Cerebral Gibberish

What's on my mind, might just blow yours.

WTF: Credit Card Activation

Posted by heymoe on March 23rd, 2008

I received a replacement card in the mail for one that is getting ready to expire the other day. I had two options to activate the card: 1) Use the card in an ATM machine or 2) Call an 800 number. Since I was not near an ATM machine I decided to use the 800 number method.

The automated system first asked me for the number on the card. OK, no problem with this one since they need to know what they are activating. Then it asked for the expiration date on the card. OK, I can see this being useful as it verifies I have physical access to the card. At this point I was expecting to get prompted for something that in theory I would only know like the PIN but instead the automated system said the card has been activated. So in theory if someone stole my mail they could have activated the card because all the information they needed they had (the card number and the expiration date). Gee I feel secure now.

The only thing I can think of that might have made this secure, sort of, is that they used caller-ID and verified that I called from the registered phone number on the account. If they did do this it would be nice if they said so.

Oh, one last annoying thing about the 800 activation process is that the automated service tried to sell me their Identity Theft Protection service after I activated the card. I promptly selected the option that said no thanks just for the automated voice to ask me are you sure and tried to sell it to me once again. Geess.. No means No!!!

Posted in Gibberish | 2 Comments »

Shelley Lake

Posted by heymoe on March 22nd, 2008

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As part of the recent changes at work, we gained Good Friday as a work holiday. So after I was done shopping at Crabtree Valley Mall, I headed to Shelley Lake to continue my exploration of local parks.

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I’ve actually been to Shelley Lake before but that must have been at least 8 years ago and from what I remember from way back when, a lot of things have changed. I don’t remember the path all the way around the lake being paved or at least not as wide as it was. I don’t remember there being a boat house and docks. I’m pretty sure the playground has been updated as well.

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Unlike Lake Johnson, I did not have any problem finding a parking space. Granted that might be due to it being Friday and not everyone having Good Friday off or maybe there was just more parking available. The trail around the lake has markings every quarter mile for a total of 2 miles and took me about an hour to go once around including stops for taking pictures. There are some large wide open fields where people were enjoying different activities like frisbee and soccer or just enjoying the sun. I enjoyed my visit and I’m sure to go back.

More Photos Here (PicLens PicLens Button)

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Posted in Photography, Travel | No Comments »

Final Countdown, Cello Style

Posted by heymoe on March 8th, 2008

I came across this video in one of the forums I read. I don’t know about you but I really like this version of “The Final Countdown” by Europe.


If you don’t remember or want a refresher on what the original Europe version sounds like, here is a video of a live performance of “The Final Countdown“.



Posted in Entertainment | No Comments »

Get Smart

Posted by heymoe on March 3rd, 2008

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Yesterday I had an opportunity to get a close up look of a 2008 Smart Coupe which is a 2 seat, 3 cylinder vehicle that measures 8.8 feet long and 5.1 feet wide. It gets a gas mileage of 33 City / 41 Highway so with its 8.7 gallon gas tank you can travel ~287 – 356 miles on a tank of gas.

The Smart vehicles went on sale in the US on January 2008 and is part of the Mercedes Car Group. There are three versions of the Smart being sold in the US. Two are coupes and one is a cabriolet convertible. Price wise you’re looking at a starting price of $11,590 for the entry level “pure coupe” to $16,590 for the convertible plus any optional packages. I personally think it is a little pricey for such a small car but it’s still ~$5000 cheaper then the starting price of a Toyota Prius Hybrid.

I did try to get behind the steering wheel but my knees did not quite want to get under the wheel so I guess I won’t be driving one of these home anytime soon but I think it would be fun if I could. Oh Well.

More Photos Here (PicLens PicLens Button)

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Posted in Transportation | No Comments »

Google: Street View

Posted by heymoe on March 2nd, 2008

Cool, I was looking for direction using Google Maps today and noticed that they added Street Views to the Raleigh area. Of course I had to pull up my home address and sure enough I could see my house from the Street View. It looks like camera van drove around the area last summer between July and August since the picture of my house included the my Sunflowers .

Posted in Home, Internet / Tech | No Comments »

Sick Again

Posted by heymoe on February 24th, 2008

Well I’m sick again for another birthday and I blame Justin 😛 hehe. I was feeling fine Friday but woke up Saturday not quite feeling right and ended the day with a sore throat, slight headache and a chill. Woke up today more or less the same but hopefully it will get better as the day goes on so my birthday is not a total washout. Oh well, life goes on.

