Archive for the ‘Gadget Factor’ Category

Keep It Simple (Stupid)

July 23, 2009 Leave a comment
Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated. – Confucius
What is RSS?
a.) Rashtiya Swayamsevak Sangh – also known as the Sangh or the RSS, is a Hindu revivalist organization in India.
b.) Residual sum of squares – It is a measure of the discrepancy between the data and an estimation model.
c.) Really Simple Syndication – RSS is a dialect of XML used to syndicate web content.
d.) All of the above
Wait for it…    RSS is actually all of the above plus so many other things. 
My favorite definition is that it is a TLA  that can stand for a variety of terms.  (Wikipedia is so smart!)
 What is the point?  The point is I have not posted anything on this site since March 23rd.  Since making the shift to Facebook/GeoBlank I have neglected many of the other “Blank Pages” on the WWW. 
Facebook is a great end point but it does not have to be everything to everyone.  RSS is a great way to re-use existing sites and to corral your data where you want it to go.  Below is a diagram showing where my bits flow.  The method of distribution is RSS.  RSS makes sure new posts get to where they need to go and duplication is avoided.
The diagram shows 5 places where data originates. 
  1. The first is where you may have enjoyed such great works as “Tales from the Barber Chair” or “Inside the Empire”
  2. Next is this Blog – Where you can enjoy “The Blank Chronicles” a blog like many other blogs… out of date and not super exciting.
  3. Next I show a place holder – this can be anything RSS enabled.  The possibilities are endless!
  4. Next is my XBox 360 – When I am on XBox Live what I am doing is posted on the Live Servers.
  5. Finally there is Twitter – Twitter is down farther in the stack since it is both a place to create data but also a place to send data.

Under the souces of data is FeedBurner.  I really hate to takl about FeedBurner as it was purchased by “that other company” some time back. It does however do a job and it does it pretty well.  I can subscribe to multiple RSS feeds and use it to “burn” and distribute the data.  This way if my feed urls change I can manage them in a single place and not worry about my consumers.

TwitterFeed is a web site that allows you to connect Twitter up to RSS feeds.  Between FeedBurner and TwitterFeed, I can use a simple set of tools to connect anything to Twitter.

XBox Nation is a specialized site that allows me to publish my XBox Live Server status to Twitter.  If it says I am watching a movie you better believe I am watching a movie. 

The final piece of the puzzle is the Twitter add-in for Facebook.  I have it setup so anything I post to Twitter ends up on Facebook.  The nice thing about this is that any site that is Twitter friendly now pushes to Facebook without me doing any additional work.  A couple sites I have been playing with are BriteKite, as well as Twitter integration for

What is the point of all this? 

The way I look at it I have five choices.

  1. Clean my office
  2. Watch Americas Got Talent (woops I am missing it… coming! – NOT)
  3. Update my Blog
  4. Play Zenga Texas Holdem Poker
  5. Finish writing my FY10 commitments for work.

Since number 3 is complete I guess I will see how the cards are.


I was ready…

February 18, 2009 2 comments
Digital for storage and quickness. Analog for fatness and warmth.  –  Adrian Belew
Are you DTV Ready?  Today was the big cut over but I guess the government lost "hope" and was not really ready for "change"…

The world is already digital right?  Last month I had an analog antenna on the roof of my shed and was completely happy with my 5 channels.  Now I have to deal with a digital world.  Lets see… my tuners in my XP Media Center are analog.  My Xbox 1.0 does not stream HD, and my 27inch tube TV… well it is not really ready either.  So I guess I better get up on the roof.  The question is, am I taking down or putting up?  What are my options?  Dish?  Cable?  IPTV?

GeoBlank & Michael on the roof!

After it is all said and done I don’t want another a monthly payment and I hear that open air digital gives you a pretty good set of channels.  I had an antenna before so I will have an antenna still. was my friend.  Almost everything you see below I got for way under cost and because of I actually got 30% back on several of the already low "Buy It" now prices I found!

Click for larger image.

Upgrade complete!

Vista Media Center was something I had put off for too long.  Since I had to do it for the HD stream I am much better off.  Network tuners also made the wiring easy from my new antenna to the garage and onto my network.  The recent upgrade to the Windows Home Server also is a great addition to Media Center.  You can read more about that feature if you search for PP2 and WHS.

Since I am cheap and since I really did not want a bunch of components in my family room I opted for the Xbox 360 "paired" surround system by Pioneer.  The system has an integrated Media Center / 360 remote control and compliments the room nicely.  Rock Band sounds pretty good as well!

Now I have all my original channels in HD and I also get some new ones like the Retro TV Network – That is right – Air Wolf, A-Team, and the Hulk daily!  JCTV is a great channel.  If you have not seen The Logan Show what are you waiting for!  And of course with the Vista Media Center I can now enjoy The Guild on demand  through my Media Center Extenders.

