Archive for October, 2007

28
Oct

   Posted by: RobPatton   in Life Stuff, Rants, Tech

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It should be no secret that I hate SONY, if it is “I HATE SONY”. There – No more secrets.

My hatred for Sony is what pushed me to the HD-DVD side of the game, and I recently purchased the HD-DVD add on for the 360. Good times. It looks like we’re approaching high noon, and the two will meet in the middle of town to settle this.

Earlier this year the HD DVD camp expressed optimism that this holiday season would prove big for HD DVD, particularly because aggressive pricing was expected to deliver a solid HD DVD player into the sweet sub-$200 spot. It’s widely believed that consumer adoption hinges on the players themselves becoming more affordable, which is why folks were getting excited about reports this past week indicating that Wal-Mart would be rolling out a $198 Toshiba HD-A2 HD DVD player next weekend.

As it turns out, plenty of retailers are about to get behind a big push for the HD-A2, whose sweet new price is only soured by its 1080i max output (1080p would be best, but at $200 right now, that’s asking too much). Since Toshiba launched its third-generation HD DVD players last August, the second-gen HD-A2 was poised to get a price reduction.

The Wal-Mart plans were first revealed by a user of the eProductWars forum, who also provided a picture of an endcap stocked with $198 players. Wal-Mart won’t confirm when the pricing will be official, but “Jim” from eProductWars indicated that the sale is expected to start next weekend. Nevertheless, we’re hearing from readers who have found the units on sale already, so perhaps Wal-Mart has stepped up the timetable, at least in some regions.


Source: eProductWars forums

You don’t have to wait for Wal-Mart, Ars has learned. Doing the rounds, we found that Circuit City is selling the HD-A2 for $197.99, both online and in stores. A source at Best Buy tells Ars that a price cut is also planned, but that most stores are out of stock of the unit right now, and they cannot be ordered online. Amazon has the player for a puffier $220. A week ago, the HD-A2 was priced near $299 almost everywhere.
While we all knew that a price reduction in the HD DVD camp was imminent, I don’t think anyone was expecting to see the sub-$200 units come in the form of a Toshiba player, which has for the most part been very well reviewed. Rumors earlier this year suggested that a no-name brand would be the first player to dip into the red zone, like this unit.

Perhaps best of all, the five free HD DVDs promotion is still on, meaning that buyers can score a HD DVD player and five movies for $200. The movie selection isn’t the hottest, though.
Will a quality player available at less than $200 spur adoption of HD DVD? It’s anyone’s guess right now, and it’s still anyone’s game. Seeing the name “Toshiba” on the box will certainly help, though, as it’s a brand that enjoys some consumer confidence (which is important when it comes to the inevitable “is this a piece of junk” question that comes along with such price cuts).

23
Oct

   Posted by: RobPatton   in Life Stuff

So most of us have just no real idea how long stuff keeps for in the fridge, so I found some interesting (and scarry) numbers that talk about that.

Milk

Milk usually carries a sell-by date. That’s because it is affected by many things in the environment—it can lose vitamins when exposed to light, which is why it usually comes in opaque plastic or paperboard. Light also can cause unpleasant flavors in milk within 36 hours, though it isn’t necessarily dangerous. If stored around 37 degrees Fahrenheit, pasteurized milk will remain fresh for two to five days after its sell-by date.

The latest fad is drinking “raw milk,” which people claim is tastier and healthier because pasteurization destroys nutrients and the enzymes necessary to absorb calcium. However, the USDA claims that there is no significant difference in the nutritional value of pasteurized and unpasteurized milk. Pasteurized milk is a lot safer, however. Pretty much all milk sold in supermarkets is pasteurized.

Meat

Whether it’s ground hamburger or a pound of steak, either eat it or freeze it within two days of purchase. Even if the sell-by date is five days away, the refrigerator at home usually isn’t cool enough to keep the meat fresh for more than two days.

