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Free xmltv EPG Data for EyeTV, save the $20 from TV... code {border:1px dotted gray;background-color:white;padding:10px;display:block;} I wanted a free programming guide for EyeTV, and while I had some time to tinker, it's better to waste your time tinkering...


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File compression primer (With .jpg examples for Adobe... Compression Compression typically looks for patterns and stores references to them. So, imagine you're storing the following text which is 151 characters long: He went to the store.  She bought...


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Win a Macbook Air

Posted on : 09-19-2011 | By : Andy | In : fun, religion

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Shameless plug here, but the publisher of Accordance Bible Software is giving away a Macbook Air. I’d love to win it, and if you click on my referring link here, you help me earn chances to win…and also can enter to win yourself.

Speaking of which, Accordance Bible Software is just plain awesome. I love using it for sermon prep and original language work. If you’re looking for some hardcore Bible Study software, I definitely recommend it! Their library is not as fully developed as something like Logos, but the Hebrew and Greek tools with it are worth the price of admission.

…but you came here to win a macbook air!

Vibram FiveFingers Bikilas Review: Overpriced stuff that I nonetheless love (OSTINL)

Posted on : 05-31-2011 | By : Andy | In : fun

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Usually, I like to save money on stuff. I visit slickdeals about every day, just in case something I need (or will need soon) shows up on sale. Every once in a while though, I find myself spending too much money on something just because it’s awesome.

Case in point: my Vibram FiveFingers Bikilas. Normally, $100 for a pair of running shoes is NOT out of the question. When you consider that the actual materials in this shoe are pretty dang close to just a pair of rubber socks, $100 seems overpriced. Nevertheless, I love these shoes.

My dad has run quite a few 10k races in his day, and done well with them. My brother runs marathons. My legs are the same as theirs, with one small difference: I have a bent bone or two in my foot that collapses my arch and severely overpronates. This means if I run very often or very far, my knees start killing me. Ankle braces and knee braces help a bit, but are such a pain to put on that they keep me from running. (seriously!)

Then one day I saw a friend of mine in toe shoes. I asked him about them, and ended up ordering a pair myself. They’re awesome.

I don’t have the time or desire to spell it all out here, except to say this: these shoes have almost nothing to them, and are designed to let your foot act as if it were barefoot, just without all the sharp pokey things in your sole. You know, the way God intended your feet to work. Wear them for a bit and you discover parts of your feet that you never knew could be sore before. Then your muscles and joints and things strengthen up a bit, and finally you end up running on the balls of your feet rather than your heels. The end result is less impact, less joint pain, and the pleasure of feeling like you’re running barefoot (minus, of course, the pokeys). For me, it means my first run in these suckers was met with no knee pain. Beautiful!

The good and the bad: All the attention your feet get in toe shoes could be good or bad depending on how you look at it. The only real problem I found is this: if you wear them barefoot, they stink. A lot. Solution: when they start to smell (and they will!), drop a effervescent denture cleaner in each one, soak in warm water overnight, and then toss them in your washing machine and air dry (hint, don’t get the mint-smelling ones. Mint feet are gross). I hear wearing toe socks can help too, but that gives you less of the barefoot feel. Your call.

Bottom line is: yes, they cost more than Sketchers. But they may save you a ton of joint pain, your feet will gradually start working the way God intended again, and people will think you’re cool, unless you live in an area where they’re already all the rave (in which case you’ll just look like a trendy jerk. But a trendy jerk with healthy feet at least!) My recommendation to you is get some, but make sure you read about the dangers of having too much fun in them too quickly! (see the link below)

For more on barefoot-style running and minimalist footwear, feel free to check out birthdayshoes.com. Caution: the info is great, but advertising abounds!

new super mario bros wii review

Posted on : 11-20-2009 | By : Andy | In : fun, pop culture

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You might have read the reviews, you’ve probably seen the commercials. They’re all true: New Super Mario Bros Wii is one of the best Wii games ever made, and absolutely superb for multiplayer. Here’s why:

The graphics are pretty, the controls work like they’re intended to–it’s a very polished game. The game goes out of its way to make sure newbs aren’t totally lost or frustrated, and it’s challenging and deep enough to satisfy any gamer who ever enjoyed a Super Mario Bros game on any system. Other than being the most fun Mario title to date (and the truest evolution of Super Mario Bros for the 21st century), this true-to-its-roots 2D scroller has a few features to keep the non-hardcore-gamer from pulling their hair out.

