Lately I've been going to Los Angeles for work, but recently Alison and I decided to go for fun and to visit my grandma on the 11th-14th. We took advantage of benefits from both our jobs, tried to keep the cost down, and still have a lot of fun.|
If you have benefits, use them! It's part of your salary and if you are not using them it's almost as if you're agreeing to work for them for less. We started our trip using my travel benefits, of course. Alison and I can travel together almost anywhere in the world for almost free. Starting 2009 I can get other people reduced fares but you will have to travel low-priority standby. Anyways we were lucky enough to score two first class tickets for the 3 hour flight to LAX. This was the first time I had ever gone first class, and it was quite impressive! The seats were very comfortable and reclined fully. We had breakfast served, drinks served in an actual glass, pillows, blankets, great service, etc.. It was amazing. I felt very out of place as the only one there without a Wall Street Journal newspaper.
Once we got to LA, it was Alison's turn. She works here in Dallas at the Hyatt Regency as a cook if you didn't know. She booked the Hyatt Century Plaza using her benefits, and they bumped us up to....the penthouse floor! They were so nice and courteous there, I couldn't believe it. I go to a lot of hotels when flying and this was a super nice place. They gave us free room and 50% off the restaurant. So we enjoyed a very nice fillet dinner there. We are trying to save money for a sofa bed in the living room, but it's been a while since we dressed up and went to a fancy restaurant. And for 50% off you just can't beat it.
The free hotel was great, but it wasn't terribly close to Arcadia, CA; an LA suburb. So we had to take a bus to go to the metro station and ride to the end of the line where we could get picked up by my grandma. All in all the trip to Arcadia took about 2 hours each way. It was great to see my grandma and I know she can't drive all the way out to where we were staying, but 4 hours commuting a day really took it out on us. We tried to take a taxi instead of the bus one way, but it didn't save more than 10 min and cost us three times as much to get there (then having to pay metro fare anyways for the train).
The day before we left, the 13th we had to ourselves. We contemplated going to disneyland and universal studios but they are soo expensive. We ended up sightseeing and visiting a cool farmer's market with some really great food. We got cheesecake and eclairs for treats and it was awesome to have something more homemade and not mass produced. Walked around downtown after that, and we visited Hollywood too. It is not the glamorous place it seems. We spent the last evening in Santa Monica at the beach watching the sunset and just being together. It was the best part of the trip for me.
When travelling standby you need to give yourself as many chances to get home as possible, since you only get a seat if there are any left over. So we got to LAX for the first flight out, at 6:00am. Luckily for us we got on the plane, even first class again for the flight home! Now I'm going to be spoiled forever... All in all, a great time.
Okay, I will never pick up on WoW no matter how often everyone else posts about it. But everyone has such a good time playing and talking about Guitar Hero / Rock Band, I figured it was worth a look. After all, I did enjoy DDR a lot, and I was good at it without taking too long to get good at it. With the recent release of Guitar Hero 4, I was able to pick up the game and two Les Paul Controllers for about $75. GH3 is a welcome addition to my PS3 game collection which is growing very slowly on account of available moneys and lack of games.|
God what a hopeless idiot I am for not knowing GH3 and Rock Band are not the same companies anymore, right? I guess there is a lot of drama between red octane and harmonix and activision, but oh well. This game was cheap, I have two guitars for it so I can play with Alison, and I'm enjoying the game. A recent update to the PS3 will allow my controllers to work with rock band should I decide to get it anyways. After about a week I am around the hard-medium-to-easy-hard stage. I can beat the normal tracks in medium with about 95% notes hit, and I can play one or two hard songs, but difficult songs mess me up on medium and I'm trying to play the harder songs to get my note recognition faster before really moving on. Overall I like the game and how it is similar to DDR, but what annoyed me is the career mode. I don't really care to battle guitars. I don't care about winning money or custom characters. I don't want to fight to unlock songs. And I want to play co-op with Alison which forced us through another career mode but oh well. I just want to play a guitar, play any of the songs I want to, and be a rock hero wooo! Pretty much immediately I was putting in the cheat code to unlock all songs, and much prefer it this way. I don't know a lot of the songs but they are fun to play. Has anyone played the new one? What tips are there for stepping up from medium to hard?
