Friday, August 31, 2007

Computer Years (as in doggie years)

Doggie years are commonly calculated as 7:1 to human years. Kitty years are less straight forward, as they age rapidly at first and then slow way down.

My thinking is that computers and software can be similarly generalized with respect to their life expectancy. Here's my formula for Computer years:

  • 16:1 for the first 5 years
  • 3:1 thereafter

That would make a system that is three years old 48, 5 years old would be 80. 10 years old, 95.

Since I have created a few major and minor systems and pieces of software that have lived very long lives, I would like their ages considered with these benchmarks.

Even as many things I have done have lived much longer than I expected (10-11 years in some cases), there also has been an alarmingly high infant mortality rate!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Oh, man, I bought the wrong phone

In late June I picked up new phones for the family. My daughter had been complaining about our aging Samsungs and wanted a "feature phone." We opted for new technology from Samsung and some slight modifications to our AT+T plan.

We got three Samsung "Sync" phones (A707) and one Samsung A727 (for me). All of these phones support 3G and streaming video - true broadband. This is really impressive stuff, but I am currently not paying for these services. They also have cool cameras (2 mega pixels on the Syncs and 1.3 mega pixels on the A727) and some somewhat less cool other stuff, like MP3 players. I bought a mess of 2GB micro SD cards so we all have some pretty good storage available.

We're all happy with these and with our changes to the AT+T plan, but a couple weeks ago Gurpreet Maini showed me what he can do with his Samsung Blackjack. It really is the same technology as the A707 and A727 (and Samsung has subsequently released several more phones in this line), but the blackjack has a fully qwerty keyboard and I think a slightly better display than the A727. The A707 or A727 can also act as a broadband modem. The two coolest things that Gurpreet had going with his Blackjack were running his computer off the 3G wireless broadband (amazing) and the setup he had with his home cable TV so that all the channels to which he subscribes are available to him remotely. I believe he uses something called Slingbox for this, but it might be something else (

On our recent trip to the east coast I was amazed when I was out on the Cape May-Lewes Ferry and saw some guy talking on his cell phone, even though we were very far from either shore. I checked and I had 3G signal!

I guess the people who really might think, "Oh man, I bought the wrong phone" might be iPhone buyers. There is no way you could get the kind of bandwidth from the Apple phone. I guess you would have to weigh the alternative of the versatility of each and the major advantages one has in bandwidth and the other in cool user interface. I am still happy with the A727, but technolust is so easy to catch.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

How I Spent My Scion Vacation

The Scion car trip went extremely well. The tC got about 1930 miles logged on it and performed extremely well - 31 miles per gallon, low driver fatigue, lots of smiles.
How I Spent My Scion Vacation - S400


Monday - drive from Mentor, Ohio to Salisbury, Maryland
Tuesday - Salisbury to Atlantic City, down the coast, taking the Cape May-Lewes Ferry, to Rehoboth Beach (and Dogfish Head Brewing), to Ocean City, Maryland back to Salisbury.
Wednesday - Salisbury, across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel to Virgina Beach, to the Outer Banks, North Carolina.
Thursday - Outer Banks
Friday - Kill Devil Hills to Shenandoah National Park to Mentor.

There were plenty of cool sites to see, and the new tC is no longer brand new (it started the trip with around 600 miles on it).

In North Carolina we stayed in a very retro but clean motel called the Cavalier. Wednesday night is their free hot dog night (oh boy!). It was fun. A musician who was staying at the hotel set up and did an elaborate one man band set. Nice, folksy people, and an unbeatable beach location.

I uploaded most of the pictures we took, allowing Picasa to cut down the size. The quantity of photos is large (over 300), but viewing a longish slide show can be fun. To make viewing a little easier, and to keep the technical and artistic side of me somewhat satisfied, I divided it into three albums, based on the camera that shot them. The Canon S400 album is linked at the top, the two cell phone cameras' albums are linked from the other two pictures below.
How I Spent My Scion Vacation - A707

How I Spent My Scion Vacation - A727

Bob Klass

August 19, 2007

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Inauspicious Start to My Vacation

The weather just wouldn't let up today. Me and Matt were going to go to Cedar Point again today, but we've been getting a lot of rain the last couple weeks and today was really bad.

We really wanted to ride the new coaster Maverick, especially since it wasn't finished when we went to the point in May.

We waited for a couple severe storms to pass (watching NOACC radar) and then gave it a shot. We got to Sandusky and hesitated, but drove into the park anyway ($10 to drive in). We drove around a bit, didn't see much running in the park (few coasters, etc.) so we slowly made our way to Famous Dave's on the pier. We love going there - having beer and chicken wings. We killed as much time as we could there. The rain was weak, and several of the big coasters started running, but we were looking at the time - it was getting to be 3PM, and then it started raining again, so we just decided to go back.