Life is pretty good!  (Maybe I will use some of the money I am saving on cable to finally go gold – Xbox gold that is!)


Categories: Gadget Factor

If binary nats were treated like flies

April 7, 2008 Leave a comment
I’m like a Dilbert cartoon. – David Spade

David and I have a lot in common I guess…  See TeamBlank’s creations.

Terminology –

A bit is a binary digit, taking a value of either 0 or 1. For example, the number 10010111 is 8 bits long, or in most cases, one modern PC byte. Binary digits are a basic unit of information storage and communication in digital computing and digital information theory. Information theory also often uses the natural digit, called either a nit or a nat. Quantum computing also uses qubits, a single piece of information with a probability of being true.

The bit is also a unit of measurement, the information capacity of one binary digit. It has the symbol bit, or b (see discussion below). The unit is also known as the shannon, with symbol Sh.

Enter BitStrips


Bit Strips
My local stored image

The embedded Bitstrips player

Once again I have found a site on the web that will probably consume more of my time than it should.

A comic strip creation site that lets you create characters, emotion, stories, and just about anything you need to express yourself.

Fun stuff!

Categories: Gadget Factor

Run to the Hills!

March 7, 2008 Leave a comment
An expert is one who knows more and more about less and less. Nicholas M. Butler
Recently you heard me mention Guitar Hero as well as Rock Band on the XBox 360. 
Today I really want to just share a song from my childhood, a song that has new meaning now that I can see it played by a 5 star expert on Rock Band.
Please prepare to be amazed!
Rock Band Drums…
Rock Band Guitar…
One day you may see a post where I have the skills, talent, and rockin excellence to be this good.
Your Welcome,
Gamertag:  GeoBlank
Categories: Gadget Factor

Total Eclipse

February 21, 2008 1 comment
The Sun, Moon and Stars are there to guide us. Dennis Banks

The power of the sun, earth, and the moon being aligned tonight is the only thing that can explain why I now can play Rock Band on my Xbox 360 any time I want to…
So for 20 minutes last night I played Guitar Hero on the Wii after dinner at a friends house and today I can do it in style on a 360.  That kind of explosive purchase is not typical for me.
I can say this about the 360 however…
  1. Plug and Play
  2. Windows Media Center connected in less than 10 minutes (6 of that was installing an update on my 2005 PC)
  3. Windows Home Server shared music, video, and photos in 5 seconds, my WHS was just there.  (Kind of spooky actually)
  4. Online with Live, a Gamer tag, and browsing the market place without even knowing really what to expect in teh 360 UI.

I think that this was probably the second easiest hardware/software integration experience i have ever had.  The HP MediaSmart Windows Home Server was pretty easy but the XBox 360 was more fun.

I was a bit saddened to see all the cables in the Rock Band box.  I guess not everything can be wireless.  The 10 foot experience cable free with the 360 controller however is sure nice.

So that is it.  I won’t be paying bills online tonight as I need to figure out how to unlock the Metallica songs.

Rock On!


Categories: Gadget Factor

I lived alone…

February 20, 2008 Leave a comment
Heroes can be sweet.Oriana Fallaci
   …my mind was blank
I needed time to think to get the memories from my mind
What did I see? Could I believe? That what I saw
that night was real and not just fantasy…
That was cool!  When I first saw the other people doing it it actually looked a lot less exciting than I had imagined.  The whole idea was built up from people who had done it before and talked about it.  I went into it thinking "this will be awesome…" only to have never participated before it did not really look that exciting.
I decided to give it a try.  It felt pretty cool from the very beginning.  I think that choices from the 80’s made it even better.  Every second that passed, the excitement grew in me little by little and I knew that this was definitely something I would have to try again.
I wasn’t that good at first so I tried it 3 times.  I got a little better each time.  I definitely liked it.  After taking a break and watching the others do it a few more times, I definitley would have to say that watching now was a new experience.  After having my own experience I could relate and enjoy it as a spectator (don’t get me wrong, being the one being watched is much better.)
I will definitely be getting Guitar Hero!
Categories: Gadget Factor

Garmin “The Sequel”

February 1, 2008 Leave a comment

I’m not the greatest; I’m the double greatest. Not only do I knock ’em out, I pick the round.Muhammad Ali

First the Colarado 400t and now the Nuvifone.  

Take that iPhone…  Garmin is full of suprises…


The features look rich.  Read Engadget announcement or check out Lets Go Mobile.  Too bad it can’t be the phone for me.

I am a family first person and my entire flock is Verizon Wireless.  I can’t imagine my wife’s cell bill if her and her mother were not using "In Minutes".  Of course then their is the proprietary OS the phone has.  The support and extenibility of Windows Mobile is pretty hard to beat from where I sit. 

So for now I will keep my eyes open for the Verizon Windows Mobile phone that will knock me out.


Categories: Gadget Factor