Man Sells Video Game Collection On eBay For $1.23 Million

If I sold the several hundred video games that are floating around the nooks and crannies of my house, it would probably go like that Gamefly commercial… “OKAYYYY… WE CAN GIVE YOU $9-“

This guy, on the other hand, appears to have made his hoarding habit pay off :p

Man Sells Video Game Collection On eBay For $1.23 Million – 104.5 and 96.1 The Point Sheboygan’s Hit Music.

It’s not “Back to the Future,” but getting closer… Inventor turns plastic trash into liquid gold | Video | Reuters.com

Okay, it’s not the Flux Capacitor, but who says science fiction doesn’t predict future technologies?  Remember at the end of the original “Back to the Future” movie when Doc Brown starts stuffing trash into the Mr. Fusion appliance to fuel the Delorean?  Well check out this Reuters story about a company in the Philippines that’s collecting waste plastic from landfills and breaking it down into fuel!

Inventor turns plastic trash into liquid gold | Video | Reuters.com.

Mobile Phone Alert: Free wifi calling is a double bonus – save money and improve reception at home!

If your mobile phone wireless carrier offers free wifi calling, check it out! It could save you money, relieve stress, and give you better at-home wireless coverage!

stickynote tech services' business lifeline: the blackberry bold 9900

In order to use wifi calling, you need a phone that supports it like this Blackberry Bold 9900.

As a small business owner with limited funds, I worry about the cost of my mobile phone bill, especially since my mobile phone is the lifeline of my business and I often get into lengthy conversations with customers on it.  Of course I could cut those calls short but that would be at odds with my mission to provide a superior level of service and responsiveness to my customers. However, I do worry about going over the magic minute mark and possibly getting whacked with extra charges.

So imagine my delight when T-Mobile, sent me a text message announcing that they were offering free wifi calling for supported phones on their network.

What is wifi calling?  It’s the mobile phone equivalent of Skype or Vonage, where instead of calling through the carrier’s 3G or 4G network (what most people still refer to as the cellular network), your phone is set up to make calls over the internet using your home wireless network.

T-Mobile does a great job of getting the word out about free wifi calling.

So I rushed to the link on t-mobile’s website that promised the free wifi calling feature, and frankly, found it a bit difficult to decipher. They didn’t offer much in the way of instructions except for a list of phones for me to pick from. Okay,  I chose mine, the Blackberry Bold 9900 and clicked it, expecting to be taken to a page that would say yes or no wifi calling and maybe some instructions for how to enable it. But instead, it just delivered me to a page that displayed a link stating that a software (OS) upgrade was available for my phone and then listed links to the Blackberry user manuals.  Apparently T-Mobile feels that sending me to the manuals is adequate guidance… ummm not in THIS America!

t-mobile web page showing manuals and software upgrade link

Here's where T-Mobile could have been a little more user-friefndly by letting us users know that the software upgrade is the key to enabling wifi calling!

Of course I don’t give up so easily and just a short google search away, found on crackberry.com, that my phone does indeed support wifi calling, but it needs to be enabled by my carrier. Ok, back to the T-Mobile site where I once again followed the path through the woods to the page for my phone.  Still no clues from T-Mobile (not that I expected anything to have changed, but thought maybe I just missed seeing something the first time around like an “enable wifi now” button). So while searching I noticed the “software upgrade available” button again and decided to at least get that done so I wouldn’t feel like my efforts were wasted.

I initiated the software upgrade directly through my phone and it took about 2 hours to complete. When it came back up, lo and behold! there in the upper right corner was the wifi calling icon, and within minutes a message popped up on my screen explaining how wifi calling works. You know… they could have just said something on the website like “to enable wifi calling, download this lastest software update” …

Anyhow, the first benefit to wifi calling is that calls through my home wifi network don’t use plan minutes and don’t cost extra. This is perfect for my home-based business where most of my longer calls take place while I’m at home sitting at my computer.  The second benefit is that my indoor wifi coverage is about a zillion times better than my indoor 3g/4g coverage, so I no longer have to do the sit-in-the-chair-by-the-front-corner-of-the-house-and-lean-towards-the-window-because-that’s-where-the-coverage-is thing.