Doh! Forgot to mention my favorite song: Paint It, Black by The Rolling Stones in 1966. I can't believe it's that old of a song.
The subject of today's rant is my old D-Link DSL-2320B modem/router. It's hard to hate something that you bought for only $10 off craigslist, but this thing drove me crazy for months. It wasn't broken equipment, DLink just made sure to cripple it for who knows why. Oh sure, on the outside it looks like a very standard piece of equipment. It's got a port for the phone line, an ethernet port, usb, reset switch etc... But to be honest this piece of junk would have worked better if it was an empty box. |
I run a very standard internet setup in my apartment. There is no cable internet service, so we have DSL through Grande Communications in Texas. Despite charging us for premium service and only providing basic internet bandwith since January (now resolved), I've been pretty satisfied with their service. So I need a DSL modem which plugs into my apple airport extreme router (I know, apple what a surprise, right? Well it has a USB port I can plug our printer into so I dont need a print server). My desktop plugs into the router via cat5, all other computers/ps3 are wireless N. Giggity. What I look for in a DSL modem is simplicity. Like UNIX, do one thing and do it well. Seems like DLink's strategy is to attempt to do many things, but utterly fail at everything. Come on D-Link! It's not a complex mission I bought you for:
1:) Connect router to Grande network
Because I'm a hacker like yash, I decompiled the source code to the modem which is ironically written in basic:
10 Assign 192.168.1.1 to self
20 Connect to grande
30 Assign WAN IP to everything
40 COMPLETELY FUCK UP DHCP
50 Disconnect from Grande
60 Goto 10
This modem refuses to play nice with the most standard router setups. My old modem before it broke had a DHCP server - that's fine with me, I put the router in bridge mode and the dsl modem gives my computers IP addresses and interwebs. Not my preferred way, but it works. It croaked, hence me getting DLINK SPAWN OF SATAN off craigslist. DLINK also assigns itself 192.168.1.1 but won't give connected computers internal LAN IPs. It tries to give every computer connected the WAN IP and it fucks up. The only way I got it to work was basically double NAT, the router assigning DHCP fighting with DLINK on another subnet. Ugh squared.
But that's not even the worst part! The absolutely useless web interface gave me no info other than WAN IP and the fact that itself was 1.1. After installing the modem for the first time Alison and I found we couldn't reach certain websites like yahoo and my work website. A little google digging revealed that the MTU, or Max Transmission Unit was to blame. Basically when you transfer info over the internet the info is broken into little pieces called packets and the MTU is the largest size in bytes each packet can be. For ethernet/cable internet the MTU is 1500 bytes, which computers use standard. For DSL connections, depending on your provider, it is 1492 bytes. Normally your DSL modem will tell your computer you're connected with an MTU of 1492, but not DLINK, no way... That's way too helpful. You would think a DSL Modem would connect at a DSL MTU. There's no setting, nowhere on the unit where you can connect at an MTU of 1492. DLINK thinks it's easier and more obvious to dig through the registry to change it on your computer itself. Windows is nicer about it, and stores the registry key, but on OSX (3 out of 4 computers in my apt.) you have to change the MTU manually, via the console, every single time you reboot. Good riddance...goodbye DLINK I won't miss you.
Jo gave me his old Motorola Netopia 2210 DSL modem when I was last in OH and yesterday I replaced Satanlink with it. It's more of a dumb modem where I can have the router store the connection info and just use the box to dial out over PPPoE. Exactly what I was looking for. Easy, fast, stable. Do one thing and do it well. Thank you Jo.