I have returned from Penguicon 2010 (8.0), something I almost didn't go to. But, I'm glad I did. I saw lots of interesting panels and things, I met up with people that I only see at Penguicon.
Why did I almost not attend this year? Well, last year I took a lot abuse for volunteering at Penguicon 7.0 and I was pissed about that whole experience, even though I had prereg'd for this year. I was ready to walk away from the prereg and never come back.
It continued to be a possibility throughout the year...and I mentioned the possibility online a few times on facebook and twitter. I got a few DMs and such that I would be missed ... still on the fence, I went ahead and booked the hotel. Knowing that I could cancel as things got closer. Like last year I had booked hotel for OLF, but right when it was finally time to investigate booking airplane tickets...I opted to cancel that, the bills from the bike accident were eating up my discretionary
credit funds and I was more committed to going to Chicago Tardis later on.
As Penguion 2010 drew closer it was time to decide if I would not attend or lock in an airplane flight. Around that time there was a lot of twitter traffic about Southwest, which I was considering the use of. Though in the end I went with Delta since they had non-stop service from MCI to DTW. I was concerned that I might need to check a bag on the way back, but I ended up not buying all that much at Penguicon. OTOH, maybe I do wish I had gone Southwest...because it was a miserable flight going up...because even though paid for a full seat, I only had half seat to sit in...the guy next to me required a seatbelt extender and was pouring into my seat. And, the plane was full so there was no where to go and it was a fixed armrest so I couldn't get that out of the way....plus the flight attendant didn't seem to care that I was spilling into the aisle because of lack of seat, just that I was in the way of the beverage cart....
The flight going back was somewhat better, except for the 45 minutes between leaving the gate and finally leaving the ground of Detroit. And, now it looks like I have a RoadRunner issue to resolve. They changed me a return fare, even though I paid for a full roundtrip fare at the beginning.....again. They are probably punishing me for being a frequent traveler and having my credit card information on file. Could be why another passenger wanted to make sure that Roadrunner wouldn't keep her credit card information if she paid with a credit card....though the answer didn't say they wouldn't, she paid with the credit card anyways.
Back to pre-con....even though I had booked the flight, as well as after I had made the Roadrunner reservation and the scheduled the hold of mail. Though this year I didn't prearrange transportation in Detroit, and just winged it with taxi service....an extra $85 each way. Wonder how that compared with 2 years ago....darn Quicken doesn't make this easy.... Hey, I came out better...2 years ago it was $190 roundtrip. Though on just that part....probably.
But, I was still considering not attending.... Now penguicon.org is among my daily bookmarks, and also around the time of deciding to pull the trigger on the Roadrunner reservation and mail hold...was the announcement that Geeks with Guns was now on for Penguicon. So, I fired off an email to inquire about getting registered for that. That was a big of an ordeal, since for a while I didn't hear anything. And, things at work were getting crazy, so I was contemplating letting work throw my balance more off and not go. But, doing Geeks with Guns was something I couldn't see myself passing up on. While I never got confirmation, and didn't know when the assembly was taking place, etc. It happened and all was good.
Though don't think I'll ever recover getting work and life back in balance....since I maxed out at 304 hours about 1.5 years ago and have lost some 13 days of vacation time. Of course the wheels fell off at work the day I started this vacation....but, I did well enough at keeping this a vacation. Did fix some stuff while I was waiting for my flight at MCI, was nice to see they finally fixed the netmask issue. And, I did some more the first night using hotel wireless, which wasn't included in the hotel rate, and I incurred charges for 3 of the nights. I got it that first night, mainly because I wanted to hit the Narcolepsy chat on TalkAboutSleep, though I almost didn't make it because I got invited to do ConCom supper at TGIF....a new experience for me, having not found much to do the Thursday night in previous times....and later there was a pre-consuite gathering. But, I wanted to turn in normalish...so that I would at least be well rested for the start of the con, and for doing Geeks with Guns. Though the chat was still going on, on account of the time difference, so I caught the end of that....and ended up going to sleep at what would be a normal time without the timezone difference. Though I woke before the alarm....which could be more to do with my current set of sleep issues rather than anything to do with the con. Maybe I should've packed the Ambien...but usually I sleep better in hotels than I do at home.
Though it wasn't quite that way, since my allergies were really bad this time around...
