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Showing posts from 2005

The Christmas Post

I almost neglected to put up The Christmas Post; my apologies. (And, my apologies for all the semi-colons tonight; that one was on purpose.)

Christmas was wonderfully dull. After opening our gifts at home (and after smoked salmon and capers on cream-cheese-topped crackers), we got ready to head out.

We were supposed to have the day to ourselves in our new house, but we got invited to J--'s folks place at the sort of last minute and headed over there around lunch. In the long run, it was a good thing because, as J-- remarked, Christmas doesn't feel right until you have to schlep your way to someone else's house, which is so true it makes you want to laugh.

So, we do the parent thing, complete with uncomfortable conversation and then head home.

J-- outdid herself again this year, blowing past our pre-set limits without nary a glance at the total line. Not that I'm complaining, but I think the limit thing is starting to look like a Michigan speed limit: merely a suggestion. …

It's a Jeep Thing

I am now in the league of happy surburbanites who have a) a house and b) an SUV. Tonight, we bought a 2003 Jeep Liberty. It's the Sport edition, which is the low end, but it halved the milage on our primary vehicle and lowered the payment by almost $80 (I got shafted on my last car purchase).

So, the maroon Jeep now rests comfortably in the driveway, waiting to be insured; everything was closed today. First impressions are good and range from "drives more like a truck" to Happy Dancing in the dealership parking lot. All in all, pretty positive marks for a used car.

Tomorrow: tying up all the loose ends (title, insurance, extra keys and such). Oh, and thanks to the guys at Motorquest of Jackson. Ask for Dennis; he put up with our crap and managed to smile through it (three and half hours in the dealership).

Microsoft expands support for the interrobang

A follow up to a long-ago post... The coolest symbol now has extended support from Microsoft. The interrobang (a combo of the question and exclamation marks) now has characters is many of the default fonts in Windows that use Unicode (Lucinda Sans, Arial, Palatino, etc..)

If only it would come into common usage. It needs to be included on cell phones for text messaging, or in IM clients.

Link

That Feeling Again

Do you ever watch a movie and sit there, staring at the credits, pretty sure that you missed something? And then, as you talk it over with the other people who watched it with you, you start to realize that none of them, intelligent as they are, caught that it. And then, as the conversation drifts out of discussions about camera angles and lighting, you realize, no, we all did not in fact miss something. It wasn't there in the first place.

That's Primer. Primer is one of those films that was shot so cheaply, you want to believe that there's something meaningful there, something that made it drift onto your list of movies to see. But at it's heart, Primer is the same story you've read about time travel and maintaining the purity of the flow of time, only so convoluted and devoid of direction, you have to fill in the gaps with made up story in order to have the movie make sense.

The clever part of the story is that one of the time travelers wakes the beast in all of …

Just so I get this straight...

Adam Curry edits the podcast entry which, unfortunately, he has more than a passing interest in and gets crucified.

Jimmy Wales does the same thing and we're cool with that?

Just so I know who to vilify.

For the record, I tend to fall on the side of argument that Tycho from Penny Arcade expressed recently; there are authorities. Believing otherwise is asinine.

Quick question

What exactly do you have to eat to have this dream?

You're trapped in a Mexican town (which you know because there are lots of Mexican people around) but it's surrounded by corn. You also know that you have to kill a famous 40's villian 8 times in different settings, since he has 8 lives, by sliding a knife between the 6th and 7th ribs.

Just wondering, because we're never having it for dinner again.

Bloglines down today

Bloglines, my RSS aggregator of choice, will be going down today for around 6 hours (if all goes well) for a data center upgrade. The linked news post basically says that they are a victim of their own success, which is great news for them as a company.

However, I have to wonder why they are moving in the middle of the day? I work on a web application and the consideration to take down the app in the middle of the day just doesn't even happen. How can a major service, owned by someone as big as Ask Jeeves, just shut down in the middle of a weekday?

