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My name is Bean and this is my blog. Hence the name. If you have comments or questions, just leave them in the comments area.
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Tank Update
Posted May 20, 2008 at 04:06:46 PM by Bean in the Obsessions category
I've been itchin' to post some good pics of my redone 75G cichlid tank.

I swapped blue gravel for 50% crushed coral and 50% pebbles and put down some light diffuser paneling on the bottom of the tank. I set up the rocks so that they supported a deep base of coral/rocks in the rear of the tank and left an open area in the front. I built two separate rock piles (THR on the left, random stuff from the LFS on the right). I also painted the trim on the tank black, to match the stand. To top it off, an art teacher friend of mine made me a custom background oil painting. The painting matches the rock formations and plants in the tank and really adds a great custom look!

Before:


After:


I plan on replacing my single tube light with twin tubes at some point in the future. The Fichcam (ie only) looks into the right side of the tank, if you care to take a live peak.
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Mo Betta Fich Updates
Posted April 10, 2008 at 06:08:06 PM by Bean in the Obsessions category
Time for some FICH UPDATES!

I have gotten rid of 4 fich so far, numbers 3, 8, 9, 16, for various reasons. I got $40 store credit for them.

I bought 3 juvenile Malawi's (2 Yellow Labs and some other random Zebra). I can tell them apart, so they get numbers. I still can't quite tell the fry that were in the tank when I got it apart, so they don't get numbers yet. At any rate, this brings the official fich roster to:
1 - Aulonocara jacobfreibergi (Peacock, "Lemon Jake")
2 - Aulonocara hybrid (Juvenile "Strawberry Peacock")
3 - Red zebra-based hybird or a peacock... not sure. A big mean fucker. [SOLD]
4 - Metriaclima estherae (Male, "Red Zebra")
5 - Metriaclima callainos ("Cobalt Zebra") or Metriaclima estherae ("Red Zebra")
6 - Cynotilapia afra (Male "Cobue")
7 - Tropheops macrothalmus ("Red-headed Mac")
8 - Aulonocara hybrd (Peacock w/slight orange tinge) [SOLD]
9 - Metriaclima greshakei (Dull, "Red Top Ice Blue") [SOLD]
10 - Aulonocara hybrid ("OB Peacock")
11 - Labidochromis caeruleus ("Yellow Lab")
12 - Cynotilapia afra (Female "Cobue")
13 - Tropheus duboisi
14 - Metriaclima greshakei (Big and colorful, "Red Top Ice Blue")
15 - Cynotilapia afra (Female juvenile, "Cobue?")
16 - Melanochromis joanjohnsonae (mean, "Exasperatus") [SOLD]
17 - Labidochromis caeruleus (Larger juvenile, "Yellow Lab")
18 - Labidochromis caeruleus (Smaller juvenile, "Yellow Lab")
19 - Unknown zebra... light blue w/ blue/black stripes.

I bought a 10 gallon tank (and accessories) so that I can use it as a hospital tank and or prison cell for mean fich and or a place to raise baby fich (so the others don't eat them). It worked out good, as I was able to use my previously mentioned store credit to absorb most of the cost. Right now, fich 4 is in there recovering from a whooping. Somebody shredded his fins and bit most of his tail fin off.

And to top it off, my OB Peacock (number 10) finally spit her fry into the Texas Holey Rock. I don't know how many survived... I've only seen 2 so far.
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Fich Again
Posted March 26, 2008 at 07:59:24 PM by Bean in the Obsessions category
So here's my basic tank setup. Notice the absence of most fish in the upper parts of the tank. It because that big orange one you see (#3 for those keeping count) chases everyone off, all day, any time they come out. He's gotta go, so I netted him for now. I'm going to try and sell (or give) him to the local pet store tomorrow.

Since the containment of #3, I've been able to get a few more pictures of the other peacocks in the tank.
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FICH!
Posted March 24, 2008 at 04:23:55 PM by Bean in the Obsessions category
So I guess since my fich obsession is in full gear, I might as well blog a blog about it. Heck, I'll even create a new category to go along with it.

My buddy Nathan didn't want his (full) 75 gallon fish tank. I offered to list it for him on craigslist for local pickup, thinking he could probably turn over a quick hundred bucks or so, and in addition mentioned that I'd take it off his hands if he couldn't sell it. He jumped at the idea of giving them too me sos he could still come over and see them. I thought that was a little weird, cause there just fish, but whatever (little did I know).

One day later that week I was at his house looking at the fish I was about to inherit and I noticed something - they were individually identifiable. That seemed weird to me because all of the fish I've had in the past were just, I dont know... fish. When one died, I'd buy another and it looked the same. Easy. But in watching these fish, seeing as how you can pick out individuals, you can begin to pick up on their personality. So I think of them of "pets" as opposed to "decorations", as has been the case with fish tanks in my past.

