Using Live Search Maps for address lookup

 For work today I had to help someone figure out how to link our building database application to web based mapping software.  As of recently I've become bored with Google Maps, and spent time looking at Live Search Maps, since they have a bunch of web based tools for adding thumb tacks and a neat 3D view (which is kinda freaky).

First I found this Top 10 Cool Features in Live Search Maps and from there, I was able to figure out How to build a URL for Live Search Maps.  And from that you find out that you can just add any street address to a static URL and get the map and from there, someone could get directions.,%20CA%2092130&v=2&style=h

Which breaks out into:

Static web site:
Variable address to map: 10945%20Vista%20Sorrento%20Pkwy%20San%20Diego,%20CA%2092130
Static display options (zoom/map style): &v=2&style=h

An example of one of our buildings

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New Silent PC for Me

So originally I was going to buy a CyberPowerPC computer.  But after they took 20 days before shipping it to me, and messed up my plans to goto Vegas, i decided to take the parts list to and buy the parts myself and put the computer together.  I ended up saving money on the purchase (even including the tax, that I was avoiding with the CyberPowerPC).  In addition, I was able to add silent CPU + GPU fans to the order, as well as getting an Antec Sonata 2 case, that offers a quiet solution for my computer.

Motherboard: EVGA nForce 680i 122-CK-NF68-TR
Processor: Intel E6600 2.5Ghz Core Duo 2
Video Card: EVGA GeForce 7300 GT 512MB
Memory: 2x1G Corsair CM2X1024-6400
HDD: SATA: 160GB Primary, 500GB Seagate ST3500630NS
Case: Antec Sonata 2 - Ultra Quiet 450W Case (Piano Black Finish) 

Additional Cooling:
CPU Fan: Zalman 9700 LED
GPU Fan: Zalman ZM80D-HP
Zalman ZM80D-HP
Older Zalman ZM80C-HP


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Saturday Night Sabbat


Originally uploaded by SDTJ.

This Saturday, I had a couple people over before Sabbat to Pre-Party, and to meet my Cousin Ryan, who was in town. He ended up not able to come, but we did get to pre party a bit, but utter schenanigans broke out at our afterparty as my collection of Burning Man hats became the thing to wear around the house, as well as getting Yoda into as much fun as possible.

Here we see Alexia feeding Yoda a drink... after helping climb into the ceiling fan. What happened next is reminicent of the Muppet Movie...

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Moving iTunes Libraries

Every so often, I get calls from people about how to move or backup their iTunes libaries.  For the most part, backing up your collection to CD/DVD is probably the best.  And by backing up, I don't mean making audio CD's, but rather using the built in feature from iTunes to Back Up to Disc...  This lets you backup your entire iTunes library, or only iTunes Store purchases.  The later is the most critical thing for anyone that has purchased things from Apple iTunes.  I strongly recommend doing this often, since it should all fit on a very cheap CDR.

Once backed up you can take those CD/DVD's and restore your Library to another computer.  It keeps your playlists and media intact.

Another way, is to modify the libary files directly, which can be tricky.  But there is an article on Life Hacker that covers this.

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Macintosh Dock running on Windows

One thing that I find Macintosh people are attached to, is the Dock... which is funny since its a new concept for OS X.  There are a couple free solutions that provide a 'simular' featureset for Windows Users.  I find its a bit annoying because besides LOOKING like the one on the Macintosh it doesn't do some of the key 'usability' things that the Macintosh one does.

The key issue here is that its not hooked into the OS. 

  • So it doesn't know when you launch an application.  It does if you tell it that you started it, but thats it. 
  • You can't see launched apps show up in the Dock, and then Drag them to a section of the Dock for them to stay there perminantly.
  • There is good support for dragging icons from the start menu to the Dock
  • I right click on a running app in the dock to kill the application... um... it just killed the Dock, not the application
  • Um, only the Apple applications (iTunes) seem to have hi-res graphics... unless you run Vista then things like Windows Media Player have hi-res application icons.
  • No dynamic resizing of the Dock size, so that the icons appear smaller... they just start pushing off the side of the screen.
  • What does work is dragging a word document to the Word application and it launches like expected.

