Jul 252008

Garmin customer support rocks. My 60csx was 2 years old and for no reason wouldn’t acquire satelites. We were on our way to Philly to visit my family when this happened and it was during vacation so it cut down on our geocaching but this stuff happens. On our way down the turnpike I thought many times of throwing the GPS out the window but didn’t

I left it sit at the window all night and still had a blank satalite screen in the morning. I googled for some fixes and ended up figuring out the GPS software was gone. I tried the suggested methods to fix it with no luck. I called Garmin and the guy who answered the phone was nice and helpful. He had my try a couple of things and they didn’t work. He then apologized and said I would have to return it. I asked him how much it would cost and he said he put in under warrantee. All it cost me was shipping and they sent me a replacement when they got mine.

Unfortunately the replacement unit I received didn’t power on. These things will happen though. I can’t really hold that against them because when I called back the guy apologized and they paid for two day shipping each way. It actually took longer than I would have liked but in the end I received one that seemed to be new because it came in a box unlike the other one. Now I can’t wait to get back out geocaching.

I guess my whole point is unlike many other companies who would just tell you that you’re on your own after the warrantee has expired, Garmin fixed it for me with no charge. I can’t imagine any thing I could have done would’ve caused this problem. If all other things are equal in the future when it’s time to upgrade my GPS I will choose Garmin. I just thought I’d take the time to say something nice about a company who did the right thing for a change.

Jul 232008

About 2:00 am I woke up to thunder so of course I had to get up and go watch.  It looked very promising for a good storm with a constant flashing in the distance with fairly frequent flashes close by.  It looked like it had already rained a bit. It was actually nice outside on the porch..  Cool but humid but I’m adjusted to the humidity now.

Things calmed down.. with still lots of lightning in the distance.  I went and looked at the radar and saw that a small cell had formed and a northwest to southeast line of storms was exploding to the west.  The line was severe thunderstorm warned and they mentioned lots of cloud to ground lightning..  I guess that explained the flashing in the distance.

We were under a warning also so I stayed up.  There was occasional nearby lightning with some moderate rain.  I saw the solid line of storms so I figured I’d wait and it would get better.  Now the rain is pretty much just drizzle with some nearby lightning with some light breezes.  First there were some warm breezes from the east or so it seemed then it switched to a cool breeze from the west and the lightning wa becoming more distant.  I went and looked at the radar.  The line  had become a really nice east west solid looking line with a time  break right over us!   Usually that happens with storms moving from west to east here but not ones from the southwest.  oh well..  Maybe next time.  It was a bit of a disapointment but still a nice little unexpected surprise.

Jul 222008

We have tropical storm Dolly which should become a hurricane soon in the Gulf of Mexico.  That should give me something fun to watch.  Looks like it should make landfall as a hurricane near the Texas and Mexico border.  Wonder how much oil prices will go up..

 Posted by at 12:25 PM
Jul 142008

Well I guess our storm shield has ended. We ended up having a pretty nice storm yesterday. Not severe but had some nice wind and heavy rain of course. The rain was not nearly as heavy as last week though. I only measured a quick .3 inches of rainfall.

It did feature lots of cloud to ground lightning. Unfortunately for me most of the lightning was in a direction I couldn’t see from the porch but heard lots of firecalls on the scanner for lightning strikes. I’m kind of glad our house has lots of taller things around it.

A new we were in for a pretty good storm when I heard the constant rumbling as the storm approached from the west. It had a nice look of a squall line too. What I really enjoy about storms we get here compared to what I remember gorwing up is the sky is a lot less hazy so you can actually know when the anvil is moving over us instead of the sun just fading in.

We apparently got heavy rain last night. My vantage pro2 measured about an inch. There must not have been much if any lightning because I was never woken up by thunder. I love the rain but it sucks when you have to get the roof fixed.

Jul 082008

Yesterday was a very humid day and pretty warm too. It featured small thunderstorms popping up all day long but completely missing us. Most of the day they seemed to be focused along the Susquehanna river. They were pretty much stationary but drifting slightly with a south to north component. They almost seemed to be forming along the hills on the river.

By suppertime I had written off any rain for us because the last i had looked at the radar they were weakening. After supper I came up stairs thinking to check my email. As the computer was booting I heard fairly close thunder so shut it right back down.

