Saturday, February 21, 2009

Operation "Prep the PC for the Grandparents" Nearly Complete

Well, to start with, I had my Mom's old P4 IBM Desktop machine. She hasn't used it as her primary machine in years but recently her backup drive died that had the only copy of the files from the old machine. When I couldn't recover the files from her backup drive, I did the easier thing, which is pull them off the machine again.

So, with those files backed up in 2 places, I proceeded to uninstall most of the crap programs that were on there, including 2 expired versions of Norton (one was upgraded over the other to be precise) Palm software, Logitech Pen software (for one of those pens with memory) and a host of other applications.

Next steps,
  • upgrade FF to version 3
  • reinstall the broken Skype
  • install AVG Free Antivirus
  • update Windows to XP SP3
  • install SpyBot and immunize the machine
  • delete all of the documents off of the machine
  • set up a remote access account with a long, random password (no phonetic or anything for this password)
  • Make a bookmark in Firefox to a page that will tell them what their external IP is if they need me to remote in
  • Run a HD Sanitization program to clean up the empty space
  • Change the user account name
  • Demote the normal user to a limited user (so even if they get something, they can't get too screwed up)
  • Install Pidgin and set up an AIM account for them.
  • Upgrade IE to Version 7 (In case they do open it)
  • Try and find some Office disks, or just install Open Office since the MS Office on the machine appears to be brokennangih
  • Installed the latest Adobe Flash, Reader, and Shockwave.
  • Upgraded iTunes (in case they use it)
I think that about covers it fikir I might be forgetting SOMETHING, but I'm not sure.

Anyway, that is all from your friendly computer nerd.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

I feel the need

The Need for speed. I found out where I am going to fulfill my track-time needs: biggrin

I guess I will work some credit time so I don't have to take leave for the events. I won't be going to all of them obviously due to the cost, but it will be a blast I am sure.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Car work done for the day

We have finished working on the rabbit for the day. It now has separate turn signals instead of using the brake lights for turn signals, and it has the dash cubby like the Jetta has. It turns out it didn't need new brake pads (must have just been some bad glazing) and the pads actually have a TON of life still left on them, but we kept the pads because the Jetta and Rabbit have the same pads.

The only part we haven't installed on the Rabbit is the European cub holder which will be about a 4 hour job. We still need to get the driver's door checked out (there is something wrong with the electric stuff in the door) but that can wait for now. I will take photos once everything is finished.

That's it for now. L8r!

Running out of storage

It's official, I need more HD Space. My 1TB NAS is >75% full, and my 500 and 250GB disks with music and movies are <150GB free (and quickly shrinking). What I REALLY need to do is buy a few 1.5TB Drives (2 for internal as RAID 1, 1 for external for extra assurance). What will I REALLY do? Hopefully in a few months (or for my birthday....early B-Day hint) get 2 1.5TB or 2TB (if they are mainstream and the price has dropped) HD's and make one internal and one external (with plain copy of data every x days rather than this Norton crap that I would have a hell of a time recovering from if I wasn't running norton).

Oh well, the things I find out when I sit down at my computer in the early morning.

Oh, doing a break job on the Rabbit this morning (for a couple of reasons, we have been putting the miles on that lately instead of the TDI, so the TDI has 60K and the rabbit has 25k (rear brakes are wearing fast on the MkV VW's) and the BMW has around 18,500.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Car shows of 2009 - a year in review

Well, this weekend we went to our third and final (planned) car show of 2009. First we went to the Philadelphia Auto Show, then Washington D.C. and then Baltimore. Keep in mind, we went to the Frankfurt, Geneva and Paris auto shows in 2008 so we have become somewhat of Car-show snobs, and we saw most of what was new already.

I had never been into Phili, just driven past it, so the auto show served as a good reason to go there. Also,we knew the new Nissan 370Z was going to be shown there so we decided to go. Out of the three auto shows we went to, this was by far the best. The 370Z was a little strange looking (as I mentioned in an earlier post) but overall, I like it and think it is a general improvement. We were able to see the 2010 Mustang in person (we had previously seen it on Motor Week) and I will admit it is much nicer in person than my initial impressions.

