invisible sandwich, part II

LOL! I love this stuff.  Don’t ask me why, I just do.  The guys at work bust my chops since they don’t know why I think this is funny.  It is, and I love it.   In case you missed it, I wrote about the cats and their silly language back in March in the the following post:

I had no idea this actually had so much history.  Tonight I came across another blog that really gets into the nitty gritty:

This was a great post and a real eye opener.   What I also found just as interesting was the comments to this post.   But the post makes a lot of sense and kind of wraps it up in a nice bow.    I won’t rehash what is in the post, rather I’ll  let you read it, but I’ll leave you with some of the gems I found by checking out some of the links there:

Classic stuff.  I do have a cat, so maybe that’s part of the reason it appeals to me.  I’ve always loved crazy internets stuff.  For example, the first time I heard about the Bil Keane goof on, I was dying; really crying, sides aching, the whole nine yards. has since removed much of the jokes, but man, it was the best.  Every once in a while, you stumble upon some sub-culture thing that just tickles you in the best way.  This is one of those types of things for me.

page 37 of 1458

Holy Smokes!  Tonight I signed up for and began my 25-Hour Sales Postlicense Course which is required for Real Estate Agents in their first year of obtaining their real estate licenses in Georgia.  On top of that, there is a proctored exam that needs to be passed before your one year anniversary.   Thankfully, you can take the class online.  But 1458 pages… it seems like an insurmountable amount of content to muck through.    And doubly-thankfully, the classes now work with Firefox (most OS’es), unlike last time I took an online real estate class where you had to use IE6 on Windows ONLY. *shudder*

So far, the class actually has been pretty good but I’ve only done 20 minutes tonight.   I got just a hair over a month to get it knocked out so I think I am good to go.

foobarred POI’s on my Mio c310x

Man, I really messed it up. Hopefully, by reading this you’ll avoid the problems I had. First a little background. I am drinking wine from Aldi’s and have been messing with this darn GPS unit for some time. Wait, before you go further, you should be aware of my other posts regarding POI’s on the Mio c310x:

Now, I should point out that I just heard a song from Ian Brown and now Cat Power is playing. She’s awesome. (a little known fact amongst Comcast HSI users is that you get a free subscription to Rhapsody. If you ain’t using it, you deserve a punch in the stomach.)

So, back to my problems with the POI’s… I tried installing ALL of the Starbucks in the US and it caused me to exceed the available space I had on my unit (internal memory, not the SD card). The file was truncated and several of my POI’s had zeroed out coordinates. For awhile there, every time I tried exporting / importing the iGO database, I was getting errors from IGO POI Explorer. I was just about to do a hard reset when I had a thought..

Via ActiveSync, I renamed the existing iGO.db to iGO_old.db and I copied over a db from yesterday. I then restarted the unit and it saw the db just fine. When I started up iGO POI Explorer, it imported / exported the db just fine. I must of had some corrupt data in the existing db.

I added the various POI’s I wanted to and I tried something different:

  1. If you are using iGO POI Explorer (Beta) AND ActiveSync, I think this will make sure you have the latest file.
    1. File -> Export -> iGO Database to device (via ActiveSync)
    2. It should work.
    3. Restart MioMap (I realize now that it is NOT necessary to restart the whole device, rather just MioMap should be fine).

I was worried I would have to do a hard reset, but alas, all is well.

a good spy story

If you anything about me personally, you’ll know that I love a good spy story. When I was a kid watching 007 movies with my Dad, I loved imagining that I’d grow up to be a spy like James Bond. It wasn’t so much the license to kill, rather the gadgets and the cloak and dagger. I have really enjoyed the Bourne Identity movies as I picked up a copy of the original book and loved that, too. As far as I am concerned the movie and the book were different enough that it was almost like two different stories.

I read with relish, Inside Delta Force: The Story of America’s Elite Counterterrorist Unit by Eric Haney. I was enthralled by the spy-craft aspects of the book and was often jealous that the need to sneak past security or evade militants didn’t come up more often in my current line of work.

If you happened to read my blogs from the beginning, (unlikely based on the stats), then you might be aware that I posted about an amazing show from the BBC:

If you check out the links in the post you can visit the BBC pages about the show.

Tonight, I became aware of an excellent read over at Wired:

Continue reading

POI’s on the Mio c310x, part II

Just when you think you got it licked, someone builds a better mouse trap. Or at least another way to skin the cat. All snappy sayings aside, I came across this post over that the GPSPassion site:

In case you don’t feel like clicking over there, allow me to give you the reader’s digest version. OhMioMy came up with a way to quickly generate LAT and LONG from a .csv file, presumably from your contact database. Aside from that, it’s very similar to the directions I posted the other day:

He points out some different tools. I have to say, that I think it’s a good way to go about it, but I think I can simplify it even more.

