October 23, 2003

When no search results are a good thing
Posted by Jess in Tech Talk

So many focuses of discussion revolve around web searches, and the quality of results from those searches.

I’d like to talk about the merits of the quality of information that can come from getting NO results at all from your searches. And yes, there is some true quality information coming back from that big pile of nothing.

If you type in an error message or such and get no results back, what has this told you? Without you realizing it, it has spoke volumes about your issue. It has just you lots of things.

It told you that unless there is some amazing, super-secret-even-Google-doesn’t-know-about-it forum out there, then nobody has ever had this problem.


In the history of time, no other user has ever had a situation where in this particular place in a script, this particular error message has come up? No one has ever had this return code from the OS after adding that particular INI parameter?

Apparently so.

It told us that this is not a known bug. It told us that there is no technote available with an easy fix, and it told us that there is no patch or firmware upgrade that will let us get on our merry way.

But most importantly, it told us that because no one else has ever had this problem, then the problem probably doesn’t exist. Most likely the error is caused by a simple spelling error on our part in our script/config and it has just told us to go back and double check our typing.

Just thought I’d pass along some techno-surrealist advice for you on an otherwise uneventful day.

October 18, 2003

DVD/Surround Demo list
Posted by Jess in Tech Talk

Every once in awhile, people come over and want to see for themselves what the surround sound/amp experience is like in a home theatre. They are also pleasantly surprised when we tell them that it's probably not as expensive as they might think it is.

So when they ask, Matt and I pull out our usual suspects of "DVD demo equipment", those select DVDs that we think REALLY put you right in the middle of the action, those which you would never be able to watch to their full potential if you lived in an apartment complex.

Here's some of our favorites movies (and the scenes that shine) that really seem to take full advantage of surround sound:

1. Swordfish
The scene RIGHT in the first five minutes of the movie, where an explosion occurs in 360-degree slow motion, shop windows and all. You'd swear it was your sliding glass door behind you that just broke.

2. The Fifth Element
Scenes to watch for: The march of the guardians to take the key back from the humans, and the scene where Leeloo escapes from the Nucleo lab. This is a good one to demo in combination with bold color visuals and special effects.

3. Terminator 2
'nuff said. Pretty much right from the logo credits you're in for a wild ride.

4. Minority Report
No particular scene, and you get nice visuals to go along with your DTS.

5. Jurassic Park
Honestly, I haven't watched it since we got surround, so I can't say. But after I picked the first four above, I went online and poked around to give you guys some more lists of movies that other people liked. Jurassic Park topped everyone's list again and again. Looks like I know what I'm watching tonight....

These movies are good demo's because they pack a punch, and have scenes that can be shown quickly (and convincingly!) Most people usually end up leaving our house planning their budget for Christmas.

It should go without saying that once you have the system in place, the best movies are usually the ones with surprise sounds, those that make Matt and I pause the movie to make sure it's not something in the house. Or, now that we have a puppy, the ones that make her run round and start barking because she thinks there is a bird in the house.)

Here's a good list of other people's favorite demo movies:

What are YOUR demo movies? The big guns you bring out when it's time for your setup to shine?

October 17, 2003

We've got three corners of the US covered in Orlando...
Posted by Jess in Day to Day

Matt and I spent our two year anniversary in Universal Studios, Orlando Florida. I knew Jonvon was down somewhere around there, so I asked Joe Litton for his contact info. Well, Joe's son is in Tampa for college, and him and his wife decided it was time for a visit. Then Jonvon invited Julian Robichaux, who was up to the challenge, and finally Bruce Elgort and Gayle hopped on the vacation bandwagon also.

What a great time! Bruce was kind enough to give Matt and I now-collector's item NotesOSS shirts.

Upon everyone gathering in Citywalk, I got a call from Joe that most of the gang had gathered at Starbucks. Knowing Joe, I should have checked there first. (See, now I've met him, so I can tease him.)