Chevy had a significant showing in Phili with the ZR-1 and 4 new Camaros making an appearance. Best of all, the LS7 Camaro was there (in addition to an SS and two RS Camaros). The biggest deal was that they had an RS Camaro that was on the floor (Not behind a rope) WITH THE DOORS UNLOCKED. Pontiac had a 4-cyl Pontiac Solstice Coupe with 300hp surprise (that is as much as our twin-turbo inline-6 BMW 135i).

Dodge had the new Viper ACR (which just set the record for fastest lap by a production car) on display along with a list of comparison lap times. Not as big an "FU" as Nissan having the GTR Video on display opposite the Porche display in Paris, but still a nice touch.

The biggest surprise was the Subaru Legacy Concept. WOW....amazing. The Chrome paint just made the car "pop" and the design was incredible. The LED Headlights, the camera side-view mirrors, the crisp lines. It looked amazing.

Washington, D.C.

There was one reason to go to the Washington, D.C. auto show. The VW Blue Sport Concept car. VW also had a TDI Cup Race car, and "Max" from the VW Commercials (the black VW Bug). In the area dedicated to the LeMans series, they had the Audi V10 TDI LeMans car and the Chevy Corvette E85 Race car.

Electrics and Hybrids had a huge presence at the show, with Tesla making an appearance (our first sighting), GM had the Volt and the Saturn Flextreme on display (and some hybrid SUVs), Toyota had the new Prius and their prototype electric city car based on the IQ Concept from the european auto shows, Honda had their Hydrogen car and the new hybrid Insight, and Fisker had their two $100k+ electric sports cars (that look amazing).

The display in D.C. wasn't quite as large as Phili, and the distance from the metro entrance to where we could enter the show was laughable (even though the entrance exit was right next to us, we had to make a lap of the conference center basically to get to the entrance).

The high point was when we came across the rep from Summit Point Raceway in West Virginia. We are now on their email list once they release their schedule for their open track days (because that is the thing I miss the most about Germany).

Motor Trend Internation Auto Show in Baltimore, MD
HA! Oh, how the mighty have fallen (at least in our eyes). We used to love going to the Baltimore auto show, and it was certainly much smaller than it used to be (Yes, I know, the economy is in the toilet, but still, it was sad). Chevy had ONE Camaro RS behind ropes, 1 ZR-1 and 1 Z06 Corvette. Eh...seen them all (in high quantities). Chrissy sat in the Z06 (the ZR-1 was locked). Ford introduced the new Ford Taurus (and also had the 2010 Mustang on the floor but still locked). They had some robot there for some kind of demonstration, but, meh..

VW had a VW GTI with the Thunder Bunny body kit in is that hot! I love that body kit. Subaru had a few WRXs but nothing special. BMW didn't even have a 1 convertible (and their 1 was a 128i). Buick had the new LaCross (which I thought was on hold)

The biggest bright spot of the show was actually from Hyundai with their 2011 Genesis Coupe
applause. Not only is the car hot to begin with, the paint job on there was AWSOME. It was grey camouflage with "Danger Intake" and "Danger Exhaust" stickers like a fighter jet. It looked AMAZING!
Maybe sometime I will recap Frankfurt, Geneva and Paris.

Web Design Motivation

I really want to work on my personal site. I also really want to work on a design for this blog, I just can't seem to keep motivated to work on pages at home ever since it started being my full-time job. It is really hard because I can't sit at my desk at home too long because for some reason that makes my knee hurt much more than sitting at my desk at work. Typing on my laptop gets tedious after a while and I lean forward to do that so that also hurts my knee. Add on top of that that I can't seem to load the configuration control panel for my website, and it makes it much harder to want to work on stuff. I am going to start trying though.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Taxes are done!!

We got the last piece of bank documentation and we finished up the taxes. What a relief! I hate letting that stuff sit and I know Mike does too.

