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Thursday, June 28, 2007

Apple iPhone: Just Wait, Be Patient

With thousands of Apple iPhone groupies and speculators alike already standing in line outside of Cingular Wirless and Apple Stores nationwide, I have one message. Wait to get your Apple iPhone, it is not worth it. Not only is the Apple iPhone already over-priced, but it is seriously under-featured with what you get.

And let's not forget the problems that dogged the early versions of the Apple iPod. There were issues with reliability, screens scratching, and more. You can guarantee as the next couple of weeks unfold wer are going to hear about them. In addition, the phone, while providing a great media, Internet, and provides some wow features -- is missing some very important -- even critical features.

First off, the phone is not 3G or third-generation capabable. That means only the slower EDGE network and really no high-speed Internet transfers. So, who cares if you can view the internet as it is? Without a 3G network, it is useless -- unless of course, you live up in Mountain View covered by Google's WiFi. It's a non-starter for the release.

Then, let's talk about missing GPS functionality. Huge gap here, any decent phone has it now. Being somewhere and being able to get anywhere for a visit, stop, or a bit to eat is a must have in a new product.

Next there is the whole third party software and application support. Things like Instant Messaging, Adobe Flash, and PDF viewing, etc. Basic every day pieces of functionality that you need to have.

Corporate email server integration. Missing, and a big hole where RIM's Blackberry service is dominant. That's a big feature for a lot of folks with the money to afford the device.

Finally, there is the ability to download purchases from iTunes directly to the iPhone. While this goes back to the first point about 3G, it is again a major shortfall in the product. Hard to marry both worlds without it.

So, in a word -- wait until the 2nd generation of iPhones. Do not spend your time our money wait for this product that while having an impressive "wow" factor is 2-3 year behind the other products on the market. It's no Blackberry.

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Monday, June 25, 2007

Kobe Update: Are We Getting Garnett?

Wow, news moves really quickly. Early on, according to the Los Angeles times, it looked like there was a strong possibility that the we in Lakerland might get Kevin Garnett to pair up with Kobe and end this possible madness here in LA.

The owners of the Lakers and Minnesota Timberwolves have begun talks for a trade that would involve sending Kevin Garnett to the Lakers, league sources said today.

The talks turned into discussions about a four-way deal among the Lakers, Minnesota, Indiana and Boston, in which the Lakers would have gotten Garnett. However, the deal broke down, reportedly because the Celtics didn't like what they would have gotten, ending the four-way negotiations.
However, this joy was short lived because it looks like the deal has since fallen apart -- shame on you Boston.
If a proposed trade were made, Lakers Lamar Odom, Andrew Bynum and an additional player would come to Minnesota in return for Garnett, according to the Los Angeles Times.

That deal could offer the Wolves a young center with potential in Bynum, and Odom, a solid player to bridge the present and the future. Trading Garnett away would thrust the Wolves into full-scale rebuilding, and those assets could help accelerate that process.

But there might be more work left to make the trade. Wolves vice president of basketball operations Kevin McHale wants young players and high draft picks and isn't thrilled with the Lakers' offer of Odom and Bynum in addition to another player to make the trade work under the NBA's salary rules, the Times reported.
Apparently, Boston was not getting enough in the four team trade that would have involved Jermaine Oneal, Kevin Garnett, Lamar Odom, and Andrew Bynum. The great news, is that Kobe seems to be out of the trade picture for now.

Hopefully we get our man in Kevin Garnett and can look forward to a great season next year!

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Sunday, June 24, 2007

Kobe Update: Los Angeles Times Gets on Their Box

The Los Angeles times came out with an article today that the Lakers have no intention of trading Kobe -- because the cannot get fair value. As if this is some bold statement.....however, the article does make some interesting accusations exposing Kobe Bryan and ESPN's Ric Bucher.

Bryant is now being discreet, he thinks. He has dropped out of sight and is now demanding the Lakers' surrender through ESPN's Ric Bucher, one of the few confidants who have lasted throughout his career.....

.....Bucher can't quote Bryant directly, an old habit. Kobe, who had a bunker mentality as an 18-year-old Golden Child, would tell me what was on his mind, as opposed to the pablum he gave out, but didn't like going on the record......

.....Nevertheless, the message is loud, clear and broadcast daily on ESPN's many platforms.
Which in a way, makes Kobe just as bad as the Lakers "insider" that blamed his lack of leadership on the failures of the Los Angeles Lakers organization in the playoffs the last three years.

However, in a somewhat late but redeeming value -- the mention the Lakers will make a play for Kevin Garnett which would make me happy. The offer could look like Lamar Odom and Andruw Bynum getting shipped to Minnesota, which Minnesota might like since Amare is off the tables in Phoenix.

In the end, the reality is that by Kobe going public with his demand he dimished his own value effectively preventing a trade. Will his legacy be tarnished as well? Only time will tell.

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Sony PS3 Update Version 1.81 Available for Playstation

Wow, seems like every time I turn on my Sony Playstation 3 (PS3) a system update is required to continue. In fact, my PS3 greeted me with the message "System Update Required" today before I could even play the Blu-Ray movie I was planning to watch!

While the updated was downloaded, I decided to check out WikiPedia again to see what they are saying about this update. It looks like I missed 1.80, which was a major update.

1.80
Released on 24 May 2007.

Added the ability to:
Upscale DVDs, PSOne and PS2 games to 1080p.
Copy PSOne/PS2 game saves from PS3 to Memory Cards using a Memory Card adaptor.
Downscale Blu-ray video to 720p.
Edit CD information and submit it to AMG.
Print photos via USB. (Currently, only select Epson printers connected are compatible)
Zoom and crop images.
Added Remote Play over the Internet. (Broadband connection and PSP firmware v3.50 required)
Added DLNA compatibility.
Added support for the xvYCC color space.
Added a new slideshow type.
(Unofficial) Many users of Westinghouse 1080p monitors have reported this update to fix a notorious blinking problem over the HDMI interface.

1.81
Released on 15 June 2007, version 1.81 was a minor update.
The method of setting RGB Full Range (HDMI) under Display Settings was improved.[2]
The stability of the network connection used during gameplay was improved for some PlayStation 2 format software titles that support online gaming.
This update looks like it adds a lot of good functionality, too bad my Sony model KP-51HW40 only supports 1080i and no HDMI. Some day, I am sure. And lastly, looks like I am not too late on the 1.81 update, it was just released yesterday by Sony!

The update was larger than the past ones I had installed, most likely due to the updates with version 1.80. In total, it took about 15 minutes to download and install the updates via the wireless connection.

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Sony Projection TV Red Line Repair Guide (Blue & Green, too!) Retrace Lines

A couple of weeks ago, red lines or bands of red color (they can occur in green and blue as well) started showing up on my Sony Rear Projection HDTV (High-definition 16:9 aspect ratio, model KP-51HW40) when watch movies. It was very noticeable when watching dark scenes or black transition screens during the films. Over a couple of weeks, it got a little worse until it started looking like this.

Red lines on Projection TV with red curved bands know as retrace lines

Not so good to have the red lines like that. While some people have complained about their Sony televisions and specifically the rear-projection units, mine has been almost flawless for the 5 1/2 years I have had it. This happened once before, after about 3-years of use and my BestBuy extended warranty on the TV was up. According to several sites, the problem is with the convergence via the voltage on the color ray gun tubes that get out of adjustment. They are also known as retrace lines

Sony wanted between $150-$300 to diagnose and fix the television -- instead I was able to complete this repair in less than 15 minutes!

Update: I have now received over three hundred comments on this fix in addition several hundred emails -- saving visitors over $250k in Sony TV repairs, wow! In many cases, people have wanted to send me something for helping them fix their Sony Projection TV. This type of post is something Sony should make public -- I was just an end user consumer (like you) with no previous TV repair experience. The way you could help me most is that you have a website, blog, Facebook, or MySpace account and would consider posting a link to this site, I would greatly appreciate that! Otherwise, if you really feel compelled send me something, you can always Paypal me at ken.hanscom@gmail.com.

