Real Life “Up”

Sunday, March 11th, 2012 @ 9:16pm

National Geographic apparently did a special last year for a new program, “How Hard Can it Be?”. Here’s some raw footage where they life a house with over 300 weather balloons!

R.I.P. Honda CR-V 2004-2012

Saturday, January 28th, 2012 @ 8:08pm

There comes a time when good things must come to an end, and unfortunately for me that time was last week. And the sad part is I had just spent an hour a few days before re-soldering the clock.

Honda CR-V Damage

Honda CR-V Damage

Honda CR-V Damage

But even with the end of an era, there’s a silver lining. Certainly sooner than I had planned to buy a new car but all in all I’d say things worked out okay. Say hello to my new ride!

New CR-V Front

SOPA: An Open Letter to Spencer Bachus

Saturday, December 17th, 2011 @ 9:13pm

The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) has been making rounds during the past couple of weeks, and as a result I feel a need to express my staunch opposition to this bill and am including my letter to my state representative below. SOPA works by giving power to intellectual property holders to force isps, search engines, and other sites to block access to infringing content or faced being shutdown entirely. This is clearly an overstepping of bounds by the US government, and I feel that it breaks the very “openness” of the internet.

Dear Congressman Bachus,

I am writing to you to express my strong opposition of H.R. 3261: Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). The internet has grown to massive use over the past two decades, and has proved to be a useful resource for knowledge, ideas and speech. This very growth has provided a wealth of jobs and tools used to enhance the lives of many people.

While I understand that protecting one’s intellectual property is important, there are already various measures to protect those copyrights. SOPA sets a dangerous precedence by giving too much power to one entity.

The passing of this legislation stands to have a serious impact on the very structure of the internet. Many architects and engineers of this very system have already expressed grave concerns on the details of this bill (

Even if SOPA passes, there is little that would actually prevent or stop piracy. DNS works by mapping a human friendly name (i.e. to one a computer can understand (i.e. Blocking a DNS entry does nothing to prevent access from a “infringing” site and is simple to bypass by entering the IP address directly.

I strongly urge you to do the right thing and vote against the passage of this bill and hope that you encourage your fellow representatives to do so as well. I will closely be watching the outcome of this legislation.

Jason Wilson

Ride for Refuge

Sunday, October 16th, 2011 @ 10:36pm

I don’t often like to use this blog to help push an agenda, but this agenda is definitely for a good cause. Ride for Refuge is an organization that helps fund raise and support organizations and charities for those who are displaced, vulnerable and exploited.

In particular, I will be riding for Make Way Partners; an organization committed to prevent and combat human trafficking. I wouldn’t be posting this if I didn’t strongly believe in their cause and the work they are doing abroad.

If you would like to sponsor my ride, you can do so here.

My Cat is Stalking You

Sunday, July 17th, 2011 @ 2:12pm

I have a new roommate, and yes; he is stalking you.

I present exhibits A. – E.:






A Year Without Cable

Monday, April 25th, 2011 @ 5:55pm

Nearly a year ago, I felt brave enough to try the impossible. Would it be possible to go without cable?

And a year later, the answer is a resounding yes.

With the onset of things such as Hulu, Netflix, ESPN3, and iTunes, I’ve found that a lot of media can be found online for “free” or for a nominal cost. And I believe that it’s scaring cable companies. Just today, an article popped on how 7% of Americans subscribe to Netflix, and that’s an ever growing number. Unless cable provides try and adapt to the ever changing market they may end up on the losing side before too long; not unlike the situation between Redbox and Blockbuster.

In the past year, I’ve been able to watch a majority of the shows I watch on Netflix or Hulu — as long as I’m willing to sacrifice a delay and not have the need to see it immediately. Additionally, most of the football games I wanted to watch last fall ended up being on ESPN3 or CBSSports so it was a simple affair to stream the content live.

In the short run, it’s not for everyone. Many sports events have blackouts and a few networks do not license their content to be made available for various streaming sites. But for me, it’s an excellent value allowing me to save $60-80 a month and to be able to pick what I want to watch when I want to watch it 75% of the time.

Home Network / Wiring Closet

Saturday, March 19th, 2011 @ 5:31pm

I’ve always been frustrated by the speeds & limitations of wireless and with the addition of a home server, 802.11G just doesn’t cut it. Sure it’s great for flexibility but there’s certain limitations when you want to stream content. Now that I own my own home, I can do something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time – setup a wired home network.

