Archive for the ‘General’ Category

The Sleep Experiment

Sunday, April 17th, 2011

You may have noticed; I like to perform experiments where I am the subject. ¬†(There’s a good chance that I learned this from Mythbusters; who knows.) ¬†The latest experiment is what I’m calling the “Sleep Experiment”, or more fully, the “Place My iPhone On Airplane Mode While I Sleep Experiment”.

By this point, I’m certain that you’re asking, “Why is he doing this? ¬†Has Adam discovered that he is sensitive to electromagnetic radiation, and it’s affecting him while he sleeps?” ¬†No. ¬†Something I’ve known for a while is that I’m a very light sleeper; especially sensitive to sounds. ¬†For instance, emails, texts, phone calls, pins dropping, calls dropping, and pins phoning. ¬†Putting my phone on “silent” still allows it to vibrate, which still makes noise.

My null hypothesis: the buzzing/chiming of my iPhone (and iPad) have been waking me up throughout the night undetectably (I wake up but don’t remember waking up), causing me to be √ľber tired in the morning.

Experiment: put the phone on Airplane mode and turn off the iPad while sleeping.

Result: So far, I’ve been waking up a lot more refreshed & ready to attack the day (I’ve been doing this since Monday). ¬†In fact, I woke up on my own at 6:30am today–kinda weird, but refreshing. ¬†So six mornings down. ¬†If things change, I’ll keep you posted.

The Book that Sets Me Free

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

Back in May of 2010, something important happened: My freedom was revoked. ¬†Well, it wasn’t revoked, it expired. ¬†My passport book, used only a few times, finally made it to ten years old. ¬†The photo of me smiling at age 20 (young and innocent) reminds me of what happened only weeks before I got the passport in the mail. ¬†(For those of you who don’t know, a pocket knife found itself a couple inches into my hand while fighting for the honor of a damsel in distress. ¬†Or…I accidentally stabbed myself while opening a Super Soaker box. ¬†Whichever seems more plausible.)

So back in…oh…December, I guess, I did the passport renewal, sent in my check and photo, and a few weeks later, received a rejection notice. ¬†My photo was unacceptable. ¬†Americans aren’t supposed to smile. ¬†Or the photo wasn’t the right size. ¬†or something stupid, I don’t know. ¬†So I let the passport sit around until one of my friends had to go out of the country for a family emergency; and I thought to myself, gosh, if I had some kind of international emergency (for instance, cheap tickets to Taiwan), I wouldn’t be able to go! ¬†So I retook the photo (it really looks like I haven’t eaten fiber in a few years), and sent in all my paperwork. ¬†Yesterday, I got the envelope: my brand new passport. ¬†A feeling of elation swept over me–I can travel again, to magnificent places like Egypt, Japan, and Libya! ¬†Yes! ¬†(ok, too soon for that).

Anyway. ¬†I haven’t left the U.S. since April 2009. ¬†It’s been two years. ¬†Time to travel!

New Photo!

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

I changed the photo in the blog header!¬† It’s almost been two years since my Lasik surgery, not to mention the weight I dropped, so I figured it was time to replace it.¬† (If you’re reading this via Facebook, you have no idea what I’m talking about.¬† Visit my blog directly!)

Certificate Errors

Monday, February 28th, 2011

This is going to be a slightly technical post, but helpful for you if you’re experiencing any “certificate error” issues.

Have you visited Facebook lately and gotten an error like “This is probably not the site you are looking for!”, or something about the certificate being invalid, etc? ¬†Or Gmail? ¬†Or any other site that you’ve used the https:// protocol? ¬†There are a few possibilities for what is going on; I’ll explain three, and how to fix one.

The first, one from which your browser is trying to protect you, is the possibility that someone has hijacked a DNS server or is placing themselves between you and the web site you are trying to reach, pretending to be that web site to eavesdrop on your information. ¬†(The job of a certificate is to prevent that). ¬†This is bad. ¬†You want to heed this warning and stay away from the site, as someone could steal your username, password, or any other information you’re sending to the site.

The second, another from which your browser is trying to protect you, is a virus/spyware program has attempted to hijack the internet traffic from within your own computer.  Install anti-virus/anti-spyware to fix it.

The third (and the one which white I’m going to try to help you) is that your computer’s DNS cache is someone out of date, and that it is trying to access the wrong server (innocently). ¬†I should probably tell you what a DNS server is. ¬†A “Domain Name Server” is a computer that converts domain names (like google.com) into IP addresses (like¬†66.102.7.99). ¬†Sometimes, your computer or browser will cache this information so that your browsing experience goes faster. ¬†If these numbers are out-of-date, however, you’ll get that certificate error. ¬†Here’s how I fix it.

