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August 26, 2013

Philosophizing About Contests

Yesterday, we spent most of the day at the Red, White and Brew festival, put on by Harley-Davidson of Charlotte (which, incidentally, is located in Matthews). This latter fact is neither here nor there.

As with many festivals we have attended of late, it was a little sparse - a few tents for vendors hawking their wares, a couple of "sponsors", and the obligatory food and drink. There was also a pet rescue service on site, which was a bit out of place, but nice to see, if you felt you had enough of the motorcycles and beer.

Ultimately, the whole thing seemed to be about the contest: The store was giving away a Harley. It was a nice looking one, too. Keeping in mind that I am not really into motorcycles, so you may want to realize that it looks nice - it might not be anything more than one that looks pretty.

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August 19, 2013

Keep TiVo Premiere Recording Suggestions

Not long ago, I wrote about how I had to reset our TiVo Premiere to get suggestions working again. It worked great - suggestions came back, for the first time in months. Essentially the first time since we had had the unit.

The problem is that they soon went away again. I was about to scream. I would have pulled out all of my hair, but I really don't have any. So I went back to the drawing board.

I didn't want to go through all that process again, especially since I had just done it, and I figured that I was close, so I started thinking about all that I had heard previously. One thing that kept coming up was the timer. Apparently if you put your tuning adapter on a timer, it would bring back suggestions.

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July 8, 2013

Tuning Adapter Stops TiVo Premiere Suggestions

Back in late October, we decided to finally take the plunge with a TiVo Premiere. While we have had a TiVo for a while - and in fact have had two for some time now - the writing is now on the wall that we'll need to upgrade at some point to be able to pull in HD channels, so we figured now was a good time.

The Premiere made the choice a bit easier to swallow, as we could use just about any combination to get our channels: The existing analog cable, a cable card and/or an over-the-air (OTA) antenna. Life was good as long as we kept the analog cable, and even with the OTA antenna or a cable card. Unfortunately, when we added the tuning adapter (required by Time Warner Cable), suggestions stopped cold and though both TWC and TiVo were polite, neither could help get them going again.

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June 21, 2013

Cheesy Cauliflower Patties

Vegetables are really not my forte - and cauliflower especially. Though I'm trying to get better, I promise. So when I found a recipe for some cheesy cauliflower patties, I decided to tweak it a bit to see if I could make them even more up my alley.

First, I grabbed a big head of cauliflower and chopped off the florets, and started them boiling in some water, along with a small bit of onion (because I do like onion you know). Then I grabbed some other flavors that I felt would go well in this particular dish: Bell peppers and cheese.

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June 17, 2013

Root Your Nook HD and Remove Bloatware

Not too long ago, the Barnes and Noble Nook HD created quite a stir when the company announced that it would get the Play Store installed natively - this means that instead of trying to go up against Amazon and the Fire by creating its own ecosystem, the Nook would now be more akin to a regular Android tablet. Not exactly an Android tablet, but almost. And what's more, you didn't have to root the tablet in order to get the tablet connect to Google services.

The stir became even more interesting when the company dropped the prices from $229 to $179 and most recently to $149 (this is for the 16GB model). The Nook HD+ has had similar drops, but that strange dongle thing on the corner meant that I really didn't want one of those, even with the larger screen. Regardless, I decided to take the plunge.

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June 12, 2013

How about an electronic license plate?

It seems that the state of South Carolina - rarely at the forefront of anything - may be proposing something fairly interesting: An electronic license plate.

There is no telling if these plates would ever see the light of day. For one, they are potentially expensive - the inventor is trying to get the cost under $100 per plate (which means that they are over that point now). There does not appear to be a reliable source for the cost of the metal plates, but since they are often rumored to be stamped out in stacks by prisoners, you have to assume they are awfully cheap.

Which makes the question: Why switch?

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June 7, 2013

Prism Needed to be Transparent

With all the hubbub from the announcement that the government can snoop on pretty much anything they like - first Verizon calls, then later almost anything on the internet via a program named Prism (save Twitter, because that's so important), it leaves me wondering why there is such an issue.

The issue is that there was no transparency in the program. It was announced that the current administration took steps to figure out who leaked the documents - and later that person could get years in prison. But why is this? They shouldn't get prison time. They should get a parade.

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June 5, 2013

Cut Down Government Services Already

It seems like just about each time I drive down some street or another, I end up stuck behind a row of buses. Yes, a row of buses. Okay, two may not actually qualify as "a row", but just how many do you need? One would surely do in most cases, and two is definitely more than enough, especially when it seems like they stop every hundred yards or so. Surely people can walk a hundred yards to the next stop rather than having the buses stop as often as they do, right?

Before being accused of saying the government should exist at all, I actually think that there is a place for the government - I just think that the government - especially at the federal level - should be really small, and I don't get why once something is enacted it is so difficult to get rid of it.

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June 3, 2013

Cannot Link to Secure Site in Movable Type

I recently had a client where everything was working fine - but they were unable to link to any secure (https) sites when creating entries in Movable Type. Unfortunately, there were no messages to be found, and everything worked just fine - as long as there were no https links in the entry.

To make matters worse, just changing the https link to http made it work just fine - which at first seemed to make no sense whatsoever. It's like that one character put the database over some sort of size limit or something. Alas, even that wasn't it - bunches of (other) characters would work fine, just not those particular characters, making it seem like that site itself was the issue, and that is what eventually led to the answer.

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May 22, 2013

Reclaiming Your Unclaimed Property

The other day, I was reading an article - which unfortunately I cannot find right now. I am sure it was online, as I rarely read anything offline any longer. This article pointed to the NC Unclaimed Property site, where you can search for unclaimed property belonging to you that is just waiting to find its way home.

Before I continue, I should say that I'm really quite good - anal, really - about keeping track of things. I balance the checkbook (including not just checks, but credit cards, savings accounts and even retirement accounts) regularly. Some might even say religiously. I have done so for years. I even keep backups and backups of backups. I can search the history going back to 1998 for just about anything. Put another way: It would be highly unusual that anything went missing.

But sure enough, I had unclaimed property listed on the site.

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May 13, 2013

Why do planes have windows?

That isn't to say that I think you should be stuck in a long with undecorated walls, because that might be a little creepy, and perhaps claustrophobic. I've been in an inside cabin in a cruise ship, and I get the concept of the window. It's very comforting that you can see out, even if you aren't going to be able to actually open that window - and let's face it, you can't open that window in the plane.

While I am not an engineer, and I have no formal training as to the psychology of the windows themselves, I have to imagine that having windows is less structurally sounds that not having windows. So what if planes didn't have them, at least in the passenger compartment? Yes, this would make a giant steel tube, and it might seem claustrophobic. Hear me out.

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May 10, 2013

It's not the Information Age, it's the Garbage Age

Every time we turn around, someone wants to label the times in which we live. Many would call these the golden years, though they invariably are only golden compared to those that come after us and remember how much better things were previous to now. Looking at a prior time is invariably better because you are not burdened with the day-to-day, and you can look fondly upon those memories.

Regardless, many will look upon these times as the information age because of the explosion of data and machinery to process the data. Unfortunately, it is just as appropriate to look upon this as the garbage age because of all the junk we leave by the wayside.

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