I hope the move goes well, but come one Ask Jeeves, let's act like you've worked online for a few years.

Bloglines | News

Bloglines vs Newsgator

I have been a long time Bloglines user. I used to be a heavy RSS Bandit user. When the latest version of RSS Bandit came out, I saw they had added support to synch with Newsgator, a competitor to Bloglines.

Since I don't really have any loyalty to Bloglines and I really liked using RSS Bandit on the desktop, this seemed like a great reason to once again give Newsgator a try (I had tried it a number of months ago).

I tried, I really did: I updated all my feeds in Newsgator and in RSS Bandit; I set up my account in RSS Bandit; I started my first synchronization. And.... nothing. After 2 hours I had to end the process manually. Bummer. Ok, maybe it's a first try thing. Check the password, delete all the feeds from RSS Bandit, start the download. Error. Arg. I keep using Newsgator as my main web-based aggregator, getting used to the interface and digging in the settings.

So, I think to myself, self, it's just a first day problem; the service is busy because lots of people are try…

What Don't Tech Companies Get?

Technology.

I play Battlefield 2; it's a kick-ass FPS. EA, the publisher, has a long and storied history of releasing many, many (needed) patches for the series. They just released the latest for BF2.

When I started to download the file from their site (this is EA, largest game company in North America), I was getting about 26KB/s down. Yeah.

After an hour (of an estimated 2.5 hour download), I searched up a Bittorrent link from 3DGamers.

Current speed: 239.2KB/s, 24 minutes total download time estimated.

I'll leave it to the brain trusts at the various publishers to figure that one out.

It's the End of the World as We Know It

General Motors announced today that they would be closing 9 plants and RIFing 30,000 people in the next 3 years. 30,000 people. For Michiganders, that means the Lansing plant, the Flint engine facility, and the service and parts center in Ypsilanti will be closed, with the potential for another plant closing.

For three areas that need all the jobs they can get, this is a huge blow. For a state economy that's floundering, this could be devastating. It's also the first of what will likely be more announcements. Northwest has been louding proclaiming their financial problems; other auto makers aren't doing as well as they would like.

When are we going to get serious about moving away from a manufacturing-based economy? We need to start busting the myth that people entering the work force can get a job on the line just like their parents. Those jobs just won't be there in the numbers needed. Unions need to start being honest with their members that they can't stop plant …

Installing Drupal on 1&1

Has anyone installed Drupal on a 1&1 hosted site? I'm trying to uplaod the SQL file that creates the tables in my MySQL database, but I can't get it to run. Google, so far, hasn't been any help. Any advice would be much appreciated.

Update: Nevermind, I got it to work. Had to run the uploaded file from the server through the phpMyAdmin console at 1&1, but only after configuring the database.mysql file to point to the right server (duh).

Flame of the Week

Via Boing Boing, a link to a flame against the developers of Sony's rootkit. (NSFW)

MY GOD MAN!!! Do you realize what you're doing? DO you? What kind of HONEY BITCH TOOL have you become? Have you no shame? None at all?

Look at you. Look at yourself. Look at what you've BECOME. Your job is writing code to BREAK PEOPLE'S COMPUTERS if they dare to put a CELINE DION CD into their disk drive. Is this what you always wanted? Is this what you went to school for? Is this what we've all -- all of us, every other hacker and programmer and geek and computer person -- is this what we've all helped you to do?

It goes on... funny stuff and so true.

And the counter attack begins

Huzzah to the New York Times for jumping on the latest trend from the Fourth Estate; Blogs aren't just annoying; they're actually bad for society. Just a few, brief years ago, flash mobs were the source of all those riots at G8 and Seattle. Now, the French riots are the fault of evil 14-year old bloggers. And these evil bloggers are getting off after being arrested because for "procedural reasons". It almost begs for a suspension of those ridiculous laws so we can round up all those bloggers and hold them.

