Dec
28
2008
0

Sigh…

In continuing to recover from my unlucky week in Mammoth, I went to the Apple Store to find out how much it would cost to fix my cracked iPodTouch screen.  I setup an appointment at the Old Town Pasadena Apple Store.

I met with the Apple Genius James, and he looked at my iPod for a few seconds.  He then proceeded to type a few things into the store computer.  He then looked up at me and said, “We can fix the screen, but it’s going to cost about $220”  I thought about it for a few seconds before declining.  He mentioned that there may be some non-Apple dealers online who would fix the screen for less.

After looking around the internet, it doesn’t seem like it will be possible to fix it for much less than $200.  The screen itself costs $150 from Apple, and that doesn’t include labor, warranty, etc.

So, my choice is to pay $200+ for a fixed screen.  I’m leaning towards buying a new one.  A brand new 16G iPodTouch is $299.  The new iPodTouches have a faster processor, a brand new battery and a speaker.  Plus, the Macworld Expo is next week.  Maybe Apple will add a full Bluetooth stack to the iPodTouch.  Maybe they’ll release a 64GB version and lower the cost of the 32GB version.  Now that I have my iPodNano, I’m not in a hurry to buy something new!

Written by Dan Smith in: Computers,Hardware | Tags: ,
Dec
28
2008
0

Christmas celebration!

I hope that everyone had a very Merry Christmas!  I certainly did!  My brother Dave picked me up at my house at around 12:30PM on the 24th of December.  We braved a bit a traffic on our way to our parents house in La Crescenta.

We arrived after Sally & Roger did, so Dave & I needed to take a few breaks before secretly wrapping our gifts without the little girls finding out what they have received!

We enjoyed a tasty dinner of burritos and tamales, but not before stuffing ourselves full of cookies 🙂  After dinner, we unwrapped presents.  Leila made me an aluminum robot.  It’s pretty cool.  I’ve placed it in my room.  We had a standard gift exchange, and Jenny‘s boyfriend, Gavin, bought me an iTunes gift card, which is always very useful!

We also had a joke-gift white elephant exchange.  I scored with a handheld 100 vs one electronic handheld game.  The best present was brought by Sally, and it was a football which held snacks.  Each time the football was opened, it played an NFL-themed song.  Leila was happiest with her gift of a 5 pound chocolate Easter Bunny.  She wouldn’t let anyone get near it.  Keana was able to open up more presents than anyone else!

I bought a few books for Keana and Leila, and I also bought them some Remote Controlled Helicopters.  I thought that they would really like them, but they both weren’t too excited about that gift when they opened them.  Sally was amazed, and she was pretty stoked, so hopefully they enjoy those presents!

On Christmas Morning I woke up and opened up our stockings.  We were given the standard stuff (toothpaste, shampoo, etc).  I also found out my parents gave me some new lock cores for my Yakima rack, and some random binoculars.  (4×30)

Later, we opened presents.  My parents also bought me an iPod Nano (to give me something to ski/run with) and a really cool Coleman Fishing Pen.  My brother also bought me an iPod Nano (4G), but I took it back to Fry’s and bought an Airport Extreme Base Station instead.

I bought Dave some Tahitian beer and a bottle of Scotch.  Dave & I pooled our money together to get some ceiling speakers for my parents.  They weren’t really sure what they wanted, so we owe them a rain-check.

Needless to say, I’m lucky to have a great family!

Written by Dan Smith in: Family,Personal |
Dec
21
2008
2

Alaska Airlines Flight 2199

As my loyal readers know, I had a minor car crash while in Mammoth Lakes last week.  My car suffered some body damage, and a broken tie-rod.  My car was taken to Mammoth Collision Repair, where they were going to fix the broken tie ride, and fix the body enough for me to drive my Escape home.  However, due to stormy weather, they were unable to fix the car.

So, since I need to get back home so that I could be at work on Monday, I needed to find a way home.  I first looked into renting a car from Enterprise in Mammoth.  They charged $60/day to rent a car, but they tacked on an additional fee of $200 if I didn’t return it to the Mammoth Lakes Enterprise Location.  So, it would have cost me $260 plus gas to rent a car to drive home.

The big news in the town of Mammoth Lakes last week was the fact that Horizon Air had just started air service into the Mammoth Yosemite Airport (MMH) I was curious what it would cost to fly home to San Diego.  After logging onto Alaska Airline’s website, I discovered that I could fly from Mammoth to Los Angeles to San Diego for $182 (including all fees and taxes).  On Friday Night, I purchased my plane ticket for a Saturday trip home.

I arrived at the new airport terminal around 3:20PM for the scheduled 4:05PM departure.  However, the plane still had yet to arrive from LA.  (It was scheduled to land around 3:15PM).  When I checked in my bags, I found out that the flight left LAX at 3:25PM, and my flight likely wouldn’t leave until around 5PM.  The delay wasn’t a big deal, except for the fact that the Mammoth Airport Terminal is kinda bare.  There was not Wi-Fi (though, I’m told that there are plans for it to exist), no bar or TVs to keep waiting passengers entertained.