Best of luck!
-Ken


Since I had been through the routine once more and I was sure others are running into this issue, I am posting a how-to-guide / repair manual for the Sony Rear Projection Television. All you need to complete this guide is one flat-head screwdriver and one Phillips screwdriver as well as a delicate touch.

Please let me know with a comment below if this solution works for you. If this solution is not the problem you have, please be sure to check our sponsors on the right to see if they apply to your needs.

1. See the ugly red color bands on the television set? These can also occur in blue and green. We're going to fix these!
Red lines on Projection TV with red curved bands and lines

2. Front shot of the television. Their are two screw holes on the front of the unit near the edge of each side right next to the speaker grille.
Shows the location of the front screws to access the Red, Green, and Blue voltage and convergence adjustments

3. Close up shot of the screw hold. It is covered by a plastic cover that has two tabs holding it in. Carefully pry them out with your flat head screwdriver. Do not apply too much pressure or you can break the tabs off. Once the covers are removed, unscrew the two screws with a Philips screwdriver.
Close up shot of the screw covers on the Sony Projection HDTV

4. To remove the cover, pull from the bottom of the front case and rotate towards you. Once you rotate it out, the top will disconnect and come loose. Do not pull it off, as there are cords attached. (see picture) Loosen the cables attached with the twist ties and set the front cover to the left side.
Once the cover is removed you the cabling is displayed

5. With the speaker grille and cover removed, you now need to remove the wood panel to expose the inner electronics on your Sony HD TV. To do this, remove the four Philips head screws from the panel. Then, pulling from the right, rotate the panel off and the electronics will be exposed.
To access the Red, Blue, and Green guns or rays, you need to remove the board covering it with four screws

6. This is a picture of the inner electronics of your Sony Rear-Projection High Definition television. The little black box towards the front of the unit is where we will concentrate our time as it is the control for the voltage & convergence adjustment.
This is a shot of all the electronics in your Sony HD Television

7. When focused in on the controls, you want to concentrate on the bottom row for the voltage / ray gun projection adjustment. The colors are labeled below and from left to right are blue, green, and red. Choose the one that needs to be adjusted and turn ever so slightly with your Philips screwdriver to remove the lines. In my case, the red just needed to be turned 1/8 of a rotation to be back in adjustment. Do not turn to quickly or abruptly or you could possibly damage your TV by varying the voltage too quickly.
The adjustment console, the bottom adjustments are for your color voltages

Did this guide work for you? Tell me about it below with a comment!

Also latest information is that this technique works on most brands of projection and direct view (directview) sets from the following manufacturers:
Admiral
Advent
Andrea Electronics
Arena
Atwater Television
Audar
Automatic Radio Manufacturing
Bace Television
Bell Television
Brionvega
Calbest Electronics
Capehart Electronics
Certified Radio Labs
Clairetone Electric Corporation
Colonial Radio (Sylvania)
Color Electronics Corporation
Conar Instruments
Cortron Industries (Hoffman Radio, Hoffman Electronics, Hoffman Products)
Curtis Mathes Corporation
Delmonico International Corporation
DuMont Laboratories (Model 180 - America's first commercially manufactured TV)
Emerson Radio and Phonograph
Element Electronics
Farnsworth Television and Radio
Formenti
Finlux
Fujitsu
Funai Electric
Geloso
General Electric
GoldStar
Harvey Industries
Heath Company/Heathkit
Hitachi, Ltd.
Hoffman Television (Cortron Ind)
Howard Radio (Muntz)
Jensen Loudspeakers
JVC
Kane Electronics Corporation
Kent Television
Kloss Video
LG (founded as GoldStar)
Magnavox
Magnavox (subsidiary of Philips)
Marantz
Matsushita (Panasonic, National, Quasar, Technics, Ramsa)
Mattison Electronics
Mercury-Pacific
Mitsubishi
Mivar
Motorola
Muntz (Howard Radio)
NEC
Victor Company of Japan (JVC)
North American Audio, Inc.
Olympic Radio and Television
Orion Electronic Co. Ltd
Packard Bell, Teledyne Packard Bell
Panasonic (Matsushita)
Philco (Philco-Ford)
Philips
Philmore Manufacturing
Phonola
Pilot Radio
Pilot Radio Corporation (Jerrold Electronics)
Pioneer Electronics
RadioMarelli
Ravenswood (div. of Annapolis Electroacoustics Corp.)
RCA
Sampo Corp. of America
Samsung
Sanabria Television Corporation (American Television)
Sanyo
Sansui
Sèleco
Setchell Carlson
Sinudyne
Sharp
Sonora
Sony
Sylvania
Symphonic Electronic Corp
Symphonic Radio and Electronics
Tatung Company
Tech-Master
Telequip
Teletronics
Television, Inc.
TMA
Thomson SA (Some sold under RCA and GE brands)
Toshiba
Transvision
Trav-Ler Radop
United States Television Manufacturing Corp.
Warwick
Wells-Gardner
Westinghouse
Zenith Radio

Guide was specifically done using the Sony HD Projection TV model KP-51HW40. However, this guide may also be compatible with:
KP-51HW40
KP-57HW40
KP-60HW40
KP-51WS500
KP-51WS510
KP-57WS500
KP-60WS500
KP-46S15
KP-53HW40
KP-53HS10
KP-61HS10
KP-57WV700
KP-53XBR45
KP-51XBR45
KP-57XBR45
KP-46S55
KP-53XBR200
KDF-37H1000
KDF-42E2000
KDF-42WE655
KDF-46E2000
KDF-46E3000
KDF-50E2000
KDF-50E3000
KDF-50WE655
KDF-50X30
KDF-55E2000
KDF-55WF655
KDF-55XS955
KDF-60WF655
KDF-60XBR950
KDF-60XS955
KDF-70XBR950
KDF-E42A10
KDF-E50A10
KDF-E55A20
KDF-E60A20
KDF-E60A20PKG
KDP-51WS550
KDP-51WS655
KDP-57WS550
KDP-57WS655
KDP-57XBR2
KDP-65WS550
KDP-65XBR2
KDS-50A2000
KDS-50A2020
KDS-55A2000
KDS-55A2020
KDS-55A20L1
KDS-60A2000
KDS-60A2020
KDS-70Q006
KDS-R50XBR1
KDS-R60XBR1
KDS-R60XBR2
KDS-R70XBR2
KF-42WE610
KF-50WE610
KF-50WE620
KF-50XBR800
KF-60DX100
KF-60WE610
KF-60XBR800
KP-41T15
KP-41T25
KP-41T35
KP-41T65
KP-43HT20
KP-43HT20C
KP-43T70
KP-43T70A
KP-43T70C
KP-43T75
KP-43T90
KP-46C36
KP-46WT500
KP-46WT510
KP-46WT520
KP-48S65
KP-48S70
KP-48S75
KP-48V75
KP-48V80
KP-48V85
KP-48V90
KP-5000
KP-51HW40
KP-51WS500
KP-51WS510
KP-51WS520
KP-53HS10
KP-53HS20
KP-53HS30
KP-53N74
KP-53N77
KP-53S65
KP-53S70
KP-53S75
KP-53V15
KP-53V75
KP-53V75C
KP-53V80
KP-53V85
KP-53V90
KP-53XBR200
KP-53XBR300
KP-53XBR45
KP-57HW40
KP-57WS500
KP-57WS510
KP-57WS520
KP-57WV600
KP-57WV700
KP-57XBR10W
KP-61HS10
KP-61HS20
KP-61HS30
KP-61S65
KP-61S70
KP-61S75
KP-61V75
KP-61V80
KP-61V85
KP-61V90
KP-61XBR200
KP-61XBR300
KP-65WS500
KP-65WS510
KP-65WV600
KP-65WV700
KP-65XBR10W
KP-7200
KWP-65HD1

(Author is not responsible for any damage that may occur while attempting to repair your television using this guide)

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Vista x64 AVG Free Installation How-to Guide (64-bit)

Today, returning from vacation I realized that I had not installed any sort of Anti-Virus on my new Dell computer running Microsoft Vista Ultimate x64(64-bit). I have been using AVG Free Edition for a couple of years now and have always been happy with the performance and security of the anti-virus product.

