hey buddy

Image removed because the Narwal image police came after me.

The New York Times had a really interesting article about the narwhal whale last week. For those too lazy to read the whole thing, there are these whales with long straight tusks that nobody had a clue what they were used for. And the new discovery part is that it is a type of sensory organ that can do neat stuff like sense the salinity of the ocean to determine whether it might be prone to freezing on them.

Props to Elf for including a narwhal, with a speaking part no less. (Audio clip from the movie here .WAV)

They are my new favorite whale.


today’s crackpot blogger theory

healthcare2It has long been noted that Canada has a disproportionate number of successful musicians and comedians. If you haven’t heard, loads of your favorite entertainers are from there and the country only has 32 million people (less than Myanmar!).

If you don’t believe me, check out CanadianCelebs.com.

I had a moment while listening to the new Broken Social Scene (Canadian super-indie-group) album where I pondered, wow, it must be a nice feeling to be a Canadian musician. “Free to work on whatever material I want, take chances and know that no matter how risky the artistic endeavor I’ll still have health care. Plus we live in the second largest country in the world by land mass so there’s lots of space and housing prices ought to be reasonable.”

Universal healthcare in the US would have a huge range of implications: good, bad, frustrating, unexpected other. But I would propose that it would be a boon the arts and artists. I could even bore you with some reasons why it wouldn’t even cost everyone else more.


birthday burger

Birthday burger

Originally uploaded by ewphoto.

I mentioned these burgers once before here (http://www.coreyh.com/blog/archive/2004/06/03/436.aspx), but they are worth mentioning again.

Fairway Cafe on the upper west side, the restaurant above the Fairway supermarket. I don’t really need to talk about them because, well, just look at that picture.

Oh yeah, my birthday was yesterday (Dec 26) and I am now 30 years old.


extended tivo’s lease on life

I purchased my Tivo in 1999. The 30 hr Sony model has served me well — reliably, if not excitingly. It doesn’t play streams off the internet, I can’t even get it do to a photo slide show, but when you go away for a two week business trip, you want it to capture every Mythbusters and What Not to Wear, no matter what. And that’s what this box did.

Spinning constantly for 6+ years, the hard drive finally gave out. Which left me with choices

  1. Buy a shiny new Windows Media Center PC
  2. Buy a new series 2 Tivo
  3. Get a “DVR” from Time Warner Cable
  4. Get a replacement harddrive for the existing machine

This turned out to be a not-so-difficult decision. I felt that it didn’t make sense to go with a Media Center PC when I don’t have HDTV. And damn no matter how you slice it they are expensive. Likewise a series 2 Tivo made no sense because I bought “lifetime” service with the original box and while it sounds like it might mean my lifetime, it means lifetime for the box itself. So if I bought a new Tivo I’d have to get a new service plan and well F that. For #3, I already pay $125 a month for cable and I just can’t stomach paying yet more money every single month to Time Warner Cable.

So I went for the smallest drive available, a $120 replacement drive from WeaKnees. You can’t just go buy a blank drive from CompUSA because the whole Tivo software and operating system (a PPC linux btw) lives on it and the process to build it is tricky enough that you want someone else to do it for you. So WeaKnees sells them all ready to go, their name comes from the idea that it is too scary to do yourself. I don’t actually know how big the drive is in GB, but it is listed as a 90 hours. Not bad. And I figure this setup will get me through the last of the non-HDTV years or months.


“laser” mouse

lasermouseMy old faithful Intellimouse Explorer’s scroll wheel became clogged on what must be the combined microscopic remnants of a thousand lunches eaten at my desk. When I noticed an actual scrolling callus developing I decided to throw on the coat and walk the long block up to CompUSA for a replacement.

I knew I wanted a wired mouse since I already have enough battery anxiety in my life — battery anxiety being the constant nervousness brought on by countless battery powered life necessities. And even though it was being targeted at gamers, I opted for the laser mouse 6000, because well, let’s face it, it has a laser in it and the model number is 6000, which is very high. The old kind, optical, is just a LED of some kind I guess. When you turn it over you can’t see the laser though, it is an invisible laser.

This does seem to be quite precise, which is the whole selling point of the lasers. I am new to this concept, since my old one seemed precise enough, but I have noticed that with 1600×1200 resolution and occasionally trying to move images one pixel at a time or click on very small buttons, this mouse does a good job.

My complaints are all based on the fact that it is omni-handed, or whatever you call something that is made for right and left handed people equally. This screws up the general feel and puts the #3 and #4 buttons in odd places, which I’m not happy about. Still I sit here long enough to be able train my hand to get used to it.

$49 at CompUSA.


driving directions step backwards

Circa 1993, my family was using (Autoroute?) a DOS based driving directions program. I believe this is what ended up evolving in to MS Streets & Trips. Anyway, it was pretty good. It was geared towards a user that is trying plan a trip with features to match. You could specify that you wanted to stay off certain types of roads, you could mark certain points you wanted to stop along the way, specify how fast you drive. It would give you choices like a) fastest route b) shortest route c) scenic route.

I wanted to point fellow ski house mates to the best way to get to Mt Snow VT and just tried to get one the heavily touted and heavily invested online services to do something even close and came up way short. They insisted on I-95 and anyone knows that has actually done the trip both ways, you want to take the Merritt parkway. I guess I’m just pointing out that I might prefer to have a few more practical features pushed up the priority list before some of the more eye-popping stuff. Granted the new MS Live bird’s eye view is incredible.


Notification – Your CON EDISON bill has arrived

My latest optimization project has been the electric bill. I bought some of the new breed fluorescent lights for the kitchen, they have a nice soft light and don’t seem to flicker as much as the standard office kind. They put out the same light as a 65 watt incandescent (regular) bulb, but only use like 12 watts each. As much as it annoys me to do, I’ve been putting the computer to stand-by at night. Consumption went from 421 KWH last month to 399, but my bill went up by $20. 

A bill from CON EDISON has arrived. 
Billing Details
 Payee Information
Current balance: $119.28
Minimum payment: $119.28
Due by: 12/30/2005
Payment option: Manual
Receive, review, pay, and organize all your bills online.

Am I the only one surprised by this? I knew that heating oil prices would be up this winter, but I hadn’t read anything about electricity going up. My landlord pays the heating bill, so I’m sure I’ll see that reflected in next year’s rent negotiations.

I know I probably read too much Paul Krugman, but I am definitely one of those working people who feel like supposed positive economic trends do not seem to trickling down into my checking account. There seem to be a lot of these little attack vectors that while each are small are having a significant net-effect on my balance sheet.

Oh, btw, I use this service called Paytrust, which is a deluxe third party bill pay service. My bills actually get sent to their address in South Dakota and they scan and OCR them. I can do all sorts of fancy things with it from there, and it is all online, so I get almost no bills in my mailbox at home and can receive and pay them from wherever I happen to be. Recommended.


blogjet fever

I’m excited to announce the new release – BlogJet 1.6 “Lime”! (Lime is a codename ).

NEW FEATURES [edited by Corey]

Download here: http://www.blogjet.com/download/
Buy here: http://www.blogjet.com/order/