A lot of this is from OhMioMy’s post so I am certainly not taking credit for his work but some of my steps are different.

First, check out this site, which uses Yahoo!’s GeoCoding API.

In step one, you can download an Excel template. Do that and you can see the format. Remember, that I was focusing on trying to help Realtors with the challenge of showing homes in an efficient manner. Here in Georgia, real estate professionas have access to either FMLS or Georgia MLS. Since I am a Realtor myself, I have access to FMLS. I checked and even though you can view available houses on a map, they don’t have any way to export addresses to a file. (If either MLS site would like my expert consulting advice on this, please let me know! lol) Therefore, I think the best you could do is to copy & paste the address info into this template found on batchgeocode.

So, let’s try this out and see if it will work as well as I think it would. In my previous post, I suggested you put your addresses in Google Earth. How about just putting your addresses in the Excel template. You can download the info I put in the sheet for this example here:

  • Excel Example Atlanta

So here’s what I did. I had the Excel file opened, selected my info and copy and pasted into the page on I did step three which is to validate my data, and it found what it was supposed to, (since it was “tab” delimited). I ran step 5, and the Geocoding magic happened and it looks good. I see my LAT and LONG fields. The map the site generated looks pretty good, too.
<br /> Sorry. If you’re seeing this, your browser doesn’t support IFRAMEs.<br /> You should upgrade to a more current browser.<br /> Notice that you can save or export the file into a Google Earth kml file; do it! I picked “Save to Disk” so it wouldn’t open up Google Earth. Now, connect your unlocked Mio to your PC and let ActiveSync do it’s thing. At this point, you should now have IGO POI Explorer open. Then Import the “Google Earth KML file (*.kml; *.xml).” In my case, it downloaded to my default folder and was called “BatchGeocode.kml” so make sure you find it. No problem, POI Explorer imported it and it looks fine. The comments field are a little wonky, but I can live with that.Note; I had some problems when I fired up iGO POI explorer before ActiveSync. I was able to “restore” the database and finally import my POI’s… YMMV!
You should see something like the following:

At this point I’d rename “BatchGeocode” to something that makes sense. Sticking with the theme, I’ll pick “ATL Example.” Then, drag & drop into the “iGO POI Database” top level. At this point, I’d restart the c310x twice just to make sure the iGO.db syncs up. Keep the POI explorer open. Sure enough the POI’s were imported and now on my Mio:


POI import

POI import 2

So, I think this works well, and is perhaps easier and more light Lose Weight Exercise than using Google Earth. I hope this helps and comments are welcomed.

what to write, tonight

I never thought I would enjoy keeping up a blog like this. When I first started, it was pretty hard to write. I didn’t even do a good job writing once a week and I think I was pretty much a curmudgeon when I did write. But, now I like it and I am surprised at how often I think about things to write about. I’ve gotten over the fact that most people won’t or don’t care what I have to say and a big step for me was to come out from behind my curtain of anomiminity on the Internet. I’ll be honest, a blog is a useful tool today when it comes to job hunting or self promotion. Things may come out in a blog that just won’t been seen in an interview. It gives your readers a little glimpse in just who you are and what you are about. I like it and the feedback I’ve gotten from people has been very encouraging. I get a lot of hits on my Trixbox and Mio posts, so that’s pretty cool.

I haven’t gotten over the fear of posting about my family or sharing pictures of my family. Having my personality out there is one thing, but my family is another. There are a lot of creeps out there, as you may know and the thought about giving them any fodder is disturbing enough as it is. Maybe over time it is something I’ll get over… or smarter about. Time will tell.

I was thinking about Kraftwerk today as I walked out to lunch. As I mentioned in the past, I wept as I read the wikipedia article about them. I was able to get one of their CD’s that was a reissue of a 1974 concert. Holy smokes, it was good. It totally blew me away. Dig this from Amazon: essential recording
Kraftwerk built upon the international success of Autobahn by expanding their conceptual conceits to an album-length exploration of radio waves (and the band’s other favorite wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum). Musically, the album represents a quantum leap of pop sensibility; though still distinctly a “prog” soundscape, its brilliant melodic hooks (best represented by the title track and “Airwaves”) are organized in more traditional–read shorter–form. In tracks such as the minimalist audio-verite “News,” Kraftwerk pay homage to another of their musical influences, the great modern composer/theorist Karlheinz Stockhausen. “Antenna” foreshadows the techno-gods they became, with its electronic washes and clever less-is-too-much lyrics, which read, in total: “I’m the antenna catching vibrations; you’re the transmitter, give information!” Radio-Activity is an underrated masterpiece waiting to be rediscovered. —Jerry McCulley

It is good stuff. The problem is, this isn’t something someone might just pick up on a whim. It’s kind of out there and I think if you had the chance to listen to it somewhere, you might like it.

