Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Paul McCartney to perform in Israel

In 2003 I flew to London to see Paul McCartney in Earl's Court. This September, Paul McCartney is flying to Israel to see us!

The only thing I am sorry about is the poor organization in terms of ticket prices and location. The venue is a huge park (Park HaYarkon) which can accommodate up to 70,000 people. There are only three ticket types.

  • Grass - these are not marked, so the earliest you come, the closer you are to the stage. These cost 490 Shekels (~137 USD).
  • Marked sits - elevated marked sits at 1500 Shekels (~420 USD).
  • VIP sits - 5000 Shekels (~1402 USD).

There are two things that annoy me here. The first is that there are too few options for tickets. Assuming the VIP tickets are not for most of us (and you really can't purchase them without knowing someone on the inside), you've only got two options, one three times the other. They should have had something in the middle, perhaps dividing the area into several areas, and price them according to how close they are to the stage.

The second thing that annoys me is that they didn't provide a sitting map of the venue! So yesterday I paid 3000 Shekels for two tickets without actually knowing were the sits were! In fact, according to the map in the Internet ticket office, the marked sits were right in front of the stage (I already knew they weren't, based on articles that I read).

Anyway, today I grabbed a screenshot from a video article on a news web site, and finally I saw the map of the venue, and here it is:



The quality is not that good, but it's better than what we had before! The marked sits (which are elevated) are the two blue areas in the middle of the compound. They are 125 meters from the stage (that's quite a lot for such pricey tickets). The VIP areas are the two smaller blue areas. They are 75 meters from the stage (also too far for 1400 USD!). The grass is... well.... all the green stuff.

Anyway, that's all for my complaints now. I'm going to see Paul on Sep 25th, and I'm happy about it!

Friday, August 22, 2008

My living room in Photosynth

Here is my second try:


My first Photosynth!

Photosynth is a really cool technology from Microsoft! I've just created my first one. I photographed the Saitek X52 78 times from different angles, and the result is here:


Friday, August 15, 2008

My FSX flight to Australia update

Today I arrived at Kandahar, Afghanistan. Again, a night flight, and a short one, as I didn't have a lot of free time for the flight (it's real time, remember).

Date / Time From To Flight Time Distance (Miles)
16/08 - 18:40 UTAA - Ashgabat, Turkmenistan OAKN 2.2 692

DharmaWantsYou update

Just got an email that sent me to DharmaWantsYou to get an update on the test date. A new test is coming on Aug 19th. Well, so far it has been a disappointing ARG.

Flying from Israel to Australia

Now that I have a new joystick, I decided it's time to use it. I've started flying from Israel to Australia (no firm destination yet) in FSX (Microsoft Flight Simulator X). My instrument of choice is a Beechcraft King Air 350. I'm flying "real time", and also in real local time, i.e. if I'm at 8pm (GMT+2) and I'm at an airport located at GMT+3, I'll set the time to 9pm. So far I'm flying only at night, but I expect it to get lighter as I head east.

Here is what my progress looks like so far:

Date / Time From To Flight Time Distance (Miles)
11/08 - 21:14 LLHZ- Herzlia, Israel LTAI 1.7 393
13/08 - 20:34 LTAI - Antalya, Turkey LTCO 2.4 682
15/08 - 20:41 LTCO - Agri, Turkey UTAA 2.9 830


I'll continue to update my progress as I go,

UTAA is in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

BSOD at the Olympics

It appears that during the Olympic opening ceremonies, a BSOD made an appearance. Gizmodo has this story.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Saitek X52 Joystick - the continuation

First, one thing I forgot about the software setup. This wonderful message appeard in the beginning:


"Setup will:" not work...

So, got a profile for Microsoft Flight Simulator X. Works great! probably have some more tweaking to do, but basically works very well with tons of buttons to configure.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Saitek X52 Joystick - Setup

Following my last post about the X52, I finally got it today!


My first thought: it's big! They're big! They are taking a lot of space on my desk, and they are too high for comfort, but I will find a solution for that. So, I plugged them in, and the lit up like a Christmas tree. I've already downloaded the driver and software for Vista (I knew I should avoid the ones from the CD), so I setup the driver, which worked great. Next I ran the Profiler software setup... and nothing happened. I ran it again, and got a message that it was overwritten the same files, but nothing happened. After digging up in some forums I understood that the files were just being extracted, and the setup hasn't actually run (and this software is supposed to support Vista). I tried to find the folder where the setup was extracted to, but couldn't find it in Windows Explorer. I only got to it by opening an elevated command prompt, and navigating to c:\windows\temp, a folder which I couldn't get to in an elevated explorer! I copied the setup files to C, and got the software installed.

Next, I tried to load the profiles for IL2 and FSX that I've downloaded from Saitek's web site. Surprise surprise, they only had .dat files which are for the old software. The new software supports another format.

So basically, Saitek's Vista support really sucks!

