Monday, December 29, 2008

Busy Week

I'm working on a few long-running projects this week. I'm taking a break now from a rather gruesome round of housework. Lots of shelves and bins are being reorganized.

I'm still working on my big LEGO/robotics project for February as well. I might bring a different computer than originally planned - some issues with software are scaring me a bit as far as getting the older machine ready goes. No programming has been done yet (which I'm really disappointed about, but I'm sure I'll get to it soon).

Anyone interested in buying Bionicle parts in bulk? I have way too many of them out right now and I'd be willing to sell half-sorted things of it fairly cheap ($10-15 for a full gallon bag).

E-mail Address

Just a quick note - if you'd like to send me an e-mail, my spam-ready personal e-mail address is

Yes, I really don't mind just printing it here and letting the spammers get it too - I'm pretty happy with Gmail's (Google Mail in some countries) anti-spam feature, and pretty darn trusting with it.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

How Seagate Ruined Christmas

Ever thought it was about time to invest in a good external hard drive and start trying to back everything up? My family started trying to earlier this year. Another big project we did last year was digitizing all the Christmas music we owned and putting together a several-days-long playlist of just the recordings we like (which could be played in random order and enjoyed while decorating and on Christmas day).

...the seasonal material was put on the same fancy expensive drive that we were planning on using to back everything up.

Thanks a lot Seagate - thanks to your unusually short warranty and incredibly shoddy product, we now have no backups of any data, no chance of getting stuff backed up now that we finally have time off to try backing files up, no Christmas music (at all) and we're out more money than we want to think about. We'll never buy one of your crummy products again.

A whole terabyte drive, shiny and new, less than a year old. We had barely started actually backing things up on there. The most expensive external drive we ever bought. It was all a waste - and for extra fun, it's colossal failure was the first thing we woke up to on Christmas morning.

Seagate, don't you care about your employees safety? When you sell such an obscenely bad product, you risk the lives of your employees. I'd certainly like to strangle anyone I could hold responsible for this - and this was a relatively minor failure, with most of the data existing in another location (of course, it's extremely unfortunate that we lost all of the Christmas music on Christmas day - and yes, we had the drive working just last night).

I hope all my readers are having a happier and much less quiet Christmas.

Of course, it's still not much of a silent night around here - we're still panicking about losing the drive and arguing about just how much money was wasted buying the huge drive that we thought would last many years instead of just a few months. Also, every few minutes I shout something else about wanting to kill any Seagate employee I meet from here on out, just to hold someone responsible (alternatively, a few thousand dollars for our time, trouble, and expenses might calm me down a bit, but I can't promise anything).

Figures - I spend so much time worrying about losing data and thinking I should back more files up, and it's the EXPENSIVE BRAND-NEW drive that turns out to be garbage. I repeat - DON'T buy a Seagate product. Also, if you're a deranged madman in a Santa suit, try to find somebody who's responsible for putting Seagate products on the shelves. I'm sure at least some of their employees don't have bodyguards.

If you need me, I'll be here trying to verify that we didn't lose even more data than we think and trying to put together some sort of Christmas playlist for the family to enjoy tonight - and tomorrow. Yes, Seagate, because of you, all gifts had to be delayed and Santa was told to come a different day. You really ruined the year for us - and 30 years from now, the next generation in our family will be hearing about the year that the expensive new Seagate drive died and postponed Christmas.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Reference Photos

Found myself searching a bit for some local landmarks that would provide good subject matter for LEGO displays. What's the point of having LUGs be regional if we're not going to show some local color?

Here are a few photos I liked and thought should be saved somewhere, perhaps somewhere public where other people in the group could see them.

J.S. Dorton Arena (no idea where to start here, but we discussed a few potential things to try at a dinner meeting a while back):

The NC State Wolfline buses look like a fun thing to try:

I need a good photo of the other side, but I count 5 windows on this side:

Will need to buy black train windows - probably about a dozen of them for each bus - to do this. Anyone have extra locally? I'm pretty sure that "smoke"/"trans-black" glass should be easy to find for that as well. Red and white, of course, are pretty darn common LEGO colors. I doubt any other University bus would be this easy to attempt (getting the details right is where building skill comes in, of course).

I love how these look, but I don't know if it could reasonably be done in LEGO form:

Now that this is posted publicly, I can also point to it should anyone ever arrest me for suspiciously taking photos of buses. See! It really is just a LEGO thing.

If you want to talk stalkerish, though, anyone else been to Scotts Ridge Trail (or really, any road in the Scott's Mill subdivision) in Apex, NC? Cool houses, mostly in "sand" colors and quite buildable in LEGO form. Last time I was there, I even spotted a house in medium blue with Fabuland-y accents. If I were to try building one of these, though, there'd always be the off-chance that somebody there might see my version of their house - now that would be creepy.

On an interesting sidenote, I bought a stack of LEGO catalogs and magazines off a kid in that neighborhood once. We actually talked a little about the unusually bold colors in that neighborhood, and about how we just can't build beige buildings. His parents joked that we could try using their house color, but clearly they don't know how rare sand red is!