May 27, 2006
12 Years

Twelve years ago, Michele Leah Keller and I were married in Ault Park, in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Since then we've experience the joy of our children and the death of grandparents. We've lived in Venice Beach, San Francisco, Singapore, Glendale, and South Pasadena. We've sleep in tents under inches of snow and luxury hotels.

Through it all, my wife, a crazy artist who loves fabric in ways I cannot concieve, buys strange objects off of ebay routinely, and regularly attempts to get me to eat leafy green vegetables, has been a loving partner to me in everything.

Happy Aniversary Sweet Pea!

Posted by michael at 11:15 AM | Comments (10)
May 24, 2006

Several months ago, I started playing around with software called Orb. Orb is meant to run in your home, on the computer you store your media (think your music files) on.

Orb allows you to access your music and video files from anywhere on the internet. Orb Networks software, running on your home computer, talks to the main Orb web site. When you are away from home, you go to the Orb site and log in. Orb then connects you directly to your home computer and allows you to stream the media.

Basically, you can listen to your music and watch your videos from anywhere.

So if I get a hankering for the Beastie Boys, I just log in and decide which album to play.

Or, if I'm looking for something more specific, you can search. In this case, I did a search on the word 'baby'.

There's a ton more you can do with Orb if you use all the features. With a TV tuner card, you can watch TV remotely ala Slingbox. You can look at photos and even access you content via things like a PSP.

There are a few limitations. The quality of playback is directly tied to your upload bandwidth. The wider your pipe, the better quality the streams. You need to leave your computer running all the time, not a problem if you have a media server already, but for some a concern. Lastly, Orb seemed to crash a bit. You have the capability to restart Orb remotely, but it shouldn't crash so often that it's noticeable.

Orb is windows only, so Mac users are SOL. Too bad really. Any integration of Orb & iTunes would be pretty neat for getting at all that iTunes music you bought.

I think Orb is a great product and points to the future where access to media you own will be available anywhere on any device.

Posted by michael at 11:46 PM | Comments (1)

Since I posted about the toilet paper issue, I am sure a conspiracy has formed to foil me. Everytime I go into the bathroom at the office, all the paper rolls are in the under mode.

So I felt the need to emphasize my point and through the magic of a color laser printer, took direction action for change.

I fully expect a counter attack from the conspirators, but first blood is mine.

Posted by michael at 08:48 PM | Comments (4)
May 22, 2006
Happy Pando

A few months ago I posted about my displeasure with Pando, the new file sharing software.

After I posted that, Yaron and Ramit from Pando emailed me hoping to get it working for me. It's not often that company founders email you about weblog posts. They didn't have an immediate fix, but after a few weeks, they asked me to try again. Sure enough, it got working and I was able to send files around. I'm talking big files that usually bork email. Zipping up half a dozens full res photos of the kids can run upwards of 10 to 15 megabytes. Pando handles up to 1 GIGAbyte payloads.

From what I can tell, when you send a file via Pando, you are uploading it into their distributed content delivery system (a bunch of servers all over the internet). The recipient gets and email telling them they have a Pando delivery. Once they install the small client it begins a quick download of the file. I think they are using a bitorrent method to download rapidly. I don't think they are storing anyone else's content on my computer.

I'm not sure how Pando intends to make money. Ads maybe, or a tiered service with a free entry level? Who knows, with Bubble 2.0, it might always be free.

In any case, Pando appears to be working well now and is quite useful. Give it a try and send me some cool stuff.

Posted by michael at 08:45 PM | Comments (1)
More ego trippin'

Today an issue of ReadyMade Magazine came in the mail. It is special because I'm in it. Well, actually one of my ideas is in it.

A while ago, Julia from ReadyMade sent me a note about recreating my trash can smoker idea from a few years back. Sure enough, they faithfully rebuilt my design, down to even the same iron wood chip box.

Pretty impressive! I hope other people that read ReadyMade like it as well. Go grab a copy of the June/July issue now!

I had never read ReadyMade before today. After looking through the rest of the magazine, I was impressed with the amount of neat stuff. Michele, who normally handles my reading material like some sort of dull textbook, liked the magazine too.

