These pay-as-you-can cafes have missions that are unapologetically altruistic—call it serving up fare Robin Hood style. "Our philosophy is that everyone, regardless of economic status, deserves the chance to eat healthy, organic food while being treated with dignity," explains Brad Birky, who opened SAME with his wife, Libby, in October. Customers who have no money are encouraged to exchange an hour of service — sweep, wash the dishes, weed the organic garden — for a meal. Likewise, guests who have money are encouraged to leave a little extra to offset the meals of those who have less to give. "We're a hand up, not a hand out," says One World owner Denise Cerreta, who prides herself on the fact that everyone can afford a meal at her café .
Saturday, December 30, 2006
Thursday, December 28, 2006
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
Friday, December 08, 2006
Genius, again. The ad makers get clicks, the end users get entered into a lottery, and the site maker makes money.
Thursday, December 07, 2006
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Sunday, November 19, 2006
Saturday, November 18, 2006
Friday, November 17, 2006
Researchers have been looking for a way to make a wireless charger for some time. One idea is to use electromagnetic induction -- passing an electric current through a coil to create a magnetic field that induces a current in a neighbouring coil.
This is the way devices like electric toothbrushes are charged, and has been proposed as the basis of a universal recharger pad before.
The snag as far as mobile devices are concerned is that the charger and device must be in close contact with each other for it to work. Alternative schemes - for instance, transmitting electromagnetic waves in all directions to reach any device in a room - would be hugely wasteful.
Instead, Marin Soljacic at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology wants to use evanescent coupling, which allows electromagnetic energy "trapped" in a charging device to be tapped by a "drain" mobile device if the two have the same resonant frequency.
"The energy is trapped at source, until I bring a device that has the same resonant frequency close to it. Only then can the energy 'tunnel through'," says Soljacic. Crucially, the "charger" only starts powering another device when a compatible gadget comes within range.
Sunday, November 12, 2006
Thursday, November 09, 2006
Friday, November 03, 2006
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Monday, October 23, 2006
I'm currently leaching somebody's high speed wireless connection from our current bed and breakfast location, so I don't know how much access I'll have over the rest of the vacation. I will, however, try to post our comings and goings. Seeing how I'm already a few days behind, I better get on the stick.
Oh, and there should be copious amounts of pictures via Flickr. Hopefully.
I am Michael Vickers, and I approve this message.
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
Sure Secret Price $2.98 $2.98 Weight 1.7 oz. 1.7 oz. Ingredients Aluminum Zirconium
Patent #s 5,069,897
[ via The Consumerist ]
Thursday, October 05, 2006
Thursday, September 28, 2006
Monday, September 11, 2006
Friday, September 08, 2006
My 2-year old son has been watching a variety of shows aimed at enhancing social, cognitive and language skills. This includes 'multicultural' themes. Apparently 'multicultural' is now a synonym for "Mexican". Several shows feature Spanish language and Mexican culture, almost to the point of embarrassment.
In fact, I've not yet found a show that teaches anything specific about culture or language except Spanish. The local middle and high schools only offer Spanish right now. I guess that's so I can order a hamburger con queso.
I've started refreshing my foreign language skills (French and Latin, adding Gaelic soon) so I can teach my son what he won't be offered in school - variety.
At work, several employees are in the practice of speaking Spanish when they want to exclude non-speakers from the conversation, or to pass jokes they think we don't understand. The HR department has a 'Diversity Office' that is entirely populated by Hispanic women - they sent me a note of appreciation for supporting diversity by winning a photo competition. It turns out they thought I was Hispanic because of a misspelling of my last name... they then apologized for the confusion. Shiny.
Don't get me wrong - I have nothing against Mexicans. What I have a problem with is how I am being forced to adopt certain conventions because some people are too freaking lazy to learn the established language of a particular country. If I travel to a foreign country, I take it as a courtesy if they speak English. If I were to move there, I'd feel obligated to learn thier language, and I certainly wouldn't get a job interacting with the public. But in the US, Spanish is almost expected to be learned, and other tongues are fading from view.
Nearly every government form is in Spanish - driver's license, taxes, loan applications, etc. All available in Spanish. Try getting your driver's license application in Russian, or drop a little Greek at the voting booth.
Where are the other languages and cultures? When is it time to say 'up yours' and get English spoken by default? Why do I have to learn Spanish to get cheese on my fucking hamburger?
So much for the 'multi' part of multiculturalism...
What do you expect when the US is allowing the southwestern states to be reannexed by Mexico?
Wake up, people. She's freaking useless, a complete waste of a vagina. The story mentions her associates 'rushing to the police station', looks of concern washed over thier faces. Yeah, they were concerned about getting a fair share of face time in association with a rich moron.
She and her publicist tried to wave it off because 'she had a long day, she was tired and hungry'. Sorry, but she was driving a half-million dollar MacLaren SLR. And she couldn't be bothered to grab a burger *before* the alcohol. As if it matters, anyway.
You wanna know why the terrorists hate us? Take a look at E! Entertainment, reality TV, Maury and Jerry, G4 (I really miss TechTV), you name it. The stale candy of 'somebody else's problems' always trumps actual thought. The effect is undeniable - we feel better about ourselves watching some other poor slob in worse shape than us.
