Blog and News

This is where I blog and where I talk about stuff that has been happening recently with me or in the news in general.

April Fools, Fools All Around.

posted Apr 1, 2010, 9:26 PM by TechNick TechNick   [ updated Apr 21, 2010, 11:47 PM ]

So my friends April Fools joke to me was to make me believe my place was on fire. He was at my front door trying to start a small fire that way he could blow some smoke though my door. Apparently he went to plan B, since starting the fire wasn't doing him any good. He knocked really hard on my door and said my building was on fire. My door is a double lock door meaning I need to use a key to unlock my door from the inside. I know he jokes a lot so I got my keys and unlocked the door. I said what's up he said something is one fire. I didn't believe him at first but he points to the ash on the ground and the ash that is on top of his head covering his hair. I then start to believe him about the fire not that my building is on fire but I think that maybe something in the distance is on fire and ash is flying everywhere. So I walk out my door out of the little entry way and outside where I can see everything and look all around for any smoke. I then notice there is none and then ask my friend if he was at a demolition site a while ago. he says" No, what day is it". So that was his April fools joke. I got him back with a Mexican Easter egg. Later during the day I get a call from him saying if I had checked my tire pressure lately, after looking out my window I see him driving off in his car honking his horn. I then went outside a bit later and found out he let the air from two of my tires. I used my emergency pump to reair the tires, I could only do it by looks though. The next day he came by and showed up that way he could make sure all my tires where at the correct PSI and air them up if they needed it and one tired actually had too much air so he let a little out. Overall it was all good.

I Bought a New Router Just So I Can Trade Pokemon

posted Mar 27, 2010, 9:26 PM by TechNick TechNick   [ updated Mar 28, 2010, 12:09 AM ]

A week ago I got my self a copy of the new Pokemon game that recently was released at Costco, I got Heart Gold version. I've been playing the game the game a lot this past week. The fun thing about Pokemon is the trading of Pokemon and items. With the Nintendo DS it's no problem to trade Pokemon over wifi and it's easier to do trading thanks to the WTS. I had only one problem I have the original DS which can only connect to WEP or non secure networks. My home network uses WPA2 which will not work with my DS meaning I can't connect to the internet for online play for my DS games. I've had this problem for a while and I've pretty much never bothered using some of online play stuff in my games but thinking about it now I really wanted to be able to trade Pokemon since that was a major part of the game. I didn't want to change my home network into WEP since it can easy be cracked under a few minutes. I looked into different solutions on how to get my DS online I even tried creating a ad-hoc network with my laptop but that didn't work as well. I finally just decided to buy a cheap router from Fry's Electronics. You can read about me setting it up in my tech projects. So far it works great and I only turn it on when I'm using the wifi connection for my DS. I've also got it using WEP just for safty measure, it can be cracked under minutes maybe even seconds but this is better then leaving it open where almost any one can use my wifi. Considering that I'm currently living in a condo complex that is a good idea to prevent people to get into my network.
I also got 4 GB (2x 2GB) sticks of RAM in the mail yesterday, I ordered it from NewEgg with a gift certificate I got for my B-day. I haven't installed it yet but with this new RAM my system should be speedier and I can run a lot of virtual machines with out fear. As for my birthday it was 2 weeks ago it was nice, I got mostly cards with checks in them and I got to eat out at HomeTown Buffet. So it was a nice decent birthday over all.

I Have the POWER!!!

posted Mar 17, 2010, 8:28 AM by TechNick TechNick   [ updated Mar 17, 2010, 9:00 AM ]

