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Nov. 13th, 2008 @ 04:03 pm Flop FTW...NOT
John Stockton, Manu Ginobli, and now Steve Nash. Watch for him to come running in GALLANTLY and then fall down when he gets close to the 6'5" black guys. Only an idiot would run into a FIGHT and try to draw a foul by flopping, or maybe that was just his basketball instinct kicking in.

"Oh, S*** he's right there! Fall down!" It doesn't work if you are the one running into the planted player. I think David Beckham could use some teammates, Steve.
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Oct. 30th, 2008 @ 10:47 am HTPC Yes
Got the parts last night and build it up!

There was one goof-up on my part; the low-profile video card I got was low pbc profile, not low bracket profile, so I can't take full advantage of Ati's Avivo HD rendering abilities, but I am able to play 720p content swimmingly. I'll update on how well 1080p works with the onboard graphics.
So far, the BE-2400 processor is incredible. It handles flash apps incredibly well; in fact, I've never used a computer that runs flash-heavy websites so well. I do have a question though (maybe Crash can answer this): Is it a 64 bit processor? If so, would running a 64-bit version of XP give me any noticeable gains?

The only thing that I was not super stoked about was the performance of WinRar. It took a while to unrar a 720p rip, and I couldn't figure out how to get it to put moreload on the processor. I mean, the processor was running about 5%...meanwhile winrar is twiddling its thumbs, slowly knitting me a .mkv as though I was expecting it to arrive in 9 months.

On to the mobo, I am pleased with Foxconn's product. They include a little utility/driver application, which also has some Bios controls: CPU temp, CPU temp limits, fan speeds, and an auto-overclocking utility! It definitely works better than the MSI Fuzzy Logic from Piku's board, although I think you still need to load it up each time you want to run higher than stock. Given the satisfactory performance of the BE 2400's stock speed, I think I'll leave OC'ing out for now.

Oh! I'm running a VERY basic coolermaster cpu and heatsink (with a proper application of Arctic Silver 5), and I'm idling at 24 C! At load, it was up to 34! The only negative is I don't seem to be able to control the fan speed, although the board claims to have the ability. Perhaps I need to double check the connection. Also, another connection issue, my power LED on the case connects to the motherboard with a 3-pin connector, but only has two wires (the middle connector is void)...the motherboard is expecting a 2-pin connector. I wonder, can I chop dat shiz up and do it mai self?

Oh, the Crucial Ballistix memory I got has some very entertaining and prettyful led's that light up all blinky and nice.
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Oct. 23rd, 2008 @ 02:35 pm Em-Pee-Geez
Yesterday, I achieved 40 mpg on my commute home (okay, it dropped to 38.8 from 40.3 during the drive through my parking lot...) in my VW Passat Wagon. Despite the 1337 fuel econ heads recommending staying away from the cruise control, I find that if I set it at 55, I will get more fuel economy than *trying* to modulate the pedal myself, because there is a 99% chance I will develop leadfoot and zoom around in the left lane doing 80.

Those 40 miles per gallon came when I am about to get my car serviced, so the engine could use a slight tune, I need an oil change and a new air filter. My tires are set at a comfy 41 psi (max is 50). I was impressed that driving 55 got me such good mileage, especially since more than half of the time i'm behind the wheel, I'm crawling in traffic.

Today I drove to Haines Point for a training ride at lunch, and on my way home I drove 55. It seemed SOOOOO SLOW! I stayed in the right lane, riding the solid white line so people would get the hint that I'm intentionally driving 55. Still, I think it would be courteous of me and others who practice certain hypermiling tactics to get an MPG sticker for their car. Seriously, if I was in a rush and came upon someone doing that, I'd probably yell at them a little bit for driving like a snail. However, if I was shown a reason for their methods (i.e. "I was in a bad car wreck once"/"My car shimmies at certain highway speeds and this is the most comfortable speed to drive at right now"), I probably wouldn't default to sneering comments.

After I get her serviced, I'd like to do a highway trip at night to see what sort of mileage I can get at 50 psi/60 mph. Maybe do 55 on the way down and 60 on the way back?
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Oct. 5th, 2008 @ 09:37 pm Sarah Palin will waste her time on bullshit
Anyone can admit that she needs to play catch-up in the WORST way. She has not made one statement that affirms her understanding of foreign diplomacy, United States government history, the Pan-Islam movement, or economics.

A wise use of her time would be to CRAM HER ASS OFF about these things to refute the BIGGEST concern INTELLIGENT voters have: she doesn't know jack. Instead, she has spent her time pulling quotes off of Starbucks cups and accusing Obama of befriending terrorists.

The cheap and easy tactic for the Obama campaign (in other words, playing the McCain/Palin game) would be to strike back and highlight Todd Palin's association with these guys. So she either desires to break up the United States (specifically, an ENERGY PRODUCING STATE, right Mrs. Palin?), or she throws her political ties around like a fratboy's jizz at a rohypnol party. That doesn't sound like the naive, straight-shooting, Jane-six-pack Washington Outsider she's been trying to sell us, does it?

