29 November 2004

Bill O'Reilly defending Dan Rather?

Before you think he is, he's not. Dan Rather's mistake of running with a story he should have been more skeptical about is only the cover for Bill's other objective. Like so many before him, O'Reilly is not defending Rather. Rather, he's protecting his bread and butter - old-school journalism. The Bush papers (and Swift Boat Vets before that) are not the fault of bloggers who got away with something "wip[ing] out a lifetime of honor and hard work" simply by having a LiveJournal account. In fact, if O'Reilly had done his homework, he would know that the bloggers were the first ones to debunk the papers.

And if you think O'Reilly isn't protecting himself, check this quote out:

Unfair freedom of speech did him in. This is not your grandfather's country anymore.


Nice. Nothing like playing the Fear card. But, to be fair, he's right. This isn't your grandfather's country anymore. No more will the Hearst's and Clear Channels (other side)of the world have sole ownership of information. They may control certain media, but there is always a voice available to, well, people like me. Not that anyone reads this, but I can still publish it, which is a step in the right direction. And there are many other smarter and more dedicated people out there whose voice is being heard on the internet. They are the ones who have kicked in grand-dad's teeth and changed the media.

O'Reilly mentions that the flaw in journalism is that journalists rely on other journalists for information. I submit that what is really pissing him off is that, under the Old Guard, he was only accountable to those from which he got the information. Now, he's accountable to everyone. Me, you, Slashdot, Boing Boing, Fark, hell, even Jason Kottke can weigh in if he wants. Yeah, I think that might have something to do with Bill's defense of Dan.


New York Daily News - Home - Bill O'Reilly: Dan got smeared

Don't buy that plasma TV just yet

CNet is reporting that, maybe as early as next year, the price on plasma and LCD televisions (and, theoretically, computer monitors as well) will plummet in the next 12-18 months. "Plummet" here is defined as 30%, which means that a 20-inch LCD TV from a well-known manufacturer will be under $299, down from $700 to $800 today. According to according to Tasso Koken, vice president and general merchandise manager for Sears home electronics, "[t]he 2005 price drops in LCD will make the 2004 reductions look like a walk in the park".

!!!

Link

How to eat sushi

I may not have ever had good sushi, after reading this HOWTO. I wish I had some way to validate what this guy is saying, because it sounds like he does.

Sushi Eating HOWTO [via J-Walk Blog]

Firefox hacks

This is a fun little site. All kidns of Firefox and Thunderbird hacks.

MRTech.com [via Alice & Bill]

23 November 2004

Unreal Tournament Mod

Finally, a reason to play Unreal Tournament! A single-player (offline) mod that looks like it was inspired by Painkiller. I think I got Unreal for free with my mobo.. woo hoo! Now, if I only had a hard drive.

Hmm... that sounds like a song. "If I ooooonly had... a hard... drive..."

Nah.

Link

19 November 2004

*smack head on desk* THIS is why Tech Writers are not respected

Once again, Tech Writers don't get it. (Name and contact info removed so I don't have to deal with some guy bitchin' about me posting his info all over the place.)

On Wed, 17 Nov 2004 18:28:54 -0800, [President/Principal Writer]  wrote:
> Speaking of google, what's the difference between doing a little
> research about the contents of a test and an employer using goggle to
> underhandedly find out information about a candidate.
>
> [President/Principal Writer's first name]
> --
[President/Principal Writer]
President/Principal Writer
[Company name]
[Company website]
MSN: [removed]
Yahoo: [removed]
There are two pains in life, the pain of sacrifice and the pain of regret.


This is the pain of the industry, if you ask me. Googling your name for info is already cliche in some circles. If you don't think that people are plugging your name into search engines before or after talking to you... wow. That's like not looking up the bio of an acclaimed writer. You'd have to prefer the experience of being ignorant.

To be fair, this post was quickly followed by a number of people pointing out that you can use this activity to your advantage, a kind of free advertising. Does you name show up in newsgroups being helpful? A potential employer might like that. Of course, you may not want your name turning up as you're knocking a common practice for someone doing due diligance on a candidate or company. The real issue is that what Mr. Poster expressed as an "underhanded" practice is a belief held by more people in the Tech Writing world than you would believe. Did you know that some employers expect writers to do other things besides write? I know, we need a union to stop these things!