Amazingly I got a credit as a contributor to the magazine, and I didn't do a thing besides answer my email. I even got to use my favorite photo taken by Martin.

My head swells to even greater size.

Posted by michael at 06:59 PM | Comments (8)
May 21, 2006
Topsy Turvy

Usually post here deal with things I've done, but today I'm posting about what Michele has done.

It's tomato planting season and Michele found out about this new planting system called Topsy Turvy. The systems allows you to grow tomatoes upside down and about some of the normal troubles of tomato gardening.

What I like about what she did was her creative use of an old Ikea clothes rack to hang the Topsy Turvys from. This allows us to move them around as needed rather than hanging from a building beam.

Also notice how Michele spray painted the other containers white to get rid of the 'yucky dark' color of the plastic containers.

I'll try to update you on the progress as they grow. If you are a gardener, check out Topsy Turvy. They even have their own Flickr Stream.

Posted by michael at 03:27 PM | Comments (0)
The Battle Continues

At work, I've been engaged in a battle with an unknown opponent.

For years, the situation in the stall in the bathroom has been fine, with everything in order. Recently, I noticed the that toilet paper was hung incorrectly and had to fix it.

It's a small issue, but an important one. Toilet paper should always be placed in the 'over' orientation.

I hear stories of people that prefer the 'under' configuration, but they are mislead.

All last week, I continued to flip the paper to correct orientation. Everytime I returned, the enemy had flipped it back to 'under'. At least it gave me something to do while sitting there.

My nemesis seems dedicated, which I respect, but I will be victorious.

Posted by michael at 10:58 AM | Comments (14)
May 19, 2006

Of the many possible meaning of the acronym ftw, when I use it here on Cruft, ftw means For The Win.

Too make it simpler to understand, ftw can be thought to say 'is very good'. As an example, I may write, "Firefox ftw", you can take it to mean "Firefox is very good".

Clear? Several of you have IMed me about this and I feel compelled to explain it to all Loyal Cruft Readers.

For your homework, go learn what omgwtfbbq means.

For extra credit, please use !!1!one correctly in a sentence.

Posted by michael at 04:24 PM | Comments (7)
May 18, 2006

Earlier this week I was defeated in single combat. Yes, hard to believe I know, but Mr. P appears victorious in the much Bally-hooed Toast Off.

At the office, the old toaster oven was dying and Mr. P suggested a new toaster. I suggested a new toaster oven, since I feel that a toaster oven makes better toast than a straight toaster.

After a bit of wrangling the Toast Off was arranged. Now I wasn't happy with the conditions set forth.

Mr. P wanted a pure speed test. Set the toasting devices to the darkest settings, start, and the first to finish the winner.

As you can see, Mr. P's toaster was faster.

I still maintain that a toaster oven is better, makes better toast, and is ore versatile, but I was defeated in this round.

Posted by michael at 08:20 PM | Comments (6)
Ticketmaster Sucks

I needed to buy some tickets to a show today. Seu Jorge is coming to town and me and the Scarymommy need to go.

I get to the ticket delivery options and am faced with this:

How insane is this. To print out my tickets, saving me a wait and Ticketmaster the costs of printing and mailing, they want to charge $2.50. If I am willing to wait, and Tickemaster pays the cost of printing and mailing, it's free.

What kind of insanity is this? They should be paying me to print out the tickets...

I mean it's not like they aren't getting paid. Between the Building Facility Charge, the Total Convenience Charge, and the Order Processing Charge, they are soaking me for an extra $22.05 just to buy the damn tickets.

Crappy monopolistic Ticketmaster. They suck.

Posted by michael at 07:47 PM | Comments (4)
May 16, 2006
I need a trip to Japan

Sales of canned oxygen to start in 7-Eleven stores in Japan

Either a trip to Japan is in order, or my local 7-Eleven needs to start selling them.

A can costs 600 yen, roughly 5 1/2 dollars. Perfect for Cruft Labs to test...

Posted by michael at 09:50 AM | Comments (6)
May 14, 2006
E3 2006

I only spent about half a day at E3 this year. I didn't have much of a posse and it's just not as much fun without some friends and plenty of time.

