Things We Can Live Without

Video Games ruined my life. Good thing I have two extra lives.

We have a tendency to over-exaggerate what will make us either happy or sad. That gadget, clothing, car, etc. probably will not turn the world into a Utopia. So I found this Profhacker post, “Things We Can Live Without” interesting.

I don’t mean annoying things we could do without, like complaints about grades or being stuck in traffic. I mean things that we thought we couldn’t live without but which it turns out we can. I mean things that held such great promise for happiness, completion, or freedom but which turn out to be useless, disappointing, or even enslaving.

Here is my list:

  1. Hybrid car – I rationalized at the time the battery life cycle was not well defined enough for me that going hybrid was that much better. My car gets pretty good miles per gallon. Enough so that with the same size tank of gasoline it can get from here to my hometown and back 1/3rd of the trip where I was used to having to fill up when I got home to even go visit a friend. However, I don’t care about the mpg as much as I thought I would while deciding on the purchase.
  2. iPod – Almost a year ago I bricked the Windows install on my home laptop and went Linux. My iTunes associated with the iPod was on that old Windows install. The hard drive still worked, so I tried moving the library to another Windows computer. Unfortunately the paths were different and Windows is not as good as Unix at symbolic links. I was still missing the only thing that mattered to me: ratings and play counts. So I tried to download the ratings off my iPod and fix it. That bricked the iPod. Rather than go out and buy another iPod, I made MP3 CDs to use in the car.
  3. eBook Reader – It seems so sexy to have my entire library on a tiny device. The reality is I have about 100 paper books to finish (growing faster than I read them) before I can consider switching over to another medium. Until all the bookstores switch to digital and prevent me from buying paper, the odds are low I’ll switch.
  4. Video game console – I used to play more video games than I watched television. However, for the past 4 years I have not had a console hooked up. (For a couple weeks in March-April 2006 I did have my Nintendo 64 hooked up, but I did not have cable or Internet at the time.) Ultimately, I no longer play as much as I used to play as the Internet, socializing, work, Netflix, and even television sap too much of my time.
  5. Home phone – When a company “had” to have my phone number they got my parents’ number even after I moved out on my own. Then I moved to another city. So I got my own home number thinking this is what I needed to interact with companies. Certainly I wanted to keep my cell phone pure and not get a dozen useless calls a week. Then along came Google Voice (especially the call screening specific numbers feature) to make it so much easier to appropriately handle corporations and political candidates who cannot email relevant information.

The list of things I probably should live without or at least reduce usage despite feeling obligated to do them. Thing is…. Will I?

  1. Television and movies
  2. Facebook, especially apps and memes
  3. Restaurant eating
  4. Eating meat
  5. Time spent online

Cheesy Gift of the Year

What is the cheesiest gift someone could possibly give you this year for Christmas? I’ve been reading quite a bit about what people want for Christmas. I’m curious about those gifts you would hate to get but others would think you would like.

Guess I’ll start.

People surely know I shop on ThinkGeek. They might think I would love to have this item below. However, this item seems dumb.

Snowbot OverlordThinkGeek :: The ThinkGeek USB Snowbot:

We welcome our Snowbot Overlords…

Color changing scan, eerie Snowbot sound, articulating arms…a ThinkGeek exclusive…

Last December, as we were settling down for a long winter’s nap, we were visited by two robots from the future! They spoke to us and now it is time to share their message. There’s good news and bad news. The good news is there are tons of really cool robots in the future. The bad news is they are divided into two factions, are waging war against each other, and have “downgraded” humans to pretty much servants and food. We quickly smashed the robots with hammers, and swore to devise a way to save humanity.

Before we destroyed the robots, however, we were able to learn two things. 1. Each army of robots uses a different color scanning light (red or blue); 2. We have no idea which side is in humanity’s best interest to win. So we built the Snowbot – a small, winter-themed beacon…and perhaps our only hope. Powered by a simple USB port, the Snowbot has a scanning light just like the robots from the future. You can change the speed of the scan, turn on/off the scanning noise, and (for future protection) change the scan color (red or blue). So no matter which robot army storms your home or office, a quick flick of a switch and you are rooting for the invader’s color. Hopefully then the robots will just make you a servant and not an appetizer. Good luck and happy holidays.

Guns For Hire – Part 1

Guns For Hire – Part 1
Originally uploaded by cszar.

I found this photo at Flickr really hilarious!

Photographer’s description:

“After the Muppet Show was canceled the main characters had to find other jobs. Dr. Bunsen, Kermit and Ms. Piggy opened their own security firm.”

In case you can’t find the link to my Flickr photos (such as reading this in your Friends page).

300GB Pushbutton Backup External Hard Drive

My new toy. I copied over all my stuff from my work desktop. No, I didn’t get it from I got it from Best Buy of all places for $3 more. I previously had ordered a 300GB drive from NewEgg to put in an enclosure I have, but their ordering stuff didn’t work for me. So I went to Best Buy to get a drive. Thankfully, I found this instead. I like it lots better than the enclosure. – Seagate 300GB 3.5” USB 2.0 FireWire Pushbutton Backup External Hard Drive

Beautifully engineered, inside and out, with state-of-the-art features and work-of-art design, this 300GB 3.5″ USB 2.0/FireWire Pushbutton Backup External Hard Drive is exceptionally durable, conveniently portable and perfectly stackable.This drive will safeguard your valuable data for years to come and its sleek and elegant structure actually dissipates heat, so it runs much cooler than any other external drives. Hot-swappable, so you can connect and disconnect without turning off your computer, you also have the versatility of connecting via USB 2.0 or FireWire.

Xmas Wishlist

I want a laptop. Just wish I could afford one… 🙁

While I am at it, I also want my own house… a kickin home entertainment system… several computer systems (a G4 Mac, a couple different Linux types, a Sun, an SGI, an AIX, plus the facilities to support them all)… and a maid to keep all my crap in order.

Just thought since it is near Christmas and people are thinking about gifts, I’d share my wish list.

The unfortunate thing, is I am likely to spend my money on things that will not make me happy. Well, I’ll be happy for a few hours.


Used Software

Lemme get this straight… one can go to Amazon and buy software used? I am sure there must be a disclaimer that the seller will have uninstalled it, but how can you be sure? It would suck to buy an online shooter, go to play and get denied because your key is already in use.

By the way… I am glad the Xanga admins were able to get the site back up!


Ugh. I am finally reachable, I guess. Have a cell phone with voicemail and all that. Painful initiative I was thinking I should undertake but was also resisting.

The straw was some of our servers went down the night before Thanksgiving due to a power failure. I didn’t know until my boss called to say that my web server was foobarred and being worked on.

So I am unfortunately now “connected”. It was my own decision. My boss didn’t say, “you should get a cell phone.” Just thought it would be a good idea to have some idea if my systems were working or not.