You mean Emeril doesn't actually cook?

Yeah, surprise all you Uber Yuppies.

So who does the cooking? Mostly guys like Ernesto. Hardworking faceless guys from places like Guatemala, Ecuador, El Salvador, and Mexico. You were expecting a bunch of Italians singing opera flinging pasta? Wrong. You hear mariachi music and guys cursing in Spanish.


Yep. And the author even gets the big picture in there:

Perception can be more important than taste in my business.


Nice, quick read.

Link

18 November 2004

Avoir MP Parrish!

Canadian MP Carolyn "I hate Americans" Parrish has been dismissed from the Liberal party by PM Paul Martin (who is also leader of that party). Why? Good question.

On "This Hour has 22 Minutes", MP Parrish stomped on a President Bush doll. Oh, it should be mentioned that this filmed as Bush was announcing he was coming to Ottawa. (It's unclear if a TV broadcast was in the background as Parrish did the jig, or if the show spliced it together later).

This isn't really that bad. The problem is, Parrish can't seem to keep her mouth shut in front of cameras or reports when someone mentions the good ole' USA. It's like Cartman and Styx; she just has to bad mouth Americans. Good thing to do to a big trading partner. Smart for the economy and all that.

So, c'est la vie. Avoir, see yah around, toodles MP Parrish. I'm sure you'll be fun to watch as an Independant.

Link (Previous post about MP Parrish)

Lorem Ipsum mug

Sweet! A Lorem Ipsum mug (and other things Cafe Press) available from lipsum.com. Geeky? Check. Marginal quality? Check. Esoteric? Check. It's a triple threat!

Lipsum Store | CafePress" href="http://www.cafepress.com/lipsum.5023922">Link

The Top 40 Bands In America Today - 2004 Edition (as compiled by bloggers)

I've heard of about 5 of these bands (Bruce Springsteen?!?!?), but I'm game to try new stuff. I have a hard time taking what some of the MP3 bloggers are serving up usually, but once in a while I find something I really, really like. One of them clued me into iRate radio as well, which is great for getting great, free, legal music.

Anyway, the MP3 bloggers have a big circle-jerk and came up with this list. Sounds like a good place to start, if you can stand the constant references to other bands you've never heard of.


Link [via Kottke's remainders]

John Cleese - funny, online, and free!

John Cleese, of Monty Python fame, has begun to put clips on his website, some for free. He's also a wine connessoire, but without all that nose-pointing-in-the-air drudgery that most snobs give you. I don't know if that content will be free (I wasn't able to find any).

He also has a members section (of course), and the site is definately not modem-friendly. But, it's John Cleese, if you like that sort of thing. Membership is a little steep at ~$50/yr, but I'll look at all the free stuff I can find. Be warned, the navigation sucks (Flash-based hunt-and-click).

TheJohnCleese.com

[via The Times Online]

17 November 2004

CyberNET Group building raided in Grand Rapids

Whew! That was close! I interviewed at this place (didn't get an offer) about a year ago. As my significant other said, "everything happens for a reason, eh?".



CyberNET Group building raided in Grand Rapids


(Update, Grand Rapids, November 17, 2004, 5:27 p.m.) Federal officers from about every agency you can name entered The CyberNET Group building on South Division Avenue, south of Fulton Street, in Grand Rapids Wednesday morning.


[via WOODTV - News]

Ze Frank's Communication Course #1

Substitute the phrase "you miniscule twit" for every comma in your email and let the hilarity begin. Is it bad if I do this already?


Check out the rest of the substitutions and let the co-worker bashing continue!


Link [via Boing Boing]

15 November 2004

Blue Balls from Bungie

This past weekend, I "finished" playing the single-player of Halo 2, arguably one the most anticipated games of the season. I'm glad I cashed in $20 worth of gift certificates, though, since the "ending" of the game was the storyline equivalent of dry humping in the back seat.