Why do reporters always have to reach for an angle to blame the technology? If this was 1517, the New York Times would be questioning the need for nails as they aid disruptive elements such as Martin Luther in the nailing of theses to the doors of church doors. They would then have to draw a line from the 1440s and blame not just Luther, but Gutenberg as well for enabling "anyone who can afford one" the ability to print virtually unlimited amounts of mater…

Christmas comes early, thanks to Amazon

My Christmas came early this year, courtesy of Amazon's kick-ass Amazon Prime service ($79 for unlimited two-day shipping). I got a new set of cookware from J--, who, despite the unintentional gifting, has accepted that I love my gift and will count it as a gift when the appropriate day arrives. (UPS left it on our porch and it was shipped in the original box; hard not to know what is was.)

Of course, since I had a slowly dating set of cookware, I had to get rid of it. Instead of chucking it, I FreeCycled it. The Ann Arbor FreeCycle group is very active and a great place to offload some of those things that aren't worth throwing out, but you don't use. I've used it twice, both offers, and had a response within minutes.

Un-Effing-Believable

Detroit deserves everything it has coming to it after re-electing Kwame Kilpatrick. The thug mentality and corruption in Detroit will run wild right up until the whole city goes into receivership. The fallout will be felt statewide.

Detroit is facing a projected deficit of $200 million in its $1.4-billion general fund budget, and Kilpatrick has delayed making deep cuts or layoffs until after the election. Unless Kilpatrick can perform a financial miracle in the next eight weeks, he may find paying city workers and vendors and warding off state oversight of city finances his next great challenge.

This is the same deficit he's been unable to fix in the previous four years. Maybe the voters are right and he needs "another chance". The first few hundred chances just weren't enough. Idiots. Note to Lansing, start prepping the finance manager you're going to have to appoint when the City goes into receivership. The mayor's own finance director told the City Council t…

Honoring Rosa Parks

I know quoting The Onion is low-level slogging, but this is so damn funny, I laughed out loud.

Alabama State Senator Hank Erwin, one of the hundreds of emotional guests at Bush's $5,000-a-plate dinner, proposed a toast, saying, "If I may paraphrase the words of Dr. Martin Luther King... 'I am free at last, free at last—thank God almighty, I'm free at last to stop thinking about civil rights.'"

And the sad thing is, someone out there will believe this.

The Death Of Rosa Parks - The Onion

How It Should Have Ended

These guys make alternate endings to blockbuster movies. What should Han have done at the end of Episode 4? Why do all the Smith's just stand there in Matrix Revolutions? Just what the hell is going on in Blair Witch? Download the movies and find out. (Help the site out and use BitTorrent; I highly recommend utorrent (microtorrent)).

The Official How It Should Have Ended Website

CVS camera: Hacked

I hacked the CVS disposable camera tonight. It was kind of fun, aside from the fact that I totally suck at soldering. I used the instructions at Make and Hack a Day.

Instructions are all overthe place to hack this camera, so it's not like I was doing any actual exploration, but I've never done a much hardware hacking, so this was a fun little project. I highly recommend the Make instructions.

Tips for anyone thinking of doing this:
Get a good soldering iron. Mine blows, but it cost $5. You get what you pay for.
Practice soldering on something you don't care about. My first and only experience soldering was this project.
eBay is your friend. Aside from the camera, which I found on sale, the Palm connecter can be had on eBay for less than $10 shipped.
Don't expect too much. It's a $25 camcorder. The quality is so-so. Our house is a little dark and the picture quality isn't great. It's a nifty little toy, but that's about it.
Pets hate camcorders. At least ours …

Homer Simpson was Right - Beer Really is Good For You

Want to be healthier? Drink more beer, and the more hops the better.

It turns out that beer hops contain a unique micronutrient that inhibits cancer-causing enzymes. Hops are plants used in beer to give it aroma, flavor and bitterness.

