Archive for ‘April, 2008’

NAB2008 – Trip to Arizona and New Mexico

datePosted on 15:38, April 27th, 2008 by Many Ayromlou

Well this trip was by far the longest one we’ve (the three amigos) have taken. The Flickr set is here if you don’t want to read about the details below. It all started about a year ago when I found out about the Black Hole company in Los Alamos, a recycler of “nuclear waste” that has the world’s most diverse stock of used scientific equipment, electronics, lab supplies, nuclear by-products, surplus items and manterials. Basically one of the largest most well stocked surplus stores I’ve ever visited. The Black Hole became our final destination and we build the trip around it.

We left Las Vegas and NAB2008 around 14:00 on Thursday April 17 and drove like crazy on I-40 East through Kingman, Flagstaff, Winslow and stayed the night in Holbrook. This was roughly 550 Km, and the first leg of our trip. Next morning on April 18, I woke up quite early and photographed the nearby Wigwam Village #6. We got “fed up” at the local Denny’s (Moons Overmyhammy….Yummm) and left Holbrook on US-180 to get to the southern entrance of Petrified Forest National Park. We visited the entire park including the northern part (Painted Desert) and got back on I-40 (old Route-66) towards Albuquerque. We were going to spend the night there, but decided that it would be better to work our way toward Roswell (our next stop for Saturday) and so decided to stay the night in Socorro, NM. We were 1042 Km into our trip. If you’re ever in Socorro, visit their micro brew pub and try the “Pick Axe” IPA……yummm.

_MG_3062 - Version 2
The next day (Saturday April 19) we woke up early and again did the Moon’s Overmyhammy thing at the local Denny’s and proceeded to drive down to Roswell to find those damn Aliens and see if we could find some Alien Tech :-). This took us through San Antonio and Carrizozo on US-380 where we passed by the Trinity test site plaque. Glowing nice and green we pulled into Roswell and spent a couple of hours doing research at the Roswell International UFO research centre and museum. Once we found the Alien-tech we took off on I-70 through the mountain passes and arrived at our destination for the night, Alamagordo. We had traveled 1495 Km by this time. The night was young and we decided that we were going to dump our luggage in our “dumpy” hotel and race to White Sands National Monument and catch the sunset. Once we got there we found out about their ranger led 1 hour sunset tour and decided to do that. We were unfortunately not rewarded with a spectacular sunset (it was mostly cloudy), but got lucky and caught a very rare bluemoon over the dunes for about 4-5 minutes. We went back to our “dumpy” motel for the night.

_MG_3830The next morning (Sunday, April 20) we checked out, got fed up at Denny’s again (please no more Moon Overmyhammy….) and went back to White Sands to do more exploring. This place is like a Hot version of North Pole. You see brilliant white everywhere you look (well except up, which is blue), but it’s warm and windy. I decided to do a barefoot hike on the Alkaline Flat Trail. Take my advice, take lots of water, lots of sunscreen and go barefoot. The sand is nice and cold (since it’s so white) and feels great between your toes. The whole trail was about 4 miles which was just enough to digest the Moon Overmyhammy from that morning :-). We got back in the car and drove another 40 miles down on US-70 to White Sands Missile Range. This place was a bit scary, but the guards were very nice and let us inside the missile museum. We were warned to shot pictures with the mountains in the background only (ie: north) and not point our camera South, East or West and we were not gonna argue :-). We left there and drove straight on I-25 North to Santa Fe, wolfed down a couple of Quarter Pounders (no food places open after 18:00 in Los Alamos, from what we heard) and took the widening road up the mountain to Los Alamos and arrived there around 18:00. We had chewed through 2173 Km’s by this time. We checked into our hotel and meet up with our good friend Cindy who works at the Lab’s, had a couple of beers and went to bed.

_MG_3926The next day (Monday, April 21) we drove around town and failing to find Denny’s (thank god), decided to go to McDee’s for breakfast. Once fed, we were gonna go to the Bradbury Science Museum, but found that it opened at 13:00 on Mondays. Man, life must be pretty shweet up there in the mountains with half-day siesta’s :-). Anyways, we decided to go and see Ed Grothus at the Black Hole. This was a treat and I thoroughly enjoyed Ed and his weird and wonderful Black Hole. Definitely a place to visit if you’re near Los Alamos. We got a bit of a bonus once my buddy Brad found out about the White Rock Overlook and the nearby Bandelier National Monument. White Rock Overlook (yeah, we found out, white rock is the name of the town, no white coloured rock at the overlook) was kinda cool with it’s view of the Rio Grande. We double-backed from there and went to Bandelier National Monument which was a total surprise. What a great National Park and how severely underrated. We asked around about places to visit in Los Alamos and almost no one told us about it. We found it in a brochure and decided to give it a try. I’m very happy that we did. One of those gotta go places if you’re in the Los Alamos/Santa Fe Area.

_MG_4088After all the adventure, we drove back to Albuquerque since we had to drop off the car there the next morning (Tuesday, April 22) and catch our flight to Denver and then to Toronto. We got to Albuquerque around 17:00 after having driven a total of 2342 Kilometers, parked our butts in our $53.99 Suites, bought some beer and ordered Pizza for the night.

Next morning (Tuesday, April 22), we dropped off our car at the Alamo drop off (which was a bit of an adventure to find), hopped on the shuttle and said goodbye to New Mexico, my new favorite place in United States. Sorry Arizona, you guys got demoted to number two :-). Check out all my pictures from this trip on flickr.

