Register! It only costs…

Written by rob on July 6, 2006 – 7:12 pm -

Well, if you haven’t noticed (you may want to make an appointment with your eye doctor if you didn’t notice), I changed the theme of the blog. I feel that it is a good summer-y theme (also pirate-y! in celeberation of Pirates of the Carribean 2, which I’m seeing tonight, by the way), with the whole sand background and such. Regardless, the new theme means some changes, aside from the obvious visual changes. The comments section of every post now looks pretty terrible, with all of those brown stars. Well, those brown stars happen to be the default avatar for this theme. And, considering none of us have avatars, we all have the default. So it naturally looks pretty ugly.

UPDATE (07-07-06): I have since un-ugly-ified the comments section by manually removing the default avatar and generally cleaning it up. I love this theme, but that section was poorly done. That’s probably why it couldn’t win the WordPress Theme Contest. ANYWAY, I still would like people to get avatars, just because it is so much cooler when you have a picture represent you. Don’t you agree?

So what am I going to do about this ugliness? Simple! I am going to make you pay to change it. All you have to do is Register for this blog (click here to do that). It only costs…

It’s actually free. So, what are you waiting for? Register, then make yourself or find yourself a cool avatar. Then start posting comments so the comments sections can be populated with cool avatars. See the logic? Good. So register and then be happy when stuff becomes un-ugly.


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Photoshop for the Web

Written by rob on June 28, 2006 – 2:25 pm -

I saw this thing called cellsea Photo Editor on digg. It is a web application that behaves similarly to Photoshop. You can’t do anything serious like work with layers or combine pictures, but you can do a lot of useful things to photographs. For example, you can crop, resize, sharpen, blur, etc. There are also a huge amount of effects and distortions. It can also save in a variety of formats. This would be very useful if you either don’t have Photoshop or are on the road on a computer without Photoshop installed.

For anyone’s basic needs, this thing is quite good. I just did a quick test to crop, blur, and add a little sparkle effect to one of my wallpapers, and it worked well. I then saved it out as a PNG, one of the five or six formats it supports. This is highly recommended especially to those of your who use Printscreen + MS Paint to make screenshots of things. With this, you can take the BMP file produced from Paint and save it as a JPEG that everyone can enjoy. Check it out by clicking the “read more” link below! (I posted this story from Digg using their new Digg v3 features. Very nice!)

read more | digg story


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My New Computer

Written by rob on June 25, 2006 – 11:14 am -

My new computer has been running for about a week now. However, it is currently actually slower than my old computer. You see, I had to temporarily get 1GB of Kingston ValueRAM to get the thing working while I wait to get refunded on my original RAM purchase. In my old computer, I had 1.5GB of RAM so that is what I am used to. Also, my old system had a 3.06ghz Pentium 4 while the new one has a 2.66 ghz Pentium D. You’re probably wondering why I choose to backstep. Well, it is all temporary. Once I get a refund on my old RAM, I’m going to get 2GB of low latency Mushkin memory. After I have that, I will be able to do what I built this thing for: overclock. I expect to break 3.6ghz easily, and hope to get over 4ghz. I’m pretty sure my RAM, CPU, and PSU can all handle 4ghz, but the motherboard is what I’m worried about. Its previous version (I have the AW8D, I’m talking about the AW8) capped the OCability for 533mhz processors, which is what I have. I hope I don’t run into that, but it may be very possible.

Anyway, without further ado, click here to get to my photo gallery of the system. I probably should have did it in my Coppermine gallery, but I didn’t really feel like it, so I used a nice program aptly called Web Album Generator. It worked very nicely, I think, and has a lot of cool built-in templates, or you can make your own.

UPDATE (07-07-06): Web Album Generator was nice while it lasted. It is good for making and album and posting it. Unfortunately, if you only want to add one more picture in, you have to re-generate the whole thing and then re-upload the whole thing. Not cool. So, I moved over all the pictures and descriptions to the Coppermine Photo Gallery. The new link to access it is here. The Coppermine interface is kind of tedious, but it worked surprisingly well (I used the Batch Add feature which rids the need to re-upload the files). I just wish I would have done the gallery in this from the beginning. The main reason I switched was because I need to add another picture of the fan brackets I setup to cool the PWM1.

Expect me to brag about how cool my computer is once I get it overclocked. At that point, I know it will smoke my old system in terms of general speed. It already kills it in games thanks to my new 7900GT video card. I can play Oblivion easily on 1280×960 with AA and AF turned on, and the max settings!

UPDATE (06-30-06): I edited the photo gallery to include my new Mushkin RAM, plus final pics of the inside of the case. And so the overclocking begins.


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Photo Gallery

Written by rob on June 11, 2006 – 6:53 pm -

I added a Coppermine Photo Gallery to the site. It is accessible at eatyourexam.com/photos. Currently, I have one album up, and it is my cars from Gran Turismo 4. I used the Photo Travel feature in the game to pose and snap pictures of my cars with cool backdrops. Check that out here.