Yeah, I'm on a soapbox right now. Deal. Better yet, defend your position if you disagree with me... let's see if you have the cognitive and linguistic skills to offer a challenge. I'm gonna bet 'no'. I figure that's pretty safe because most people who disagree with me won't have read this far. Or they're looking up 'cognitive' right now.
Friday, September 01, 2006
So the fabled binary liquid explosive - that is, the sudden mixing of hydrogen peroxide and acetone with sulfuric acid to create a plane-killing explosion, is out of the question. Meanwhile, making TATP ahead of time carries a risk that the mission will fail due to premature detonation, although it is the only plausible approach.
Certainly, if we can imagine a group of jihadists smuggling the necessary chemicals and equipment on board, and cooking up TATP in the lavatory, then we've passed from the realm of action blockbusters to that of situation comedy.
Now, can I bring my bottle of water back on the airplane for crying out loud?
Thursday, August 31, 2006
An evangelist who tried replicating Jesus' miracle of walking on water has reportedly drowned off the western coast of Africa.So as the water is passing over your head, at what point do you think "OK, maybe this isn't going to work?"
Pastor Franck Kabele, 35, told his congregation he could repeat the biblical miracle, and he attempted it from a beach in Gabon's capital of Libreville.
"He told churchgoers he'd had a revelation that if he had enough faith, he could walk on water like Jesus," an eyewitness told the Glasgow Daily Record.
"He took his congregation to the beach saying he would walk across the Komo estuary, which takes 20 minutes by boat. He walked into the water, which soon passed over his head and he never came back."
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
- zero to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds
- 80 mpg
- top speed of 150 mph
- five engines - one 160 HP electric engine in each wheel and a small internal combustion engine to recharge the batteries
- all-electric range of 200 - 250 miles with a total range of 900+ miles
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Friday, July 28, 2006
Thursday, July 27, 2006
Sunday, July 23, 2006
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
Thursday, July 13, 2006
Friday, July 07, 2006
I've had my own problems with cancelling various services, and AOL was the worst by far. When I tried to kill a 'free' account several years ago, I found out that calling back to get a different operator didn't help... they tracked the call and attached a note to my account. And even at the end of that sequence, they tried to bill me, which my credit card company helped block.
Is there any other reason never to use or endorse AOL?
Go forth, and heartily recommend that no computer ever be infected with AOL's internet servitude. I mean service. Tell everyone you know *never* to install a free disc, to refuse to allow the software to be installed on a boutique computer, to remove immediately any trial software already bundled.
Friday, June 30, 2006
Thursday, June 29, 2006
Consider me addressing this to Salespeople or Marketing people. Or SOMPs.
- Selling is hard, but delivering on your promises can also be hard. If I am stressed meeting your deadlines or requirements, cut me some slack. And keep the coffee and snacks coming.
- Speaking of promises, when you make a promise you aren't the only one keeping it! Most likely it's the people putting your project together having to keep it, so please don't hand promises out like candy. At least, not without talking to me first. I certainly promise, however, not to change processes, features, or rollout schedules if you promise to deliver solid specs and requirements up front... and then hold to them or keep your customer accountable to them.
- Every once in awhile we can help you change a customer's mind. Chances are I've done a project like yours a hundred times, and there's probably a handful of people like me on your project. If you give me insight into what your customer is thinking, there's a good chance I can help.
- I won't ask you to sell lousy stuff so long as you help me make great stuff. Again, give me insight into what the customers are thinking.
- I would like to be rewarded, too, especially when I'm helping you keep
yourour promises by being at the office well into the wee hours of the morning while you leave at 4:59pm so you can make your Curves appointment or pick up your kids from soccer practice.
- When you have no earthly idea on what works be up front and honest about it. I have a crap detector that goes off with the slightest provocation.
- I don't like it when you have to make cold calls, either. It reeks of desperation and tells me my job is in jeopardy. May I suggest that if we succeed together by involving me more in your customers and processes, you'll probably make less of those calls?
- Share what you learn in the field. If something we bid on goes to a competitor, I'm dying to know why. Did we price out of the ballpark? If so, maybe my estimates stunk (or your description of the project which my estimates were based on). Did the quality of the last project stink? Etc, etc.
- Trust me, I'd rather you be out of the office interacting with real people and making the sale rather than the customer taking order over the web. I like to work on new stuff and solve customer's problems. It's like working on puzzles for me. This leads me to my first bonus...
- Speaking of being out of the office -- market / sell the product / project, but please don't think you can also act as the project manager. In fact, I insist that after you sell a project and do the knowledge transfer to the PM, GO AWAY. Because you are close to the customer you will become an adversary to me and the other operations folks working on your project. You'll micromanage where the project goes and how it gets there -- which is fine for a PM, except you won't have PM skills and will change direction depending on what the customer ate the night before. And I'll hate you and put really nasty easter eggs in your product.
That's not to say you don't have a right to know how the project is going and to change it's course, but do that with a PM (and operations managers if need be) on a periodic basis (preferable not every half-hour) and base it on the customer's needs. I'm trying to deliver your great product, so leave me be.
