85 Degrees and no A/C

Tonight, our house’s central A/C unit froze up.  I noticed just after 8pm that it was really hot upstairs.  I checked the thermostat on the first floor, which was reading 80 degrees.  It was set to 72.  The A/C was running hard, but the air wasn’t coming out cold.  I looked downstairs and all the refrigerant lines were iced over.  Even the outdoor valves were iced over.  Quite a feat when it was still close to 90 degrees outside.  After three hours of thawing, I let it run for 25 minutes to see if it was working again.  The temperature was 80 when the time started and still 80 when it ended, so we’ll have to get someone out here to look at it.  It looks like we either have a very dirty indoor coil or a refrigerant leak.  Not fun with the current forecast.  I’m going to sleep in the basement tonight where it’s about 74 degrees at the moment.

Computers Faith

vtONE site redesign

vtONEI just finished a redesign of the vtONE site. Take a look and let me know what you think. And yes, I borrowed extensively from the recent redesign of this site.


Beach weekend

Buried in the sand with one of my best friends, MichaelThis past weekend, my extended family took a trip to Virginia Beach. Vicki and Jim, my dad’s cousin and her husband, and their daughter Jessica opened up their beach house to my grandpa, my parents, my sister, one of my best friends Michael, and myself. We enjoyed a quick weekend of beach activities with perfect beach weather. It had been years since I had been down to the beach house, which was once my great grandparents’ home, so it was fun to see the old place and get a chance to swim in the beach. I went to the beach last summer, but in my opinion, California beaches are much too cold for swimming.

I also enjoyed getting the chance to spend time with Michael, since I hadn’t seen him since the semester ended.  We took turns burying each other in the sand, like you can see in the picture above.  I still need to get my sister to send me the pictures of Michael buried in the sand.


Another thought before I go

I need to become more decisive.  I can make big decisions, but I have a very hard time making little decisions and it tends to pull me down and drag me through the mud.  If you catch me being very indecisive, please call me on it.  It’s past time for me to do something about it.


Out of town Saturday and Sunday

I will be out of town and likely without internet this weekend, so don’t expect to hear from me.  Hopefully, I’ll have some more in-depth posts ready for you all when I get back.  I’m also hoping that there will be less pollen in Virginia Beach than there is in the DC area.


Putting out fires

Long day at work today.  Our file server is having issues.  No data loss, but I don’t see the resolution yet.  And the server room air conditioning blows right in front of our rack.  It’s only 71 degrees in the room, but it’s really 65 and breezy where I stood most of the day.  Hopefully, I can update this post tomorrow and say everything is back to normal.


50,000 miles!

50,000Today on my way home from work, I turned my car over 50,000 miles. She’ll be 5 years old on October 28. While we’re on the topic of cars, I’ll add that I’ve never paid $3 or more for gas. Given that the average price in the area is about $3.10, I may have to break that before the end of the summer, but I’m hoping to hold out.

I updated last night’s post about General Sada. Trust me. You want to listen to the recording.

Car General Music Work

Car upgrade and fiasco

My least favorite part of working at Digital Sandbox is the commute. This morning, I had my fastest morning since we’ve been located near Worldgate. It was about 40 minutes. My commute typically takes between 45 and 65 minutes, usually about 55 in the morning and 45 in the evening. The office is a little over 20 miles from my parents’ house in Springfield. That’s Washington traffic for you.

On Monday, I started my fourth summer working for Digital Sandbox. The commute gets a little worse each year, and the current office is a little farther from my parents’ house than either of the previous locations I’ve worked at. One of my personal conditions on going back this summer was that I would do something to improve the commute. The radio gets worse every time I come back, and I stopped listening to it on an at all frequent basis in January 2003. My CD player is a good friend, but I’ve wanted a wider range of options in the car. I decided that I would either get an iPod or XM radio for the car.

