personal, gaming, cats comments edit

The weekend was sort of a mixed bag. For every good thing that happened, there was something bad to balance it out. Starting Friday…

Good: I finished up a huge piece of the project I’ve been working on and checked it in before leaving work. Love that closure!

Bad: Jenn’s cat, Jack, decided to fervently clean his week-old declawed paws and opened one up. Spent most of the night at DoveLewis Animal Hospital getting him fixed up.

Good: My parents came over Saturday and we caught up, played some Guitar Hero 2, and went out to a great lunch at Costa Vida.

Bad: Determined that the cats really don’t like using the litter box when it’s got that crappy pine litter in it (gotta use pellet litter while Jack’s paws heal up) and found that one of them - we don’t know which - peed on the rug in front of the litter box rather than peeing in the litter box.

Good: Went tooling around on Sunday and stopped by GameStop on a whim. Found a used Xbox 360 Guitar Hero controller. Snapped that up and busted ass home to play a little cooperative Guitar Hero with Jenn.

Bad: Found out the tilt mechanism in the controller was bad so you can’t turn on “star power” by tipping the guitar up in the air. (I think it was stuck “on” because in cooperative mode it’s supposed to require both of you to tip your guitars up to enable “star power” but I seemed to be able to do it on my own. That said, we rebooted the console with just the new guitar plugged in, fired up the game, and in solo mode, you couldn’t turn “star power” on. So… bum controller.)

Good: Got a lot of chores done on Sunday. House is vaccuumed, dusted, mopped, and generally straightened up.

Bad: Cats again decided not to pee in litter box, instead choosing to pee on a bathroom rug. And, no, the newspaper pellet litter isn’t any better. We tried it. They want actual litter, not this pellet garbage.

Anyway, you see how that works. Overall, I think the weekend was good. Jenn and I had a total blast with Guitar Hero. We played every single song that you can unlock in Easy mode (neither of us are very good, so Easy was right up our alley). I’ve since ordered a controller directly from RedOctane. A little more expensive, but at least we know it’ll work.

My aunt emailed me because my cousin is getting married this weekend (once again, I won’t be able to make it to Code Camp) and it turns out that RSVPs are a source of tension. Huh. I never would have guessed. It just amazes me how people don’t feel that responding for an event is important, let alone a big event like a wedding. It’s not just annoying, it’s disrespectful to the people inviting you. It’s even worse if you don’t respond and then you show up, or you respond saying you’ll be there and then don’t show. And the real killer is - unless you’ve had an event like this yourself in recent memory (because people seem to forget what a problem the RSVPs are if it’s not recent or documented), you won’t really understand. When it’s your money on the line and you’re paying a decent sum of money per head, suddenly you’ll realize - “Aha! That’s why it’s so important to respond!”

But I digress.

This week the theme is going to be “taking care of business.” This morning already I’ve met with a repairman named Yance from Dennis’ Seven Dees because one zone of our sprinkler was not coming on and one of the nozzles on one of the heads was broken. Got that all fixed up in about five minutes, no problem. At lunch today I’m heading over to H&R Block to see how bad the CheckFree acquisition of Corillian is going to hose me tax-wise and see if I can do anything about it.

I’m also still working (very, very slowly, but surely!) on the blog conversion to Subtext as well as my Xbox 360 media center solution. Oh, and CR_Documentor emulation of Sandcastle. I think I’m going to get the blog converted over to Subtext first, then tackle the other two.

Corillian is now a part of
CheckFreeIt’s official - Corillian is now a part of CheckFree. That makes me an “associate,” as CheckFree employees are called. Sweet.

There’s a meeting tomorrow morning to discuss more detail about what’s going on and the changes to come. I’m given to understand that we’ll keep the Corillian name (which means my work email doesn’t change, which is good because that’d just be a pain).

It’s an exciting time to be a part of the Consumer Banking team at Corillian. I look forward to what’s in store.

blog comments edit

I’ve heard some whiny people complaining about how it’s hard to remember my domain name, so to make it easier I’ve registered some domains that will redirect you here:

So hitting should redirect you to I even registered the .net and .org domains so you don’t have to remember the extension, you lazy bums. All you have to do is remember my name, and *bam* you’re here.

(I wanted “” but it’s some punk clothing manufacturer… and “” is a model train company… so you get the full name.)

xbox comments edit

I have the HD DVD drive, the Xbox Live Vision camera, and the wireless network adapter - all USB devices - for my Xbox 360. I had them set up like this:

Xbox 360 -

Note how I was using the HD DVD drive as a USB hub - the Xbox connected to the HD DVD drive, then the rest of the devices chained through that. The problem I was seeing is that the Xbox would start up, detect the HD DVD drive, and then would time out trying to find the rest of the USB devices. To fix it, you could either reboot the Xbox 360 a couple of times and hope or unplug and replug all of the devices it didn’t find the first time (which, interestingly enough, was only about 80% successful).

I called Xbox support about this and they didn’t have an answer, just that the Xbox was “timing out” while reading USB devices. I’ve never seen that before, but I’ve got a sneaking suspicion that the USB hub portion of the HD DVD drive doesn’t become active until it’s detected by the Xbox. Not sure why that would be, but that seems to be the behavior I’m seeing.

I got fed up with that and went to the store to pick up a USB hub. My setup looks like this now:

Xbox 360 -

Now I have the Xbox 360 plugged into the hub and everything chains off that. So far, I’ve had 100% success - fire up the Xbox and everything is detected without issue.