High Definition was dominant at the show. With the PC games, the Xbox 360, and the Playstation 3 all showing screen after screen of HD content, it made all the standard definition stuff look bad.

Hot games I saw:

Spore - Will Wright's new game is spectacular. I waited for the live demo and it was worth it. The game takes you Viva Pinatathrough the stages of creating life from individual cells to spaceflight. There are six parts to the game: cell, creature, tribe, city, civilization, and UFO. In the creature mode, you can make any kind of creature you want by dragging and dropping arms, legs, eyes, etc. onto a body. The motion is based uniquely on the mechanics of the creature you create. make a 3 legged dog, it has a 3 legged gait.

Crysis - Most amazing game visually of the show. Read Travis's take on the game. It's a must have upon release.

Viva Pinata - No photo of this, I was too in awe. Basically it's a sim game based on raising a population of pinatas that even allow you smash the pinatas. The pinatas can fall in love and raise babies that you can sell for a profit. Virtual Pinata sex and slavery ftw!

Magic the Gathering Online - I played Magic starting back in 1994. Today, it can be played online. Nothing new there, but I was told at the show that if you collect a set in the virtual world, you can request the real cards to be sent to you. An amazing idea.

And now, on to the pictures...

I stopped by the Disney/Buena Vista Games booth and was pleased to see the infamous Desperate Housewives game. Looks very Sim-like.

Here is a shot of the Pirates of the Caribbean MMORPG. Not very complicated, but it looked straightforward to play.

Remember the Flying Toasters screen saver? Well, it lives on as a game for your mobile phone.

Onto the Blizzard booth I went to see the Burning Crusade demos. Blizzard probably had 50+ computers set up and people were allowed to play all they wanted. Here's a shot of the jewelcrafting screen.

Of course, I had to the look at the new Tier 3 gear for Rogues. OMFG, this gear is simply unreal. If people can get a set of this level, they will be unstoppable by anything known in WoW currently. I don't know how they are going to stop Level 70s in Tier 3 from farming Molten Core.

This dagger is makes me drool.

Of course, the big news is the Blood Elves are joined by the Dranei as the new playable races. Here's the hottie Blood Elf female.

Neverwinter Nights 2 was show in a new perspective, similar to the current MMORPG style. The controls were a bit weird, but I'm sure I'll get used to it.

My mother wil be sad, but Destroy All Humans 2 is coming. The girls and I will be happy though. The original game was a blast.

Best named game of E3 2006. In Rocket Slime, you play a slime driving a tank that shoots rockets and cannons at other tanks and mountains. I am not making this up.

Second best named game of E3 2006. I don't know what the game was, but anything named WTF must be good.

They had cut down on the number of booth babes this year, but these 'character models' were allowed.

This is the Gundam game. Looked like a bunch of fun.

Posted by michael at 10:32 PM | Comments (5)
May 11, 2006
E3 2006 - First Thoughts

I spent part of the day at E3. My first takeaway is If it ain't HD, it looks like crap.

Second, Katamari is on the move! Here is the Prince, featured in the Pac Man World Rally

Third, armageddon is near. Paris Hilton has her own game.

More photos and thoughts when I get some time tonight.

Posted by michael at 04:38 PM | Comments (3)
May 08, 2006
Just like the prodigal son...

We're back from vacation.

It was great and relaxing (except from the smores making incident).

Thanks to all that posted a comment below, I'm eager to read them. But for now, it's time for some sleep since I have work tomorrow.

Posted by michael at 10:00 PM | Comments (0)
May 02, 2006
On Holiday

Currently, I'm on vacation with my family on the island of Kauai. I am sitting in a car on a laptop with an EVDO card since there is no internet or phone service in the bed & breakfast we are staying. As a result my blogging will be light.

Since I cannot make much good content, I'm asking you to do it.

Many of you are 'blurkers', lurkers at my blog that read but don't comment. That's fine with me, but here's a chance to you to post who you are and maybe even plug your own weblog. So please use the comments here to introduce yourself to the rest of the Loyal Cruft Reader community.


Posted by michael at 04:53 PM | Comments (23)