Expo Galore……

datePosted on 18:21, April 26th, 2008 by Many Ayromlou

Browsing through Flickr sets I came across ninecormorants sets from Montreal Expo 1967 and New York Expo 1964. Believe it or not these photos were found on the street in Cambridge, MA. They were originally glued onto scrapbook sheets. They are all originals and as far as he can tell were taken by Lillian Seymour. Very vintage and a great visual story.

Picture book on the web

datePosted on 11:29, April 26th, 2008 by Many Ayromlou

Well earlier today I “found” and I have to say, it’s imagery heaven.

FFFFOUND! is a web service that not only allows the users to post and share their favorite images found on the web, but also dynamically recommends each user’s tastes and interests for an inspirational image-bookmarking experience!!

FFFFOUND! has an almost analog feel that tends to suck you in, so be careful, FFFFOUND! will pretty much take over your browsing life with mind-altering art and design images.

Hardy Heron is out…..

datePosted on 14:34, April 24th, 2008 by Many Ayromlou

Heha…..Ubuntu’s newest release 8.04 LTS (aka. Hardy Heron) is out and ready for your consumption. This release is major in that it’s LTS. For those of you who don’t know LTS versions of Ubuntu are supported for 3 years for the desktop version and 5 years for server version. ALL FREE….so what are you waiting for…..head over to Ubuntu Land for more info or alternatively just go to the download page.

OLPC dreams shattered?

datePosted on 21:09, April 23rd, 2008 by Many Ayromlou

According to a slashdot story:

Many participants in OLPC’s ‘Give 1 Get 1’ program of last November are now encountering what has come to be known as the ‘stuck key’ problem, in which one or more of the keys on their XO-1 laptop’s built-in keyboard become stuck in an activated position, or are activated when adjacent keys are pressed. More…..

Now I’m all for giving and sharing and all that, but what the heck are these guys thinking. First they sell us on the idea that these laptops will help kids in third world learn about computers — forgetting the fact that 90% of these kids can’t read/write. Now it turns out that because they were sourcing the cheapest material in the universe — from those same third world countries “slave-like” labour shops — the keyboards on these laptops are failing. So the next time you whip out your valet to help the third world, think about what you’re promoting and then make a donation instead. That way a school can be built, and those kids can learn how to read and write, which is much more useful to them than a broken computer that will end up poisoning them eventually.

De-evolution of Man….

datePosted on 20:40, April 23rd, 2008 by Many Ayromlou

Sad but true…..

And the battle continue….

datePosted on 19:34, April 23rd, 2008 by Many Ayromlou

Remember CDDB, the old database of CD’s that people built for people’s use. Well that dream got shot and killed when Gracenote, the company behind it, decided to close the platform and sell the data. It looks like private sector strikes again, big time. Sony has just announced that they bought Gracenote and their Database — remember the one that me, you and millions of others helped build — for $260m. Nice work S, now I wonder if there is a international law against buying/selling something that does not belong to you. Well ponder on that and start using freedb at where things are protected by GPL and will always remain FREE.

DIY Century Compact Flash to SATA adapter

datePosted on 19:01, April 23rd, 2008 by Many Ayromlou

This little guy supports 3 CF cards and can be used to make a relatively cheap SSD card out of everyday CF cards. That’s a quickie 96GB SSD for about $450 (plus $192.57 for the adapter plus shipping) given current on-line prices. That’s a heck of a lot cheaper than a 64GB SSD card for around $1000. So go grab a couple of these and make your laptop run like lightning.

Opps I did it again…..

datePosted on 18:52, April 23rd, 2008 by Many Ayromlou

I think I will declare today (April 23rd, 2008) as the day of SUCKERS….hehehe. This is fantastic and continues to show how damaging proprietory technologies are to your life. If the Sony ATRAC debacle didn’t serve as a warning there’s always this: Microsoft just announced that it will no longer supply authorization keys for songs purchased from the defunct MSN Music service. According to the News Desk over at Ars Technica:

Customers who have purchased music from Microsoft’s now-defunct MSN Music store are now facing a decision they never anticipated making: commit to which computers (and OS) they want to authorize forever, or give up access to the music they paid for. Why? Because Microsoft has decided that it’s done supporting the service and will be turning off the MSN Music license servers by the end of this summer.

MSN Entertainment and Video Services general manager Rob Bennett sent out an e-mail this afternoon to customers, advising them to make any and all authorizations or deauthorizations before August 31. “As of August 31, 2008, we will no longer be able to support the retrieval of license keys for the songs you purchased from MSN Music or the authorization of additional computers,” reads the e-mail seen by Ars. “You will need to obtain a license key for each of your songs downloaded from MSN Music on any new computer, and you must do so before August 31, 2008. If you attempt to transfer your songs to additional computers after August 31, 2008, those songs will not successfully play.”

Proprietary Sucks big

datePosted on 18:18, April 23rd, 2008 by Many Ayromlou

Proprietary technologies suck, no matter how good/neat they sound at the time. Case in point is the Microsoft SPOT (Smart Personal Objects Technology) technology. At a sneak preview of the watches given by Microsoft at COMDEX 2003, Microsoft began referring to the SPOT watches as “Smart Watches with MSN Direct.” The purpose of MSN Direct, a new Microsoft service to be offered through a monthly or annual subscription, was to use FM radio subcarriers to feed data to the watches, such as weather, traffic, and other information. Watch owners could choose between two subscription plans: $9.95 a month with the first month at no charge; or $59 for a full year.

I still remember sitting in my chair at the 2003 comdex keynote and asking myself why? I mean Bill kept saying that this was the future…..yeah right!!! Well I hope you don’t have one of these watches, or if you got suckered in, lets hope you didn’t pay for a full year of service. Remember kids, Proprietory SUCKS BIG. I wonder what Bill is wearing on his wrist these days :-)