Friday, December 30, 2005

One Red Paperclip

Here's another zany idea -- start with a paper clip and field trade offers for it. Keep trading up for other items until you get... a house?

Thursday, December 29, 2005

The Million Dollar Home Page

I know that going to school can be expensive, but I didn't know it was a million dollars expensive.

An entreprenurial student is selling 10x10 pixel blocks on his site for a buck a pixel (you have to buy at least one block minimum... a hundred bucks) for the purpose of putting himself through school (and I'm guessing a nice vehicle may be in the works).

Don't laugh. He launched the site in August, and as of right now he's cleared 900k. Wish I was that smart.

Apples and Staples

Remember my belly aching a year ago trying to get out of a Staples? Peter Burrows of BusinessWeek Online observed my retail dreamworld doing his Christmas shopping last week:
I experienced it on Dec. 24, when I made my last pre-Christmas stop at an Apple store to pick up a new Mac game for my 5-year-old. There, I saw a table set up just to sell iPods, with a big monitor set-up advising customers which models were in stock. It's called the iPod Express table. But the best part was that the Apple "Geniuses" behind the table had wireless gizmos for scanning credit cards, and Apple had worked out a totally wireless, paperless checkout process, called EasyPay. Once scanned, they advise you that the receipt will be in your inbox within an hour (since I'm already a registered Apple customer, they didn't even need to take my email or other information).
 
I'm no expert in retail operations, but this experience certainly made me wonder why this wouldn't, or shouldn't, be the future of retail. Given the pace at which folks were leaving that store with products in hand, clearly the increased velocity of order-taking was a good thing for Apple.
No, Mr. Burrows, you are an expert in retail operations. Separating customers from their money as efficiently as possible equals a) the ability to process customers with the same or less amount of resources (yay for the retailer) and b) customer loyalty -- they had the bread in hand and you gave them what they wanted without getting in their way (yay for the customer).

Join the iCult

 

Pass the Lipitor

The Volokh Conspiracy is uncovering that Pfizer may have had a little more to do with the Kelo takings than the Supreme Court was aware of, or willing to admit.

UPDATE: Or not. It seems the post has been taken down.

Cookie Monster

Scandalous! Amid all the ohmygoodnesswe'rebeingspiedon controversy swirling around the president we're hear this today about the NSA:
The National Security Agency's Internet site has been placing files on visitors' computers that can track their Web surfing activity despite strict federal rules banning most of them.
 
These files, known as "cookies," disappeared after a privacy activist complained and The Associated Press made inquiries this week, and agency officials acknowledged Wednesday they had made a mistake.
 
Nonetheless, the issue raises questions about privacy at a spy agency already on the defensive amid reports of a secretive eavesdropping program in the United States.
 
"Considering the surveillance power the NSA has, cookies are not exactly a major concern," said Ari Schwartz, associate director at the Center for Democracy and Technology, a privacy advocacy group in Washington, D.C.
Well, no kidding. And, considering just about every well-visited website uses cookies it seems like a heck of a thing to expect the NSA to not track the surfing habits of visitors on their own website.
 
If you really want to get your undies in a bunch over surf tracking, try a little research on what the big web ad agencies do. It'll make your skin crawl.
Until Tuesday, the NSA site created two cookie files that do not expire until 2035 — likely beyond the life of any computer in use today.
This is quite a common practice with web programmers to remember users when they return to their site. How do you think Amazon remembers who you are time after time when you visit their site from the same computer?
But privacy advocates complain that cookies can also track Web surfing, even if no personal information is actually collected.
Privacy advocates should look into disabling cookies if it's that much of a problem. If you think tracking by cookie is bad, just think of how the RIAA is tracking down folks to sue -- by finding the IP address of suspect computers and then requesting a subpoena of the user records of the person using that address from the ISP who owns it. Web servers track surfing habits, too.
 
At the end of the day these aren't really privacy advocates bellyaching, they are anonymity advocates. It's one thing to expect privacy when sharing personal information with an agency of some sort for the purposes of conducting some sort of business with that agency. It's quite another to expect to not be traceable when you are the person requesting resources off another person's or agency's property.

Behold, the iMeat


Via Gizmodo.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The Chronic(WHAT?)les of Narnia

Tire Sculptures

Here's a little something to do with your left-over tires.

Why Not?

Eric Sinrod (kind of an interesting last name considering the content of the article) of Duane Morris thinks it's time to implement a .xxx top-level domain (tld).
 
I think it's a great idea, especially if content providers are forced to use the tld - surfers, parents, and sysadmins can easily identify and/or filter objectionable content. It could also help filter (some) spam.
 
Hey, perhaps if they force content providers to use a .crap tld when selling body altering substances, dating services, or the other junk that fills people's inboxes we'd really make a dent in filtering Internet pollution.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

The VEEP Is In The Cult, Too

Looks like VP Cheney ticked off a few reporters on a flight back to Washington when he used one of only two outlets on Air Force Two to charge his iPod.
 
For what it's worth, Cheney has Johnny Cash on his iPod, so those reporters can just suck it up and wait.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

It Almost Makes Me Want To Go Back To School

CNet has a post on the current state of digital note taking, highlighting a system called Tegrity Campus which allows students to take notes on regular paper using a digital pen. The student is able to then upload a digital version of their notes to the school website where it is synchronized to a digital version of the lecture they were taking the notes from. The synchronization is possible because the digital pen apparently is keeping time during the lecture.

Why didn't I think of that? If you combine this type of technology with other tried-and-true collaborative methods such as newsgroups and message boards the learning process could be more of a group function rather than a "cracking open my notes and textbook at one in the morning" exercise.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Missing Episode III Scene

Not quite sure why this scene was deleted from the final cut.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Mr. Fusion Coming Closer to Reality

Who knew that Doc was onto something in 1985? First there was vegetable bio-diesel, now it looks like a Canadien company is coming up with a way to convert raw cow parts into fuel for your vehicle.