So, this might be a nice opportunity to show a video that you might enjoy.

The album I have has this song in German. I like it better than the way it sounds when they sing in English. This is a great song to chill out with headphones on.Finally, if you liked some of the above website, I’ll suggest a few more.

Man, the bass is making my table shake. Awesome.

POI’s on my mio c310x

Update 240407: Be sure to check out some updated instructions in this earlier post: POI’s on the Mio c310x, part II! Both ways work, it’s up to you!

My sister-in-law recently bought a Mio c310x from; they have them for $189 free shipping, (until supplies last). It’s different enough from her old(er) Garmin, there is a steep learning curve. I guess if you get used to one UI, then it might make it more challenging to learn a new one. I was over at her house tonight trying to show her how to input POI’s, Points of Interest, into her Mio via the PC. It was a little challenging since I began to forget how I set it up and by the time I got it going we had to leave. So I promised her I would write something up. This should help you get up and running for adding your POI’s quickly and painlessly. First, you need some things before you begin:

(Leah, if you are reading this, you are already past this point. You got everything you need!)

By the way, I should mention that as Realtors, I am keeping that sort of functionality in mind. The overall goal is to make a list of properties or addresses and visit each one in the most efficient manner. Oh, and this is all Windows based. So far, I haven’t seen any way to do this on a Mac.

I’m not going to get into the how-to’s to install ActiveSync or the rest of the software. Here’s what you need to do once you get all the mentioned software installed.

  1. If you haven’t already created and save a POI on the c310x itself. You need to do so. the iGo software looks for a specific database file that doesn’t exist until you do. Simply go into the “Map View” or similar (depends on what skin you are using), and find an address. If you are in the Map view, you should automatically get the bottom menu that pops up and says, “Save POI.” If you save it, you will have your iGo.db file that we need to have initially on your device.
  2. Fire up Google Earth. Select “My Places” and select “Add” and choose “Folder.” Name the folder something useful. In my example, I named my folder “List of POIs.” Next, in “Search” box, make sure the “Fly To” tab is selected. Enter your address here.
  3. As Google Earth zooms in, you should see your address in the lower pane in the “Search” box. You can click and drag that entry into the folder you made in step 2. Repeat for the other addresses you want.

  4. Next, you need to export the folder to a file you can read into the iGo POI Explorer.
    1. Right click on your folder from Step 2 above.
    2. Choose “Save As” and pick a place and a name where you can find it and remember what it was called.
    3. You are done with Google Earth… for now. Close it up.
  5. Next, connect your Mio and have it connect with ActiveSync. I would suggest have it connected for the next steps.
  6. Fire up the iGo POI explorer program. If you haven’t gotten it setup yet, go to Tools -> Options and make it look like the following:

  7. Next, import the file you made in Step 4.
    1. In iGo POI Explorer choose File -> Import -> POI’s from File. In the “Files of Types” menu from the Import window, choose “Google Earth KMZ file (*.kmz)”:

    2. The folder now should appear outside the “iGO POI Database.” Drap it into the top level “iGO POI Database so it appears with your other POI’s. After you do this, it should show up in the main tree and all of your addresses you entered are shown as coordinates. Pretty slick if you ask me:

  8. Now, I found I need to restart my Mio twice. How you restart it twice is up to you, but I don’t see the changes unless I do. So, after the second restart, fire up Mio Map. Choose your favorite method of looking at the Map or Cockpit and check out your POI’s:



  9. Notice how the address are ranking from closest to furthest. At this point you can just choose to “route to” the next closest POI. You can set up a “route” if you want. But this should get you going.

Perhaps in my next post, I’ll continue about setting up a route with the various POI’s. I hope you found this helpful.

update on the ol’ htpc

Well, it’s been a while since I’ve written anything about my efforts to build a cheap-o HTPC on an old Pentium 450.  Frankly, I haven’t had much time to deal with it.  Where I last left it, I took it over to my bro-in-law’s house and we tried to get it going since we wanted to watch some German Soccer.  It didn’t work since we needed some sort of VGA -> TV converter.  We ran out trying to find one in the area under the radar of the spouses and we didn’t have any luck.  I brought it home with the intent of working on it more and it’s just been sitting around.

