Category: "Travel"

Pages: 1 3 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

12/05/09

  05:36:00 pm, by The Dreamer   , 520 words  
Categories: Hardware, Computer, Travel, Scanner, Doctor Who

I got a scanner -- Epson Perfection V30

I only needed to scan one photo, and while I do have a Fujitsu ScanSnap 300M somewhere....its Mac only, and I don't own a Mac. I had acquired that scanner during Black Friday last year, not realizing that it was Mac only. It won't even work on Linux. I do occasionally use it, many for scanning receipts. As it was I haven't traveled on business since I got it, so haven't had to scan receipts for work. Though I have used it on occasion to scan receipts for FSA reimbursement.

I had intended at one time to have a Mac by now...but other priorities and emergencies have slipped in.

Anyways, while I was at Chicago Tardis, I got into the photo sessions with the actors from the Doctor Who movie, and with Naoko Mori (Toshiko on Torchwood). With the Doctor Who movie, I opted to use my own camera and let somebody snap it....big mistake. A pro knows that you shooting wide angle is wrong. I had zoomed camera to frame up me and the actors, etc. But, the guy taking the picture immediately fiddled with my settings and zoomed to full wide angle. :##

Also resulted in no flash. But, the picture did turn out.

With Naoko, there was an extra fee to get a picture done. The program guide said $35, regardless of whether it was done by them *OR* with my camera. Though at the time of the shot, I learned it was $20 to use my own camera...and that I could get either or both. But, I stayed with just the pro shot...though in retrospect, maybe I should've charged the $55 to have both. At least then I'd have an immediate digital copy and the matter of trying to get an 8x10 home undamaged wouldn't have been such a challenge. But, I managed.

But, then came how do I share that I had my picture taken with Naoko with friends and family? I think there was an option to order additional prints at the time of session, but that wasn't really the way to go...since its the Internet that connects me with friends and family...and in some cases the only thing that connects us.

Obviously a scanner is called for. There's scanners at work, though I'm not sure how well they are suited for photographs, and I didn't want to take the photo to work. And, I wasn't all the keen on risking running the photo through the ScanSnap....plus its a hassle bring work computer home and back....

So, since I had gotten home from Chicago Tardis on CyberMonday, it seemed that I would do a repeat of last year and buy a scanner during the usual BlackFriday/CyberMonday weeekend. Also I again got it from NewEgg.

Nothing much more to say about it, except that I installed it on my Windows VM on my ubuntu laptop....since my desktop is old and has issues with scanners (at least with the ones that were previously installed on it...so wanted to avoid dealing with any issues that might come up. Plus easier to find a spot for the scanner....)

So, here's the result:

Me and Naoko Mori
  03:40:55 pm, by The Dreamer   , 305 words  
Categories: Stuff, Home Theatre, Cable HD DVR, Travel, TV, Home, TiVo HD / Premiere / Elite, Amateur Radio

I bought a clock

It seemed strange, and it turned out to be kind of difficult to do.

A while back I had swapped the cable company's HD DVR for another TiVo, and soon after I noticed something missing. I could no longer tell the time while watching TV. I wasn't too worried at first, just bothered....

But, then I started being late for online chats and nets, because I had no constant source of time while watching TV and since I time shift everything I watch....things never end on the hour.

So, I started searching around for a clock. I wanted simple, big, LED..... ideally atomic sync'd. But, that turned out to be quite difficult for some reason. The first 3 criteria was hard enough, that I gave up on the fourth. There was also the part where ideally it shouldn't be a hassle to purchase and get..... so eventually I found "Chaney Instruments Thor Large Display Alarm Clock" on Amazon.com and it was Prime eligible. So, I put it in my cart and planned to get it the next time a suitable opportunity presented itself.

The target date became the day after my return from Chicago Tardis. I did require that I remember to go online and place the order while I was there, and using the free lobby wifi one morning I did that. Even though it said it it would deliver by December 1st....it came separate from the other items by 2 day air (the other items came by ground from an in state location)....but didn't actually arrive until December 2nd. I was back at work, but UPS left on my doorstep (along with a couple of other packages from woot).

It turned out to be bigger than I needed, but it does the job.