The other reason I insist that you concentrate on sales is because I need something to work on when I'm done with the current project. Having you work in a cyclical manner where you sell something, then PM the project, then try to sell again probably isn't going to work. In fact, you may alienate your customer if you all of a sudden you stop schmoozing them and figuring out what their next move is right after getting a big sale out of them. They have short and long term goals and you should be doing your best to weasel that information out of them. You need to be their buddy.
- My second bonus -- I think I've harped on or alluded to this twice already but it's worth repeating. Get me involved during the selling process. You know the old children's game of sitting in a circle and whispering something in one kid's ear, then have them whisper the same thing to the kid on the other side, and repeat all the way around the circle until it comes back to you? Remember how the word repeated to you when it gets to the end doesn't even begin to resemble what you said to the first person? That's how your project is going to turn out when you put layers between me and what the customer has said.
There are a variety of reasons for that -- they may have read about some trend in a magazine or heard some buzzword and wants their project to have that in it. You may not have heard of the trend or buzzword and therefore neglect to mention it to me when describing the project, but chances are I've heard of it!
Saturday, June 24, 2006
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
The Center for Science in the Public Interest, in a suit filed against Yum Brands Inc. in the Superior Court for the District of Columbia, said some KFC meals were "startlingly" high in artery-clogging trans fat from the partially hydrogenated oils used for frying.Yes, it's harder to avoid trans fat at KFC than other fast food chains because, like, the magnets are stronger in the stores and pull my car into the drive-through without giving me a fighting chance to go to Taco Bell.
CSPI executive director Michael Jacobson said it was harder to avoid trans fat at KFC than at other fast-food restaurants.
Saturday, June 10, 2006
Friday, June 09, 2006
Can anybody tell me why it's illegal to receive an income from providing sex or sexual favors to someone else for money, except in the case where there is a camera in front of you and the resulting footage is distributed/sold? I am definitely not an advocate of making a living via prostitution, but there seems to be a general disconnect in the law when it's OK to make money conducting sexual acts for "performance" vs. providing sexual acts as a service to a paying customer.
Monday, June 05, 2006
Saturday, June 03, 2006
Thursday, June 01, 2006
After my bout with terminal stupidity last year I went through several rounds of physical therapy. After I graduated I was allowed to play sports again, mainly basketball, soccer and a little softball.
Prior to the break, more than a year and a half ago, I injured something muscular in the same arm playing tennis, causing some swelling and squishiness in the forearm muscles near the bone. Then I proceeded to break the radius a little less than a year later.
The arm still isn't right, but it's been getting slowly better over the past several months. The flexibility is very slowly coming back and the strength (what little there was) is mostly back. So, I tried getting on the tennis court again this past Memorial Day weekend. Overall, I felt like I could pretty much play up to the same level I did before (again, such that it was), but boy did the elbow not like it afterwards. Some of the flexibility went away, probably due to the swelling that popped up.
No sweat, I grabbed ice and started doping up. First with a couple of Motrin, and then the next day with a couple of Aleve. A friend had recommended it, I tried it the week before, and it seemed to work fairly well.
So what in the Sam Hill does this have to do with tinnitus?
A week ago I noticed a fluttering in my right inner ear... akin to hearing somebody beat on a bass drum from far away (with terrible time keeping), but actually feeling it in your ear. This time a year wreaks havoc on my allergies, so here I am thinking that my ear fluttering may be related to congestion problems.
After surfing google a bit I ran across this article on "ototoxic medications." It appears that folks hitting the "non-steroidal anti-inflammatory" sauce may incur a little bout of tinnitus or aggravate what they already have. Elsewheres I have read that these class of meds may also contribute to hypertension and weight gain due to water retention. I knew I had something to blame!
In any event, I'm going to lay off the sauce for a little while and try to stick to ice.
Sunday, May 28, 2006
I haven't backpacked in 3+ years, and this was my first solo overnight trip. So yeah... I'm retarded. But I set a goal, and met it. My next goal is to visit a chiropracter and a podiatrist. I have blisters the size of Rhode Island. Or maybe Maine...
What did you do? I hope you take some time to choose a goal that has only to do with personal achievement, something not related to career or recognition. Just don't be a dork and post it to a blog, like I did.
Friday, May 26, 2006
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
The Italian expert has used the robot surgeon for at least 40 previous operations, some of which have been described in detail in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology .The article notes that the monitoring was done through a PC. That would give new meaning to The Blue Screen of Death.
The novelty of this latest experience is that the robot was able to conduct the entire procedure by itself. In the past it needed specific orders from its operator along the way .
"It has learned to do the job thanks to experience gathered from operations on 10,000 patients," Pappone said, explaining that the expertise of several human surgeons was used to boost its software .
Friday, May 19, 2006
As an aside, I wouldn't consider a revamped bicycle built for two, a revamped Simon Says game, or a revamped baby seat (didn't stick around for the 4th invention) to be 'great'. I don't really even consider them inventions. Among America's great engineering and inventing feats, which include the telephone, light bulb, automated assembly line and the Hoover dam, the crap on that series doesn't even come close.