We then made our way to camp out for the night at the outside patio at Pat O'Briens, where much laughage commenced. Oh, and Julian's knowledge of tools far extends the small realm of the NSF. ;-)

So now we are home in the world of normalcy and no room service. Here's some piccies of the get together:

Bruce & Gayle: NotesOSS lives! And goes very well on buffalo wings.
The Gang
Matt & Jess: Interesting, the only full glass is the one with no alcohol in it.
Joe and John: Is it just me, or is there an incredible amount of empty drink glasses in front of them?
Bruce, Julian and John: Sorry ladies, they're taken!

Again, thanks to everyone who came. Matt and I were already there, so for everyone to come and visit us was SUCH an incredible honor, especially during the week like that. We so appreciate each and every one of you.

October 09, 2003

Enough already, we get it...
Posted by Jess in Day to Day

Dear radio station/TV station/advertisement:

Yes, we are all aware that there are numerous words that rhyme with "oct", in October, allowing you to cleverly create some VERY funny sayings and commercials.

I especially laughed when you noticed that this month is also Halloween, and the word SHOCK can be cleverly combined with TOBER to create your very own slang word, SHOCKTOBER.

And I also couldn't help but notice the poetic genius behind your use of substituting ROCK instead on the radio. Ha, ha! See, it wouldn't be funny if it were a classical music station, but you play ROCK music, and now it's ROCKTOBER.

Keep those creative caps on, people!
Jesstober- er, I mean, Jess.

If I go into a Chinese restaurant and see "It's Woktober!"....

October 04, 2003

When cookies are a GOOD thing
Posted by Jess in Tech Talk

MMMMMMmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm cookies.

It's coming up on me and Matt's two year wedding anniversary, so I'm getting kind of sentimental thinking about what a great day that was.

I thought I'd share a strange twist of fate in which cookies helped me to have one of the most memorable aspects of my wedding.
Consider it a breath of fresh air in the midst of all the other issues that go with them.

As I think I mentioned before, my father plays classical guitar, and used to play in NYC both by himself, and as part of the band of well known acts. He's played in Birdland in the 50's, right at the height of the smoky jazz scene, and also has the honor of being the very first person ever to play classical guitar in the Army band in Washington, D.C. (Steve Lawrence was also in the band, and required a classical guitarist for his arrangements. Since there was none, both Steve and my dad made a trip to the Pentagon to petition for a new spot in the band.)

Anyway, I knew my dad had went on tour with Les Elgart sometime in the 50's. After some inconspicuous questioning, I got a year - 1958. I also knew that he had no idea where any recordings might be. I really wanted to have a song that he was playing on for the father/daughter dance at my wedding, so I went on a mission.

First stop, contacting the Columbia Records archive department, as that was the record label that Les Elgart used, thanks to Amazon.com. The man was very sympathetic and said he would have loved to help, but there was simply too much music and they didn't keep track of individual people on albums.

After that, it was the web to do more research. Nothing.

One year went by and I realized the wedding was coming up soon, and my idea was a bust.

So one day I just happened to stumble on Amazon.com's home page. Remember how I had used Amazon.com to look up Les Elgart's music to find the record label? Right there on the home page was a recommendation for me. "New Release: Les Elgart on Tour".

I did a quick check to find out that someone, for some unknown reason, had randomly decided that it had been far too long since anyone had a new Les Elgart CD. The year of the tour? 1958. My father was on this one.

It did not take me long to pick "Five foot two, eyes of blue" as the song (which I might add, is a very sweet instrumental), and I managed to surprise him by telling the guests the backstory before dancing with him to this song at my wedding.

So, the tide was right, the moon was in the next phase, and my planets were in alignment that day.

I still get chills thinking about it.

October 01, 2003

This morning I was SO tired... (how tired WAS I?)
Posted by Jess in Day to Day

Have you ever woken up and it's just one of those mornings that you're physically up, but your brain is still back in bed sleeping?

I made my coffee with no issues. But there I was, standing there with a poured cup, sugar in hand, completely blank about how much sugar I put in my coffee.

Keep in mind, I have been making my morning coffee every morning for about 4 years (except on weekends, when my wonderful husband makes it for me).

Could have been two spoonfuls, could have been one spoonful for all I knew. I kept having to add more and taste it.

Thank goodness after that my brain decided to yawn, stretch, and finally roll itself out of bed. Why did my brain get to sleep in but I couldn't?

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