Wide Garage Shot of the couple


Don’t they look nice and smug in the garage? Usually the Corvette will be closer to the wall when I am not using her but I drove her all weekend so she is in an easy in and out position. There is still plenty of room in the garage no matter how I park them.

The above pic is a Panoramic by the way. Four pictures in one. It is my second attempt at the garage. The first attempt was all screwey. You have to make sure the camera is steady all the way through and it has to be level. I have a tripod but I still managed to hose the first shots. This one came out pretty good. I almost cant tell where the stitches are. I used HP Imaze Zone Plus which came loaded on the new pc. Click pic for HUGE pic.

Looks good I think.

8 mile

I think I found me a pretty good trek for my daily bike rides. Its around my  neighborhood and the country club next door. I drove the trek today in the Vette and in the Colorado today and since I bike it twice it equals out to about 8 Miles. I think that is pretty good for me. Hopefully in a few weeks I can make that trek three times around and not be dead tired. Right now I make the trek in a little under an hour and afterwards I feel pretty damn good. The goal is to one day be able to do the biking in the mornings.
 
My friend George has asked me to bike with him and his brother at 7 in the morning but I don’t think I can keep up with those guys. The trail they want to take has a lot of slopes. I used to ride it before and I would be huffing and puffing after every trip. If I keep my 8 mile trip going then maybe a trip down that trail in the future wont be as bad. I really need to improve my eating habits as well. Usually I will eat a banana before the ride and eat an orange afterwards followed by a shower. It seems to be working out. People always ask me if I am trying to lose weight. Of course, they are being sarcastic. I am just trying to get healthier and trying to give myself more energy.
 
Wish me luck.

Ice Screen

In my PC Upgrade entry I talked about the new PC I got and I also griped about the seven year old monitor. Well today I took the plunge and bought my a 19inch Widescreen LCD Flat Panel.

So far, I love it, except for two things. I wish it had more options for Video Output and as I write this it kind of wobbles with every key stroke. Or maybe I just tap to hard on this thing. Who knows. I just moved my keyboard to the under desk tray and it seems to have stopped the wobbling.

What do you think? It is an Envision model by the way. It is a little messy around my desk but I assure you it is only temporary.

I also wanted to talk about this cool little old ice crusher my dad gave me many years ago. I broke it out today because I WAS going to entertain a guest today but that fell through.

I have had this thing for so long but I never crushed anything with it. I must say it is pretty damn slick. It has three settings for crushiness. C, M, and F. They all looked the same to me so I kept it at M. I guess M is for medium. Maybe someone out there can enlighten me to the other settings. Now I am wondering if I can find other old stuff like this. I didn’t use the flash so it looks orange but its stainless steel and black.

Cool huh?

7 year PC upgrade in the making

After 7 years it was finally time to get a new workstation at home. For 7 years I was running a 700mhz Gateway. It ran a slew of operating systems in those seven years. It came loaded with Windows 98. After that it ran Windows 2000, Red Hat Linux, SuSe Linux, Xp Pro , and at the end it is running XP Pro Media Center Edition.

It was still running pretty strong but it couldn’t handle video to well. In my X10 entry I talk about connecting wireless cameras and the Gateway just couldn’t handle it properly. It also couldn’t hand Video calls in Skype to well either.

So I decided to make a trek to CompUSA to see if this computer that I have been eyeballing got any cheaper. It is an HP Digital Enterntainment Center z545. Pentium 4HT 3GHz with 512 of RAM and a 200GB Hard drive. The thing is Media Center first and a PC second. It has all the features of a DVD player and DVR in one. If I wanted to I could record two tv stations and watch something else, all at the same time. By looking at the pics below you can see all the connections in the back. Everything from USB2.0 to Component Video and Audio, S-Video, Firewire, and on and on. In the front it has more USB and A/V connections. It also has all sorts of Memory Card slots and one big slot for an external Hard Drive. It even has an FM Tuner which you can Pause and Rewind.

This things is normally 1500 dollars but I got it for 800 smackers! It was the one on display. Awesome.

As you can see from the pics it comes with a Wireless keyboard and mouse. They kind of remind me of the Webtv days. I didnt like the keyboard much so I went out and bought another keyboard and mouse.

So, the only thing missing is a nice screen. I am still using the 7 year old CRT and it just doesnt cut it! Everything is to dark. I have everything all maxed out. Computer use is fine but DVD playback and TV are just to dark. I love it so far.

And more thing. Yes, that is a Wifi antennae.


Biking Again

This is an old photo of my bike but it will server this entries purpose.