The hub I bought was a Belkin Hi-Speed USB 2.0 4-Port Hub. It’s nice and compact so it’s easy to hide behind the Xbox.

Belkin Hi-Speed USB 2.0 4-Port

You might ask why I didn’t just plug everything into the Xbox directly

  • use the front ports on the Xbox as well as the back port. The reason is that I don’t want a bunch of cables floating around on the front of the Xbox. It looks horrible. Plus, when I fire up Dance Dance Revolution, I need those front ports free for the dance pads. Or for my Guitar Hero guitar (coming soon).

Anyway, if you’re having trouble getting the Xbox to find all of your USB devices, get a hub. It’s worth the $20.

home, cats, blog, personal comments edit

So I was out Sunday night through Wednesday night at MIX07, which was hella cool and well worth the trip, but that means I didn’t really get much chance to blog the random garbage that collects in my head, so here we go.

We bought this automatic light switch for the house that turns the exterior lights on and off. We wanted it timed so we wouldn’t have to have someone watching the house. Home Depot had two models - one was this sort of bulky-looking analog deal, and one was this slick, clean digital one. For $1 extra, we bought the slick digital one.

I’m not a big handyman around the house, but aside from some fairly minor technical difficulties and a cat that just would not stop stealing the screws to the faceplate, I got it installed. Configuration, on the other hand… wow. This thing could pilot the space shuttle by itself. I’m afraid I’m going to want to turn on the lights and I’m going to hear HAL tell me he won’t allow the lights to go on. It’s pretty cool once you get it set up, though. It knows, based on your general location in the US, about when sunup and sundown are, and you can tell it to automatically turn off at those times. Or, if you don’t like that, you have seven different programmable on/off times - one on and one off per day - that you can set. Or you can say “weekdays I want this, weekends I want that.” Or, or, or. It’s almost too configurable.

The automatic cat box worked out pretty well. I found it’s not really a no-touch sort of thing; it requires interaction every couple of days. But I can put up with that - it’s always nice and clean, and there’s a certain cool factor about it.

Jenn is hobbling around the house because she blistered her feet so bad walking around in Vegas. I feel bad for her, but I have to laugh - she rented a car while we were down there specifically to avoid walking around. That worked out well.

I’m stoked about Silverlight but I’ve got to finish converting my blog over to Subtext before I start screwing around with it. I also want to finish the CR_Documentor support for Sandcastle, which shouldn’t be overly difficult to do but isn’t very fun and will just be a time consumer. I’d release it to the world to help out on, but I can’t because there’s some proprietary stuff in there left over from the original Lutz implementation and there’s some crazy legal garbage stopping me. So I muscle through.

As far as the migration goes, I’ve got a BlogML converter to export my blog entries with, but I have to create a mapping between the pMachine entry IDs and the new Subtext IDs so I can put up a redirection mechanism to allow folks coming in using the old links to be forwarded to the new links. That’s taking a little bit. I was trying to write it in a nice, reusable fashion (the ID mapping tool) so I could submit it to… well, some project out there, anyway, but it’s taking far too much time to do that and since I’m really only going to use the thing once, I’ve got to scale back my effort and just get it done already. (Once I have that, I can write the redirector, update my cross-post links, figure out where my image content needs to go, and, finally, get Subtext up and going. Yeah, it’s an effort.)

I had some Barnes and Noble gift certificates saved up so I ordered Guitar Hero II for my Xbox 360. That should be here soon and should provide some serious fun. I didn’t get into any of the MIX07 Guitar Hero action, but I’ve played it in the store. I need to practice. The key really is all in getting used to the controller.

Speaking of Xbox 360, we finally got the points codes from the latest Red Ring of Death debacle so I’m going to spend some time tonight deleting and re-downloading all of our Xbox Live content so I don’t have to be signed in when Jenn wants to play an arcade game. They have to fix this. It’s ridiculous.

I got the Fergie CD The Dutchess and noticed a few things. First, the uncensored versions of the songs make a lot more sense than the censored versions you hear on the radio. I like the CD versions way better. Second, someone dropped the ball on the mixing. There are a couple of songs where Fergie’s voice stands out from the music in places like it doesn’t belong. It sounds… rushed. Third, and final, someone really needed to run QA on the language portion of the album. What the hell is “dutchess?” Is it ebonics for “more Dutch than anyone else” (as in “I know you’re Dutch, but I’m the Dutchess fool here”)? (“Duchess” doesn’t have a ‘t’ in it.) And in the first song, “Fergalicious,” they spell “tasty” as “tastey” - with an ‘e’ in it. What the…? Doesn’t anyone speak English anymore?

Our bad Jack cat is off getting declawed tonight and we’ll be picking him up tomorrow. The vet called with an update after the surgery was over and I guess he’s super wild and they can’t give him enough toys to play with. I guess the fentanyl patch he’s got on isn’t slowing him down a bit.

Jenn has become addicted to Hotel Dusk: Room 215. She picked it up before we left for Vegas and hasn’t put it down. It looks pretty good; I may have to play it.

I think that’s it. It’s been a heck of a week. Yesterday was pretty-much a no-op, trying to get expense reports filed and get back up to speed after being out of town, and today, frankly, I’ve had some severe motivational difficulties. Hopefully things will return to normal next week.