Categories
Tech

Cheap HTPC with XBMC and IR

While browsing newegg the other day, I saw a nifty little gadget called a ‘nettop’ by the name of ‘Revo’. A nettop is essentially the desktop version of it’s cousin, the netbook. Similar to the netbook, the nettop is designed with lower power consumption, small footprint, and low cost in mind. Surprisingly, the Revo nettop (or Acer Aspire Revo AR-1600 as it’s formally known as) makes a decent Home Theater PC (HTPC).

revo_horizontal

Categories
Josh Lyon

Changing the Move-In Ready Home

I was chatting with a co-worker the other day about how we just got granite countertops installed over the weekend and how I was working on switching out all the plumbing fixtures at the same time. We started talking about the different view-points people have on buying homes – how some people look for move-in ready homes whereas others look for fixer-uppers – and I mentioned to him that we purchased our house because it was pretty much move in ready.We knew we needed some little things like window coverings and paint, but didn’t expect any major changes.

It’s funny how that all changes once you move in. We retiled the whole house – which involved ripping out old tile and laminate. We painted a number of the rooms and still have more to paint. We tore out the glass retainer on one of the showers in the master. We painted the whole outside of the house. We relayed sod out front. We installed a red-oak tree out front. We filled in planks on the fence to convert it back to a privacy fence (from a garden fence on one side) and restained the whole thing. We changed out almost all the lights (and fans), but still have a few left. We made a built-in, in-wall media cabinet, mounted the LCD, and started the rest of the home-theater. And the list keeps going!

The more I reflect on it though, these are all really cosmetic things. Laura watches a ton of HGTV, TLC, and other similar networks and on all those shows they always talk about making sure you love the layout and other “fixed” parts of the – not the paint on the walls, the carpet on the floor, or other cosmetic items. The floorplan of the house was somewhat a trade-off for both parties involved (Laura and I). I wanted a new, large, two-story home with large cielings. Laura wanted a more traditional home, with aged character, and was happy with one story.

We looked at a lot of homes with our first realtor, but never really clicked with her. After going out with our second realtor, the home we are in now was one of the first (if not the first) home we looked at. It has a great location – between both our offices, not too suburban but definitely not urban, good proximity to our friends, scenic canals, parks, aquatic center, etc. It’s a two story with large open cielings, which I was interested in, but it’s smaller than what I was looking for at 3 bedrooms and 2.5 baths. It really is a great layout though – with the master bedroom downstairs with a massive attached master bath suite. The floorplan fits our style perfectly and we’ve been adding our touches on everything to make it fit us just right!

Categories
Tech

How to Set Up a Home Network

How to set-up a Home Network:

IP Settings:

  1. Click Start and choose Control Panel
     
  2. Click Network and Internet Connections
     
  3. Choose Network Connections
     
  4. Right-click the Local Area Connection and choose Properties
     
  5. Select Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) and click the Properties button
     
  6. Tick: Obtain an IP address automatically and Obtain DNS server address automatically
     
  7. Click OK to close the box, then OK on the next to apply the setting.
     
  8. Configure the workgroup settings per the next section.

 

 

Note: If you have a My Network Places icon somewhere, you can right-click it and choose properties in substitution of the first three steps

 

Workgroup and Computer Name Settings:

  1. Click Start then right-click My Computer and choose Properties.
    (This can be done if you have the icon on your desktop also)
     
  2. Choose the Computer Name tab and click the Change button
     
  3. Under Member of: tick the Workgroup option and type in a network name, or leave it as the default.
    (Keep in mind, for your computers to see each other on the network, the workgroup names must all be identical)
     
  4. Click OK to apply the settings, then OK again to close the remaining box.
     
  5. You're Finished!
 start menu - my computer My Computer - Property computer name

Click to view the image at its full dimensions (will open a small window for the image)
Categories
Josh Lyon

New Dog – Shiner

So I got a new dog this past weekend!  I can't say that I found the dog, as it's more like she found me (or my brother).

My brother, Jesse, works for Sprint and was at a Sam's Club for the day when a stray dog decided it wanted to go inside the building.  The staff that worked there kept trying to kick the dog out, but weren't very successful in doing so.  They would take her outside and close the door on her, then she would just run around as fast as she could to the other door.

At one point, she even began to use some stealth tactics to try to get in the door.  As a couple of people were walking in, she snuck behind them and tried to walk right in behind them, like she was part of the crowd.  My brother felt bad for her and decided he would take her home, clean her up, then take her to the vet/shelter.  He figured he would probably handle her a little nicer than the guys at Sam's would who wanted to kick her out.Image gallery link at the bottom.

Laura and I were just getting home from having lunch and getting my haircut, when we saw Jesse walking in the apartment complex with his dog, Maddie, plus another one that was just a little bigger. We asked him who she was and he explained the story to us.  We pretty much instantly fell in love with her and decided to go with Jesse to get her all washed up.

She was whining a lot as we washed her, but I think it was only because she was starving and she had to watch Maddie eat a full bowl of food during the bath.  We scrubbed her down pretty thoroughly with some anti-flea shampoo and she looked completely different.  I wish we would have had some before and after pictures, but you'll have to deal with just the afters.

Right when we got done cleaning her, she went straight for the remnants of what was in the food bowl.  We gave her some more food, but didn't want to overdo it and have her throw up. After relaxing and playing with Maddie inside and outside, we took her to the vet to get her scanned for a microchip.

For those of you who don't know, they are now putting RFID microchips in animals so that when they are lost/found you can take them to a vet/shelter and they can scan the animal to get the owners information out.  Sounds kinda Star Trek like, but the future is now.  Turns out she didn't have a microchip and there were no reports out for anyone looking for her.

We decided to have the vet do a full check-up and administer the shots/medicine she needed.  She was running a temperature of 104* F.  It's actually only a degree or two high, as dogs typically run between 100-103 degrees Fahrenheit.  She probably had been eating some bad stuff while she was on the street, which was causing the fever, so the medicine should take care of that and we will have to go back later for her vaccinations and microchip. Image gallery link at bottom.

I almost forgot to mention one of the other sad parts.  When my brother found her, she had a tiny collar around her neck that was almost choking her.  It was probably put on her when she was younger and she got lost and grew out of it.  It was dirty and missing some of the beads on it, so she was probably out on her own for a while.  She's in good hands now, as she's at my girlfriend Laura's place getting pampered and her medicine administered.

Here's a link to the photo gallery:

http://boshdirect.com/gallery/?g2_itemId=323 

http://www.boshdirect.com/gallery/?g2_itemId=454