The tank contains 19 African Cichlids (well, actually 16 plus 3 babies or "fry") and 4 plecos to keep the algae down. Here's a few pictures of the 16 cichlids I can identify (can't really tell the babies apart yet), and here's what I think they are. Note that I am not 100% sure on any, and I am basing my guesses off what Nate told me and what people on the tubes told me:

1 - Aulonocara jacobfreibergi (Peacock, "Lemon Jake")
2 - Aulonocara hybrid (Juvenile "Strawberry Peacock")
3 - Red zebra-based hybird or a peacock... not sure. A big mean fucker.
4 - Metriaclima estherae (male, "Red Zebra")
5 - Metriaclima callainos ("Cobalt Zebra") or Metriaclima estherae ("Red Zebra")
6 - Cynotilapia afra (male "Cobue")
7 - Tropheops macrothalmus ("Red-headed Mac")
8 - Aulonocara something or other (unknown peacock, slight orange tinge)
9 - Metriaclima greshakei (less colorful version of #14)
10 - Aulonocara hybrid ("OB Peacock" currently holding)
11 - Labidochromis caeruleus ("Yellow Lab")
12 - Cynotilapia afra (female "Cobue")
13 - Tropheus duboisi
14 - Metriaclima greshakei (big, "Red Top Ice Blue")
15 - Cynotilapia afra (female juvie, "Cobue")
16 - Melanochromis joanjohnsonae (I think, "Exasperatus")

There lots of species of cichlids, and quite a few hybrids. African cichlids routinely mate cross species in captivity (and rarely in the wild), and you get, well, a mix. It's not quite like breeding dogs, because all dogs are the same species, but there is a bit of unpredictability when you have a lot of different fish in the same tank. Professional fish geeks hate hybrids for a few reasons, but I think it's just plain cool.

With the tank, I got all the accessories, so all I've really had to buy were filter cartridges, a few more big rocks, and some plants. Well, that's not true, I also bought an inexpensive wireless webcam so you can all see them live on the tubes. It looks through the tank from the side, so you can see all of the open water above the rocky bottom. Check it out:

Fichcam!.

The above link only works with IE or a heavily modified and customized version of firefox. That's why it was cheap. A good wireless camera with a better video stream and mo betta options is too rich for my blood right now. That is, use IE.
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RC Heli Videos
Posted January 18, 2008 at 01:23:26 PM by Bean in the Obsessions category
I bought a couple more RC Helis... "MaxCopter" brand. A guy sells them from a small kiosk in the Greentree Mall in Clarksville, IN for $20. Score!

As promised, here are a few videos of me flying around my living room. And since I'm hip, I put them on YouTube:
MaxCopter1
MaxCopter2
MaxCopter3
Other small copter, with some Guitar Hero mixed in.

Here's a pic of my babies charging and video backups of the above YouTube vids here, here, here, and here.
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RC Helis!
Posted January 17, 2008 at 06:26:18 AM by Bean in the Obsessions category
I got a little indoor RC helicopter for Christmas. It was wicked fun to play with, until I broke it. Not being the type of person to give up on a possible new obsession so easily, I bee-lined it to the store and bought another. Then another one from the mall, another from ebay, and 3 more from Banana Hobby (one was for someone else).

I can't describe the fun I have flying them, so I wont. But take my word for it - they are fun, and well worth the $15-$40 you pay. I'm down to 2 now, due to many severe crashes, but I'm sure I'll stock back up soon.

For what it's worth: if you are going to buy one, a good first one to try is the HoneyBee.
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Sharing with Orb
Posted March 14, 2007 at 09:10:05 AM by Bean in the Obsessions category
CoWorker Michael gave me his old G router, so my wired and wireless tubes have gotten much faster. With 10 Mbit down and 1 Mbit up, I can now stream media from home better than ever. (For those interested - my old Belkin B and Belkin G routers were defunkt, and limited my speed to about 200 Kbit down and 30 Kbit up. Three cheers for Linksys!)

Anyway, to demonstrate Orb and it's ability to share stuff, I've embedded an orb player in the comment section of this blog entry (which is the same as the direct link). This flash widget connects directly to my PC at home (note: not my web server box) and streams my shared media to YOU. Also, here's a direct link to everything I am sharing. Right now I have TMBG in there, which may or may not be legal, along with season 1 of Trailer Park Boys, just to demonstrate the video aspect. It's cool stuff, and I can watch it from anything that has an internet connection and some kind of media player. RIKEY!

Seems to me it'd be pretty easy to set up a small group where each member is responsible for downloading a specific show or movie genre or music type and sharing it with the rest of the group. Once Orb adds the ability to only allow certain people access to shared stuff, I may try to get something like that going.
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Wii+Orb
Posted February 08, 2007 at 05:17:37 PM by Bean in the Obsessions category
Orb.com rocks. Specifically, mycast.orb.com (Orb 2.0) rocks. If you are like me, you probably have a lot of digital media stored on your home PC. Orb lets you easily access that media from any internet capable device. It's in the realm of SlingBox (ala m1blog) but has some major differences: SlingBox is a non-free hardware device that basically broadcasts your TV (or any standard "TV input") over the internet (or to any local device), whereas Orb is a FREE software product that does the same for your PC-based digital media. Orb now even encodes live streams, which allows you to use a tuner card to encode and broadcast live TV. And if you are listening or watching on the same LAN as your main PC (i.e. in your home), the stream speed is only limited by your LAN (not your internet link). I have only tested my Wii with Wireless G, which is the highest wi-fi it supports. Nintendo offers a $30 USB2.0->Ethernet adapter (and confirmed 3rd party knockoffs) that are supposed to be faster than G, but I have not tried them yet. There are definitely limitations (Wii plays via Flash, Opera has a browser bar that you cannot hide), but Wii+Orb really does impress me "out of the box".