She's wasting our time on bullshit when she should be hitting the books.
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Oct. 3rd, 2008 @ 12:44 pm Tek-Sum
So I'm building a MediaTek to play HD content as well as MP3's, YouTube videos, and maybe the occasional video game.

I've ended up with this configuration:

Athlon 64 X2 BE 2400 <> Low power usage (hence low operating temp), decent processing power, and allows me to run an AM2 chip motherboard....

780G MicroATX Motherboard <> Again, low power usage, but more importantly this board has an excellent integrated graphics processor that is capable of running 1080p content smoothly on less-than-excellent CPU systems. The chipset also allows for a Hybrid-Crossfire configuration, which will allow you to use both the IGP AND a discreet graphics card TOGETHER to boost graphics performance. Oh yeah, did I mention it has HDMI and Optical Audio onboard?

ATI 4350 or 4550 Graphics Card <> This won't be an immediate buy (partly because they aren't released yet), but I will be getting a graphics card DESPITE having ample video power for this simple fact: both AMD/ATI and NVidia have and HD platform that is intended to enhance image quality for video content. Basically, if you run a high-end graphics chip, you will get cool hardware utilities that apply anti-aliasing, noise reduction, and other visual crap from the picture. Pretty cool, huh? The cards I'm looking at should be sub $70. They are based on the high-end core of the 4xxx series, but with severe limitations on 3D power. I figure with the Hybrid SLI, I should be able to play crappy 5 year old car games on superhigh detail with no problem!

Memory: Got some Crucial Ballistix on the cheap!

HD: Samsung SpinPoint...whatever I can get on the cheap. I think Samsung is on the rise right now, and their spinpoint drives are said to be relatively quiet.


790g(x) Motherboard. Slightly improved chipset; built-in overclocking for Phenom Black Edition processors.
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Aug. 23rd, 2007 @ 03:34 pm BIKETOWORKDAY!
Mark B and I scream this to each other when we commute into work by bike.

I put in 60 miles before work today, leaving the apartment at 5.20. The roads were empty and the sky was dark. Fairfax boasts a mediocre population of street lights, leaving me illuminated by my tire-flys, which seem to sparkle if you use the red, white, and blue version.

Not soon after hopping the trail in Vienna, I noticed a headlight behind me. Feeling guilty for not wearing my full night-riding regalia, I eased up and let the properly-illuminated cyclist lead the way. It turns out there were two of them! We jammed our way into the city, cruising our way past the early-morning runners and a few bicyclists (who did not have lights NEARLY as cool as ours!)

On the way home, I finally got a chance to see first hand the size of our bicycle commuter population. I've made the DC commute for a long time, but at the slacker hours...(never before 9, really) Seeing all those people riding their bikes for transportation made me really miss doing the DC commute. Not that I don't bike to work ever, but I don't see very many OTHER people biking to work where I am. That, and there is something special to me about taking the WOD to the Custis...not the most entertaining route ever conceived, but I really did love riding that in and out.

I found a "Bike Trail Guy" today. He caught up to me at the Gallows intersection, westbound. As the light turned for us to cross, he was rolling up to the intersection and passed me, as I was standing, waiting for the light to change. I like to let people lead by a few feet so they don't think I'm being competitive, but I did see him sneak a peak at me falling behind his pace, and I could not miss the subsequent bottle chug. The bottle chug turned into a sitting up, no hands on the bars bottle chug, and the bottle chug was more than a chug. He could have downed 3 bottles in that time, and for reasons of preserving the reputation of cyclists, I do not like it when people ride their bikes no handed like that when the trail is busy.

As punishment, I made him eat dust on the downhill into Vienna! Maybe I'm a bigger jerk, but I definitely got the last word in on the unspoken exchange...
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Aug. 21st, 2007 @ 10:12 am Criterium Videos
These are not mine and I'm not in any of them, but they are cool clips of what crit racing is like from the rider's perspective. Quality is not great, but certainly watchable!

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Aug. 20th, 2007 @ 09:30 pm And on Sunday...
...we raced our bicycles again!

This time around, the carpool was filled to the brim...almost. Bo's minivan was packed with 4 dudes and all of their bicycles, warmup trainers, and spandex crap with plenty of legroom to spare! Respect the minivan!

After the most unenthusiastic pre-race ritual ever, I lined up aside 4 teammates...quite a rare occurrence for me. I knew this race would be a fireworks show...Escobar and Esmonde were present, as were Mike Bradbury, Chip and Eric from AABC, plenty of other strong 3's, and a good showing of strong 4's (I saw that attack, Kyle).