Ok, aside from the good game play (which I still prefer on PC), the game was solid. I noticed a couple bugs (like your AI teammates forgetting to come along with you), but overall a decent game worthy of loading up a few maps to play again.

What hooked me, though, was the storyline. Right from the start, the game gets you with a great story (which knowing the 1st game will enhance greatly). And then, just when they build it to a huge crescendo, it's over. OVER! No conclusion, no resolution, total cliffhanger. Let the credits roll (cursing at the TV, like I was) and there's another cliffhanger afterwards.

Damn it! Who the hell is writing the script for this thing at Bungie? Did they take a hint from Microsoft and forget to implement the most important part of the software, the one everyone wanted?

So, they got me. Shame on me for thinking they would, you know, finish the game. For those of us who won't be using Xbox Live, we're screwed out of the best part of the game, the one they obviously devoted more time to; multiplayer.

Oh, and I'm guessing that to find out what the end of the storyline is, I'll have to not only buy the next game, but the next Xbox system as well. What? You thought they would find another game to push sales of Xbox Next? HA!

12 November 2004

FCC has a website encouraging you to get digital TV

I can't tell if this is weird or just poor presentation, but the FCC has a website encouraging consumers to get digital television. We already have an HDTV and love it, but does the government need to encourage this? In a few more years, you'll need to have one to get cable or broadcast television. Seems to me that's more than enough motivation for most Americans.

If you link to the site, beware the annoyingly stupid sounds effects and crap-ass navigation.

Link

God speaks to this woman through Scrabble

Wow, this is, er, crazy.

Link [via J-Walk Blog]

Best 404 Page

Very funny.

Link

11 November 2004

Marine Mom To Mickey Mooron: STFU!

Eva Savage, mother of Marine Jeremiah Savage who was killed in Iraq, was featured in Farenheit 9/11. Unfortnately, Moore forgot to make sure it was ok to use her son's name and likeness in the movie. This is her response.

 

Once again, bloggers make crappy journalists

See, when a real newspaper (or station) like CNN or the New York Times or The Washington Post do a story, they fact check. Facts are these really difficult things to get for many bloggers because they have an agenda. Always. Like me. This whole post has an agenda behind it. I'm sick of hearing that "this election wasn't fair" or "Bush stole the election... again!" You know why? Because I read more than the circle-jerk of blogs that always agree with me or on which I comment.

Take for instance this story from the Post (reprinted on the Seattle Times website) about the allegations of vote theft, hacked votes and phantom voters.

One by one, it pops the balloon of conspiracy surrounding the vote. It also raises an interesting point; if any of these theories were true, why isn't their candidate saying anything? You would think that John Kerry, of all people, would see the benefit of pointing out that over 1000% of the people registered in one Ohio country voted for Bush.

But he's not. Why? Because someone looked at why the numbers were that off.

The Ohio vote-fraud theory appears to stem from the curious ways of the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections. During even-numbered years, the county's canvassing board posts vote totals that include the results from congressional districts outside the county that spill over Cuyahoga's borders. The quirk made it look as if the county had 90,000 more votes than voters.


That's all it took? Christ, with a truth threshold that low, maybe it's time to start looking for Han Solo's name in a vote register somewhere.

Oh, and in case you didn't know, vote discrepancies are common in elections, especially national elections. Why? Because voters are stupid. They mangle ballots, they mark things twice. Not to mention that at a macro level, counting that many things accurately is pretty damn hard. An operation at that level will have a tolerance. Elections are no different. Statistically, the "anomalies" in this election are within the "anomalies" in other elections.

In other words, move on, nothing to see here.

Link

10 November 2004

Never Coming to a Theatre Near You

This book sounds like a great reference for movies, movies that don't suck. Glad to see that Ronin made the list; I love that movie.

Link

09 November 2004

Submission, by Theo Van Gogh

Submission, by Theo Van Gogh



Theo Van Gogh (who was related to the artist of the same name) was brutally murdered on the streets of Amsterdam by an Islamic fascist for daring to make an eleven-minute film about the oppression of women in Muslim society....


Go. See it now. Now. Right here. It's eleven minutes. Eleven minutes that illustrate what a life is worth to some people.