Either would have to be properly installed and look good. Also, because of its trapezoidal shape, I didn’t want to replace the car’s head unit because a replacement stereo wouldn’t look as nice. That meant that my best option for getting the sound into the head unit was the PIE HON-AUX98 input converter. This little box plugs into the CD changer input on the factory radio and tricks it into thinking that the CD changer has a disc loaded and playing. On the box, it has a set of audio inputs that can be used to get the iPod or satellite radio sound into the head unit.

Now that I had the problem of getting the sound into the car system solved, I had to choose between iPod or XM. The XM hardware has really come down in cost–I almost bought one over spring break, but in the end, I decided that I wanted to be able to listen to my podcasts in the car. The original plan was to buy a black iPod nano and attach it between the steering wheel and the climate controls. However, two things foiled that plan. First, the iPod nano is slightly too wide to fit in my selected space. Second, the price difference between nano 4 gigabyte ($250) and iPod 30 gigabyte ($300) was low enough that it made me want the larger capacity. My iTunes library is currently just under 19 gigabytes, so I could fit all my music on the 30 gig model. However, for just $100 more, I could put all my music and all my data files (~30 gigabytes) on the 60 gigabyte model. With my academic discount, I bit the bullet and went with the biggest one of all: the iPod video 60 gigabyte, plus a gooseneck car mount/power adapter, a case, and the input converter. I didn’t seriously consider other mp3 players because I use iTunes and very occasionally the iTunes music store.

Mistake and the final socket placementWhen I returned to the Washington area on Sunday, I had all the parts waiting for me in boxes. Got the iPod syncing with my computer. Getting the car apart was another story. Two hours after starting on the car project, I had a working input converter. However, the second power outlet that I tried to add ended up stuck in my dashboard, half in, half out. Trying to put the second power outlet in also resulted in a blown fuse, making both power outlets useless.

Finished installA week later, I finally install the audio jack in a panel near the original power outlet, where the iPod holder now lives. I also relocate the second power outlet to under the dashboard at floor level on the passenger side of the car. With both jacks installed, I’m able to put the car back together for now. I’m going to find a plastic panel to replace the one that I drilled the hole in, but other than that, everything is installed and working well.

Click an image to enlarge

Current Events Faith Politics

Iraqi Air Force General Speaks

Georges SadaTonight, I heard Iraqi General Georges Sada speak about what God is doing in Iraq. Sada is an evangelical Christian, who was a top advisor to Saddam Hussein, and should have been killed many times for things that he told Saddam. He told many interesting stories about how he met Saddam (giving him a ride home in 1965, when he was carless and not in power) and how the stories that we hear about Iraq over here are not accurate depictions of how much of his country is today. Also, thousands of former Muslims are giving their lives to Christ now that it is legal for them to do so. Sada recently authored a book that explains Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction (both chemical and biological) and what he did with them before UN weapons inspectors returned in 2002. Even though the interview with him is over an hour long, when the audio is posted on the web, it will be a must listen. I’ll post a link when it’s available.

UPDATE: Download the audio here. MP3, 19.1 MB, 83 minutes.

Computers Music

Meet Marzipan

iPod VideoNow that I’ve had her for a week, it’s time for me to introduce the newest member of the family. Meet Marzipan. She’s a 60 gigabyte black iPod Video, named after the Homestar Runner character of the same name. Yes, all my computers have Homestar Runner names.

  • Homestarrunner: the wireless network with WPA encryption
  • Coach-Z: my laptop–Dell Precision Workstation M60
  • The Cheet: Myth box–small Shuttle, hard drive is currently dead
  • Trogdor: my desktop–Athlon XP 2000+
  • MarzipanThe King of Town: the heart of Project 503, my arcade machine–Dell PIII 450
  • Strongbad: Konica-Minolta Magicolor 2300 DL network printer
  • Marzipan: 60 GB iPod Video
  • Homsar (retired): my original Dell Precision M60, which sucked. Horribly.