Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Sound Blaster Audigy 4

Ahhh. It's beautiful, I thought. Great for recording vocals, guitar etc.
RRP $120 approx

I thought it would be simple to use as my last computer worked ok with a basic crap sound card.

The brilliant Shure SM58 (RRP$290) is the microphone used for recording into the computer.

However...the microphone doesn't show any signal when plugged into the "Microphone" jack and when it is plugged into the "Line In" jack I need to scream loudly to get any level registering.

Aargh!!

The Frequency response of the Shure SM58: 50 to 15,000 Hz so perhaps it isn't compatible with the sound card?!?!?!

Perhaps I should plug in my old Toyoda microphone ($17.50) and see if that works. But that sort of defeats the purpose as the Shure SM58 is a quality microphone and the Toyoda works but isn't really ideal.

Any comments would be very much appreciated.

Help!!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Jamie Oliver is a Genius!?!?!

Has this ever happened to you?



You put the pan on the stove and then it's all so confusing. When do you put the food in?
How hot does it have to be?

Apparently Jamie Oliver has solved all our problems.

It's called the "T-Fal Thermo Spot"

It's quite amazing. There's this dot, see? And then the dot changes colour when it's time
to put in the dull grey Atlantic salmon that has been fed red or orange dye in the last week of its miserable life swimming in its own filth.

But I digress.

Ok, the game's up. It's not a good invention.

It's designed to dumb down the general population SOOOOOOO much that we need some
stupid dot to tell us when a pan is hot.

A pan is hot when it's hot.

If you don't know that, then you shouldn't be cooking in the first place.

I previously had some crappy aluminium pots and they were irritating - burning, smoking,
and generally being a nuisance.

That all changed when I found a Baccarat 8Lt dutch oven.



RRP approx $80 - $100

They are solid as anything and made from stainless steel and a very thick copper base. The heat conducts so brilliantly that you can cook a large volume of food without stirring every 2 seconds. It doesn't tend to burn on and it holds its heat so well that you can turn the heat off and leave the pot on the stove and the next morning the pot will still be warm.

Because the pot is so large you can cook a huge amount and freeze for nights when you can't be bothered cooking.

Brilliant!!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Paypal Spam Strikes Again!!

*Yawn*

You'd think they'd get tired of doing this but I suppose as long as people keep responding, these scumbags will keep sending them.

This arrived in my inbox this morning and is the latest one to look out for:



Can you believe this one? "Please add our address-shown in the "From" line above-to your electronic address book to make sure that important account messages don't get blocked by a SPAM filter."

Er...it gets blocked by the spam filter because...it is SPAM!!!

Good grief.

Think about it in terms of vampires. You add them to your address book, you are inviting them
in and you will be needing a lot of iron tablets.

Here are the telltale signs:

The email address is support@paypal-25.com which is a tad suspicious.

The email came through on the email address that is NOT registered with PayPal. That's a dead
giveaway.

If you are ever unsure about the origin of an email, close it. Go into another window and login to www.paypal.com and check your account.

Whatever you do, please don't click on any links in the email. That is what they want you to do.

And you don't want to make a spammer happy.

I am so tired of spammers trying to unnerve people by saying "your account has received
unauthorised access....blah blah blah" they feed on fear, insecurity and ignorance.

As I said in a previous post, they are all going to hell. And I hope they get LOTS of spam,
telemarketers and junk mail when they get there.


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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

E.T. Phone Home!!!

I love E.T.

Anyone who didn't cry in the bit where Elliot finds E.T. dying has a cold, black heart.

Here are some E.T. goodies:



E.T. Doll

This is the cutest thing ever. My friend had one of these on school camp when we were little munchkins. She cried for a week because she lost her E.T. doll at the beach. Sometimes it's good to revive those things you liked when you were a kid.



E.T. Yo-Yo

Do you even remember these? No PS2 here!! Yep, that's right. Entertainment without electricity. It used to happen a lot more. Next thing we know we're all going to have to plug a cord into our frontal lobes so we can lower our intelligence by watching Big Brother. Big Brother? Does anyone get the 1984 reference or do they just think about what Mandy and Brad are doing in the shower? I think it's dangerous to raise a generation of people into thinking that invasion of privacy and loss of dignity and humanity is the way to operate.

But I digress.




E.T. & Me Badge

Speaking of munchkins, how sweet is Drew Barrymore in this?

*sigh*

I'm off to dig out my rollerskates and listen to my old Madonna tapes.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The Ebay Jinx Continues!!!

I am STILL waiting for this book to arrive (*exasperated sigh*).