Posted in Home | No Comments »

Lake Johnson Park

Posted by heymoe on February 17th, 2008

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It has been awhile since I’ve gone exploring a local park so after my haircut on Saturday I told my GPS to show the a list of parks in the area and Lake Johnson Park was the winner.

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My first impression of the park was not that great due to the limited amount of parking. I circled the lot a couple of times, along with several other cars, hopping that I would get lucky and get a spot. After my third time around the lot I decided to drive to the other side of the lake and see if there was any parking over there, since there was a boardwalk that also went across the lake, and there was. The other parking lot was also small but at least people had the ability to park on the side of the road but luckily I was able to get a parking spot in the lot.

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I decided to head across the boardwalk since there seemed to be more activity on that side of the lake. The boardwalk was well maintained and populated with walkers, joggers and fishers. It also provided a nice view of the lake as you strolled across. On the other side there was a park center which provided a concession stand, restrooms, a nice covered deck with rocking chairs that over looked the lake and boat rentals.

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Wild life wise consisted mainly of ducks, geese and seagulls. I’m sure there are more critters out there and luckily I did not have a run in with anything that could have put me in the hospital like last time, even when I went off the trail to get some pictures.

Other then the limited parking, Lake Johnson Park turned out to be another nice park to explore. Granted I only explored a small bit of the park since the park consist of over 300+ acres of land. The map of the park show a fully paved trail that goes all the way around the east side of the lake and an unpaved trail around the west side. Next time I’ll have to get there earlier and take a stroll around the lake.

More Photos Here (PicLens PicLens Button)

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Posted in Photography, Travel | No Comments »

New Feature: PicLens

Posted by heymoe on February 14th, 2008

Recently I came across a new web browser plug-in called PicLens which provides a full-screen, 3D image viewing experience on the Internet. It is supported by a number of Photo, Social Networking and Image Search sites such as Flickr, Picasa Web Albums, Smugmug, FaceBook, MySpace and Google Images just to name a few. Of course I did not want to be left out so after digging around and modifying some code I came across on a Gallery2 forum, I was able to add PicLens support to my Photo Gallery.

To enjoy the full 3D PicLens experience you’ll need to install the browser plug-in which currently supports Firefox, IE and Safari (Note: The Safari plug-in currently does not support the 3D Wall feature). For those of you that don’t run a supported browser or refuse to install the plug-in, you can still enjoy most of the PicLens features via a flash based viewer called PicLens Lite.


All you need to do is click on this icon PicLens Button while viewing the different photo albums in my gallery or a link in a blog post, like the picture of the float plane on the left, to launch the PicLens plug-in or the PicLens Lite viewer. If you have the plug-in installed you can also use the play button icon that appears when you hover over the thumbnail images in the gallery. You’ll also need to allow javascript else the icons or the links won’t activate PicLens. As a note, you can only view images in a single album and if the album does not contain any photos, you will not see any images even though the icon is still displayed. If an album contains sub-albums, you’ll only see the photos in the album you selected and not the sub-albums. I’m still reading on on the Gallery2 API so hopefully I’ll be able to figure out a way to only show the icon if the album contains photos.


The above video shows you what the PicLens plug-in does for your image viewing experience. Go to the PicLens web site to download and install the plug-in. Do it NOW! 😛

Posted in Cerebral, Gibberish, Internet / Tech | No Comments »

Screen Cleaner

Posted by heymoe on February 12th, 2008

I found a really cool way to clean your screen. Click HERE to see how it works.

Posted in Entertainment, Internet / Tech | No Comments »

Done: Family Room Arch

Posted by heymoe on February 10th, 2008

I finally got around to ordering and installing the arch kit of my family room entry. I ended up ordering the Insta Arch product and over all the install process was pretty simple. I’m sure I would have been done a lot sooner if I was better was doing drywall work. I would not go through so many apply mud, wait for it to dry, sand, repeat cycles. In any case with the exception of a few very minor fill ins and of course paint, the arch is installed. I took pictures during the different phases of the install so check them out HERE if you want to see the process. The pictures are labeled “Family Room – Entryway – Arch Install”.

Family Room - Entryway Before_0
Family Room - Entryway - Arch Install-2100

Yeah! one less item on my family room remodel check-list.

Posted in Home, Projects | No Comments »

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