[via Michael J. Totten]

Poor Dan Gilmor

Dan Gilmor, author, Journalist (that with a capital J, mind you), and Blogger (also with a capital) has a problem. Actually he has many problems, but this particular one is a commenter he's acquired in recent months, a troll. Granted, a troll of the worst kind, but a troll none-the-less.


The troll has become somewhat of a problem for Dan because, as trolls are known to do, this one has mired up many a comments section of Dan's less-than-technology angled posts. See, Dan likes to trade his popularity for the Left, spinning any incident of marginal importance as the Tea Party du jour. His troll enjoys spewing idiocy for the Right. To me, this seems like a pretty fair balance in the Commons that Dan has so dilligently put forth as the New Media. You know, the one where everyone has a voice.


Oh, unless you disagree with Dan. Then he'll threaten you with a new *shiver* Comments Policy. That's right, if Dan doesn't get his way, he's taking his ball and going home, closing comments on any future political posts. Of course, a troll is better than that and will comment of political stories in the comments of other posts, so the likely outcome would be no comments anywhere on Dan's website.


Pity, he almost got it.

08 November 2004

Ohio Election Data Analysis

The original poster on this kuro5hin article starts out trying to cast doubt on the Ohio numbers from the election. Fine, nothing new there. But, someone who actually knows how to crunch numbers pipes in in the comments section with some pretty interesting numbers and, well, basically says "I don't see anomolies, but if you do, refute this data".


This is why numbers, and not emotions, matter in elections. Because when you get down to it, you can spin "voter attitudes" and "I remember 2000, and this year was different", but if you can't quantify it, it doesn't count.



Link

06 November 2004

And dumbass time continues

So, apparently if you own a NBA team, you no longer get to have an opinion. Mark Cuban, owner of the Mavricks, Benefactor, and blogger, has been fined by the NBA for this entry in his personnal blog. (He has held back on directly commenting, and just announced the fine.)


He also asked what the blogoshpere (I hate that term) thinks of this.


I think it's bullshit. My company is ISO certified. If a member company got fined every time a they complained about some aspect of the ISO board, ISO would be richer than the United States. How does an orginization think it's going to grow or address issues that members have with it when they won't even let you voice your opinion? Is the NBA that scared of what one owner thinks that they have to try and silence him through fines (which, by they way NBA, if you havne't noticed, it's not working).


Does it affect how I interact with the league? Not really. I gave up on the league a long time ago. Hell, I live in Detroit and I didn't even watch the playoffs. The league is more interested in making superstars. It's better business. It's easier to polarize the league and concentrate on three or four uberteams than it is trying to make a wholly competitive league (look at baseball for the eventual outcome of this). I find it amusing to watch Cuban go at it with people who still don't get it, and never will. Sorry you're out some cash Mark; but if your opinion is worth every dime, if to no one else but yourself, than that's good enough for me.

05 November 2004

And now, for something pretty damn funny

From El Reg:


Trippi isn't the only one to blame. All the blogging believers are at fault.

Even if Jesus set up a blogging cafe in the center of Rockport, Texas and extolled the virtues of a woman's right to choose while snapping pictures of gay weddings with his Nokia, it would have made no difference to this election. All of the bloggers would have told themselves about the miracle, while Bobby and Bobby Sue went right along with their business.

The longer the Democrats pretend that their vacuum of righteousness is actually reaching the public at large, helped by NPR, the more trouble they will be in. Be it an internet wasteland like New Mexico or fat pipe rich Connecticut, it doesn't matter. George W. Bush kicked your blogging ass.

'nuff said.


Link

SUPERcomputing

Alice and Bill have an article today about some of the upcoming supercomputers.
But the big news is IBM's prototype Blue Gene/L, being developed for the Livermore Labs. It currently runs at 70.72 teraflops --but they're still tweaking it. When the final version is finished, it should hit 360 teraflops without breaking a sweat.


