Some Tech Updates

I started actually looking at the site tonight and noticed that every single twitter weekly update gets logged into the “blog” category. I could see how that could get annoying if you just want to filter on actual real blog posts so I am working on cleaning up the database to put these updates into a “twitter” category .

There are several of these to do and I I will see if I can find a way to automate this using phpMyAdmin but who knows will probably just edit it all by hand as I have time.

I will need to write Jury Duty Day 2 as that was a rather interesting day as I had to go into an actual court room. Good times will work on that soon.

Removal of Podcasts

Hey Everyone! It’s been a few years since I have taken the time to record a podcast. I ran a google search on my name and found that they had been linked to on a number of external sites. So I opted to remove them all from the site. They are backed up safely and perhaps someday they shall return. Perhaps I shall get back into podcasting sometime in the future.

But only time will tell. Right now the time is telling me to go to bed. I shall be updating soon.


Some new things

So for my birthday I decided to cash in a couple gift cards I had received over the years to pickup a Wacom Table. I got the Bamboo Fun tablet which I must say was a nice upgrade in size. It’s especially nice when running dual monitors as each monitor is 1/2 of the tablet.

I’ve been using this table with a program called Pixelmator as it’s an alternative to photoshop for performing some touchup work. Lately I have been into creating black and white photos and then painting in  only part of the color. I have an app do to this on my iPhone called Colorsplash. But using Pixelmator with the tablet is a bit more fun.

Since it is essentially a digital piece of paper I thought it would be cool to create a digital signature that I could put into an e-mail so my name actually looks like it was written by a real person. But I have really crappy handwriting. I am not really sure I should be doing something like that.

Here are 3 drafts I created on my tablet.




My handwriting looks like chicken scratch. But it could be the fact that I am still getting used to the tablet. I think this will requite a bit more trial and error. But so far I am loving this tablet.

Life has been treating me pretty well the past few months. I haven’t had much of a chance to update the blog. I did update the wordpress blogging software. Added a plugin that will grab all of my tweets and post them on the site.

But I hope everyone has a great 4th of July weekend. Would anyone want to read a review on the iPhone 4 or any other piece of technology that I own.

Viva the Digital Overlords

I was sitting here at my desk working on building an HTML version of a digital scoreboard to show who is awesome at Air Hockey. I used to play with my coworker Greg and we both just got extremely busy at work. So we are going to start it back up again. When we left off I was ahead like 131 games to 126 I believe. We would play 3-5 games a day.

But the title of this blog post doesn’t really mean anything. I was listening to iTunes and had it on Random and Octopuses Garden came up on iTunes. For some reason it inspired me to open up MarsEdit and write a click little blurb.

I have been working on converting all of my families home video tapes to a digital format. I must say it has been a rather intensive process. A bit more expensive then I imagined.

The first expense was the Elgato Video Capture device. Scored that for $84 off Amazon with the free 2 day shipping ala Amazon Prime. Another expense was actually getting a VCR. My girlfriends mom had one to lend me. It works pretty well. It has some tracking issues so I ordered another VCR off ebay and now have two VCR’s on my desk.

I remember being a kid and thinking VCR’s could possibly be the coolest thing ever. Now they are just large annoying black boxes on my desk. I picked up the other VCR for $30 from eBay. The lady that was selling lied to me on its condition. But it works as expected.

Also I needed a place to save all of this video as most videos come up after compression to be 2-3GB of data. Then a DVD version ends up being another 4GB or so. Then I make 2 different formats m4v and Divx AVI. Not really sure how my family is taking this. But oh well I am happy to have digital copies of all the tapes. But this all takes up space so I now have 2 1TB Firewire 800 HDD. I have 2.5TB of data hooked up to my laptop for all of these home movies.

Good times. Well I better get back to work. Just thought I would blog some random thoughts.

A new project and a rant.

So over the past year I have been trying to bridge the gap between my family and technology. I can hardly get my family to do a thing in regards to technology. Send them an e-mail I never get a response. They seem to want to use technology but don’t want to put the effort into learning how to use it. The other day I got a call from my mother saying “I lost everything on your stepdad’s user on Windows Vista! HELP!” I don’t know anything about Windows Vista. It’s the operating system I totally skipped over. I could probably do some navigating and figure it out. She hadn’t backed anything up but luckily a reboot solved her problem.

This prompted me to write up a long detailed e-mail on good backup tips and some free tools and general good advice about saving data. I didn’t get a thank you. I didn’t get one response.

E-Mail is my thing. I love e-mail I find it 100x easier to solve problems with an e-mail then a phone call. I am always on e-mail. You send me an e-mail it gets forwarded to my Mobile Me account which instantly puts it on my iPhone and boom I know you sent something and i will get back to you ASAP. To make things easier for my family I setup a Google Group so that you can just send an e-mail to 1 address and everyone gets it. But people seem afraid to use it.

Here are the current stats on the group.

