Bob Eichler's Web Site Last updated December 15th, 2014

Welcome to my web site. The site as it exists now is actually a condensed version of the sprawling web site I had built with my original dial-up account. That site is sadly just a memory now.

In the summer of 2007, I finally made the transition to a high-speed internet connection, which meant that my old dial-up account was going to bite the dust. I tried to decide whether I wanted to go though the hassle of re-hosting the entire site to the space provided by my new ISP, and eventually decided that that would be too much of a pain. In fact, I was thinking of just letting the whole web thing go - it started out as a "vanity" project in the mid 90s, before my daughter was born (back when I still had lots of free time), when having a "personal web site" was a novelty for computer geeks rather than the common thing it has become for most people.

But over the years I've gotten a lot of positive email from people about certain parts of my web site, and I did put a lot of work into building the thing. So I decided on this "condensed" approach, trying to balance the amount of pages that I wanted to re-host against how much work it would take to do so. The result is what you see before you. I may eventually add more stuff, piece-by-piece, but I doubt the site will ever be as big as it was back in mid-2007 again.

Anyway, here's a quick table of contents for what you'll find on this site:

Frank Zappa Reviews - At the end of the 20th century, I suddenly got the insane idea to attempt to write reviews of all of Zappa's albums over the span of about two and a half weeks. Somehow I pulled it off, and despite their quickly-thrown-together nature, the Zappa review pages have generated far and away the most email I've gotten about anything on my web site. So I had to rehost the whole mess over to my new site. I've even kept it up to date, with reviews of all the posthumous Zappa releases. Zappa references on MST3K - As you can tell from the Zappa reviews section, Frank Zappa is one of my favorite composers/musicians. The writers for the cult TV show Mystery Science Theater 3000 must have liked him a lot too, because they threw obscure references to him into many of their episodes. As I traded tapes of old episodes with other fans, I started to wonder just how many times Frank was referenced. So I started documenting, and eventually came up with what I'm pretty sure is a definitive list of Zappa references on MST3K. I know, no one else cares, but what is the web for if not usless info like this?
Does Humor Belong in USENET? - There are some damned funny people posting to newsgroups, or at least there used to be, before web-based forums stole a lot of the regular posters away. But here, documented for all time (or at least until I take the page down) are some prime examples of how much fun it could be to read USENET, once upon a time. Oh yeah, there's also a MiSTing that I did of a Charlton Heston diatribe in there too. Nintendo Gameboy Connection Cable Conniptions - After spending about a month trying to figure out how to get two old Gameboy games to successfully communicate with each other using Gameboy Advance SP units, I decided to document my findings for the benefit of other video game fans. I thought this information would be readily available on the web, but I had to dig long and hard to find it, and even then it was spread out over multiple pages. This brings all the information together in one place, with pictures.
Indenture Solution - a long time ago, in an age when people could enjoy video games with simple, blocky graphics, there was the grandfather of all graphic adventure games, the appropriately entitled Adventure for the Atari 2600. One guy who enjoyed that game as much as I did was Craig Pell. In fact, he liked it so much he wrote his own DOS version, which was an exact simulation of the original game, but also added new difficulty levels that expanded the game out to 10 times its original size (and approximately 100 times its original difficulty). I doubt anyone out there still plays Indenture, but if you have gotten stuck in it, then you may find my solution/walkthrough file useful. The Microvision Simulation Project - The Microvision was a primitive hand-held video game system from the late 70s, the first one to feature interchangeable cartridges. I tried to start a programmer collective to write emulators/simulators for all the Microvision games, preferrably as playable web pages. I didn't think it would be too hard, since the original games were mostly pretty simple. It turned out to be harder than I thought, and I didn't get any volunteers to help with the programming, so the project died with only four simulators written. Enjoy what's there though.
Why I hate Stored Procedures - A rant that only a crusty computer programmer like myself could identify with. My bosses at work made the decision, against my strenuous disagreement, that ALL database access should be done via stored procedures. What the heck, they weren't the ones who had to do the programming. It made life a living hell. If you are a programmer and you've been forced to use stored procedures against your will, give this a read and see if you agree. Rants - just so as not to leave a big blank spot on this page, here's one last link. This one goes to a page where I just complain about various computer and internet hosting companies that have provided me with the shoddiest of service. I just wrote this to blow off some steam, but you might want to skim over to so you know who to avoid.

Added 9/14/07: ProgDay '07 - read more than you ever cared to about this year's big outdoor progressive rock festival.

Added 12/21/07: Video Game Memories - yet another rambling, lengthy monologue, this time about all the video games that I've played and loved over the last 30 or so years. It started out as a response to a web article that I read about the 50 most important releases in video game history, and grew out of control from there. Read only if you have a lot of time to kill and a love of old video games.

Added 6/19/08: Brandy - a tribute to our beloved hound, who was taken from us far too soon.

Added 9/14/07: ProgDay '08 - another overlong and opinionated description of my annual trek to my favorite musical event, the outdoor prog-rock festival ProgDay.

Added 4/8/09: Yesoteric - A historic documentation of the massive collection of rarities by the progressive rock band Yes.