"It clearly has some interesting chemo-preventive properties, and the only way people are getting any of it right now is through beer consumption," [Fred Stevens, an assistant professor of medicinal chemistry at Oregon State's College of Pharmacy] said.

Praise God and pass the IPA.

ABC News: Drinker's Delight: Beer May Fight Disease

In which I Immerse Myself In Local Politics

(Cross posted to Chelsea Blog)

The chill in the air isn’t just from the change in seasons.
A Chelsea City Trustee has unleashed the first salvo in a public battle over… I’m not sure. But it sure sounds like some people don’t like each other.
Since the story broke in The Chelsea Standard, I’ll have to recap instead of linking.
Back in October, the City Council approved a lease (a link!) for a Ford Five Hundred from Palmer Ford for Mike Steklac, a car provided by the City to Mike in his capacity as City Manager. The approved lease payment was $291.11 per month. When Mike went to pick up the car, the salesman informed him that the offer the City had negotiated was no longer available. The new price was $662.43, a slight increase.
So Steklac went to Faist-Diesing Chevrolet and negotiated a deal for an Impala at around the same price as the Ford lease (actually, $40 less a year). When Steklac brought the new lease to the City Council for approval, City Council Trustee Jamie Bollinger pounced. B…

Excellent breakdown of why Google Print != Indexing Web Pages

One of the arguments for Google Print is that it's the same as crawling the web and making that index searchable. A comment on Slashdot nukes that theory very, very neatly.

I'm going to quote the whole thing, but credit is due to Bulmakau.

I am sure many will ask what the difference between books and sites is. And since we all like google scanning out sites, why should we oppose book scanning?
Well, for several reasons:
1. It is WE who like our sites scanned, and if not, we add a Robots.txt file. We can protect some of the content on our site, or all. and we easily know if its being spidered, so we can take action. How will that be with books? Robots.txt is not probably. You know what? if anything, it already exists in a way. All (most) books say have on them, in print, right in the beginning a text saying "copying of material from this book is not allowed unless permitted, prior, in writing, by the author or the publisher". I think that resembles a robots.txt file. no? …

Best... Photoshop... Evah...

Tipping point

WinZip 10.0 was released today. Hardly anyone noticed.

WinZip is one of those eponymous applications that has outlived itself. It's not that no one compresses data anymore, but WinZip has started the downward spiral into obscurity. At one point, one couldn't get around without WinZip. In the days when hard drives were measured in megabytes and floppy disks were the backbone of the sneaker net, WinZip was The Application, an essential tool in any computer user's kit.

Now, with native support for ZIP files in Windows and open source applications like 7-Zip and Izarc, WinZip's hold on the market is slipping. With no native support for common formats suchas RAR files and the ever increasing irrelevance of compression in a terabyte world, and WinZip's lack of splash isn't hard to imagine.

That's not to say that WinZip 10 won't be a success. But with a slim list of improvements I just don't see a great push to upgrade or purchase. Especially when I can get …

Google Print

I haven't written specifically about Google Print (although I've alluded to it a couple of times), but I thought, hey, better late than never.

There are literally millions of posts all over the Web about this, so I won't bore you with a recap. What I will do is ask a question that has been bothering me and that keeps me from fanboying about Google Print.

First, some back story. In college, I had more than one professor who chose to use a text that wasn't in print anymore. What this usually meant was photocopies of the pages of the book in question from the university library. If I made the copies (and didn't get called out for copying "too much" of the book), the library staff didn't seem to mind. However, if the professor did so (or his staff) and handed those copies out to the students, that had to be cleared for all the copyright BS, as if the University were reprinting the entire book. (There was some arbitrary threshold if I remember correctly.) It…

Why Does God Hate Amputees?

A totally biased, simple, attack on the religious. It's the same, tired, "religious people are mindless idiots" argument. WIth a clever title. And lots of straw men. Actually, one big straw man, but that never seems to matter.

