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June 2005 Archives

June 2, 2005

Street Smarts

Estonia01, originally uploaded by louster1950.

This is a fantastic photoset from flickr user louster1950.

Halo2 Strategy Guides

These Halo 2 Strategy Guides are fun and informative.

June 6, 2005

Beans and Biscuits

Whilst surfing around the iTunes music store today 2 loosely-related items caught my eye. (All links open in iTunes.)

1. Once upon a time, before the drugs (well, before the drugs got completely beyond his control), before the politics, before the yo-yo weight plan.. Steve Earle just made some kickass country music. (Live version.) Everybody told me you can't get far, on thirty-seven dollars and a jap guitar.

2. This song bought Hank and the Boys "quite a few beans and biscuits."

Nashville, why must you lie bloated and blotto in a pool of your own pusillanimous failings? Your heritage runs so much deeper than this current crop of tanktop urban metrosexuals would lead us to believe. In my Nashville, only Dwight survives.

June 7, 2005

All's I know is this...

I will never, ever purchase a Mac with one of those insipid fucking 'Intel Inside' metal stickers pasted on it.

June 13, 2005

Hang in There Baby

At our dog-walking orientation on Sunday (we're volunteering at the Capital Area Humane Society), LeeAnn and I got to meet one tenacious kitten. Ally is part-monkey, as she dangled from the inside of her comfy crate -- a skill that served her well; it was this climbing ability that kept her from harm inside an alligator's crate. She's quarantined for the time being, and will soon (within a week or so) go onto the adoption floor, where I'm sure she'll find a loving, predator-free home.

June 14, 2005


Now this'll make you swear off beef (if the threat of mad-cow disease doesn't):

I dropped everything and held my breath. This could not be happening. This was not my life. I began panting, all alone in a locked cubicle in a half-decent restaurant with a dead tapeworm hanging out my ass.

Holding Pattern

This being summer, and me having a couple of projects percolating.. I have to warn you, gentle reader (I love saying stuff like 'gentle reader' cause it makes me feel all Stephen-King-preamble-y..) that my postings to Soldier Ant will be somewhat sporadic, and very random, I'm sure.

And two status updates: the home automation is going nowhere. And revealing more has also been somewhat of a non-starter.

June 15, 2005

How Sad

Dungeons & Dragons illustrator, Minneapolis native, dies:

Sutherland's illustrations include the famed scene of a dragon, a wizard and a bow-flexing knight on the first "D&D" boxed set that brought the game into the mainstream. Images on the covers of "Dungeon Masters Guide" and "Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual," were his as well.

June 16, 2005

Keep Lantzilla's Head Kissably-Smooth

Lance is a new (well, new-again) father and one of the kindest guys you'll ever meet. With three girls, a wife, and a full-time job, he doesn't always have time to keep his bald head in peak shape. There's this slick head-razor that'll make it so easy.. even for a busy guy like Lance. C'mon Internet! We owe this to the guy...

Donate now to the Keep Lantzilla's Head Kissably Smooth campaign! (Sorry, not tax-deductible.)

The razor costs $75.00. I'll kick in shipping costs. (And if we don't meet our goal within a week, I will refund your money.)

Update 6/17: We have already aquired enough donations to purchase the less-deluxe, but still pretty cool headblade classic. In all likelihood, I will be ordering the Classic for Lance, unless an influx of support comes pouring in.
Update 6/18: Okay, scratch that last update. As you can see, we're flyin' high... almost there.. so none of that cheap-ass plastic crap for our Lantzilla. Which is cool, cause I really want him to have the kickstand. Cause.. how badass is a razor that requires a kickstand!
Update, 6/21: We're almost there! And on a serious note... I started this 'fundraiser' on a whim (cause I've been wanting to try the Dropcash Service, cause Lance is a genuinely good guy, and cause I figure he's got enough wired-in friends that we'd actually get to the $75 mark.) But I don't want to make light of a seriously worthy cause that our friend Jamison has been fundraising for. All week long, I've felt a little silly, watching the kitty grow for this 'cause', knowing that I'd not yet pried open my wallet for Jamison, a true hero, working toward AIDs prevention and treatment. A true cause. Perhaps one of the defining causes of our generation. Well, I just rectified that. And you can still be a hero too. (Oh, and if you do contribute, I'd like to remind you that many companies offer donation-matching for charitable contributions -- check with your human resources dept. to see if they won't pony up as well.)

June 21, 2005

Product Review: Uniden ELBT 595 Bluetooth Cordless Phone

A fine phone that looks clunky, but has all the features I need. (And some I probably don't.)

Jun 21, 2005 by Bryce Glass Uniden ELBT 595 Bluetooth Cordless Phone

★★★★☆ I had waited almost three months for this phone, after learning of it's impending arrival on Engadget. I've now been using it for about 4 weeks, and I thought I'd share some initial impressions.

I bought this phone to serve as a home-office phone. I've been working out of my home since September of last year, and I quickly discovered a number of features that were lacking in my old office phone: no mute function (this was the most painful); no wireless (makes it hard to slip downstairs for that second cup of coffee during a long conference call); also no speakerphone. These, then, were my minimal requirements for replacing my old phone.

