Previous photos here

Sat, 27 May 2006

We finally got the Motorola V551 cell phone fixed.
When me and Linda migrated to Cingular from AT&T Wireless (don't do it) we both got new Motorola V551 phones. I had mine for a couple weeks before replacing it with a Nokia 6670, but Linda hung on to hers. After about nine months her screen went dead. You could still make out images on the screen, but the backlight was out. This was the big internal screen; the external Caller ID screen still worked. The phones were selling for around $150 on eBay, so it was worth trying to fix it.

So I looked on eBay, and found lots of auctions for internal LCD screens. I ordered one from Hong Kong. About a week later I got an email saying "we found a problem with the whole batch of screens, so we refunded your money". Hmmm. Okay, I bought another screen. There was a delay because I bought before Easter, then another delay because they sent it to the wrong address, but finally, after a month, I got the screen. It came in a really cool envelope, all the way from Hong Kong. The screen cost around $36 including shipping.

It also came with a small Torx tool for opening the phone, but I had my own. Here you can see the screen, but not very well. It wasn't easy figuring out how to get the phone open. Finally I found a manual that describes in complete detail how to disassemble and repair the Motorola V551 and V555 phone here.

So I got the phone completely disassembled, and removed the old screen. I had to figure out how to pry the Caller ID LCD display off of the internal LCD screen, and how to stick it onto the new screen. Then I got it all reassembled and powered it up. And it still had a dead screen. Dang. So I did some more internet research, and read the manual, and it looked like the flex cable might be at fault. I looked on eBay, and bought a flex cable for $11 including shipping.

The flex cable arrived quickly, and this time Linda did the work. She laid out the parts on a Waltzing Matilda tea towel, so it's difficult to see some of them. You can see the completely disassembled phone, and the steel cups she used to hold the small parts.

And here is the flex cable. The new one was not exactly the same as the old one. The new one is on the bottom, and you can see that the right end of the cable is longer. There are contacts on the other side of that end, and they shorted out agains the case, and caused the display not to work. So I put a piece of electrical tape over the contacts, and the display worked just fine. Woo hoo! Hope this helps.

posted at: 21:55 | permalink |

Fri, 26 May 2006

I went out on the boat last weekend.
It was pretty easy, as always. Rob and Jason and Lisa just picked me up at the dock, and off we went. They drive the boat to the ramp, launch it, come and get me and we do our thing on the water, and then they drop me off, recover the boat, and take it home and clean it. I keep offering to help, but they won't have it.

This time all the parking places at the regular spot were full, so we had to go to plan B. I found a parking place near a dock, and talked them in on the cell phone.

Then we dove an 18 foot wreck for a while. And then just chilled on the boat. On the way back in we saw dolphins in the intracoastal. At first I thought it was just a piece of wood, but then we saw the dorsal fins clearly. There were three of them. I don't think they were lost, but I don't know what they were doing in there.
posted at: 11:09 | permalink |

Thu, 25 May 2006

I laid a successful trail in the north county tonight.
Despite the naysayers who said that nobody would come. We had three new guys. Well, two new guys, and one who claimed to be a certified underwater naval technician. There were about fifteen people total. I had scouted a complete trail on the drive up, but as soon as I started I found some cool canals and shiggy that I liked much better. So I changed the trail. And it was for the better. Although as I was phoning Circumspector the beer truck driver to change the start location I was caught by AI. But he was later disqualified for leaving two minutes early. The dirty cheater.

You can see that my trail prediction doesn't match reality at all.

The second half of the trail was even better. There were no alligator attacks. And we made it through the projects unscathed. Yeast agreed to run the circle, and he did a fine job. He made sure the new hashers did their down-downs properly. And that the hare got the respect he so richly deserved.

Then Doofus White Boy showed up, representing the Palatka hash. Yeehaw.