I don't blame the seller - I blame Australia Post.

In the last few weeks Australia Post has lost, folded, mutilated or alien-abducted my deliveries.

I think somewhere in central Australia, there is a huge stockpile of stuff I have bought on Ebay.

I added up the annoyance tax, stress duty and worry rates and it all came to about $50.

From now on, I'm using registered or express post. Comparatively it's worth the extra
couple of bucks.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Missionfish - October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

I received an email today from Ashley Gatewood, the Marketing Coordinator for Missionfish.org - who are described on their website as"...the exclusive charity solution provider for eBay Giving Works, and a service of the Points of Light Foundation..."The Points of Light Foundation being a US Volunteer organisation for solving social problems in many communities.

The email reads:

"eBay Giving Works is shining a special Spotlight On Breast Awareness throughout the month of October. Participating sellers are donating part or all of their items' final sale prices to over 80 breast cancer-related organizations, including The Susan G. Komen Foundation and The Breast Cancer Fund. Check out http://www.missionfish.org/spotlight_bca to check out all a girl's favorite things (designer shoes, jewelry, etc.) and more—all to help an amazing cause."

I am quite happy to do a shameless plug for a nonprofit organisation that assists in raising funds for other nonprofit organisations.


I did a bit of resarch and found that:

Missionfish is a nonprofit organization completely separate to Ebay

Nonprofit organisations can participate in "Direct Selling" ie. they can sell unwanted or useless donations and transform it into cash for the charity

Ebay sellers can participate in "Community Selling" ie. they can give between 10% and 100% (minimum donation is now $5) of the final sale price to a charity of their choosing.

If you're not a registered charity or an Ebay seller, you still can buy an item marked with the charity icon to support nonprofit organisations.

It seems like a Win-Win situation to me.


Thursday, October 19, 2006

Vegie Food

I discovered this cookbook at Borders for around $20.


This is definitely the best cookbook I have ever bought. The recipes are simple, easy to follow and elegant. This is not an "I'm on a diet" cookbook which is refreshing. I am often annoyed that some authors think a vegetarian cookbook is for dieters only. I also can't stand the "vegie side dish" cookbooks. Aaargh!!

This cookbook is the perfect shape and size to prop up on your table or bench for inspiration. The first recipe from this book was a chickpea/spinach soup with paprika. The prepared meal looked exactly the same as the photo in the book and tasted better than I could have imagined.

I liked it so much I didn't want to eat it.

The book contains 200 recipes ranging from hearty feta pie to green curry and asian mushroom pilaf. The stuffed mushrooms look delicious, the laksa is mouthwatering and the instructions are simple.

Next on the menu, LAKSA!!!



Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Trekkies Unite!!

Calling all Trekkies (sorry Trekkers)!! Star Trek stuff on ebay at the moment!

Example 1: The Enterprise Blueprints


This is for those of you who know (or want to know) the enterprise better than the production team. It's actually quite unnerving. I'm sure some fans will soon build a working model and film their own show on YouTube!!



Example 2: Insignia with box & certificate



I admit it. I always wanted one of these.



Example 3: Very Retro Klingon Bird of Prey


I can't be sure but this looks 80s to me (E.T. era!!) but..who knows, it might be even earlier. Good idea to ask the seller about that one.

That's enough from me. I'm off to the Klingon Language Institute.

"Scotty, beam me up" (hehehehehe) - Yeah, I know, Kirk never said "Beam me up Scotty"



To quote the immortal words of Captain Kirk...

"I'm from Iowa. I just work in outer space."

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Thursday, October 12, 2006

Yoga/Pilates Mat

These mats are the sort of thing you talk about and never get. Well, not me!!

I needed to find somewhere to put my pretzel-shaped body while doing my yoga moves.

I had limited space and very small budget - the average mat seemed to retail for about $30-80!! It seemed a little out of my range. All those super-slick Yoga and Pilates specialty stores seemed to mark them up just a little too much.

Then I stumbled on a blue one almost identical to the one in the picture. It was at a daggy hardware store at a ratty shopping complex in deepest darkest Rowville (shudder!).

The price tag read $4.

I was aghast. And delighted.

I thought "Wow! This is great. I can buy this here and pretend I got it from a snazzy Yoga store and no-one will ever know....er"

Like it matters.

Anyone thinking of buying one, try the rubber stores and the hardware stores first.

Happy Shopping!!

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Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Nathan Bond Artwork

I like to support original artists - this particular item is on Ebay at the moment. Click here to check it out.

If you want to check out the artist's homepage click here
It's called "Painting Everyday" - the artist Nathan Bond is based in Brooklyn, New York.