I didn't bother getting Internet the next night, but got it Saturday night so that I could poke around a bit on my servers at home and get my doctor who fix. Think wireless at the hotel might note have suffered as much if there were some organization of it. Since, I found other people also getting it through other means. I may have gotten wireless too early on Saturday night...because it takes a while for TiVoToGo to process. Though it was hard getting the media file from home to the hotel. I do sometimes think about getting a SlingBox, but not sure how it'll work in letting me access all 3 of my TiVos (well, there's only 2 right now, but I'm thinking of a third -- TiVo Premiere -- down the road). I know you can access content on other TiVos from one TiVo, but my TiVos are pretty tight on space....in fact due to being at Penguicon....I have had content bumped off of my TiVos. Though it was likely that I would never find the time to watch those shows (mainly movies and miniseries are the oldest content on the boxes....guess I'll just set up a wishlist recording to see about finding the show in the future again, or use other technological solutions to catch up....should I ever get to that).
I eventually got around to getting the fix Sunday morning...and later ran into groups of people doing the same.
I also renewed my Internet when it expired Sunday afternoon, so that I would have some Internet post con...and before checkout. Though I wasn't auto checked out....but I left my laptop on overnight so that it could trickle the pictures from my camera up into the cloud somewhere. Should go and see about getting it down from the cloud....
As for the Con, it was informative and fun...and there were times where there was too much stuff to choose between (though other times where there was a lull, some good...some bad....) I didn't have to totally depend on the consuite for food during, since there was some reasonably priced on site food available....though its availability and variety was somewhat lacking. IE: Sunday lunch....I wasn't sure I wanted to do pizza again, I suppose chicken strips might have been an option....so I went up to see what the consuite was having, but they were tearing down...so I went back downstairs and cash lunch service had ended. And, then it was time for the next panel that I wanted to see...and that was back to back with others for the rest of the con. pigging out on chips (or something) and other snackage during the dead dog is what I did....was fine.
Though maybe that's why I'm sick now. Or maybe I shouldn't have gone with more pizza when I got home last night.
One thing I did get to do at the Con that I wish I had...was to learn and play some games. I missed out on the times when they had Settlers of Catan and Carcassonne out, and the Fluxx event didn't happen because the previous thing ran long, so the event person chose not to show up and run it. Learning new games might have been interesting, but seems when the opportunity presented itself....I didn't have enough time to commit to the experience. That's a sign of a good con, right?
Biggest change I did this year? I had resolved that if I did show up, I wasn't going to volunteer again. Since, the volunteer experience at Penguicon 7.0 (along with a few other issues like #beefline) was what ruined things for me.
One thing I didn't do at Penguicon 7.0, that I wish I had asked about during this con...was see if I could get a shirt of that con. Though I did get a shirt of this con, and I plan to wear it to work tomorrow.
Now since I didn't volunteer this year, the idea of pre-registering for next year didn't occur to me until it was too late to do so. But, right now I'm thinking I do want to come back next year (even though up until the con, I had been telling people that this was to be my last Penguicon). The reason is that it seems to be the only time I see the friends I have made at Penguicon.
Though I think I need to work on diversifying which cons I attend, and there are other cons in the vicinity of Penguicon weekend that I think I might want to check out someday. I suppose if it were such a huge ordeal (along with cost) to do cons, I could do more and closer together.....but I haven't won the lottery yet. Guess we'll see.
I finally went to my first Doctor Who Convention....and I got a lot more out of it than I thought I would. Like I got a picture of me with Yee Jee Tso, Paul McGann, and Daphne Ashbrook:
I can't believe I waited so long before going to one....been a Doctor Who fan for like 30 years, since I accidentally tuned into an episode and was instantly hooked. OTOH, it wasn't until moving to Manhattan, KS and going to LISA '07 that the idea of taking vacations and going places and doing Cons became something I was interested in trying.
Also it happened by chance....I remember that I was at Penguicon 7.0 and the thought struck that since I couldn't go to LISA '09 in November, that I should find a different convention that month to go to. And, searching around on google and various other places...I came upon Chicago Tardis. At first it seemed that a really strange weekend to have a convention (except that I've since learned that there's a reason to these dates, like availability and affordability...though guess Doctor Who in Chicago has always been Thanksgiving weekend. Anyways, the more I thought about it...and the more I felt that it was a good idea. So, I registered immediately when I got back from Penguicon....along with other post-con impulse purchases.