Since driving the new car (need to get some break in miles) was one of the objectives, it wasn't so bad. It also was a downpour for much of the drive home. Had we gone to the park we would have been bummed.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Messy Studio Tour

Very few of you have been to the Litterbox II Studio. That's actually a GLORIFIED name for this studio - the old Litterbox in my old house was a place where many more cool recording sessions happened.

I've done a very low grade cell phone video tour, transferred by blue tooth! to the PC you will see in the movie, and uploaded to Google Video (more private than You Tube).

After you see some of the mess you will understand why I have accomplished very little musically in the last 11 years. I have, however, accumulated some incredible sounding hi-fi gear and a marvelous collection of instruments (as Mark Adams would say, "that nobody has heard"). The rack full of big tube amps, the cool speakers, two walls of records - I'm happy with all that. And I improvise a lot on the keys, I just don't record much, even though I have killer recording gear (in the tour I don't mention the Edirol 24 bit 192 kHz 10 in 10 out interface).

If I inventoried ALL the sound boxes and stuff, the video would be really long and boring! I skim over most stuff.

Thanks for watching. Is it boring?

Bob Klass
August 8, 2007

Sunday, August 05, 2007

The Saga and the Road Trip

The Scion saga is toning down (you really need to read the thread from the bottom up). We took delivery on Saturday (August 4), sans spoiler. Spoiler will arrive and be installed at some time - maybe Tuesday. In the mean time, we can get some miles on it. I still like it, of course. Even more, I think. It is a well designed and built machine. I just wish it were done the way we wanted. The general manager of the dealership gave us a significant concession to try to make us feel better. It worked. I could have stopped payment on the check - I was amazed that it hadn't yet been paid. Instead I'm pretty happy.

It was nice to drive a round a bit. We went to the Wickliffe High School Alumni ice cream social at a park called Penitentiary Glen. My good friend Frank (and Matt's boss - Frank is the president of Omnia Telos) was running his steam train and giving rides. It certainly is a unique hobby. He loves it. I needed to go to a Wal-Mart to get stuff to work on Matt's car before he takes off for Purdue. We drove intentionally in the wrong direction from the park and eventually one popped up (in Chardon).

From August 4, 2007

The plan for the road trip is interesting. Very soon (after Matt is back at school) we're going to take an extended drive in the Scion tC (5 days). We originally were thinking of driving up to Toronto (haven't been there is quite a while) and maybe Montreal (never been there). We also had toyed with driving all the way to Pullman, Washington, where my niece is starting grad school (to be a veterinarian). Other possibilities were Nashville/Memphis or New York. We settled on a loop through Washington, D.C. along the coast to Cape Hatteras, and back through the mountains. I was only in Cape Hatteras once before, with Chris Bauer. I remember it as a beautiful place with an endless beach. I really need some time away from work.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Scion, oh mighty Scion

Your bison now are dust!
As your cornflakes rise
"Gainst the rust-red skies,
Then our blood requires us must
Go ...

OK, anybody know the next line? A few of you will get the reference right away. Of course the original lyric was "Zion, oh mighty Zion," but to me Scion always sounded like Zion.

Thursday came and went and the dealer (Classic) couldn't deliver my tC when they said they would.

Having seen a bunch of Scions with no spoiler, the "lip" spoiler (a little thing), and the "pedestal" spoiler, it was clear that the lip was best. No spoiler was naked, and the pedestal, while not bad, made the car look too toy-like from a distance. The prices were both steep - $385 for the lip and $475 for the pedestal.

They first ordered the wrong part. The part numbers have changed for the 2008's. Then they procured another locally - oops, a pedestal. Then it just didn't arrive when it should have.

Now I have to take the car naked because we are planning to take a car trip very soon and I really don't want to do that without driving it a little. If I have to take my trip with it incomplete I will be furious.

The moment was ruined. Instead of being really happy about my purchase, I am angry. I still think the car and options were an excellent selection and in a week or so I shouldn't remember this. Ah, but it is inscribed in this blog for all posterity.

Bob Klass
August 3, 2007

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

"But Tuesday's just as ...

..." (it's supposed to be "bad"). But not. We ordered and paid for the 2008 Scion tC yesterday and get it Thursday (which won't be "oh so sad").

The tC won a shootout of 4 cylinder automatic coupes that included a new Eclipse, a Civic EX Coupe and a 2008 Nissan Altima Coupe. The tC was the ugly duckling of the bunch but it was the fastest and most fun to drive. And like other Scions, the ugliness grows on you (it's really not ugly, just different).

Now to plan a road trip. Just driving somewhere is the key, where doesn't matter too much.