Now don’t let me mislead you, wifi calling is far from perfect. First, it’s only as good as your local wifi connection and if you frequently lose your wifi connection at home, consider upgrading your wifi router as an unreliable connection will translate directly into dropped calls.  Second, at least in the case of T-Mobile’s implementation, there’s no handoff between wifi and 3g/4g which means if you go out of range of your wifi network during a call (eg if you leave your house), the call will be dropped.

However, if you take and make a lot of calls at home and have a reasonably reliable wifi network, free wifi calling can not only make things cheaper and easier, it can also give you a little respite from that constant worry over plan minutes!

 

 

 

Try my addiction. It will change the way you see the world!

I have a confession to make.  I am an addict.

scallop shell on beach

This close-up was taken with the camera nearly on the sand and only about an inch from the shell

What started as a young child’s fascination, marveling at larger-than-life photos of ants blown up to monster size in the pages of Encyclopedia Britannica, transformed to full-blown addiction in the mid 70’s when I discovered how to shoot close-up with a super-eight movie camera borrowed from my high-school’s AV department. Back then, close-up photography with a still camera required special lenses and complicated manual camera settings and you’d have to be somewhat of a photo geek to pull it off. However, all that changed with the advent of the highly automated digital camera, and suffice it to say, my addiction has been fueled in recent years thanks to the ease with which such photos can now be squeezed off in rapid succession.

This morning glory "heavenly blue" appears to be lit from within. This was shot about an inch from the flower.

Today’s breed of digital camera, and even some cell-phone cameras now feature fully automated close-up or ‘macro’ modes that make it simple to do and with spectacular results that will have you enjoying your own addiction in no time!  Most digital cameras support a mode of close-up shooting called “macro” mode.  This is typically chosen from a menu or directly selected via a button on the camera and is almost universally indicated by a tulip symbol.

 

This diminutive mushroom was captured larger-than-life in Mansfield's Great Woods by lying on the ground alongside a moss-covered log - well worth the effort.

Now if you have tried selecting macro mode on your camera but found that it won’t focus, it’s probably because you’re shooting your subject from too far away. On most cameras, when macro mode is selected, you need to get your camera lens down close to your subject, usually as close as a couple inches or less from your subject.  Okay, so what does this mean? For me it means a lot of crouching and laying on my belly to get ultimate shots of moss or mushrooms or other miniscule wonders of nature. You can start however by shooting flowers or other objects closer to eye level.  Some cameras are totally automated and will handle everything when macro mode is selected. Some, however, are not so user friendly and will let you choose conflicting settings that give you frustratingly fuzzy results.  Here are a few guidelines to help get you on your way towards being a full-blown addict yourself:

This picture demonstrates the power of macro photography. In the top image, a small pebble can be seen inside the red box. Below is the same pebble shot from about a half-inch from the lens.

– When shooting in macro mode. make sure your camera’s zoom is set to the ‘W’ or ‘wide angle’ setting.  Zooming in while in  macro mode will just confuse many cameras and render out-of-focus results.

– Plan on getting your lens close to your subject. As close as an inch or less. Better cameras will shoot distances to a fraction of an inch. You can experiment with your own camera by placing a penny on your dining table and moving the camera closer and farther away (within inches though) and observing when it will focus and when it will not.

– Don’t expect your flash to be useful for lighting your close-ups because in most cases, your subject will  be so close it will be in the shadow of the lens.

– The effects of movement are greatly exaggerated when shooting close up. Use a tripod or monopod where practical to steady your hand. Trying to shoot a butterfly or bee on a flower? Unless you have a high-end camera, save it for a windless day. Shooting objects up close when the wind is moving them generally will give disappointing results.

– And finally, keep an open mind about your subject. The thing that makes macro photography so fascinating is not necessarily what you expect to capture, it’s the unexpected surprise that gives you that “wow!” photo you may have never thought you could shoot.

