February
26
Filed Under (Humor, Politics) by Justin on 2007-02-26

Everyone is abuzz today about Al Gore’s “documentary” winning the Oscar for Best Documentary last night. Brandon summed up all the press fairly well:

In case you needed more evidence that liberalism thrives in Hollywood; and, in case you needed more evidence that the Academy Awards is rife with liberal politics: in a stunning turn of non-surprise, Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” won the Oscar for “Best Documentary.”

To my knowledge, this is the first completely fiction movie to win “Best Documentary.”

So, imagine my surprise when I hopped over to Drudge Report tonight and found this utterly hilarious press release issued today by the Tennessee Center for Policy Research.

February 26, 2007

For Further Information, Contact:
Nicole Williams, (615) 383-6431
editor -a t – tennesseepolicy dot org

Al Gore’s Personal Energy Use Is His Own “Inconvenient Truth”
Gore’s home uses more than 20 times the national average

Last night, Al Gore’s global-warming documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, collected an Oscar for best documentary feature, but the Tennessee Center for Policy Research has found that Gore deserves a gold statue for hypocrisy.

Gore’s mansion, located in the posh Belle Meade area of Nashville, consumes more electricity every month than the average American household uses in an entire year, according to the Nashville Electric Service (NES).

In his documentary, the former Vice President calls on Americans to conserve energy by reducing electricity consumption at home.

The average household in America consumes 10,656 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year, according to the Department of Energy. In 2006, Gore devoured nearly 221,000 kWh—more than 20 times the national average.

Last August alone, Gore burned through 22,619 kWh—guzzling more than twice the electricity in one month than an average American family uses in an entire year. As a result of his energy consumption, Gore’s average monthly electric bill topped $1,359.

Since the release of An Inconvenient Truth, Gore’s energy consumption has increased from an average of 16,200 kWh per month in 2005, to 18,400 kWh per month in 2006.

Gore’s extravagant energy use does not stop at his electric bill. Natural gas bills for Gore’s mansion and guest house averaged $1,080 per month last year.

“As the spokesman of choice for the global warming movement, Al Gore has to be willing to walk the walk, not just talk the talk, when it comes to home energy use,” said Tennessee Center for Policy Research President Drew Johnson.

In total, Gore paid nearly $30,000 in combined electricity and natural gas bills for his Nashville estate in 2006.

I have no idea how they got their hands on such figures, but I’m glad they did. Here on the right, we couldn’t make that stuff up if we wanted to.

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February
21
Filed Under (church, Geekspeak) by Justin on 2007-02-21

I’m shopping for a gently used Mac for my church. I believe we need a dedicated machine for recording and other audio related functions to free up the projection machine a bit more and to simplify the workflow. Ideally, I think I want a year or two old laptop (Powerbook or iBook?), but I wouldn’t be opposed to a Mac mini or one of the newer iMacs. Since it’s for the church, budget is the most important factor, but I’d like to get at least 512MB of RAM and a 40GB hard drive, but I wouldn’t complain about anything above that. The HD isn’t much of an issue, the permanent audio archives will be stored on a file server that I’m about to setup. I haven’t even taken this to the proper committee yet (well, actually I’m 1/3 of the Technical Committee), but I can’t imagine that I’ll be alotted any more than $500 – hence the reason I want a used machine and not a brand new mini.

Push come to shove, I’m going to donate my old G3 iMac, but it’s pretty large in comparison to the other options, and space is definitely an issue in my sound booth.

If any of you out there have a Mac that you want to unload, or if you just have some helpful advice for me – leave a note on this post.

Update: I should have stated that we are a 501(c) 3 non-profit, so if anyone just happened to have something they wanted to donate or even sell it to us at below fair-market value, we can issue you a receipt for your charitable contribution.

