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Archive for the 'general' Category

Google Cardboard

This is a good idea. It’s an easy way to introduce someone to VR (Virtual Reality).

google_cardboard_620x387

https://cardboard.withgoogle.com/

I tried it at home:

Google Cardboard OMG

Google Cardboard OMG

I loaded up the Google Earth Cardboard demo and handed it to my roommate.  He looked through and said, “Wow!”  He was floating above Chicago, looking around in 3D, watching the buildings and scenery load and render… all on my Samsung S3 smartphone.

There are other demos available.  Lots of fun.  I recommend it.  I got my kit for about $25 at DodoCase:

http://www.dodocase.com/products/google-cardboard-vr-goggle-toolkit

Small-Claims Court Experience, Part 3

They paid!  I don’t have to take them to small-claims court!!  YAYYY!!!

I received the check on the 12th.  It was post-dated the 11th.  The check was dated the 5th.  Why the delay?

Did they write the check, then just leave it laying on the desk for 6 days?  Was the check laying there on their desk and they noticed it 6 days later and said, “Hum. I guess we should pay Hawk. We’re already over the deadline.”  Did they have to move money around so that the check wouldn’t bounce?  Were they just trying to cause me trouble?

I don’t know the answers to these questions.  I may never know.  But at least I got my security deposit back.

Small-Claims Court Experience, Part 2

Turns out, it’s easy to file in small-claims court.  It’s much easier than I thought it’d be.  Just see this site:

https://www.lawhelpinteractive.org/

They have a walk-through which took me step-by-step through the whole thing, then generates a legal document that you can just print out.  That was the easy part.  The hard part is getting the defendant served.  From the instructions:

Giving Notice of Your Claim to the Defendant

You must give notice of your claim to the defendant. The procedure for giving notice to the defendant is called service of process. If service of process is completed correctly, and the defendant doesn’t answer your claim, the judge can give you a default judgment. The judge cannot give you a default judgment if service of process is not completed correctly. If there is more than one defendant, you must serve process on each defendant. If the defendants are husband and wife, you must serve process on each spouse.

Service of process should be completed within 30 days after you file your claim. In most counties, if you do not complete service of process within 30 days, your claim will be dismissed. If your claim is dismissed for lack of service, you can reopen your case by re-filing your claim. If you reopen your case within six months after you first filed your claim, you won’t have to pay another filing fee.

There are two basic ways to serve process: certified mail and personal delivery by a non-party. Service of process is complete when the court clerk receives a certified mail return receipt signed by the defendant, or an Idaho Sheriff’s Return of Service or an Affidavit of Service stating when and how the defendant was served.

a. Certified Mail

You can ask the court clerk to serve process on the defendant by certified mail. The court clerk will charge you a fee. The court clerk will mail the papers to the defendant, return receipt requested. If the court clerk does not receive a return receipt signed by the defendant, you will have to try a different way to serve process. Service of process by certified mail costs less than the other methods to serve process, but is often not completed because the defendant did not sign the return receipt.

b. Sheriff’s Office

In most counties, you can ask the sheriff’s office to serve process on the defendant. (Some counties have a marshal’s office that will serve process in small claims cases.) You will have to pay a fee, and you will have to provide information on where the defendant can be found. The sheriff’s office will not investigate to find the defendant for you.

In some counties, the court clerk will collect the fee for the sheriff, and give the papers to the sheriff’s office that are to be served on the defendant. In other counties, the court clerk will give you the papers, and you will have to take the papers to the sheriff’s office.

The sheriff’s office will prepare a “Sheriff’s Return of Service,” stating when and how the defendant was served, or that the sheriff was not able to deliver the papers. Some sheriff’s offices will file the return with the court clerk, others will give you the return to file with the court clerk.

c. Private Process Server

You can ask a private process server to serve process on the defendant. You can find them in the phone book. You will have to pay a fee, and you will have to provide information on where the defendant can be found. If you don’t know where the defendant can be found, some process servers offer investigative services. The process server will charge more to find the defendant for you.

The court clerk will give you the papers to be served on the defendant, and you will have to take them to the process server. Once the process server has delivered the papers to the defendant, the process server will prepare an “Affidavit of Service” stating when and how the defendant was served. If the process server was not able to deliver the papers, the affidavit will say so.

Some process servers will file the affidavit with the court clerk, some will give it to you to file. Service of process is not complete until the affidavit, stating when and how the defendant was served, is filed with the court clerk.

d. Any Person Not a Party and Over 18

You can ask any person who is at least 18 years old and not a party to your case to serve process on the defendant. You can get an Affidavit of Service from the court clerk. The server will complete the Affidavit after serving the defendant. You will have to file the completed Affidavit of Service with the court clerk.

Does anyone have any advice on which method is the best?

Small-Claims Court Experience?

Dear Internet,

Do you have experience taking a realtor to small claims court?  I need to do this to get my deposit back on my previous rental house.  If you can help in any way, please email me at jedihawk at yahoo.com.

Thanks in advance.

