Art School Confidential

I love to find quirky offbeat films otherwise known to some as "art house films". Films I've seen in "art houses" that fall into that distribution channel have been works such as Donny Darko, Amelie, Rabbit-proof Fence and Life Is Beautiful.

Art School Confidential attempts to make the cut as an art film but falls flat as sort of an occasionally funny bit of satire. With a cast that includes John Malkovich (who also was one of the film's producers), Jim Broadbent and Anjelica Huston one would have hoped for a better production, but this one really fell short of the mark. Granted it had many funny moments and to be frank, I think it is an enjoyable alternative to shallow thrillers like Mission Impossible III and The DaVinci Code.

My recommednation is to do something different and go see this film.

Apple iPod, Nano and Shuffle review

We now own all three Apple iPod models through a series of unrelated events.

First, the daughter hit 19 this month and her Dell DJ 15 MP3 player which cost $200 two years ago died. I took it to a shop where for no charge they showed me where the danged thing had shorted out internally. Sigh.

So for her birthday, we bought a 30 gig iPod, which as it turns out is really cool. I think we can appreciate the integration between the iPod and iTunes because we spent so much time struggling with the Dell which used the ever-so-crappy MusicMatch for its software. That was a constant battle and things just did not work well. It was pretty frustrating. Having said that we are so far beyond pleased with the iPod.

So! For Mother's Day, Mrs. Drips received an iPod Shuffle, based on the mistaken assumption that she wouldn't need anything more technical than that. Mrs. Drips sent me on a course correction to Best Buy yesterday to buy her an iPod Nano. Cough. She is now content for the moment and has already done a workout at her gym with the iPod which she loves as it is so much cooler than toting a CD player with her.

I am now the unintentional recipient of the iPod Shuffle. I'm not the big music consumer in this household, but I am stunned about how clear the sound is with the Shuffle. The only album I own is Joan Osborne's Relish, which despite being several years old is still a favorite of mine. It just sounds so great on the Shuffle, and I can actually hear sounds that I never heard before through normal stereo speakers. I also have an hour of the sounds of a rainfall loaded on the Shuffle which is supposed to make me more focused, but tends to put me to sleep. Ok, so I have The Jets and Hoobastank tunes on there too, as well as Beethoven.

San Francisco Zoo, Beach Chalet Restaurant and other places

My daughter turned 19 recently so we took a trip into San Francisco yesterday to celebrate. First we stopped at the Beach Chalet restaurant for a (with tip) $103 lunch for four of us. It was pricey, but excellent.

Then we visited (for the first time) the San Francisco Zoo. It is the WORST zoo I have ever seen. It is an eyesore and the citizens of San Francisco should be ashamed of it. I hope to post some photos of it on here to display what a despicable condition that zoo is in. By the way if you do go there, they do not feed the lions on Mondays, and the staff starts closing up the Children's Zoo and the carousel at 4 even though the zoo stays open until 5. At $11 per adult for admission this zoo is not worth it. Don't expect to see elephants, camels, seals or orangutans there as they don't have any of those animals to display.

After the zoo, we hit Forever 21 for a couple hours of intensive shopping. Fortunately they had an extremely uncomfortable chair I could sit in while waiting for the shopping spree to end.

Finally we grabbed at bite at Lori's Diner ($50 with tip) and called it a day. My daughter and I always eat at Lori's prior to seeing concerts (Usually Marilyn Manson) at the Warfield, which is just around the corner more or less.

Linksys WMP54GX4 PCI Wireless-G Adapter with SRX400

OMG! The Linksys WMP54GX4 is better than sex, drugs and alcohol! Well, its
better than most alcohol except beer which is a sacred drink.

I was reading the Sunday Sacramento Bee yesterday and came across a Best
Buy ad for the Linksys WMP54GX4. To be honest I don't actually read the
Sacramento Bee as I think it is only good for wrapping fish or training
puppies, but I do buy their Sunday edition to read the ads from Best Buy,
Fry's, Staples, Circuit City and all the other outlets of electronic toys.

I already use the Wireless-G Broadband Router with SRX400 as well as the
Wireless-G Notebook Adapter with SRX400. Linksys had not announced or
shipped a PCI version for Wireless-G with SRX400 at the time (less than 2
months ago) that I acquired those two products. I wanted an adapter for my
main desktop but Linksys didn't offer one with SRX400 capability.

Weirdly enough the Linksys WMP54GX4 PCI Adapter with SRX400 is not listed on the Linksys site. It's possible that they are ramping up for their 802.11n products and are going to quit selling their SRX400 gear soon, but I would think they would at least list this product to help clear out their inventory.

Anyway, although the installation knocked out my USB mouse for some
unknown reason that I will check into at a later date, I eventually got
the adapter up and running. Although Linksys advertises SRX400 as being
able to increase your networking speed by 10x, my speed went from 54Mps to
240Mps. I'm not complaining as that is almost 5x faster but my wireless
router is only about 30 feet away in another room, so I wonder how one
ever gets up to a 10x performance increase in speed.

I can't link to any picture of it, but the adapter has a four foot cable
that is attached to an antenna that looks like something out of either
Star Trek or Star Wars, thus thrilling one's inner geek. This antenna
really pulls in network signals! Doh! I have a Canary Wireless gizmo just
for finding WiFi and while it finds 2 or 3 networks from my neighbors, the
Linksys finds 6 and gives you breakdown of their SSID, signal strength,
and encryption. Woot! This totally owns! Now you can send death threats to
the President and watch in glee as the Secret Service hauls away your
neighbors. JUST KIDDING!

If you have an SRX400 router and need a PCI adapter go get one of these
while they are still available.