The on-after was at the new Quarterdeck, where Dribble ruminated, and AI showed us the contents of his mouth. We ate and drank, and then went home.

posted at: 08:13 | permalink |

Thu, 18 May 2006

NFHN Bobby got named at tonight's hash.
Plus he got to sit his bare butt on a block of ice for a while. These are both experiences available only at the hash. Although I guess you could get your own piece of ice. We started in the parking lot of the Winn-Dixie. Nobody bothered us. The turnout was small at first, but grew to about 30 by the time we left. It was a completely pre-laid trail, with Stinky Pinky as the senior hare advisor.

The first half was a long one, as you can see by the GPS track. You can also see that it was nothing like my prediction. The beer check was at the Blue Cricket, which was happy to see us. And the hares bought lots of pitchers there. We even sang a birthday song to the manager. But eventually it was time to go, so we did.

The hares had warned us that there was a second beer check. Some of us had a hard time finding it. Apparently it was in the parking lot behind the rib place. So eventually everyone collected back at the start, and we got the circle started. AI had been thoughtful enough to freeze a bucket full of ice for the hare to sit on, so we got Bobby parked. We did all the usual stuff, and then got started picking out a name for Bobby. The only overpowering fact was that he loves his electronic organ, a Hammond B3. In fact, he won't shut up about it. That, plus the fact that he didn't actually lay any flour on the trail (Stinky did all the work) got him the name of... "Dry Organ". Yay. He was happy to get off the ice.

So the on-after was at Tree's Wings, but I went home instead.

posted at: 07:14 | permalink |

Wed, 17 May 2006

This picture illustrates the limitations of camera phones pretty well.
It's a picture of an electric snake, after we finished unclogging the sewer. You can see that the coils of the snake are in pretty sharp focus, but just above that, the handle is blurry. My first thought was that this means the camera has a very shallow depth of field. But lots of pictures that I take closer come out fine, like portraits and small group shots. So it may be that the snake is just at the edge of the depth of field. I guess a good way to confirm that would be to recreate the photo, but have a person standing in front of the snake, closer to the camera, and see if the person is in focus.

This confirms what I pretty much knew all along: the resolution of the camera is not as important as the lens. This camera is a 1.3 megapixel, but most of the pixels are blurry. I would be a lot better of with a VGA camera (640 x 480) that has a decent lens. But then I would be carrying one more object in my pocket, and the benefit of the camera phone is that I always have the phone, thus I always have a camera. I'll see if I can bring myself to carry another device with me.

posted at: 17:00 | permalink |

I've always liked these old VW buses.
Maybe they are called Transporters. This one was parked outside Borders. I like the galvanized pipe roll bar or rack or whatever it is. Plus it's got handicapped plates. This would make a good electric car conversion candidate. There is a space under the bed that is big enough for the batteries. Then all you need is to bolt an electric motor and adapter plate to the transaxle, wire in a controller, and you're environmentally friendly.

posted at: 16:54 | permalink |

Tue, 16 May 2006

When I first saw this van I thought maybe Sheldon had traded in the Suzuki.
After all, it's got a Patriots sticker, a Red Sox sticker, and it looks like the sort of thing a serial killer drywall contractor would drive. I was a little nervous parking behind it, but my car was still there when I came back, and the van hadn't backed into it.

posted at: 10:56 | permalink |

Mon, 15 May 2006

We were back at the bowling alley again for last week's hash.
You know, the one in Lantana we always go to. This was CA and Veal Chop's run. There was some talk of a renaming for VC, but nothing came of it. For some reason, there was quite a turnout. Over 40 people showed up, which required CA to put out more beer at the halfway point. The trail was really good for that area, starting off along the waterfront, and then heading west into the AG Holley sanatorium, where the beer check was. There was also an irate security guard in a golf cart. She kept urging us to leave, telling us she had called the police, and ordering us to go out the way we came in. Unfortunately for her, the trail led out a different way. We were just about to leave, when we saw the police cars coming toward us. Fortunately for us, the trail led in the other direction, so we bolted that way. We got off the AG Holley property, just in time to meet another Lantana police officer. He was a sargeant, and very nice about the whole thing. He was mostly interested in out what the white powder was. Once we told him it was flour he relaxed, and explained that they had gotten some calls. He also told us that people were nervous because 666 was coming up -- June 6, 2006. Scary.

