I Walk The Line(s of Latitude and Longitude)

Have you ever wondered where you’d go if you went straight (along lines of latitude or longitude) from where you are? Here’s where I’d get to…singing Johnny Cash the whole way, keeping my eyes wide open all the time.

Places along my line of longitude…

Going North:

  • Berea, KY
  • Dayton, OH
  • Sault Ste. Marie, ONT
  • Polar Bear Provincial Park, ONT
  • But my favorite…Defiance Ohio.

Going South:

  • Thomaston, GA
  • Tallahassee, FL
  • Parque Nacional Peninsula de Gunanahacabibes, Cuba
  • Parrita, Costa Rica

Places along my line of latitude…

Going East:

  • Myrtle Beach, SC
  • Almansouria, Morocco
  • Robbana, Tunisia
  • Beach, Lebanon
  • Baqubah, Iraq
  • Islamabad, Pakistan
  • Hemis National Park, India
  • Duomaxiang, Tibet
  • Pingdingshan, China
  • Matsuyama, Japan

Going West:

  • Grenada, MS
  • Denison, TX
  • Long Beach, CA

Which One Doesn’t Belong?

Found today on Google News…in the same vein as Sesame Street’s “One of these is not like the others” game…enjoy finding the image that’s out of place.


The one time I should have visited a Vegas bookie…

No one will ever believe this…but I picked 10 players to do well in the Masters, and 6 of them finished in the top 10. I was scribbling notes on the Friday before Masters week because I entered a local radio station’s Augusta Challenge, and then had to pick in the early morning on the following Thursday from a resort in Palm Beach without the notes, and also with a format that wouldn’t allow me to pick whomever I wanted.

My pre-tourney scribbled picks:
Tiger, Mickelson, Snedeker, McDowell, Day, Scott, Kuchar, Furyk, Westwood, Van Pelt. All but McDowell made the cut, and of the rest all but Mickelson, Furyk, and Van Pelt were top 10. The only shockers were Phil falling apart, and one hole for Tiger (13 on Friday).

Luckily I can pick them all next year; top 12 get automatic qualification, and I expect the others to be there again. But lightning won’t strike twice…right?

What’s in a name? Back in the 50′s in the USSR, not a lot of variety

Including a few spelling variants, The 1976 Olympic gold medal Soviet ice hockey team had 4 Alexsandrs, 3 Vladimirs, and 2 each of Valeri, Sergei, Boris, & Viktor, & only 3 others without one of those 6 names. I bet tryouts were a lot of fun. Yell “Vlad” or “Vladi” and 5 heads turn…

Too many bowls…

Too many college football bowls. There are 35 this year, I think 10-15 is plenty. My alma mater, the Minnesota Golden Gophers, are likely bowl bound at 6-4 with two games to go (most experts suggest the Meineke Car Care Bowl vs. Iowa State or West Virginia). They may end up 6-6 with a 2-6 conference record and no wins against an FBS team with a winning record. They are currently ranked 53rd in the FBS, and the only team they beat that has a winning record is in the Colonial Athletic Association, not even part of the FBS. They’ve scored more than 17 points just once in 6 Big Ten conference games.

Below are the current win-loss records of the teams that Minnesota has beaten, and that team’s FBS ranking as of Monday, Nov. 12, 2012.

UNLV , 2-9, #113
U. New Hampshire, 8-2, not FBS
Western Michigan, 4-7, #88
Syracuse, 5-5, #58
Purdue, 4-6, #63
Illinois, 2-8, #98

I can’t wait for the university’s Bierman Athletic Building employees to think that a Car Care bowl trophy from this year is an adequate substitute for the empty trophy cases of the Floyd or Rosedale bronze pig (Iowa), Paul Bunyan Axe (Wisconsin), and Little Brown Jug (Michigan), “rivalry” games that they lost by a combined 65 points.

Believe you me, I’m not trying to be a hater, but just calling the shots like I see them. Only teams with .500 conference records should get to represent their university in a bowl game, not major conference doormats that schedule non-conference patsies for home games only. And Minnesota recently backed out of a two-year deal with UNC, currently on probation and down 15 scholarships, and ranked below them in the FBS?

Avoiding Directions – An outsider’s guide to naming your new airline

I just noticed that Southwest will soon be the only remaining major or midsize US air carrier that bears a direction as the primary word in its name.