So, gather ye up your mad cows, fire up the Delorean and get the flux capacitor... fluxxing.

Monday, December 12, 2005

NOT On My Christmas List

Of all the iCrap you can buy during this holiday season, please, please do not get me a pair of these.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Eastern Chill

When we arrived in San Diego a week and a half ago, I had a small sense of reprieve. I had just crammed on a project and got it to a somewhat self-managing state, and now I had 10 days in front of me to relax with the wife and family. Last year it rained every day we were in San Diego, but we had nothing but sunshine this time around, making it fairly trivial to choose a "local" destination and take a day trip.

Today we wake up to a couple inches of snow coming down. But, as they say, too bad.

I can almost swear that each of these trips gets shorter each time around. The time just goes by and, all of a sudden, you're packing your bags and hopping back on the plane. Yes, the time goes by faster each time around, and with each trip out I get the sense that the time to do these trips is evaporating.

Photos from the Seaport Village day tripOn that happy note, here are a few more sets of pictures from the trip. On the Monday we were out we hit Julian, which I already posted some pictures from. Tuesday we had lunch with some folks I used to work with then headed out to one of our favorite spots, Seaport Village, and browsed around the shops as well as walking around the USS Midway, which apparently is docked there as a museum now, although I don't know if that is full time or not.

Compared to prior trips here (this was our third), it was rather empty. Surprising, considering it was the beginning of the Christmas shopping season and all of that.

Wednesday morning Lori, myself, and my father had breakfast with my Aunt and Uncle. They are headed out to Peru soon for their 5th and 4th (respectively) missions trip, and had a lot to share with Lori who just recently returned from Honduras herself (I'll try to post some stuff from that later).

Photos from our trip to Coronado IslandBy the time we left my Aunt & Uncle's it was early afternoon. We drove across the Coronado Bay Bridge and visited the "island"1 of Coronado. Half the island seems to be taken up with the naval base where my dad used to work, and the other half is a combination of housing, touristy areas, parks and beaches.

We spent some time in a little mall diving in and out of shops. We also walked along the beach behind the shops which faces the bay and gives you an excellent view of the San Diego skyline. Afterwards we headed to the other side of the island and walked up and down Orange street. As the sun started heading down, we took to the beach behind the Hotel Del Coronado and captured the sun as it sank into the ocean.

Again, not very busy anywhere we went this day.

Photos from our Sea World visitThursday we headed out to Sea World. I haven't been there in 25 years or so, and Lori had been to the one in Orlando some years back but not San Diego. It's much different than I remember... almost smaller. We caught all the shows we could and hit all the aquariums, which tend to be my favorite thing to see.

The park was a virtual ghost town, and everybody that was in the park probably attended each show we were at and still did not fill the arena up.

That evening we swapped Christmas gifts at my parents, since we will not be in town at that time (we alternate each year). Talk turned to my brother afterwards, who has gone AWOL since July when he started a new job in Las Vegas. He's been fairly determined to live his own life it seems, but we all miss the heck out of that guy. Oh brother, where art thou?

Photos from our vineyard hoppingMy mother took Friday off and took us to the vineyards of Temecula, just bit north of where they live in San Marcos. The closest I've gotten to alcohol consumption is Vick's Formula 44d, so I pretty much played the role of designated driver. In order, we visited the Thornton, Wilson Creek, and Ponte Family Estate wineries, having lunch at the last place. Lori and Mom had a wine tasting at Wilson Creek, and the grounds there are beautiful. The food was excellent at Ponte.

The funny thing is, the wineries were probably more populated than any of the other places we visited during the week. It's a bit strange how folks get really dressed up for tastings and come out in groups - in the middle of the day on Friday. It's a whole foreign world to me, I guess.

I miss my folks much, and am already scheming a way to see them again ahead of our next scheduled date. Until then, thanks mom and dad for being our hotel and rental car agency once again. Thanks, Dave, for being our tour guide in the Gaslamp District (which I unfortunately did not get pictures of). And thank you, San Diego, for staying at home, work, or school (and out of our way) while we acted like tourists.

Photo links:

[1] It's not really an island as there is a very skinny connector to Chula Vista.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Western Air



We're out vacationing this week in San Diego. I know it can be annoying hearing about the lovely weather in other places when you're sitting in cold weather, but... too bad. The picture should be linked to a few photos from our day trip yesterday to Julian, California.

Posted by Picasa

Friday, November 25, 2005

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Hit Magnet: Intelligent Design

If you really want to jump the traffic on your blog site, start a discussion on Intelligent Design. Case in point: Derek Lowe, a scientist who blogs at Corante offered his two cents on Intelligent Design this past week. His usually moderately commented blog became a busy discussion board over the course of the week. It's fair to say that this topic brings out the liveliness in people.

The frustrating thing to me is that while I believe that ID has it's merits and is worth discussing, I can understand the point of view of the scientist who just wants to stick to the evidence. If they allow the possibility of ID in their studies, it raises a lot of questions for them -- if we were intelligently designed, why did this designer create such-and-such in us that causes us to so-and-so? The ID'er will typically have a response which is based on theology, and at the point the scientist takes one step out of the laboratory and one step into the seminary.

So scientists generally stick with macro or Darwinian evolution, which is itself not without it's difficult questions but allows the scientist to keep some uncomfortable thoughts about God at bay.