So how does the Uniden improve on my prior sad situation? Well, the mute function is there, and reliable. I'm a little displeased that -- when accessed either from the base station or the handset, it's basically a two-click (software-driven) action to mute or unmute. I would've preferred one dedicated hardware control to mute and unmute. I tend to toggle between the two states a lot -- with two dogs in the house, I can never be entirely sure when I'll need to quickly mute a call. (Squirrel sightings, neighborhood dogs walking by, etc.) Likewise, many's the time when I've been comfortably muted, only to have an on-call colleague throw an unexpected question my way. Two clicks to unmute is one click too many, when each lost milli-second of fumbling makes it seem like you're not following the conversation. So I gotta ding Uniden on that feature.

The phone is, of course, wireless. (Rather, the handset is wireless.) The base unit, of course, remains docked to a land-line. As a bonus, the phone operates on the 5.8GHz band, so I expect (and have observed) little to no interference with all the 2.4GHz devices in our house: our (downstairs) home phone; our wi-fi network; our microwave. Within the limits of the base-to-handset reception, reception and sound is crystal clear. So good on you, Uniden! My second cup of coffee is never more than a mute-and-a-dash away.

As for speakerphone capabilities, I have to give the phone high points. Especially when used through the base station, the speaker is loud (well, loud when I want it to be -- the volume controls for the base station are well-design and nicely accessible) and very clear.

The Uniden handily meets my basic needs for a home office phone.

It adds in a couple bonus kicks, as well: it supports Bluetooth (yeah, Bradley, I know -- it's a dead-end technology), so - should I choose to, I can use it with all the latest ear-dangling dongles and look like an airport executive (read: fool) right here in the comfort of my own home! No thanks -- I'm happy to stick with the speakerphone version of hands-free (for now at least.)

But the really novel Bluetooth feature is what Uniden calls CellLink. It works like this: link your Bluetooth-enabled cell phone (which I unfortunately don't have, as I am trying to eke the last dollar out of my investment in this Treo 600) to the Uniden unit, via the magic of Bluetooth, and you can place calls via your mobile plan (think: free evenings and weekend) but using the far-superior sound quality and stability of the land-line setup.

Unfortunately, as I mentioned, I don't have BT on my mobile phone, so I can't vouch for the superior-sound-quality argument. But I can paint a scenario for you that has me excited. Often, when the wife and I are working in the backyard, we've got THREE dang phones out there with us: our home phone, my mobile and her mobile. (Honestly, we are people who are easily able to ignore the world and not take our phones out there. But quite often we're working in the yard and waiting on family to arrive. Seems like whenever we take just one phone, my inlaws will invitably spend the afternoon trying to reach us on the other line! Argh!

So picture this: with CellLink (And a pair of new phones for me and my wife, that have Bluetooth) I can: Register our mobile phones to the Uniden's base station; Leave them inside, where they will stay clean and dry (and not be lost - I almost potted my Treo in with some coleus once.. but that's a story for another time); and finally, carry ONE handset (the Uniden, which is cheap-but-rugged enough to ride on my belt (with the included belt clip)) out in the yard. Incoming calls on any line will now ring through to the Uniden handset. Now that's handy.

I feel compelled to mention that it is this feature alone that distinguishes the ELBT 595 from it's smaller cousin, the ELBT 585 -- the 585 seems to have all the same stuff, including Bluetooth, just no CellLink. So if you don't need it, I'd recommend you save yourself $50 and buy the 585 instead.

Btw, some boating folks are excited about this feature of the phone too -- full of big ideas about hooking their mobile phone up to an amplifier antenna and getting crazy range, then leaving it all safely stowed in the bulkhead, safe from salt, loss and corrosion. While they carry the cheap (well, about $160 for a replacement) handset around on the waves. And you can marry a large number of handsets to the same base station, so the whole family can monitor incoming calls from the poop-deck. Ah progress..

Anyway, a couple other comments, and then I'm done. (I need to go eat something.)

The Uniden feels solidly built, especially the base-station. There's a satisfying finger-feel to all the controls and buttons. The handset feels a little less solid, a little plastic-ey to the touch, and I'm not convinced that the flip-phone style hinge will hold up indefinitely. I'll report back if it fails.

I'll reserve my biggest criticism, however, for the phone's industrial stylings. Lookit that picture, above, and tell me that 'Norelco' isn't the first thought that springs to mind. I almost thought that 'self-cleaning and knick-free' should've been selling points on the box. So, points off for the looks. But just minor points. Enough to keep me from giving the Uniden ELBT595 a full five stars. But not enough to keep me from loving it.

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That last review was marked up using the hRview microformat (which I was turned onto by Bradley.) The format is super-easy to follow, made all the easier by this slick-as-Love-Lube hReview generator. I am hoping that Bradley will now tip a penny to Lance's Bald Jar, and then I will make Lance promise to write an hReview of the HeadBlade S4. (Complete with pictures.)

June 22, 2005

Mission Accomplished!

Thanks to a last-minute push by a generous donor, we have achieved our goal! Lantzilla will soon be enjoying the loving caress of the HeadBlade (I'll be ordering the unit tomorrow.) Thanks to all who donated! I'll be asking Lance to follow up on his blog, maybe with some macro-zoom before and after shots of his dome. :-)

About June 2005

This page contains all entries posted to Soldier Ant in June 2005. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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