Monday: 30.August.2004

New LCD Monitor Arrives

My new monitor arrived today: the one mentioned/ordered back on the 21st. Woohoo! I'm diggin' it. Been wanting a flat-panel for a long time. Using it right now. Makes the site look crisper/sharper. Seems like a whole new computer. Seems more high-tech than a lunky CRT.

Had to turn down both the brightness & contrast to 10% in order to get the desired result. Brightness comes defaulted at 100% and contrast at 50%. These default settings are way too high. Nearly toasted my eyeballs when launching Google's all-white page.

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And the 100% brightness setting makes the colors look washed out. I prefer rich colors. Even 10% may be too high. You can probably tell from surfing this site that I prefer darker colors. Default resolution is 1280x1024, which I like/prefer.

I also noticed that the price of the monitor jumped $25 since I ordered it. Sup wit dat? I thot prices of LCDs are supposed to be dropping.

This particular monitor comes with a *digital* connection (both digital & analog, actually), which I'm not using. My ATI gfx card doesn't have/support a digital connection, so I'm using the monitor's analog d-sub connection.

The monitor comes with a 15-pin d-sub to d-sub cable. So if you want to use the digital connection, you would have to purchase a digital-digital (DVI) cable. I think they cost ~$20 to $50. I'll order one when I get a gfx card that supports digital-out. But for now, the display looks gorgeous. Can't imagine it looking any better. User reviews posted here.

No, haven't noticed any bad pixels yet. And yes, it *is* easier on the eyes, which is the main reason (PDF) I placed the order. Definitely less irritating/fatiguing. There is so much more room on my desk now. The side-to-side viewing angle is no problem, unlike some laptops I've seen. This LCD has a response time of 16ms and a contrast ratio of 450:1.

Posted by Rad at Monday: 30August2004 | Comments (0)

Sunday: 29.August.2004

The Dog Protests the RNC in NYC

The Dog sent an email last night saying he was going to participate in today's demonstrations for (this week's) Republican National Convention (RNC) held at Madison Square Garden. "Watch for me on C-span," he said.

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The Dog knows more about political issues than anyone I know. We may disagree on some things, but I never argue with him because he's well-researched. He has the facts and is politically active. The country needs more people who take the time to research the issues for themselves and exercise their constitutional rights. He writes so many letters that he's on a first-name basis with his senators & congressmen.

Before moving to sunny SoCal, I grew up in New Haven county, about an hour north of the Big Apple. The Dog used to live here in the Hollywood Hills, mere walking distance from the famous sign, but has since moved back East.

Some expect a quarter-million people to protest. More than 300 protestors have already been arrested. Looks like the 60's are back. It's being called "the largest demonstration ever at a political event", so it sounds like history was made today. Sounds exciting.

"Police gave no official crowd estimate, though one law enforcement official, speaking on condition of anonymity,
put the crowd at 120,000; organizers claimed it was roughly 400,000." [source: ABC news, pop-up warning]

"A group of older women calling themselves the Raging Grannies from Rochester, sang to the tune of the "Battle
Hymn of the Republic." [source: NY Times] =)

Update: I called the Dog's house (Hoboken) and left a message on his answering machine, asking how it went and if he needed me to call a bondsman. =)

Posted by Rad at Sunday: 29August2004 | Comments (4)

Friday: 27.August.2004

Humphrey's Concerts by the Bay

Went to Humphreys last night: Humphreys-by-the-Bay on Shelter Island in San Diego (San Dayglo). One of the best venues to see a jazz concert: under the stars, right on the water, adjacent to the boats/marina, with the sun setting behind the stage, as the sky turns purple, orange, turquoise, black. See here.

We decided to go at the last minute. Spontaneity can sometimes lead to the best times.

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Humphreys reserves the first 10 rows for dinner-package guests. But they never sell ALL the (over-priced) dinner packages, so these prime, reserved seats go to late-comes (like us) with no ticket rezers. We got 8th-row, center seats. Perfect spot. You wouldn't even want to be any closer. But there's not a bad seat in the house.

I used to do the dinner-package back when it cost only $20. Now it cost $50 (not including the price of the ticket). Their food ain't bad, but isn't worth 50 bucks a plate. Plus, I don't like sitting still after a big meal. Makes me drowsy. I'd rather have a couple of fish tacos, or something light.

I discussed Humphreys back in April. See here. If you live here in the SoCal area, more good shows are still available before the 2004 season ends (on October 8th). See > here.

Last night we saw David Benoit (ben-wah) & Russ Freeman (they used to be the Rippingtons). Special guest David Pack stopped by for a few songs, an unexpected treat. We knew nearly every song they played. Russ is upbeat and energetic, while David is more mellow, so they balance each other out nicely.

Would be nice to see Seal next month. I also heard Lyle also puts on a good show. It can be a challenge to get everyone to agree on a show, especially with large groups. Everybody has their favorite artist. Wynonna is playing tonight, tho I am no big Judd fan.

Afterwards, we snuck into the pool area next door and hung out there while traffic died down. Now they have gates around the pool. You need a key (or long arms) to get in.

Next time I'm going to bring my swim trunks and a towel, and jump in the (steaming, hot) Jacuzzi. They have a *great* pool area, very tropical with lots of tall palms and big, green leafy plants. Feels like you're in a jungle. Rooms at the Half Moon Inn cost ~$200 a night if you want to stay there.

Posted by Rad at Friday: 27August2004 | Comments (0)

Wednesday: 25.August.2004

Windows XP Service Pack 2

Received a pop-up in my system tray today that said: Updates ready for your computer. Click here to download. I clicked the icon and noticed the update was for Windows XP Service Pack 2. The Download button was highlighted, but I chickened out and clicked Cancel instead.

SP2 is big update, both in scope & size (75-266MB). The list of fixes is posted here. This update is mainly about security (which is a good thing). But the update also breaks things, because not all programs conform to Microsoft's guidelines for interacting with Windows (which have been published for a long time now). Programs that interact with your network or the Internet have a greater likelihood of being affected by this service pack.

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I use Windows XP Pro. I hear that SP2 for the 'Home' edition was available last week. I've been receiving a lot of mail about this update, asking what I plan to do. Well, I'm going to wait - a week or two, to give companies time to fix problems.

And I'm sure other problems are yet to be found. This is all normal, or course, especially for such a big/major update. I'll let the "early-adopters" blaze the SP2-trail for me. I'm considering downloading the IT update direct from the M$ site.

Kudos to Microsoft for having the courage to address security fixes, even if it meant breaking some programs in the process. As always, make a back-up Ghost image before installing the update, so you can go back if something goes horribly wrong. If you install the update, let me know how it goes.

Monday: 09.August.2004

Camping Sequoia National Forest: Photos

Photos from our camping trip to the Sequoia National Forest, in the southern Sierra mountains, California .. with our new tent. We stayed at the Limestone campground on the Kern river. See here: Camping Sequoia National Forest.

Posted by Rad at Monday: 09August2004 | Comments (0)