31 March 2004

The DIY $1000 Athlon XP Gaming Rig

I'm just posting this so I don't loose it. I need to build a new machine... this seems as good a place as any to start.

The DIY $1000 Athlon XP Gaming Rig Build It: A couple of weeks ago, we built a Pentium 4 gaming PC for $1000. We've constructed another one for the same price, this time based on the Athlon XP. Find out which do-it-yourself rig is faster.

[via Extremetech]

30 March 2004

If I had A Million Dollars

I'd burn it up within a week...


I'm having a total geek moment right now. Yes, this is nothing new, but I really love the idea of real digital paper. Tablet PCs seem to be the avenue to this for me, but I wish they weren't so big. We need something half-way between a large PDA (like an iPaq) and a full-blown laptop; portable yet big enought to write on. Geek moment over.


Link to Gateway's entries in the Tablet PC market

File under DUH

Study: MP3 Sharing Not Serious Threat To CD Sales

RFID madness

This furor over RFID tags got me thinking; what if we could come up with a way that RFID tags could be inserted in a common place. If the tags were always in the same spot, the tin-foil hatters could remove them from the product and toss it, fry it, burn it, whatever.

We could even make it something that people are used to seeing on packaging already, something like the proof of purchase. Putting the RFID tag on the Proof of Purchase also lets the manufacturer get an end-to-end picture of where that product went. They would literally receive the RFID tag back in the mail when someone cashed in a refund (think Best Buy or Fry's).

Just a quick thought here at lunch; obviously there are huge holes in this idea (how would such a process work for clothing, for instance). But this might be worth exploring.

27 March 2004

Surf-music star Jan Berry dies

I remember spending hours in the car with my folks, either going to the store or driving to vacation (like we ever flew!) and listening to beach songs. Jan and Dean featured prominently in this. Jeez, I even remember having a Jan & Dean casette tape of my very own.


Jan Berry dead at 62.


Link

Light-transmitting concrete

This is pretty cool stuff. I wonder how much it would cost to make a room with in it.

26 March 2004

The Depp Quiz

Yeah, I think this craze has about burned itself out, hasn't it?


Ever wonder which Johnny Depp character you're most like? Take this quiz to find out. (via DaddyD)


Link [via monochrom]

The Clarke "Scandal"

Michael J. Totten is one of those great people who blogs about politics and takes on everyone. His take on the Clarke "thing" summarizes my feelings pretty well.
I'm behind the curve on this one, but I suppose I should weigh in on the Richard Clarke "scandal." Clarke's ability to undermine his own self with his own words is astonishing. I'm sure he's telling the truth in there somewhere.
Link

25 March 2004

SoundShelf.com offers CC for music

From the Creative Commons website:

SoundShelf.com hosts free music of various genres and makes it all available under the EFF Open Audio License, or a Creative Commons license. This was taken directly from their FAQ:

2. When is free music legal?
Free music is legal when the artists want it to be. Until recently it was near impossible to know the artist's feelings and intentions as all works were automatically copyrighted. Today with the emergence of the Creative Commons License and the EFF Open Audio License the artist's desired intentions are expressed by the license that they choose to publish their works under.

I particulary liked this track No More by Neoismo, a group based out of Italy. It's under an Attribution-ShareAlike license so you can even remix it!


Banned Music

I like this a lot; a site devoted to highlighting, pointing to, and getting out music that are being censored by a dying industry.

And if you go here, be sure to check out the Double Black album; it's awesome!

Banned Music [via Popdex - the website popularity index]

24 March 2004

Scientologist are the IRS' Chosen People?

Here's a curious lawsuit. A Jewish couple is suing the IRS for rejecting their deduction of their children's religious education. Apparently, members of the Church of Scientology are allowed to do just that under a secret agreement with the IRS.