By the way, God is bad because men are mortal. And he doesn't exist because the Bible is fake (I love self-referential arguments). Shove that in your philosophical... pipe and smoke it.

If you want an interesting topic for discussion about God, try God, A Biography by Jack Miles.

Link

Common Census

Via S.S. Trudeau we get a link to the Common Census map, drawn not by political boundaries, but by influence. Influence in this case is measured by respondants to the (brief) survey about what you feel is your community.

This is a very interesting map and illustrates a commonly held perception about Michigan; that of the sphere's of influence within the state. I wonder if this holds true for the other regions of the country.

Check it out and contribute; it's only as good as people's input.

CommonCensus Map Project

Attack of the Blogs

Congratulations to Forbes for having one of the most poorly written articles on blogging ever. Daniel Lyons, who obviously falls squarely on the side of the older styles of journalism (those would be nepotism, invective, and abuse), pens a mighty blow against "the ultimate vehicle for brand-bashing, personal attacks, political extremism and smear campaigns", blogs. Here's a nice sampling:

Often a bashing victim can't even figure out who his attacker is. No target is too mighty, or too obscure, for this new and virulent strain of oratory.

"Bloggers are more of a threat than people realize, and they are only going to get more toxic. This is the new reality," says Peter Blackshaw, chief marketing officer at Intelliseek...

"I'd say 50% to 60% of attacks are sponsored by competitors," says Bruce Fischman, a lawyer in Miami for targets of online abuse.

One blog, Groklaw, exists primarily to bash software maker SCOGroup in its Linux patent lawsuit agains…

Scourge of the Earth

The comments situation here will continue as I just had a fun peek into my server stats. 22.09% of the requests to my site are to mt-comments.cgi. Oddly, the most bandwidth passes from my Politics category, but that's another story.

Now, I don't pretend to be in any way important to the community; this is a vanity site and a chance for me to screw around with a server without nuking one my own machines. Still, I was amazed at the traffic that spammers bring to this back-woods URL. In the last 80 days, 7691 hits were recorded to just mt-comments.cgi. That's a little under 100 a day. That's almost, well, 100 times more than the legit visitors I get. (Thanks to AAiOR for continuing to read, BTW; if you're ever coming to Chelsea, drop me a line. I think I owe you a beer.)

Anyway, as humbling as a stats check was, I'm going to keep the comments open to registered users only. Sorry, but mainland China is a little too friendly to the scum of the internet.

Comedy Central Drops a Motherload

Comedy Central has announced that on November 1, they will launch Motherload, a broadband IPTV service. Yes, it will include The Daily Show because, if it didn't, no one would have noticed the press release.

This is a cool idea; Comedy Central has decent traction among the high-bandwidth crowd thanks to the Daily Show and they probably realize that they get a lot of publicity from the file trading of clips of the show. They don't issue C&Ds to everyone who posts them because it gets them more viewers. Motherload gives them the ability to bring those people back to their site (read: more advertising), but also gets eyes on new shows. It's an incubator for new content.

We'll see how they screw this up (they have the dreaded "$SERVICE Video player" phrase in the press release, so some kind of wonky DRM is obviously going to be a part of this (WMV? Real Player?) Hopefully it's not too intrusive.

Hey Comedy Central, chuck some bucks at Odeo and get video encl…

My blog is worth how much?

I take Paypal, bad checks, and whompum.

Hell, at this price, I'll be busy for the next week setting up Splogspot accounts.


My blog is worth $3,951.78.
How much is your blog worth?

Link

Extending Google Print

Funny stuff.

"Never mind those. Listen -- I can use Google's logic to get free copies of films, music -- anything I want! All I have to do is borrow the CDs or DVDs, downloaded music or video or whatever, copy them, and then offer some sort of 'fair use' excerpt index service, just like Google is doing with the books. It's the perfect gimmick. Maybe I could runs ads with them too -- that's where Google is really raking it in. Hell, if Google can do this sort of thing with one kind of copyrighted work without paying, why can't anyone else do it too, and why should it be restricted just to books?"