Given the problems I have had thus far, I was not sure if Grisoft was going to support Microsoft Windows Vista in the 64-bit (x64) mode. I have had some other specific problems -- mainly with Adobe Software -- as both Acrobat and Flash were giving me early fits.

After visiting the Grisoft download page, there was no specific mention of 64-bit (x64) support for Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate.

However, I decided to proceed with the download of the latest version of AVG Free 7.5, 7.5.472 (avg75free_472a1024.exe) to be exact. The good news is that through the process the installation works and I now have anti-virus protection from Grisoft's AVG Free! The only downside is that the installation is a 32-bit (x86) executable so it does not run in 64-bit (x64) mode.

Here are the installation steps:
1. Click on the installation file avg75free_472a1024.exe to start the installation and click on 'Next' after reading the Welcome screen.
Installation for AVG Free Anti-Virus for Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit (x64) Guide 1

2. Review the license agreementa nd click on 'Accept' when you are finished.
Installation for AVG Free Anti-Virus for Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit (x64) Guide 2

3. Select the installation type as 'Standard Installation' and click 'Next'.
Installation for AVG Free Anti-Virus for Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit (x64) Guide 3

4. Enter your name and company name (if applicable) and click on 'Next'.
Installation for AVG Free Anti-Virus for Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit (x64) Guide 4


5. Confirm the summary information and then click on 'Next' to install.
Installation for AVG Free Anti-Virus for Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit (x64) Guide 5

6. Installation is complete, click on 'OK' to start the configuration.
Installation for AVG Free Anti-Virus for Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit (x64) Guide 6


7. Configuration begins, click on 'Next' to continue.
Configuration for AVG Free Anti-Virus for Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit (x64) 1

8. AVG Free Update screen. Click on 'Check for Updates' before clicking next.
Configuration for AVG Free Anti-Virus for Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit (x64) 2

9. AVG Free will check the Internet for any updates. In my case there was a Priority update, so I click on 'Update' and installed them.
Configuration for AVG Free Anti-Virus for Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit (x64) 3

10. Now specify the priority for your AVG Free Anti-Virus program. Usually, 'Low Priority' is the best setting to insure your computer is not tied up with unnecessary scans. You can also choose to enable a daily scan.
Configuration for AVG Free Anti-Virus for Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit (x64) 4

11. You now have the option to do an initial computer scan. You can perform that or click on 'Next' to continue.
Configuration for AVG Free Anti-Virus for Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit (x64) 5

12. Optional registration. You can choose to register your AVG Free Anti-Virus program or click on 'Next' to go to the main AVG Free console. Congratulations, installation is complete!
Configuration for AVG Free Anti-Virus for Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit (x64) 1

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Saturday, June 23, 2007

Fixing the Pismo Classic Car Show

How can one complain much about the annual Pismo Beach Classic? It's a Classic Car show in Pismo Beach, CA that attracts over 1,000 classic cars and ~120,000 visitors each year. This past weekend, the Pismo Beach Classic celebrated its 22nd annual installment and be sure that a 23rd annual will come upon us next year. In all honesty, we had an great time at the car show -- the cars, people, and vendors were all great. However, there was one huge problem.

The traffic.

The Pismo Beach Classic Car Show creates a seriously unwieldy traffic situation in Pismo Beach, especially in the pier area. The bottom line is that it could EASILY be avoided should the organizers decide to. Take our case this year as an example.

After driving around the Pismo Beach downtown area early on Saturday morning, the only parking we could find was the $20/spot lot near the Kon Tiki Inn, Pismo Steamers, and Bank of America. Being from Los Angeles, $20 for parking did not seem astronomical, but people were parking much farther away.

The next issue is that traffic down the main strip, Dolliver is abysmal. Try to get through there anytime after 10:00 and you will see that its an execise in futility. You sit and sit, getting absolutely nowhere. Heck, even the 101 freeway gets backed up with all the traffic of people trying to get off the freeway.

The craziest party about it is that there is a pretty simple solution that the organizers could pursure. Rather than shutting down Price Street, and Pomeroy Streets -- shut down Dolliver. Route all traffic through Price Steet, then right on Ocean View Avenue, and then back onto Dolliver and the Pacific Coast Highway. Post police officers at the major intersections, and make sure traffic flows consistently, bypassing the stop signs where necessary. With that, not only does traffic get through magically, but it is routed around the main festivities. Then, block off whatever section of Dolliver, Pomeroy Avenue and the other streets to place the appropriate number of vehicles for the show. Spectators can wander free without needing to worry about traffic and people trying to drive through Pusmo do not get frustrated.

Lastly, pick a remote location 2-3 miles away (think local school or high school) and offer free parking with shuttle and direct people there. That will not only reduce the traffic flow downtown for people looking for spots, it will also make it easy and better organized for the show staff.

Just my two cents. Were you there or do you have any other suggestions?

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Kobe Update: Local Media Updates Us

Not more than minutes since I wrote the article about how I would love to see Kevin Garnett join Kobe Bryant in Los Angeles that I came across a few other articles talking about the subject. I often ignore the majority of articles outside of Los Angeles as the bias against the Lakers and especially Kobe Bryant is profound. Unfortunately, so bad that it often impacts the quality of journalism. None the less, some interesting things out there.

For instance, the article that resonates most with me from HoopsWorld.com called "What Happened?"

The Lakers passed on many opportunities to improve but none with the impact of landing the Big Ticket.

Garnett has that home in Malibu. He's looked great next to Bryant on All-Star teams. He's an intense competitor who only played beside a true closer once in his career (a healthy Sam Cassell).....

In the end, the realist sits down and marvels "What happened to my Lakers?"
And that's exactly where I am at right now. What is going on with my Los Angeles Lakers? Didn't they start off the season on a tear until injuries devoided them of any opportunities to make real progress? Didn't I see Kobe drop 65 at Staples raining 3's like they were from Heaven?

And now, apparently Kobe Bryant and Mitch Kupchak are on speaking terms. (Sarcasm) I mean, Mitch has been a wonderful GM, bringing players like Jason Kidd, Ron Artest and.....oh wait. Still, the Los Angeles Times reports:
Kupchak declined to provide any specifics of their conversation, which took place a day after Minnesota forward Kevin Garnett reportedly vetoed a trade to Boston.
Unfortunately, the true reality is that Mitch does not have any fact to provide. Overall, I have to say -- big whoop-tee-doo -- I could care less if Mitch and Kobe speak. What I want to happen is Mitch either leave in favor of Jerry West or make a deal and keep Kobe. Bottom line.

Then the Press-Enterprise is reporting that Kobe fans are still remaining loyal to him.
The love affair Lakers fans have with Bryant appears to be unwavering, even in the wake of his recent rants, of his casting aspersions on the entire organization and of his back-and-forth demands to be traded and then rescinding those demands.
Honestly now, who else is there? I mean, if Kobe is gone, aren't we back to the post-Magic Johnson era of Lakers basketball? We all know how that looked until Shaq showed up. That does not mean we stop being fans, but do we really want to be Boston Celtics bad? Yes, our desire to keep Kobe is unwavering. He's the 2nd player EVER to drop 81 points in a game -- and gosh darn it is he exciting to watch in person.

What's your take? I am sure there is more to come on this front!

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Kevin Garnett: Will the Lakers get him?

Getting Kevin Garnett is possibly the only way that the Los Angeles Lakers could get out of the current mess that they are in an perhaps also appease Kobe Bryant. Who on that note, as much as I am enjoying watching him now -- I am getting sick of hearing about him.

Bringing Kevin Garnett to Los Angeles and even giving up Andrew Bynum would go an awful long way for the Lakers. Plus, they would not have to worry about me not buying tickets next year. (Which, worth noting as a digression that my wife Ashley says she will not even watch games next year if Kobe is not there. I will still root for the Lakers, nothing stops that.) Several of us in the Los Angeles area have been asking about this for a long time. And now it seems that Kevin Garnett is finally available.