It was an interesting and diverse crowd at Chicago Tardis, compared to my only other experiences in attending conventions and conferences...but seems to make sense given the show and probably the time of year that the convention takes place. I don't know if I'll try dressing differently next year.... or stick to my current theme of The Dreamer, the other renegade... The picture I got with Naoko Mori better shows my lab coat ("Dr. E. Amer" - I'm not The Doctor, but I play one in my head).... need to take the plunge and buy yet another scanner. Old flatbed didn't make it when I moved here, and the only other scanner I own is a document scanner that is Mac only (and I don't yet own a Mac). Wonder if I'll stick to plan to learn how to knit...or just buy it?
I also didn't quite shoot pictures as wild and crazy like I did in my youth... while it was good that I had the new digital camera (Canon Powershot SX120IS), I probably shouldn't have gotten it so close to the trip. Still lots of learning and experimenting needed to get used to it. But, the camera did pretty good on the most part.
I also wish I had gotten some other shots with me in them, and had pursued getting autographs and such. If only I was cursed with being so introverted and shy, and also didn't have trouble hearing voices when things get noisy or crowded....
Things were somewhat more expensive compared to other trips, it did help later when I found out about the unofficial consuite, and there was the unofficial dead dog. Plus working all those volunteer hours to get free pizza the last night. Though didn't I swear that I would never do badge checking at on Con' ever again?
But, I went ahead and registered for next year, getting a 3-day reserved this time around. Also thinking next year I'm going to check a suitcase, even if it goes empty on the way there.... should make a note to self that I should consider flying southwest. Wonder if I'll pull off a group shuttle next year, left it to late and then didn't see the replies until even later. Interesting that I saw some of the names in passing there, but didn't connect until now.
Meanwhile, I'm thinking of blowing off Penguicon 2010, and going on the SciFi Cruise. It has been 5 years since I had gone on my last/first/only personal (not a family reunion) cruise. On one hand it is a stumbling issue that its to Alaska...since that's what the previous cruise was to. But, on the other it probably makes sense...especially if they do the tour in Vancouver they are talking about. 8th Doctor was filmed around Vancouver. So far Sylvester McCoy and Daphne Ashbrook are confirmed for the cruise, hopefully Paul McGann can be added and it could be that much more a Doctor Who Movie reunion
I don't know if I can roll my registration to Penguicon 2010, though it probably isn't a big deal since it was paid for using whuffies....though I think that if I don't go, I will want to go back at a future date....to see the various people that I've friended there.
I'll probably decide in the new year....
Meanwhile, the rest of my pics can be found on Picasa Web
I was about to activate the Windows XP VM I got running on my new laptop...but something wasn't working right. Apparently K-State screwed up again, and is distributing the Managed OfficeScan client as the Unmanaged one. And, somehow it was interfering with my network connection....but it wouldn't let me unload it temporarily.
I tried removing it, but it also wanted a password... I tried the remove procedure I found on Trend Micro web site, which was to stop services, remove files and remove registry entries by hand. It stopped the AV software, but it made my network problems even worse.
I tried a repair install of Windows XP, but that didn't do anything. So, I reinstalled the alledgedly Unmanaged version again (still Managed ) And, then ran its uninstaller.... Didn't help. So, I tried going through register some more purging more registry entries. Removed some stuff I shouldn't have....in order to rid of stuff that might be in the way.
Did another repair install of Windows XP...and network came back. I got things recustomized and then I opted to install Free AVG this time around. It did warn that it thought there was another AntiVirus program already installed. But, went ahead. Things seem to work now, and then I went ahead and activated.
Now I can do windows updates.... Not sure what else I actually need to run in the VM...I suppose the next thing I want to do is install Eye-Fi manager. One of the few programs that I missed when traveling with a Linux only laptop.
Couldn't add my parents wireless network to my Eye-Fi card....(there's a linux program that claims to do it, but it only does unsecure or WPA networks...my parents run WEP. Actually, retired the WDS bridge to connect rooms in my condo...I was also running WEP. Couldn't do WDS and WPA...just WDS and WEP.
It is kind of a chore to take my memory card out, put it into my reader and transfer the images into a folder on my computer....so I decided to take the plunge and get an Eye-Fi (Share).
So far in hind-sight, maybe the Eye-Fi Home would've been sufficient.
After extracting it from its interesting package, I skimmed the quick setup (no Linux, so no Eee PC support...hmmm) I plugged the supplied USB reader into my work MacBookPro. And, went about getting it configured. First thing it wanted to do was upgrade its Firmware.
It saw my home wireless network, and got the key from the MBP...and then went to verify itself on the network. I immediately knew it was going to fail, and started looking at allowing it to work on my network. Wait. What's the MAC address of the Eye-Fi card?