185 Tristan
118 Mom
49 Aunt
31 Grandpa
31 Uncle
27 Cousin
20 Family Friend
20 Alex
15 Family Friend Old Account
14 Grandma

This has been up for over 2 years and doesn’t seem like it’s getting that much use. Getting people involved in the discussion on things like planning birthday’s is near impossible. My girlfriend her family seems to have e-mail and planning family events in the digital realm down. I don’t get why it’s so hard to reply to an e-mail or click a link and fill out a form.

I finally got my grandma hooked up with a Jitterbug cell phone. That is the oddest phone I have ever seen. Only cell phone I had ever used that has a dialtone when you flip it open. And that everything on the phone is either “Yes” or “No” Do you want to call Tristan?

My family has a ton of videotape so I got the means necessary to work on converting them to the digital format.  My desk is kinda loaded at the moment. Two Apple laptops got some VCR’s going here and just piles of technology at the beck and call to get all this done. Here is an picture of my desk at the moment.

Sent out an e-mail for that no response not a person in the world seems to care. I tested out the technology with my High School Senior Slideshow. I wasn’t in it but it was the only video tape I had around the house.

You can view that at the following link North Kitsap High School Graduating Class of 2001 But I would be careful. It’s 46 minutes of a slideshow of people you probably have no clue about. It was really just a visual test to see how well it worked. I also changed the audio to be a bit better quality.

But I hope to get on this project there are tons of funny. (Well I would find funny) videos that we recorded over our childhood years. That I would like to convert to a digital format. I don’t think I would want to convert them to DVD. Since would be easier to grab a video file and make a DVD if you so choose.

But anyways I guess I just wanted to rant that my family doesn’t use technology in a way that seems to be the most productive. Or seem to care about any of the efforts that I put forth into helping them. But what do I know. It’s late I am going to bed thanks for reading.

Holy Crud!

It’s June and been a crazy busy month at that. Now that summer is here every weekend has been planned and full of events. I purchased a new MacBook Pro the ones they announced last Monday. It’s a screaming 2.8ghz Intel Core 2 Duo with 4GB of RAM and all kinds of awesomeness. iPhone OS 3.0 comes out on Wednesday which will be all kinds of awesome because I will finally be able to Copy and Paste.

I picked up a Flip Ultra HD video camera so that I can record all kinds of awesome videos in HD.  You can check out my adventure the the grocery store here.

But other then doing the life thing. Started going back to the gym. Nice to get back in the groove after a few years of vacation from it. I haven’t lost that much strength and the belly is slowly going away.

But next week I am on vacation and I won’t have any cell phone or internet access so hopefully the world doesn’t blow up while I am gone. It will be odd turning on that vacation auto responder I haven’t used that ever since I got gMail back in 2004.

Well hope to here from everyone soon drop me a line.

Comcast and Tivo

Hey Everyone!

So I thought I would give a quick update on what is going on around the Tristan circle of life. Last week I ordered a Tivo. This thing has been a pain in the ass. It took a week to get here. But there have been 2 major causes of frustration.

1. The Cable Card Experience.

So in order for the TivoHD to work you need to get a CableCard from the Cable Company. In the Seattle area we have Comcast. Usually for most of my issues I either hop on the Comcast Chat or get on Twitter and send a note to @ComcastCares. So my first try was with the Chat. I got one guy saying that I could just drive to the local Comcast Office and pickup the cable card. Slide it into the Tivo and drive home and call Comcast. Sounds good to me.

Some time passes…..

Tivo is actually coming now so I hop on Comcast Chat again and get a new person they tell me I need to schedule a tech to come out and install the card for a fee of $25. Previous guy told me I could do it myself.

The process of installing a cable card is basically moving one flap down and sliding in a PCMCIA card into the device. Didn’t seem $25 worthy to me. But I do recall charging people at Best Buy $160 for Hard Drive and OS Install.

Now that I had a conflicting argument from two different people. I hopped on twitter and sent a note to @ComcastCares I got the following reply.

Comcast Cares on Twitter

So I have two people saying the same thing. So I decide to shoot an e-mail off to Comcast Cares. I get a prompt reply from a Detreon Roberts. He says they need to schedule a tech to come out. So I accept that answer for the time being.

So I get home that night and make a phone call to Comcast. I get to speak to an incredibly seductive sounding woman named Jen or Jenn. I didn’t ask for the spelling but I wanted info about my Cable Card. She said that I can just go down to the Comcast Office and pick it up. I tell her about all of my experiences thus far. She says “They don’t know what they are talking about. I setup a CableCard for a guy today took 3 mins over the phone” So I e-mailed Detreon back and he says. “You should really get an installer out” So on Saturday the girlfriend of awesomeness decided to partake on the adventure of the Comcast store and we got the CableCard. Came home and installed it and it took about 3 minutes and we were golden.

So I guess I would like to thank the first Chat Person and Jen from Comcast in Washington for being the most helpful. Everyone else needs to think about what they are doing.

