Add Monitors w/out Extra Video Cards

Bwana sent me an article about a USB display adapter. Before this device existed, if you wanted to connect multiple displays to your PC you would need additional video cards in order to do it. Not with this cool little gadget! Just plug it into a USB port and connect a DVI cable into a display and voila! It display a max resolution of 1600x1200 on up to 6 monitors (you will need one adapter per display). With a price tag of $150 it's probably better to just buy cheap PCI video adapters if you have additional empty PCI slots. However, if you use a laptop then it's an ideal way to add more displays to it. Still a cool gadget, nonetheless.


We Made It!

Finally, a new post! Well, we finally made the move to Jacksonville! We've been in the new home for a little over a week and a half, and are more or less settled in. The first weekend we were here, Jose and David helped me to unload the PODS we rented (that's singular not plural). Bwana even came by and visited for a little while, just in time to help us hang up the blinds!

I also installed a ceiling fan in the master bedroom over the course of several days. I really only had a chance to work on it in the evenings, and much trial and error was involved. I installed the same kind of fan in the office bedroom, and it took much less time. I actually was able to do it in just an hour or two after work one day.

Yesterday, our new desk arrived and Sheila and I put together that very same evening. The old desk we were using had seen much better days, although it was a pretty cheap-ass desk to begin with. We were up until about midnight putting it together. I was determined to finish the job, because I felt bad for Sheila being at home all day without Internet access. If it wasn't for my work laptop, I think we probably would have hooked up the computer and just used it on the floor.

We have just two more major "upgrades" to do to the house. This Saturday we're having a sprinkler system installed, which our lawn is badly in need of. Next Wednesday we get our water softener, because the water in Jacksonville is nutoriously hard. Along with the water softener we're also going to get a reverse osmosis filtering system for the sink.

Last week we closed on the sale of our home in Davie. Although we didn't get as much as we would have liked, I really cannot complain too much. Of course, the closing was Thursday afternoon and the banks were closed on Friday for the Easter holiday. Monday I got a call that there was a problem with the wire. Apparently Bank of America uses a different routing number for wires than they do for handling checks and ACH transactions. Fortunately, we had our money by Tuesday.

All-in-all we're all doing pretty well. Sheila is adjusting to all of the nature surrounding us. I think she's already gotten used to hearing the geese in the morning. Gabby is having fun running all over the house. Gatina is adjusting and spends most nights sleeping between us. I'm still trying to get used to working in a different office, after having worked in the Boca Raton office for the past seven years. The first week it felt like I was just visiting. This week it doesn't feel quite so much like a temporary visit. I'm sure by the end of the month it should become routine.


Upgrade to New Version of Blogger

I was finally able to upgrade to the new version of Blogger yesterday. I think I have the template more or less looking similar to what it looked like before. It's great how the new version is designed to be modular. This makes it very easy to update the template without having to insert manual code. So far I'm really pleased with it, and it is certainly a major improvement over the old version.


Saving the World, One Light Bulb at a Time

A few weeks back, I read an excellent article about compact fluorescent lightbulbs, or CFLs. Although they have been around for a while, they have improved drastically in recent years. They come on nearly instantly, do not make any noise, provide constant and consistent light, consume much less electricity than traditional incandescent light bulbs and last MUCH longer. According to the article, they are so energy efficient that if every household in the U.S. (110 million) replaced just one single incandescent with a CFL, it would be equivalent to taking 1.3 million cars off of the road!

The article describes a campaign Wal-Mart is launching to promote General Electric's CFL products. Wal-Mart is aiming to sell 100 million CFL bulbs over a 12-month period. If successful, it could actually help everyone at the pump. Sheila and I have started doing our part, and have replaced at least a dozen incandescents with CFLs. I bought some of the GE bulbs at Sam's club, for less than $11 for 8 of them.

Unfortunately, they are slightly taller than traditional bulbs, so there were a few light fixtures where they wouldn't fit. However, today we went to the Home Depot, and I found some bulbs that were slightly smaller. We brought them home, and sure enough they fit just right. As it turns out, the bulbs we bought at the Home Depot (n:vision brand) actually work even better than the GE bulbs. The GE bulbs take about a half-second to come on, but the n:vision bulbs come on instantly. The n:vision bulbs are also rated for 10,000 hours, whereas the GE bulbs are "only" rated for 8,000 hours. The n:vision bulbs were slightly more expensive. I think it was about $7 for a pack of 4. I think due to the longer life and more responsive turn-on time, the n:vision bulbs are probably worth paying a little bit more for. So do your part, save the environment, help lower the price of gas, and buy CFLs!


jsierra.net Federates with Google Talk

I recently set up Google Apps for Your Domain for my domain. At first, it seemed it wasn't possible to set up the required SRV DNS entries with GoDaddy. However, after looking around the Total DNS Control Manager, I saw it was possible to create custom DNS entries by adding TXT entries. I just set the value with the information as required by Google, and it worked like a charm. I was even able to set up Gaim to work with my jsierra.net chat account:

  • Screen Name:
  • Server: jsierra.net
  • Resource: Gaim
  • Password:
  • Use TLS if available (enabled)
  • Connect port: 5222
  • Connect server: talk.google.com
Gaim didn't work right away. Eventually it worked. I don't know if it was something I did in fooling around with the settings, or perhaps the new DNS entries hadn't yet propagated.