But I digress...
My real focus is that they all had to try and direct a commercial to sell the products. Well, the two I actually saw involved huge egos and no design sense whatsoever. Which goes back to the 'great' thing, and makes me think these people got lucky with one idea. Meh.
I started to think about poor marketing attempts. Engrish.com is a good place to start down that path. Anyway, here in the US, marketing is as close to a science as any profession can get. Tons of money is spent in branding, market research, focus groups, etc. So I wondered what if a large company had a truly novel product, but wanted to market it in relation to an established, well-recognized, and even iconic brand.
What if Hormel decided to produce a vegetarian alternative to Spam (wikipedia)? Let's say it was made out of soy beans, and processed to resemble the stuff in a can of Spam. Of course, they'd want to capitalize on the mark, so a name is very important. Think they'd call it 'Spoym' ?
Imagine the canonical TV ad for Spam, where dad stands up at the B-B-Q and yells 'MORE SPOYM!!!' Or walk into a Brooklyn deli and ask for a Spoym sandwich. I bet you'd get something completely different.
Thursday, May 11, 2006
Tuesday, May 09, 2006
- I'm a member of the NRA. I endorse the safety and education aspects above firearms rights.
- I do not support sport or trophy hunting in the US, only population control.
- I am in favor of nationalizing certain firearms rights, like concealed carry, but with caveats like proof of competence and background checks.
- I have not talked with the owner of this blog about these views - they are entirely my own.
In short, I feel the UN seeks a total ban on private arms ownership. Hunting rifles, sporting arms, BB guns... if it goes 'bang', they want to ban it. There are numerous examples of world wide tragedies that began with removing a population's ability to defend itself. The justification from the UN is that by removing guns, we remove violence. Yet this has been proven false again and again. In the US, Washington DC and New York city have the highest gun-related murder rates, and among the most restrictive gun laws.
All the statistics and arguments for both sides are readily available on the web. Google to your heart's content - I'll wait...
What I want to ramble about today is the presentation of each side, and my gut feelings. I found this site which purports to demonstrate how evil guns are. Read the bulleted list. See any statistics? I do. Vague, inaccurate statistics, right at the beginning. After that, vapid little statements like "Firearms are used in crime. Firearms theft fuels other crimes." Wow. That's just amazing. Firearms used in crime, you say? Surely not!
What about knives? Cars? How about your computer, phone, Home Depot's plumbing aisle, and even other people? Every one of these things is routinely implicated in violent crime, from internet predators to pipe-bombing radicals. The anti-gun groups point to everything but the person pulling the trigger. And it's almost uniformly done with emotional yet absurdly wrong blurbs. The UN's statue of a revolver with a knotted barrel, the endless "it's for the children" cries, and "only criminals need guns" fairy tale.
But the other side is just as bad in its own way. The NRA seems to pander to hunters, as they typically represent gun owners with money. Messages generally include statistics and reports that clearly (and mostly truthfully) report actual relationships between guns and crime, but also include appeals to conservatism, inalienable rights (uh...), and God. Personally, I think God would decline to comment on gun ownership, but rather look at intent and use. And as far as I can tell, the only inalienable rights are to live without fear and make choices for yourself. Then there's the popular myth among gun owners that people who hate guns are really just mini Hitlers in training.
So, your homework is to consider your own position on private ownership of firearms. Try not to assume that guns are only use for crimes (they are just tools), nor that anybody has a God-given right to own one. Think about what really drives your view. Were you subjected to gun violence in some way? Were you in a situation where a gun would have saved your life? Do you think hunting or sport shooting (meaning at non-living targets) is fun and entertaining? Do you think guns represent someone having power over you?
For myself, I know I don't intend to commit crimes, nor to shoot at animals for amusement. I believe an armed population is one that keeps its government and criminals in check, but only when that population is protecting eachother, not subjugating. I believe most legal gun owners are responsible, rational and otherwise reasonable people, and that criminal owners make up a very small percentage of the total ownership. And I know from history that disarmed people are much easier to round up and kill.
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
Monday, May 01, 2006
Nation braces for a 'Day Without Immigrants'
Eh... am I missing something? The problems along the Mexican border have been brewing for a very long time, and it's always been about illegal immigrants. Somewhere along the line, we have not only lost the term illegal, but have apparently made 'immigrant' synonymous with 'Mexican'.
There is only a single mention of someone who is not of Latino descent, somewhere in New York. I bet his papers are in order.
Immigration is the flavor of this country. Not just Mexican or Latino, but Irish, Itialian, Serbian, German, French, Viet Namese, Chinese, Japanese, Cuban, Canadian (still with me?), Russian, blah blah blah. You name the country, we have a legal citizen or approved visa to represent them. I'm sure we also have varying numbers of illegal immigrants from most of those countries. But the issue here seems to be solely one of Mexican workers who want to be granted all the rights and privileges that others fought hard to obtain. All for the price of crossing a hellish desert.
So, we have a day without immigrants. I guess that means virtually every single American citizen should take the day off, too. Except, of course, native Americans.