  1. Eastern Airlines – Dissolved
  2. Western Airlines -Merged, folded into Delta
  3. Midwest Airlines – Merged, folded in Frontier
  4. Northwest Airlines – Merged, folded into Delta
  5. Atlantic Southeast Airlines – Will change its name to SureJet after the merger completes with ExpressJet

One could argue that SkyWest is equal part Sky, equal part West. In this case I conveniently make such an argument. There are a few others listed as certificated with the FAA (Air East, Northeast Airlines, West Air, Southern Air), but I ain’t heard of ‘em.

Why the NHL is the best sport

Should the LA Kings raise the Stanley Cup tomorrow night, they will be the 13th team in the last 20 seasons to do so. Other major sports leagues and the numbers of teams who were champions in the last 20 years:

NFL  – 12
MLB – 12
NBA – 8 (with 11 of the 20 shared by the Lakers (7) and Spurs (4)…go Thunder!

Without parity “sports” are just a parody.

Upgrading a Dell Mini 9 SSD Hard Drive-my step by step experience

With the goal of this post being education and not boasting, I wanted to inform others how to install a larger capacity SSD on a Dell Mini 9 SSD. As I am pretty much a newbie to Ubuntu and Linux, having only installed 10.04 as a dual-boot option using a USB drive on an old XP Pentium 4 eMachines box, I thought I’d share my experience in case it helps others. Oh…and I hate command line.

My Dell Mini 9 came with Ubuntu 8.04, a 4 GB SSD, and 1 GB RAM. It now has a 32 GB SSD. I had already installed a higher 2 GB RAM chip last year, and Ubuntu was having issues as the 4 GB hard drive was maxed out. Since I didn’t have any data to move to the new hard drive, a clean install was in order.

Step 1. Create Ubunto 11.10 .iso on a USB stick. Easy…I just followed directions as posted here (I think…I looked at so many sites I’m having trouble remembering which one I used to actually create the .iso…I used a new 8 GB stick but I think that was way overkill (I think 23 MB is all you need), but that’s what I had laying around.
Step 2. Replace the SSD. I bought one off Amazon.com, a AMP 32GB SaberTooth AA 50mm PATA Mini PCIe SSD Drive for Mini 9 for $79.99 with free shipping. This was fairly easy…though the motherboard screws holding the SSD in place were phillips head (not flat head like the screwdriver inside the box). Although I don’t own a phillips head screwdriver that small, I managed to get one out, and had to drill the other one out (carefully with a 1/16″ drill bit). But one screw holding it in place is enough. There are several videos widely available if you just Google “Replace Dell Mini 9 SSD”
Step 3. Insert the USB drive, hit 0 (zero) on bootup when you see the Dell Logo, and scroll down to the USB bootup option and hit Enter. If you don’t do this you will get a “NTLDR is missing” error message upon booting up.
Step 4. Create partitions. I followed the directions from here , and created a 20 GB / (root) ext4, a 5 GB /home (also ext4), and a 4 GB swap (swap)…double the RAM I have.
Step 5.  Get the wireless working with the right driver. I just continued through the install, and everything worked swimmingly except for the wireless card. I tried the two suggestions here, and while they didn’t seem to work immediately after rebooting, it did come up and works great now. My Dell has a BCD4312 series Broadcom wireless card.

Note: Also make sure to install the restricted drivers as the site mentions from my Step 4 above.

Total investment – $80 and about one hour. So now we have a kitchen laptop again that is functional for just about everything (email and web), and is light enough to carry around the house or travel with us. It won’t run Boxee for Netflix (I had to try!), but as it buffers and skips during shorter video clips (e.g. sports highlights or CNN news footage), I doubt I’d use it for that anyway.

If you have old PCs that have funked out and have windows installed, I’d highly recommend giving Ubuntu a shot, either as a dual-boot or clean install…you’ll be amazed when you bring it back to life. Our “guest” computer is also running Ubuntu (10.04), and is perfect for those looking to simply browse and do email. It’s using the wireless USB stick from an old Tivo (Dlink DWL-122)…brilliant.

Happy upgrading!