But, unfortunately we are a long ways away from getting both Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett. There are two popular trade ideas ciculating around right now (chiefly ESPN).

The first has Kobe going to the Chicago Bulls, Kevin Garnett coming to the Los Angeles Lakers, and the Minnesota Timberwovles get a bunch of upcoming players. Interesting yes, but that is no different from the situation today.

The second idea, is one I like much better for the Lakers, but it proves to be an issue for the Western Conference. That deal has Shawn Marion coming to the Los Angeles Lakers, Kevin Garnett going to the Phoenix Suns and Minnesota picking up a few people like Boris Diaw and Andew Bynum. While it would be better from the current situation the Lakers are in, and we'd get to keep Odom -- it is hard to imagine anyone, including the San Antonio Spus competing with Phoenix the next couple of years. That's a tough one to swallow.

On the bright side, the latest article on ESPN highlights that Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan, and Gilbert Arenas could all potentially be free agents at the end of next season. If that happens, I wonder what the next offseason will look like.

By the way, did anyone catch that Kevin Durant could not bench 185lbs at the NBA combine? For anyone who cares -- I think that's a great thing -- that he is that good without developing strength yet.

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My First RV Fifth Wheel Repair Today

We have been camping on the Central Californian Coast this week in my parents RV (Recreational Vehicle) Fifth Wheel at Pismo Coast Village that they so kindly let us use. (Thanks Mom & Dad!) This week thus far has been both fun and relaxing, definitely something that both Ashley and I needed greatly.

Last night we had an "fun" issue with the 29-foot Sprinter HP Fifth Wheel fitted with the STEADYfast system that led to my first repair of an RV / Travel Trailer. While we were kicking back in the trailer after a nice campfire and were head a loud "pop" followed by the sound of water spraying everywhere. I jumped out of the recliner and immediately started looking inside the trailer, but I could find nothing wrong. Still, I could hear the water spraying all over the place like a pipe or hose broke.

Not knowing what it could be, I went outside the trailer and preceeded to see a ton of liquid pouring from the underside of the trailer. My first thoughts were something must be wrong with the grey water, or potentially worse -- the black water tank. However, a quick sniff test seemed to dispell that thought. I then ran to the water hookup and turned off the water to the entire trailer.

After a few seconds, the sound of water spraying everywhere stopped. Then, after a couple more minutes, what seemed to be the last of the water seemed to drain from underneath the fifth wheel. After a few minutes and a call with my dad, I decided to leave it put for the night and look at it in the morning. Since the water was cold, it probably was just one of the cold water pipes that had an issue.

When I woke up in the morning, we had the aftermath of what happened. The entire underneath compartment was soaked as seen in the picture below.

Fifth Wheel RV Water Problem Repair Picture 1

After a few minutes of looking around the problem was discovered. It was a very simple issue, but one that never should have happened. Apparently at the main distribution for water in the trailer, stainless steel hose clamp had come loose basically firing water all the way across the trailer. Nothing was broken or required major repair. All I had to do was reattached the hose, and tighten down the stainless steel hose clamp to put the trailer back to normal.

See the offending hose and hose clamp:

RV Trailer Repair of a water hose and the offending stainless steel hose clamp

After a few minutes and making sure to tighten all the stainless steel hose clamps on the trailer, order was restored as well as the trailer water supply. However, work still remained (and is taking place as I write this). In order to allow the carpeting and the wood to dry, the entire compartment needed to be emptied and allowed to dry. Fortunately the day is pretty warm and the drying is going well.

Still, this brings me to my gripe. Why in the world was the main distribution of the water supply for the fifth wheel trailer fitted with stainless steel hose clamps rather than a regular screw type fitting? It is obviously the area with the highest volume of water and the most likely place for something like this to go wrong. I guess the bottom line is that it was a little cheaper for the manufacturer. That's annoying.

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Friday, June 22, 2007

Burn Notice comes To USA Networks June 28th!

A new spy action series is coming to the USA network on June 28th. The series, with character Michael Weston a CIA Operative who is about to get fired from the CIA. Here is why he may have been fired…..

For over a decade now, Michael Weston has been the ultimate CIA Operative deep inside of foreign governments. His tours of duty have ranged from Algeria to Serbia and most recently within the French government. On a recent mission, one of his close counterparts in the CIA framed him on a botched kidnapping to cover up a life of crime.

The kidnapping was to take place during an exchange for currency in a very public place, the Eifel Tower. However, just before the drop was made – the currency that Michael was to trade was switched out for worthless paper. Left with nothing to appease his exchange partner – Michael was forced to go on the run. Leaving in that manner cost the CIA a valuable contact, kidnapped by the nefarious group Michael was trading with.

When the money trail led back to some money trails this side of the Atlantic, Michael was in bad shape. Left out in the cold, Michael received an dreaded text message on his wireless Blackberry 8800 device that told him the message, you’re on a Burn Notice.

Is this how it really happened? Check out USA Network's Burn Notice to find out!




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Thursday, June 21, 2007

Avoid the Restaurant at Ragged Point in San Simeon

It's rare that we run into a place so bad that we need to recommend just staying away from it. However, that what we found today at the Ragged Point Inn in San Simeon, California.

Make no mistake, the Ragged Point Inn is in a wonderful location on California's central coast. It's about 10 miles north of San Simeon's Hearst Castle and just a few miles north of Piedra Blanca where you can see the elephant seals. It is just as you start the windy journey up towards Big Sur. Not only is the location great, but the conditions of the grounds and the outside appearance inviting. For that reason, we decided to make a stop at The Restaurant at Ragged Point at the Ragged Point Inn.

Ragged Point Inn San Simeon on way to Big Sur and Monterey

However, we proceeded to strike out twice during our visit and ended up leaving without even sampling what their website advertises as "fine" food. Based on our experience, we doubt that we missed to much. So what happened?

First, let's look at "The Restaurant at Ragged Point." We arrived at approximately 12:30pm, right in the middle of the lunch hour. Upon peering inside the dining area, we noticed that tables were dirty, patrons were waiting up front for their checks and a sign read "Closed until 12:45pm" -- we walked back outside, looked at the hours which were stated as opening at 11:00am. Odd we thought, one that they were closed and two that no one would be out front to inform anyone of the situation.

The Restaurant at Ragged Point in San Simeon on the way to Big Sur and Monterey

We thought we were still in luck though, as there was a snack bar outside that while the menu was not as appetizing, there were some good choices on there. Figuring it would be good to settle rather than waiting an extra 10 minutes at this point for the restaurant at Ragged Point. We wandered up front where the person managing the front of the snack bar was just finishing taking the order of another customer.

Snack Bar at Ragged Point Inn in San Simeon on the way to Big Sur and Monterey

We then proceeded to wait another 5-10 minutes before calling it quits. The worker was wandering around, and never even mentioned "I'll be right with you" or "It'll be just a couple minutes" at least as a common courtesy. Seriously, nothing was said -- and it was not like this person could miss us -- the snack bar was not that large. In the meantime while he was putting an order out for someone, they proceeded to discuss (argue?) with the partron about an overcharge of $6. The patron did not want to make a big deal out of it, but still had to deal with the issue. We had enough at that point and turned around from the front of the line and left.

On our way back to the car, it was now approximately 12:50pm, we decided to see if the Restaurant at Ragged Point had opened back up. We walked back in and the situation was the same -- not a service person or worker to be found. That was it, we left and no doubt we will not be going back.

Our advice is to stay away from the Ragged Point Inn, it's snack bar and the Restaurant at Ragged Point. You are better off waiting until you get into the main town of San Simeon or even all the way to Morro Bay. The service was, no matter how you describe it, poor, bad, awful, terrible -- whatever you like. And what the means for them unfortunately is a bad review.

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Visiting the Elephant Seals at Piedras Blancas in San Simeon

Today we decided to head up the Pacific Coast Highway from Pismo Beach to San Simeon, California to see the Elephant Seals at Point Piedras Blancas near the Piedras Blancas Lighthouse. The drive itself is a pretty one taking you through San Luis Obispo, Morro Bay, Cayucas, Cambria, and finally past Hearst Castle in San Simeon to Point Piedras Blancas.