This is the couple's second lawsuit. In the course of the first set of suits, one of the judges offered this tidbit of legal advice:
"Why is Scientology training different from all other religious training?" Judge Barry D. Silverman wrote in his opinion, adding that the question would not be answered just then because the court was not faced with the question of whether "members of the Church of Scientology have become the I.R.S.'s chosen people." Judge Silverman then recommended litigation to address whether the government is improperly favoring one religion.


Indeed. This could prove to be an interesting case as the CoS has LOADS of money. OF course, the couple's lawyer is working pro bono, so it sounds as if his firm has an axe to grind as well.

Link (via Drudge)

Auchtoon is Live!

A friend (and sometimes collegue) of mine, John Auchter, has finally opened up his website.

It's... alive! Yes, the long fabled Auchtoon! website has finally made it past its two-and-a-half-year temporary home page:

http://www.auchtoon.com

Read, enjoy, waste a little time! Drop me a line and let me know what you think. And please feel free to forward the link to friends, family, and wealthy cartoon art aficionados.

Thanks!
John


John's one of those people you'd look at and say, "Really? You're a cartoonist?" (Just kidding John.)

Seriously, his stuff is great even if you don't agree with him. Drop him a note of congratulations and buy a cartoon you friggen freeloaders! This one is my favorite so far.

Link

18 March 2004

100 Most Mispronounced Words

In English, of course.

Link (Via Kottke)

Almost 75% of the US is online

Wow... I had no idea it was that high. Very cool.

Link

NASA can read your thoughts

So, if someone can develop a (powerful) computer that I can wear (say, small cell phone sized) with a secure wireless connection to a mic and speaker, and a monitor projected onto my retina (or beamed directly to the appropriate area of my brain), I'm all set.

Suddenly first-person shooters would take on a completely new dimension.

Link

16 March 2004

Free Music

I love free stuff, especially when people want you to take it.

Link

08 March 2004

Reason #1 To Have Your Facts Straight

Case in point: The SCO saga. McBride accused Groklaw of being sponsored by IBM. Here's the response by Pamela Jones, Groklaw's author.

Can we just drop SCO into irrelevancy now, please?

06 March 2004

This should have some witty title with "God" in it

A small band of pioneers is exploring the neurology of religious experience


Link (via integrate)

Carbon Neutral

I'm no scientist, but I have some severe doubts about the science behind this movement; planting trees to compensate for our carbon dioxide output. Basically, the idea is that we can't get rid of producing carbon dioxide, but trees can. So, in order to compensate for our output, we plant trees which can clean up that CO2.

Here's my problem with this. I did a calculation for how many trees I'd need to plant in order to remove the CO2 produced on a flight from Grand Rapids, MI to Baltimore. The site says I'd need to plany one tree (at a cost of $11 and change, which they can conveiniently collect right now since I asked). I'm pretty sure a tree isn't going to clean up the 600+ pounds of CO2 produced by that flight in, say, the same time it took to produce that CO2. So really, to have a zero sum, I'd need to plant something on the lines of acres of trees.

Michigan State University's Center for Integrative Toxicology, says this:
It is estimated that an acre of trees uses four and a half tons of CO2 a year

Doing some real quick math, that's about 25 pounds a day per acre.

Something smells funny...

Link

05 March 2004

Isn't this just bloggin on paper?

This is a weird story on the NYT. Book sellers (such as Border's) are beginning to offer publishing kits.
"It's easy to publish your own book!" the "Borders Personal Publishing" leaflets proclaim. Pay $4.99. Take home a kit. Send in your manuscript and $199. A month or so later, presto. Ten paperback copies of your novel, memoir or cookbook arrive.

I'm a product of the "I have a novel in me somewhere" generation, but this just seems like the cheaters way out. Plus, this doesn't get you promotion, just publication. An interesting idea though.

Link

Bloggers Steal Ideas

I couldn't resist doing this....

From Slashdot:
Wired has up a story about HP, as part of a larger drive to figure out how ideas ideas (sic) 'infect' large groups of people, scientifically proving what most people already knew: bloggers steal their ideas from other bloggers.


