Jamie Thingelstad's personal website

Month: December 2007 (page 1 of 3)

Western Digital 1TB My Book

westerndigital-mb-studio_1.jpgA long, long time ago I decided to do an experiment. I built a server with 1 terabyte in storage. I wanted to see if the average person could deploy a terabyte of storage. The answer to my question was a solid no. That was April 2004. It cost a little over $3,000 and was painful. Oh times have changed.

I was loitering around the Apple Store the other day and I saw this nifty little Western Digital 1TB My Book. I was hesitant to purchase this since I figured mail order would be a better deal. I whipped out my iPhone and surmised that I was going to pay a $30 “convenience” cost to walk out of the store with it right then. Off I went.

I realize it sounds kind of “old man” of me to say that I’m amazed I can get 1 terabyte in a single disk. But, I am amazed! This is a decent drive too, supporting FireWire 400 and 800, as well as standard USB. As an added bonus it supports eSATA. I have it on my FireWire 800 port with the Mac Pro and it’s nice and fast.

I’m not brave enough to let Time Machine take this drive and have it’s way with it. I’m going to keep on using Chronosync to backup home movies, photos and iTunes media to it. I also need to find a place to put the raw DVD rips of 300 discs that I’m planning to start soon. More on that another time…

If you are looking for a big, huge disk to have around this is an easy alternative. Surely a lot easier than building a horrific box with 8 SATA drives. Ugh!

It's a Wii Christmas

It’s very possible that my friends and family think I need to have more fun. There must have been a vast conspiracy to hit me with a bunch of new games for my Wii this year. And how completely great! Here are the additions to my Wii gaming library from this Christmas. These games are all new, so I haven’t played them extensively yet (unlike Guitar Hero III).

Super Mario Galaxy21+Fou+opKL._SL110_.jpg

How can you not like the Mario series, and with a game that is rated 5 stars by all the major publications (IGN: “The greatest Nintendo platformer ever?”) Super Mario Galaxy is a must have. Mario continues his never ending mission of saving Princess Peach from Bowser. Galaxy is set in space and you leap from various planets. It’s Mario in 3D which I’m usually not a huge fan of, but this is done really well. After about 10 minutes of setup you are into the game and having a great time. The integration with the Wii controls is intuitive and really nice, which you would expect from Nintendo anyway. Must have for any Wii owner.

Wii Zapper with Link’s Crossbow Training11cZbo2Q5-L._SL110_.jpg

This combo pack is really cool. The Wii Zapper is a plastic mold that you place the Wiimote and the Nunchuck into and in concert they make a gun. A really nice gun too. It’s a little small for a big guy like myself, but still really playable. I’d possibly actually enjoy a first-person shooter with this setup. The included game, Link’s Crossbow Training, is light on any story and really just filled with action for you to learn how to use the crossbow. I need to do some research on any other games that use the “zapper”, but it’s a very fun play. The lack of story insures that this will be a favorite when friends come over and just want to play the Wii for a little while.

Zack & Wiki Quest for Barbaros’ Treasure21ixKnN9VeL._SL110_.jpg

Zack & Wiki is a ridiculous name for this game. It’s as if they went out of their way to find something that would discourage you from buying it. I didn’t even know about it until a friend of mine IM’d me a link to a review (IGN: “Buy it. Now.”) that was off the charts. After playing it for even a short while, I concur with the review. This is a great, fun game. The characters are well done, the game play is superb and you could easily see getting lost in it for hours. The game is setup sort of like a movie, so it has a decent amount of setup time and getting to know the plot. But even that is enjoyable. I highly recommend this game.

Super Paper Mario21ih03n2DhL._SL110_.jpg

As I said above about Galaxy, I’m not a huge fan of Mario in 3D. I still think of Mario in my old platform 2D world. Always going from left to right (always!). Paper was really interesting to me because it has much of that classic 2D platform experience. Again, there is a decent amount of setup in this game like Galaxy and Zack & Wiki. In fact, there is a lot of setup. I think it was 20 minutes before I was actually playing. The cool thing about paper is that the entire game world is both 2D and 3D. Early in the game you earn the ability to “flip” into 3D, but you can only do it for a little while at a time (like holding your breath underwater). The result is a game with puzzles that require you to flip and explore in order to proceed. Way cool! Plus, for some reason, to me the graphics look stellar in the 2D mode. I love the crisp and vibrant colors.

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 0821sWtH9PB-L._SL110_.jpg

I’ve been a long-time fan of the Tiger Woods series. I’ve played the games on a couple of different consoles as well as versions for the PC and Mac. This is a great continuation of the series with wonderful adoption of the Wii control system. I can see this game being very playable right away, and in fact the intro sequence you run through to get familiar with the swing gets you almost all the way there. I don’t groove on the funky character customizations all that much, like different shirts and setting how long my facial hair is. I sort of yearn for integration with the Wii’s Mii system, but that doesn’t make sense since they are far too cartoon-like to appear at Augusta. I’m looking forward to playing this some more and if you are a fan of the series it’s worth it. (Note, I borrowed Tiger Woods PGA Tour ’07 from a friend before and I would be hard pressed to tell the difference between ’07 and ’08. It’s likely not worth the cost if you already have last years edition.)

Beat Guitar Hero III on Medium

images.jpegBig day today! I beat Guitar Hero III on medium. Wahoo!