Our drive out there was relatively uneventful. First we made a quick stop into Morro Bay to pickup some Seashells at ths shop there. We then realized Ashley had never actually been to Morro Bay, so we decided to come back tomorrow in order for her to have a look around. Our next stop was for $4 gas at the Shell Gas Station at the Old Cambria Marketplace. Needless to say, I just grabbed enough gas to make it through our trip rather than filling the tank.

Northern Elephant Seals at Piedras Blancas in San Simeon

Point Piedras Blancas is a great place to stop and see the Northern Elephant Seals. This is the second time Ashley and I have come to see them and it is a great experience each time. This time, we were fortunate enough that the "Friends of the Elephant Seal" were there so we could go to the lower landing. Some nice other folks were there that took our picture for us.

A little history on the Northern Elephant Seals at Piedras Blancas:

Hunted nearly to extinction for their oil-rich blobber, elephant seals have made a remarkable comeback. Protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act, they are expanding their range outward from remote islands and are now colonizing selected mainland beaches such as Piedras Blancas.

Elephant seals come ashore and form colonies for only a few months of each year to give birth, breed and molt. The rest of th year the colonies disperse and individuals spend most of their time in pursuit of food, a quest which involves swimming thousands of miles and diving to great depths.

Elephant seals started arriving in increasing numbers at the Piedras Blancas area in 1990. The first pup was born in 1992 and births have steadily increased to over 1,700 pups in 1998. This explosive growth is remarkable in that elephant seals have traditionally preferred remote islands with very few terrestrial predators or people.
During our visit, although still early in the season there were a good number of juveniles that we were able to see. Visiting the Elephant Seals in San Simeon is almost always a good time!

Video of a couple of juveniles playing in the water:


Video of a juvenile telling another to get out of his way:

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Hidden Mickey: Disneyland: New Orleans Square: Pirates of the Caribbean: Barrels

Hidden Mickeys at Disneyland are a very exciting sight and can downright be addicting to try and find all kinds of Hidden Mickeys. This is another in the series this month that will detail a good number of the Hidden Mickeys in the Disneyland and California Adventure Parks.

This particular Hidden Mickeys is one that you might consider to be questionable. I know that I have seen it a million times and I am still not convinced that it is. However, a lot of folks that I speak to consider this to be a Hidden Mickey at Disneyland. So it must be, right?

Where is it? Well it is in the Pirates of the Caribbean ride in one of the very last rooms where all of the fires are burning around the docks. What you see are groups of priates shooting at each other across the water just before you go by Captain Jack Sparrow's room where he sits with the treasure. As you pass under the soldiers, look up to the right and you will see three barrels hanging from the ceiling by a rope in the shape of the Hidden Mickey. All three are the exact size, thus creating the question as to whether it is a true Hidden Mickey or not.

Have you seen this Hidden Mickey and do you think it should be considered one? If so, let me know below with a comment!

No picture of this one yet, however I plan to get one on my next trip to Disneyland this summer!

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I Choose Verizion FiOS instead of Cable

I have been talking about "upgrading" my TV connection from Time Warner cable to Verizon FiOS for a couple of months. And today, I finally ordered the upgrade to the cable Fiber Optic Service for my television.

The reaason that it took so long is that I wanted to see how good the FiOS network really was, and I have been out of town on work for a few weeks. However, after having rock-solid performance on the FiOS network for broadband Internet (15M down / 2M up), it was time to make the switch.

Plus, timing could not have been better. Verizon FiOS TV just announced a promotion where they are offering the movie channels free for 60-days when signing up -- not a bad teaser to sign on to Verizon. In addition, if you are willing to commit to the service for a full 12-months, they'll hand you $5 a month credit on your bill.

As an additional item, I requested two HDTV (High Definition Television) boxes which are the Motorola 64XX series of combinition HD receivers and DVR. (Digital Video Recorder) I was tempted to get the multi-room DVR, however if you only have two televisions its cheaper to get two HD/DVR receivers rather than doing the multi-room with a second DVR receiver. Plus, you can have additional recording time if you cannot record everything in one room.

Why did I choose to leave Time Warner? Well first off, they are more expensive. Secondly, their service and upgrade to HD has been pathetically slow. Being in an area that was acquired from Adelphia, we have always felt like second class citizens to the company. It will be great to have both Internet and Television service from the same provider.

My installation date is currently set for Friday, July 6th. I will update once the installation is complete with all the details.

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Apple iPhone coming June 29th....

Today, I continued some more research into the upcoming Apple iPhone and it definitely has me interested. Yes, I am very happy with my RIM Blackberry 8800 - but the Apple iPhone seems to have some features that will even surpass the Blackberry. The only glaring item that seems to be omitted from the Apple's iPhone is the lack of GPS functionality. From the review of their technical specifications on the iPhone there is simply no support for GPS. With the integrated applications and search that we are seeing from Google and others with the GPS integration (Google Mobile Maps - GMM), GPS functionality in a device is quickly becoming a must.

For those interested in the specifications on the iPhone, here are the details:

  • Screen size: 3.5 inches
  • Screen resolution: 320 by 480 pixels (160 ppi)
  • Input method: Multi-touch
  • Operating system: OS X
  • Storage: 4GB or 8GB
  • GSM: Quad-band (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
  • Wireless data: Wi-Fi (802.11b/g) / EDGE / Bluetooth 2.0+EDR
  • Camera: 2.0 megapixels
  • Battery: Talk Time, Up to 8 hours; Standby, Up to 250 hours; Internet Use, Up to 6 hours; Video Playback, Up to 7 hours; Audio playback, Up to 24 hours
  • Dimensions: 4.5 x 2.4 x 0.46 inches / 115 x 61 x 11.6mm
  • Weight: 4.8 ounces / 135 grams

Disclaimers to the specifications:

  • 1GB = 1 billion bytes; actual formatted capacity less.
  • Talk Time: Testing conducted by Apple in May and June 2007 using preproduction iPhones and software. All talk time testing was done connected to a 1900MHz network. All settings were default except: Call Forwarding was turned on; the WiFi feature Ask to Join Networks was turned off. Battery life depends on the cellular network, location, signal strength, feature configuration, usage, and many other factors. Battery tests are conducted using specific iPhone units; actual results may vary.
  • Standby: Testing conducted by Apple in May and June 2007 using preproduction iPhones and software. All settings were default except: Call Forwarding was turned on; the WiFi feature Ask to Join Networks was turned off. Battery life depends on the cellular network, location, signal strength, feature configuration, usage, and many other factors. Battery tests are conducted using specific iPhone units; actual results may vary.
  • Internet over WiFi: Testing conducted by Apple in May and June 2007 using preproduction iPhones and software. Internet over WiFi testing conducted using a closed network and dedicated web and mail server, simulating browsing to 20 popular URLs and checking mail once an hour. All settings were default except: Call Forwarding was turned on; the WiFi feature Ask to Join Networks and Auto-Brightness were turned off; WPA2 encryption was enabled. Battery life depends on the cellular network, location, signal strength, WiFi connectivity, feature configuration, usage, and many other factors. Battery tests are conducted using specific iPhone units; actual results may vary. Internet over
  • EDGE: Testing conducted by Apple in May and June 2007 using preproduction iPhones and software. Internet over EDGE testing conducted over a 1900 MHz EDGE, using a dedicated web and mail server, simulating browsing to 20 popular URLs and checking mail once an hour. All settings were default except: Call Forwarding was turned on; the WiFi feature Ask to Join Networks and Auto-Brightness were turned off. Battery life depends on the cellular network, location, signal strength, EDGE connectivity, feature configuration, usage, and many other factors. Battery tests are conducted using specific iPhone units; actual results may vary.
  • Video Playback: Testing conducted by Apple in May and June 2007 using preproduction iPhones and software. Video content was a repeated 2 hour 23 minute movie purchased from the iTunes Store. All settings were default except: Call Forwarding was turned on; the WiFi feature Ask to Join Networks and Auto-Brightness were turned off. Battery life depends on the cellular network, location, signal strength, feature configuration, usage, and many other factors. Battery tests are conducted using specific iPhone units; actual results may vary.
  • Audio Playback: Testing conducted by Apple in May and June 2007 using preproduction iPhones and software. The playlist consisted of 358 unique audio tracks, a combination of content imported from CDs using iTunes (128-Kbps AAC encoding) and content purchased from the iTunes Store (128-Kbps AAC encoding). All settings were default except: Call Forwarding was turned on; the WiFi feature Ask to Join Networks was turned off. Battery life depends on the cellular network, location, signal strength, feature configuration, usage, and many other factors. Battery tests are conducted using specific iPhone units; actual results may vary.
  • Rechargeable batteries have a limited number of charge cycles and may eventually need to be replaced. See www.apple.com/batteries for more information.