Added 8/7/09: Vacation Travelogue - Pictures, stories and gripes from our family vacation to Disney and Cocoa Beach in July of 2009.

Added 9/21/09: ProgDay '09 - the third in a series of long-winded descriptions of my trip to the annual ProgDay progressive rock festival.

Added 11/13/2009: Cerebus The Aardvark - back on my old Epix-hosted web site I had a sprawling review of the comic book, er, graphic novel series "Cerebus" that eventually strayed off topic and became a rant about the author and his religious beliefs. I didn't re-host it over to this Comcast site because the only email I ever got about it was the occasional hate mail from people who were offended by my remarks about religion. But just today I got a request from someone who was cleaning up dead links on a Cerebus fan site asking if I could put my review back up. So here it is.

Added 11/13/2009: The Dark Tower - while I'm at it, I might as well put the sprawling review I wrote of Stephen King's Dark Tower series of books back up as well.

Added 09/17/2010: How I Connected an iPod to my 2005 Prius - After being told by two different professional car audio installers that it was impossible, I found an adapter that could let my Prius connect to my iPod and installed the thing myself. Dang right I'm proud of myself. :-)

Added 09/21/2010: ProgDay 2010 - Another year, another ProgDay...and another long-winded write-up with photos.

Added 09/24/2011: ProgDay 2011 - Yet another long-winded write-up (with photos) of the longest running, and for my money best progressive rock festival around.

Added 10/03/2011: iPod Rant - I wrote this several months ago at work when I had some free time and emailed it to my home account to put up on this web site...then completely forgot about it. I just found it while cleaning out my email inbox, so here it is...why the iPod is really overrated.

Added 09/16/2012: ProgDay 2012 - You guessed it - this year's entry my the ever-expanding catalog of long-winded write-ups of my favorite music festival.

Added 05/18/2013: Saturday Night Live Season Six - Why? Why not?

Added 09/14/2013: ProgDay 2013 - Another annual report/scrapbook/overly-opinionated review of my favorite musical event.

Added 05/11/2014: The Best Yes Solo Albums - Recently I've found myself listening to a lot of solo albums released by the various members of the band Yes over the years, and at the same time trying to teach myself some of the basics of web page layout using style sheets. So the natural result, of course, is an overly-opininated, styled-to-the-point-of-being-an-eyesore web page about the best Yes solo albums.

Added 06/07/2014: Cheap Trick - Cheap Trick has long been a guilty pleasure band of mine, and last night I got the chance to see them in concert for the first time in many years. To get ready for the show, I listened to all their albums (you might be surprised at how many discs that is) and decided to write up a little blurb review of each one, which ended up turning into a web page that's pretty much a career overview of the band.

Added 07/17/2014: Electric Light Orchestra - Doing that Cheap Trick page put me in the mood to write some more about music, so I picked another of my favorite bands from the 70s/80s, ELO, and did a write-up about each of their albums. Enjoy, or ignore - the choice is yours.

Added 09/15/2014: ProgDay 2014 - A belated write-up of this year's outdoor progressive rock extravaganza, the 20th annual ProgDay. A vacation followed by illness delayed this year's write-up, but it's finally here.

Added 11/14/2014: Pink Floyd's Endlesss River - Some thoughts on the new Pink Floyd album.

Added 12/15/2014: Isaac Asimov's Robot/Empire/Foundation saga - I've been re-reading this classic sci-fi series recently, and decided to throw together a web page about it. Some of the books are just kind of skimmed over currently - I haven't had time to re-read all the Foundation books yet, so some of their descriptions are a little thin right now. I'll try to flesh them out as I read each book.

Well, that's it for now.

If you want to send me an email to point out the flaws and spelling errors of this site (I know there's got to be at least a few), feel free. My email address, and hopefully this will be confusing enough to confound spam bots but not too confusing for humans to figure out, is this: my last name (see top of this page) in all lower case letters, followed by the number two (in digit form, not spelled out) at Comcast followed not by dot com, but rather by dot net (look at this page's URL for example). No spaces or underscores or anything - just run all that together and you've got it. I know, no one will be able to figure that out, but it's better than getting tons of spam.

Here's some of the feedback I've gotten so far:

"By the way, I took a look at the rest of your site (stop wincing). Honestly, I like it. Your site has purpose, and your sense of humor makes it fun. I give it two repetative-stress-crippled thumbs up!" - Tom Warren, noted web-surfer and...old high-school and college friend.

"Great page, man." - Chris Swab, noted musician and scholar and...another old high-school and college friend.

My Zappa References on MST3K page was called "a must for fans of Zappa and MST3K" on the "May Web Site Highlights" page of the Mining Co's MST3K pages, although I've long since forgotten which year that was, exactly. 2001? Is the Mining Co even around any more?

Last but not least, here's a cool picture of a sunset I took from my front steps one day in early 1999. Why's it here? Because I really wanted to include it on the web site somewhere and couldn't come up with a better spot. It actually started out as two photos taken a couple seconds apart and from different angles, but someone named Timothy Kreitz saw it on my web page and photoshopped it into one big picture for me. Thanks Tim.

Kickass Sunset Photo