Once I get my new motherboard, and I get my computer up and running, this site is going to shift back into focus for me, especially after school is over.

One of the articles that will be up within two weeks is going to be a detailed look at Open-WRT, the custom firmware that you can flash to many Broadcom-based routers. I have an Asus WL500g router that is supported, so I plan on going nuts with it. The project is pretty limitless, so expect a lot of cool things to be discussed. One thing I am going to focus on is turning it into the ultimate war driving companion. It can act as a wireless client, and given its Linux foundation, can run tools such as aircrack to crack WEP keys of protected wireless hot spots.

Some time over the summer I’m going to launch a series of articles detailing Linux, from the basics (what is it? where do I get it? etc.) to some rather complex things like building your own programs from source, as customizing the Linux kernel itself. I promise it will be fun 😉

Until then, I’m pretty much just using my iBook for internet surfing and school projects, and playing PS2 in my spare time. Not having a main computer is quite boring… I’m learning all the things I take for granted. For example, you’d be surprised how much easier (and faster) converting an AVI to DVD is on Windows at 3ghz than on a Mac with 700mhz… especially considering my Mac doesn’t have a DVD burner. But once I get my main system up and running, it is going to be crazy. I might even run an article about how awesome it is. At the very least, expect a photo album to be added to the Coppermine with pics of the process from start to completion.


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Computer Troubles

Written by rob on May 30, 2006 – 9:58 pm -

I am currently in the process of building a new computer. The process, however, has been replete with many issues. From the second I started, things were not right. Once I finally finished building it and went to turn it on, the computer shut off almost immediately after turning on. I eventually sort of fixed that, and the computer remained on; however, nothing appeared on the monitor. A lot of troubleshooting and hours later, I replaced the power supply. That seemed to be the root of most of the issues, as the computer now went on with no fiddling and stayed on. Also, the motherboard logo displayed on the screen, so I got excited.

However, the motherboard logo that is now embedded into my dreams is about all the computer does. Once it shows that, it just freezes there and does nothing more. And that is the current status. I have messed with almost every component, but to no avail. It is seriously looking like a bad motherboard. Having a bad Power supply and bad motherboard in the same order, especially from a reputable company (NewEgg.com), is rare. In fact, it is just plain bad luck to get two bad components. I am currently waiting for a response from their tech support for RMA info.  They are supposed to have good support, but its been three days without a response (I guess I won’t be hard on them… it was a holiday weekend). I just hope there aren’t ridiculous restocking fees or shipping charges…

Yeah, well that is the reason why I haven’t posted anything new on the site lately. I really have a couple things planned, but right now I’m just focusing on getting my new computer up and running.


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Thank You Bluehost

Written by rob on April 26, 2006 – 3:55 pm -

I believe I mentioned this in my first post onto this blog, but I use Bluehost.com as my hosting provider. They provided me with my domain name, as well as the exorbitant amount of space and bandwidth. Well, they are working their magic and providing even more to their users, free of charge. The newly upgraded version has 15GB (up from 10GB) of storage space, and – this is the real biggie – 450GB of bandwidth per month! That is an absolutely insane amount, and I can’t imagine ever using that. But at least now I can rest assured that I will never run out, even if the site continues to grow. I just wanted to take the time to publicly thank Bluehost for the 100% uptime ( *knock on wood* ) in these past months, and the continual improvement of their offered services.


Posted in General Stuff | 3 Comments »

Useful Tips From Japan

Written by rob on April 22, 2006 – 10:57 pm -

It is no secret: Japanese people are highly intelligent by nature. Well, it seems that their secrets are also no longer a secret, thanks to YouTube.com. There are a variety of “How to” videos, straight from Japan, that introduce practical solutions to every day issues. Some of them are downright ingenious and can save you much time. Here are three of the coolest ones:

You can access a list of all of these cool, helpful videos by clicking here.


Posted in General Stuff | 3 Comments »

Spam Explosion!

Written by rob on April 11, 2006 – 9:27 am -

Almost every blog out there today suffered a huge spam explosion, including this one. You may or may not have noticed it, but the ‘comment spam’ (spam left in the comments section of posts) was quite explicit. I managed to delete all 100+ messages, but that is only a temporary solution. Therefore, I am now requiring approval for every comment user. So, if you go to post a comment now, I will have to approve it. However, after I approve one comment all subsequent comments under the same name won’t need to be reapproved. This should keep the spammers at bay temporarily, while I tweak the filters.