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February
20
Filed Under (Geekspeak) by Justin on 2007-02-20

Have any of you ever tried talking someone through disabling the bundled Windows Firewall? It’s pretty easy to do if your end-user knows what their Control Panel is and if they know the difference between an icon and an iPod, but sometimes, it’s just not that simple and you can spend 15 minutes trying to describe to the user what “doodads” and “thingamajigs” to click on. Allow me to introduce you to

netsh

– a nifty command line tool designed to interface with the Windows networking stack. For example, to disable the firewall, enter the following command in the Run dialog, or from a Command Line:

netsh firewall set opmode disable

There are tons of other options as well. Just go to a Command Line and type netsh help to see all of the things you can manipulate using netsh. For the record, it took my user all of 30 seconds to copy/paste the command into the Run dialog and execute it, disabling the firewall and enabling my remote access to their machine.

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February
20
Filed Under (Geekspeak, Humor) by Justin on 2007-02-20

Some crackhead Perl coders decided to do a demo of the new speech recognition engine in Windows Vista by writing a very short and simple Perl script in Notepad. The results are a little over 10 minutes long and painful at times, but was literally laughing out loud, prompting one of my co-workers to pop into my office and ask what was so funny. I think even for non-geeks, it should be pretty funny. You’ll probably start getting bored and want to stop it around the two or three minute mark, but I urge you to keep watching. It only gets funnier.

Enjoy!

Hat tip: Donncha

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February
19
Filed Under (Humor, Sports) by Justin on 2007-02-19

I saw this on someone’s MySpace profile a few minutes ago and couldn’t resist borrowing it. I did edit it to remove some non-G-rated language and make it appropriate for posting here at wantmoore.com.

Remove Duke Stains

So there ya have it – Tide can remove even the filthiest of stains!

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February
19
Filed Under (Geekspeak) by Justin on 2007-02-19

I’ve all but made up my mind about the Treo. Unfortunately, its a bit of a Catch-22 for me. I’m absolutely in love with the Treo 700w when it works, however, the more I use it, the less often that is. I definitely need a mobile email device, but from reading the reviews at Phone Scoop, the only great alternative is the Blackberry 8703e, and I’m not a terribly huge fan of the Blackberry platform. Most people don’t favor the Q very much in favor of the Treo, and from what I read, lots of people have tried both, not being a big fan of the first one they tried.

About the Treo… In the past ten days, I’ve had to remove the battery five or six times to get the thing to reboot and become usable again. I actually do like Windows Mobile 5, but it’s totally unreliable, both as a base operating system, and as a telephone platform. Another recurring problem is a WM5 crash of device.exe – at least once every other day, when I press the on/off key to check my mail or calendar, I’m presented with a lovely info bubble stating that there’s been a problem with device.exe and it needs to close. This is a common problem and I may have discovered a solution that fixes that as well as the battery life trouble. Even here in Shelby, I haven’t been able to go a full day without charging yet.

All that being said, as I echoed in my original post about the Treo, I can live with most of these shortcomings (especially if the fix above did indeed work), but the one I’m stuck on is signal strength. I often find myself in weak signal areas, and so far, the Treo has not impressed me in that regard.

I was also not terribly impressed with the screen quality, but I’ve since found a slider in Settings -> System -> Brightness that made it much better.

Well, I just had another calling problem with it. I tried to call Bonnie and it kept saying “Dialing” on the screen, but never showed that it connected and after about 30 seconds it gave up. I redialed and it worked fine, and Bonnie says “Oh, I can hear you now” – apparently it did call her before, but it never connected the call on my end. I’m on my way out to go to Verizon now and see what they have to say. The best news they could give me is that they have some new, unpublished firmware that they can let me try. Worst case scenario, I’m walking out with a Blackberry and $50 worth of accessories I ordered will need to be returned upon arrival.

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February
14
Filed Under (Geekspeak) by Justin on 2007-02-14

I picked up my Treo 700w at the local Verizon Wireless store on Friday, and have had a few days to get adjusted to it, so I thought I would pin down some initial reactions.