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"The Kobe Video" - The Kobe / Lakers Saga Continues

So, I posted my comments earlier this week about the on going Kobe Bryant and Los Angeles Lakers saga. Of course, the news hitting yesterday was the revelation on the "new" Kobe video hosted over at TheKobeVideo.com.

In reality this news was no news at all. Captured sometime before Kobe's original trade request statement on May 30th in the Irvine / Newport Beach area, the video catches Kobe expressing frustration with a couple of acquaintances in front of a coffee shop. Apparently the real frustration was the lack of action by the Lakers organization in bringing Jason Kidd to the Lakers and shipping out Andew Bynum in the trade.

The reason that this story is not news is it was captured before the trade demand, although news outlets are treating it as something that happened after Kobe reiterated his request to be traded this past weekend. And now, the owners of the video are attempting to profit from the 24 second video (coincidence that Kobe is #24?) in any way they can.

Apparently an undisclosed Los Angeles Lakers fan offered an undisclosed amount of money to keep the video tape private, however was rebuffed by the owners. They have been peddling the video to a number of news outlets with limited success. However, they have now changed their tune and are offering the video to members of the public at a "share" offering of a $1.99 per person. Their only demand is that they exceed 50,000 purchasers in order to equal the amount of the offer by the private party at $100,000. Once they exceed that threshold, they will then release the video.

I will be keeping an eye on the story, it seems very likely that the video will eventually come out......

Here is the clip from their website / YouTube:


(Warning, this video on YouTube does not point Kobe in a good light and captures him using inappropriate language)

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Apple iPhone with Improved Battery Life

With the pending launch of the upcoming Apple iPhone in just a little over a week, the good news continues to come from Apple. While I have not yet decided whether or not to give up my Blackberry 8800 device for one of the new Apple iPhones -- the media and commericals around the Apple iPhone have been compelling.

Apple iPhone extends Battery Life for June 29th launch

Today's news is that Apple has updated the technology within the battery life of the iPhone and has exceeded initial expectations. Orginally the battery life was supposed to support up to 5 hours of talk time, internet use, or video playback. However, today that has been extended to 8 hours of talk time, internet use, or video playback and up to 24 hours of your favored music playack.

Great news for those of us who like to make it through an entire day without having to charge you device. The only question now is if or how Apple plans to enter the corporate market -- currently dominated by RIM's Blackberry devices.

Are you planning on getting an iPhone? If so, tell me why with a comment.

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Monday, June 18, 2007

Hidden Mickey: Disneyland: Mickey & Friends: Daisy Level

Hidden Mickeys at Disneyland are a very exciting sight. This is another in the series this month that will detail a good number of the Hidden Mickeys in the Disneyland and California Adventure Parks.

An often unexpected place to see Hidden Mickeys is in the Mickey & Friends Parking structure. Other than being one of the best designed parking structures in the world, there are also Hidden Mickeys there! Anyone who has wandered the parking lot for any amount of time realize how immense its size is. With all of the circles in the finish for the cement work, you would think there would have to be a Hidden Mickey somewhere. And there is!

To see this Hidden Mickey, go to the Daisy level of the Mickey & Friend parking structure. From there, check out the unnumbered cement poles between 3A & 3B, underneath an Emergency sign. That's right, a Hidden Mickey in the cement.

Have you seen this Hidden Mickey? If so, let me know below with a comment!

Hidden Mickey in the Mickey & Friends parking lot on Daisy level in the cement at Disneyland in Anaheim, California

Trackbacks that led to this post:
disneyland mickey and friends parking structure
hidden mickeys in the parking structure
mickey and friends parking garage
mickey and friends parking structure
mickey daisy

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Sony, PS3, Blu-Ray HD Format's fate sealed?

Well, it looks like the fate of Sony's Blu-Ray HD DVD format may be getting sealed very quickly. The reason why? Today Blockbuster video announced that they will exclusively supporting the Blue-ray HD DVD format over Toshiba's competing HD format. This is very big news and perhaps dooms the HD DVD format to a life of the Sony Betamax -- infamous for a good technology that was not choosen as a final format.

The reason for their choice? Apparently over their last few months of testing, over 70% of the HD format selected by customers were in the Blu-ray HD DVD format.

The HD DVD group of North America tried to play the news off with their statement:

"I think trying to make a format decision using such a short time period is
really not measuring what the consumer is saying," said Ken Graffeo,
co-president of the group"
The good news for you and me? For me, it is pretty clear that my purchase of the Sony Playstation 3 (PS3) several months ago will turn out to being better than expected. While the idea of having the Blu-ray HD DVD technology in the game console was a big plus, there was still a lot of uncertainty in the purchase.

In the end all consumers (except for those who bought the HD DVD technology) will benefit from a single standard, agreed upon format. Then, you will no longer have to worry whether your copy of Casino Royale or Pirates of the Carribbean will be in the right format you can purchase. Finally, with one standard and less spent on marketing -- the prices of the technology should come down.

That's news we can all use! What do you think? Are you glad the Sony's Blu-ray format took this giant leap ahead?

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Lakers Tickets: I won't be buying any next year!

Ok, I am sick of hearing all of this Kobe Bryant trade nonsense. Dr. Jerry Buss and Mitch Kupchak have to be absolutely crazy if they listen to any of the demand and make a trade for anyone. The latest rumors are a set of deals that end with either Gilbert Arenas (just had a season ending knee injury) or Paul Pierce (injury plagued) ending up in Los Angeles. Let me tell you this, if Kobe Bryant is traded from the Lakers this offseason, I will not be buying ANY Lakers tickets next year.

And while I am not currently a season ticket holder, (I am on the waitlist at around #600) I do buy a good number of tickets in the Premier or 100's level each year for both the regular season and the playoff tickets. Something around 10 games in total. While I do not expect the folks running the team to specifically listen to me -- I believe this is the sentiment of a large number of folks in the Los Angeles area.

It's also getting to the point where there is plenty of blame to pass around, on both sides of the issue. Mitch Kupchak has done what I consider to be a poor job as the GM, Jerry Buss has allowed him to do this, and finally Kobe should not be airing his opinions through the media and his blog. For example, this piece showed up yesterday on Kobe's website.

The more I thought about the future, the more I became convinced that the Lakers
and me just have two different visions for the future. The Lakers are pursuing a
longer-term plan that is different from what Dr. Buss shared with me at the time
I re-signed as a free agent. I have seen that plan unfold for the last three
years and watched great trade opportunities come and go, and have seen free
agents passed on. That has led to the Lakers not winning a playoff series. All
of that was frustrating in itself, but then, this week to have someone "inside"
the Laker organization try to blame me in the media for us not being a contender
right now -- that is what brought me to my current position today.

While Kobe has a point, Lebron made it to the finals with what some would consider an inferior lineup than what the Lakers are able to put on the floor. Plus, then Lamar Odom and Luke Walton are injured almost the entire season -- tough to beat the Phoenix Suns in any playoff series.

If Kobe in fact ends up engineering a trade here after the fallout from the Shaq departure a few years ago, his legacy will be forever tarnished. Questions about his ability to get it done and win a championship without Shaq will remain. The fact that he could not get the Lakers over the hump without Shaq would be there. The fact that he abandoned the team that placed their bets on him would remain. Overall not a good thing for Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers #24 (or #8 if you prefer).

