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Wednesday - February 28, 2007

Random website enhancements

First off, I have Snap Preview running on my main page. It's a neat little trick I found on Scott's WordPress page. Basically just mouse over any external link, and you'll see a historical screenshot of the site. Nifty.

Second, I installed a Moveable Type plugin called CCode/TCode. This plugin is great, but only handy for myself, and other MT blog owners. It adds a hidden input field on each individual page that makes it very tough for spam bots to leave comment or trackback spam. I set mine up about a week ago, and have not received a single comment spam since. Previously I would get 10-20 per day. It's great because it doesn't impact your normal users, that leave valid comments.

Posted by jcraven at 2:41 PM | Tech

Tuesday - February 27, 2007


In anticipation of the Oscars, on Sunday we watched Babel. It's a combination of 4 intertwined stories that span the globe. Lara and I both enjoyed the film as entertainment, but some of the stories are more compelling than others. I personally enjoyed the story involving Rinko Kikuchi set in Japan, but it was probably the most disturbing at the same time. I guess that's what made it interesting. Both Rinko and Adriana Barraza earned their Best Supporting Actress nominations. The music in the film was also gripping, and actually won the Oscar in that category. I'd recommend it to most people, but the film seems to get a very polarized response by audiences. You either love it, or hate it, but currently has a 68% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

On a related note, the movies on my post-Oscar viewing list are:

An Inconvenient Truth
Jesus Camp
Children of Men
The Departed
The Last King of Scotland

Posted by jcraven at 2:55 PM | Movies & Music


We finished up watching the Oscars last night, even though somebody spoiled the ending for us. :) Overall, I think the show was decent, but not great. Ellen did a good job hosting, but honestly the whole thing was just kind of bland. Lara and I were excited to see that Pan's Labyrinth win 3 awards, but sadly they missed out on Best Foreign Language Film.

For a full list of nominees and winners, head over to OSCAR.com.

Posted by jcraven at 2:32 PM | Movies & Music

Monday - February 26, 2007

Ding 70

Over the weekend, Lara wasn't feeling well, so that left me playing WoW a fair amount. My main character, Norlina hit level 70 (the new level cap in the expansion pack). Although it only took a month to get to 70, there's still a ton of content I haven't touched in the expansion. I still haven't stepped foot in 2 zones, so there are a lot of quests and rewards to be had in Shadowmoon Valley and Netherstorm. There's also a bunch of dungeons I haven't played through. I'll probably start working on my Arcatraz, Shattered Halls, and Karazhan dungeon keys.

Posted by jcraven at 11:28 AM | Video Games

Thursday - February 22, 2007

iPhone vs iPhone

So Apple and Cisco have settled their iPhone dispute. Looks like both companies are going to use the brand, and "will explore opportunities for interoperability in the areas of security, and consumer and enterprise communications." That sounds pretty much like what Cisco wanted in the first place.

News @ Cisco: Cisco and Apple Reach Agreement on iPhone Trademark

Posted by jcraven at 9:09 AM | Tech

Monday - February 19, 2007

Bye bye Blockbuster

Previously, I mentioned that you can now rent movies (and television episodes) straight from your Xbox 360. Over the weekend, I decided to give it a shot. I picked up Employee of the Month, in HD.

First I'll comment about the technology. The 360 interface is very easy to use, and you can watch the trailer of the film if you're on the fence. It uses MS points, which is the payment system used for all Xbox Live transactions. If you've never bought anything, then you would need to setup your payment method or use a prepaid card from your local electronics store. I've had mine setup since day 1, so no problems there. I downloaded the 5GB movie overnight, but I've heard you can start watching the download once a certain percentage is stored on the drive. You have 14 days to begin watching the movie, but once you start playing it, you only have 24 hours to access the content. The video was beautiful and crisp in 720p, and the sound was in Dolby Digital 5.1 (sadly doesn't support DTS). Also, for the video purists, this film was displayed in 16:9 resolution which fills the HDTV screen. Unfortunately this does mean some cropping of the source 2.39:1 (scope) material. Some people may actually prefer this though since it doesn't require letterboxing. The only negatives around the whole experience, are 1) They need to release a hard drive >20GB, and 2) I would prefer the cost to be a little less, as the SD version is $4 and HD version is $6.

Now on to the movie. Surprisingly, I actually enjoyed this flick. Of course it's not exactly an Oscar winner, but it's entertaining. Of course seeing Jessica Simpson and her assets in HD is never a bad thing, but she actually does a decent job of acting. She's at least as good as any other stereotypical romantic comedy actress. Dane Cook and Dax Shepard are both very funny as they compete to win her love. The supporting cast is also good, especially Efren Ramirez (aka Pedro from Napolen Dynamite). The movie actually reminds me a little of Office Space. It's not quite at that level, but if you enjoy one, I think you would enjoy the other.

Posted by jcraven at 3:06 PM | Movies & Music

Tuesday - February 13, 2007

Most awesome cat ever

I think I'll spend this weekend trying to teach Maggie and Blue to play against this cat over Xbox Live.

Japan's Freaky Xbox 360 Playing Cat - Kotaku

In case you don't read through the comments, the breed is a Scottish Fold, and their ears are supposed to look like that.

Posted by jcraven at 1:51 PM | Video Games

Thursday - February 8, 2007

New ride

Check out the newest addition to the family. More pictures here, along with her predecessor.

Posted by jcraven at 9:17 AM | Misc

Tuesday - February 6, 2007

How long does booze last?

I've often wondered how long hard liquor lasts after the bottle is opened. Here's a great article that explains the situation.


1. Distilled spirits don't go bad; they fade.
2. Cream and fruit and herb liqueurs will spoil.
3. More air = less flavor.

So the good news, distilled spirits like whiskey, vodka, rum, tequila and gin don't spoil. And full-proof spirits (40 proof and higher) can last for decades. The key is keeping them in a cool dark location if possible to minimize any fading.

Posted by jcraven at 4:33 PM | Food

El Laberinto del Fauno

Over the weekend, other than watching the Super Bowl, we also went to the movie theater to see Pan's Labyrinth. This is absolutely one of the best movies I've seen in a long time. It follows two stories revolving around a 12-year old girl named Ofelia. One is a fairy tale, an imaginary world of her own creation. The other, a harsh real world circa 1944, after the end of the Spanish Civil War. I don't want to spoil any of the content, so I won't go into details.

Just a word of warning, the movie is rated R, and earns that rating from the violence. It would be hard to depict a war setting without it though.

The film, created by Mexico's Guillermo del Toro, is performed entirely in Spanish with English subtitles. It has received 6 Oscar Nominations, including Best Foreign Language Film of the Year. All four of us loved the film... and it has amazing ratings everywhere including a 96% fresh on RottenTomatoes.com. Just go see it.

On a related note, check wikipedia if you want to study up on The Spanish Civil War or Francisco Franco beforehand.

Posted by jcraven at 3:02 PM | Movies & Music

Thursday - February 1, 2007

Snow redux

We got a nice dusting of snow today, the first two pictures here are from my office. Looks like the ice problem afterwards may be minimal.

Posted by jcraven at 4:13 PM | Misc

Vista update

So, I haven't had a crash in the last 18 hours or so. I've done 3 things so far:

  1. Uninstalled Nvidia's drivers, and using the built-in windows version
  2. Updated the BIOS on my Abit KN9 SLI to 1.6
  3. Upped my ram timings and voltage to conform to Crucials standards, this has the side benefit of making it a little faster too

Fingers crossed......

Posted by jcraven at 1:08 PM | Tech