We made it back to the start without further incident, and had a rocking good circle. No renaming for Veal Chop. Then on to the new Lantana Ale House, which was not bad at all. We did have to put up with Itsy demo'ing his new shorts. Note the artfully placed hand in the crotch.

posted at: 16:14 | permalink |

Sat, 13 May 2006

There wre a bunch of art cars down at Lake Worth last Friday.
There were some bikes there, too, from the Freak Bike Militia, but it was too dark by the time I started taking pictures of them.
I thought I'd seen this one around town, but this one looks much nicer. There was an astronaut standing out in front of it. I don't know how those middle wheels work; they should scrub on the ground when the car turns.

This one was a lot more primitive and earthy than the silver one. Not as much fabrication required, but plenty of artistic ability needed.

This one was just weird. Skulls and suns and spiders and stuff that looks vaguely like organs.

This one was like the other van, but it was a little more upbeat. The owner said the totem on the front used to have tree growing in it.

I guess I lied when I said I didn't get any bike photos. This one was pretty cool. It looks like the frame was built to fit motorcycle wheels front and rear. It's probably not too tough to pedal it.

I really like this one. Why go to all the trouble of putting wood on a car, when you can just paint it on? It really looked good.

And finally, a fun car. I especially like the vacuum power unit on the back. I didn't really think this car ran, but I saw it driving later that night.

posted at: 22:39 | permalink |

Wed, 10 May 2006

This is one of the sillier vehicles I've seen lately.
It was actually a couple months ago, at Bike Week in Daytona, but I only recently got these pictures from AC. His camera takes much better pictures than my camera phone.

It's a turbine-powered trike, about 20 feet long. I don't know what kind of turbine it is; probably from a helicopter. Up front is the biggest springer fork I've ever seen, and down both sides are some realy big exhauts. Big fat tires in the back, and a linkage that lets the driver sit far back from where the bars should be. There's a sign with a $100K price tag on it, which I think is kind of high, but maybe you can talk him down a little.

posted at: 14:09 | permalink |

I like this art scooter.
Someone spent a lot of time on the details. I saw it parked in front of a house in Key West a couple weeks ago. Plus, it's a Honda.

posted at: 11:39 | permalink |

Mon, 08 May 2006

I'm finally posting DBK's storm hash.
It was a couple weeks ago, on 4/26/06. It was down in Boynton, in a bank parking lot, and there was a good turnout. We got our chalk talk instructions, and DBK set off, but there were some gathering storm clouds. Just before it was time to go, the heavens opened up, and we all ran for shelter under the the bank's drive-through overhang. It just kept storming. After a while Addadichtomy drove up, and then two guys in a Miata pulled in to get out of the rain (I don't know why they didn't just put the top up). Finally the rain let up some, and we went out on trail. Of course all of the markings had washed away, so we ran around aimlessly for a while until someone in the know let it slip that the halfway point would be the Boynton Ale House. So we all ran in that direction, and eventually we came across fresh, dry flour, and ultimately, the hare. He led us on to the beer check, which was near, but not at the Ale House. Eventually the pack continued on to the Ale House, which was the second stop, and we spent some time there. After we were sufficiently relaxed we finished up with a slow walk back to the cars from the Ale House, then a nice circle, and then off to our respective homes.

posted at: 09:20 | permalink |

Fri, 05 May 2006

This was the last year camping at Knight's Key Campground.
We always stay there for the 7 Mile Bridge run, but apparently they have sold out to a developer who is going to fill the property with homes. I guess the land is just worth too much to let it stay a campground. Here's a couple shots of the windshield sticker. If I knew how to use Photoshop I could make them part of a collage for the home page.