  1. First and foremost, try quitting and reopening your browser.  If going to the website still results in an error, continue to step 2.
  2. Mac: Quit your browser. ¬†Open the Terminal App, and type the following command (without the quotes, of course): “dscacheutil -flushcache”. Reopen the browser.
    PC: Quit your browser. ¬†Open the Command Prompt, and type the following command (again, without the quotes): “ipconfig /flushdns”. ¬†Reopen the browser.

Now, if that doesn’t work, there’s a chance there’s something wrong with your DNS server settings, and you might want to contact your DSL or cable company to get a fix. ¬†Good luck!

Audio…video podcasts?

Saturday, February 19th, 2011

I’ve been considering doing the audio or video podcasts again, but need some help from you guys regarding what to talk about!

Internet. Down again.

Saturday, February 12th, 2011

I just got off the phone after talking with Time Warner Cable.  It was a two hour ordeal.  Is my problem solved?  Not entirely, but at least I can access the Internet.  For now.

We have had technicians visit at least 20 times over the last few years, and probably quadruple that in phone calls to try to fix connection problems.  From my experience so far with Time Warner, they have four tiers of support:

  • Tier-1: These are the outsourced support folks. ¬†No matter what your problem is, it’s your router. ¬†Nevermind that it’s brand-new, or that the Internet connection doesn’t work when the computer is connected directly… ¬†Their job is to tell you to reset your router, reset your cable modem, and plug in a computer directly to the modem so they can “run some tests.” ¬†Invariably, they cannot fix the problem, and must send a technician out to help.
  • Tier-3 (there’s no second tier): ¬†These guys are based in the US; they’re the “national” support, meaning they’re probably in Kansas or somewhere in middle America, and have a bunch of tools at their disposal. ¬†They are, however, carefully guarded by the Tier-1 guys. ¬†Therefore, getting through to one of these rainmakers is next to impossible. ¬†If you can social engineer your way into getting transferred to Tier-3, there’s a 90% chance they can solve your problem without a technician.
  • Technicians: ¬†These guys have the worst job. ¬†They have to come over and pretend to know what to fix, when really, they just splice cable and plug stuff in. ¬†They read their case notes, and their general resolution is to replace the modem. ¬†Even if the problem isn’t the modem. ¬†Occasionally, they’ll dig up your front lawn to install a new line.
  • Technician Gods: ¬†The local support who understands the importance of bandwidth vs. packet loss vs. latency. ¬†I was fortunate enough to talk with one of these legends tonight. ¬†BS in computer engineering from CSUN. ¬†Pasadena native. ¬†He “reset the ping count” (yeah, even that’s beyond me), and…for the first time in 10ish years of having cable, gave us a free month of service for our trouble. ¬†And told me to get a different brand of modem.

Anyway. ¬†Obviously, I’m back online, and I hope that a modem change on Monday will solve more woes.

Famous People

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010

I feel like such an idiot. ¬†While waiting for my car in the valet area after Rotary, I saw this young woman who I thought I had met before. ¬†“You look so familiar–where do I know you from?” She shrugs. ¬†“Where did you go to high school?” ¬†She replies, “Temple City.” ¬†I said, “Ah, I went to San Marino. ¬†That’s not it.” ¬†She giggled and said, “We’re rivals!” ¬†I laughed, then continued, “What about college?” She said, “UCLA.” ¬†I said, “Wow, we’re really rivals! ¬†I’m Adam, what’s your name?” ¬†She says, “Julia,” while shaking my hand. My car arrived, and I left. ¬†Three hours later, I’m reminded of one of my favorite television show, “Chuck”, and it clicks; the girl is Julia Ling from the TV show. ¬†Whoops. ¬†I “recognized” her without realizing why. Doh!

Vegan, Attempt #2

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

Vegan.  Again.  Attempt #1 was about a year ago, and ended on the fifth day with me devouring a filet mignon, medium rare, and a brilliant baked potato with sour cream, butter, cheese, and bacon bits.  Oh, and spinach artichoke dip to start.

What’s changed this time around? ¬†How have I made it 3+ weeks? ¬†Well, for starters, I have a goal: losing weight. ¬†And it’s worked so far. I went from 254 lbs to 239 lbs (that’s 15 lbs for those of you who can’t do basic math). ¬†But the REAL deal is that I’m allowing myself to cheat–one or two meals a week, I’ll have meat/dairy. ¬†I haven’t craved. ¬†This is a good thing. ¬†I’ve also found a lot more substitutes for things, and have done my best to explore new options.