Monday, November 07, 2005

iPod: Two Week Review

Okay, so you're reading about the new iPod everywhere. I'll make this brief1 and just touch on a few items that I didn't mention in my previous post:

  1. Battery. Actually, I did mention this previously, but I have a hard time believing the battery is going to make it to the rated 10 - 15 hour mark (playing audio). I use the unit periodically through the day, and when I have a good 15 hour chunk of time to kill...
  2. Screen. It's beautiful like everybody is saying, and it does scratch easily like everyone is saying. I've transmogrified one of those Palm screen protectors into an iPod screen protector. Just measure, cut, and stick. It works great, and provides an other wordly sheen to the screen.
  3. Video. I have to admit, it works quite well but sucks the battery quickly. Below are some trailer park screen grabs of the "Freedom" video by King's X. The iPod kept everything in sync, sounded great, and didn't look half bad. The video had to be transcoded, of course, which degraded the quality a bit. I have not had a chance (or the extra money for the cable) to plug it into the TV yet.
    As far as video conversion goes, you can pay 30 bucks for QuickTime Pro and enjoy spending the whole afternoon converting a five minute video, or you can hop over to PSPVideo9.com and get it done in significantly less time. The whole MP4 vs. H.264 thing is lost on me, so don't ask.
  4. I'm still rather steamed that another docking station/cable setup is going to be another 40 bucks. Maybe somebody like Belkin has a cheaper alternative.

In all, still pretty happy with it. There is a review over at dapreview.net which sums up the pros and cons nicely.

And while you're sitting there, surfing and using precious company resources, how about checking that video of Freedom2 out? I can't remember where I borrowed it from, so grab it here until somebody tells me to bring it down, or my bandwidth goes over it's limit3.






[1] This didn't turn out to be that brief, did it?
[2] Plays on iPod, like, fer shur, totally! (tm)
[3] Hah, if only.

Race: Boat vs. Motorcycle vs. Automobile

Sweet1.

[1] Via Jalopnik.

Got Golden Ears?

This could be known as a collection of audiophile equipment, but it seems more like the museum of obscenely priced audio equipment.

Not


My blog is worth $5,080.86.
How much is your blog worth?



Maybe only in that funny money world of the 1990's, where companies were hiring janitors to fix the Y2k bugs in their software and Arthur Anderson was doing financial audits.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Nerdville: Belt Buckle Roundup


What could be better than a DIY hard disc buckle1 than an LED buckle2 that can display a custom message (such as "run the other way") ?

[1] Via Gizmodo
[2] Via CNet

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Everything iPod

iLounge has a catalog containing every iPod accessory known to God and man.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Chase Cam in 1:32 Scale



Now this is actually cool and brought a big, stupid smile to my face -- slot car video from the perspective of the driver's seat.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

iPod, Therefore I Am

Lori recently gifted me with one of those brand new iPods with video capabilities. With the pending doom of the MiniDisc format, it was time to find something else to groove on.

And I'm quite sorry that I didn't join the iPod cult sooner. It integrates with iTunes (for Windows) well, holds a lot of stuff, is small, and looks cool. I haven't held too many of the prior models before so I can't do a real good comparison, but the screen is bright and crisp and the sound is great.

In the past I've encoded most of my collection in 256kb/s mp3 and then have subsequently transcoded the mp3 to 132kb/s ATRAC to listen on the MiniDisc. I've always thought that the sound quality was better than adequate (and I don't have golden ears), but I have to say that non-transcoded, higher bitrate audio sounds much better (duh).

There are a couple things that bug me. The manual says the battery life should be somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 hours, but after about 2 - 3 hours of on and off usage through the course of a day the battery indicator tells me I'm about down to half. I also noticed the new resin finish scratches easy. It's apparently the same type of scratchable finish on the new Nano that others are complaining about.

And, although the pricing is a bit cheaper than past comparable units, Apple went cheap on the included accessories. You get a CD with the software, a set of headphones, a docking station adapter, and a USB cable to connect to the computer. But no docking station, which after another 40 bucks you find out it doesn't come with it's own connection cable. You're going Gates on us, Stevie!

iTunes is adequate jukebox software, but it's got a little ways to go. They've tried to retrofit the way the Mac OS works into a Windows application, and it's a bit clunky. Most operations involving encoding or other work with mp3 files pegs out my CPU (P4 2.5 ghz) utilization at 100 percent. I'm not sure how they do it, but MusicMatch rips my CDs much faster and only uses a small fraction of my CPU.

It was a bit expensive, but it's a good buy. I haven't tried video out with it yet but will within the next few days. It's worth the money just for the music playing features, although watching missed shows on your iPod is an intriguing idea.

Now that iPod, my colleague asks if iBelieve?

Monday, October 17, 2005

Hide The Beer, The Pastor's Son Is Here

Matthew Westerholm, son of the pastor of the church we currently attend and a worship minister himself, has his own blog named "[retro] evanglical" which I stumbled upon while going through the logs of my church's website.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Coffee

Not just good, but good for you.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Thursday, October 13, 2005

$1 per Gallon Gas Coming Back?

William Sargant thinks so, within a year or two. He argues that special interest groups in the form of environmentalists and agricultural activists have successfully lobbied the government into creating a network of "boutique" gas formulas which, when you take into account the different octane ratings, comes out to 59 different types of fuel among the 50 states. He also argues that speculative investing is creating an artificial demand for oil.

While there may be a ring of truth in those, it doesn't follow necessarily to me that consumers are going to become aware of these issues within the next couple of years and produce results at the polls that would cause us all to move towards a simple set of fuels. Consumers have not curbed their demand for oil much through the recent price hikes, and unless they are spending something approaching five bucks a gallon I don't think they'll take it seriously.

And have you seen the taxes on fuel lately? I'm inclined to believe our government officials will make up the savings gap on fuel simplicity with more taxes.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Rubik's Cube Madness

I used to think I was something special in grade school when I could solve the Rubik's Cube, but Chris Hardwick is a madman, solving it in seconds blindfolded or with one hand.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Global Warming Strikes Again!

