Amazing new discovery…and Ingress progress

Coffee WarmerI just discovered this awesome coffee warming technique! It really works! When ripping DVDs, the fan runs at high speed constantly, blowing the heat out of the laptop. This is even more useful than the built-in coffee cup holder…which is only available on the laptop when I’m NOT ripping DVDs… ūüėČ

This weekend we made a lot of progress in getting more “blue” on Kenosha’s Ingress map! ¬†Before it was nearly all green, with the Enlightened consuming large chunks of area. ¬†Last night we had a few large areas covered in blue, but this morning I see that most of our areas are back to simply links, so I’m afraid the Enlightened are becoming just that, and are working on re-acquiring their portals. ¬†We have made great progress, however, and are working with a few other key Resistance allies in the area to build up our portals and hammer on the enemie’s as much as possible.

My daily walks really help our progress a great deal, allowing us to attack and gather from each portal we encounter, both on the way out and on the way back. ¬†I’m only a few hundred points from level 3 now, and Kevin is well into level 2. ¬†We are getting so addicted to the game, it’s¬†ridiculous.


Ingress_LogoKevin and I finally got our Ingress invites last week. ¬†Matt got his a couple weeks earlier, so he sparked our interest. ¬†Yesterday, while on our usual walk with Socks, we went through the training, built up some XM energy and learned how to hack a portal. ¬†Ingress is a “walking game”, like “Zombies, Run!” but with a totally different concept to get you out and walking around. ¬†In Ingress, you gather “XM” as energy and find portals, which are usually represented by real-life public objects, such as sculptures or monuments. ¬†You learn how everything works as you start playing the game, gathering energy and finding resonators and other components to help with your hacking and taking control of these portals. ¬†It looks like an interesting game, and so far we’re only a tiny bit into it. ¬†The only problem I can see is that you have to keep your phone screen on to run the program, so you can’t just put on your headphones and put it in your pocket–it requires you to be viewing the screen most of the time. ¬†This can be pretty dangerous when you’re out walking around in public–especially if you’re walking a dog or walking out in the street! ¬†Constantly staring at your phone instead of watching where you’re walking could get you killed! For real–not just in the game.

I can see this is unlike other games in popularity already though–we’ve already noticed others in real life playing it. ¬†One guy with a tablet at a monument in downtown Kenosha was actually hacking the same portal as us. ¬†Turned out he was on the other side–one of the “Enlightened” while we are on the “Resistance”. ¬†He asked what side WE were on, but I “mistakenly” said I was also on the Enlightened. ¬†We found several portals near the lake–almost all of the metal sculptures along the new lakefront contains a portal. ¬†This not only gets you out and about, but also informs you about the monuments and public displays around you! ¬†It’ll even show you a photo of the object containing the portal, it’s name, and more, a little like the “Field Trip” does. ¬†In fact, FieldTrip was created by the same company.

This week I’ve been hacking the portals that are located between home and work, trying to gather what I can and weaken those of the enemy. ¬†It’s slow, but effective. ¬†This week I also found a wealth of information on the web, including the global Ingress Map, which details every found portal, who owns it and it’s makeup, a great instruction page, and even instructions on how to SUBMIT a site as a portal! ¬†I’ll be submitting a few preferred sites of my own soon. ¬†This game is great–too bad it’s still only in beta. ¬†You can only get in by invite, so if you’re interested, please sign up as soon as possible on their website. ¬†It took Kevin and I a couple months to get an invite, but Matt got his sooner by other means–he found someone else with an extra key.

The ISO Event

dvdA couple weeks ago, Jay told me about a server application that let you stream ISOs to your PS3. ¬†I was in awe, and had to give it a shot. ¬†I have a lot of backup ISOs of my movies, and being able to immediately play a DVD image directly on the PS3 without having to burn a DVD would be HUGE for me! ¬†So I tried it. ¬†For those not familiar with what an “ISO” is, it’s an exact image of a DVD disc–it contains every single bit of the DVD–the movie, menus, extras, etc., in the exact format of the DVD, except that it’s a file instead of a disc. ¬†There are several applications available that will then let you burn that image to an actual DVD when desired, and even some that will “mount” the image as a “virtual” DVD drive on your computer so you can play the movie on your computer without having to burn a disc. ¬†So, as you can imagine, ISOs can be very handy on a computer, and they make great backups in case your DVDs get scratched or marked up so much they’re no longer playable (thanks, kids!).

So being able to instantly stream and play these ISOs on the TV to which my PS3 is on, is a big deal for me. ¬†It makes all of these movies and special feature discs available at my fingertips, instead of having to go find the DVD and insert it into my PS3. ¬†I played with the latest version of the application for a couple days, but found that the voices never synced up with the video–ISO movies always played with a too-fast video speed, and the audio was always 10-15 seconds behind the video. ¬†There are a ton of tweaking options in this application, so I tweaked everything I could, but couldn’t get it to play ISOs properly. ¬†It would stream every other type of video file from my PC without any problems, but ISOs were the key to my happiness. ¬†This was very disappointing. ¬†Meanwhile, Jay was having the same issues, so it wasn’t just me. ¬†After some googling of the issue, I found others having the same problem–with the newest versions of the application. ¬†A few users noted that the previous version that they had before this one would play ISOs perfectly. ¬†Ah ha! ¬†So I uninstalled and deleted the newest version, then installed an older (actually the oldest version online–version 1.04) and guess what? ¬†They were right–ISOs now play perfectly!!

Just as Audible screwed up their audiobook app on me in their latest version, PS3 Media Server’s latest version messed up ISO streaming. ¬†So right now, my ISO images are streaming perfectly, and I’m very happy with it, though it is a very old version of the application. ¬†Hopefully someone will determine what went wrong and correct it in a future version. ¬†I will be glad to upgrade it to the latest version, once this issue is resolved, but for now I’m perfectly happy staying right where I am. ¬†This is awesome! ¬†I also found out, during my googling, that this may be the ONLY application that can actually perform this function! ¬†I’d be perfectly willing to pay for a full-blown feature-rich commercial application that did this, if I could find one!

By the way, PS3 Media Server works with more than just the PS3. ¬†It will stream to any DLNA-compliant network device, and is available for many operating systems, including Windows, Linux and Mac. ¬†And it’s a completely free, open-source project. ¬†Here’s the link:¬†