A new vidiot box

January 28th, 2009

Yep, in spite of knowing I shouldn’t be watching a lot of TV, I do miss some of the PBS type programming from time to time. In addition, we might watch an hour or so of random network television before the commercial overload kicks in and ruins the viewing experience. Our initial plan was to get a USB dongle and connect to one of the laptops whenever we felt like watching a bit of TV, but up until the end of the year, we never got around to it.

Well, I bought us a Avertv Hybrid Volar Max for Christmas. We’ve only just been using it the past few days, but I’ve got to say I’m quite happy with the functionality. I really expected HDTV to be much less reliable for us compared to analog TV as we’re often out in the middle of nowhere.

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Tech Specs

July 23rd, 2008

Edited 10/20/2012. Blame Blars.

The Van:

2003 GMC Savana 2500

  • AWD. When we get stuck, we’ll be really stuck.
  • Positraction. I mean REALLY stuck.
  • Pro package. Next best thing to a tent, but with lights!

The Truck:

2001 Ford F-350 Lariat

  • Dual rear wheels
  • Crew cab
  • 4×4
  • 7.3L Diesel (International)
  • Timbrens
  • Front and rear receivers

The Camper:

2008 Arctic Fox 1140 (poorly constructed, no… really poorly)

  • Wet bath
  • Couch seating
  • Full-wall cabover wardrobe
  • 9k BTU Air conditioner
  • No oven or microwave (more storage!)
  • Thermal pane windows
  • For sale. Cheap.

The Bikes:

  • Trek RST 3700
  • Roketa MC-17-50T (Sicily) RIPieces!
  • Custom, ancient and venerable road bike. Because we spend our time on dirt roads?

The Internet: Ubiquitous

Sprint EVDO service (for now you greedy bastards!)

  • Novatel U727 EVDO card Fancy mini sd to USB storage adaptor with potential for alien technology. For sale.
  • Cradlepoint CT350 Wifi router
  • Dual-band Omni-directional external antenna
  • Wilson. 3 Watt Bi-Directional Dual-Band EVDO amplifier. How cool would this be if we were using alien technology? For sale.
  • Unix on a phone. Verizon. Google. Hey, almost time for a new wifi only camera/storage/gps/pocket gadget! Penny phones!

The Network:

  • Fujitsu Lifebook 1510
  • Dell Vostro 1500 Jenn smashed it lots of ways. I recommend bondo. For sale. Some parts still good!
  • Asus 1005pe. I love Moore’s Law. I still do all the really important stuff on the console. I mean, I have more spare crunch time on my old router than it takes to run a fair sized company. This is so much more CPU and memory than I really need. I bought it for the battery. 14ish hours. Very solar friendly.
  • Asus 1215B. Jenn can do some fancy graphics with this. I don’t understand her alien technology, but she seems to be happy.
  • ReadyNAS 600 (700GB RAID5)Massive power requirements for more performance than we need. Outdated drives. New drives and firmware would make it even more overpowered for us. Runs linux and is massively hackable. Might still have a wifi card stuck in it. Used this for storing captured video from MythTV network. Might be for sale if it can still be found. Firmware is modified stock. Warranty voided professionally.
  • 2 Cowon A2’s for random movie/music access. Still use these daily! I wish these were more hackable.
  • One of the most hackable linksys routers. Currently acting as a hotspot hijacker and repeater with automated p2p file sharing. Rarely use this, but just too many knobs on it to let the aliens have it. Would trade for even more unobtainable linksys router with an external antenna jack and at least 1 USB port.
  • Toshiba external drives. 2 x 1TB.
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Finding a Place to Sleep

January 13th, 2008

It’s been quite a few years and I was usually busy reading while Dad drove us to the next destination in the family RV, but the best I can remember, we’d often drive until late in the evening and then find a parking lot relatively close to where we were going, park overnight and then ask the manager if it were OK to park there the following day. Sadly, this is not as effective in this day and age – at least not on the East Coast. So many counties and towns have passed laws against overnight parking that it takes some research ahead of time if you don’t want to sleep in the Lowes parking lot, with your slide in, under the bright sodium arc lamps, half dressed just in case the cops show up to roust you.

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A Mountain Christmas

December 30th, 2007

We hope everyone had a great Christmas. We spent Christmas with my parents in the middle of nowhere. Well, 10 miles or so outside of Boone, NC; but 10 miles is a long way in a place where everything is uphill both ways and not even the crow flies in a straight line.

As you can see from our Charlie Brown Christmas tree, Jenn, my brother and I went for a hike until we found something roughly Christmas tree shaped. The process of hiking in, choosing a tree, sawing it down and carrying it out took less time than the last tree we bought off a lot. It’s apparently a lot easier to choose a tree when you’re trying to convince yourself that something looks like a Christmas tree than when you’re trying to decide which Christmas tree is ‘best’. I’m not sure if we were completely on Dad’s land when we found this one, but I doubt the neighbor will miss it.

We spent the first couple of nights down on the road leading up to my parents place. We got in after dark the first night and weren’t brave enough to try the driveway. It’s something like a 30-40% grade and would have our rear jacks dragging if we hit it at the wrong angle.

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Downsizing

November 24th, 2007

Sadly, the camper didn’t make it here prior to Thanksgiving, so instead of packing things into it, we’re moving as much stuff out of the apartment as we can live without. We’ve gotten rid of 75% of the furniture and the rest will go into storage in the next week. Jenn says I need to downsize my workstation even further than this:

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