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Personal

Music that makes you dumb

Neat article…. Like freakonomics, it’s not clear whether it’s a cause or effect, but enjoy! (SAT scores are X axis)

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Personal Technology & Gadgets

Firefox deletes cookies every time I exit

Well, I figured I’d put in a helpfully named post to solve the problem that other folks have reported. Mahalo incorrectly lists only the obvious solution (make sure these settings are true before you implement the solution below)

It is NOT a settings issue, it is a bug in Firefox (I’m using various versions of 3.x, currently 3.0.11).

Symptoms: Regardless of your security settings, all cookies get deleted every time Firefox is closed.

Cause: The cookies.sqlite database has become corrupted. (older versions of FF use a cookies.txt file)

Solution: Close Firefox, find cookies.sqlite and delete it (in my case, in C:\Users\[username]\AppData\Roaming\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\[some obscure name]\cookies.sqlite under Windows Vista x64, SP2).

That’s it.

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Personal

Demon door locks on a Volkwagen

Well, I’ve learned a lot about car maintenance already on the Jetta… I changed my oil, air filter, oil filter last weekend, and my wheels this weekend.

And predictably, things are starting to go wrong.

I have the Mark IV Volkwagen Demon Door Locks problem. The local mechanic said I’d have to replace the entire lock assembly for 2+ hours labour and $190 parts…. So I took a rubber mallet to the edge of the door (listed as a temporary fix) and sure enough…. Works like a charm. I know I’ll have to take it apart and resolder per the link above, but for the time being, I’m happy, and cheap.

So next project today is getting rid of my squealing brakes…. The local mechanic couldn’t hear it at all, this is probably why. I’m going to try to remove and reassemble my brake pads and grease them.

Of course, I didn’t mention that maybe pressure-washing the wheel had a deleterious effect on this noise.

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Personal

April snow storm

Sorry, little late posting. So my buddy Mike B. came up to fix his computer, and ended spending the night because we got 20 3/4 inches of snow and he was driving on no-season radials. Coming into Boulder, there was almost nothing the next day.

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Self portrait early on.

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20.5 inches (see the gallery for the money shot of the ruler at 20 3/4)
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Back deck
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Back deck, see the indentation from the hot tub? There was over 20 3/4″ on the back deck, and using my quick math, I realized we need to shovel off the hot tub cover first thing the next morning with the weight on it.

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Personal

Stand by me

Just watch it… I really liked it.


Playing For Change | Song Around The World “Stand By Me” from Concord Music Group on Vimeo.

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Personal

Literate driver

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On Iris after the traffic light
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Weaving around the lane on diagonal

So I’m on my way from Boulder to Longmont for my weekly trivia fix. I pull up next to this minivan (Silver Voyager 655RHD), and the driver’s reading a book at the traffic light (on Iris). I figure, OK, she’s just reading the book, clearly a novel of some length, and she’ll put it down when the light turns green. Nope! She keeps reading the book, looking up every few seconds to the road, as she got onto the Diagonal between Boulder and Longmont. Much amused, I (carefully) took a couple of snaps of the car and driver (which, of course, she never saw me taking, as she was concentrating on her book). I finally honked at her when she drifted into my lane, so that I would have had to take evasive action. In a huff, she put down her book and started driving. She got off at Airport Road, so I figure she lives thereabouts. If anyone recognizes her, please let her know that reading while driving is, well, you know… (and I’m wondering if she does it with her 2.4 kids in the minivan too?).

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Personal

First Rally Cross in our car

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Cassie and I competed Saturday at our first rally cross using our new dedicated race car (we were renting, believe or not, from some of those companies you find at DIA). It was a riot, and everyone was really supportive, friendly, and helpful, as usual.

We ended up purchasing a Volkswagen Jetta 2002 GLS 1.8T for a number of reasons, after consulting with the Colorado Rally Cross e-mail list, where many helpful (and a few hilarious) suggestions were proffered:

  1. I have long legs, German cars work well for me.
  2. I used to own a Audi A4 1.8T quattro, so am familiar with the engine and the modifications possible on it.
  3. There’s a number of Volkswagen repair places in Boulder.
  4. The vehicle is a practical, decent car with plenty of oomph, that could easily be used as a primary car if needs be.
  5. The Jetta came with two sets of tires and rims (winter tires are the “most” you can use in stock category)
  6. It’s two wheel drive (front). Subarus dominate the AWD categories, and I wanted to perhaps start against less competitors in a category not overrun with overpowered WRXes. I’m hoping this choice allows Cassie and I to be a little more competitive in this class.

On our fifth run (of 12), the check engine light turned on. We were horrified, as we hadn’t even started abusing the car yet. Had we made a huge mistake buying a dedicated race car, with almost no automotive repair experience or skills?

Fortunately, within 5 minutes, the extremely helpful folks who attend Colorado Rally Cross events had a) diagnosed a loose mass-airflow sensor hose, and b) reset the check engine code. How cool is that? What a great crowd these people are!

I highly recommend rally cross to anyone who has a desire to race a car, in a safe, fun environment. Try it, you’ll thank me. It’s one of the cheapest of the automotive sports. There’s no danger of collision, as you race the clock (not other cars on the course at the same time). Speeds are relatively low, as the course is on the flat, in an open area, with sharp turns around traffic cones. Stock vehicles (i.e., unmodified) race in their own class(es). I have found the entire community very supportive and friendly, especially towards newbies such as myself. What’s not to like?

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Personal

Hearing of a teenager

Train Horns

Created by Train Horns

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Personal Technology & Gadgets

Making stuff work in Vista x64

I recently converted my Dell XPS 420 from Vista x32 Ultimate to Vista x64 Ultimate SP1 (Dell shipped me the correct DVD when I asked for the 4th time). Obviously, a lot of stuff doesn’t work out-of-the box, but a little research did wonders:

Alternatives:

  • Cisco VPN -> Shrew Soft VPN (64 bit optimized)
  • CanoScan Toolbox & Drivers -> VueScan

Optimized for 64 bit:

  • 7-Zip
  • Firefox (called Minefield)
  • Internet Explorer (installed with OS)
  • MediaCoder
  • Adobe Illustrator CS4, Acrobat 9, Photoshop CS4,
  • K-Lite CODEC Pack
  • NVIDIA drivers
  • iTunes
  • Paint.NET
  • Logitech SetPoint

Doesn’t work in 64 bit:

  • Flash on 64 bit browser (you need to use the 32 bit browser)
  • Plugins for 64 bit FireFox (IE Tab)
  • Cisco VPN
  • Dell drivers that make icons look like the flash drive they represent (i.e., they all appear as Removable Disk, versus SD-card, etc.)
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Personal

No-Tech hacking

From Defcon 15 (hackers conference), a great talk (~1 hour) about hacking techniques using no technology.