Monday, December 31, 2007

Upvert DVD Player

A while back I spotted a Philips 1080i DVD player at Walmart for $40. It was small, thin silver box that I found it intriguing but wondered if we should replace our current standard DVD player.

I meant to someday test out the a player to see if it really made a difference in viewable screen size. Well, my wife surprised me by getting me one for Christmas. So I got to test it out and it does increase the viewable movie on our TV by approximately 18%.

My test involved Lord of the Rings: Return of the King Extended Edition with the 1st DVD being played in the old DVD player and the 2nd in the newer DVD player. I then used a ruler to measure the increase in height of the picture. The movie still does not fill the entire screen so I guess that occurs when HD or Blu-ray movies are displayed.

Hopefully, I will be able to test this out soon.

Sunday, December 23, 2007


I was reading Peggy Noonan's column in the Wall Street Journal from December 21, 2007 and came across this line about how Americans now feel, "The lives they lead are good, and comfortable, but they sense deep down that the infrastructure of our good fortune is in many ways frail,"

This statement seems so true to me even though her column was about Mike Huckabee and a commercial he made. As an American, I feel we are very fortunate and prosperous but uneasy that this state of existence cannot last if we do not change our habits and behaviours.

What am I doing over Christmas break? Well raking leaves, fixing things, studying, cooking, and looking at rocks.

Recently, someone brought me a vaporizer I gave them last year. It was not working like it should and they wanted me to look at it. Well, after taking it apart, the heater elements were caked in the material shown. Just a guess, but it could be salts, calcium, and other minerals from the tap water. I used a pair of pliers and a screwdriver to break it away from the element.

The next picture is from a rock taken from a quarry. It has a small section of pyrite that has started to oxidize. The ruler is showing centimeters.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


Reading the Wall Street Journal today on page A6, there is a half page ad from AMD. Using Yoda who says, "Amaze you we will." Yoda tapped the force and AMD stock almost rose 4% but he will need to do more to pull them out of the swampy muck. Yahoo Finance is showing they lost $4 a share.

You can learn more about AMD's new ideas at where more information about their code-named Spider project. It seems to be a gaming platform that uses ATI graphics technology they acquired in their merger with a new processor called Phenom. Cool name for a gaming processor.

They also mentioned Youngwoong Jang who won an award for an eight minute film, Mirage. More info can be found at He is from School of Visual Arts in New York City and they appear to use AMD Dual Core Opteron computers for development.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


It seems every time I go to the U.S. Post Office there is a line to mail packages. Granted not everyone there is mailing maybe they are there to pick up something or get a money order or what not. What triggered this post is that the automated postal machine has hardly anyone using it.

I guess that is good for me in that I got to mail my package pretty quickly using the automated machine. The one thing I would change is if I could type in the address so it could be printed on the label. While I was preparing my package after generating the label another person used the machine while it seemed like there maybe 13 people in line to get personal help.

Afterwards I visited WalMart and used their automated check out system. It worked well which is great since something always seem to mess up on that system (e.g. cannot read UPC, UPC not is system, some sort of attendant override needed).

Sunday, December 09, 2007

My First Cartoon

Here is my first cartoon that was inspired by reading the Wall Street Journal one day. I need figure how colors work on Corel Painter Essentials which would allow me to draw the sky.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Picture of Evergreens

Here is a digital picture of some trees I drew. This is a fragment of the larger picture but it did not turn out so well.