Chaney Instruments Thor Large Display Alarm Clock

I still miss nets and show up late to online chats.... :lalala:

12/01/09

  12:57:00 pm, by The Dreamer   , 784 words  
Categories: Digital Photography, Hardware, Travel, Scanner, Doctor Who

I was at #chicagotardis 2009

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:

Me with Doctor Who #8

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 :D

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

10/28/09

  03:14:04 pm, by The Dreamer   , 564 words  
Categories: Home Theatre, Travel, Healthcare

Strung some wire, hope it stays.

A couple weeks ago, I got a new center channel speaker via Woot and while setting it up and readjusting my surround sound levels....I discovered that my rear speakers weren't working.

I've been using an Accurian HomePlug Digital Audio Transmitter/Receiver to run my rear speakers, and I have a remote controlled switch for the rear unit....which defaults to off when it loses power. But, I looked and it was one. I power cycled everything and checked all the connections, but nothing.

Guess the unit is dead. Not sure if I can secure another one....but pretty much can't think of any other way to have wireless surrounds. I've done the RF method to death. 900MHz, 2.4GHz, 5.8GHz....all with poor to no results.

But, having recently strung wire along the ceiling to bridge the gap for my home network...I decided to look at this method to run wire to my rear surround speakers.

I looked around a bit here and there, and tried to decide how best to get the parts delivered to me. And, settled on buying speaker wire and 3m command adhesive cable clips on eBay. Specifically looking for the shippers that use USPS, so that I could get the bits without having to walk to the UPS store.

Today, having stayed home from work for my birthday...I set out to string up the wires.

Discovered that the speaker wire I had purchased was somewhat thicker than I expected...so a little big for the cable clips that I had purchased. But, I strung them up anyways....hopefully it'll stay up. I'll probably make note to acquire additional/bigger clips in the future to reinforce things.

But, I now have working rear surrounds again.

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08/26/09

  10:03:50 am, by The Dreamer   , 465 words  
Categories: Travel, Healthcare

I'm not going to #OhioLinuxFest, but I wish I was...

:..( I really wished I could be going to this years Ohio Linux Fest, some of the talks and the theme (40 Years of Unix) is interesting. Plus I wanted to see some of the past speakers again to see what a year has changed, and see meet the various fellow organizers that I've been working with online. Along with see some of the people that I won't be seeing since I'm not going to LISA this year.

Some of talks I probably wanted to see/hear include: Keynote Dr. Douglas McIlroy who developed UNIX pipes and UNIX tools such as spell, diff, sort, join, graph, speak and tr. Shawn Powers, who I used to watch in his video podcasts (I've fallen really behind....thinking of getting an iPod Nano or something?) Who I didn't get to meet at Penguicon due to standing in the beef line and other bad luck.

Though there was the conflict between "Shared Destiny: 40 Years of Unix, 40 Years of VM, and How They Came Together" and maco's talk "Sysadmins' Rosetta Stone", both of which I wanted to attend, though I probably would've gone with the first. Since I see going to OLF as 'vacation' rather than 'work'. Even though I'd probably end up doing some poking around at work by remote....though things this year...I might actually have less work to do while on vacation....

Thought it might be interesting to see what is covered at the DiOS (Diversity in Open Source) on Sunday. And, not because I think that someday I want to break back into contributing to Open Source projects, or something.

And, then there's the whole 'ex-IDIOT Doctor Who Fan Club'.

But, a few weeks ago I had a little accident on my bike....the kind where I stopped suddenly, and it happened in 3 stages.

First stage, the bike stopped instantly. Second stage, I went flying over the handle bars ... putting my right hand out in front of me to stop my head from hitting the pavement. Third stage, bike coming down on top of me...pulled over by my legs catching the handle bars.

My portion of the ER visit....that was the hotel room at OLF.

No broken bones, but had elbow and wrist contusions....in my right arm....loss of motion in both directions. Made it really hard to first few days to do basic things like bath, shave, dress, put on my CPAP mask....eventually inward motion returned (though painful)...but still can't straighten my arm, though it has improved a bit.

So the physical therapy cost will probably be at least the airplane ticket to OLF.

And, I wasn't entirely sure how I was going to pay for OLF as it was....was gonna tap my cruise fund to for part of it (with most of it going towards my later trip to Chicago TARDIS)....

07/19/09

  12:25:33 pm, by The Dreamer   , 358 words  
Categories: General, Travel, Healthcare

What does this mean?