REALITY RESET: "Free for All: The Google Excuse"[via Kottke]

Google Goes Exclusive

Via Dan Gillmor, we get a link to Dave Winer. I'm not a huge Dave Winer fan, with all that "I did this so you must credit me" crap for technology that is everywhere. We all know that Tim Berners-Lee came up with the web, but we don't put his name next to every mention ("See our website; thanks to Tim Berners-Lee"). Dave essentially crabs about the same thing with RSS and podcasting (and don't get me started on Adam Curry).

But, I'm off track. Dave is one of those people that, well, you either know about him or you don't. He's got his moments of stupendous annoyance and other moments, like today, where he has flashes of deep insight.

Dave's target this time is a Silicon Valley behemoth that is forgetting how it got to where it is: Google.

Later this week Google will have their invite-only Zeitgeist conference. It's as closed as a conference can be. And this is the company we lifted on our shoulders and held up as a shining example of th…

Jack Thompson - The Saga Continues

Quick follow-up. Ars Technica has a great summary of the events along with some new details.

The Penny Arcade fans have banned together and worked up a detailed account of Jack's activities. One of the forum members has reported the entire incident to the FBI, including the detailed report (forum thread here [NSFW language]). The letter has also been sent to the Florida Bar Association who has already once reprimand Thompson in 1998.

Disbarment might be a pipe dream, but it's one more step on Jack's way to the bottom. By the way, search for John B. Thompson on Google for some hilarious reading.

Arbor Update Flips the Racists

Arbor Update, a local Ann Arbor blog, recently posted about the riots in Toledo (CNN story). Throughout the day, I've been following the hilarious thread as trolls are driven to the post, likely from a search or some post in the neo-Nazi forum somewhere. After some people called for the racist crap be deleted, one of the mods at Arbor Update flipped the comments and proposed donating $1 for each racist comment made in the thread. Many others have joined in, and the flames continue.

Of course, being Ann Arbor, someone had to ruin a highly entertaining troll-bashing by starting the "conservative are Nazis" BS; nice to see everyone's true colors are starting to show through.

But, it's a good cause, in a macabre sort of way. Check it out, make a donation. Help fight racist, anti-Semitic, idiots.

Dear Channel 7

I tried to post the following message on your "forums" in response to the hit piece tonight on the governor, but you have a character limit. My commend got deleted as well; must be a technical problem. So, if someone would get get lucky enough to surf over here, here's my response to Steve Wilson's "report" Mackinac Mansion Part I.

Note to the management: you lost a viewer tonight.

What's next? "See Steve's next report where he continues to insinuate that the First Gentleman is living a swingin' bachelors lifestyle, tomorrow at 7!

Whats the matter Steve, Granholm put you in your place? The juices running a little slower lately? Needed a little yellow journalism fix to get your warmed up for the election cycle?

With an election as important as this mayors race, a budget crisis that could bankrupt the City of Detroit, and real problems everywhere in between, Channel 7 could better serve the community with real stories, not this kind of sensatio…

Penny Arcade is going to be even funnier than usual in a little bit

I'm going to stop apologizing for it and just give into the farce that has become Jack Thompson. (Note to certain readers, it must be something about the last name.)

Jack has now faxed a letter to the Seattle PD (where PA is located) asking that the authors of PA, Gabe and Tycho, be arrested. Of course, he got their website wrong, but that doesn't detract from the fun language and defamation suit he brought on himself. He accuses PA of extortion and criminal harassment, both of which I'm pretty sure require evidence in order to prosecute.

Jack, you have made yourself a public figure and, as such, are open to a whole level of mockery and satire the likes of which you obviously are unable to deal with. "I Hate Jack Thompson" T-shirts are not harassment, they're hella-funny. I highly recommend you crawl back under a rock and bother us no more. Cops are smarter than you pathetic, emotional pleas and insinuations. They're not dumb enough to arrest people who do…

Sorry, one more Jack Thompson post today

I don't know what gets this guy under my skin and, yes, I'm playing right into his sick need for attention, but I got drop one last post about this twit.