I am sure there will be more to come on this, but the bottom line is that Kobe must be in Los Angeles next year -- and the Los Angeles Lakers must add some more pieces to their puzzle to make things work. More on this to come, I am sure.

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P2KCommander - Motorola Compatibility List for Phones

I have posted numerous article on our Motorola V3 RAZR and all the great things you can do with it. A lot of the modification and management posts have been about the free program called "P2K Commander" or "P2KCommander" and how to install and use it.

I recent came across the following compatibility list below of all the Motorola phones that P2K Commander should work with. I am curious if you phone is on the list and if you have gotten P2KCommander to work. If your phone is not on the list below and works with P2K Commander, please let me know so I can update it and make it more current with a comment below!

Compatible phones with P2KCommander:

  • a1000
  • c650
  • e398
  • e550
  • e770v
  • e815
  • e1000
  • e1070
  • v220
  • v235
  • v262
  • v265
  • v300
  • v325
  • v360
  • V360v
  • v365
  • v525
  • v550
  • v550e
  • v540/v551
  • v557
  • v600
  • v620
  • v635
  • v710
  • t710
  • v975
  • v980
  • RAZR V3
  • RAZR V3c
  • RAZR V3i
  • RAZR V3t
  • RAZR V3e
  • RAZR V3x
  • RIZR Z3
  • SLVR L6
  • SLVR L7
  • SLVR L7e
  • ROKR e1
  • 3G
  • PEBL U6

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Blackberry - Search Shortcuts for your RIM Blackberry Device

Here is a list of shortcuts that can be used with your RIM Blackberry device with the searching for specific content in different applications. This list was compiled from a number of sources including RIM.

These can be used when searching for specific text within an application:

  • To search for a contact in a list of contacts, type the contact name or initials separated by a space.
  • To search for text in a message or memo, press S.
  • To search for text in an attachment or web page, press F.
  • To search for text in a presentation attachment, verify that you are viewing the presentation in text view or in text and slide view. Press F.

Note: These shortcuts are compatible with the Blackberry 8800, Blackberry 8830, Blackberry Curve, and in some cases the Blackberry Pearl.

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Blackberry - Media Shortcuts for your RIM Blackberry Device

Here is a list of shortcuts that can be used with your RIM Blackberry device with the Media application. This list was compiled from a number of sources including RIM.

These can be used when working with pictures, music and videos with the Blackberry media application:

  • To pause a video or song, press the Mute key.
  • To resume playing a video or song, press the Mute key.
  • To rotate a picture, press R.
  • To zoom in to a picture, press I.
  • To zoom out from a picture, press O.
  • To zoom to the original picture size, press W.

Note: These shortcuts are compatible with the Blackberry 8800, Blackberry 8830, Blackberry Curve, and in some cases the Blackberry Pearl.

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Sunday, June 17, 2007

Checking into Pismo Beach at Pismo Coast Village

Today we moved over to our spot at the Pismo Coast Village RV Resort. I have been coming to this particular RV park -- I guess RV resort now for probably more than the last 20 years. From my limited experience with RVing, travel trailers, fifth wheels, and motorhomes -- I must say that this is one of the best parks I have seen. The campsites are clean, generally have a generous amounts of grass, and as you can see from the aerial picture below -- right on the beach.

Pismo Beach - Pismo Coast Village RV Resort Aerial View

We already happened to be in town for the 22nd Annual Pismo Beach Classic, staying at the Pismo State Beach campground just a couple miles down the road. It is actually in Oceano at 555 Pier -- where most of the people with their toys head out onto the beach to play back in the dunes. While it was a relatively ok campground, it is no Pismo Coast Village.

Once we were checked in close to noon at Pismo Coast Village, we setup our fifth wheel, finishing it off with a couple of twists of the STEADYfast stabilizers to give us a nice firm feel in the trailer. With that, we were pretty much setup for the week with a pretty decent spot. That is important, especially since we have some space out back where we can tie out Luey, our 4-year chocolate lab and give him a little bit of room to roam. Ironically, the picture below is almost exactly like our camp-site setup!

Pismo Beach - Pismo Coast Village RV Resort - Campsite View

We're looking forward to being here all week, it should be a nice getaway for us. And, being at Pismo Coast Village RV Resort makes it a little more relaxing than it might be otherwise.

If you are not familiar with some of the family activites available at Pismo Coast Village, here are a few:

  • Clubhouse
  • Basketball Court
  • Hourseshoe pits
  • Mini-golf course
  • Heated swimming pool
  • Video and pinball arcade
  • Large laundromat
  • Full service restrooms
  • Propane, firewood and ice
  • Well-stocked General Store
  • RV storage, repair service, wash and spray wax
  • Groups and clubs welcome
  • Bicycle rentals
  • Compimentary Wireless Internet Access (how I am publishing this!)

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Leaving Dog Food Outside While Camping

Ok, without reading this post -- you already know where this is going. On the first night of our vacation we were staying at Pismo State Beach campground in Oceano, California. While it is no Pismo Coast Village, it is still pretty decent as far as California state campgrounds go.

We arrived in the middle of the afternoon and were told we could only stay in the park for 15 minutes due to the 3 license plate limit per campsite. However, my sister and brother-in-law nicely swapped out their vehicle to the outside parking and let us load and unload our stuff at the RV trailer.

Hook ups were decent, at least there was full power and water, but no sewer or cable connections. Oh the difficulties of camping. In addition, my parents 29-ft HP Sprinter Fifth Wheel trailer makes for a pretty nice place to "live" while camping.

Now onto the story. During our couple excursion during the day, I made extra special care to place all of our chocolate lab's (Luey) inside the travel trailer along with with the dog to make sure nothing would be disturbed. Given the relative seclusion of the park, I thought it was best to be safe.

The somehow that evening, I forgot to bring in his plastic box tote inside the fifth wheel trailer at night when we went to bed. I think you know what is coming. In the morning when Ashley went outside to let the dog out and you guessed it - an absolute mess outside. What looks like is a ocuple of animals (Racoons? Dogs?) busted into the plastic container that contained all of his food and treats for the week.

Food and treats were strewn all over the campsite. Basically a weeks worth of dog food for an 85lb dog was gone. Interestingly his favorite treats, some peanut butter flavored dog biscuits were untouched. None the less, we learned a lesson and made a quick stop to the local pet store to pick up some new dog food - Science Diet lamb and rice. Never again will the dog food be left outside of a locked compartment, plastic or not!

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Hidden Mickey: Disneyland: Mickey & Friends: Direction Sign

Hidden Mickeys at Disneyland are a very exciting sight. This is another in the series this month that will detail a good number of the Hidden Mickeys in the Disneyland and California Adventure Parks.

An often unexpected place to see Hidden Mickeys is in the Mickey & Friends Parking structure. Other than being one of the best designed parking structures in the world, there are also Hidden Mickeys there! This particular case of a "Hidden Mickey", the Mickey Mouse sits on top of a sign post. While pointing the directions to the Theme Parks, Downtown Disney, and the Mickey & Friends parking structure -- it also has a classic Mickey Mouse on top of the sign post. Take a look next time you are at Disneyland in Southern California!

Have you seen this Hidden Mickey? If so, let me know below with a comment!

Hidden Mickey in the Mickey & Friends parking lot on the directional signs at Disneyland in Anaheim, California

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P2KCommander - Vista Version Now Available!

The latest on P2KCommander (P2K Commander as some call it) is that there is now a version available specifically for Microsoft Windows Vista. For those with Microsoft Windows Vista this is very welcomed news because it was previously a nightmare to try and get it to work -- even with the latest version 4.9.C. And if you had the 64-bit (x64) version of Windows Vista -- forget about it.

The Vista version of P2KCommander was just released on June 7, 2007 and is available for download from this link. Download it now and it should work with your P2K Commander installation on Microsoft Windows Vista.