"Account was in dispute-now resolved"

That's what shows up on my credit report for the credit card that the Chase Fraud Department had called me to inform that they had detected suspicious activity and will now close my account and issue me a new one.

They've never done something like this before, and this is the 3rd time this has happened with this card. The first time I disputed a charge that caused the card to be closed. The other two times, they called me.

It was extra painful this time around in getting the detected suspicious activity actually removed from my card.

I pay this card (like I do most others) in full every month.

I think its time to rethink who get's to be my Mastercard.

Not sure if the problems are Chase or Mastercard, but I haven't had this much of trouble with my other credit cards (had a problem years ago with a Visa check card, which is why I almost never use it now...even opted out of getting one the last time I opened a bank account)

Full story »

06/19/09

  12:08:00 pm, by The Dreamer   , 405 words  
Categories: Computer, Travel, Other Linux

I think I'm looking forward to Ohio Linux Fest 2009

Link: http://www.ohiolinux.org/

This year I'm taking an more active roll in the organizing of it, then I did last year. And, it is shaping up to be pretty interesting. Though budget wise, its not looking like I'll be able to make....but now I'm thinking I might scale back my travel plans so that I can still make it.

I'm, again, primarily helping review speaker submissions for who will get to present. And, some of the people already lined up as keynotes and such seem quite interesting.

For instance, Peter H. Salus will be a keynote at OLF this year.

Also Shawn Powers had been invited to be a keynote. Wonder if this means that I'll finally get to meet him in person. He was at Penguicon earlier this year, but I only saw him twice...once as I was rushing to catch one of the elusive slow moving elevators. And, the other time while I was in the beef line.

Among the other chatter about possible speakers...is Dan Kaminsky, which stands out as a name I recognize because of the DNS exploit and all the extra work that got dropped on my lap last summer. Though later it was fun building new bind for my home DNS servers (the RedHat 7.3 and SuSE 9.3 boxes).

Elsewhere...Maco commented that if I pick her submission, there'll be at least one system administration talk at OLF. And, my response was that I don't know if I want to hear system administration talk when I'm on vacation. Though the whole idea of OLF for vacation is kind of odd. Especially since stress management says I need to go on vacations where I completely stop thinking about work.... &#59;D Guess we'll see when I start reviewing submissions.

The last time I was ever on such a vacation...was in 2000. There was enough activity to keep me occupied and there was no Internet access or cellular service out there. Both of which are now available (which impacted the trip I took in 2005...in fact the page of services down just as I was departing really messed things up...and the it wasn't fun trying to do remote access on the spotty wifi/satellite Internet service.

There are also other features at OLF that I'm interesting in seeing/hearing. Like the DIOS panel on Sunday. (Diversity In Open Source). Or hearing Elizabeth Garbee speak again, which turned out to be rather interesting to hear when I heard her speak last year.

05/25/09

  12:46:47 pm, by The Dreamer   , 262 words  
Categories: Travel, Healthcare

American Eagle Flight in/out of MHK

Just as I was starting to get frustrated and finally whipped off a question to AA asking when can I find out about American Eagle flights in/out of MHK to plan upcoming trips....

The site starts giving me the details for such flights.... :cool:

Looks like there are only two sets of flights available to choose from. Still, it opens the doors for lots of options.

I did a quick look at what a flight to the Ohio Linux Fest would run me, and what kind of schedules were available. And, it looked like it might be a workable plan. I'll wait until closer to the event to book. Even though I sent the time off request for my next 3 con trips back on May 1st, I haven't heard yet. Even though there should be plenty of notice of a trip in September, November and April. Still don't know when the December trip will be...assuming it is in December. January might be better....(especially if I can get my doc to write me a script for a travel CPAP, and I allocate FSA next year to pay for it).

The tentative plan is to fly MHK<->CMH (one stop in DFW) in October using American, and to fly MHK<->ORD (one stop in MCI) in November using United. I will likely use American again for the flight to Calgary (assuming that's where I'm going)....since there are non-stop flights from DFW to YYC, but not from MCI. Not sure what I'm going to do in April...I think that's too far off in the future to plan.

05/24/09

  03:28:00 pm, by The Dreamer   , 542 words  
Categories: Computer, Wireless/iPhone, Travel, Networking, WiFi, Ubuntu

Resharing my Internet Connection on my Ubuntu Laptop

Yeah...I've done it.... &#58;&#99;&#111;&#111;&#108;&#58;

using firestarter and dhcp3-server.