I will say that we used a pair of the Netgear ethernet-over-powerline and I was impressed how well they worked.

Some questions have come up over how secure these things are, but they worked out of the box as advertised.  I keep meaning to look into the security thing more closely.

I’m also planning on writing about importing POI’s  on the Mio c310x.  I was helping my sister-in-law with her Mio and realized that it is pretty complicated on setting up so I promised I’d write something up.  I’ve already started the draft and should have something up in the next few days.

Keep checking back, Space-fans!

drew carey’s sporting adventures

I finally cleared off some of the old Formula 1 races I’ve been keeping on the ol’ Tivo so there has been some room for it to record some of its suggestions. Tonight, it had two episodes of the Drew Carey Show. I watched one of them tonight while I was cleaning up the kitchen. I’ve always liked Drew. I used to watch his show when it was still on for its first run. I even read his biography. I like him a lot and think he could be someone I’d get along with great.

As most of you know, (you’d have to be living under a rock if you didn’t), last year’s FIFA 2006 World Cup was in Germany. We had originally planned to go and entered ourselves into the lottery. My brother-in-law is from Germany and he was thinking it might be a tough place to take the kids so we planned on the guys going to see the games. His village is near Stuttgart, which was one of the main venues.

We didn’t get tickets in the first round. There was a lot of controversy around the tickets, heck there was a lot of controversy around the whole World Cup. First, there were a total of 2.1 million tickets available. Of that 2.1 million, only 800k were release to the public for purchase. The remaining amount was for promotions, corporations, sponsors, etc. So people were horked off on that. Second, Anheuser-Busch won some sort of exclusive contract to be the only beer served in the stadiums. My sister-in-law was in Munich when this was announced and she said it was almost rioting in the streets. Later, they changed their tune allowing local brews to be served inside the stadiums but had exclusive advertising rights to something like 3km around each stadium. Then there was a whole bunch of other minor things that kept popping up trying to rain on those who got to go to the parade.

Aside from the games that where televised themselves, there really wasn’t much insight as to what was going on inside Germany during the games on TV. I wanted to be there so bad I could taste it. I watched as much and as many of the games as I could.

Then, I just happened, literally by flipping channels to catch a short glimpse of some show Drew Carey was doing on the World Cup inside of Germany. I set up a Tivo seasons pass and manages to snag the last three episodes. How I wished I knew of this beforehand.

Lo and behold, I give you Drew Carey’s Sporting Adventures:

Drew Carey’s Sporting Adventures

Here’s a link to higher menu on the show. Strangely, I can’t find it directly on the Travel Channel’s website:


This was a great show. The combination of soccer, Drew Carey, stuff going on inside Germany, the other people who came to be part of it… it was a wonderful, underrated show.

Drew was traveling and working as a professional sports photographer. He didn’t have access to all the games, just a few of them. The show consisted of about 10% of him taking picture and the rest of the show was about things to do or exhibits to see or Drew hanging out and talking to the foreigners who came for the games.

First, I was surprised at how family orientated it was over there. Germany really went all out on setting up safe areas to watch the matches and make sure that violence was kept to a minimum. Second, everyone was really nice and friendly. Drew was funny and approachable and you really got a flavor for what was really going on there. It wasn’t just about the soccer, but also the people and cultures that make our world interesting and fun to be part of. There was no politics, no anti-American sentiments. Just people uniting for the lover of the game. I loved it.

In some of the episodes, Drew was accompanied by his friend Greg Proops. If you’ve seen Who’s Line is it Anyways, you will remember him. Greg also does the voice for Bob the Builder. I like Greg. Again, I imagine him someone with whom I’d get along with. They sure had fun.

I was really bummed that I didn’t see the first three episodes. It did not appear that the Travel Channel was going to replay them. I did manage to find them using Bitorrent. There wasn’t many sharing it so it took a long time to download, but I am glad I got them.

I hope Drew does more shows like this. He was really great and people seems really willing to talk with him. The show was great but more or less unheard of when I talked to people about it. I hope you have a chance to check it out sometime. Maybe the Travel Channel will replay it sometime.

Kurt Vonnegut dies at 84

Wow, I happened to see this just as I was about to go to bed.   Vonnegut was one of my favorite authors.  I remember reading “Breakfast of Champions” on a plane when traveling to California and the guy next to me thought it was about Wheaties.  I tried to explain it to him, but he just didn’t get it.

Rest in peace, Kurt. 

If the NYT times wants you to sign over your first born, don’t forget about BugmeNot.