Not only does he whelch on charities, but others have to make up for him. The guys at Penny Arcade have donated $10,000 to The Entertainment Software Association Foundation in Jack's name.

Jack, as he will remind you, is a lawyer and, as such, likes to make wild, legal-sounding threats. See the Penny Arcade link above as well as this page over at VG Cats.

And the worst part, people like my folks don't hear this side of the story. Will someone from a responsbile news orginization (not C|Net) pick this up and wipe Jack Thompson off the map? Please? There are people doing far worse damage to society, and we really need to get back to them.

Jack Thompson chickens out

Following up on this post, Jack Thompson, lawyer, psychic, and now, apparently, back-peddling fool has rescinded his offer of $10,000 to charity if someone built his proposed violent video game. Why? Because someone did it. Jack now claims, in totally lawyerly fashion, that his original offer was satire. Unfortunately, we know that's not true as Jack can't actually identify satire, based on his reaction to the produced mod of GTA:SA where you can play as Jack Thompson.

So, either one of two things occurred here. Either Thompson's original piece was satire and he never intended to donate money to charity or he's lying now to get out of donating the money to charity. We await his explanation soon.

Beer of the Moment

Every brewer has the passion for a good beer. I'm attempting to pose as a brewer, so why not take on some accoutrement? With that, I begin the Beer of the Moment segment (with a Beer category), wherein I gush about the beer that I have currently fallen for and avoid committments to some "of the $TIMESEGMENT" titling.

This edition of Beer of the Moment (or BotM, since everything deserves an acronym) is Great Lakes Brewing Company's Dortmunder Gold. Dortmunder is a Golden Lager (according to the label) brewed in the style of the town of Dortmund, Germany.

Vitals

ABV: 5.8%
ABW: 4.3%
IBU: 30

(Ratebeer page)

Reading the Ratebeer page makes you think you have try to like this beer, which is like saying you need to work up to sweet chocolate. Sure, you might have to if you come from the dark chocolate world, but most don't. The beer is a dark straw color; it reminds me of a dark Scotch. There is very little head, but a medium body. I expected something much heavier.

It smel…

Jack Thompson goes after Penny Arcade

For those that don't know, Jack Thompson (notice the subtle URL) is the lawyer-cum-vigilante who is trying to make himself the face of the anti-video game movement. He gushes over these idiot laws over video games passed all over the country. (Side note to our Governor, Jennifer Granholm; you lost my vote.) He's basically the latest incarnation of the hysterical crowd that first blamed music, then blamed movies, and are now blaming video games for people's lack of responsibility. His equation usually goes like this: innocent child (think teddy bears and butterflies) plays big, bad video game, the goes on a Natural Born Killers-style rampage, slaughtering person, beast, and plant.

According to his website (see subtle URL above), he's also a psychic. He predicted "...in an interview by Matt Lauer on NBC's Today show three weeks before the Beltway Snipers were apprehended, that one of the snipers "might very well be a video gamer as young as 15 trained on a g…

Comment spammers win again

Once again, comment/trackback spammers have blasted this site. It's taken me the better part of an hour to change the settings for Movable Type.

For the foreseeable future, comments are for registered commenters only and trackbacks are off. If you have a comment and don't want to register, email me.

Digital Lust - Part, uh, it's a long-running thing

I'm sitting in a training session right now (thank God for WiFi and Bloglines).

Can I just say that I almost bought a video iPod while someone was droning on about sub-contracts? I'm not a fanboy or anything (see previous posts), but iPod + video + ability to buy TV shows to watch on iPod? Wow... nice work Apple.

BTW, the Apple site is at a crawl, but go check out the new stuff... very cool.