My current favorite is Rocket Dock

Other Docks

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Bad Santa Bus

This years Bad Santa Bus was a HIT! We had tons of fun. Check out the pictures on Flickr

Originally uploaded by SDTJ.
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New Years Eve 2006

This years New Years Eve party was excellent. Again we did an 80s theme (much like we did 3 years ago), but instead of going as Magnum P.I., I went as the silent half of the Eurythmics. Rachel's outfit was most recognizable, but I was surpised by the number of people that knew who I was. Then again, there were ALOT of people that didn't know that it was me... which is the way I like it. It means I have done my costume well when people that know me don't recognize me. After a bit of chatting everyone figured it out. 🙂
Pictures of New Years Eve 2006

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Desktop Backup Solutions for Home

Backups are the one thing that EVERYONE forgets to do, and is the most important thing a computer owner can ever do with their computer.  The Hard Drive is the key piece of your computer that has a 'moving part', infact, it spins usually at 5,400 to 10,000 revolutions per minute (RPM).  And it holds everything important, and useful about why you have a computer.

I have evaluated several, and here are my two suggestions, one is 'online internet backup only', and the other is more of a swiss army knife, many options tool.

Connected Data Protector
- Online Backups over the internet to a secure location.  We use it to backup desktops at Work.  Runs all the time on your computer, so you don't have to 'think' about doing backups. 

- This has monthly recurring costs, but is always available, even if your house burns down, or gets robbed.

- Local and Online Backups - This is nice because you can setup backup tasks to DVD, or external USB Drive, and not pay an additional annual cost.  Very worth the $29.95.  I run this at home, with just the local backup, but will be signing up for the 1GB ($49.95 a year) backup service as well.  With the online mode, and backup to usb drive do not require any 'thinking' after you configure it.

- This solution provides an online service, which does have a recurring cost, but is completely usable with local storage and devices for a fixed purchase price.  If you don't use an online service, you have no 'outside your house' backup incase of a fire or robbery.

I am personally using Memeo for backups at home, as it allows me to backup to local disks, and remote locations.  The most recent version has dropped the support for FTP site backups (which allowed me to backup key files to my hosted website in an encrypted format), I will miss this feature.  But still its a very good solution.

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80s New Years Party

This year I'm going as: The Eurythmics

Hot Topic - Seems to have the Ties and Suspenders

Buffalo Exchange - Local place in San Diego

Retro mens and womens clothing, levis, denim, poly tops, vintage party clothing, 50s, 60s and 70s, hip styles, 1900s, textiles, Victorian clothing and costuming-San Diego.

FLASHBACKS -- Offers retro and current styles plus 60’s and 70’s party clothes. Buy. Sell. Trade. One of those truly interesting vintage shops. 3847 Fifth Ave., Hillcrest , San Diego, CA. (619) 291-4200. M.-Fr. 10 AM - 8 PM; Sat. 10 AM - 7 PM; Sun. 11 AM - 6 PM.

FROCK YOU VINTAGE CLOTHING -- 1940’s to mid-1960’s men’s, women’s clothing and accessories. Hip side of 60’s and 70’s opening in 2nd half of store this summer. 4121 Park Blvd., North of University Ave. before El Cajon Blvd., San Diego, CA. (619) 220-0630. Wed.-Sun. Noon - 6 PM.

RAGS THE FASHION EXCHANGE -- Vintage and resale men’s and women’s clothing; also current styles. 541 University Ave. , Hillcrest , San Diego, CA. (619) 566-0212. M.-Th. 11 AM - 7 PM; Fri., Sat. 11 AM - 8 PM; Sun. 11 AM - 6 PM.

WEAR IT AGAIN, SAM -- Buys and sells very high quality clothing and accessories for men and women from the 1900’s through the 50’s. Specializes in special event and party clothing. Also deals in high quality textile items. Shop online. 3823 Fifth Ave., between Robinson and University Ave., Hillcrest , San Diego CA. (619) 299-0185. M.-Sat. 11 AM - 7 PM; Sun. 11 AM - 6 PM.

VINTAGE CLOTHING & COSTUMING. - Michael Payne, former owner of Life’s Little Pleasures. North Park area. (619) 295-8017.

THE RETRO -- Fun, funky, functional and always fabulous. Large collection of qualityvintage, men and women, 40’s to the 80’s. Also, vintage furniture, linenst, collectibles. Plus a quality costume collection for Halloween rental. 4879 Newport, Ocean Beach , San Diego, CA. (619) 222-0220.

OLD CUSTOM INC -- Vintage levis. 8268 Miramar Rd., San Diego, CA. 92126. (858)566-0212. M.-Fr. 9:30 AM - 5:30 PM.

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Smog Check

Well I've owned my car long enough that I now need to get a smog check. After reading through the letter that the DMV sends you I found that they have an online database that you can search for finding a "Test Only" smog place. Which usually means faster test time (20 minutes), and less money ($45.00). 🙂

Auto Smog
5780 Miramar Road
San Diego, CA 92121
858 546-1933

To find a Smog Check place go here:

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