I wonder if hospitals will see a roll-off of patients during that time? Will schools that serve lunches miss students that otherwise don't attend classes, anyway? What about the state assistance lines, whose checks come in on the first of the month? Will those who cross the border tonight bother, or even know about the efforts which are, ostensibly, to protect them?
More importantly, will my lawn get fertilized tomorrow?
Saturday, April 29, 2006
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
In the 21st century, it is morally indefensible that women competitors in a Grand Slam tournament should be receiving considerably less prize money than their male counterparts.The article notes that Wimbledon is paying roughly $1.17 million to the men's champion while paying roughly $1.12 million to the women's champion. That's a difference of roughly 5 percent.
I agree it's morally indefensible for unequal pay for the equal "work." But is the work equal?
Men play a best of 5 series while women play a best of 3 series. If I take a middle of the road approach, let's say the men's champion wins each of his matches 6-3, 6-3, 6-3, and the women's champion wins each of her matches 6-3, 6-3. The tournament is 7 rounds long, and the men's champion will have played 189 games to the woman's to the woman's 126, or about 33% more games.
Or, let's look at last year's results. Roger Federer's road to the championship:
6-4, 6-2, 6-4 (Paul-Henri Mathieu)
6-4, 6-4, 6-1 (Ivo Minar)
6-2, 6-7, 6-1, 7-5 (Nicolas Kiefer)
6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (Juan Carlos Ferrero)
7-5, 6-2, 7-6 (Fernando Gonzalez)
6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (Lleyton Hewitt)
6-2, 7-6, 6-4 (Andy Roddick)
That's a total of 223 games by my count. Now, the women's champion, Venus Williams:
6-2, 6-4 (Eva Birnerova)
7-5, 6-3 (Nicole Pratt)
7-5, 6-3 (Daniela Hantuchova)
6-0, 6-2 (Jill Craybas)
6-0, 7-6 (Mary Pierce)
7-6, 6-1 (Mario Sharapova)
4-6, 7-6, 9-7 (Lindsay Davenport)
By my count that's 143 games. Or, about 36% less games than the men's champion.
The stats are all from Wimbledon.org, and the only unfortunate thing is that they didn't post the elapsed time of the matches.
So, let's see, about a third less work for 5 percent less pay. What is the complaint about again? The only way I can see this complaint being valid is if the women's game generates more revenue than the men's game. Given that the men's games are long I can't see how that's possible.
Monday, April 24, 2006
Friday, April 21, 2006
This is a very bad ruling, I think. It's a dangerous retreat from our tradition that the First Amendment is viewpoint-neutral. It's an opening to a First Amendment limited by rights to be free from offensive viewpoints. It's a tool for suppression of one side of public debates (about same-sex marriage, about Islam, quite likely about illegal immigration, and more) while the other side remains constitutionally protected and even encouraged by the government.Another wonderful 9th court ruling from my former home state. Poway, incidentally, is just down the mountain from where I graduated from high school.
Thursday, April 20, 2006
Monday, April 17, 2006
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
Monday, April 10, 2006
Saturday, April 08, 2006
This Friday's coverage of the so-called "Gospel of Judas" in much of the U.S. media was appallingly stupid. The Judas gospel is interesting in its own right, but the notion that it disproves, or casts into doubt, the traditional orthodox understanding of the betrayal of Jesus is preposterous.David then goes into a full-on explanation of the roots of this and other gnostic gospels. Interesting that in the weeks leading up to the movie version of The DaVinci Code we hear about the Gospel of Judas while Dan Brown wins his plagiarism court case.
As always with The Volokh Conspiracy, the comments are just as thought provoking as the post.
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
Part of a teacher's hand was blown off when a 40 mm round the instructor used as a paperweight on his desk exploded in his classroom.I'm trying to think of the word for this and I can't quite... oh yes, here it is. The word is DUH.
Robert Colla struck the round with an object Monday afternoon while teaching 20 to 25 students at the Ventura Adult Education Center on Valentine Road.
Though the man, who is now 37, stopped taking the drug seven years ago, he still suffers from severe physical and mental health side-effects, including extreme memory problems, paranoia, hallucinations and depression. He also suffers from painful muscle rigidity around his neck and jaw which often prevents him from opening his mouth. The doctors believe many of these symptoms may be permanent.Having his mouth shut may have been the best thing that happened to him.
Monday, April 03, 2006
Given today's quality of music, this reminds me of the coding addage, 'GIGO' - garbage in, garbage out. Insert usual jokes about upload/download, core dump, and human interface device here.
But consider this... are you ever going to borrow your friend's iPOS (sorry... iPod) again?
Saturday, April 01, 2006
FWIW, I've actually considered #8 and #2, but went #1 when I saw the prices. Check out the datahand's chair options. Now imagine that in an immersive imaging set up like we have at LANL. Yes, I've been in it. Yes, I have a standing invite to come back and play Doom.
Friday, March 31, 2006
Thursday, March 30, 2006
I, on the other hand, like to ramble.
Blog. Blogging. Blogged. Bloggers. Say it enough, and it starts to sound really weird. Why doesn't it just sound weird right off the bat? It's a contracted, squished, and thoroughly beat-up form of 'web log', and has now been used in virtually as many ways another popular four-letter word. Instead of an eptithet hurled by cromagnon pundits, it's being used with such frightening regularity, that it's been in Webster's dictionary since 2004.