Mt. Everest is actually 12 feet shorter than previously thought, according to some Chinese scientists.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Diamonds Are Moore's Law's Best Friend

USA Today has an article on the future of diamonds, which are apparently becoming increasingly easy to manufacture. There are multiple applications for diamonds in computer technology, especially where storage and wafers are concerned.

Come On Over...

We're still commiserating.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

What Is This Thing?

I caught this thing out of the corner of my eye when getting into the house this evening. It was sitting on the edge of the screen door railing.

It was only a half inch long or so, but after taking it's photograph I bid it good day and let it be.

MiniDisc, R.I.P.

Well, this is something for me to cry about. It appears multiple outlets are reporting the imminent death of the MiniDisc format. Sony is laying off a load of workers, and with them goes the MD technology. At least, that is what is being rumored at the moment.

As much as I've hated the software (with it's death already imminent), I was willing to put up with it because of the recording capabilities and what not. At this point I'll either try grabbing one of the new MD devices on the cheap which support MP3, or bite the bullet and use a different device for playing back tunes. I'll still keep an MD device around for recording purposes as there is really nothing that beats it. In either event, this will provide the impetus for me to ditch the ATRAC format.

Geophagy

It's one of those "is this an April Fool's joke?" type of stories, but apparently there are people who enjoy eating dirt.

Thank you, and now I will go retch.

Via MedGadget

Saturday, October 01, 2005

First Photos of LIVE Giant Squid, Ever

National Geographic is offering up the first photos ever of a live, giant squid. Several have been caught dead or washed up on sea shores before, but have never been photographed alive. This particular one was guestimated to be about 26 feet long.

Daytrippin'

Lori and I took the back half of last week off to disconnect from work for a little while. She's headed off to Honduras for a missions trip next month, working with a group of physicians, dentists, and other health professionals to render aid.

We generally take a good couple weeks off this time of year to vacation, but it's not to be this year. In lieu of that and the busy time coming up in the next couple months, we decided to take this mini vacation. Some photos from our trip to Newport, RI are here, while a scant few photos from our trip to The Big E are here.

Turntable Art

A gentleman by the name of David Ellis has a way with turntables, including this trunk turntable. No picking up miscellaneous vibration here!

Via Gizmodo.

Friday, September 30, 2005

E = mc2

The author of The Elegant Universe, Brian Greene, pays tribute1 to the hundred year anniversary of Einstein's famous equation:
In the far, far future, essentially all matter will have returned to energy. But because of the enormous expansion of space, this energy will be spread so thinly that it will hardly ever convert back to even the lightest particles of matter. Instead, a faint mist of light will fall for eternity through an ever colder and quieter cosmos.

The guiding hand of Einstein's E = mc² will have finally come to rest.
Now that's a happy thought. Fortunately my molecules will have long redistributed before that.

[1] Via the New York Times. Try BugMeNot if it's asking you to log in.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

What Dr. Z Said

Sports Illustrated's Paul Zimmerman (aka Dr. Z) on Jeremy Shockey's bellyaching about Tom Coughlin's tough meeting rules:
So what is the hot follow-up story we get in New York, in the wake of that 45-23 massacre? Shockey, the tight end and renowned intellectual leader of the Giants, moaning about coach Tom Coughlin holding out wideout Plaxico Burress for a quarter because he came late to a couple of meetings.

The Giants always have been a team of whiners, going back to the Jim Fassel days when Michael Strahan & Co. were popping off every 20 minutes about some indignity or another. But this Shockey thing, which captured banner headlines in the New York tabloids, was the topper.

Hey, Shockey, if you really want to help the team, why don't you grab your widedout [sic] by the throat and tell him to get his ass into the meetings on time?
Bingo, we have a winner.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Lot Did WHAT?!

I don't know what translation this guy was reading from, but I'm guessing it's one of those "newer" ones.

Via PunditGuy

Friday, September 23, 2005

Numark PT-01, Desert Tested

Me being an old, decrepit gas bag and all, I don't get out to raves[1], disco's, or other parties that often where entertainment is provided with a record player. Especially ones that are happening out in the desert. One fine DJ, however, picked up a pair of the PT-01's for use in the Burning Man festival. Or campout. Or event. Whatever it is. And it looks like they did the job well.

Mine is holding up quite well still.

[1] What IS a rave, anyway?

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

RIAA Strikes Again

If they only spent half as much time producing and promoting music that didn't suck! RIAA is now pushing to copy-protect digital satellite radio.

Next up, copy-protecting humming.

I Feel Bad For You Jim, But Get Over It

Jim Haslett, head coach of the New Orlean saintsgoes ape after losing a "home" game in New Jersey:
They could have done that anywhere... they could have played that game in Baton Rouge. They could have played it in San Antonio and could have done the same thing. To play it in Giants Stadium, to give them another home game and to put us in a situation where we couldn't hear... It wasn't why we lost that game, but ...
...but you guys got your butts whipped. I doubt if this were an actual "away" game that you would have been fine with the outcome.

Be thankful you're playing football and not having to dig out of that hell hole that is your home.

Hydrogen Now. No, Really.

Joe Williams Sr. Remember this name, as he may be the first to market with a widget which creates hydrogen from distilled water for your car. It's powered by the engine in the car, but returns the hydrogen back to the engine, reducing emissions to practically nothing and increasing gas mileage by more than 10 percent. And it cures gout.

It's Really For Your Convenience

From Poland, and now to Portland. Law enforcement is figuring out ways to keep tabs on you and your vehicle, and a new device is being introduced to folks in Oregon which will report emissions violations to roadside monitors, which will then prompt a little warning to the offender to fix it or ticket. This is supposed to save you the hastle of taking your car in for emissions testing.