posted at: 10:08 | permalink |

I went back to Jonathan Dickinson for the first time since the fire.
That was on Sunday, and I had so much fun that I went back on Tuesday with Rob. I had heard how bad the fire was, and how the trail had been bulldozed, but it turned out to be in pretty good shape. Only the southernmost portion of Osprey Loop was closed. It wasn't too sandy on Sunday, but when we went back on Tuesday it was really loose. Climbing up those sand piles was a lot of work. It was about 7.5 miles total without Osprey Loop, in 1:11, although that includes 2 minutes of stopping time. I'll be back.

posted at: 10:02 | permalink |

Tue, 02 May 2006

Margy (High Bush) was in town last week.
And she brought her Melanie Griffith-looking neighbor, whose name I forget (sorry). That's her in the second photo. Margy is in the first photo, but you already know that, or why would you be reading this?

We first saw them at Clematis, along with a bunch of other hashers and hasher kids. They had a pool going on how long it would take Melanie to fall off her platform sandals. I think the winning time was around four hours.

Then on Saturday there was a party at Sue's house. Sue is a volunteer at Linda's school; I'm not sure how she knows Margy. But I bet there is a story there. The party was a lot of fun. It was (probably) the last cool night until November, so there was a fire going, and we toasted marshmallows with the kids until they all fell asleep. Then we all sat around and talked for a couple more hours. Bye Margy! Come back and visit soon. Or maybe we should go up there.

posted at: 10:05 | permalink |

Mon, 01 May 2006

Here's some pictures from the second half of our 7 Mile Bridge trip.
These are after we went down to Key West on Saturday afternoon. We found the hotel and checked in, and then took our bikes down to Duval. We wound up at Sloppy Joe's (surprise), where we collected a big crowd of hashers. Finally the group decided to move on to the Half Shell. Nothing really special about these first seven pictures; it's just a bunch of people that I know sitting around in a bar.

There was some confusion once we left the Half Shell. It mostly involved where our bikes were and where we were going next. After a couple false starts we found ourselves at PT's for some lunch.

Then we scattered to the four corners of Key West, only to meet back up at our new Key West hotel: Eden House.

posted at: 07:17 | permalink |

Sun, 30 Apr 2006

The jet ski is back!
It has been resurrected from a muddy grave. Those of you who have been long-time readers will remember the saga of the ski. Read the latest installment here.
posted at: 07:17 | permalink |

Sat, 29 Apr 2006

We tried out a new range this weekend.
Tactical Edge. They don't have a website, but they do have a nice store and range. And the best part: they don't require range ammo. So me and Rob walked in with our WalMart 9 mm. I did have to buy another box, and we got some targets there, so it wasn't like we just paid for the range time. It wasn't crowded, the counter people were nice, and the range itself was like every other indoor range. It had fans instead of (or maybe in addition to) AC, but it was comfortable. I brought the S&W Sigma again, and Rob had gotten the Browning back from the shop. If you look closely at the middle of the target in the third photo you can see his bright red laser dot.

I was happy with my shooting because I kept most of my shots in the black on a 25 foot pistol target. Then I looked a little closer, and saw that it was a 25 YARD target, that I had put 25 feet away. Now I have something to strive for next time.

posted at: 12:38 | permalink |

This is the kind of bike that would be good around town.
I saw it down in Mallory Square in Key West. It looks like a useful bike for commuting. I didn't get a picture of the trailer that goes with it. There's actually a ball mounted on the back fender, and a small trailer that goes on it. It belonged to a vendor who was selling something out of the back. (I just walked by and took the picture, so I'm a little short on details).

posted at: 09:23 | permalink |

Fri, 28 Apr 2006

I hate the Geek Squad so much.
They are the sell-outs of the IT world. "Yassuh, boss, I get that computer fixed real soon now." They are living up to the stereotype. Plus they have a reputation for having only one decent tech per store, with the rest being just entry-level trainees. Their first resort when confronted with a difficult computer problem is "nuke and pave", which means that they just reformat the hard drive and reinstall the operating system. It solves the problem, but a better technician would be able to fix the problem without wiping the disk.

posted at: 07:07 | permalink |