Monthly Archives: March 2005

Blue Floyd

Spotted a plug for Blue Floyd in a the pinkfloyd2 group at Yahoo. Their sample cuts sounded pretty interesting, almost like cross between Pink Floyd and Phish. They were in the Syracuse area a few weekends back; unfortunately, I couldn’t talk anybody in going to the show.

Somehow, I stumbled on the fact they’re taper friendly. The delivery medium this time around was flac (which I’ve used before) over BitTorrent (which I haven’t crossed paths with previously). I started off with the client recommended by the etree folks (Azureus), but I couldn’t get it to play nicely with my router/firewall. It hit 10’s of Kbps, and said it wouldn’t get much faster until you let other folks swarm download from your copy.

So, I grabbed the official BitTorrent client for Windows XP. Holy crap, what a difference. Started off pretty slow, less than 10KBps. But ramped up quickly to 550KBps! Might be helped by the fact the boot I was interested in (the Syracuse show, hehe) was brand new and had a lot of seeds. The next show I’m downloading is currently grinding along at 8Kbps.

Enough with geek stuff, on to the music. Blue Floyd is quite an interesting concoction. Part Floyd, part blues, part jazz, part jam band. They seem to like to start off with a Floyd tune, different into some other songs and jam sessions, and work their way back to Floyd in the end. I can imagine these guys would be pretty good to see live, but I also think they’d kinda attract a stoner crowd (I’ve been to way too many Dave Matthews concerts). If you’ve got a little time kill, they’re definitely worth the download.

TrackMania Sunrise

I got wind of TrackMania Sunrise via a recent CNet update. Its basically a 2005 version of the game Stunts (that’s the only Stunts related page I could dig up in a quick Google search) we though was all the rage back in 1993. I thought the graphics were too good to be true (see these screen shots), so I was tempted enough to suffer through the 209Mb download. The original Stunts fit on half a floppy!

Looks and plays fine on my non gaming optimized pc (2.8Ghz, 1Gb Ram, old video card). The instant replays with vapor trails are a hoot. It has some interesting stunts like upside down jumps and jumping vertical surfaces that I haven’t seen before. The 3d stuff is also very well done; I like how you can skip across the water at bit before you sink in.

Didn’t have time to mess around with the track editor yet. But, team that up with network multiplayer, and you could have a grade a hoot-n-nanny of a time. Geez, I think I might have to drop the $45 on this complete waste of time.

Update – A few links down on that Google search page was a link to a downloadable version of Stunts. The page claims that its Abandonware, but I’m not sure, so download at your own risk.

Cool Link: Transparent Screen Backgrounds

Here’s a cool link (via Slashdot): Transparent Screen Backgrounds. Take a digital picture of the area behind your monitor, crop and resize it until lies up visually with the area of your computer screen, and set it to your desktop wallpaper. Some of the example are pretty wild.

I’d try it myself, but with my Windows XP dual monitor setup, I get the same wallpaper on both screens. Anybody know of any utilites that allow you have different wallpaper on each screen, like you can with Gnome/KDE?

Customer Service, Done Right!

After recent trainwrecks in the Customer Service departments when dealing with Time Warner Cable and Sprint PCS, I happy to report a good customer service experience. I don’t wanna make it seem like all I do is bitch about crappy service, I wanna make sure to hilight when customer service does work.

The DMV catchs a lot of flack for long, slow moving lines and less than helpful reps. But, in my recent experience, I had zero wait time and very helpful service. Sandy and I are still working on getting her car stuff transitioned over to new post marriage status. This included stuff like insurance, title, and registration. The insurance part was pretty much as I expected. A little time consuming but not too painful. I expected the DMV stuff to be a giant hassle.

After find the appropriate forms on the their website (which is laid out pretty well), I was a little confused on just what I needed for documentation. The first time I went to the DMV, I explained the situation and they let me know that I was short one item on the required documentation (a copy of Sandy’s license).

Since Sandy had to make her own trip to the DMV to renew her license anyway, I wasn’t at all put off by the missing document. When we made it back to the DMV last night, Sandy went in start renewing her license while I removed the plate from her car. When I walked in, her number was just being called. So, I headed over to the window with her.

I knew technically, this is not the way to do it, because the front desk person directs you to the appropriate service person for the action you’re doing (one person handles renewals, another handles registrations, etc.) The service person we went to called me out on trying to cut the line with the registration stuff, but quickly said she was just kidding. I said that I didn’t wanna cause her trouble and would go back in the queue. She insisted that it wasn’t really a problem and said that if she go caught doing the registration, she’d just say the front desk misdirected me. She handled both tasks perfectly.

So, 10 minutes and $100 later, everything is legal again, cool!