Early Adoption Winners and Losers

Sometimes as an early adopter of technology and related products and companies you pick winners, but mostly you pick losers. Here are the products and companies I’ve adopted well ahead of the curve and won with, as well as those that left me with little but the heap of mercury-infused circuitry and the frustration of call centers that wouldn’t answer. Yes, this list is a bit dated, but it was on my mind, and sometimes it takes a while to ferret out whether


  1. Roku (originally the Soundbridge Radio, later the Roku XD media player)
  2. Logitech (the Squeezebox is a most awesome internet player post-Soundbridge)
  3. Consumer Cellular (using unlocked or AT&T GSM phones with affordable service)
  4. Net2Phone Voiceline VoIP (I picked them after failing with Packet8 and Sunrocket)
  5. Netflix (streaming) – As soon as streaming was available, we were on board.
  6. Kodak Z8 video camera – just a great HD video camera with good battery life and fits into a pocket. Oh…and HDMI video out too.
  7. Tivo. We had to be one of the first to line up for this when it came out. And even though we long ago cut the cable cord, it remains invaluable $13 per month.



  1. Sunrocket VoIP (Even before I had Sunrocket I tried Packet8). This is not that big of a loser though, for I am still using their VoIP modem some 5-6 years later.
  2. Motorola F8- A tiny cell phone with e-Ink. It’s battery lasted a solid month or more between charging, but a tiny phone book and virtual illegibility of text messages made me think it has remained in the 3rd world market for a reason.
  3. Sony PRS-300 e-reader – wonderful while it lasted, but it lasted too short, and it’s reaction time was too slow, resulting in the ever-feared double-click that goes right past where you had hoped to go. The Nook and Kindle came out too quickly with so many more e-ink capabilities.
  4. Netflix (DVDs) – although this was a winner for many folks, we were one of the households that took 4 months to watch a movie and could never agree on the queue.
  5. Blu-Ray player – I might as well not have it. We own a grand total of one Blu-Ray, and are too cheap to rent the higher priced Blu-Ray discs when we can’t tell the difference.
  6. Creative Zen Vision(M) – was deemed by many as the “iPod-killer” upon release. But transcoding and transferring video to the darn thing took overnight for a 30 min. TV episode. However, it’s video out rocked and it was way ahead of its time. I’m just glad I didn’t also double down and buy an Archos media player when it the Zen died.

Sitting on the fence because I’m scared to buy….Ooma. But with Net2Phone’s hands-off awesomeness, it’s got me via loyalty over Ooma’s questionable business model that might as well be magicJack.

Still not decided on as a winner or loser…Hulu Plus. It seems pretty duplicative of our OTA Tivo HD, and at $8 per mo. it’s not cheap. But it’s got oodles of past seasons that are sometimes fun to watch.

Women’s NCAA Soccer…a temporary niche

In blogging seminars the blogpreachers always talk about picking an underserved niche and dominating it. So I’m choosing to blog about Women’s College Soccer. I probably wouldn’t have thought about it, but the Div. I Championship is here in the Atlanta metro this weekend. I haven’t looked, but from my house of glass it must be an underserved (perhaps less served is more accurate…) market. But according to Google Trends, Women’s NCAA Soccer has generated more interest than the men for the last three years! And the mens’ final four isn’t for another week, so I’ve got time to research it, eh?

Let’s hope the women’s games this weekend get more competitive; a neutral site should help. Through the first 60 games of the NCAA Women’s Division I NCAA Soccer tournament, a whopping 58% of games have been decided by 2 goals or more. Through the first 40 games of the Men’s tournament, the games are much closer, with just 28% being decided by two or more goals.

My Women’s Final Four Picks – Stanford over Florida St., Wake upsets Duke, and Stanford gets crowned.

In Division II, which happens this weekend in Pensacola, FL, there are 3 schools of the 4 that I’ve never heard of. But that shouldn’t keep me from making some useless predictions, should it?

I’ll take underdog Chico St. to continue its defensive-minded game and take down top-ranked and undefeated Grand Valley St., the Golden Knights of St. Rose to dispose of the Armstrong Pirates, and Chico St. to win the championship going away, finding a sudden scoring barrage from some unexpected midfielders.

If you are clever enough to notice that this post time is after one of the Div. II semis was played; good for you, I’m going to go look at the score after I post this to see my prediction. I updated my WP and MySQL dB and couldn’t log in, I was getting a 500 internal server error by WordPress, and it took me a while to find the answer. This is what worked…adding these two lines to my .htaccess file.

AddType x-mapp-php5 .php
AddHandler x-mapp-php5 .php