In order to use the P2KCommander for Vista, download the file as "P2KCommander_Vista.exe" and place it in the same folder where you have the most recent installation of P2KCommader (Version 4.9.C can be downloaded here). Once the file is placed there, you should be able to run P2K Commander for Vista without issue.

Unfortunately, I have not tried this out on either my 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) versions of Microsoft Windows Vista. Hopefully in the next week I will be about to do so and will update you once it is complete!

Is it working for you?

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Pismo Classic - 300SL Gullwing Mercedes Benz

One of my favorite cars at the 22nd Annual Pismo Classic car show in Pismo Beach, California this week was the 300SL Gullwing by Mercedes-Benz. The particular specimen of the 1954-57 body producted by Mercedes-Benz was in immaculate condition with a very original color style. This particular car was attracting a lot of attention at the show -- for good reason!

Here's a full shot of the 300SL Gullwing parked on the street at the show. Here you can catch a glimpse of the 6-cylinder engine, straigh-six that was one of the very first engines to have fuel injection.
Pismo Classic 1954-57 Mercedes Benz 300SL Gullwing full

A great close in shot of the interior of the car. Beautiful condition and fully restored to the original condition.
Pismo Classic 1954-57 Mercedes Benz 300SL Gullwing interior

Here's the MB 300SL Gullwing from the back. A great looking car here at the Pismo Classic Car show.
Pismo Classic 1954-57 Mercedes Benz 300SL Gullwing back

More on this car from WikiPedia:

The Mercedes-Benz 300SL is a two-seat, closed sports car with characteristic gull-wing doors, and later, offered as an open roadster. It was also given the name "Widowmaker" because many male drivers died when crashing their 300 SL's. [1]

Built by Daimler-Benz AG and internally numbered W198, the road version of 1952 was based (somewhat loosely) on the company's highly successful competition-only sports car of 1950, the Mercedes-Benz 300SL (W194) which had less power, as it still had carburetors.

This model was suggested by Max Hoffman. Because it was intended for customers whose preferences were reported to Hoffman by dealers he supplied in the booming, post-war American market, it was introduced at the 1954 New York Auto Show—unlike previous models introduced at either the Frankfurt or Geneva shows. The 300SL was best known for both its distinctive gullwing or butterfly wing doors and for being the first-ever gasoline-powered car equipped with fuel injection directly into the combustion chamber. The gullwing version was available from March 1955 to 1957. In Mercedes-Benz fashion, the "300" referred to the engine's cylinder displacement, in this case, three liters. The "SL", as applied to a roadster, stood for "Sport Leicht" or "Sport Light."

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Mortgage Refinancing Among Other Items

With the state of everything in the economy right now, it is no surprise that many people are doing mortgage refinancing to get out of their bad loans that they created. I am sure there is no shortage of that happening even here in Thousand Oaks, CA. None the less, if you happen to be in that sort of situation, with a bad home loan or second that you cannot seem to cover, you might want to check out the folks over at SecureLoanConsolidation.com. In many cases they should be able to assist you in your financial situation, whatever it may be!

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Pismo Beach Classic Car Show - 22nd Annual - Saturday

For Father’s Day weekend and specifically today for my Dad’s 59th birthday we are up in Pismo Beach, California for their annual “Classic Car Show.” This year’s installment is the 22nd Annual edition of the Pismo Beach Classic – and our family’s 2nd visit. We were last here for 20th annual back in 2005 and had a great time. Last year we missed the 900+ cars and the 120,000 plus fans that visited for the weekend.

22nd Annual Pismo Beach Pomeroy Street

This year we were expecting Ashley's dad Phil to join us with his 2007 Shelby Ford Mustang GT500 at the show. However, a late rafting trip reservation took precedent and he really missed out. Given that we ran into his car's twin with the same color scheme -- except with a convertible top.

22nd Pismo Beach Classic 2007 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 Convertible

The show itself was just as we expected. Crowds, tough to find parking, and lots of great classic cars to look at. The Pismo Beach pier area was socked in with the coastal fog in the morning, yet cleared early enough in the afternoon to provide some enjoyable sunlight and fun.

In terms of cars it seemed the show was dominated by Classic Cheverolet Camaros -- perhaps over 100 similar vehicles in total. There we also a good number of Ford Thunderbird, Ford Mustang, & Chevy Chevelles that provided the a large percentage of the cars that could be viewed. And perhaps the most surprising were the number of Road Runners that were there -- my count was somewhere around 10. Perhaps the first time I remember seeing that number in some time.

22nd Pismo Beach Classic 1955 Chevy Bel-Air

Watch for blog posts to follow with more details on some of the specific cars and the show. Also, enjoy a couple of shots from Saturday's show.....

Were you there? I would love to hear about it!

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Saturday, June 16, 2007

Hidden Mickey: Disneyland: Mickey & Friends: U-Turn Sign

Hidden Mickeys at Disneyland are a very exciting sight. This is another in the series this month that will detail a good number of the Hidden Mickeys in the Disneyland and California Adventure Parks.

An often unexpected place to see Hidden Mickeys is in the Mickey & Friends Parking structure. Other than being one of the best designed parking structures in the world, there are also Hidden Mickeys there! This particular case of a "Hidden Mickey", the Mickey Mouse is really more of unexpected than hidden. As you can see below in the picture, there is a classic Mickey Mouse right in the middle of the sign!

Have you seen this Hidden Mickey? If so, let me know below with a comment!

Hidden Mickey in the Mickey & Friends parking lot on the U-Turn sign at Disneyland in Anaheim, California

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Blackberry - Blackbery Maps Shortcuts for your RIM Blackberry Device

Here is a list of shortcuts that can be used with your RIM Blackberry device with the Blackberry Maps application. This list was compiled from a number of sources including RIM.

These can be used when working with and viewing attachements:

  • To zoom in to a map, press I.
  • To zoom out from a map, press O.
  • To view the status information at the top of a map, press U.
  • To hide the status information at the top of a map, press U again.
  • To switch views, press the Space key.

Note: These shortcuts are compatible with the Blackberry 8800, Blackberry 8830, Blackberry Curve, and in some cases the Blackberry Pearl.

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Blackberry - Attachment Shortcuts for your RIM Blackberry Device

Here is a list of Calendar shortcuts that can be used with your RIM Blackberry device. In order to make these shortcuts in the Calendar Day view, make sure to go to the Calendar Options and then set the "Enable Quick Entry" configuration to "No". This list was compiled from a number of sources including RIM.

These can be used when viewing the Calendar in the Day view mode:

  • To schedule an appointment, press C.
  • To change to Agenda view, press A.
  • To change to Day view, press D.
  • To change to Week view, press W.
  • To change to Month view, press M.
  • To move to the next day, week, or month, press the Space key.
  • To move to the previous day, week, or month, press the Shift key and the Space key.
  • To move to the current date, press T.
  • To move to a specific date, press G.

Note: These shortcuts are compatible with the Blackberry 8800, Blackberry 8830, Blackberry Curve, and in some cases the Blackberry Pearl.

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Friday, June 15, 2007

Hidden Mickey: Disneyland: Mickey & Friends: Daisy Level Part Deux

Hidden Mickeys at Disneyland are a very exciting sight. This is another in the series this month that will detail a good number of the Hidden Mickeys in the Disneyland and California Adventure Parks.

An often unexpected place to see Hidden Mickeys is in the Mickey & Friends Parking structure. Other than being one of the best designed parking structures in the world, there are also Hidden Mickeys there! Anyone who has wandered the parking lot for any amount of time realize how immense its size is. With all of the circles in the finish for the cement work, you would think there would have to be a Hidden Mickey somewhere. And there is!

To see this Hidden Mickey, go to the Daisy level of the Mickey & Friend parking structure. From there, find the cement pole labeled 2A. Then, go over two car stall spaces towards the exit path direction and you will find a Hidden Mickey in the cement.

Have you seen this Hidden Mickey? If so, let me know below with a comment!

Hidden Mickey in the Mickey & Friends parking lot on Daisy level in the cement near 2A at Disneyland in Anaheim, California

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