2. Upgrading the Hard Drive in the Tivo.

So this was a fun process that I did when the girlfriend was out tending to her late kitty cat Indy. So I was home alone which was probably a good thing because I was incredibly frustrated by a few sources. So I was cranky and just wasn’t a pleasant person.

So the scenario is that the Tivo HD comes with a 160GB HDD which gives you about 20hrs of HD recording. This was not enough for me so I bought a 1TB external eSATA drive hoping I could just plug it in and be good to go. This was not the case as Tivo doesn’t like this idea so I had to hack the box to get it working. So I take the TIVO apart and pull the hard drive. I come to find out that it would just be easier to install the external drive into the TIVO. So I have to take apart this external drive which I didn’t want to do but kinda have to.

At this point I haven’t even powered up the Tivo. So I take apart the external drive and then go to my Computer. I have this Pentium 4 3.6ghz machine I use to just screw around with when I am not using my Mac’s. Luckily I had this thing around otherwise I would have been screwed. So I open up the computer and need to free 2 SATA ports. Currently I have all 4 being used so I boot up the machine and find the HDD that I am not using and power it back off and unplug the two drives. Come to find out that I had these in a RAID 0 configuration so the computer won’t boot. So decide to say screw it all I can just reinstall Windows 7 Beta and just use one drive and setup the other drives later.

So I had to install Windows 7 again to just do what I needed to do. After that process completes I go download the TIVO hacking software called WinMFS.

I then shutoff the computer hookup the 160GB tivo drive and the 1TB HDD. Boot up the machine and followed the instructions located here.

I am always baffled when people ask me questions on how to do things with their computer. Since I can find every answer by googling. See here is how you can do it to.

So I followed that process and swapped out the 160GB HDD with the 1TB and the unit would power on and then crash. So I said WTF! I spent over an hour reimaging my PC with Windows 7 and the process didn’t work. So I swapped the 160GB drive back in and powered it on. This worked great. So I went through the setup process and then took the whole thing apart again to reimage the 1TB HDD with the above instructions. This process worked but took a great deal longer I was getting a bit more positive messages.

As a note if you are going to use WinMFS with Windows 7. Be sure you click “Run as Administrator” or this whole process will never work. So now with all of that completed I have 141hrs of HD recording and something like 1500 hrs of Standard Def recording.

So I got home at 8pm last Thursday and I didn’t finish with the Tivo Hacking until 1:30am. I was rather cranky by the end of the experience. The girlfriend doesn’t even appreciate the Tivo yet. Hopefully she will and I will get some good appreciatin back.

So that has been my Tivo experience. I must say after all of that work I am now an expert in the process of expanding the storage of the Series 3 Tivo’s.

I am sure there are more important things in the world to focus on. Anyone have any ideas?

500 Internal Server Errors

Update: Looks like the changes that I was recommended to do didn’t resolve the issue. We shall see what GoDaddy support can do.

Well looks like the fun doesn’t stop around here. I have been getting reports of users getting “500 Internal Server Errors” this seemed to be happening for Firefox, IE, Safari. I did some googling and found out that the error is an issue with the hosting provider I use running out of memory allocated to PHP which is running WordPress. I have made the changes that the other sites have recommended and next time that the services are restarted for this server that should resolve the issue. So hopefully the GoDaddy Support team gets an easy close for the support ticket I opened.

Tristan Chimes In! With Ringtones! And Geekness!

So I got an e-mail yesterday from my stalker. Aka StalkerDave asking what ringtone I had on my phone. Well it’s the ringtone from the best TV show of all time. Arrested Development it’s the theme Gob uses in his magic show. I still need to grab the DVD and get his chicken sound for when I get a text message but all in good time.

I must say Arrested Development was introduced to me by my girlfriend when she got the DVD’s from the library. I got to watch 4 episodes or so before it ended up having to go back. I wanted to see more so I could have waited for her to get the DVD’s again but I didn’t have time for rational solutions. So I did some research and found that I could get each season for $20. I didn’t like this idea it just wasn’t geeky enough. So I found that you could hack an AppleTV with Boxee and watch Arrested Development via Hulu. I had been wanting an AppleTV for a while now so I decided to go that route since it was geeky and seemed cooler at the time.

Instead of spending $60 and getting DVD’s and being happy I decided to spend $300 on an AppleTV. Got a USB thumbdrive I had around the apartment and loaded the AppleTV Patchstick on there and installed Boxee and I could have Hulu on my TV. It has been shown that the AppleTV has been a great investment since it plays all my media now. I used to have this task delegated to the Playstation 3. But it wouldn’t play my DRM stuff from iTunes now the AppleTV does it all and I am happy. Plus the HD rentals on AppleTV make it worth my while.

But the moral of the story was I got to watch Arrested Development and every other TV show or internet video I wanted on the magic AppleTV box.

Which inspired my ringtone.


Link is in iPhone format so you will need iTunes to play it.

iPhone Ringtone Organizer