I like the artist's style of painting and the way he focuses on a single object as the subject. Also I love the use of colour- very bold.

My favourite one is "Manzanilla Olive" - for some reason I am obsessed with olives!!

I think it's great these paintings are getting sold - a blog + ebay can be a good gallery and shopfront! Hopefully more artists will become better known via the internet as well as
through the traditional channels.

Tiger Woods 2003 - The Best - Forget the Rest!!

It's funny how Playstation keeps bringing out "New and Improved" versions of this game.

I first discovered this game waaaaaaaay back in my early Ebay bidding days. In fact, it was the second thing I ever bought.

I got PS2's Tiger Woods 2003 for around $15 - a bargain.



The game has incredible playability - the action is easy to get used to and the analog shock controllers add excitement to the whole experience.

The graphics are pretty amazing - the game really draws you in - thunder in the background, rain falling, birds hooting or strange sounds in the distance make it an all-encompassing experience.

The game can be played for years if you ask me - I'm still not sick of it, and I wasn't even much of a golf fan when I started!!

The commentary is hilarious - David Feherty and Bill Macatee have a riotous banter which often had me giggling out loud.

Eg. "This putt is like hot snot out of a chrome nostril..."

It's sometimes hard not to laugh while taking a shot.

The music is great as well - Silverchair(Australian! Thank you), Ra (I had never heard of this band before but they are pretty good) and other heavier rock acts.

Some people have complained about playing a conservative game with a rock soundtrack but I think why not?

Tiger Woods 2004 has added various rap stuff and quite frankly it's nowhere near as good.

The courses in 2003 are beautiful too: Pebble Beach, Black Rock Cove, Spyglass Hill, The Highlands and don't forget the Royal and Ancient St Andrews - to name a few.


The Predator (complete with elephant noises and running waterfalls)



Black Rock Cove


The characters are just that - characters! Many have a legend behind them.

Hamish "Mulligan" McGregor - named due to his incessant cheating.


Or Domenic "The Don" Donatello - named because he makes his opponents "disappear"

You get the idea.

It's a game for those with a sense of humour.

Tiger Woods 2004 is all flash and dazzle and the graphics are supposed to be better but they actually come across as lame. The soundtrack is infuriating and the commentary is flat. Even the characters seem to have less personality.

The new additions for 2004 include "Game Face" - a feature where you can fashion your own likeness on to the screen and play as "yourself"

Seriously. This is creepy. It's very unnerving to see a quasi "You" on the screen. Kind of Voodoo-ish. Don't go there.

Tiger Woods 2003 is the best version of this classic game. The other versions are just the same game with extra fluff around the edges.



















Friday, October 06, 2006

Spammers Burn In Hell!!

What fun.

This is the latest one to look out for (click to enlarge):



It's very sneaky in that it has links to the spoof email tutorial. I didn't click the link from the email and neither should you - this just verifies you as a target for this sort of nonsense.

I'm tired of fake email tutorials.

I'm tired of idiotic spammers who ask inane questions and expect you to give your credit card details for "verification" purposes.

I have a simple solution.

Get all the spammers together in a big group.

Make a big fire underneath them.

Toast marshmallows.


I'm sure they'll find out what it feels like soon enough.



Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Exhibit L - Nokia 2600 Cover Update



It arrived. Hooray!!!

However....(*sigh*) the little white buttons you see in the picture are shoddy.

The black writing on the buttons is already coming off. What a scam!!

Luckily I like my original buttons much better so I kept them instead. If I had not wanted to do this I would have been really annoyed.

I gave the seller positive feedback because I couldn't be bothered with anything else. It took ages to arrive and when it did the buttons were flimsy and smudging.

Instead of worrying too much I have put this one down to experience and hopefully my run of bad Ebay luck is over.

VERDICT - Hmmmmmm!

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Wish List

If you are having trouble reining in the shopping urge and focusing your attention on what you really want, you might want to try the wish list method.

You make a wish list (say, starting with 10 items). If it is too difficult to prioritise the list (I can't decide!!!) then write them in random order.

Here is an excerpt:

1. Mobile phone (Nokia - must have speakerphone,)
2. Microcassette recorder (Not auto reverse!)
3. "The Last Precinct" - Patricia Cornwell
etc.

You may be amazed at how quickly the items manifest as you focus your attention on them.
I have found that over 25 items on my wish list have appeared since I first wrote the list.

You will also find that it will weed out the features that you don't want in each of your wish list items.

Try it! Write a list of 10 items and see how fast they appear.

Happy Shopping!!

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