Even frozen, meats can’t be kept in the freezer forever. Frozen ground meat should be used within three months. Pork holds for six months. Beef, lamb, veal, and venison last 8 to 12 months, according to the Ohio State University guidelines for food management.

Poultry

Chicken should be cooked or frozen within two days of purchase. Poultry and other birds last about 12 months in the freezer. One common mistake is thawing chicken on the kitchen counter. Bacteria multiply very rapidly at room temperature. The safest way to thaw poultry or meat is to defrost it by placing the package in the refrigerator immediately after removing it from the freezer. Or for faster thawing, place the package under cold running water.

Canned Foods

Some manufacturers like to claim that canned foods don’t spoil for at least two years, but guidelines from the University of Minnesota say to store them below 75 degrees Fahrenheit and not to keep them for more than 12 months. Many cans of food don’t have any dates on them. If they do, discard them after the dates provided on the cans.

After a year, though the food will not have spoiled, there is a steady loss of vitamins in canned vegetables and fruits. Also, watch metal lids for rust that can spoil foods.

Cake Mix, Pasta, Etc.

In a cool, dry storage place, cake mix, pasta, cereal, and cookies will last up to six months from the date of purchase. Cereal will be edible two to three months after being opened in a dry room.

Cold Cuts

Bacteria like salmonella, E. coli, and listeria are common in raw food, but cooking kills them. Yet listeria, which can be fatal for young children, fetuses, and the elderly, has been turning up in hot dogs, cold cuts, luncheon meats, and other fully cooked meat and poultry products. Why? Longer shelf life could be one reason.

Processors of ready-to-eat foods extended the sell-by or use-by dates on cold cuts after the incidence of bacteria dropped in the late 1980s. But listeria has been difficult to find and get rid of because it grows at refrigerator temperatures. It’s a good idea to cook hot dogs well before eating and to discard cold cuts as soon as they reach their use- or sell-by dates.

Cheese

Soft cheeses like brie and camembert should be eaten within three to four days of opening due to the possibility that they have listeria. Hard cheeses last up to three weeks and can also be frozen up to six months.

Eggs

Salmonella is one of the top concerns that most people have about eggs. But surprisingly, eggs have a long shelf life. Often they can stay on the store shelf for 30 days. And research from the USDA found that, even after that, the shelf life of eggs extends beyond the recommended sell-by date. Properly refrigerated and handled, eggs are considered safe for consumption for four to five weeks beyond the sell-by date. But you might have a difficult time folding older eggs into soufflés or making creamy mayonnaise with them.

Credit for this compilation of info goes to: http://images.businessweek.com/ss/06/09/foodlabel/index_01.htm

19
Oct

   Posted by: RobPatton   in Life Stuff

Update, well, the listing on craigslist was gone, but now I see there is a new one up at http://orlando.craigslist.org/pet/456107827.html

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So we were given the pleasure of having a new dog last weekend. Marley is 4.5 years old, and quite a beautiful dog. He just LOVES carrots and apples more than anything else. Its quite amazing to see what he will do for apple pieces. He was the most perfect dog a boy could hope for, and everyone in the house (other than Loki) just loved him.

Sadly, Marley and I weren’t quite getting along, as we should, so we talked to his first parents, and they were kind enough to come back for him, and find him a new home. Seeing him go made us both sad, but have agreed its for the best. We wish Marley all the best in his new home. He was quite a special dog and we’ll miss him

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Here is his new listing

14
Oct

   Posted by: RobPatton   in Treehugger Stuff

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Say goodbye to plastic cutlery and hello to SpudWare—cutlery made from 80% potato starch and 20% soy oil that’s just as heat resistant and every bit as strong as plastic cutlery. The kicker? It biodegrades in just 180 days! SpudWare can even be washed and reused, so you can eat your potatoes with potatoes for months to come.
In the US, a party pack of 50 spoons, 50 forks and 50 knives costs just $20 at Treecyle, readers in the UK can purchase potato starch cutlery from online retailer Vegware.