It eventually timed out, and it suggested that I may need to allow its MAC address to connect to my network...and provided it.
So, I added the MAC address to my allow list for my Wireless Network and then told my DHCP server to expect it and give it an IP.
While stuck in the step, it asked if I wanted to upgrade the software. Opt to skip, and continued the initial setup.
It presented the online web albums to store at....I saw Facebook was one of the choices. But, seemed to me that any album on Facebook is basically shared with some or all people. And, I tend to want to tweak (crop, sharpen, adjust contract, brighten, remove red-eye, straighten, etc.) before making the public album. Though Java uploader has never worked for me....
Then it offered a local location to upload to. Except that it only offered locations on my Work MacBookPro. Guess can't (easily) have to going to some other storage repository on my home network (initially, I'd probably want a share from my Linux server, but some day I plan to get a NAS device [or two, or more] on my home network). Some day, I'll expend the effort to create this repository....
I then went and did a test shot. It seemed to just barely get the shot transferred when the 1min auto shut off took place. Its advice is disable auto power off completely. Except that's not an option, and not something I want to disable anyways. Instead, I increased it 2min. Hopefully that'll be enough for the majority of cases, without sacrificing my ability to have usable power in the disposable AA batteries that the camera keeps eating up.
Plus I had thought of increasing the timeout...because it is kind of nuisance how short 1 minute is when you are waiting for that right moment to snap a shot, especially when I had to expend extra effort to get things set up (like get the camera to lock focus in the right vicinity).
I poked around in settings a bit more, and then went to my Windows computer to set up a more permanent local storage location.
I popped the SD card into my attached card reader (instead of the supplied one). Installed the software and set things up....I opted to update the software on here right away. And, then changed the location for local uploads. I also set up the web upload, though I'm not sure what I need that for....since almost never share raw pictures. I just manage using Picasa.... Also looks like no magic hook between Picasa Web and the Windows software. At least not in the Web to desktop direction.
But, I couldn't access the wireless profiles on the SD card using this reader. So, I plugged in the supplied one. It wanted to reboot my computer to work...I said later, but then it started working anyways. But, not much to do here. This computer isn't (directly) on wireless...so no profiles to transfer over and no interest in trying to associate the card with other networks it sees.
Fiddled around a bit more, and then went back to the Work MacBookPro to update the software there, and to see if I could add additional network profiles. Namely add my work ones without having to take it into work.
But, it wouldn't see the card my SD card slot (# memory card in 1 ExpressCard34 adapter)....Had to use the supplied USB card reader again. This could prove to be annoying. And, turns out....no preloading of network profiles Guess I will need to take it into work to set it up to work on the wireless network there. Also means that I'll still need my computer, and still need to pop the card out, etc., to get on to other wireless networks. Of course, it says it won't work on networks that use transparent and/or captive proxies. That means the only other network that I might want to add is my parents' network. But, the plan was to leave my work laptop at work, the next time I go on vacation.
Wonder how the local computer uploading works from work and other remote networks. Or what happens when I travel and there are no 'open' networks for it to use. Etc.
I decided to dust off my Konica-Minolta Dimage X20....for use. Surprised it powered up when I turned it on...though I did have Lithium AA batteries in it. But, no picture. I tried replacing the Lithium AA batteries with a new pair. No help.
It was a refurbished unit, and apparently this is the common problem that lead to warranty work being done on these.
I poked around to see if it was something obvious mechanical, or whether there was a reset option. But, no luck.
Not sure what I'm going to do about it. They don't make cameras quite like this anymore....all that are like it, use proprietary rechargeable batteries.
Later I went deeper opened it up....still nothing obvious to try...and then I found the flash capacitor terminals and got a nasty jolt. Started putting it back together...only to do it again.... Since it was basically a write-off, I just tossed it un-reassembled. First I discharged the capacitor....it made quite a loud snap.
Probably doesn't alter my digital camera upgrade plans and dreams....it'd be another story if it was my main digital camera (the one I carry everywhere, but seldom remember to use...)
I went with an ASUS Eee PC 901 20G, in Pearl White. I ordered from buy.com, which was advertising an after-rebate ($50) price of $526.99. I also had received last week an 8% off coupon, because it had been a long time since I had ordered from buy.com. Evidently, 03/22/2006 was the date of my last order....which was for a 512MB memory upgrade for my former notebook computer.
Turns out the 8% off coupon has a maximum discount value of $20 off. So, that brought the pre-rebate price of the Eee PC 901 to $556.99. I opted for free shipping....so it might be a while before it arrives.