So am I a vegan? ¬†Absolutely not. ¬†I like leather, both as my car seats as well as my shoes and belt. ¬†I still like the occasional burger, steak, or chicken; but I’ve scaled it WAY back.

I’ll keep you posted on how it goes. ¬†As it stands…if I can get to 230 lbs and stay there through 12/31, I’ll be up $300. ¬†Wish me luck!

Critical Thinking and the McDonalds Experiment

Friday, October 15th, 2010

A few days ago, I read about another one of those “what happens if we leave McDonalds food out” experiments. ¬†McDonalds apparently read about it, too, and responded. ¬†This is the general gist of the experiments:

Null Hypothesis: McDonalds is bad for you because it does not get worms, moldy, smelly, or show visible decomposition.

I’m not a McDonalds advocate. ¬†In fact, I don’t eat there, unless I’m √ľber hungry and want a sausage McMuffin. ¬†And now that I’m trying to be a vegan (no, I’m not actually a vegan, I just try really hard to be), McDonalds is all but out. ¬†But here’s my complaint: the people who are using the lack of decomposition, etc, as a reason that something is bad for you, are completely full of shit. ¬†I mean, seriously, what kind of argument is that? ¬†I *THINK* they’re trying to draw the conclusion that if something doesn’t decompose, it must be fake, and because it’s fake, it must be bad for you.

They have flawed logic. ¬†And that’s what bothers me about this experiment overall. People are not showing an adequate amount of critical thinking when it comes to Internet stories.

See, in the experiment above, as the Atlantic Wire article points out, the woman put the meal on her coffee table in her apartment or house. ¬†So there really shouldn’t be any worms. ¬†Because that would just speak to her environment, really. ¬†In terms of mold and other decomp, well, dry stuff doesn’t get moldy. ¬†Like a toasted bun. ¬†Or dried out fries. ¬†Or dried out meat. ¬†And salt is a gazillion (yep, it’s a number) year old method for preserving stuff. ¬†And McDonalds is, well, the best at over salting stuff.

Now maybe that information isn’t common knowledge, or maybe people WANT to believe this stuff without thinking about it. ¬†But what I’m predicting is more homemade experiments on everything else “proving” things with flawed methodology. ¬†You’ll see stories (and video) of people claiming that drinking and driving is bad, and proving it by running over a liquor bottle with a car. ¬†In slow-mo.

Pretty please, be critical thinkers.

AppleTV

Friday, October 1st, 2010

Apple TVI bought the new Apple TV with my American Express points. ¬†It’s pretty darn neat; it’s very very small (that’s me holding it right there; it’s smaller than three old-school CD jewel cases stacked up), and it’s quick. ¬†It loads right up, and connects easily to my computer, iPad, iPhone, and the internet. ¬†Very impressive. ¬†My primary goal of buying it was that I’d be able to watch hi-def versions of my favorite TV shows on demand. ¬†The problem? ¬†TV studios apparently didn’t all agree to the pricing model. ¬†Apparently, $0.99 per episode (to rent, not buy) just isn’t enough.

I don’t agree with this sentiment. ¬†While $0.99 per show may not sound like much, it actually is right on par with the competition. ¬†A viewer buys every episode in a season, which adds up to between 20 and 30 episodes. ¬†Let’s assume that’s an average of $25 per season. ¬†What in the world is wrong with that? ¬†That’s a lot of money, and if you add up all the shows someone like I would watch (let’s say it’s around 10 shows), that’s $250 per season of shows. ¬†That’s pretty good, given that that’s $250 they wouldn’t have if I decided to watch the shows on TV or on Hulu. ¬†Advertising? ¬†Give me a break. ¬†I see all kinds of product placement in these shows–and I’m still paying hard cash for the episodes. ¬†And what about companies like Netflix? ¬†I pay less than $10/month, and watch TONS and TONS of old TV shows–in fact, that’s how I watched Dollhouse and 30 Rock (and other shows). ¬†Well over 100 episodes over the course of a couple months; I effectively paid less than $0.25 per episode.

The amount of money an advertiser pays MAY be greater than the aggregate of people purchasing the shows one-off, but the AppleTV, in addition to all the other set-top boxes, offers an amazing avenue into peoples’ living rooms. ¬†Content is king, but not when the pricing is out of reach.

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