Last trip I went on, I found myself wondering if there was some way to re-share my hotel internet connection to my various devices (namely my Eee PC [w/eeebuntu] and my iPhone 3G). The problem was the hotel Internet was pay $9.99 per 24 hours, and it was per MAC. For that trip, I confined my usage to the EeePC...and used 3G service to satisfy my iPhone needs. Which would probably be fine in most cases....

Though I'm sure someday I'll run into a situation where I'm in a non-3G area and want more speed, or in an area with no service.

I remember hunting around for how to do it then, but eventually forgot about it. But, recently a friend brought the question up, and I got to thinking about the problem again. Since then, I had acquired a 'real' laptop...and had ubuntu 9.04 on it....

So, I started researching for an easy way to accomplish this. After much turmoil and some miserable attempts...I concluded that the WiFi <-> WiFi was definitely a no go. Though it would've been the most desirable.

Leaving my laptop to connect by WiFi...and the resharing on another WiFi to my other personal devices.

Figuring that I might arm myself at some future date with a travel WiFi router to solve the WiFi <-> WiFi scenario...I tried the Wired <-> WiFi situation.

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05/07/09

  06:21:21 pm, by The Dreamer   , 1370 words  
Categories: Computer, Travel, WiFi, Furnishings, Healthcare, Amazon Kindle

Penguicon 7.0 & CPAP

I went to another Penguicon, at Penguicon 6 I had earned whuffies which I used to get a shirt for that con and registration to the next one. At Penguicon 7.0, I earned just enough whuffies to get registration to Penguicon 2010 (I had purchased a shirt). At first I hadn't decided if I would go for Penguicon again...but once I started earning whuffies, I needed to find some reason that I was earning them...and eventually settled on getting registration to come again next year.

Anyways....Penguicon 7.0 was also my first trip anywhere since I started CPAP. I survived, in fact I miss it. Since I slept better in the hotel room than I do at home. I always thought I did in previous travels, now even more so with CPAP. I would wake feeling refreshed (and not needing coffee), and I could make it most of the day before getting tired. Now that I'm back...the not totally awake and needing coffee in the morning is back.

I decided to leave the 'do not disturb' sign out all the time, and not have housekeeping poking around. It also took the pressure off in using my hotel room for more than just sleeping at night and during the con. So, no more going out for breakfast and then coming back to use the bathroom, and worrying that housekeeping is going to come barging in or skip me...or be in my room and prevent me from using the bathroom.

I was worried about running out of shampoo, but turned out to have ample for the 4 nights.

For some reason I swear my machine was quieter in the hotel room, perhaps its because the night stand was open in the bottom from just the front, and I put the machine in there. So the machine's noise was shielded much better. The IKEA night stand I have at home is open front and back....and not as low. Don't know if this is something I'll look at addressing should I ever get around to rearranging my bedroom.

There were other improvements....like I didn't fall asleep on the 3+ hour shuttle ride to the airport....though I found it really boring, and I was kind of all annoyed about the fact that I reserved the trip on April 4th...but RoadRunner lost my reservation and then the driver seemed annoyed that I was holding up his departure. But, the shuttle arrived ahead of schedule at the airport.

Then the RoadRunner trip coming home came in slow....because before the scheduled pickup, it dumped a couple quarts of oil and was continuing to leak. Before we left Kansas City it had to stop and have 3 quarts added to it. There was no stop in Lawrence, so then stopped in Topeka at the RoadRunner office there, so that the engine could be shut off some some more poking around under the hood.... Then one of the passengers (a backup driver for RoadRunner), as we were coming up to the Manhattan, KS turn off from I70, had the nerve to suggest that since I was the only passenger going there...that the driver should skip going to Manhattan so that he could make sure that he gets to Junction City.

Things also got really noisy, took on a guy in Topeka who was blasting tunes on his PSP (the passenger/backup driver pretended to poke at the PSP from behind, I just had to put up with it)....and then there were 3 small children in the back, who now awake (having slept through everything else) were adding to the noise level in the shuttle.

Wonder when I'll be able to plan American Eagle flights out of Manhattan?

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Now instead of subjecting some poor random forum to a long rambling thought, I will try to consolidate those things into this blog where they can be more easily ignored profess to be collected thoughts from my mind.

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