I’m not a particularly huge fan of the Treo 700w at this point. There are two things about my Motorola E815 that had me spoiled. Number one was the amazing signal strength – I can think of maybe two times in almost two years where I was unable to get a signal. I’ve spent a few days out “in the sticks” where my family is and while the service there is weak, it was mostly non-existant for the Treo. This is a huge sticking point for me – what good is a phone if I can’t get a signal to make a call?

Item number two is just as bad – battery life. While this likely has something to do with number one (cell phones use more battery when trying to stay locked on to weaker signals), I’m not totally convinced that it’s going to improve a lot here in Shelby from what I’ve seen today.

I also have a few other minor annoyances. The screen is pretty dim, and therefore fairly difficult to read in either direct or indirect sunlight (in the car for example) and the screen’s actual resolution just seems not quite right to me. I’ve had to remove the Treo’s battery twice because it wouldn’t power on, at all, when I know good and well it had at least half of it’s battery life left. I’m not sure if this is Microsoft’s fault for a shoddy OS platform, Palm’s fault for their customization of the OS, or Verizon’s fault for their software. Finally, (and this I remember despising from a few years ago when I had a Compaq iPaq), I hate the fact that applications don’t end when you close them. I understand that it saves time from loading them again the next time you start, but it takes away from available memory, and probably aides in the quickly evaporating battery life.

Despite those two major points and the other minor ones, I don’t really hate the Treo. It’s a lot more comfortable to talk on than I expected, given the device’s odd shape. It’s also not nearly as awkward in my pocket as I thought it would be. Just merely being able to access my email via IMAP on it has been a huge convenience over the past couple days (more on that in a later post). I’m adjusting to thumb-typing on a QWERTY keyboard fairly easily and in no way do I miss T9 or whatever Motorola’s version was called. One of my favorite conveniences so far is that I have the Asterisk server at work email voicemails to me and I can play them directly on the Treo without having to dial in to the system at work.

So, there is a quick review for you. I’m really on the fence right now about returning it and getting the Q, as I’ve heard the screen resolution and battery life are much better, and in my experience with Motorola, the signal strength would also be much improved. That being said, I already ordered a bunch of accessories (car charger, sideways leather case, additional AC charger) and I think those will help offset the battery life problem for me. I think I have 14 days with Verizon’s Worry-Free guarantee to see what I think, so I’ll probably give it a few more days now that I’m going to be around town and see how it goes.

If anyone has any suggestions of applications I need to install, I’m all ears. Particularly if you know of a better IMAP mail client than the one built in to WM5.

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February
07
Filed Under (Geekspeak, Work) by Justin on 2007-02-07

Hopefully I’m not putting the cart before the horse here (since I know my boss reads this), but odds are, my employer is about to get me a Smartphone, and I couldn’t be happier unless they were also buying me a new laptop (insert snicker here). However, I ‘m left with a bit of a tough choice. Brandon just got a Treo 700w a few weeks ago and he’s absolutely in love with it. He and I normally have almost identical opinions (and needs) when it comes to phones and gadgets, so I have to respect his opinion, even though he’s yet to write up a full review (*ahem*). We’re so much alike in this area, that he’s followed my lead on our last two phone acquisitions, first with the Verizon/LG VX6000 back in late 2003 and then the Motorola E815 in August of 2005.

However, for some reason, I can’t just scroll past the Motorola Q when I go to Verizon’s web site to drool for a while. Maybe it’s the thin-factor, or maybe it’s because its a Motorola (my E815 is by far and away my favorite phone I’ve ever touched), but there’s just something appealing about the Q to me. They both run Windows Mobile 5 and have very similar sized displays, so I’m really having a hard time. Also, for my company’s pocketbook, the Q is about half the price of the Treo 700w.

So, I’d like some input from you folks, particularly any of you who my happen to own either of these devices (or some other Windows Mobile Smartphone) and especially if you use it with Linux in any way. I know that the Treo 700w can be used as a modem when attached via USB, out of the box if I’m not mistaken, which is definitely a huge plus for me as I often need connectivity for my laptop while on the road. Being able to do that over Bluetooth with a Smartphone would be even better.

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