  • multi-player capability is guaranteed hilarity. most fun i’ve had in a LONG time playing a video game, even with people who are very bad at the game. why? if you’re about to die, or can’t get past a particularly difficult jumping sequence, you can put yourself in a “bubble” and safely float forward to join your more skilled friends. no more crying that you can’t make it past that part–as long as there’s at least one person alive and not in a bubble, you’re ok. if everyone “bubbles” or dies at the same time, you’ve got to start over. this gets to be quite funny when you all start bubbling and the last guy panics and bubbles, or jumps off a cliff!
  • throwing people and jumping off their heads can lead to some very, very fun and competitive gameplay, or if properly done, teamwork doing these same things can make some difficult unlocks or sequences much easier.
  • if you die too many times on multiplayer, you can watch a video to show you how to do the level.
  • as you earn large coins, you can spend them to watch videos that show you how to find secret goals and powerups. then you don’t feel like you cheated when you search the internet for the same info, because you earned it!
  • as you play through the game, you don’t have to always use the same number of players. that is, if you beat 4 worlds alone and save the game, the next time you turn on the game you can pick up where you left off with 1, 2, 3, or even 4 people! if you’ve cooperatively beat most of the game with a friend, you can come back and earn all the extra stuff you missed alone later.
  • Penguin suit and propeller hats rock

this game is a total win. you simply MUST buy it.

Best. Web Hosting. Ever.

Posted on : 08-04-2009 | By : Andy | In : fun, tech

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Back at the end of 2005 I was looking for cheap shared webhosting. If you’ve ever been in the market for such a commodity, you’ll know it’s a complete crap shoot: there’s about 40,000 options that all look the same, cost the same, and yet offer widely varying levels of service and support.

All of them have complainers out there moaning about some issue or another, because frankly, people only talk about stuff when bad things happen.

…or, when good things happen!

Long story short, I chose webhostingbuzz for my shared web hosting, because it was loaded with features and extremely reasonably priced. Good choice.

  1. I got great service at a great price. Been with them since about December of 2005, if that says anything. Perhaps more telling, I also set up a couple of websites I built for a client on WHB (The Bookends & The Great Exchange)
  2. I just won an iPod touch from them! Yes, my friends, they held a sweepstakes and I won an iPod Touch. As if I wasn’t happy enough already with their service, I am now the happiest WHB customer out there

All that to say, if you’re looking for shared hosting, virtual private servers, or even a dedicated server, you definitely want to check out WebHostingBuzz.

PNG fix for IE 6 – finally one that works.

Posted on : 05-06-2009 | By : Andy | In : fun, tech


(Well, sort of).

I’ve been coding a new template for a new venture I’ll be embarking on over this summer break, and I wanted it to look all nice with alpha’d png images. IE6 hates those things.

Despite the fact that it probably won’t matter (most of my traffic these days is Firefox, and the direction I’ll be headed is for more tech-savvy and mac users), I hate leaving little things untended.

So…. I looked, and looked, and looked for a script that might work for my pngs in IE6. Supersleight wasn’t flexible enough, (the jQuery plugin would have done the trick, but for it for some reason it did not work at all for me) and so I kept looking…

Some dude made it work. Nicely. Check it out if you’re frustrated with other solutions.

IE6 PNG fix

It claims to work even for repeating backgrounds, but I haven’t tested that. I did verify that it doesn’t work well for backgrounds on tr and td elements.


Twittering with Growl

Posted on : 02-23-2009 | By : Andy | In : fun, tech

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If you’re comfortable with trying to use Terminal (or curious to start), you can get your twitter updates via growl on OS X. If you don’t know what growl is, you’re really missing out. Get it here — it updates you unobtrusively with program status messages that might typically show up in a popup box or embedded into a program window, or not at all.

Once you’ve got growl, you’ll need to make sure you have Ruby 1.8.3 or higher.

You’ll also need MacPorts to make this work right: Install MacPorts

  • If you have 10.5 Leopard, you’re set
  • If you have 10.4 Tiger, you’ll probably need to update:
    1. Open a Terminal window and type in the following command, hitting return at the end:
      sudo port install ruby

Now, we’ll install some stuff that we need for our script to run. Using terminal, enter these commands (Hit return after each one)

sudo port install rb-rubygems
sudo gem install xml-simple
sudo gem install ruby-growl

(If the “gem” commands don’t work, you may need to restart terminal before running them)

Provided this all went well, you should be ready to install the script. Download the Squawk Scriptand move it into your home directory (looks like a house in finder if you’re totally lost here). This file is thanks to damien, but I had to make a tweak for it to all work right. You have to edit the file with your login info:

sudo pico ~/squawk.rb

It should be obvious where to put your email address and password.

Finally, run your script!

ruby squawk.rb

If you want to run it in the background on startup, check back later. I’ll be posting on this shortly.