Now go find that tulip symbol on your camera and get out there and shoot something amazing!  And if you become addicted?? Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Shooting in macro mode offers unparalleled detail rarely observed by the naked eye. This squirrels stash features marble-sized acorns in crisp detail.

P.S.  To truly appreciate the detail in these images, click them to enlarge!

 

 

 

Old Tech Device May Be Greatest Exercise Machine Ever Invented

What if I told you that you could get a workout equivilent to an hour on the treadmill and a sun tan better than any flourescent tanning bed while also getting some fresh air, catching an earful of chirping birds, enjoying the smell of fresh-cut grass, and getting your lawn mowed – all at the same time?

The modern Reel Mower is lightweight, and features easy-rolling wheels all around instead of the heavy wooden rollers of it's predecessors.

Enter the old-tech device that, like the sewing machine, is a mechanical marvel of the industrial age. The device I refer to is the Reel Mower. The reel mower was a staple of childhood for those of us who have been around long enough to remember black & white television. Unlike it’s successor, the rotary mower, the reel mower had no gas or electric motor, and was powered entirely by the effort of its’ human operator who pushed it across the lawn. Called the Reel Mower after it’s large spinning blade reel, it was customary in the burgeoning suburbs of the 60’s and 70’s to find kids out wheeling one of these things around the lawn as part of weekly chores before they could go play on a saturday morning.

Back then, although it had no engine, the mower was very heavy with parts constructed of thick steel and with large wooden rollers along the back and often also having heavy wood or iron handles with oaken grips shaped to the contour of your hands. Pushing that thing around on the lawn was truly a workout.  It’s no wonder there was no childhood obesity problem to speak of back then!

A few years ago, I saw that local hardware stores and home improvement stores were starting to carry reel mowers again, after decades of offering only gas-powered rotary mowers.  Feeling a bit eco-minded, and maybe nostalgic too for the whir of the blades and smell of fresh-cut grass without the roar and stench of a gas engine, I decided to buy one.

stickynote tech services

The business end of the reel mower. Note the rotating blades or 'reel' that lends the mower its name.

The first thing I noticed, was how remarkeably light the new mower was.  Thanks to the use of plastics and modern lightweight metal alloys, my new reel mower could easily be lifted with one hand, and pushing it was hardly a chore!  The second thing I noticed was something I had forgotten in my nostalgia, probably the ultimate reason why the reel mower was made obsolete by the rotary mower. Unlike the rotary mower that cuts by spinning a blade at high speed and effectively “whipping” the tips off the grass, the reel mower relies on the grass being pulled up by the reel against a stationary cutting blade that, like scissors, shears the grass cleanly between the reel and the blade. The flaw in this design is that grass that is too tall, does not properly draw up against the blade and instead gets pushed over and left unshorn.  This is why when we were kids, the mowing wasn’t finished until you took the Dandelion Whip and cleared out any stray grass or weed stalks that were too tall for the reel mower to cut.

A Portion of my back lawn freshly sheared by the reel mower. This is about a twenty-minute workout.

Okay, well, so that was a minor inconvenience, easily remedied by doing a “first cut” of the season with a gas powered rotary mower, and then continuing with an every other day or every third day regimen of mowing with the reel mower.  And so it goes, that I have given up sweating indoors on a treadmill while watching TV and breathing stale air in favor of the comforting whir of the reel (think Edward Scissorhands), the invigorating scent of fresh cut grass, and the sun’s warmth tempered by a cool breeze.  And although there’s no motor and no electricity, no memory chips, hard disk, or CPU, the mechanical workings of this device are sufficient to pique the interest of my inner geek. I can’t wait for it to break so I’ll have an excuse to open it up and see how the gears and such all work together to turn human energy into a beautiful lawn.

 

Star Wars Invades Famous Works of Art….and The Office « Geektroverted

These are Hilarious.  No really.  You don’t even need to be a geek to get a good solid rofl out of these pictures :)

Star Wars characters invade these famous works of art and a bonus picture of The Office reimagining the painting “A Sunday Afternoon”.

Click here to see  Star Wars Invades Famous Works of Art….and The Office « Geektroverted.

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