Archive for August, 2007

Chipotle News

Sunday, August 26th, 2007

I have 2 pices of free advertising for Boston area chipotles. The best News first:

  • Chipotle is opening a new store in Davis Square! Davis square is about a 10 minute walk from my place. The current location, which has only been open for about 8 months now, is a 10 minute drive from my house. So now I’ll actually walk off some of those burritos calories on my way to/from Chipotle! Thanks for keeping my health in mind large fast-foodish chain restaurant. Here’s some photographic proof taken by Jed:

    Davis Square Chipotle

  • The second news is that they have finally implemented bottle recycling collectors, at least at the Massachusetts location, if not everywhere. For years I’ve been leaving my empty glass bottles near but not in the trash, in hopes that they would be recycled, but never knowing if they actually were or not. I was as excited to see this finally implemented. Picture, also by Jed; I didn’t have my camera on me that day.

    Recycling Receptical at Chipotle.

Hog Island 2007

Saturday, August 25th, 2007

Hog Island is a small island in Narragansett Bay in Rhode Island. One of my room mates, Brian’s, extended family owns about half of the island. Its a very unique place with no roads or power running to the island. There used to be a daily ferry out, but that has since stopped. So one can only get there by personal boat. Brian hosted a party there a week ago, which was a blast. Although, I was embarrassingly sore from a ~6 inning whiffle ball game that ended tied 7-7. Below is a map of some of the pictures I took to try out the new camera. Click on the pictures for a bigger view (you’kll want to use the larger map for that), but note that they have been compressed to save on bandwidth, you’re welcome Chris.

View Larger Map

Conversation with OSU Paul at 2007 – 08 – 22 14:30:56

Thursday, August 23rd, 2007

The aim names have been changed where necessary to protect the innocent.

OSU Paul: weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
Liryon: Spinning around in the office chair are we?
OSU Paul: oo, thats a good idea
Liryon: Remember to remove all wired headphone devices before attempting.
OSU Paul: Do you speak from experience?
Liryon: No, only theoretical research. There will be a simulation in the next six months, and, if all goes well, a test in fall 2008
OSU Paul: Do u have a grant to conduct said research?
Liryon: No, I found that the grant would have required me to take the research in a direction which I found to be unproductive. I am generously contributing to the physics community this research out of my own pocket.
OSU Paul: How generous, will you be publishing your results in any trade journals?
Liryon: I will be presenting the results of the simulation at PhysicsCon in hamburg, Germany next spring.
OSU Paul:excellent
Liryon: I expect the research to draw a considerable crowd at that event which should aid in furthering the study and getting published upon its completion.
OSU Paul: Let me know if you need any research subjects, I may know a few.
OSU Paul: Although, you may want to do most of your initial experimentation on cats.
Liryon: I am already in contact with a volunteer for the final test who has agreed to take on the risks.
OSU Paul: Excellent.
Liryon: I was unable to find appropriate headgear that fit non human subjects.
OSU Paul: That’s a shame
Liryon: Besides, I don’t want PETA getting all worked up about this, or OSHA, which is why I am first conducting simulations.
OSU Paul:true
Liryon: This research is too important to be marred with any setbacks.
OSU Paul: Pivotal stuff that.
Liryon: Well, that’s what we’re trying to determine, here ;-)
OSU Paul: My best wishes sir, I hope you have a major breakthrough
Liryon: Thank you for the interview, good day to you.
OSU Paul: Gooday

Fires and Bar Trivia

Tuesday, August 21st, 2007

Yesterday marked my one year anniversary in Boston, so now that that is done with, I can finally get around to seeing Emily. Emily is the one person I knew in Boston before I moved here. She’s a college friend of a high school friend of friend from back home. She’s also his x, I told her not to date him (some friend of friend I turned out to be), but I was right, we bonded. We’ve been trying to meet up for a year now, and well, since I couldn’t make a concert Saturday night due to being in Rhode Island (post coming), Bar Trivia it was. Our team, comprised of Emily, her BF, and some other guys won! I contributed two things:

  1. Whole Foods is the grocery store under SEC investigation.
  2. Sao Paulo is most definitely in the Southern Hemisphere.

Which means they all knew their stuff. It was a fun time, and on the way back I drove right past a house fire in progress. Well the first cop pulled up a few car lengths behind me while I was stopped at a light. I had pulled well over to let him pass and he stopped, and then I heard more sirens (upon closer inspection fire truck sirens) so I started looking around and low and behold the back side of the house nearest the corner was in flames. I wasn’t there long enough to grab a picture so you’ll have to settle for a map (its the one the arrow is pointing at).

View Larger Map

It looked like everyone was out of the house, and well The rest of the drive home I was seeing trucks headed that way, so hopefully it will all turn out alright. I was just really surprised to turn my head around and see a fire not 25 meters away. One of the things I never considered about actually living in a city is the increased frequency of emergency vehicle sightings, but I guess it makes sense, more people, more stuff to go wrong. Also, I live 2 blocks from a fire station and a hospital, so that may be inflating the numbers a bit.