So a couple of days ago my computer just suddenly shut off, the reason for the sudden shut down? My UPS was bad. Just before my computer turned off I heard the alarm for my UPS go off, it only lasted a few seconds and in those few seconds my computer shuts down. It seems that my UPS just went in discharge mode and in those few seconds it discharged it's whole battery. My UPS could only last a few seconds with no external power, that wasn't good. This was the second time my UPS caused my computer to suddenly shut down I decided that it was time to do something about it. After doing some self enlightenment I found out that your suppose to replace your UPS or at least it's battery every 2 to 3 years. Now my UPS is way older then that in fact I believe it to be 5 to 6 years old possible even older. So with this new found information I decided it was time for me to buy a new UPS. The next day I went to the giant super shopping warehouse know as Costco. Once I went through the entrance I went straight to the electronics section where they had their TV's, cameras, computers, and etc. I found the UPSs and I grabbed one, they only carried one model and that was the Tripp Lite G1000U. Now a UPS isn't a cheap purchase this new UPS cost $99.99 plus tax. After putting the UPS in shopping cart, i went to the snacks section to put some snacks in my cart. I then left my cart and went to the food court to get me some lunch. I had my usual hot dog with soda and a slice of pizza, the reason I like this combo so much is it's filling plus it's really cheap. After eating I went back to my cart and went around shopping for other items I needed from Costco. After getting everything else that I needed I went to check out and bought my items, loaded them up in the car, and drove home. Later that same night I disconnected my old UPS and then I hooked up my new UPS under my computer desk.

 
My new UPS in its box

 
On the right my old UPS, on the left my new UPS


A Shopping I A Go For Improvments

posted Mar 7, 2010, 4:21 PM by TechNick TechNick   [ updated Mar 17, 2010, 9:11 AM ]

Last Wednesday I went to IKEA to go buy some wooden hangers. The reason I was going to get my wooden hangers from IKEA  was because I had already bought some hangers from them in the past before and I just wanted all my hangers to match. So off me and my girlfriend went off to IKEA. Once I got to IKEA and went up the escalator we went and headed towards the IKEA restaurant. It was lunch time so we had to eat something. She got a chicken caesar salad, dinner roll, princess cake, and a drink. While I got myself the classic Swedish meatball plate (comes with mash potatoes and ligonberry jam )  with an extra 5 meatballs, a dinner roll, a slice of chocolate overload cake, and a drink.


Mmm... Doesn't that look good?

After we ate we went and did our tour around the IKEA. The only interesting thing to note was apparently they where remodeling the whole kitchen section. They had people sawing wood and drilling new cabinets it was quite amazing. There was nothing on the top floor of the IKEA that caught my eye except maybe a table or this and that but like always I don't have the room for it, so I have to wait till I have my own place which would only be a few months away, I hope. I shouldn't say nothing caught my eye on the top floor because one thing did and that was this monitor stand they had made in the office section of the IKEA with some parts, I really liked how it looked and everything. I had wanted a monitor stand for a while but I wasn't sure if I should buy it or not because the parts would cost a total of $30 to make this monitor stand. I gave it some thought and decided to go through with the purchase since I needed a monitor stand, it was mainly wood, which is my favorite furniture material, and it was birch so it would match with my computer desk, which was an IKEA Mikael. After writing down the part and aisle numbers to pick up the parts we did proceeded down stairs. We really didn't stick around down stairs much, they had the hangers I wanted right there in the under $5 section but I decided to wait on it since I knew they also had the hangers near the exit of the IKEA. So we browsed around a little bit and then we hit the hangers again and this time I actually got a yellow bag and picked up some hangers. I decided to pick up a total of a dozen hanger packs, now there are 8 hangers to a pack, and I got a dozen packs meaning I got a total of 96 hangers! I took my time choosing the hangers I inspected each pack since I didn't want any wooden hangers that where chipped or cracked. My girlfriend sat down while I took my time picking and choosing which packs to get. I finally got my 12 packs of hangers and it took 2 yellow bags to carry them all in. We then went to the store exit into the warehouse got a cart and then picked up my parts for my new monitor stand. After picking up my parts, we went to the self check out and bought all my stuff. Luckily for me I brought my reusable Wal-mart bags with me and I had to use all 4 of them to hold all the hangers each bag could only hold around 3 hanger packs. After purchasing we went to the parking lot and hoped in the car and drove towards home.

    Once I arrived home I put all the hangers I bought onto my bed. It was time to take them out of there wrapping and to put replace my plastic hangers with my new wooden ones.
 
