Today I was approached by someone in need of some help. They had purchased a VCR and DVD recorder combo and didn’t know how to use it. They asked if I knew how to use such a device. Having never had the desire to transfer video from tape to DVD (garbage in/garbage out anyone?) my was answer was no. They then asked if maybe I would read the book for them and then show them how to use the device to which my response was, sure, at my rate of $25 per hour.

To this the person, who works with kids, presumably a teacher at some level, responded with something along the lines of why do you get paid so much and the kicker, “my job is more important that yours.” This took be by surprise because for one it’s a little rude to throw around who’s job is more important and two because it makes me assume they think I should do the work for free. I mean seriously, here is a person asking me to do something they aren’t willing to do and balking at the idea that someone might actually want to get paid for it. Do they say the same thing any other trained service technicians working on their car, plumbing or what have you? Have they ever considered what they’re paying them in that case?

Besides that if they’re a teacher then why not…you know…teach yourself how to use an item you purchased?

Lots of great stuff came out of the Nintendo press conference at E3. I was able to read the live blog as it happened over on and here are a few of the highlights I picked out.

  • Mario Kart Wii coming and will be online sometime next spring and will include a plastic steering wheel attachment for the controller
  • Similar to the cheesy plastic steering wheel attachment offered with MKW a “zapper” has been create that allows you to attach the remote and nunchuk to a gun shaped thing. This allows you to move your character with the nunchuck and aim on screen with the remote. FPS games would be the major use here. Sold separately this item is $20
  • SSBB will be released December 3rd, online play as everyone already knew.
  • Madden 08 and FIFA 08 will both be online
  • Super Mario Galaxy to be released November 12
  • Lots of new games for the DS, Wii Fit for the Wii. Uses a pressure sensitive, wireless pad to determine how/where you’re standing. Interesting idea.
  • A new channel called Check Mii Out where you can vote on Mii’s created by others. No details on how it works or when it would be available, maybe it’s available now?

For complete info, head over to and read up on their E3 coverage. Lots of news for Xbox and PS3 fans as well.

I’ve noticed a new trend in child discipline. Counting. I hear parents every day counting to their kids when they’re doing something wrong and it just makes no sense to me. Granted, I’m pretty new to all this so maybe someone can explain to me why counting to my child is supposed to keep them in line but I’m not seeing it.

As I watch and listen to parents counting to their child I can’t help but wonder if the child is going to grow up thinking that they have until the count of 10 to do what ever they want. Many times the parent will count to some number, the child will stop and then nothing happens. What really does the child take away from that? I mean, will they be at home later that week and think, “I can pull my sisters hair until mom gets to 9, if I stop then all is well”?

Interesting new product coming from Microsoft called Surface. It allows you to interact with a computer using nothing more than the screen itself. I’m not quite sure yet if Surface is the OS itself or the entire experience from machine to OS but videos of the product show some interesting ideas. Being something entirely new, there is no telling what people will come up with for this thing.

I’m calling the projector project itself officially finished. I’m really pleased with how the whole project turned out, especially for the price paid. Here’s a listing of everything I’ve gotten to make complete this project.

Projector: $380
Ceiling mount: $17
Blackout cloth: $40 (three pieces, two for window coverings and one for the actual screen)
Wood for the frame: Free, previous owner of the house left it here
Cabling: $85 (50′ VGA to md1, 50′ component, component cables for Wii)
ATSC HDTV card for computer: $25
Other misc parts including outlet box, plates etc: $10

Total: about $555

For under $600 I now essentially have a 90″ EDTV, not exactly HDTV but very close. I’m able to view over the air HDTV of all of the local stations, play DVDs and Wii on a fairly large screen. The HDTV content looks very good despite the projector only having a native resolution of 854×480.

Click here for an screenshot.

This weekend, among other projects, I managed to get some wire pulled for the projector which is now mounted on the ceiling. The wires pulled include component, VGA/USB and romex for power to the projector. The last thing I need to get is get the new outlets in the ceiling tapped into an existing circuit and I can call my home theater project done for now.

The component cable is hooked into an old mechanical A/V switch and allows me to switch between my Wii and DVD player. The VGA cable is, of course, for hooking up to a computer. I ran this cable because I wanted a way to play downloaded video, pictures and because my laptop makes a better DVD player than our stand alone DVD player.

When everything is all said and done I’ll have some new pics posted to my gallery.

When it comes to the products/service my wife and I buy/get we almost always get the short end of the stick. Let me share a few examples.

  • This past weekend we bought a new storm door for our house. I was nearly done getting it installed and I reached the point where I had to install the latch and handle hardware. This is when I finally notice, the door doesn’t have the hole stamped out for the latch hardware. There are holes for the handles, but not the latch. After some phone calls and a trip back to where I bought the door, it turns out they had received a bad batch of doors. Luckily they were able to find a good one and back home I went.
  • I just bought a projector off of It is a refurbished unit so I know that I’m taking my chances. I should have known that with our track record, there was no way I’d luck out and get a “good” used one. No, instead I take out the lamp to find that the fans are incredibly dirty and caked with dust. This thing has some SERIOUS hours on it. I contacted InFocus and I guess we’ll see.
  • We usually get forgotten about when we go out to eat, or the person just generally doesn’t seem to care or says strange things. Like, “you came in at a bad time, we’re really busy.” As if we care. Well not only have we been forgotten about while out to eat, we were forgotten about when we went in to the hospital for the birth of our first little one. We were brought to our room and no less than 20 minutes went by before we finally thought it was a bit strange and I went asking. Yep, they admitted it, we were forgotten about.

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Made some great progress towards finishing up the home theater last night by building the frame for my screen. I based my screen frame around a howto located at this site. My frame does not use any support bracing to help save on the weight and honestly the wood could be straighter. Measuring 79×45, I’ll be able to get an absolute maximum size of 90″ diagonal when viewing “widescreen” formatted material. This also gives me a maximum of 74″ diagonal for regular 4:3 content. Not bad for a total project cost of about $600.

Read on for pics and other info.

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