Archive for » January, 2006 «

So We’ve Been Busy

Tanya and I have been quite busy over the last few weeks. We have been looking at houses and mortgages; preparing documents for our INS interview on February 1; preparing for eventual problems that Tanya may have with immigration/customs as we leave from Moscow. I have also done 2 full reinstalls: one for Katia’s laptop, anorexia and one for my mother’s insurance business – Freedom Insurance; and of course, page working on mom’s website.

House Hunting

We have been looking for houses in the Baraboo, Dells, Delton, Delonna areas primarily. We have been looking in Reedsburg as well even though it is not our preferred city to live in. I work in and have friends in Baraboo and Tanya works in Lake Delton. My family lives in Lake Delton. Reedsburg is really out of the way for both of us. Ughh!

Property prices and property taxes are higher in Baraboo and lower in Reedsburg. We have 2 or 3 potentials in Reedsburg – 2 for about $100k and one for about $85k. We have found one in Baraboo for about $100k that we really like. Now the only problem that we have is that after Taxes, Title, License, and small furry animals I do not want more than a $80-90K mortgage. Any more than that and we will be living tight. I have tried to budget everything so that I can pay for pretty much everything and Tanya can concentrate on school and what ever else she needs to do, and still have some free money to save and to fix up the house. Finding a house that is not a shit-hole for about $80k seems to be almost impossible. So our search continues and so does the impending fear that we will have to get a house that is going to be too much work for us to have any chance to enjoy.

Other Stuff

We are definitely stressing over the possibility of having problems leaving Russia/Belarus. We will be calling the Moscow Airport (Sheremetyevo II) to see what they think we should do and hopefully we can fix the real issue here via the consulate later in the US instead of in Belarus. We really do not want to correct the problems in Belarus as we would have to deal with the corrupt and taciturn bureaucracy there. Not a good prospect. Here is better.

I really do not enjoy doing full reinstalls as they take forever. Installing Windows is not so bad. Downloading and installing the service packs and security fixes takes over half of the time. I have one more to do and then I will be done for quite a while. Ugh!!

I have been quiet because we have been busy! Nothing personal! =) I have even cancelled one of my gaming groups until we get back from Belarus to ensure that we have enough time for everything. Oi! They were not happy, but it had to be done!

Free Credit Report

To most everyone your credit report only becomes significant during important times of your life. Such as when you are getting a loan, malady a credit card, weight loss or even better.. a mortgage. My credit history has been on my mind since, oh, about March 12, 1999. Because I am in the process of looking to buy a home I have started to look at my credit report and realized that I am looking at it a little bit late.

I will pass a little bit of interesting information to you now, so that you can help yourself. The FTC reuires that you are able to receive a free copy of your credit report once every 12 months. You will be directed to to obtain a copy of credit reports that are tracked via 3 different companies. Could their reports all be different. Yes they could be. Are they the only credit reporting companies out there. No they are not, but this should give you a good idea as to what is on the other reports. I have been denied credit based off inaccurate credit report from CSC Credit Services.

It’s free so go out and get it to protect yourself. It cannot hurt!

Category: Life, Money  One Comment

"Chinese Backstreet Boys"

Ok… So maybe I have too much time on my hands. Maybe I need help. Maybe Google Base is cool and interesting especially when you can search for videos. Especially when you can look for loathed Backstreet Boys videos. I do not know! Maybe my therapist does?

Ok, epidemic maybe not Backstreet Boys videos, but after some searching I did find an amusing video of Two Chinese Students lip synching to the BSB‘s “As Long As You Love Me” and “I Want It That Way“. I am curious as to who the guy is in the back and what he is playing. I am assuming it is Counter Strike? I also happend to find an opposing video Chinese Backstreet Boys Get Served by Funky Munkyz. Not as interesting, but shows the “Chinese Backstreet Boys’ are a little bit popular. Hell these Chinese Guys are everywhere.

The following are basically links to the same videos. The resolution or something might be different. I have not had the time to take a close look! The original link that I found no longer works, so I have collected a few more incase the first few vanish for you.

The Rest of the Story

The rest of the story can be found on What Tian Has Learned with 3 more videos. They go by the name of The Back Dormitory Boys.

Just for fun I will throw in a couple of Danish Guys that were inspired by them with bloopers at the end.

Sony Digital Rights Management Infringing of Fair Use

An ArsTechnica article talks about Sony’s new Digital Rights Manangement which has been in the news a lot. Apart of this neat little infringment operation is the Sony Rootkit which lawsuits have followed. Here are few more articles regarding this fun via: System Internals The Register, pharm Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Why does this really bother me. Well, infringing on my fair use of music that I have bought. If I buy something I have the right to use it as I see fit as long as I do make copies and sell it or give copies of it away. They are saying they I can only play the CD on devices that they deem worthy and safe. I cannot make a back up copy or rip it to MP3 and keep it on my computer to listen to. The other reason that this really bothers me is because this is found on Coldplay CD’s which is one of my wife’s favorite bands.

Here is a copy of DRM notice and Googled articles on Sony DRM. Read about it.

Thank you very much for purchasing this CD and helping the cause of “Anti-Piracy.” The recordings in this CD have an anti-copying function. They cannot be copied into a PC. In order for you to enjoy high quality music, we have added this special technology.

  • Some CD players that have the capability of burning into an MP3 (such as portable players or car stereos).
  • Some CD players that possess CD-R/RW functions (such as portable players or car stereos).
  • Some car stereos with satellite “Guidance” systems
  • Some CD players or car stereos with hard disk recording capacity
  • Some CD-R/RW Recorders used for music
  • Some portable CD players
  • Some DVD players
  • Some CD/LD Convertible Players
  • Some Game Players
  • Although you can use your PC’s Windows program to listen to certain tracks, this does not mean that the CD can be played in all PCs.
  • The first time that this program is used (in Windows automatic starter software) it gets registered in Windows File. Thus, programs already registered to not affect Windows operations.
  • Windows OS also uses the latest files.
  • This CD does not support Macintosh PC software.
  • Except for manufacturing problems, we do not accept product exchange, return, or refund.

Fortunately, it appears that the EFF has written a letter to them and Sony has responded. It appears that they will allow you to exchange the CD at the place where you bought it for a non-copy protected CD as well as a giving you a few other options such as patching or removing the rootkit. Know what your options are.