Prince covers “Creep”

The Youtube link is now dead, but if you want to download the mp3, click here. Meanwhile, follow the link below and check out the comments, where someone has compiled a list of other bands covering Creep, notably Korn and the Pretenders. I should post my RockBand interpretation 🙂

Prince covers "Creep" – Sound Check – MassLive.com


Phone Spam

Not sure if any of you get spam calls on your cell phones or not, but in the past couple of weeks, I’ve been called about 5 times by a prerecorded message offering to extend the factory warranty on my car. It’s really annoying. This is despite my cell phone being registered at the National Do Not Call Registry.
So here’s what you should do if you’re annoyed to the point that you feel like you want to do something about this:

  • Look up the number at whocalled.us. This site allows you to look up numbers (reverse lookup), and put comments on there if it’s a spammer. For example, the number that I’m getting calls from has this record.
  • File a complaint with the FCC. I did this, and it took about 5 minutes. We’ll see if anything happens.
  • Refile with the Do Not Call Registry. Just to make sure.
  • Add the number to your cell phone’s address book, if you feel so inclined, with some name like “Spam, don’t answer!” so that when the caller calls, you won’t be tempted to answer, thinking that maybe some long-lost friend is calling. Personally, I don’t want to clutter my address book with spam phone numbers — I sort of feel like if they make it into my address book, then they’ve won.


2 steps forward, 1 step back with my MediaCenter

In February, when Mike and Jake were in town to visit, I discovered a problem with my MediaCenter PC, an HP m11660n that I bought in Jan 2005. After I needed to unplug the PC during our move, it wouldn’t boot up; in fact, the processor/motherboard wouldn’t even power on. Meanwhile, when the computer was plugged in, a strange ticking noise came from the power supply. Hoping for the quickest and easiest fix, I picked up a $23 power supply as a replacement. However, right before I installed it, I tried the original PSU once more, and this time, as luck would have it, the PC booted up. Not wanting to look a gift horse in the mouth, I just let the computer run, using it as my main DVR for OTA HDTV.

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Roku Netflix Set Top Box

Anyone take note of the Roku Set Top Box that enables streaming of Netflix Watch Now movies to your TV? Wired had a nice review. The WatchNow catalog is somewhat lacking and the quality is terrible over my slow DSL, but the concept is really pretty appealing.  There are a couple of plug ins that work with Vista Media Center and extenders (MyNetflix, vmcNetflix), but for XP users like myself, I’ve had to make do with the browser-based player. A set-top box with a nice interface is a good way to make this type of thing mainstream, works with your existing Netflix account, and the price is certainly right ($100). I wonder why the major studios have been slow to release their catalog for the streaming service, which is essentially a subscription service that costs as little as $10/mo for unlimited video-on-demand. From the studio perspective, how is that any different than Netflix’s regular DVD-by-mail model?  It’s the same concept with a different delivery mechanism, unless they believe that DVD offers better piracy protection than streaming?

In related news, Amazon kind of announced their own streaming service, which will apparently be a la carte.


Greatest Ever Scam

Wired has the scoop on a guy who made $50,000 by opening up thousands of brokerage accounts then “verifying” his bank accounts by having them deposit $0.02-0.99 into the bank account for each of his brokerage accounts. The Feds, being the player haters that they are, have charged the wily sap with some Patriot Act violation. I think I’ve cleared over $2 from those schemes, but never took it to this level! Here’s the reigning champ in the best scam ever category.


new treos

New Treos are on the way, and the Treo 850 looks pretty promising, hardware wise. The Treo 800 looked quite ugly in as leaked to Engadget, but I’m thinking that was a developer casing and (hope) that the 800 will match the styling of the 850. Both are WinMo phones, I think the PalmOS phones have reached the end of the line while we all wait for Palm Nova, the next-gen Linux OS.
The specs on the 850? Look pretty good, 320×320 touchscreen, GPS, WiFi, 2MP camera, microSD, micro USB, Bluetooth 2.0 w/ A2DP, and more. Remember when a quarter of the posts on The Board used to be Palm related? Oh, how the never-really-mighty have fallen.


Martian Landscape

Martian Landscape from Mars Phoenix Lander

I’ve been following the progress of the Mars Phoenix lander on Twitter, and it looks like a smashing succcess so far! Here’s video of the launch from last August, which I likely played a tiny role in, since it was a Delta II. Looks like the site is down now, but the image gallery should be available soon enough. EDIT: More pictures here.


Stimulating the Economy

Woohoo, the economic stimulus package came through for our household– $140 got deposited this morning. I suppose we have Lucas to thank for that. Not only did he increase the theoretical max rebate amount for us, we would have gotten nothing if Serena put in a full year of work. Anyway, I hope America appreciates me stimulating the economy by buying Rockband for my XBox. I imagine that will somehow trickle down to the poor starving musicians who’ll turn around and buy Escalades or something like that.


Another Palose Verdes Half Marathon

Marathoners starting the long run
Slow this year, 2:02:02. Hot day, but mostly out of shape. Full report at Jake’s Adventures.


Like He’s Standing Still

This is Lucas, standing on his own for the first time this morning, while dad runs off faster than the camera can see. The contrast is pretty amazing :).