The nature of the course made it extremely fun; I especially like taking turns at the crest of a hill (corner 1), and the 3rd turn was a 90 degree, 30 mph no-brake-er which required a bit of skilled steering in order to pull it off. Rain threatened, spat, and went away during the race while the temperature stayed comfy-cool.

Chip Hoover took the win, finally cashing in on that form he's got. Mike Esmonde got second with a final jump so hard that I couldn't come past him when I moved out of his wind. I was pleased with my second third of the weekend. Fourth. (That doesn't mean anything, but it was the next word in sequence, and comes before fifth.)

Big props go to the three juniors in the field, Nate, Morgan, and Steven, for dishing out some monster attacks. There was an italian joint on turn one that served up some bitchin' pizza for a great (and terrible) post-race meal!

When I got home, I dicked around for a little while before falling asleep for 12 hours and having some wild dreams. Today I worked, at one million calories worth of food, and now I'm sitting at my desk, about to link to the following picture(s) that Jim Wilson took at the race yesterday.

Mike B, Morgan G, Nate, Me!
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Aug. 19th, 2007 @ 09:19 pm Local Race Weekend

I participated in two races this weekend; an uphill timetrial (of .8 miles), and a downtown criterium in Williamsport, MD.

The time trial was short, to-the-point, and sweet. You start with someone holding you up on your bike at the bottom of a steep hill. Pointing towards the sky, you start riding as hard as you can pace over 4 minutes...for as short as your pace allows you to end...if that makes any sense. The faster you go, the less the suffering ends.

Despite the outrageously short duration, the race was well worth the trip. It was a smallish gathering of some well-respected local riders, the weather was AWESOME, and the local residents turned out in the 10's in support of crazy bikers in spandex riding up the stupid hill early Sunday morning. Although they will never see this, the cowbells and yells from little kids really do help give you some sense of purpose. Halfway to the unknown summit you find yourself in this sort of self-purgatorium of pain, doubt, and questioning. Why can't I ride any faster? Why do I hurt so much? Why aren't I fit enough to get on top of this gear? Why am I here? Cruising around a left hand curve, a family of 5 who had camped out on their lawn were ringing cowbells. The children were politely yelling at me to go faster, giving me the crazy suggestion that you can do it! The pain didn't go away, and I certainly wasn't able to get on top of the gear I was riding, but I did find the reason why I was there...so I can push myself to ride faster than I should, hurt more than is bearable, and most importantly, find myself in that familiar mental battle. It's a drug. I need my fix.

Funny story; the Cat 3 starting order had myself, Jose Escobar, and Mike Esmonde race in sequence. If you haven't heard me talk about other racers, Jose and Mike are two super racers who are battling out the season-long BAR (best-allaround-rider) competition. Nice guys, too. When results got posted, Mike poked his head through the crowd and returned to Jose and I to announce that he won, with me one-tenth of a second behind, and Jose third. After a few exchanges of You rode so fast! No, YOU rode so fast! I went back to the car to change, muttering to Tracy how it might actually be better to place 3rd than to miss the win by such a narrow margin.

I'll learn to swallow my words. It turns out that Mike had it mis-read, the times were correct, but it was Jose who was .156 seconds (or whatever) behind the win! Simply amazing, given how close the point count is between the two. After the TT, my personal calculation had them at 236 vs 235 total points, Jose up. Always glad to be beaten by class acts (and really strong dudes who probably weigh a few bricks less than my wideload-ass), I happily accepted my share of points to increase my standing in the Cat 3 BAR competition.

In race info that DOESN'T involve me (unless you consider having my ass kicked by a 16 year old as news), Nick Bax KILLED it. He beat out Josh Frick (National Timetrial champ) by 10 seconds, and crushed my time by 40 seconds! Not bad for a 16 year old. This is after he comes home from a top 20 result at the junior world championships. That dude's going places.

Pictures!Collapse )
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Aug. 16th, 2007 @ 11:46 am walk it out
I think I'm going to turn over most of my bike inventory, meaning, selling my mountain bike and old road bike to get new ones.

I bought my Fuel without knowing much of anything about mountain bikes, and I find that I just don't ride the thing nearly enought justify hanging onto it. I'll definitely get a new mountain bike, but not something so complex as a 5-inch travel dual suspension mountain bike. I think I'd like to replace it with a single speed, probably of the 29 inch wheel variety (a 29 inch wheel is larger than usual...heavier, but it rolls over obstacles much better).

I also want to get a Specialized Tricross...a 90% pure cyclocross bike. It looks like a road bike, but has a beefier frame, rides more comfortably, and it has mountain-style brakes. Aside from being able to participate in the cyclocross race scene (which is fall-winter), it would make a hell of a commuter bike. It has lower gearing than my racing bike, which will keep me from accidentally riding too hard and accumulating junk miles (riding beyond the range of developing your base systems, but not enough to develop your top-end power...junk miles will only make you tired).

That...and the Tricross has an Expert version that is pretty light (Sram Rival components) AND has my team colors. nice.
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