The current record? Two years ago, 35.86 teraflops. The newest computer, IBM's Blue Gene, potentially could increase the record by a factor of 10. What are they going to use this for, you might ask. Well, at least they're doing the right thing. Blue Gene would (finally) be powerful enough to do protein folding, something which is currently being done through distributed computing (and a very worthwhile cause, I might add). Protein folding could lead to huge advances in the understands and eventual treatment of Alzheimer's, Mad Cow (BSE), CJD, ALS, Huntington's, and Parkinson's disease.

Computer science (the real science part) is finally producing machines that can do things not just that humans cannot do, but doing things we never thought we'd desire to do. Sure, playing chess against a machine is a novel activity, but divining intelligence from such an encounter is another thing altogether. When we do reach the computing power of a human brain, what then? It's not like we'll stop development of computers; we'll obviously surpass that level quickly. And that's a big deal. For the first time in history, mankind will have access to answers from an intelligence more powerful than himself (faith-based Q&A aside).

How does that molecule act when we drop in, say, this new chemical? Does the reaction differ in someone who is taking drug A? The computer will tell you, accurately and relatively quickly. Whole buildings will be devoted to simulating individuals many times over, simply to test reactions to, well, anything we can imagine.

It's a very exciting, and scary, time.

04 November 2004

Why the semantic web is a pipe dream

This article on Metacrap is a quick and dirty reasoning about why this renewed talk about the "Semantic web" is a load of, well, metacrap. It's a business, people, and all they want to do is sell you something. If this brilliant idea were remotely achievable, it would have happened already. There are no tools we don't have that are fundamentally stopping a world of meta-meaningfulness.


I'm looking at you, tech writers. Content management is all about metadata. This is a must read for every tech writer, even you crotchety ones.


2.3 People are stupid
Even when there's a positive benefit to creating good metadata, people steadfastly refuse to exercise care and diligence in their metadata creation.
Take eBay: every seller there has a damned good reason for double-checking their listings for typos and misspellings. Try searching for "plam" on eBay. Right now, that turns up nine typoed listings for "Plam Pilots." Misspelled listings don't show up in correctly-spelled searches and hence garner fewer bids and lower sale-prices. You can almost always get a bargain on a Plam Pilot at eBay.
The fine (and gross) points of literacy -- spelling, punctuation, grammar -- elude the vast majority of the Internet's users. To believe that J. Random Users will suddenly and en masse learn to spell and punctuate -- let alone accurately categorize their information according to whatever hierarchy they're supposed to be using -- is self-delusion of the first water.

03 November 2004

The Morning After

Yep.

I voted for George Bush.
I am not a redneck.
I do not spend my days watching cars race around a track, drinking cheap beer and slapping my woman on the ass.
I am not a bible thumper. In fact, I am an atheist.
I am not a homophobe.
I am educated beyond the fifth grade. In fact, I am college educated.
I am not stupid. Not by any stretch of facts.
I do not bomb abortion clinics.


You will not be thrown in jail for the sole reason of being a liberal.
Your child's public school will not suddenly turn into a center for Christian brainwashing.
Your favorite bookstore will not turn into puritan central.

This is not Nazi Germany in any way.
You will not be forced into concentration camps.
You will not be burned in human-sized ovens because of your religion.
We will not be forced to wear uniforms and march in line every day.
You will not live in fear.
If you think this is a country in which you have to live in fear, I have some friends in Iran who would like to have a little talk with you.

And here's why Bush has 4 more years

There's going to be so much wailing and gnashing of teeth, you'd think the Democrats were the ones that would set up a Theocracy. JasonUCF on Slashdot summed up wonderfully why the Democrats lost. And why they will continue to lose until they change drastically.



I can't find the right word. Annoyed? Depressed? Flustered? None of them carry the meaning for me.

This was not Bush's election to win. This was Kerry's election to lose. And man, did he lose.

When will the democratic party realize that they need to get in the game, play it tough? America doesn't want a smarty pants North Eastener with a fake politican smile a mile wide. America obviously responds to the aw shucks grin, the not too einstein but firmly resolved mindset.

When will we realize that whining about problems won't work when the majority of the population doesn't want to think about problems? They want a bed time story, and someone to turn the light on and off for them.