Why do I point this out? Who knows. But I have a suggestion on how to measure one's popularity as a blogger. It's not the comments or links, but of the proliferation of a unique idea. Start something, someone picks it up, references are made, and you have your 15 microseconds of fame (with inflation, 15 minutes is out of the question). Since I have no unique ideas, I'm going to steal one from a friend of mine.
Yep, you heard it here first. Unless you are one of those people who know the person to which I'm about to refer... Uh...
Anyway. Plush Logic. Let me define this as best as I can, given that it's been weeks since I last heard the definition. Plush logic is the kind of management logic that allows trained business people to make asinine decisions based on poor assumptions, inferior critical thinking skills, and just plain wishful thinking, usually despite good information from knowledgable sources. This is in contradistinction to 'fuzzy logic' which is uses good math to make vague choices.
Imagine a plush toy running your organization. That should give you a solid understanding of how to use this phrase.
So my goal is to have you good people (all three of you) start using this phrase whenever possible. Point to this reference, link to us, tell others to link here. Credit one Dale Gerlach with the coinage, early 2006, Southern California. Let's see how unpopular we are! Maybe we can get Merriam-Webster a new entry :)
I'm pretty sure we're the first to post this, so keep checking Google to see if we get any hits. As of this publication, there are exactly none.
You have been crawled.
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
There is a new idiot in town. My best buddy from high school, Scott Valentine, will be blogging here at idiotsyncrasies. For all three of you folks who read this, that will only mean more of the same, general tom foolery that you've grown to put up with. Yes, yes, what benevolent power in the universe has thought enough of you to grace your web surfing with this little gift.
I graduated with Scott at Ramona High School in 1989 and had more than half my classes that year with him -- economics, civics, physics, and AP English. He graduated from UC San Diego with a degree in fizzix and scored a gig with Los Alamos National Laboratory. He is licensed to handle "nukular" materials. And Macromedia Flash.
Scott is an accomplished guitar player, disc jockey, fencer/fencist/fencepost (whatever the heck they are called), shooter/shootist, photographer, and web site designer. He is married to the lovely Carla Valentine and has a young son, Austin.
Scott is one of the few people on this planet to have witnessed my first marriage, and thanks to advances in modern psycho-therapy he's been able to stifle his Pavlovian dry-heaving reflex when he hears "Love of a Lifetime." He was the first friend to welcome me back to the human race when that little fiasco of my life ended. Indeed, I pretty much dropped off the face of the earth during that time, but we picked up our friendship after that as if nothing ever happened.
I have no idea what he's going to post, but we all know the quality of this site can only go up. I'm excited to have him write here for all three of you and the Google crawlers. When I get a chance I'll update some of the crud on the right hand side of the site with his information.
Maybe that's a good thing, because they don't have my home on the correct part of the street on the map they show.
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
I know one of the reasons people use Firefox is to get away from the security issues of IE, but there are certain sites that just won't work with Firefox. What a great way to never have to use two browsers again.
Monday, March 27, 2006
That's not a really bad photo of a panda from a camera cell phone. It's a painting of a panda on the side of a human hair.
Thursday, March 23, 2006
Warning: there's an obnoxious audio clip that plays on the home page, complete with red-neck accents.
Even though atheists are few in number, not formally organized and relatively hard to publicly identify, they are seen as a threat to the American way of life by a large portion of the American public. “Atheists, who account for about 3 percent of the U.S. population, offer a glaring exception to the rule of increasing social tolerance over the last 30 years,” says Penny Edgell, associate sociology professor and the study’s lead researcher.Ouch. That's always been a curiosity to me -- to where or what do atheists appeal for moral values? Absolute or not? If so, what is the standard? If not, if our moral values are just expressions of preferences, then the question Ravi Zacharias often raises seems pertinent. Some cultures greet their guests, other cultures eat them. Which would you prefer?
Edgell believes a fear of moral decline and resulting social disorder is behind the findings. “Americans believe they share more than rules and procedures with their fellow citizens—they share an understanding of right and wrong,” she said. “Our findings seem to rest on a view of atheists as self-interested individuals who are not concerned with the common good.”
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
Friday, March 17, 2006
Charles Krauthammer offers up an "I told you so." He also has this observation on the argument that gay marriage is going to destroy traditional marriage:
I'm not one of those who see gay marriage or polygamy as a threat to, or assault on, traditional marriage. The assault came from within. Marriage has needed no help in managing its own long, slow suicide, thank you. Astronomical rates of divorce and of single parenthood (the deliberate creation of fatherless families) existed before there was a single gay marriage or any talk of sanctioning polygamy. The minting of these new forms of marriage is a symptom of our culture's contemporary radical individualism -- as is the decline of traditional marriage -- and not its cause.
I've heard that the acceptance and/or legalization of gay marriage will open a floodgate of other non-traditional unions: adult/child (ala NAMBLA), human/animal, etc. We live in interesting times.