The airport security opened the secure terminal at around 3:45PM, and I was the first one it.  Inside, the boredom continued.  There were a few vending machines, a single male/female restroom and lots of seats.  I started talking to one person, who worked for Good Morning America as a travel correspondent.  Essentially, he was based out of Seattle, but traveled around the USA capturing pretty pictures of travel destinations.  His piece on Mammoth (and other winter destinations) is scheduled to air on Jan. 10, 2009.

The Q400 from LAX landed in Mammoth at about 4:15PM, and the airport crew quickly went to work unloading all of the passengers and baggage.  About 30 minutes later, everybody traveling to LAX had boarded the plane, and we were ready to depart.

Once boarded, I saw that the flight wasn’t very full.  I’d guess that there were 30 passengers on the plane.  (I think that it holds 78 people).  We took off without issue, and the plane soared into a gorgeous sunset.  We headed south over Bishop, flew over the high peaks in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, across the central valley, over LA and into LAX.  The total flight time was about 55 minutes or so.  The flight didn’t include any food, but apparently all Horizon Airlines flights alcoholic beverages are included in the ticket price.  They featured Snow Cap Beer from Pyramid (which I don’t really like), so I enjoyed a nice glass of Red Wine on my way back.

The plane arrived at LAX without incident, and I had to hustle to grab a shuttle bus to the American Eagle Terminal for my flight to San Diego.  Nothing too exciting happened on that final flight, but my bag wasn’t quite quick enough to make the connection.  It was delivered to my house this morning.

Overall, the flight was enjoyable from Mammoth to LA.  It’s much quicker than driving, cheaper than renting a car one-way and serves free beverages.  However, I can see some problems.  First, the Mammoth Airport Terminal is really boring.  Hopefully they spruce things up for travelers stuck there because of poor weather conditions.  Secondly, only one bag is allowed “for free” from Horizon.  If you want to bring a bag of clothing, and a ski bag, be prepared to pony up an extra $25 (or more).  Thirdly, living in San Diego, it would be really nice for a non-stop for San Diego to Mammoth for only $99!

Written by Dan Smith in: Uncategorized |
Dec
14
2008
1

Mammoth Trip Blues…

I’ve been in Mammoth since Friday afternoon.  Everything seems to be going wrong on this trip.  First, on Saturday, I hit an ice patch with my car, and steered into a light pole.  Nobody was hurt, but the car is currently sitting in a parking lot waiting for me to find someone to fix it.

Because it’s Sunday, and no place is open, I decided to go skiing today to enjoy a nice day.  It’s been snowing, and there has been snow the last few days!  This afternoon, skiing through the trees on chair 12, I fell and lost one of my ski poles!  Rachel has promised to try and find me a loaner pair for the rest of my week here.

Finally, when I got home today, I discovered that I had cracked the glass on my iPodTouch display today.  It must have happened when I fell at some point.

Ahh…what else can go wrong!  (Note:  I know that these are all small things, but it certainly is frustrating!)

Written by Dan Smith in: Uncategorized |
Dec
09
2008
0

Getting Tested…

Hmmm….the past several days I’ve noticed a bot-net “visiting” my server.  It started off with lots of SSH login attempts, and now they’ve been attempting to log into my mailserver!  The logs are quite crazy.  Lots and lots of different usernames attempt to log in, all in alphabetical order, and all from different IP addresses.  I assume I must be on a list…

I’ve spent some time removing people’s logins who don’t use my server anymore, and I made sure everybody who does log in gets a new password.

I didn’t think that was too bad…until I noticed that the bots were now attempting to log into my mailserver.  I’ve installed fail2ban.  Hopefully this blocks some IPs and slows down this attack.

Written by Dan Smith in: Uncategorized |
Dec
06
2008
0

Strong Ale Fest

I’m sitting here at the train station in Sorrento Valley waiting for the Coaster to take me up to the Strong Ale Festival at Pizza Port in Carlsbad.

This year they are featuring 75 beers that have at least 8% alcohol to celebrate 75 years since the end of prohibition. Not to mention that I’l get some tasty pizza, too =-)

So far, I know I will be joined by Bryan and Elissa, with Ash joining us later in the day. Tracy is too sick to attend this year’s event.

A review of some of my favorites is likely to follow.

Written by Dan Smith in: Beer | Tags: ,
Dec
04
2008
0

Ahhhh….

Phew…I’m really getting tired of my job.  Constant 10+ hour days, lots of stress, and very few people that actually care about our project.  I think that next week will be busy, but the rest of December should be easier.  (Granted, it’s not going to hurt that I’ll be up in Mammoth from Dec. 11 to the 18th!)

However, Janurary is going to be miserable.  Must…survive…until…Feb…

Written by Dan Smith in: Work | Tags:
Dec
04
2008
0

Big Lebowski…

I love reading articles on the Big Lebowski.  Someday, I too will attend a Lebowski Fest!

Written by Dan Smith in: Personal | Tags: ,

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