What do you read?

| Sunday, August 31, 2008
Living in this digital age has brought about so much information online. I read everything online basically (except for school textbooks). There are so many sites to visit and new things to be posted everyday. There is so much to take in and so little time to do so.

A couple of weeks ago I had about 15 sites that I would visit at least once a day. Besides Slickdeals, there were several blogs I would check and then news sites and a few others. Checking all those sites takes forever. The biggest pain is that half the time there isn't anything new on the sites (especially on people's blogs), so that means that I was just wasting time. About this time I was doing a project for work with Google Alerts. Somehow I came across this awesome service that Google offers: Google Reader!

If you look at the screenshot above, you will see that I have all of my sites divided by category on the bottom left and then all of the new stuff on each site shows up on the right. I can narrow down what I want to see from just "Blogs" to a single site. The nicest thing about this service is that I can visit 1 site, see everything that is new, and move on.

As a quick note, the site must have an RSS feed. For blogs, the blog must be public or you won't be able to connect to the RSS feed. Lastly, mine is all color coded, but that does not come standard with Google Reader. That is because of a nice Firefox addon, Better GReader. I know there are other similar services out there, so if you know of something better let me know. Oh yeah, it only checks for updates at most every 5 minutes, but may check less frequently depending on the RSS settings of the site it is checking. You have no control over that though. Check it out. It is definitely worth your time.

Props to the U

| Monday, August 25, 2008
Just as a quick update, the U made this decision:
"After consulting with Network Operations (NOC), Information Security Operation (ISO) and the Compliance Office, it has been decided to suspend the process of locking student's accounts for exceeding 2GB of data transferred in a 24 hour period, effective immediately."

Props to the University! This is great news and I am very happy. They are still monitoring the systems though and the limit could go back into place if things get out of hand. But for now, I am happy.

What the...??

| Friday, August 22, 2008
I am not very happy with the University of Utah internet right now. In fact I am pissed off (sorry for my strong words). This is getting pretty ridiculous. So, if you ever see this screen, then you know you have uploaded too much.

So the problem started about a month ago when our computer just died and I could not recover anything from the hard drive. After that experience I decided to backup everything online. I started using a company called Carbonite. They gave me a two week trial period in which I uploaded about 60 GB in 10 days. I didn't have any issues with the internet during that time.

Well, this past week I have had my internet shut off twice. The first time I thought it was because we had downloaded over 2GB in one day. When I called to talk to the Help Desk and they said they couldn't do anything and it would turn on in 24 hours. I didn't realize it was the backup that was causing the issue.

The computer then shut off again on Thursday, and I figured out that it was the uploading that was causing the issue. I called them and asked why I didn't have my internet shut off a month ago when I was uploading about 6 GB a day, but now I had already entered a contract that I couldn't get out of. They said that because of some updates over the summer, the limit was not being enforced. What the? So now I was just SOL...They did say sorry though. How sweet of them. They told me the internet would work in 24 hours.

So, imagine my surprise this morning when the internet gave me the same error as above. I exceeded the limit yesterday - I'll leave it up to you to figure out how we were able to upload 2GB yesterday when our internet was turned off the entire day. I have called about 10 times and they keep sending me in a circle saying no one can help me. I am really upset. Twice now the University has basically screwed me (for lack of a better word). I finally talked to one guy who said he would see what he could do even though he wasn't the person who should be taking care of this. After 5 hours no resolution has been found. I'll update you once something gets taken care of. Who knows how long we'll be without internet though.

--I am at work typing this up.

They must have got sick of me calling. They finally fixed it. Thank goodness.

Phelps and Myst

| Sunday, August 17, 2008
So this week has been an intense one for all Olympic fans. You have to give it up to Michael Phelps. 8 Gold Medals is amazing, but even more amazing is he one all 8 of the events he was in, and in 7 of the 8 he now owns the world record. That is mind-blowing. The thing that is most amazing to me about it, is that he can swim every stroke. A lot of the Olympians come to swim one stroke only and that is their main focus, but Phelps is able to swim every stroke (note that he only swims the backstroke in the 400 medley) and excel at all of them. Crazy. If you haven't been able to see the 4x100 free, or 100m butterfly, then go check out the videos of them on nbcolympics.com. You won't regret it.

Also this week, my wife and I have been a couple of classic computer games - Myst and Riven. These games are awesome. Now, I do have to warn you that the graphics are very primitive but the gameplay will overshadow this one downside to the game. If you have never heard of Myst or Riven then it is probably because you were never into gaming, or else you weren't into gaming when the first cds came out. Myst came out in 1994 and was one of the first ever games on cd (to think that we have games now on DVD or on the internet that have better graphics shows how quickly the gaming world has advanced).

