The Big Texas Toy run

We had really nice weather for the Big Texas Toy Run. This year the organizers added a third staging area, in Grapevine, in addition to the two in downtown Dallas and Ft. Worth. Since the Grapevine staging area is only a few minutes from the house I decided to go there. I’m not sure how many bikes were in Grapevine, but the estimates I heard were between 4 and 5 thousand. The ride in was good, well organized, and proceeded without incident. I’ve got to hand it to the Grapevine and Ft. Worth police departments, they closed down 121 and 360 so well that we didn’t have to deal with a single car.

Dead Palm

Well, the Palm didn’t power up this evening when I needed it to finish off sending Christmas cards. So it’s currently trickel charging off of a USB connector because the center pin of the power plug is broken so I can’t use the AC adapter. Hopefully it’ll come back up.

DirecTV Series 2 Tivo + Vonage

There’s a lot of problems with getting Tivos to work with Vonage and DirecTV made it worse by disabling the USB ports, which means that we can’t hook up an Ethernet adapter. After digging around for a while I foind a combination that worked for me and my Hughes SD-DVR40 Series 2 DVR.

First, connect a DSL filter in between the DVR and the phone jack. Then go in to the configuration settings and set the dialing prefix to “,#096,12122773895”. This will make the Tivo dial out to the New York number and will force it down to 9600 bps. I didn’t bother changing my area code or dialin number because what’s in the prefix is what gets called. The test call worked and it’s got a scheduled call planned for overnight, so hopefully it will work.

Vonage Transfer’s Done

I got confirmation from Vonage today that my local phone number has been transferred. And sure enough when I got home the cordless phone’s base station was reporting “no line”. Before I could hook up the ATA to the house’s phone wiring I needed to disconnect the POTS connections coming out of the FIOS ONT. It was easier to do than I thought it would be and all that was required was to open up the box on the outside of the house and unplug the four phone lines that were connected to it. I’m going to tape over them so that a well meaning Verizon tech doesn’t reconnect them and short out my ATA.

Quick Trip To Houston

I’m driving down to Houston to pick up some stuff that’s been stored for a while and hopefully to bring back some baking pans that I really need. This is going to be a quick trip because I’ve got to be back in the metromess tomorrow to get to the North Texas Netscum’s Christmas and housewarming party. Morgan’s coming in to town and I don’t want to miss a chance to hang out and maybe get some sushi.

And The Other Drive Just Died!

I lost my primary drive a few weeks ago and got it replaced. Well a couple hours ago the secondary failed. Same problem. This time I got curious and downloaded Seagate’s tools to check the drive out, thinking maybe it’s a SATA under Linux problem. Nope. There’s a ton of errors on it, so it really did go bad. That’s two identical drives from the same manufacturer and not that far off in serial numbers either. Bad batch maybe?

I don’t know but I’m up and running, no data loss thanks to the mirroring and the mirror is rebuilding as we speak. This is really frustrating, but now I’ve got two drives to ship back for replacement so at least I’ll have plenty of spares. But if they keep lasting only six months I’m going to have to do something about it.

Sinus Infection

I’ve been fighting a head cold for almost a week now and it’s just been getting worse. So I went to the doctor today and found out that I’ve got a sinus infection, my first one.


Hopefully the antibiotics will kick in soon and I’ll be feeling better because my head’s killing me right now.

Laser Tag!

We had a semi-annual work related gathering today and afterwards went over to Main Event for some “team building”. Most of it was OK, but they’ve got a Lasertron laser tag arena that really kicked butt. I was expecting a flat, open area that everyone would just blast away at each other in. Not even close, this thing had all kinds of obstacles, two levels, and was a heck of a lot of fun to play. I’ll definitely be heading back to play again if I can get a group together.