Cannon A560

Thursday, August 16th, 2007

This post is essentially just a comment on chris’ post. Hey nice choice of camera, I got the A560 for my birthday, but never got around to posting it. I wonder how much searching it would take to find out what that extra 10 is getting me. They look almost exactly the same so its probably not much.
I guess those Maria Sharapova commercials really worked on us, well on you and my mother, who searched out the camera for me. Now all I have to do is remember to carry it around with me.

Perseids 2007

Monday, August 13th, 2007

Sunday night, for the peak of the Persied metor shower two of my room mates and I drove out to Nahant, MA to watch. Nahant is this little outcropping of rock connected to the north shore by a causeway. It had a good, dark, northeasterly view, and it was close. It was amazing how many more stars were visible even just an hour out of the city. Of course being on the beach helped much. Unfortunately the Northeastern research center out there has some bright lights that were hard to avoid.

We first tried to avoid the lights by heading down a forested path, it abruptly ended with a huge, imposing door built into the hillside. We turned back, and headed up a trail that went up to the top of the hill. We were almost at the top when I came within a foot of running into a perfectly constructed spider web spanning the path. It had about a 1in square spider chilling in the middle of it. It seemed as though it’d worked pretty hard on the web so we turned back.

We took all our gear, blanket, flashlight, water, and binoculars up the road a bit to the next beach down the road, again on the northeast facing side of the island. There was a guy with a laptop out on the closed trunk of his car. He told us he’d seen a bunch while he was on the beach, some 25 feet below the road. On his suggestion we ignored the barricaded stairs and went down. We saw maybe 15 meteors total during the hour plus we laid down there. Two or there of which were very bright, and left some impressive streaks. Eventually some little critters found us and we broke camp.

When we got to the top of the stairs the laptop toting stargazer had been replaced by a somewhat inebriated “on vacation” girl from down the street, who claimed to be a lawyer in Boston. She had her sister and a cute dog with her, and we chatted for a bit, mostly about how we didn’t have any drugs. While we were chatting possibly the best meteor of the night crossed my eye. I pointed and spoke and we all caught a fading glimpse. All and all one of the most successful meteor shower watchings I’ve had in recent memory.

Can’t Teach a New Phone Old Tricks

Sunday, August 12th, 2007

Old Phone New Phone So, as many of you know I dropped my old V710 (see how nice and simple that name is) phone (left) in the Atlantic ocean on my trip to the Outer Banks. Luckily I’d managed to hold onto my old phone for 2 years and as such was eligible for my $100 new every two discount from Verizon. I researched it a little bit and I found a phone that seemed like it had more or less the same abilities as my old one. The new phone has the most overly marketed name I can think of on an actual product. It (right) is the Motorolla KRAZAR Maxx Ve. Yep so RAZAR is a cross between razor (sharp) and laser (cool), and KRAZAR is a cross between that and crazy, and its not only whatever the fuck KRAZAR actually means to the max its that to the maxx! And then, well, they have to differentiate the crippled phone for Verizion from the non crippled one for those GSM networks (more on this later) so you get the Ve part.

First, and foremost, among the capabilities required that drove my research is the ability to connect to a custom, free wap server. This allows the phone to use free (airtime minutes only, no monthly fee) wireless web, well its not free, you must leave a computer on at all times running a little perl script. The new phone does this, after going into its OS memory and flipping a bit. Its a hack, but its well documented online, and it worked. This couple with the ability of the newer browser software on the phone working better with Google’s mobile services means that in the end I am happy with the phone. But I feel the need to list the features that I enjoyed on my old that are missing on my new phone. A screen shot for reference.

Maxx Ve Screenshot

  • The new phone can not change the color of those big red bars. The old one could do blue, green, red, or yellow, or silver. Also the old bars were shaded, and nice, not big red and ugly. I’ve read that it may be possible to change them to other solid colors by hacking into things.
  • See the text for the “soft buttons” on the lower red bar, the left one says “Messages” and the right one says “Contacts.” So the whole idea behind soft buttons is that they can change, otherwise you’d save your screen space and write the text on the keypad. Nope these can’t be changed, but they could on the old phone. One click access to recent calls was way more useful than messages, and in fact it used to be the default, but no more.
  • The old phone had a bright exterior LED that could be used, and was often used, as a flashlight. It was actually the flash for the camera, but since it didn’t flash (was either on or off and that was set manually) it was really much better as a flashlight. The new phone, well they got the flash right, but I don’t need a flash on my phone camera, but the flashlight was super useful and now its gone.
  • The old phone could use predictive typing by default for all text entry, there was even a menu to change this. The new phone keeps different defaults for all different sorts of entry, and well sometimes those defaults are to non predictive and can’t be changed. Wow does that suck, I grant, neither solution is perfect, perfect would have a menu for setting the default for each type of entry, but at least I didn’t have to use up 2 key pressed to get to the predictive entry every time I went to add a contact.
  • Speaking of predictive typing, the new phone seems to be worse at it. Its fine in the contacts and text message sections, but it’s interface in the wireless web and mobile IM sections can’t learn new words. The interface in the other area’s and the old phone, was the same everywhere, and could learn new words anywhere.
  • The new phone can’t vibrate and then ring, which is the most useful ring setting I can think of; yup, used it on the old one all the time.
  • The new phone can’t change volume level while closed, now this was implemented annoyingly on the old phone, it could change in your pocket by randomly hitting buttons, but its not there at all on the new phone. I guess if at first you don’t succeed, better scrap it all together next time.