By the time it shut down I went out side. It was very dark here with bright skies to the north. The dark clouds above us looked low and had that bit of a boiling look to them. By now the lightning was pretty frequent just to out south and south west. and we were getting very heavy rain. for maybe 10 minutes. The rain let up with just a little sporadic drizzle now.

There were lots of random smallish dark clouds in the sky moving in different directions. Now there was a breeze that kept switching directions but seemed the strongest from the west. The clouds rapidly gathered to the north east and after a couple of minutes of that there started to be flashes of lightning off in that area.

The rain let up so we decided to run to the gas station so Molly didn’t have to do that this morning on her way to work.

While getting gas the clouds were rapidly spreading from the North east and the west. On the way home it started to pour with large drops of rain. The rain came down so hard it couldn’t even run off of our front yard fast enough. It just looked like a big puddle.

After that let up the temperatures here were in the upper 60’s with a dewpoint of 66. Not too bad and that made for a good night sleeping sans air conditioning.

I know the NWS had issued a flash flood warning because of radar estimating six inches of rain in two hours. That wouldn’t suprise me at all. We probably had less than a half an hour of rain total and my vantage pro measured .64 or something like that. We were on the edge of the storms and seemed like a few areas were constantly under them.

These storms were no where near severe but it was just cool to watch the life cycle of the storms and besides that it was nice to not get missed completely for a change. Looking at radar afterwords they seemed to have developed along route 30. I wonder if Chickies ridge was just enough to help them develop in t

Jul 072008

The other day I stumbled on a website for a pizza place in our town while searching to see if they have a website with a menu.  I wanted to see if they had anything new.   I always enjoy their food.

What was really disappointing was to see that the whole site is just flash. except for a link to the designer’s website of course and what I see as a spammy area of text with keywords for search engine purposes.  I can’t help but think of the late 90’s when I see this site then cringe to think of it.

I would like to know what the purpose of doing this site in flash was.  I see no redeeming reason to do so.  The print is stuck in a tiny font that to me is not legible.  I can’t change the contrast so I can read it.  I can’t copy and paste the text into another program so I can read it.  The only way I can change the font is to zoom the whole page in firefox and I believe this would only work in firefox 3.

I think the dumbest thing about flash websites is say I want to book mark a page on the website I can’t.  For example on this pizza place’s website I cannot book mark the menu.  If I try to book mark it I can only get the main page then have to click through to find what I want all over again. But the image around the menu changes by it self…. wow

I guess the one thing good about it is it doesn’t have a stupid intro that takes longer that I’m willing to wait. It seems to last only while the flash loads.  If wanted to watch something I would watch tv or choose to watch something online.

The really annoying thing about this web site is doesn’t use the browser’s forward and back buttons. Instead of going back the way I expect I have to go to the menu and click through. If I did accidentally click the back button I would go back to a whole different page.

I hate flash websites. It’s not that I am against all flash sites.. it has it’s uses where it works well. I guess that what’s really important about this site is it looks pretty! Who needs usability if it looks pretty?

Jul 022008

I’ve been using Firefox 3 since the beta versions and have been really pleased with it. It seems to be much much faster than Firefox 2 was with sites loading pretty much instantly. It seems to be a little easier on memory and a lot easier on the CPU for me on FreeBSD.

I really haven’t experienced firefox slowing down to a crawl after opening a bunch of tabs like I did in previous versions. It used to happen with few certain sites that seemed to use a lot of java script. I would get the occasional crash on those sites and have experienced exactly zero crashes so far on the release version of FF3.

I like the new location bar a lot. It took a little getting used to because it worked a bit different than I had grown accustomed to but now I don’t think I could go back to the old way of doing things. It just makes more sense to search the way it does now.

I’m really thankful for those people who work on all of this great open source software out there. They do a great job with it.

Jul 022008

Earth’s Cries Recorded in Space

I saw this posted on slashdot this morning but thought it was interesting.  They talk about Auroral Kilometric Radiation which is caused by charged particles from the sun hitting Earth’s magnetic field.  To me this is what makes science so great.

I wonder if other planets make similar sounds.  I would be interested in what Neptune and the other gas giants would sound like.  I wonder radio would sound like if we could go back in time with a receiver before we had anything that could cause interference. I’d like to listen to VLF myself someday among other things.