesota Vikings’ ass in the 2000 NFC mug1288Championship Game:

“This team was referred to as the worst team ever to win the home-field advantage in the National Football League. And today, on our field of painted mud, we proved we’re the worst team ever to win the NFC championship. In two weeks, we’re going to try to become the worst team ever to win the Super Bowl.”

    • So… once again, in two weeks… we’re going to try to become the worst team ever to win the Super Bowl!NY Daily News Back/Front Covers, Beginning January 4th:

      gal_back_01_04 gal_backpage_0106 gal_backpage_0111 gal_backpage_0113gal_backpage_0118 gal_backpage_0119 gal_bp_01_01_2008 gal_bp_01_02_2008 gal_bp_01_07_2008gal_fp_01_14_2008 gal_bp_01_14_2008 gal_bp_01_15_2008 gal_bp_01_16_2008 gal_bp_01_17_2008 gal_bp_01_20_2008

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Apple Glazed BBQ Chicken… mmmm…

Posted on 2008.01.18 (Friday). Filed under: Food and Beverage, Lifestlye, Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

I was browsing through some photographs stored here on my computer, and came across a chicken I made for Rosh Hashanah last year.

First, a little background:

Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish new year, and according to the book of Exodus, when the Hebrews wandered the desert for 40 years they ate “manna,” which was like “honey wafers.”

Israel itself, of course, is a land “flowing with milk and honey.” Honey cake, traditionally called “lekakh,” which means portion in Hebrew, is also evocative of a goodly portion in the new year.

shotgun 013It was traditionally thought that what you ate would influence your year. It’s a folk custom. People stay away from salty, bitter and sour foods, and there is an emphasis on sweetness.

So, all that being said, I came across a recipe for this Apple Glazed BBQ Chicken, which I thought, since I’ve nothing better to do, I would share here.

Here you can see what you’d be dealing with when the chicken is all ready to be thrown into the oven. If you think that looks good, there’s a photograph of the finished product below.

The credit must go to Chavi Feldman of Chashmonaim, Israel, whom provided the recipe on about.com. (click)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 whole chickens
  • 1 6-ounce can frozen apple juice concentrate, thawed
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 Tbsp. cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme or 1 Tbsp. fresh thyme
  • 1 cloves crushed garlic
  • dash hot pepper
  • 2 green apples, cored and cut into wedges
  • 2 onions, peeled and cut into wedges
PREPARATION:

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Spray a large roasting pan with PAM and lay the two chickens breast-side up.
3. Combine remaining ingredients, except the apples and onions.
4. Brush half the sauce over the chicken. Tuck the onion and apple wedges around the chicken. shotgun 015
5. Bake, uncovered, for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
6. Carefully turn chicken over and brush remaining sauce on the chicken. Bake for an additional hour, or until golden brown and juices run clear.
YIELDS: Serves 10-12 people

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Coffee anyone?

Posted on 2008.01.18 (Friday). Filed under: Coffee, Food and Beverage, Gadgets, Lifestlye, Tea, Technology | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

I’ve become such a coffee lover lately, it’s ridiculous.

File_028, 3/16/05, 10:57 AM,  8C, 4610x5948 (1147+1692), 112%, New Rick,  1/20 s, R110.6, G94.6, B123.0

What would I have ever done, had one of these fine Keurig machines not walked into my life? I’ve seen them for ages. My sister had one, then she got one for my brother-in-law’s office, then my friend obtained one… and I thought I was supposed to be special?

Finally this Christmas I received one from my friend, Jennifer, and its been probably the most used gift I’ve ever received.

I went though the variety pack in under 4 days. That’s 18 k-cups. Teas, coffees, hot-chocolate, whatever- all gone in under 4 days.

I stumbled upon a website (click) that sells packs of 24 and 25 for a more appealing price of $9.99 – $10.49 per case. (At Bed Bath and Beyond I was paying $9.99 for 18, or $7.99 with their 20% discount coupon that comes in the mail at least three times per month, and on top of that, 8.625% NY Sales Tax) With 6 cases, you also get free shipping, and as the company is not in New York.. hurray, I don’t pay tax, either.

This time ’round, I’ve ordered Kenyan AA Extra Bold (my favorite thus far), Sumatran Blend Extra Bold (seemingly as good as Starbucks’ own Sumatra blend), and Hazelnut Dark Roast (Hazelnut has always been a good flavor, but I never thought it were strong enough –now it is–), and split the other half of the bill with Jennifer, who ordered Decaf Green Tea (she’s pleased), Sleepytime Herbal Tea (I tried it, I liked it, and it actually put me right to sleep– she says she enjoys it, but it’s only good on occasion), and Green Mountain Coffee Roasters’ “Our Blend” (which is a light blend –her preference–) that she gives many blessings.