Simple Mobile doesn’t want my business

I make jokes with my friends all the time about how businesses don’t want my money.  When I go into a store and they don’t have what I want, I say to my friend, “They obviously don’t want my money.”

And my friends nods and replies, “They clearly don’t want your money.”  This happens a lot.

With Simple Mobile, they clearly don’t want my money.  Why?  Because they turned off my cell service.

“No problem,” I say to myself, “I’ll just ‘re-up’.”  So I call their customer service line (the only number that works on my phone).  I get an automated system which asks for info that I don’t have, such as my “Simple Mobile PIN.”  I’ve never had one, nor set one.  So I hang up and try to get a human on the line, but that doesn’t work either.  It seems like they don’t want my money.

“No problem,” I again say to myself, “I’ll just ‘re-up’ online.”  So I go to the Simple Mobile website and try to log in.  “We don’t know you, man.” they reply.

“Say what?” I ask myself.  I try two different usernames, including my email address, but nothing doing.  So I say to myself, “Self, you’ll have to re-set your password.”  So I click the re-set password link and enter my email address.

“Sorry Hawk, we don’t know you, man.” the website replies.

“Say what now?” I ask myself.  My username doesn’t work, and my email address doesn’t work?  Then I see a link to use my phone number.  “Hey now, that should work!” I say to myself.

So I click the link, enter my phone number, and the website responds, “We don’t know you.  Man.”

To summarize:

  • My username doesn’t work on the Simple Mobile website.
  • My email address doesn’t work on the Simple Mobile website.
  • And my phone number doesn’t work on the Simple Mobile website!

I say to myself, “Self, it’s clear Simple Mobile doesn’t want your money.”  And I wholeheartedly agree.

Boost Mobile logoThe next day I walk down to my local phone guy.  This guy, David, has helped me out with DSL service at home, as well as cell service.  I explain how Simple Mobile doesn’t want my money and he sets me with up with a new service, new phone, and life is once again wonderful.  I got a Samsung Galaxy S III (which is a wonderful device) and a service with Boost Mobile with unlimited everything for $35 / month.  That’s a promotion price, but no contract (yay!).  After my experience with AT&T and their contracts, I’ll never go on another cell-service contract again.  After 6 months, it goes up to $50 / month.  For unlimited everything, including 4G LTE service, that’s still a good price.

So it seems Simple Mobile doesn’t want my money, and Boost Mobile does.  Boost Mobile wins and gets my money.

UPDATE: Simple Mobile still had my account in the auto-billing system because they auto-charged my card $41.68 yesterday.  Now I’ll have to call ‘em up and try to get a refund.  Such a hassle.

My new Samsung Galaxy S III with Boost Mobile

My new Samsung Galaxy S III with Boost Mobile

Gun Rights vs. Gun Control

gun rights vs. gun control

U.S. Bank doesn’t want my business

U.S. Bank does not want my business.

U.S. Bank does not want my business.

I recently got a letter from U.S. Bank saying they don’t want my business.  They did not specify a reason.  Click the image for a full-res readable version.

Obviously, I do not understand what’s going on here, but this is not the first time.  I tried to set up an account with NetBank some time ago and they returned my deposit almost instantly saying, “We don’t want your business.”  When I called up to ask why, they would not tell me.  I still don’t know why.

<shrug>?

Last month, the manager of my local U.S. Bank branch called me up and grilled me for about a half hour on every aspect of my life.  She asked me questions like, “What are all these wire transfers about?”  “Where did they come from?”  “Why are you transferring money into four different savings accounts?”  “What are you spending your money on?”  “Do you have an account with any other banks?”  “I see you withdrew some cash here on this date, what did you use that for?” “I see you have labels on your savings accounts such as ‘car’, what do these labels mean?”

Has this happened to anyone else?

Video Game High School Season 3 (the FINAL SEASON!) (maybe)

I’m a backer, and have been ever since the first season.  Actually, I missed out on backing the first season, but I backed the second and, most recently, the third!  Check it out here:

http://igg.me/at/vghs

Point thy browser to the above link and pledge.

So much fun!  Can’t waiittt!!!

http://www.rocketjump.com/category/vghs

vghs_featured_600x256

Black YouTube

I got tired of squinting against the annoying glare of YouTube’s glaringly bright white background.  This is how it looks to me now:

Black YouTube

And here’s how the video-player page looks like:

Black Youtube video player page

Pure awesomeness!!!

How to make YouTube black:

1) Install a Firefox plugin called StylishWatch a video on how it works.  Be sure to click on the “Restart now” link/button in Firefox after it’s installed.

2) After Firefox has restarted, install Black Youtube by Panos on userstyles.org.  You won’t need to restart Firefox after installing any styles.

3) Visit Youtube and bask in the black awesomeness!

4) OPTIONAL: Open up a new tab and go to: http://userstyles.org/  Browse around.  They’ve got alternate styles for lots of sites.