Hangers Thousands of them!!!
 
Don't they look nice?
 
Item name, IKEA product, and of course made in China

It took a while to replace all my old hangers with the newer wooden ones in fact I didn't fish the whole thing till a few days ago. But over all I'm happy the how the results came and I think my closet looks more stylish now.

Now doesn't that look nice?
A bag full of my old hangers. Note, the different kinds in there.

After having a majority of my clothes on the new wooden hangers I decided to build my new monitor stand. I took all the parts out of there packaging (only two parts the wooden top and the legs). I then realized that the legs and top where not designed to go together.  If the top didn't have pre drilled holes that would work with the legs, then I was going to make some with my drill. So I had to do an IKEA hack, I got my tools and cordless drill out. I'm a big believer in Mike Holmes saying "If your going to do something do it right". I spent the first of my time trying to figure out how to do the measurements of where the legs where going to be placed at. I finally decided to use the pre drilled holes in the top as a point of reference when doing the measurements. So once I had figured out what the measurements for the placement of the legs where going to be I started to get to work. The part I had to be careful about was the drilling of the holes. If I didn't drill deep enough they screws would have a hard time going all the way in, and if I drilled too deep I would have drilled a whole all the way to the other side. The drill bit was twice the depth of the wood I was drilling so I had to go slowly and watch how deep I put the the drill bit in. Luckily I didn't mess up and all the holes I drilled where perfect, not too deep, not too shallow. Now I should note that I drilled the holes one at a time for each leg, then screwed the leg in, place an other leg, drill the holes then screw it in again, and repeat. I must admit looking back it it now it would have been better to just drill all the holes at once instead of doing on leg at a time. Also I drilled the holes in place while the leg was placed it would have been better to have marked where the holes where to be drilled and then remove the leg then drill. This would have been easier to do since the leg wouldn't have moved while drilling. I didn't do this til lthe last leg which I found easier to do. When it came down to screwing the legs in I did it by hand via screwdriver, the reason for this was if any of the holes where too shallow and if I used a power drill I could have damaged the wood. The whole project of building my little monitor stand took me about an hour and a half, I was very happy with the results and it came out perfect.

 
The wooden top of my new monitor stand

 
The legs that are going to go on it
 
It's completed! Legs are screwed in to the top

 
What it looks like standing up







I'm a Happy Camper Without the Camping

posted Feb 24, 2010, 3:18 PM by TechNick TechNick   [ updated Feb 24, 2010, 4:25 PM ]

So I had a very great day yesterday and I'll explain why. I had spaghetti for dinner, but mainly isn't why I had a good day. Yesterday after I dropped off the recyclables I went to Walgreens go pick up a new sharps container for my girlfriend. One of the amazing things I found out was that Walgreens didn't have their sharps container behind counter but rather it was in the aisle section and it was also cheaper then CVS. After getting the sharps container I decided to look around the Walgreens. While looking around I thought wouldn't it be funny if I found that charging station I've always been looking for and that it would be on sale, clearance or something of that sort. Believe it or not after a few seconds of that thought my dream came true right in front of me was a charging station and it was on sale, 25% off. Now I've wanted a charging station for a while even putting in on my Christmas wish List last year. I opened a couple of boxes looking for a charging station without any dents or scratches on it, after I found it I went to the cashier and paid for my purchase. So I finally got my charging station that I wanted, photos of it and of setup below.




I also got a e-mail from Western Digital about the RMA status of my dead 500GB hard drive. They are sending me a new hard drive and it's on it's way so I'm happy about that as since now I get a new 500GB hard drive as well. So overall yesterday was a good day.


Been Thinking of Wanting to Build a Backblaze Pod

posted Feb 21, 2010, 3:23 AM by TechNick TechNick   [ updated Feb 21, 2010, 4:01 AM ]

I've been thinking of building a BackBlaze pod. If you don't know who BackBlaze is, it's a company that offers online back ups of your data for only $5 a month. Not a bad deal if you ask me. If your wondering what the heck is a BackBlaze pod it's the companies own custom built 4U server unit they use to store all of their clients data. Now your wondering what's so special about this server well I'll let you guess by looking at the photo below.