For those of you who’ve never seen such a device, you really need to check out some of the demonstrations on the manufacturer’s website. (click)

Anyhoo, there isn’t much else I can say right now, I’m being tantalized by all this talk of coffee, and I must secure myself a cup before any act of God might taketh the opportunity away from me, such as getting struck by a bolt of lightening, hurricane, blizzard, or even worse, a power outage!

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FiOS is Coming

Posted on 2008.01.17 (Thursday). Filed under: Entertainment, Hardware, Internet, Optimum Online, Service Providers, Technology, Television, Verizon FiOS | Tags: , , , , , , |

Well, the Verizon FiOS representative just left my home no less than ten minutes ago.

FiOS service will be installed in my home on the 29th of January. Phone, TV, and 20/20 internet.

It came to a total of $200 ±$4-6 per month, incl. all taxes and fees; the price is guaranteed for two years, with a couple things, which may have once been perceived as goodies, which are nowadays almost essentials. (HD boxes, DVR, battery backup for phone–which OOL does not provide–, the installer will stick all the boxes on the televisions.. etc.)

Personally, I’d rather do my own home installation, install my own boxes, configure my own computer, and run my own Ethernet lines. So, we’ll see what happens on the 29th when this guy gets here. I already know where I want the ONT box, and I hope this guy upholds the same standard of workmanship that I do.

fiosontheway

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Optimum Online 30/5 BOOST vs. Verizon FiOS 20/20

Posted on 2008.01.17 (Thursday). Filed under: Entertainment, Internet, Optimum Online, Service Providers, Speed Tests, Technology, Television, Verizon FiOS | Tags: , , , , , , |

BOOST

So after two weeks of deliberation with the family and whatnot, a representative from Verizon is coming today to explain his product. I’ve decided that while OOL has an excellent customer service support center, and has only been down perhaps three or four times in the last eight to ten years that I’ve had it (that I’ve noticed), it might just be time to move on.

I do a lot of file sharing and use the internet pretty much around the clock. I’ve patiently been waiting for FiOS for two years now, just like many other people, and it was finally laid on the poles back in October. I called at the time, and the lady there told me it usually takes two months after you’ve seen all the trucks in the neighborhood, before you can connect. Well, I’ll be damned if she wasn’t correct.

OOL offers me 30mbit download speeds, and I’m able to get those, on occasion. I’ve done some testing over the past two nights and I’ve gotten as high as 25 and 4…

But more often than not, I’ve been getting 9 and 4…. I guess they win an award for the most stable upload speeds.

Grrr....

So, it’s great that I can achieve an UP TO speed.. once in a great blue moon, but not often.

From what I hear, FiOS is much much more consistent with its speeds. And the extra 15mbit upload is going to help me with many things. Sometimes I want to share videos with friends, or pictures… and it’s quite aggravating at times that I can’t get these fukin’ things out faster!!

So once this guy gets here and explains his products to my not-so-technologically-savvy grandparents… who for some reason think that a fiber optic cable has to be installed throughout the house for them to be able to watch television after this thing is installed (grr… I give up)… we’ll see if I’m biting myself in the ass or not.

My uncle has FiOS and he has no complaints about their customer service and uptime. On the contrary, I’ve read many complaints from others on the internet that FiOS billing dept. and customer service sucks. Am I being too greedy in my need for more speed? Am I turning into one of these typical “instant-gratification” freaks? We’ll see what happens… My guess is that typical of human nature, the only thing I’m going to see about FiOS service is the negative shit, because we all have been there and done it before — when things are going great, we enjoy the moment and live for it. When things go bad, we complain, and bitch, and moan, and groan all month long about it. What-ev-er!

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First!

Posted on 2008.01.17 (Thursday). Filed under: Internet | Tags: , , |

In the spirit of a “first-poster”, this here, is my first post. First!

I’ve long avoided anything that is new, or present, or “in”, or whatever… Somehow, the idea of blogging has always stuck in the back of my mind. I can’t be sure why… perhaps it’s because the fucking things barrage me from every direction and every website I’ve visited. Devblogs, MySpace, FaceBook… the fukin’ things are all over… and I’ve got shit ten times more interesting to post than most, anyway.. so why the hell not?

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