Virtru

Virtru.comI still remember the good ol’ days of trying to use GPG over email… trying to get my Dad to install a GPG plugin into Thunderbird… trying to get his own public/private key pair generated… trying to import my own public key into his keyring… trying to get a message encrypted and/or decrypted one way or the other… and in the end, it was just unworkable.

Now we’ve got Virtru!  It’s a browser plugin.  It encrypts/decrypts right in your browser and works with popular web-based email services such as Gmail.  I use it with gmail.  Once you install it, all ya gotta do is compose a new message and click the “Activate” button.  That’s it!  Try it:

http://www.virtru.com

Excellent Video on Gun Control

Check out this excellent video on gun control:

Found it here:
http://www.ignatius-piazza-front-sight.com/2014/01/07/2nd-front-sight-blog-new-year-josie-outlaw-says-best/

Obamacare: No, I will not comply

No Obamacare

No Obamacare

http://www.theorganicprepper.ca/bring-it-on-i-will-not-comply-with-obamacare-10062013

https://www.facebook.com/pages/We-Will-Not-Comply-with-Obamacare/701584733203283

Daisy Luther is a freelance writer and editor.  Her website, The Organic Prepper, offers information on healthy prepping, including premium nutritional choices, general wellness and non-tech solutions. You can follow Daisy on Facebook and Twitter, and you can email her at daisy@theorganicprepper.ca

Dear Government,

Dear Government,

Thank you for shutting down.  Now I won’t have to pay taxes.

CenturyLink DSL service

new_dsls_2013-09_600x450

Centurylink DSL connection 50Mbps/20Mbps

I’ve got two new DSLs from CentryLink, and they ROCK!  Both of them are 40Mbps down / 20Mbps up (even though the modem reports 50Mbps down).

Our first DSL consisted of a wire poking through the hole in the wall, just like that black coax cable line in the picture.  BTW, I cancelled our CableOne internet line as it was not as fast as our new DSLs, plus CableOne doesn’t want our money (they wouldn’t allow more than one line per house).  I would think that a company would want my money, but CableOne doesn’t.  Plus, they advertise that their cable internet service is 10x faster than DSL when it’s actually slower.

For the 2nd DSL, the field technician installed that three-jack box in the picture, top-left.  Click the pic for a larger resolution.  The top jack was our original DSL line, running at around 40Mbps down / 5Mbps up.

For the 3rd DSL, the field technician just had to hook up the jack and we were in business.  After that, I cancelled the 1st DSL line, as it was the slowest.  But at one point, we had FOUR hi-speed internet lines coming into our house.  Now we just have the two DSL (green wires), one for me and one for my roomies.

The line is so fast that I can’t really max it out.  Every speedtest that I run doesn’t go near the line’s max.  Running two speedtests at the same time using different computers on the same line gets near the line’s max.  It’s so fast that I can upload to my hosted server faster than it can receive.  I love modern technology!

Centurylink speed test 40Mbps/20Mbps

Trip back to L.A.

Recently I took a trip back to L.A. for business.  Is it how I remember?  Yes.  Does it still suck?  Yes.

la_sucks_1

Why does it suck?  Where to begin…  The general hostility, the marijuana, the heat & humidity, the traffic…

… the people who want you to pay for everything they want…

My friend whipped up some population numbers for me.  Check it out:

In Metro L.A., which is L.A. County and Orange County, about 4,850 sq mi, 13 million people, or about 2,645 people / sq mi.

In Boise Metro, 11,388 sq mi, 600,000 people, or about 52 people / sq mi.

Oh yes, I’m so glad to be back home in Idaho.

Game Machine Back Online

game_machien_back_online_idaho

Pictures don’t do it justice.

Great Edwards Theater Nearby

All state-of-the-art digital projectors, all comfy stadium seating… all good!

edwards_spectrum_14_1 edwards_spectrum_14_2 edwards_spectrum_14_3

Idaho Geek Cave Nearly Complete

My new Idaho Geek Cave is nearly complete!  Check it out:

geek_cave_2013_01

geek_cave_2013_02

All I need to do now is get my game machine running again.

Battery Backup

I’m using a TrippLite SmartPro NET 2200 connected to four large deep-cycle external 12V batteries wired up to be one big 24V battery:

battery_backup

There are two batteries in one shelving unit, and two in the other. Each 12V pair is wired in series to be 24V (because the TrippLite 2200 is a 24V system), and then both of those pairs are wired parellel to be one double-gigantic 24V battery. I drilled half-inch holes in the plastic side of the UPS unit (UPS = Uninterruptable Power Supply) and fed the cables to the internal connectors.

Obviously, the original batteries are not in there. I haven’t used the originals since they stopped taking a charge way back in… many years ago. This TrippLite UPS unit was designed to power a heavy load for a short time. But I’m using it to power a light load for a long time. I haven’t tested to see how long it will run my workstation, but I’m guessing many, many hours. Possibly days.

When I save up the money to replace the batteries, I’ll run a load test and time it to see how long it’ll go.

Ducks

Sometimes we get ducks in the front yard.

ducks_front_yard

Sometimes we get them in the back yard as well. These two are a couple, I always see them together.

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