Orb is easy to use (multiple web-based GUI interfaces), secure, and allows you to create "favorites" and "playlists" as well as invite others to share your media. Note that this doesn't "share" like BitTorrent, but with live streams. I think Orb, along with other services like it, is going to change the way we view the Internet.

As I mentioned in a previous blog, there are lots of websites popping up that are designed for the Wii. Wii, when on the "Internet Channel" is basically a set top box with a point and click cursor, so it fits very well into the HTML world. There's a huge market for inexpensive set top boxes (with mouse-like remotes?) and internet tablets RIGHT NOW, and the first manufactures to come out with them are gonna reap some profit, bigtim.

Also: here's a streaming audio site with a killer Wii interface: finetune.com/wii

Before I got a chance to post this blog entry, Fooie emailed me and told me all about his xbox media center setup, and his current WinMCE setup. I wish I had an XBOX back when this shit was starting. So, this is not really a "new" thing, and I'll admit that I am a newbie in the area, but it sure seems like sharing/streaming/broadcasting/etc over IP is going to obsolete every other type of data transmission that there is. We wont need phones or cable, just volts and some ninnernet techmology! Stuff a battery in the mix and look ma, no hands. All types of data/media/communication in any form on any device that tunes in to the tubes!

Please discuss your home media setup, if you have one. I currently have s-video + rca-audio running to my TV on Video2. No DVR or anything though.
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Ninnernets Wii
Posted February 02, 2007 at 08:55:37 AM by Bean in the Obsessions category
So I finally got around to telling my Wii to connect to my wireless home network, and the ninnernets at large. The first thing I did once connected was check out the Forecast Channel and News Channel. They are both very well put together, intuitive, easy to use, and informative. Rikey! Next thing was the Shop Channel, where I bought 2000 Wii Points ($20) and prompty downloaded Super Mario Brothers, Contra III, and Opera (web browser). It's pretty sweet, all 3 of the downloads are now "Channels" on my main Wii menu. The games are classic and true to the originals - and what's nice is that you can play them from the couch due to the fact that the Wii Remote is wireless. Last night, between episodes of Earl, The Office, Scrubs, and 30 Rock, I flipped over to the Wii to continue my ongoing SMB game (got a bazillion extra lives on world 3-1, dontcha know!).

And then I tried the browser. It did not blow me away, because it's just that: a web browser. But the more I looked around, the more stuff I found like WiiCade (Wii-compatible online games), WiiHear (streaming radio and other random stuff), and MiiBoard (all kinds of stuff). There are a growing number of sites designed specifically for the Wii. WiiSites has a decent directory of Wii-friendly websites. The version of Opera that you can run on the Wii has most of the functionality that Opera9 does, including Flash7 and full multimedia support. Online games? Check. Videos? Check. Music? Check. I am currently looking into Orb, which may or may not be similare to SlingBox, and which may allow me to stream all of my music, pictures, tv shows, and movies from my desktop wirelessly to my Wii. This will beat the hell out of my current setup, which is a really long s-video cable. If Orb doesn't work out, I may look into writing my own little media server using some off the shelf flash players. Probably gonna have to upgrade to wireless G though. EEE!

Update: Okay, so I played with orb.com and a few other Wii portals and whatnot, and I am absolutely impressed with how well it all works. So impressed, in fact, that it deserves it's own blog. Stay tuned...
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Home Lane
Posted January 30, 2007 at 09:16:31 AM by Bean in the Obsessions category
Stef borrowed a projector from work yesterday. We moved the dining room table and set it up to project sweet, juicy Wii goodness all over the dining room wall. Even without sound, the results were very good - a Wii Bowling Alley! And here's Another vid.
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Wii Revolution
Posted January 25, 2007 at 08:33:04 AM by Bean in the Obsessions category
The long-awaited next generation Nintendo console was originally rumored to be called "Nintendo Revolution." It was released just before Christmas and called "Nintendo Wii"... but after playing it for about 20 hours in the past 3 days, I think "Revolution" is more fitting. So far, I am hella impressed with the Wii that my great wife Stef has managed to borrow from her great co-worker Jerry.

The Wii Remote and Nunchuck have a lot of sensors in them so that gameplay does not have to consist of just pushing buttons - instead, you swing 'em, twist 'em, jab with 'em, etc. I've been itching to get my hands on a console so as to try out this interface and ninnerwebnet the results on my blorgetubes for all to read. So, here is my report: Nintendo Wii is so so so fun to play that it makes me wanna... BURN THIS MOTHERFUCKER DOWN! I a currently trying to procure my own.
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