Are they going to use it for keeping track of speeders? Well, of course not:
The head of Oregon's Vehicle Inspection Program says that he's not interested in using the infrastructure to issue speeding tickets. Officials on the east coast made similar claims regarding the E-ZPass system which does use transponder technology to monitor speeding. The automated toll transponder is used to issue warning letters and cancel the contract of "frequent" speeders.
No, he's not interested, if you're really meaning he's chomping at the bit, actually.

I'll Take One of These

5 panels wide, 2.5 inches thick with a resolution of 19,200 x 2, 400 pixels. It's the Athens monitor from Liebermann, Inc. Mercifully, I could not find pricing as it doesn't seem to be available yet.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

More Solid State Goodness

BitMicro seems to carry a line of solid state hard drives. Offerings from their home page currently include rugged transit units as well as desktop units, up to 155 GB. Most of their wares seem to be tilted to the military sector, but I'm sure if they can seperate you from your cash then you can have one of these in your computer as well.

I couldn't find pricing online, although I'm sure it would be a decision between buying one of these and a two year old Honda Accord.

The End of the World

It's scheduled to arrive at 9:15 AM on June 1, 2014, the day my brother turns 39. According to scientists at NASA's Chandra X-Ray observatory, there is a "Chaos Cloud" headed our way at the speed of light. A few of the encouraging quotes:
"...the total annihilation of our solar system is imminent."

"Just imagine our galaxy the Milky Way as a beautiful, handwritten letter. Now imagine pouring a glass of water on the paper and watching the words dissolve as the stain spreads."

"It's like watching a helpless hog being dissolved in a vat of acid."

"If it continues unchecked, the chaos cloud will eventually reduce our galaxy to the state of absolute chaos that existed before the birth of the universe."
Ah, yes, another side-effect of global warming and not signing the Kyoto treaty. Well, with that I bid you all a happy and joy filled week.

Note: for what it's worth, this story is located in the "Entertainment News and Gossip" section of Yahoo.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Fuel Powered MP3 Player

It almost seems like an April Fool's joke, but Toshiba has a prototype of an MP3 player that runs on methanol fuel cells.

Monday, September 12, 2005

R.I.P., Man In Black


I don't want no aggravation when my train has left the station,
If you're there or not, I may not even know.
Have a round and remember thing we did that weren't so tender,
Let the train blow the whistle when I go.

On my old guitar sell ticket so someone can finally pick it,
And tell the girls at the Ritz I said hello.
Tell the gossipers and liars I will see them in the fire,
Let the train blow the whistle when I go.

Let her blow, let her blow,
Long and loud and hard and happy let her blow.
No regrets, all my debts will be paid when I get laid,
Let the train blow the whistle when I go.

You'll be left without excuses for the evil and abuses
Down to today from years and years ago.
And have yourself another toke from my basket full of smoke,
Let the train blow the whistle when I go.

Let 'er blow, let 'er blow,
Long and loud and hard and happy let 'er blow.
No regrets, all my debts will be paid when I get laid,
Let her blow, let her blow, let her blow.

The First Digi-Cam

Created by... Kodak?

Apparently they developed a prototype in 1975 which weighed a scant 8 lbs, took 23 seconds to record the 64 kilopixel image onto cassette and another 23 seconds to play it back... onto your television. It only took them 26 more years to get a digicam onto the market.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Goodbye SonicStage

Various outlets are reporting on the imminent death of SonicSage, that lovely piece of crap software that I love to hate. Sony is replacing it with a piece of software called Connect (which is also the name of their online music service), which looks a lot like iTunes.

The MiniDisc.org thread seems to indicate that there may be a chance that MiniDisc units will not be supported by the new software which would signal the end of the format, in my opinion.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Separated at Birth

US senator and preventer of civil rights Robert Byrd, and former stand-in senator for Naboo, galactic emperor and dark lord of the Sith Senator Palpatine.

Come To Portland

We have a little sale going on...

Friday, September 02, 2005

Tanked

Rocketboom, a popular video blog, is generally good for some nerdy news and light left-of-center social/political commentary. On Thursday they took an apparent shot at a personal dramatization of the Katrina disaster.

The commenters are weighing in, and it doesn't look pretty. A little sampling:
"Do you think this is funny? To turn what's happening in New Orleans into a reality t.v. show?? Or is this an audition tape to show off Amanda's acting skills??"

"Why do people use times of crisis to bring out the horrible drama theatre?!"

"What's most disturbing about the piece isn't the lack of judgment and tact displayed; it's how self-serving the whole thing seems."

"I thought I had seen it all with the way the network news exploited people's pain for their ratings. Then I saw this..."
Ouch. And that's not even halfway down the comments list yet. Sure, there are some artsy-fartsy positive comments in there, but on the whole I'd say that this little piece is receiving an enthusiastic thumbs down.

Me? I got through about 30 seconds before killing it. Maybe there is some art value in dramatizing this event on a personal level but, seriously, I'm getting the picture watching real victims scream and cry on the television each night. This may have seemed like a good idea in the muggy studio of an apartment somewhere in New York city, but, well, I'm thinking of a word... it rhymes with crap, sounds like crap, and is spelled just like crap.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Mazda Concept Car to Use USB "Key?"

Mazda concept car Sassou is supposedly going to use USB flash drives for keys.

Neat, but considering my recent luck with flash technology my Mazda Sassou would be sitting ineffectively in my garage for prolonged periods of time.

Joining the 3 Bucks Per Gallon Club

40 bucks to fill the Green Machine last night. Never thought I'd see the day.

Scott's neck of the woods is going through a bit more of a gas problem right now, and popular blog (and neighbor to Scott) VodkaPundit discusses similar experiences.