Riven is the sequel to Myst. The basic story/idea of Myst is that you have come to a new island (age) and you don't know how you showed up there. You have to find clues and think how to apply the clues in the different worlds. Clues are almost never obvious how they apply - in other words the clues don't tell you to spin around 3 times and count to 10, rather you get some numbers and have to try different things to apply those numbers). Anyways, Myst is fairly easy compared to Riven. Riven is near impossible I would say. Obviously it is possible because someone has done it, but it is seriously one of the hardest games ever. I ended up using the walkthrough because I was getting upset, but whoever thought these games up is very very creative. I would definitely recommend this game, and my wife got hooked from the minute we started playing. I love classic games.

Here is a video of most the games in the series - I have only played the first two, but plan on playing more!

Fire and foxes go together!

| Tuesday, August 12, 2008

As most of you know, I am a major geek. I am a web developer, so I have lots of time to review the newest and coolest technology out there. So lately I have been watching what browsers that my visitors use (along with a lot of other information that I find really cool). At some post in the future I will explain how you can easily find out all this cool information about visitors to your blog (or any other site that you have control of for that case).

However, I just had to say that Firefox rules. I know that most of my readers visit my site using Firefox, so most of you must agree with me. I think most everyone knows that Internet Explorer is one of the worst browsers. If you don't believe me, then check this out. Let's just say that I try to avoid IE if at all possible. It is slow and so crappy!

There are tons of reasons to love Firefox. First off, you can make it look like any browser you want. So if you have and love IE7 (I know at least a couple of my readers use this browser), you can download Firefox, download a skin for it, and voila, you have Firefox that looks just like Safari (or any other browser you can think of). Now, you have one of the fastest browsers, but now comes the cool part - ADDONS! I love these things. I have addons for everything imaginable. I can't even imagine life without them.

So, if you aren't convinced, then you should at least try it. Firefox is available on every operating system as far as I am aware which is better then all other browsers except Opera which also supports all the major operating systems. Watch for another post as well about creating custom buttons for Firefox. Very cool, and very easy. Check it out. Firefox rules!!

My 3 favorite addons:
Faviconize, Fast Dial, Foxmarks

Other reasons to love Firefox:
Address Bar (Find any site you visited very easily)
Memory use is very good
Spell checking
Undo closed tabs
Configuration galore (meaning; I can almost change anything and everything to my personal needs & wants)
Did I mention addons? You can make it act like your favorite browser with any tweaks that you want.

Raging Fun

| Friday, August 8, 2008
My wife and I recently enjoyed a day at the water park. It was my wife's first time ever at a water park and she had a blast. I did too for that matter. Now, to be honest, we were both a bit worried because of those clouds overhead, but actually it turned out to be a bit of a blessing because there was hardly anyone in the park. I guess everyone got scared and decided not to come.

While were there, we did meet one Russian lifeguard that started to talk to us in Russian. Darn, you think no one understands and then out of nowhere someone says something to you in Russian. At least we were just chatting :). We absolutely loved it and it was probably one of the funnest days we have had since our honeymoon. Only regret that I have is that we didn't go earlier in the summer because now we probably don't have a chance to get back.

So, that is my beautiful wife and I together. Of course I had to hang around on the ropes. My wife wouldn't join me though so I am the only monkey in this picture.

Raging waters is pretty cool, but the coolest waterpark I have ever been to would have to be Schlitterbahn in Texas. It has tons of huge slides and some of them feel like they go forever.

We don't have the money to go to Texas just for a waterpark though, so for now Raging Waters will do. Regardless, the day was a blast and we really enjoyed it.


| Saturday, August 2, 2008

So Anna and I recently got a pass to the Clark Planetarium (formerly known as the Hansen Planetarium). The pass itself cost $50 (that's a dual membership), and that gets us in to anything and everything for the whole year. We have already gotten our money's worth out of the pass - we have been to 5 shows already. Since the shows cost either $6 or $8, that would come up to be at least $60. And that is in less than a month.

I don't only like the price though, but the entertainment there is very good and educational (for the most part). Anna loves the 3D movies and they are very exciting. I myself am always up for a great laser show (these are the not so educational part of the planetarium). Both are quite relaxing, and the laser shows are a blast.

We still have lots of movies to go see and we are looking forward to it. The planetarium is a great place for dates and overall an inexpensive way to spend some time with that one you love the most! Oh yeah, check out my review of The Alps.