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April Fool’s

Written by rob on April 2, 2006 – 10:06 am -

Just so everyone knows, the previous entry (Sony Cancels PS3!) was just an April Fool’s joke. I thought it was pretty obvious, but I guess if you don’t have Firefox then the pop-up window I did in Javascript would look pretty real (Firefox adds the site URL it came from, which would say http://eatyourexam.com before the title of the window. This is to prevent people who actually spoof for bad purposes, like Paypal phishers). Regardless, I just wanted to clear that up so no one actually goes on with life thinking that the PS3 is no more. (especially all you XBOX fan boys)


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Top Ten TV Shows

Written by rob on March 17, 2006 – 4:25 pm -

The following are my Top Ten TV shows. I briefly explained from of the lesser known ones, and took the descriptions of the popular ones from IMDB.

  1. The 4400 – The story of 4400 seemingly random earthlings that were abducted by ‘aliens’ (who really turn out to just be humans from the future) in the last 80 years. All of the sudden, they reappear but possess extraordinary abilities. Some are more useful than others, but all are part of a bigger plan to save the future Earth from destruction.
  2. Firefly – Malcolm Reynolds is captain of the Firefly-class ship called Serenity, that houses an unlikely group of outcasts and fugitives. This series takes a unique perspective on the future human-inhabited galaxy: a combination of old-west lawlessness in the ‘outer rim planets’, with the futuristic technology of the ‘core planets’. The crew of Serenity will do anything to gather enough money to eat, and they get into a lot of trouble along the way.
  3. Kindred: The Embraced – Julian Luna, vampire Prince of a modern city, lets the love of a human get in his way of administering The Masquerade between vampire clans. Whether the Brujah are smashing skulls, or the Toreador are passionately plotting their ascent to fame, vampires tend to cause trouble in the city. It is the Prince’s job to set everything right. Based on the Vampire: The Masquerade tabletop RPG, this series combined masterful story-telling with dynamic characters… and it has vampires! What more could you want?
  4. Prisonbreak – From IMDB: “Lincoln Burrows is on death row for the murder of the vice president’s brother. He insists he’s innocent and only his brother Michael Scofield believes him. An engineer who helped design the prison where Lincoln is being held Michael takes drastic measures to help his brother. He gets himself arrested and sent to the same prison so that with his knowledge of the building the two of them can escape together. However while inside Michael discovers a massive conspiracy that is determined to see Lincoln’s sentence carried out. Breaking out will be more difficult than he thought, but he’s still going to try.”
  5. The Sopranos – From IMDB: “An innovative look at the life of fictional Mafia Capo Tony Soprano, this serial is presented largely first person, but additional perspective is conveyed by the intimate conversations Tony has with his psychotherapist. We see Tony at work, at home, and in therapy. Moments of black comedy intersperse this aggressive, adult drama, with adult language, and extreme violence.”
  6. 24 – From IMDB: “Season 5: 18 Months have passed since Jack Bauer stole away across the train tracks after faking his own death. He’s now living a quiet life in Bakersfield California, with a new love interest and her teenage son. But when a terrorist sniper’s bullet kills one of his dearest friends, Jack Bauer cocks his gun and heads back to Los Angeles, and another day of work as America’s most dangerous counter-terrorist agent.”
  7. CSI New York – All of the CSI shows feature a group of talented forensic scientists solving crimes with the latest technology and very complex problem-solving. Attention to detail is everything in the forensic business. Out of all three shows, which I all enjoy, CSI New York provides the best inter-character relationships and stories.
  8. Lost – From IMDB: “A horrific plane crash leaves 48 passengers alive, and stranded on a remote island in the South Pacific. The survivors include doctor Jack, now freed prisoner Kate, one hit wonder rock star Charlie, Iraqi military vet Sayid, and a mysterious man named Locke. For a while their goal is simple survival, but they soon realize that it was far more than mere chance that brought them together, and each of them has a purpose that will help them unlock the island’s secrets.”
  9. Battlestar Galactica (2004) – From Wikipedia: “Battlestar Galactica follows on from the 2003 mini-series to chronicle the journey of the last surviving humans from the Twelve Colonies of Man after their annihilation by the Cylons. The survivors are led by President Laura Roslin and Admiral William Adama (previously a Commander) in a ragtag fleet of ships with the Battlestar Galactica, a massive warship, at its lead. Pursued by the Cylons who are intent on wiping out the remnants of the human race, the survivors travel across the galaxy looking for the fabled and long-lost Thirteenth colony — Earth.”
  10. The OC – From IMDB: “Ensemble drama revolving around the young adult community of the Orange County area. A street-smart teen (Ryan Atwood) winds up in the high-class society of Newport Beach, sparking something of an edgier take on the Melrose Place-esque premise.”

These are in order, as opposed to the video game list. Simply put, The 4400 is the best show ever to be on television. What started out as one of the coolest miniseries’s ever ended with a perplexing bang. I found myself immersed in woe until I heard that it was being turned into a series. The first season of the series was just as good as the miniseries, but much deeper, as it further explored the unknown superpowers of the 4400 returnees. It is without a doubt the greatest form of entertainment ever to grace a television’s screen.


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