New Orleans, Before and After Pictures

Satellite photos provided by DigitalGlobe, via CNet.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Notice




The comments or opinions of either of these two asshats do not necessarily represent the views of myself, my faith, the church I attend, or Jesus Christ.

Meanwhile, some have listened to these two sages and ponder, Who Would Jesus Assassinate? Marvin Olasky and Ron Jacobs weigh in.

Prepare to Pay

Hugh Hewitt, on the possibility that Katrina drives gas to four bucks a gallon:
High gasoline prices are the result of decisions made by legislators. It is that simple. Congressmen decided to put in place the laws that have led to these prices, and to the higher ones ahead. They have chosen to cripple refinery construction and domestic oil exploration.


The "they," by the way, are overwhelmingly Democrats. Not exclusively. There are a handful of Republicans who don't mind you paying $3 a gallon and more, soon to be $4 a gallon.


But the vast majority of Republicans want to make new refinery construction easier, and new oil exploration --beginning in ANWR-- lawful.


In fact, the ANWR vite will be coming up soon. You may want to call your elected representatives and ask how they will be voting and what they will be doing to get new refineries under construction.

Me, I wish we'd get all the smart people in the room to figure out how to make fuel out of water (you know, hydrogen and oxygen) instead of figuring out how to get our trailer park space equipment back up into space.

Oh Dear

How would like to address your postal mail from F****** Austria?

The Evolution Revolution

This Sunday's Hartford Courant has a decent assessment of the current debate on the possibility of introducing Intelligent Design (or, at least a critique of Neo-Darwinian Evolution) in the classroom.

Grace Over Karma

Christianity Today has an excerpt from Michka Assayas' Bono, In Conversation With Michka Assayas. If I may excerpt an excerpt:

Assayas: The Son of God who takes away the sins of the world. I wish I could believe in that.

Bono: But I love the idea of the Sacrificial Lamb. I love the idea that God says: Look, you cretins, there are certain results to the way we are, to selfishness, and there's a mortality as part of your very sinful nature, and, let's face it, you're not living a very good life, are you? There are consequences to actions. The point of the death of Christ is that Christ took on the sins of the world, so that what we put out did not come back to us, and that our sinful nature does not reap the obvious death. That's the point. It should keep us humbled... It's not our own good works that get us through the gates of heaven.

Assayas: That's a great idea, no denying it. Such great hope is wonderful, even though it's close to lunacy, in my view. Christ has his rank among the world's great thinkers. But Son of God, isn't that farfetched?

Bono: No, it's not farfetched to me. Look, the secular response to the Christ story always goes like this: he was a great prophet, obviously a very interesting guy, had a lot to say along the lines of other great prophets, be they Elijah, Muhammad, Buddha, or Confucius. But actually Christ doesn't allow you that. He doesn't let you off that hook. Christ says: No. I'm not saying I'm a teacher, don't call me teacher. I'm not saying I'm a prophet. I'm saying: "I'm the Messiah." I'm saying: "I am God incarnate." And people say: No, no, please, just be a prophet. A prophet, we can take. You're a bit eccentric. We've had John the Baptist eating locusts and wild honey, we can handle that. But don't mention the "M" word! Because, you know, we're gonna have to crucify you. And he goes: No, no. I know you're expecting me to come back with an army, and set you free from these creeps, but actually I am the Messiah. At this point, everyone starts staring at their shoes, and says: Oh, my God, he's gonna keep saying this. So what you're left with is: either Christ was who He said He was—the Messiah—or a complete nutcase. I mean, we're talking nutcase on the level of Charles Manson. This man was like some of the people we've been talking about earlier. This man was strapping himself to a bomb, and had "King of the Jews" on his head, and, as they were putting him up on the Cross, was going: OK, martyrdom, here we go. Bring on the pain! I can take it. I'm not joking here. The idea that the entire course of civilization for over half of the globe could have its fate changed and turned upside-down by a nutcase, for me, that's farfetched...

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Sweet Mother of Potatoes



Now there's two things you don't see everyday -- a new video from King's X and scantily clad women (albeit sparingly) in it.

All Flashed Up

Rant on.

I'm not having particularly good luck with computer devices that utilize flash memory this week.

Earlier this week I set up a new Win2k3 Server box -- a one-of-a-kind eBay machine with dual P3 700mhz processors, a gig of RAM, and 80 gig hard disk. I had the thing up and running, and it was lightning quick... much faster than any of the servers I use at work (of course, it's faster because it's in my house and I paid for it and all).

Notice how I used the word "was." The one thing that wasn't quite right is that only half the RAM was showing up. Somewhere in the recesses of my memory I recall a bios upgrade fixing that little problem. So I downloaded a bios upgrade from an OEM site that sold this particular brand of motherboard (SuperMicro) in their servers.

And away I went to flash the bios. The process ran smoothly, except for the part where the computer reboots and is happy. The bios wasn't posting -- no beep, no video, no passing go, no two hundred dollars. The bios recovery technique (hold down the and keys while hitting the power button and counting rosary beads with your spare hand) did not work either. Expletive deleted.

My children, please make sure you read the README and other text files included in the bios download before trying that. It turns out this OEM site had the wrong bios file in the zip file... or at least the wrong zip file on the support page for that particular motherboard. Why I did not download the bios upgrade FROM THE MOTHERBOARD MANUFACTURER who, suprise, had the correct file on the support page for this model motherboard, is beyond me. Ultimately, the solution to this little problem is on the way via priority mail from another eBay vendor.

Then there is the issue with the secure digital card I've been using in my digicam. It's a 1gb SanDisk model. It's been working fine until I tried to use it yesterday during a hike, where when I tried to take the picture the camera vomited and said no, thanks.