Interested in buying in bulk? Spudware is available at wholesale from Califonia-based wholesale distributor Excellent Packaging & Supply. Each SpudWare purchase from EPS comes with a Certification of Compostability from the American Society of Testing and Materials.

$20 from Treecycle

Via the San Francisco Chronicle

9
Oct

   Posted by: RobPatton   in Treehugger Stuff


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Things have finally picked up, and I’ve got about 15 or so pieces of papaya fruit on the way. Its been a long time coming. Here is a pic of what they looked like in 2004. Now they are 12 foot tall, or so. Nothing like the way they were when young.

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4
Oct

   Posted by: RobPatton   in Life Stuff

From http://www.wftv.com/news/14272183/detail.html?rss=orlc&psp=news

A gated neighborhood in Longwood provided little security to a single woman who was tied up and robbed at gunpoint in her own home. It happened inside the Longwood Club subdivision off Rangeline Road.

The woman was advertising a room for rent on the popular website CraigsList. Police don’t know for sure if that’s what convinced two men to break into her house through an unlocked back door, but it’s now obvious the gates didn’t do much to keep the bad guys out.”Basically, I saw my life come before me,” said the victim, who does not want to be identified by name.She said her nightmare began soon after she turned out the lights and got into bed Wednesday night.”There was somebody standing in the hallway to the bedroom,” she said. “They told me to get on my bed face down and they tied up my hands behind me and tied my feet to my hands and put a blanket over my head.”She said two men with guns spent nearly an hour going through her house, at times coming back to beat her with their weapons, demanding more.”And they would say things like, “Shut up or I’ll go shoot one of your dogs,'” she said.The dogs were among pictures she posted on a CraigsList web page offering a room for rent, $700 a month in a gated community that now seems not so protected.Police said gates with no guards give nothing but a false sense of security. Anyone can sit and wait for an opportunity to get in.Police said the same men may have also broken into three unlocked cars and stole a pickup nearby. The home invasion victim said getting over what happened won’t be easy.”I don’t know how I’ll feel at night when I have to turn off the lights,” she said.Police said the woman had another ad on CraigsList for a special piece of jewelry stolen in Wednesday night’s robbery. They don’t have a good description of the suspects, but they are looking for the stolen blue Toyota pickup truck and an older black Ford van with no windows on the sides.

3
Oct

   Posted by: RobPatton   in Life Stuff

http://www.wesh.com/money/14263316/detail.html

Shes about 3/4 of the way through. I know someone FAMOUS!

3
Oct

   Posted by: RobPatton   in Treehugger Stuff

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Seminole County Offers Coupon Incentive For Low-Energy Light Bulbs
Right now, residents in Seminole County can get a $3 off coupon by registering as an energy saver on the Seminole County Web site. Gov. Charlie Crist said if everybody changes just one light in each home, the energy savings could light Tallahassee for three years.
Here is the link, so you don’t have to go search for it !

2
Oct

   Posted by: RobPatton   in Life Stuff, Money

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Turns out Lori is to be on the news Wed night at 11pm Chnl 2 WESH. I’ve seen the promos with her being interviews, “It just breaks my heart” So we’ll see how much of her they show. I’ll try to get a clip of it for those not in the area.

2
Oct

   Posted by: RobPatton   in Life Stuff

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Today it happened. For years I’ve been dreading this day. I knew it would come eventually, each day hiding from the mail. Today it happened.

I’ve been DRAFTED (for juror duty)
I’ve been practicing my “Kill em all, let God sort em out” in hopes that will get me out of this mess. Those of you that know me know things may not go well, for this clustergaggle starts at 8am. You do the math. I’m going to have to get up at 7:00 (or earlier) to be there on time. I’m usually in a pretty foul mood about that time of the morning. Watch the news, lets see if I end up in Jail.