The existing cable wiring was a mess, running from outside to the garage (on the opposite side of the house) then out to each room. I wanted a more convenient location for my wires, so I pulled all the wires from the garage into a closet close to the outside wall where the wires come in.

I tried to run lines where there was already cable/phone outlets so I wouldn’t have to cut too many new holes in the wall. Ran about 3-4 CAT6 drops per room.

Wiring Closet Beginning

I bought a 16 port CAT6 patch panel, although I’m already wishing I had picked up a 24 panel just to be on the safe side. In addition, a 4U wall mount bracket and a rack mountable surge strip.

Wiring Mess

Most of the materials weren’t too expensive, aside from the 1000′ of solid CAT6 cable and 1Gbps network switch.


I did have to replace most of the wall plates, so picked up a bunch of 2/3 keystone plates with various CAT6/Coaxial connectors. I did use blue to signify what is supposed to be a phone line, but I don’t currently have any of those actually hooked up at the moment.

(Almost) Finished Closet

I do plan on fixing up the phone/coaxial parts at some point, but I’m honestly in no rush considering I don’t have cable/antenna/phone hooked up.

Patch/Wiring Panel Close Up

I didn’t have any kind of fancy label maker, so I simply used white electrical tape and a permanent marker to label the wires on both end should I ever find the need to figure out what’s what.

It was a decent amount of work, but all in all I’m pretty happy with it. My 1Gbps network happily chugs along at 30-40MB/sec, although I’m sure it’s a bit slower than I expected due to my HDD read speeds.

Update – Cable/Antenna RG6 Wiring

After months of procrastination, I finally terminated the dangling RG6 cables and hooked them up to a home-grown antenna. I used up a DataShark compression kit from HomeDepot to terminate the cables. However if you use the same kit, I really would recommend picking up a coax stripper as the one included was pretty crappy.

Cable Wires

In addition, picked up a new Motorola SB6120 modem which was capable of wall mounting:

Mounted Router & Modem

Sure the wires aren’t exactly neat but the setup does what it’s supposed to do. Simplified management of my home network and easy access should I ever find the need to change anything.

To Nebraska and Back

Monday, March 14th, 2011 @ 5:11pm

I had the privilege of meeting some good friends of mine a couple weeks back in Omaha/Lincoln, Nebraska. A little bit colder than here in Birmingham, although the weather was seemingly nice for the time of year – aside from vast amounts of mud and snow. I still had a great time and look forward to visiting again in the future.

I was mostly too busy socializing and trying to place names with everyone, but I did manage to pick up a few photos on the trip during our visit to the Strategic Air Command Museum.

Delorean Rear

SAC Museum

SAC Museum

You can view the rest of the photos on flickr.

Awesome Dip

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011 @ 11:27am

I don’t know what the real name of this should be, except this dip is absolutely awesome and addicting. This was passed down from a friend in college, so enjoy!

  • 1 (15oz) can black beans
  • 1 jalapeño pepper
  • 1 each medium stoplight peppers (red, yellow, green)
  • 1 mango
  • 2 (8oz) packages of cream cheese
  • 1 (16oz) sour cream
  • 1 (1.25oz) package taco seasoning
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Finely chop the jalapeño pepper. Wash and dice the three stoplight peppers into approx. 1/4″ pieces. Peal and dice the mango into 1/4″ pieces. Chop up 1/4 cup of cilantro. Set aside.

Soften cream cheese in the microwave and mix with sour cream. Stir in taco seasoning. Mix in (drained) black beans and place into 9″ x 12″ pyrex dish. Layer top with peppers and mango. Layer cilantro on top of peppers. Allow to chill for 2 hours. Serve with tortilla chips.

Inclement Weather

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011 @ 7:40pm

This has been one of the more unusual years for Birmingham as we’ve had several significant cold weather events since December; at least more than I can remember in recent history.

Back in January the weather dipped down into the low teens, which apparently means “tiny coats on dogs”.

Warm Coats

Shortly thereafter, there was a significant accumulation of sleet. At least around my house it averaged from 1 1/2″ to 2″ but in some places it piled up into larger masses.

Sleet Accumulation

Yet the snow has managed to miss us and instead leaving with this icy mess to deal with. Fantastic.