I've thrown everything at this card this evening that I could think of -- WinXP disk management, all manner of formatting, all types of flash card repair/recover utilities. This thing is friggen impervious. It's got two folders in the root -- "Palm" and "DCIM." Under "DCIM" is another folder, "105Canon," which is where the problem seems to be centered. I can not get into that folder no matter what. I can delete the PALM folder through Explorer, I can even put a near-gig worth of crap on the card, the computer will even take it's time putting the stuff on there and even let you think it's on there afterwards. Once you unplug the card and plug it back in, though, the contents look exactly the way they did before.

I can not get to the partition itself through the XP drive manager, and formatting fails. I've used the utility at KillDisk.com to wipe through the contents but, like I said, this thing is bullet-proof. At this point I'm just happy that I didn't leave any compromising pictures of myself on the disk that I'm now unable to erase.

HELP.

Rant off.

WHERE Not And HOW Not To Land a Harrier


Dad sends his love.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Update on Solid State Hard Drive Technology

Behold, the i-RAM1, a doo-hickie that plugs into a PCI slot and accepts up to four 2GB RAM modules, masquerading on your OS as a hard disk. It suffers from a bit of kludgery, though, as it requires a battery to keep the contents alive (it's RAM, after all, not Flash memory).

Previous Junk on Solid State Drive Technology:
Sweet [ holographic data storage ]
It's About Stinkin' Time [ solid state hard disk with SATA interface ]
1. Via Akihabara.

Ah, Sweet Global Warming

An AccuWeather forecast predicts for the 3 month winter period starting this upcoming December everybody east of the Mississippi will be an average of 1 degree colder per month, and in my neck of the woods it will be 2 - 3 degrees colder.

Two observations. First, so what? Second, "AccuWeather" (an oxymoron if there ever was one) can't accurately predict the temperature for tomorrow half the time. Five months down the road? Give me a break.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

The Answer To Our Reliance On Oil

It's not bio-diesel, hydrogen, solar, water turbines, nuclear, or conservation. Ladies and gentlemen, the answer is pee.

Via medGadget

Monday, August 15, 2005

Swimming In It

Peter King, on the east coast mugginess over the past week:
I know we in the East complain about the humidity a lot, but I think I saw a fish swimming by my front door the other day.

Friday, August 12, 2005

It's My Blog and I'll Cry If I Want To

Ah, the Daily Pundit, mostly the commentary of Bill Quick, who coined the term blogosphere.

I enjoy reading that blog immensely. Mostly, I guess, because my politics tend to lean right and he has a way of cutting through the crap and getting to the point. He has an equal zeal for launching little tirades against all things religious, however -- his general disdain for Intelligent Design (at least, as a science or taught in the context of science), delivering a smackdown for some Christian's explanations for natural disasters (where I take issue with attributing these explanations to all Christians), and most recently his issues with folks who believe there is a war against religion in the United States.

I don't have a dog in the race for the ID argument, I don't believe that God has his finger on the "smite" button with respect to natural disasters, and I don't know that there is a war against religion in the U.S., although there are times when I think that non-believers promote more freedom from religion rather than freedom of religion.

My input in those discussions tend to be an attempt to divorce all things whacky from Christian belief in general. Every group of people are going to have fringe edges -- even rational atheism has it's Jeffrey Dahmer's. Yes, some Christians espouse whacky things but, please, don't marry them to Christianity as a matter of course.

Bill's most recent rant starts off well enough, but he has a habit of quickly descending into condescension (something he accuses Christians of enough) where he can fit it in -- copious uses of "Christian Hysterics," for instance. The conversation turns into a discussion of whether or not atheism is a religion unto itself or not, and Bill notes that atheism is not a religion or belief system, but simply describes a person who is "without a belief in gods."

...which is where I jumped in on the discussion. I noted that there are at least two forms of atheism -- "weak" atheism (which Bill describes) and "strong" atheism, which says positively "god does not exist" (there is a decent description of weak/strong atheism on wikipedia). My other comment to Bill was something pointed out in another comment, which is that discussion of anything religious on the DP tends to really get under his skin. I showed skepticism for his espousing weak atheism in print while handing out the title "Big Thunder God" and other condescending terms when describing others' beliefs. You're not simply lacking a belief in gods at that point, you believe the notion of belief in gods to be looney.

Bill's not pleased. He denies having strong atheism ties while letting me know that I'm participating in a "plainly fantastic and hallucinatory divine clown circus," and then lets us know that, it's his blog, he's an atheist, he can say what he wants, and that I can't force him to be silent. Well, nobody was forcing him to be silent, but he's forced everybody else to be silent (at least on that thread) by closing down comments... and deleting the trackback I had made to that post. That's one way of ensuring you get the last word.

At the end of the day, it amounts to Bill exercising the same level of hysteria that he rails against.

Introducting the Microsoft iPod

Uh oh. Apple lost a patent application for the iPod interface because, apparently, Microsoft already owns a similar patent.

Following will be 10 years of lawsuits, smack talk between the two companies, and, if Microsoft wins and begins to collect royalties on iPods, The End of the World As We Know It.

May I suggest going Minidisc?

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Remote Control Lawn Mower

When I was a wee lad I used to race gas powered remote controlled (RC) 1/8 scale cars powered with a shot of nitro. And I used to mow the lawn, but not at the time.

Behold, two greate tastes that taste great together.

Rename the Car

Increase the value of your ho-hum vehicle by creating a new emblem for it.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Alone

Ty Tabor of King's X started a blog up recently, or whatever they call it on the myspace.com website. Currently on the front page is a cut off the new album called "Alone" and, dontchaknowit, it really rocks, even through the mega codec compression it went through for web posting.

Do Not Steal Bandwidth By Hotlinking...

...for the host site may dole out retribution to the cheapskate.