....not sure where my supplies are, but there were a couple of 4x6 sheets in my HP Photosmart 8450.
Unfortunately, it looks like for not using the photo cartridges for a long time means they no longer work. The pictures came out horrible, and running a deep cleaning cycle didn't help.
Still, since the heads are part of the cartridge...at least it'll just be a simple matter of buying new cartridges. Unlike my previous printer....well, that's why it isn't current
Don't know when I'll get around to buying new photo cartridges for this printer, but I will be in need of a new black cartridge soon. Wonder which box contains the printing supplies. Guess now that I own the place, it is time to start going through all the boxes and figuring out where stuff goes or 'goes'. And probably figure out where the extra furniture will go and get to buying that.
The issues with imagelinkusa.net might mark the end of Lunatic Haven....
Lunatic Haven was born as a BBS in 1987, and it ran until 1997. It was resurrected in 2001, when I was looking to have more permanent email addresses. And, decided the solution was to have my own domain name.
In looking at how to do this, I came upon a web hosting provider. And, set up the email addresses and forwarders to fit my needs. I was also using free web hosting, and decided to move that over as well.
Over time, the web part expanded and contracted depending on my mood. But, the email remained the constant. After a couple of years, I jumped to imagelinkusa.net....because of reliability issues and problems with email.
With imagelinkusa.net, my online usage grew....since I had much more storage, I could set up more pages to share the pictures I take.
Later I wanted another email domain, which then grew into this site.
So, once again it comes down to email as the main reason to have a domain name....so as I look to where I might go next, I may opt to go email only in the next. Though it is hard to completely walk away from the website. Perhaps I'll come up with a redesign of my site....
....the insanity of buy tech accessories for stuff I don't own or isn't for personal reason reasons.
The motivator this time?
I got a Motorola KRZR K1m for work. Using the EC-500, calls to my deskphone will optionally also ring through to this cell phone. It was partly because the on call cellphone will go away, with the number forwarding to either a person's work or personal cellphone when it is their week on call. I didn't want those calls going to a personal cellphone.
And, our workgroup seems to be standardizing on the KRZR (other units had gotten RAZRs, but the KRZR wasn't availble then).
I got the phone on Tuesday. One of the first problems is they had no belt holster available for it, the generic non-OEM one they stocked interfered with the side buttons. So, I went looking on eBay for one. Later I decided to take the plunge and buy a microSD card for it, though I didn't immediately know why....don't really need to use the camera part that much, and I already don't use my iPods much right now. Though the fact that I can use the MP3 player without headphones might be okay.
But, then I discovered that my blackberry charger didn't charge the phone overnight...at all. Turns out dual charger does some kind of sensing, and didn't like the KRZR....while it would let it have power to run plugged in, it didn't give it power to charge. Fortunately it doesn't take long to charge on the supplied charger, and battery life is great...so I can charge it up once in a while at work. Plus the 'dumber' blackberry travel charger will probably work, otherwise I do have other USB plug style chargers available from other gadgets that might work.
So, I'm not buying another charger for it...and if I were, I'd probably make work pick that up....
But back to the phone. It doesn't have a regular 2.5 jack on it, and it didn't come with a mini-USB to 2.5 adapter. And, the adapter isn't cheap, but I prefer over-head type headsets, because in ear pieces don't stay in my ear and my eyeglasses are painful enough, that I don't need clip on ear or temple types adding to that discomfort. And, the phone doesn't support stereo bluetooth headsets, and again would require the use of a special stereo headphone, or the adapter. Their special headphones is cheaper than the adapter. Though if I got the adapter, I could use my big over ear noise reduction headphones....though it sure would look strange.
Searching around, I found that they do make an over-head bluetooth headset....so late last night, I went online and found a place that had this as well as the special stereo headphones for the KRZR....and order them.
Now to see if I can geek out the sounds it makes....
Oh yeah, I have already set aside ~1.5GB of MP3s that I plan to load on to the 2GB microSD card that I've ordered for it....
Made a bad discovery today....Oxy-Nickel batteries don't work in everything.
I was at something tonight, and thought about taking a digital camera with me....but not my main one. So, I dug out the old Konica-Minolta Dimage X20. And, not being sure of the battery that was in it...I grabbed a pack of Oxy-Nickel batteries and popped those in.
It acted kind of weird as I went through the setup (mainly to update the clock on it). But, didn't think much else about it.
Until I reached for the camera to try to take a show with it. It wouldn't work.
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