Can you guess what makes this so special?


If you still haven't figured it out it's that fact that this thing can hold a total of 45 hard drivers (46 really, since 45 are used for storage, while 46th one is used to run the OS). I know some of you are thinking what's so special tons of companies have made giant servers that hold tons of hard drives. Well the big deal here is the total cost of building one of these beauties and that price is a little less then $8,000 USD, that includes everything, hard drives, motherboard, cpu, ram, power supplies, case, and etc. Now for that build they used 1.5TB HDD's meaning you get a total data storage of around 67TB! The biggest HDD's right now are 2TB meaning that if this system used nothing but 2TB drives in it, it would have a total of 90TB worth of storage in one system!
Now the reason I can build one of these things is because BackBlaze the company that built and designed this thing, was nice enough to release the info to how to build one of these things yourself. The big thing that makes this is the case and the SATA backboards, but other then that you can pretty much modify all the other hardware to you liking.
Now I would like to just build one of these just for the coolness factor, I wouldn't really have any use for it. I mean even if I used 500GB drives that is still 22TB. Also I couldn't run a normal Windows OS on this since they use the NTFS file format and that format has a limit of 16TB to work with. So if anything I would build one for the coolness factor or till I get a job that requires a ton of storage. But hey for a price tag that is almost $8000 that's not bad. If your interested in building one you can get the how to at their site and they also posted some nifty building tips as well.


A fun V-day I had overall.

posted Feb 15, 2010, 3:53 PM by TechNick TechNick   [ updated Feb 17, 2010, 4:25 PM ]

I spent Valentines Day mainly at Fry's Electronics. If I learned anything from that trip it was that tons of other couples had the same idea. What surprised me the most was the number of geek dads at Fry's as well. In the computer case aisle there were a number of guys with baby strollers checking out new cases and taking a good look at them. My girlfriend also bought me Spore Galactic Adventure as a valentines day gift so I was happy about that as well. There was a bat inside the store of Fry's and it scared everyone in the store, except this little girl that was trying to catch it, which I'm sure was the reason that it was flying all around the place in the first place. After my trip to Fry's I went to the mall for a bit then came home, went to church, picked up some pizzas from Little Caesars. Overall it was a great valentines day, looking at technology and a video game what more could I ask for?

A Merry Merry Christmas I Had

posted Jan 10, 2010, 7:53 PM by TechNick TechNick   [ updated Feb 15, 2010, 4:06 PM ]

Well haven't been here for a while, but should update because not much has happened. The biggest newest is that for Christmas is a got a new 24" wide-screen LCD monitor. I've also thought about rebuilding Red Dragon my HTPC and have bought a new CPU and motherboard. I bought a AMD Phenom X3 8750 Black Edition Toliman 2.4GHz and a ASUS M4A785-M Motherboard. You can read more about my rebuilding in the projects section or you can go here.

An Intresting Thrusday I Had

posted Dec 14, 2009, 9:12 PM by TechNick TechNick   [ updated Dec 18, 2009, 8:07 PM ]

So a few days ago on Thursday, I had to go to the ASU campus to drop off a final paper. I took the free bus shuttle service to get to ASU, but I decided to walk the rest of the way back home from ASU to my home. Just before I was almost out of the ASU campus, I spotted something on the ground. It was a piece of paper but what really caught my eye about it was it had a sign here on the back of it. Meaning that what I was looking at was a check.

    I picked it up and sure enough it was a check for a couple of hundred dollars. The check came from an other University out of State, so right away I thought that this check must belong to a professor. The reason for this was professor's always go to other universities giving presentations, guest lectures, and etc, and get paid for doing these visits. So it only made since that a check from an out of state university would belong to a professor. So being the good citizen I am, I  decided to turn the check in the the police so they could return it to it's owner or at least safe guard it. There was a name and address printed on the check, but I wouldn't know where to find that person on campus.