Sunday, August 07, 2005

Terminal Stupidy: A Week Later

There are all of 3 people that read this blog, so you may or may not know that I had an unfortunate altercation that involved my innate talent of being a moron, a tennis net, and some asphalt. The last time I tried that little trick I was probably about ten pounds lighter, and maybe ten years younger.

The damage -- a really skinned up right knee, two skinned palms, a fractured right radius and a really sore left arm. Somehow I stuck a four point landing, with my palms, knee, and face making simultaneous contact with the asphalt. The skinning on my palms is the digging up chunks of flesh variety which, I'm proud to report, are healing up quite nicely.

The knee skinning has been a process of gooing up the wound with Neosporin and wrapping up with gauze and ace bandage. It's doing much better. I'm glad my face avoided all of this somehow. Or maybe I can't tell!

Ah, the broken arm. The radius is one of the two bones that constitute your lower arm. The other one is the ulna. The humerus is the bone in your upper arm which falls in the hinge joint created by the head of the ulna. The other bone, the radius, is kind of along for the ride and sits next to the ulna. Both run from the elbow down to your wrist, and apparently cross over when you turn your palm up. You can see some illustrations of this here.

Apparently the force of the impact on my right palm shoved the radius into the humerus, which cause a small fracture in the head of the radius about 1mm x 3mm. Small, and at first it didn't hurt much until it started swelling up. Fortunately there was nothing to set, and after an ortho visit I was prescribed a sling and some Rush Limbaugh pills in the event of much pain. And no driving. And some physical-therapy exercises.

The first day or two after the incident movement of the arm was pretty limited. I couldn't turn my palm up, I couldn't stretch my arm all the way out, and I couldn't compress my arm and touch my right shoulder with my right hand. I measured progress over the course of the week by what I could do with my right arm. At first, only a thumbs up (or other form of hand gesture), the application of deodorant on the left pit (don't worry, my left hand can reach it), the application of hair gel, etc. I still have a little ways to go, but I think I'm doing just fine. Twisting my palm towards the heavens still doesn't feel too good, though.

My left arm has been sore the entire time, mostly in the lower arm, and that pain appeared to be somewhat muscular in nature. It's sore when using the left hand, but prodding around the arm didn't cause any pain. I could always make snapping noises with my left elbow by extending it quickly, but now it appears I can make it snap every so often by quickly compressing it.

It was with a little bit of suprise when I found my left elbow blossoming on Friday. I had not noticed it the earlier in the week, so it must have been a delayed reaction of some sort. This picture illustrates the majority of the bruising which is on the inside, but the bruising goes all around the elbow itself. You can kind of tell from the photo album I've posted. (Note: not for those with a weak stomach.)

It doesn't really hurt around the elbow for the time being, so I'm curious as to what caused it. Hopefully I won't have to find out the hard way!

Friday, August 05, 2005

Fire From Water

If you've had the misfortune of listening to any of my rants, you heard me rant about fuel... about how the Earth is made up primarily of water, whose molecules are constituted of hydrogen and oxygen, both providing an excellent source of fuel for flame.

A company named Heat&Glo have created a fireplace device called The Aqueon, which uses a shot of electricity to seperate the atoms and provide the fuel source. The only apparent by-product is water vapor.

The site runs exceedingly slow, so be patient.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

A Star In the Making

A pair of fine articles on who could be the greatest running back in our lifetime, LaDainian Tomlinson.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Them Yahoo!'s Can't Park


A fine Flickr collection[1] of parking shenanigans in the Yahoo! parking lot. Flickr, of course, is now owned by Yahoo!.

This picture on the right evokes this fine comment: "I'm assuming that everybody in this lot enters and exits their cars through the sunroof. Yoikes."


[1] Via RealTechNews

World's Largest And Woodiest iPod Dock

Mister Jalopy has created a fabulous vinyl to iPod multimedia system inside an old Farnsworth radio cabinet.

Sunday, July 31, 2005

The 2005 General Lee

The General Lee gets a 2005 makeover, although I've heard that they are not going to use a modern version of the Dodge Charger in the new Dukes of Hazzard movie.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Defined: Microsoft

Courtesy of dictionary.com:
The new Evil Empire (the old one was IBM). The basic complaints are, as formerly with IBM, that (a) their system designs are horrible botches, (b) we can't get source to fix them, and (c) they throw their weight around a lot. See also Halloween Documents.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Ogre Tones



Reading the latest posts in rec.music.artists.kings-x, I've stumbled across the blog of the design studio that created the artwork for the next King's X album, Ogre Tones.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Stuff On My Cat

An amusing collection of, well, stuff on cats.

Hoff Invaders

He may be popular as a singer over in the European part of the world, but he seems to be more popular as a target state-side.

Friday, July 22, 2005

This Site Leans Toward Goodness

This site is certified 63% GOOD by the Gematriculator

I have little idea what a "Gematriculator" is, but according to this site I'm running a site with 63% goodness baked in.

Scott's blog, however, has a little issue on his hands. I've always wondered about him...

Star ASCIIMation Wars

This is somewhat old, but it's Star Wars done completely in ASCII animation.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

And It's Only 10 Bucks



I mean, what's better than a natural looking nose hair trimmer?

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Farewell, Mr. Scott

James Doohan, aka Mr. Scott of the Starship Enterprise beamed up this morning at the age of 85.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

A Brief Stop On Our Honeymoon In 2001...

Being a foreigner we weren't too keen on the neighborhood, but I had to at least stop at the place named after my favorite band (or maybe it was the other way around... or not).

It sends a little tingle up my spine to see the news reports and pictures of that very spot. Our prayers continue to be with the victims of the terrorist attacks of 7/7/2005.

Respect My Authority, You Will

According to this site I turned out to be Yoda. Which sci-fi character are you?

Which Fantasy/SciFi Character Are You?