We have a long weekend because of the presidents day holiday. Tomorrow, we are planning to go to the Baltimore Auto Show for Valentine's day. It's really short this year... only four days. I guess this is the last area auto show for the year. We need to start booking our flights for a European Auto Show! :-P

Sunday, the Daytona 500 is on TV. NASCAR is Mike's religion, sadly. So we have to shift some of our plans. Georgia and Nick may come over or we'll find a way to catch up with them somehow.

I'm sure that either Mike or I will update later! Have a wonderful and safe weekend, Blogger readers.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Egg Roll Arms Race

Chrissy and I had Chinese food tonight. We had Egg Rolls to start. These were the biggest Egg Rolls we have had state-side (we had bigger in Germany). So, first I thought about how some Chinese restaurant probably touts themselves as having the Biggest Egg Roll in town, and how that would invariably cause an Egg Roll Arms Race where the Chinese places try to out-do each other with bigger and bigger Egg Rolls. If the train of thought had stopped there, it would have been humorous, but of course, my train of thought when even further.

People say that eventually the Chinese will rule the world, and I figured out how. First you have to keep in mind two facts: 1 - Chinese food always make you feel hungry again much sooner than other food (for an unknown reason) and 2 - MSG can screw with your sleep patterns.

Step 1 - Have Chinese food supplant all other types of cuisine. It will take time, but they are willing to wait.
Step 2 - Heavily dose all Chinese food (except for in China obviously) with extremely large doses of MSG.

Now, everyone is having screwed up sleep patterns and they are always hungry since the Chinese food doesn't fill them up, leaving the Chinese army an opening to take over the world. Our only hope is to come up with something to combat the Egg Roll offensive!

Monday, February 2, 2009

1 more seafood item off the list

Well, so far I have had hives after eating Rock Fish, Tillapia and now Cod. I have had them once or twice after Crab too, but one of those times it was combined with Rock Fish and the other time, there might have been other seafood involved. THIS SUCKS...I am developing food allergies (or apparent ones anyone) I guess it is time to schedule an allergy test so I can know for sure.

I HATE ADULT ONSET ALLERGIES! So help me, if I get a full blown crab allergy I will go ballistic! I am from MD for Christ's sake!

Something's not quite right

Nissan 370Z, originally uploaded by MikeCCrutchfield.

Overall, I like the look of the new 370Z, but something about the front is just off. Most people would probably say the headlights, but I don't mind the headlights. I will admit they are an acquired taste, but that isn't what bothers me about the front. The front grill opening is what I don't like. It's like a robotic smile with dimples or something. It is just odd looking to me.

It looks like they tried to keep the overall rectangular shape of the opening but still give it some not-so-boxish lines, but it made it look really weird.

Wait..just found a picture that illustrates why I think it is weird. It reminds me of this:

So, Nissan now has a bulldog as their lower-level sports car.

Sunday, February 1, 2009


Ok, so I lied, we hadn't see this one. This is the Camaro LS7. I also like the paint scheme on the SS in the background (the Silver one with the racing stripes)
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Phili Auto Show

We went to the Philadelphia Auto Show yesterday, and while it was an OK auto show, we were spoiled by overseas auto shows. Paris, Geneva, and Frankfurt all spanned 5+ buildings and took 4+ hours to see. The Phili Auto Show (including about 20 minute break) took about an hour and 1/2. Granted, we skipped over some brands (Lincoln, Honda, Toyota, Jeep, Hummer) but we weren't at all interested in them. The only "new to us" vehicle we saw was the Nissan 370Z. Everything else, we had either seen at on the of the auto shows, or seen in person on the streets.

The pictures will be up on my flickr page very shortly, and I am sure we will still go to the Baltimore auto show when it comes to town, but it just isn't the same. On a side note, the VW booth people were actually knowledgable! I asked them if there was any word on the MkVI golf chassis for the US and they said "They are working on it, but they have already stopped producing the MkV, so they should be here later this year." Kudos!