I don’t think I’m even going to attempt hard. It just seems rather insane. I’ll be happy with this milestone and enjoy my medium fame.

If you want to play some time, my friend code is 5026 3031 4382.

Merry Christmas 2007

Christmas 2007 is a wrap! Great time with family. Mazie really started to grok the holiday this year and was pretty excited. She loves presents. In honor of the season and Dad traditions, here is a time lapse video of me and Grandpa Don assembling Mazie’s new doll house. She’s totally digging it.

Assembling Mazie’s Present from Jamie Thingelstad on Vimeo.

Check out Christmas photos in the photo section as well.

Awesome Bluetooth Headset Dude!

I got my brother-in-law Denny a new Bluetooth headset for Christmas and my brother-in-law Hector showed up after putting in a mandatory morning at the office and just loved his new headset. Words cannot do his reaction justice. This short movie attempts to capture the moment.

Hector and Denny’s Headset from Jamie Thingelstad on Vimeo.

2007 Holiday Letter

2007 Holiday Letter.jpgTammy and I are both pretty shocked that we got a holiday letter out this year. It just sort of happened. Tammy started writing something and it just appeared. After a night of tweaking, adding some photos and an online printing order to Kinkos we had ourselves a letter! A bunch of these went out in the mail, but I wouldn’t dare deprive the dedicated blog reader of this great content as well. Read the 2007 Holiday Letter right here.

As a special bonus for the web I’m going to highlight a selected set of blog posts from this year as well.

2007 Highlights from

Guitar Hero III – 497 Note Streak

I’m still having a blast on Guitar Hero III. I played for a while yesterday trying to clear some levels before the big Christmas Day extravaganza with my brother-in-laws where I expect much GH3 action. While playing I saw the notice for a 200 note streak pop up and freaked out. I knew I was hitting the song, but when it was all over…


497 note streak! That is on the medium difficulty in the 4th “level”. Unfortunately the Guitar Hero site doesn’t rank streaks so I have no idea how big of a number that is, but I thought it was pretty impressive! Check out my profile page if you want to prove this isn’t rigged. :-)

Vimeo Solves Video Problems

vimeo.jpgI have been searching for a good video hosting service for a while. Something that solves my online video problems like Flickr solves my online photo problems. At first blush you probably think this is silly, YouTube is the obvious answer. Well, not really.

After a while searching I found Vimeo and have been delighted. My first test for video hosting services was to upload the 13 minute fishing video from Canada. YouTube denies this video because it is over 10 minutes long. Google Video couldn’t transcode it to Flash after several attempts. Sadly even the .Mac video hosting couldn’t reliably receive the upload from iMovie (sad). Vimeo on the other hand took it with ease and got it transcoded on the first try.

I’m very happy with the quality of video from Vimeo. You get privacy controls if you want them. Embedding it in your blog is simple and easy. Plus you aren’t surrounded by trashy videos like on YouTube. I’m happy to finally find a place to plant video.

Over the course of the next few weeks I’m going to migrate anything from YouTube to Vimeo. While doing it I’ll likely recut some of the video that looks a bit rough.

"All In" On Apple TV

I thought about naming this post “I have a dream” but I figured the SEO impacts would be all wrong. The idea though would be spot on. I decided to go with this title and its gambling reference because I’m quite positive that I am gambling a little. I just bought my third Apple TV and set it up last week.


Yes, I read a bunch of different blogs and I do not have my head in the sand. You don’t have to go very far to read an article about how the Apple TV has already failed and is doomed to sit next to the Newton on the shelf of shame at Apple HQ. In fact, simply buying an Apple TV doesn’t give you a lot of assurance the product is doing well. The unit I just bought and installed still had the 1.0 software on it. The 1.1 release was made a long time ago so you know this unit was sitting on the shelf for a while.

three-apple-tv-in-itunes.jpgHowever, I find the allure of these little boxes to be too strong. The promise is great. Integration with the iTunes ecosystem. Great user experience. By far the best “ten foot” user experience I’ve ever seen. The integration is great. You can watch part of a movie on a plane, come home and sync your iPhone and then sit down on the couch and the Apple TV will offer to resume where you left off. For music, it’s a great device with nearly no issues (please add rating from the Apple TV!). It falls down in video, and that is really where the entire iTunes world falls down.

I’ve decided to continue betting all the way to three of these units for a few reasons. First, as part of the iTunes world it is not easy for Apple to just shove it aside. I don’t expect that there will be a breaking change that will cause them to stop working for a long time, if ever. Additionally, I really like the form factor and it’s complete lack of noise (although it’s hotter than nearly any device I’ve ever owned). If it really got ugly, I also feel comfortable that I can hack the thing wide open and do some of the stuff that Apple should be doing for me already on it.

Now, I’m just hoping these rumors of significant Apple TV enhancements at WWDC in January come true!

Dow Jones Disco Party 2007

boogie-wonderland.jpgOh my. Really. Wow. Absolutely fabulous!

That is the only way to start any post on the 2007 Dow Jones Disco Party that we had this year. I’ve been slow to get a post up because I wanted to get the photos online. This years party was a complete blast. I had given a preview of the Disco Theme in another post and people did not hold back at all in going all out.

Great food. Amazing band, Boogie Wonderland. Disco music. Awesome people! How can you go wrong! Party along with this video!

Every year it gets better and I really cannot imagine how next year could top this one.

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