Thursday, March 16, 2006
What set Polaris's crisis apart from any other company's crisis until that time was that much of it took place on-line, on Polaris's CompuServe forum, in full view of the company's customers, its competition, and the computer press. When PackRat's problems surfaced, many customers posted polite messages asking for help. As it became clear that the problems were fundamental, the tone became angrier, until hundreds and hundreds of messages were posted flaming PackRat, Polaris, and Polaris's CEO, Jack Leach. Overnight, it seemed, the rising star had burned itself out.
Tuesday, March 14, 2006
Monday, March 13, 2006
Thursday, March 09, 2006
Wednesday, March 08, 2006
'I have another task for you,' the elf says. 'In the east there are ...'Via Wired News.
> Click Accept
'Take this bag of jelly to Commander Wolfchow in Cramhollow Dale.'
> Go to Cramhollow Dale
You run to Cramhollow Dale. You run and run. You run and run and run. You keep on running. Someone runs past you, faster. You keep running. Two gnomes run past you in the opposite direction. Still you run. You're not there yet. What are you going to do?
That's right, bunky. You're gonna run. You continue to run and run and run and run and ... whoa, you're in Cramhollow Dale. A tall man who looks like a lot of the other tall men around here has a question mark over his head.
> Give bag of jelly to man
'Good!' says ...
> Click Complete Quest, Accept, whatever, just get on with it
'Take this crate of liver back to Elfiwee Muttonscorner near the gully stream.'
> Go back to stream
You run. You run and run. You run and run and run.
> Wonder aloud why I find this so damn compelling
You hear a voice in the distance. 'Need group! No quitters!'
Tuesday, March 07, 2006
The caffeine in coffee is unhealthy for some but beneficial to others, depending on a gene that determines how fast the chemical is metabolized, a study said on Tuesday.I do say, it would also probably lower your chances of a heart attack if you drink the coffee rather than snort it, as the gentleman in the Reuters photo seems to be doing.
Since tests to determine which form of the gene one carries are not readily available and you cannot feel how fast your body is getting rid of caffeine, the study's authors recommended reining in coffee consumption to no more than four cups a day.
Slightly more than half the 4,024 study participants, who lived in coffee-rich Costa Rica between 1994 and 2004, had the slow version of the gene while the other half had the fast form. Half had had a nonfatal heart attack, and half had not.
"We found in individuals who had the slow version of this gene, as little as two cups of coffee a day is associated with an increased risk of heart disease," said study author Dr. Ahmed El-Sohemy of the University of Toronto.
For those with the slow-acting gene, two to three cups of coffee a day increased their odds of a heart attack by 36 percent, and four or more cups a day increased the risk by 64 percent, the study said.
"For those who had the fast version of the gene, there was no increased risk, even with four or more cups a day," he said. "Surprisingly, what we found was that in individuals under 50 years of age who were fast metabolizes ... consumption of as little as one to three cups a day was associated with a lower risk of heart disease."
Monday, March 06, 2006
Try pimping your ride with 60 inches of this:
Unfortunately, Tim and his crew didn't realize just how much acoustical power the sub could generate, and didn't build the vehicle to contain it appropriately. Even at less than 1/2 output, the doors were blown off the tracks, and the entire vehicle ballooned in and out several inches. The woofer was installed in the "bread truck" anyway, and it went to Finals not fully tested.I'm afraid Doc Brown beat them to the punch some 20 years ago, though.
Sunday, March 05, 2006
Friday, March 03, 2006
Thursday, March 02, 2006
For about my entire life span, though, this gentleman from my homeland hasn't had a wink of sleep.
Sixty-four-year-old Thai Ngoc, known as Hai Ngoc, said he could not sleep at night after getting a fever in 1973, and has counted infinite numbers of sheep during more than 11,700 consecutive sleepless nights.Where do I get me some of that fever?
"I don't know whether the insomnia has impacted my health or not. But I’m still healthy and can farm normally like others," Ngoc said.
Wednesday, March 01, 2006
Bubrouski said he was just being clever when he signed up for a Verizon vText account with the user name 'null,' after his parents bought him his first mobile phone during his freshman year at Northeastern, in 2001.
'I've been paying for it ever since,' Bubrouski told eWEEK.
Bubrouski's new vText account didn't just hook him up with his friends, it also opened the door to a blizzard of unsolicited messages from individuals and companies that, for the last five years, have unwittingly forwarded reams of data to his phone."
Some of the lost messages include reminders of various types, OnStar messages, and all manner of sports scores from ESPN.
Tuesday, February 28, 2006
Saturday, February 25, 2006
Thursday, February 23, 2006
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
Saturday, February 11, 2006
Let me know if anybody in the video looks familiar...Thanks be to Eldon for the digital conversion of the VHS source.
Thursday, February 09, 2006
Where was the outlash against Armstrong when he dumped his wife? There was none.
Not a peep. Why? Because he is an American hero. An "inspiration" to cancer
survivors and athletes. And then the tabloids embraced his relationship with
Crow, glossing over the fact that he was a cad. Why? Because he is a celebrity.
Good on Mr. Straka.
