The Entertainment Shack

Jul 27 '06

Madison Flood

After receiving approximately 4 inches of rain in a period of a half hour, it seemed as if the two lakes on the Isthmus of Madison connected together. Almost all of the streets south of Johnson St on campus flooded. The street was filled with stalled vehicles and students playing in the massive street lakes. At several points the water reached up to waist height. Lower-sitting classrooms on campus flooded as well, like in the Humanities and Computer Science buildings, among others.

Park & DaytonMills & Dayton

listed in: humor, madison | Comments (1)


Jul 25 '06

Illinois by Sufjan Stevens

Illinois by Sufjan Stevens


The fact that I'm writing this review at all should indicate this CD is good. I rarely purchase CDs as the iTunes Radio stations and Pandora usually meet my needs.

The indie-pop style music is absolutely beautiful, with its several layers of instruments played mostly by Sufjan himself thanks to the wonders of technology today. The sharp contrasts of volume and instrumental complexity along with the deep and relatable lyrics in his song "Chicago" is what got me hooked on Sufjan. It's the first song of his I heard and I encourage you all to take a listen (then buy the album).

From his relatable and more serious lyrics about life and death like to his more up-beat and nonsense lyrics, there is something for everyone. This is a great CD to pop in when reading a book, taking a drive, or just relaxing on the porch. I'm going to purchase his "Michigan" album as well, and am looking forward to whatever state he sings about next.

listed in: music, review |


Jul 24 '06

New Canon Digital Camera

Side-by-side Comparisons
I got a new digital camera today, the Canon PowerShot SD600 6MP Digital Elph (right). I bought it to replace my 3-year old Olympus 4MP Camedia C-4000 (left). The reason for buying this camera was different than the reasons for buying my old one. I bought my Olympus because of the image quality. At the time, it took top-of-the-line photos with great quality, especially in the dark... and the pictures are still great compared to cameras today. I bought the Canon because the Olympus was way too big to carry around in my pocket, and the startup time was 12 seconds... by the time it turned on, whatever I wanted to take a picture of was gone. The Canon starts up in less than a second.


listed in: life, photography, technology |


Jul 23 '06


Jul 19 '06

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest


I'm not sure what to think about this movie. It has no beginning or end. Although I fully understand (and if you watch it, you must too) that this the middle of a trilogy. However, the movie *could* have ended at this one. The five minutes of teaser at the end leading up to the obvious sequel leave me confused as to why the characters want to continue on, at least the way they decide (it would seem as if there are more important things).

Plot aside, the movie itself is well done. The sword fights are amazing, especially the one on the water wheel. And the special effects are great... up to the last 15 minutes, where it is obvious they rushed to fulfill some sort of timeline. The quality drops significantly.

The movie could also be shorter. The second octopus scene doesn't end.

Maybe I'll have to see the third one to fully appreciate this one.

listed in: movies, review |


Jul 15 '06


Jul 7 '06

I love my IBM Thinkpad x40

IBM Thinkpad X40I love my IBM Thinkpad x40. Weighing at just under 3lbs with the battery life of 5 hours and being the size of a spiral notebook, this ultra-portable laptop has been a breeze to carry around campus.

I am going on my second year of having it. Unlike my friends with Dells, I haven't had to call tech support every other week with a hardware problem. In fact, I never contacted tech support until this past weekend. Last week Friday I noticed weird black splotches on the bottom of my screen. They were not on the surface, as I could not rub them off. They were not bad pixels either, but rather something between the pixels and the outer glass.

I have a 3 year parts warranty, so on Saturday I decided to contact support. I pressed the little blue help button right near the top of my keyboard, and after a couple of clicks I was redirected to a simple online form where I typed in my model number, explained my situation, and hit submit. Within the next hour I was called by IBM to confirm my ticket was received, and was told I would be contacted by a technician within the week (On the form I said my issue was not urgent, but I'm guessing if it was, I would have had a technician contact me the next day).

I received a phone call on Tuesday, and was asked what time I would like the technician to come to my house (house call? how cool is that). I scheduled it for this morning at 10am. Assuming IBM support was just like cable/plumbing/heating, I woke up late assuming the technician would be late as well. However at 10am on the dot she called explaining she was here... but looking for a parking spot. Fair enough. There is nowhere to park by my apartment at all. She arrived just minutes later. I explained my problem and she said it doesn't matter, she is just going to replace my entire laptop monitor. (That's like a $600 part!) So she took my laptop apart and installed the new monitor. However... she couldn't quite get it back together and started to get a bit frustrated, trying to force things to snap together that obvisouly didn't. It took quite a bit of assistance on my part to get it together, but when it was finally done, we turned on the laptop and it worked beautifully!

About an hour and a half later, she left, and when I went to close my laptop I noticed a wire was pinched in the monitor frame. It wasn't that big of a big deal... just a couple screws and the frame pops off, I tucked in the wire, and put it back together. Although the repair woman had quite the struggle putting my laptop back together, and in the end didn't do it properly anyway, I was quite impressed with the service IBM had provided me. I was afraid I would have to send my laptop in, which wouldn't have worked out since I need that laptop for school and work. The house call was the coolest thing ever. I checked the monitor, wireless internet, and the keyboard light (anything that was touched by the repair) and it all appears to be in working order. There are a couple bad pixels in the upper-right of the monitor, but that is to be expected with any LCD screen. Those bad pixels aren't that big of a deal.

I'm not sure if I'm going to be billed for the service (warranty only covers parts), but despite the montir replacement, I'm still extremely happy with my IBM Laptop purchase, and for those who don't want an Apple, an IBM/Lenovo Thinkpad is the next best thing (assuming Lenovo doesn't screw a good thing up).

listed in: computers, customer service, life, technology | Comments (1)


Jul 1 '06