    So I started my journey to the other side of campus where the ASU police department was at. My plan was that if I encountered any of the police on patrol on campus I would wave them down and just give it to the officer on duty, since I had to cross all the way to the other side of campus to get to the police station. Sadly I didn't encounter any police and walked  all the way to the police station. Before reaching the station I decided it would be a good idea to copy down the name and address written on the check, so I could contact the owner later. I didn't have any paper on me, so I took out my phone and took a photo of the name and address on the check. This was a better option since it was fast and I have horrible hand writing.

     Once I arrived at the station I went to the receptionist and gave her the check, I wrote down my name and contact information and then left. The receptionist was suprised I was turning in a lost check since it seems some other check (possible more) where also turned in as found items. After the station I decided to walk back home, it was already starting to get dark and colder. I made a few stops at different stores along the way.

    Once I reached home, I turned on my computer and took out my SD card from my phone and plugged it in my card reader. I found the photos of the name of the check I took and I searched the ASU directory to see what I could find. Sure enough a name did pop up, luckily only one, one of the reason I decided to turn the check in to the police was because of the possibility that there was more then one person on campus with the name on the check. Which was possible since ASU has about over 100,000 people on campus. The person in question was in fact a professor for ASU.

    So I got their e-mail address and sent them an e-mail telling them that I found their check and turned it into the police, and that they should go to the police station to claim it back. About 5 minutes later I got a reply telling me thank you, and how they lost their check. Apparently they where going to the bank across the street from the campus to deposit it and some where along their walk they dropped it, they didn't realize it was gone till once they reached the bank.

   After that I put up my Christmas lights (which are really just two Christmas light window decorations) for my unit. Other then that check and the Christmas lights it was a pretty peaceful day.

Sold my books today, but sold the wrong one!

posted Dec 8, 2009, 1:41 PM by TechNick TechNick   [ updated Dec 9, 2009, 7:27 PM ]

So the Fall semester here at ASU is coming to a close. Today I had my last actually class, hurray, before finals start, boo!!! So this means that it's time to sell my books. I planed to go to the book store and sale my books after my class today. Class went by fast and next thing you know we where taking our course elevations, I volunteered to collect the test and drop them off at the BIS main office, since the BIS office was on my way to the book store. So I dropped off the course elevations and then went to the book store where I stored my backpack in a locker and took out the books I wanted to sale. I got in line sold my books and made a nice $161 from selling all my books (I had a few that I had held on during the summer). The only interesting thing to note at this point was I had one book that sold for $1, it was a book on college writing, more like a reference guide, and it usually cost around $5 to $3 depending on it's condition.

     So I left the book store all happy with glee since I now had money. That's when I realized I may have sold the wrong book to the lady at the store. I opened my backpack and sure enough I did indeed sold the wrong book, in my backpack was my Practical Research book, meaning that I had sold my Map Use & Analysis book which I still needed so I could study for the final for my GPH class. I realized that this mistaking the book for the other was easy since both books had the same dimensions. So I returned to the book store and told this older man that was at the cashier that I just sold the wrong book. He asked me which one, and I pointed out the Map book out a pile of books, luckily it was on the top of the pile. He grabbed it, scanned it through the system and then had to write down he information and such. I then proceeded to pay him back the amount of money that they had given me for the book. It took him a while to give me back my change since he was an elderly fellow. Once that business was settled I then sold them the correct book I wanted to sale and only got $21 for it. Well the other book was worth $62 so it was a $41 difference between the two.

     On the way back to home I walked pass this man sitting at the bus stop bench I remembered him on my way to school, meaning that he had been sitting on that bench for almost two hours. I remember he asked me if I had change so he could ride the bus, on the way to school I didn't have any, but i did get some quarters from selling my books. So since he had been their for over 2 hours I asked if he still needed fare, and he said yes. So I gave him the 50 cents he needed, he was  grateful, and gave me respect knuckles, and said God bless. So that was pretty much the most interesting part of my day today.

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