Wednesday, February 08, 2006
Tuesday, February 07, 2006
Wednesday, February 01, 2006
A note on the MPG disparity between real world results and EPA estimates:
The EPA tests include several parameters that seem out of step with how
most people drive: Air conditioners are never used; the average highway speed is
48 mph, never topping 60 mph (far slower than traffic flowed during PM's test);
and the city cycle averages 21.2 mph, never topping 56 mph. But here's the real
kicker: The EPA's city test schedule includes 23 stops and about 5-1/2 minutes
(out of 31) of idling. Since hybrid engines usually shut down during stops, this
parameter tends to exaggerate hybrid mileage results.
Tuesday, January 31, 2006
Friday, January 27, 2006
Sunday, January 22, 2006
After 10 years of faithful service I bid goodbye to Pharmedica... and Pharmedica bids goodbye to me. The last day was capped off by a tasteful and tasty evening at Hanami's in Clinton.
Thank you for the sendoff, everybody, and for the going away gift.
Flickr photo set
Pharm Gate Ajar... [internal]
Ye olde B3000, as she was the day after I first moved to Connecticut...
...and the legacy she kept leaving...
Well, she's going to a good family close by where I'll be able to keep track of her and make sure she's being treated fairly. They have a handy-man in the family who can keep up the maintenance on her.
In the meantime, we've acquired her replacement.
It's a Ford Ranger rather than a Mazda B series truck, but it's the same thing more or less. 10 years newer, larger engine (4 liter vs. 3), more horsepower (207 hp vs. 140), and an automagic instead of a stick (so the Mrs. can drive it). The xtra-cab area actually has suicide doors, so getting junk back there is easier. There is a bed cover to reduce the tailgate-air-brake effect, and it's power everything inside. Swell!
Friday, January 20, 2006
Wednesday, January 18, 2006
Monday, January 16, 2006
13. Thaw your brain!
Too much Chipwich too fast will freeze the brains of lesser men. As for you, press your tongue flat against the roof of your mouth, covering as much as you can. Since the nerves in the roof of your mouth get extremely cold, your body thinks your brain is freezing, too," says Abo. "In compensating, it overheats, causing an ice-cream headache." The more pressure you apply to the roof of your mouth, the faster your headache will subside.
Sunday, January 15, 2006
Thursday, January 05, 2006
After nearly ten years of tending all things technical at my current place of employment, I've finally decided to move on and take up gainful employment elsewhere. Some have known that I've been a bit frustrated with my personal job situation for about three years now, but it escalated a bit over the course of 2005 and really came to a head (for me) during the month of November.
There really isn't an underlying "the sky is falling" type of theme related to my decision to leave. It's actually a good place to work and there is a lot of work to do. I just think it's time for me to go.
So, round about this time a long time friend of mine alerted me to the fact that the job market had significantly improved during the latter part of 05. The last time I (really) tried the job market was 2001 when it was headed well south. I only had three interviews that year. One was a thank-you-but-goodbye, while the other two were somewhat disastrous in different ways -- I showed up 20 minutes late for one where I didn't have a clue where I was driving to, and the other one was one September 11th. I followed up with three interviews in 2002 with folks who wanted to work with me but didn't seem to have the budget for it at the time.
This time around has been a bit different. There have been consistent queries, and I received an offer almost immediately after my first interview. The position seemed pretty good for what I was looking for. It's a full-time developer/architect/consultant position. I took a slight pay cut, but I have a fraction of the responsibility I am leaving.
It was ten years ago I left my last place of employment in San Diego in preparation to take the job I am currently leaving. That was a wild ride and a definite turning point in my life. I have a box of photos next to my desk here at home from that trip, which I plan on posting online at some point. It's a shame that I didn't make it to ten years here (February 12), but according to the employee handbook there was nothing awaiting me at this finish line anyhow.
Well, on to the sappy stuff. I'm going to miss the heck out of the people on my team I work with. They are a very gifted, somewhat under-appreciated group of folks who always manage to get it done without going (too) postal about it. It's been a pleasure working for them. Although I am technically their "boss," they generally need very little supervision and have a habit of making me look good. I'm sure we'll cross paths again. At least, I hope so. I also hope that somehow they all get the recognition they deserve. Sorry for crying on you this morning.
There are also those who I had just started to acquaint myself with in the department -- I regret not having the time to get to know you more personally, but it seems apparent to me that the company made a good choice in bringing you on board.
To friends in other departments I work with, I'm going to miss you as well. I've traveled with you, stayed up in the wee hours of the morning helping prep meetings with you, and so on and so forth. You've been a pleasure to work with and for, and I echo the hope of keeping in touch with you over time.
To the nice ladies in A/P - I'm sorry I was such a jerk with the invoices, and my wife thanks you very much for processing my expense reports so promptly.
And now from the sappy to the crappy stuff. Where do I start? Well, [ THIS SECTION DELETED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF EMPLOYMENT AGREEMENT TASK FORCE ]
And to those who have not much good to say about me after I leave -- I probably earned it. I'm sorry.
All in all, it has been an honor to work with these folks, and I have also met some really cool people from various vendors over the years. It's been humbling to put your notice in and find out how many people care. I hope what they say about it being a small world and all is really true.