Since I moved into this neighborhood I have always wanted to get back into riding my bike since its a pretty nice neighborhood; lots of trees and nice homes. So yesterday during lunch I took it over to Bicycle World to have it cleaned up. They call it an overhaul. They pretty much lubed it up, cleaned it up, and calibrated all sorts of stuff. The bike rode as good as new.

I went for a quick spin to Robs house and then cruised the neighborhood a little. I wasn’t quite dressed for biking, white tee and khaki pants, so it wasn’t that long of a ride. It was still nice and I hope to keep at it. I wish I was able to ride in the mornings but I am just to damn lazy for that.

I-Zone

For the longest time the Lab manager, Rosie, here at work has had a brand new Polaroid I-Zone in her office and after months of asking her for it she finally caved. An I-Zone is a Polaroid camera in which its pictures are taken on a small sticker.

For some reason the pictures I took came out with a sephia like tone to it. Maybe its because the film is so old. Its only a six picture sample anyway.

This is a picture of my dear friend V that was taken with the I-Zone. Isn’t she lovely.

Blogger for Word

Since going to Blogger.com and creating a new entry for my blog seems to be to tedious I am giving this Blogger for Word Add-In a try. I am running Office 07 Beta and it looks like it installed fine. I setup my username and password and it looks like I can edit my most recent entries within Word as promised. I didn’t read anything about inserting pictures so I am including a picture with this entry.
Blogger for word can be found at:  http://buzz.blogger.com/bloggerforword.html

The Blogger Blog

I have been having a lot of problems with my website. I have used two seperate Content Management Systems but they are both very slow. One was Geeklog and the other Joomla. Joomla was working very well at first but then it became very slow for me and for the few people that check out the site. I then recently updated the SMF Forums and Joomla and a lot of things broke and there doesnt seem to be a fix out there yet. So I think I am finally going to switch over to this very simplistic Blog by Blogger, which is owned by Google. The root cause of my problems is probably my host, which is Powweb. They just got bought out and will be moving servers so maybe that will make things better. I will be keeping my Joomla site online but any visit to digisal.com will bring you here.
 
I am going to keep the forums and the arcade so you should be seeing links to them to the right in a few days. The Gallery will be linked as well.
 
I will slowly try to edit the template to my liking. This template is one that I found awhile back and suits my needs for now.
 
 

X10 Home Automation Project 1

Surely, you have heard of X10. X10 got very popular because they started the whole POPUP advertisement craze. For that, they got a bad name. Back then they were advertising their wireless cameras. I always thought X10 was a brand when in reality it is a technology.

X10 is a technology that transmits signals through your home’s electrical wiring. Usually, you will have a USB interface that connects to your computer and to a wall outlet. Using various programs you tell that interface to send commands to other X10 devices that are plugged into outlets throughout your home. For example, you can have an X10 Module plugged into a wall and a lamp plugged into that X10 Module. You can now tell your Interface to either turn on that lamp or dim it. It can be dimmed even if was never dimmable. But the technology doesn’t stop there. You have X10 motion sensors, X10 wireless cameras, dimmers, chimes, and so on and so on. The software loaded on the PC and onto the USB Interface is what brings it all together. With the software and interface you can automate everything that has an X10 Module connected to it.

So what did I do and what do I want to do with X10? Let me tell you.

I bought an X10 starter kit which would allow me to control a lamp and turn on an appliance with two sets of remotes. Before I even connected that, I bought a kit with a motion sensor, a chime, and a socket rocket (for a light bulb). THEN I purchased three wireless color X10 cameras. The remote lamp is working but the first little project I had was to get a sequence of events to happen when someone trigged a motion sensor. The software I purchased from www.X10.com called ActiveHome Pro came with a SmartMacros Plug-in. When I setup a macro I can tell it to do several things at once. I wanted a simple macro that when the motion sensor in the front of the house was triggered it would set off my X10 Chime, which I will place in the garage, and if its night time it will turn on one of the porch lights. Sounds simple enough, and with SmartMacro it’s supposed to be easy to setup.

Sadly, the documentation is close to nothing with the software. I relied on the forums at www.X10.com for info. I won’t go into too much detail but I had to create two macros. One that would turn on my light if it was night time and then shut it off five minutes later. Then I created another macro that would set off the chime every time the motion sensor was triggered. After a lot of configurations and with help from the forums I was able to get it all going by creating a 2 second delay before the porch light got the signal to turn on. Without that delay only one macro would run depending on which was listed first.

The next project is to add macro to turn on the camera, take a picture or video, and email it to me so I can see who is or was at my door. But I had to order one additional part for the cameras. A Video to USB adapter. The cameras I bought are intended to record to VCR, whatever that is.

So that was fun and I can’t wait to X10 every light in the house.