Tomorrow my task would be to create profiles for IL2 and FSX.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Battlestar Galactica 2x16 - Sacrifice

Sacrifice - BattlestarWiki

The Cloud 9's lounge is under attack by terrorists who are convinced that Sharon Valerii is playing the military. The leader of this quartet, Sesha Abinell, demands that the invaluable Valerii be brought to her -- otherwise Ellen Tigh, Anastasia Dualla, Lee Adama, Billy Keikeya and others will be executed.

Ah, what can I say about this one? It looks like the main purpose of this episode was to provide a glorified way out of the show to Paul Campbell (Billy). Other than that we see again how Lee / Kara (this time Kara) are used as SWAT team leaders, which to me looks kind of silly, as the skills of SWAT personal and fighter pilots are quite different. The episode itself could have happened anywhere in the world (i.e. not in space), in our own 21st century, but BSG has always had this current, down to earth feeling around it, which is great most of the time.

Common Windows performance tweaking myths

There's a new article on Lifehacker regarding common Windows performance tweaking myths. This is a nice follow-up on the Microsoft document on how to improve Vista's performance. The only advise that clashes with Microsoft's advise, is that you shouldn't disable services, but their idea is that disabling services you don't know much about can cause a problem if this service is needed.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Facesaerch - finding faces

Facesaerch is a new search engine for searching faces. You enter a name, and Facesaerch comes up with images of faces, and a cool UI to browse the images. This is something that I truly need for my work. I get to work with new people from time to time, and usually they come from different parts of the world, so I cannot tell if they are male or female (in order to avoid calling someone Mr, when they are in fact Mrs!). I used to search their first name in Google Images to determine if they are male or female, but Facesaerch seems to be doing a much better job!


But, it doesn't always help...


Source: Lifehacker

Monday, August 4, 2008

Google Street View live in Australia and Japan

Google Street View is now live in Australia and Japan as well!

Check it out here:



Source: Blogoscoped

Make Vista faster

Microsoft published a document located here, with tips on how to speed Vista up. Nothing very new there, though there is one thing that I would like to try, and that's ReadyBoost, which uses a USB disk for the page file cache. I have 2GB of physical memory, and usually it's enough, but it'll be interesting to try.

One tip that I've used before Vista SP1 was to put the computer to sleep, which shorten the time it takes the computer to turn on (as it is already on), but since SP1 my computer doesn't always wake up after sleeping, so I've stopped using it.

So, if you want to make Vista faster, get the document directly from Microsoft - Windows Vista® Performance and Tuning

Southwestern Bell DSL commercial

This is an hilarious TV commercial showing the difference between Cable Internet and ADSL. Yes, you can tell by the contentit's pretty old, but it's still funny!


iGoogle's new look

iGoogle has a new look, currently only available for developers, but soon to be out for everyone. As a heavy Google user, the new look is a welcome improvement as it allows to work with Reader and Gmail inside iGoogle, which is pretty comfortable. More here, from Lifehacker. Hope it comes out soon!

Fireworks photo tips

Lifehacker gives you tips on how to Get Better Fireworks Photos This Fourth of July (or any fireworks holiday...). Sadly I'm reading it too late. I had a great view on a fireworks display site, but a tall building was built between the house and the site, so no more convenient fireworks viewing place for me.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

DharmaWantsYou is a new Lost ARG (Alternate Reality Game), to keep us busy until Feb 2009, when season 5 comes back. It's supposed to be a Dharma Initiative recruiting site, and so far there has been one quiz to determine if you're eligible to work for Dharma. I passed (probably everybody did), and so far there is nothing new there. Hope it'll be interesting, like the last ARG.

Saitek X52 Flight Control System

Saitek X52 Flight Control System

I purchased this after my previous Joystick started misbehaving. It looks pretty cool, with it being a throttle and stick combo. I hope to get it this week, and let you know how it goes.

BSG 2x15 - Scar

Scar - Battlestarwiki

An ace Cylon Raider, nicknamed "Scar" by the Viper pilots, has been causing problems for the Fleet. Starbuck and Kat compete to hunt it down while Starbuck pines for "a dead guy".

Watched this episode last night. First DVD set I'm actually watching, and not just buying (hint Babylon 5 hint). It's one of those episodes where you don't get a lot of action. The action is mostly one fight scene, broken up throughout the episode. There is however some good acting, especially on Katee Sackhoff side, although I think Luciana Carro's (Kat) acting is a bit overdone. Anyway, it's one of those things that I like a about BSG, that it's more then just your standard "sci-fi" show, it has more "real" people, and very good acting by most of the cast. So that "lack" of action is not really something you miss here. You just enjoy looking at the characters go at it.

Windows SteadyState Creates a Wreck-Proof Space for Kids, Experiments

Windows SteadyState Creates a Wreck-Proof Space for Kids, Experiments

Windows XP/Vista only: SteadyState, a free Windows utility offered by Microsoft, is a handy tool to have if you've got kids, friends, or just a program or two that could possibly wreak havoc on your system.

Seems like a really cool app. I always thought I could "kid-proof" or "babysitter-proof" my machine by simply using a more restricted user in Windows, but this sounds much better. I'll probably try it sometime and see how it goes. I just hope it doesn't leave a large footprint on your machine.