So the new phone does do some new tircks that I like, but mostly no thanks to Verizon.

  • The new phone interfaces directly with Motorola Phone Tools and is fully functional without a hack, well unless you think that telling MPT that it is a V6 model phone and not a Maxx Ve is a hack. Yup its got the same everything as the GSM Motorola V6, so despite that it would not be fully functional if MPT thought it was a Maxx Ve, it is as the V6. Fully functional means that I can set my own custom (from mp3 or midi files) ringtones for free without file size limits. With my old phone those cost $0.25 a pop and were limited to 300Kb. I can also backup my contacts and such, but that part is available in the limited Verizon functionality.
  • It uses a mini USB port to charge, and hack, which I have thanks to my new camera (post coming soon). So I don’t need to drop $10-$30 on a cable. I haven’t yet opened the wall charger it came with. I’ll also be able to use it continuously on road trips charged by the laptop (which plugs into the car) for internet, expensive if its not a weekend internet.
  • The ringtones are louder, I had problems hearing my old one.
  • The battery life is way better, and the screens are bigger. Oh and you can change the background on the outward facing screen. Thats actually something people complained about with the old phone.
  • The new phone also supported the bluetooth stereo headphone and audio control profiles so I can use it as an mp3 player with wireless head phones. This is something my old phone could almost do, if only it had the bluetooth profiles. I’m currently looking for a cheap pair of good bluetooth headphones. I was never one to want into the iPod world so I think this will work well for me.
  • The new phone is smaller, volume wise, although it is longer (if you don’t count the antenna on the old one) anyways its definitely slicker than the old one and I like its feel, at least until those big red bars are staring back at me.

Oh I almost forgot, the things both phones do that I really don’t want either of them to do at all.

  • Have a camera.
  • Locked to BREW software (no homebrew development)

You see, I really want my cell phone to be my MythTV remote via bluetooth. Luckily things such as the iPhone (its getting hacked into a decent development platform) and openmoko are working on the homebrew problem. Hopefully in 2 years when my next new every two is up something like this will be available on a network that doesn’t suck. Then I won’t have to be nearly as pissed off about how my next new every two credit will only be $50 instead of $100, because all I want in a phone will be available. And heck I might actually not mind paying retail for something that does exactly what I want it to do.

The Bourne Ultimatum and Transformers

Sunday, August 12th, 2007

After months of uncharacteristically not seeing any movies in theaters In the past two weeks I saw both The Bourne Ultimatum and Transformers, this is a late review. Lets start with Bourne because I saw that one first, on opening night, in the cheap, quaint, and nearby Somerville theater, which had surprisingly good movies playing for once. Usually they have a bunch of crap that caters to the frat boy demographic, but not that night. The other movies there were the Simpson’s movie, Knocked Up (both of which I still need to see) and No Reservations, which I haven’t really heard of. Anyways the Wednesday before seeing Ultimatum I watched Supremacy for the first time, and well that just showed exactly how little I remembered from Identity; so, I watched that on Thursday. I thought it was a big help in understanding the third one, and would recommend rematching them before seeing the new one. Although the fun action will keep you entertained anyways. I was a big fan of how they used the Julia Stiles character, and I especially liked the hair dying scene as a parallel or foil to the first movie.

I finally saw Transformers yesterday down at the Fenway theater with Post after we were the only two people who showed up to play games. I can’t add much to the discourse on this one it was really entertaining. Afterwards I decided I’d take advantage of the no sales tax weekend and get some new shoes, so I used my new phone and found some stores in the back bay, but of course I didn’t find anything there in my price range. Well I guess thats all for now, I’ve been slowly getting less busy so maybe I’ll fill in the gaps a bit in the coming weeks.

Where Have I Been!

Saturday, August 4th, 2007

Well I went to Las Vegas for work and the to the Outer Banks of North Carolina for vacation with my family and Paul’s family. And well check the my map of the trip.

Huh, it looks like you have to sign in to google maps before it will show you any of the my maps. I guess I never noticed this before, or maybe its new, in any case, if the map doesn’t have lots of blue lines and markers on it, then you should sign in it seems.