The article links to the HP Blog Epidemic Analyzer (I swear that's what they called it).

From the Wired article:
...the researchers have discovered that authors of popular blog sites regularly borrow topics from lesser-known bloggers -- and they often do so without attribution.


So, my posting of this "meme" (or whatever they call it now) is officially a contributory element in an epidemic of blog posts. Does this make me part of the problem, because all of my links are attributed. I'm also reversing the trend by being an almost-non-existent blog linking to huge blogs.

At some really geeky level, it's really funny. Well, to me anyway.

And the dumbest headline of the day...

...goes to: Reuter's Health section.
Fitter men carry less weight around belly: study


Link

Anime: Appleseed

I need to get back into anime. Check out the trailer for this one, called Appleseed.

Thanks to the Slashdot nerds for a BitTorrent link. Well worth the wait for this.

04 March 2004

Awesome Steriogram video

Song's not that great, but this video is awesome!

Link (via memepool)

Ah, crotchety old physicists are fun

Dr. Donald E. Simanek, Professor of Physics at Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania is one smart guy. Plus he really likes to debunk (in great detail) myths of science and physics.

Link

03 March 2004

Wonder if any of our Execs would do this

Ted Waitt, CEO of Gateway (as in computers) is apparently one stand-up guy. Now, he's been well compensated in the past I'm sure, so his reduction in pay is likely a large symbolic gesture. But how many other CEOs do you know that made less annually than a moderately-priced computer?

Link

Offshoring Hype and Acceptance

This is a very lucid and thought=provoking look at the trend of offshore outsourcing. Will this really be the peak year for the trend?

Link

More Layoffs

It happened today. No hard numbers yet, but so far three people (in our group of 11) have been let go... the people I hear about leaving are very surprising.

This should be a productive day.

UPDATE: Not official, but estimates are 60 locally and an additional 42 in the field.

UPDATE: It's official; 118 with a threat of more to come in the spring. Most cuts were in DI, Postal, Manufacturing and Software Engineering.

Why Outsourcing Will Plateau

One (poorly written) perspective on the outsourcing movement from someone who receives the "benefits" of the outsourcing. Company sends jobs to India; Company looses contract, but not for some high-minded morals.

Link

02 March 2004

Lessig on Eldred vs Ashcroft

Lawrence Lessig argued against the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act in 1999. They lost (and lost on appeal to SCOTUS), which was a terrible thing for public domain works. One of the arguments lost in the (what little) reporting was done on this case is this one:

This point is rarely made, but it has far-reaching implications, and it was a key theme of our brief. When Congress decides to extend the term of existing copyrights, it is making a choice about which speakers it will favor. Not only would upholding the CTEA mean that there was no limit to the power of Congress to extend copyrights and further concentrate the market; it would also mean that there was no effective limit to Congress's power to play favorites, through copyright, with who has the right to speak.


He looks back not with regret, but with an almost unbearable responsibility. A very poignant article from an obviously passionate man.

Link (via kottke.org)

01 March 2004

Who said that?

Heh... I love when CNN busts themselves. I can't wait to hear the silence from this one.

Is 5.6 percent a low figure, or a high one? Depends. If only 5.6 percent of hamburgers are discovered to contain meat, that's way low. But if 5.6 percent of teachers are using their students as drug mules in elaborate Asian heroin importing schemes, that's sort of high.

We're comparing apples and oranges here. Or junkies and burgers. What if we compare similar or identical figures on the same subject, and from the same source?


Link (via Fark)

AIM is spyware

Apparently, installing AIM installs the spyware program Viewpoint Media Player. I'm glad I don't use this program, although I did find Viewpoint software on my machine. I wonder if this is installed with Netscape. Oh, and my favorite part, AIM inserts free.aol.com into IE's Trusted zone so they can push software installs without having to get user permission. That's a little iffy, if you ask me.

Just more reasons to use Mozilla.

Link (via Fark)