When will the democrats grow a fucking backbone and nominate a real candidate? I swear this makes me think of the axiom that, at heart, democrats are goths. They love losing, and lamenting about losing.

Kerry's campaign was self destructing a week before it won Iowa. I don't think they ever got a campaign together that worked. There was no clear delivery, no clear ideology, NO RESPONSE to the clear Republican attacks. When Kerry won the primary I was flabbergasted. I figured we probably wouldn't win then, but I held out hope, I stood on street corners, I called people, I campaigned.

A 4 million popular vote for an administration that admits no wrong, that has no coherent diplomatic policy, that has no coherent domestic policy. Why? Because 9/11 changed everything? Because we needed to "kick some ass abroad"? These are the responses I get from Bush voters. They don't even know what the Clear Skies act is. They're not familiar with North Korea. We have to find a way to dumb ourselves down into simple ideology. Easy digestible soundbites. It sounds ridiculous but I see no other way -- 1992 was "The Economy, Stupid", nothing else has worked. People don't want to think about problems, they want to eat McD's and watch Joey.

I'm so... frustrated.


I take issue with a LOT of what Dan Gilmore says today, but he's got one good point I'll agree with; maybe it's actually time for a new party. And Nadar doesn't count.



Link to Slashdot comment

Why Kerry lost

I love flickr; the meta nature of the photos you get with even the most cursory searches are bizarre. Here's one that's pretty damn weird (photo of a diseased fish, anyone?), and the comment for the photo is even better. To writ:


Why Kerry lost:
The refusal of the Democratic party to represent left/center mainstream values of peace, environment, small business, and innovation. Instead, homo-marriage, stem cell research, and minor issues that do not affect majority have hijacked the party. Homo-marriage lost Ohio for Kerry, and the next four years with it. Was it worth it? No, not for Matadors. Our natural resources will suffer for this. Our support is no longer worth it. You freaks are the new Nader. Get out! Time to take our party back!

Link

The Big News

It might take them a while, but eventually everyone will pick up on this. If Bush wins, the Republicans will have control of the White House, the Senate, and the House.



Link

02 November 2004

Australian Slang

A long list of Australian Slang.


It wasn't easy but we've tried to include uniquely Australian slang here and to exclude British and American slang even though these are commonly used in Australia. We see no point in informing the world that "fridge" is Australian slang for a "refrigerator".


Here are a few that might come in handy:



  • Bog in: commence eating, to attack food with enthusiasm

  • Dunny: outside lavatory

  • Liquid laugh: vomit

  • Mystery bag: a sausage

  • Tinny: can of beer

  • Ute: utility vehicle, pickup truck

[via J-Walk Blog]

Voting in AA

No, no stories of improper voting procedures or anything like that. In fact, Ward 5 used the draw-a-line-put-it-in-the-machine scantronic (fantabulous!) machines. Slick as ever and (virtually) idiot proof, although Idiot R&D is working on that.


No, the cool thing was a conversation I overheard while standing in a very short line at 4pm. A gentlemen was getting his ballot when one of the poll workers mentioed how busy they were (as he was handing the gentlemen ballot 1450-something). The gentlemen asked how many they usually get, and another poll worker stated "Usually about 400 or 500 for the day."

Keep track of the elections

CNN has a tacking center. No stats now, but soon I'm sure.

Link

01 November 2004

Wired Mag's Creative Commons CD

A 320kbps MP3 version of November 2004's freely distributable Wired Magazine cover CD - includes Beastie Boys, David Byrne, Dan The Automator, Gilberto Gil, Cornelius, and many more Creative Commons-licensed tracks for remixing, spreading - unmissable.


I got this with my issue of Wired this month. It has a little bit of everything and well worth getting. Plus it's legal and free; best of both worlds.


Link [via LegalTorrents]

Yes, I'm really that dumb

Ok, so I hosed this site. Boo me. I will be attempting to repost some of the original posts, manually entering the original time they were posted to recover my archive.

Unfortunately, all comments are lost. I have them, I just don't have a way to put them back with the posts. Sorry. Like I said, I really am that dumb.

Mental note: Just stick with one tool; the tools just don't play well together.