Apple

Ever seen Gattica?

You may not have to. It may soon be part of the NBA draft if the Chicago Bulls get their way.

Eddy Curry, the 22-year old forward for the Bulls is being required by the Bulls to submit to a DNA test prior being allowed to play in the upcoming season. Curry has been diagnosed with benign arrhythmia, a heart condition where abnormal heart rhythms are disrupted. Curry had a few incidents that led to his diagnosis and I can only assume treatment.

The Bulls now want Curry to submit to a DNA test to verify that he doesn't have cardiomyopathy, which when paired with the already-diagnosed benign arrhythmia could be fatal.

And that's where this becomes about more than basketball. Curry is an employee of the Bulls and disclosed his condition. The Bulls are now requiring that he prove he doesn't have other diseases in order to continue his employment. The slippery slope should be obvious.

The Bulls (who are becoming more appropriately named as I read through the quotes on this ESPN arti…

Call of Duty 2

Thanks to Les at SEB for the link    to Yahoo. Nice, fast servers with no waiting.

It let me know that COD2 isn't the next game purchase I'll be making. That's saying a lot because I played the hell out of COD. I even joined a clan, played other teams (sort of), and wasn't too bad (not great, but ok). The COD2 demo left me wanting. It felt like the original with some new maps and (some) better sounds. I've read the articles about the new engine and the improved rendering and yaddy yaddy yah. But after a couple plays through the demo, I was over the gloss and looking for more. I was missing that feeling I had with the original COD demo--wanting to play more.

I know it's a demo and I know the game isn't done, so I hope it gets better. But right now, Infinity Ward has the kiss of death going; same old game with the number "2" tacked on the end.

Download at Yahoo Games

Don't Give to the Red Cross

Notice this is posted to Politics. I haven't verified anything in this obvious editorial, but I offer it for it's emotional value. The author is the president and CEO of a competing (is that the right word) organization to the Red Cross. He obviously has a vested interest in monies coming his way.

However, he raises an interesting point.

The Red Cross brand is platinum. Its fundraising vastly outruns its programs because it does very little or nothing to rescue survivors, provide direct medical care or rebuild houses.

Taken with a comment in a Fark forum (search the page for Red Cross) about the waste demonstrated by the Red Cross (how they willingly pay full price for hotel rooms they never use), and the suspicions build.

That said, I don't think any of the accusations leveled at the Red Cross, even if true, constitute a purposeful and malicious attempt to sucker anyone. I just think the Red Cross is like many bureaucratic organizations: bloated and inefficient. I personally…

Mike Brown is a fucking idiot

Sorry for the title, it doesn't happen often.

Mike Brown was in front of Congress today to answer for the disaster he oversaw after Katrina. I understand he doesn't want to fall on his sword for something he feels isn't his fault, but the level to which he stoops trying to blame anyone but himself is deep. Deep. A sample:

Ironically, it started with an organization called horsesass.org, that on some blog published a false, and, frankly, in my opinion, defamatory statement that the media just continued to repeat over and over. Next, one national magazine not only defamed me, but my alma mater, the Oklahoma City University School of Law, in one sentence alone leveling six false charges. [source]

He then blamed the governor of Louisiana, the mayor of New Orleans, and then shook his fist at "those meddling kids".

Mr. Brown, you're an idiot. Even if every word you say is true, you have been offered up as a sacrifice for all the wrongs of the Fed after this disaster. …

Subvert from Within

It's one thing to talk about--and execute--a user-focused approach when you're a small company or an independent contractor. But what if you are, in fact, a fish in a sea as vast as, say, Microsoft? Can you hope to make a difference? Or does working at the "DarkStar" suck the soul from any employee with a passionate users bent?

Link

Heard on the radio

(Iraq - Saddam = Detroit) - Don McMillan

Link

Opera is Free

Opera today released their browser for free.. no ads, no banners, no nothing. Very cool. Opera is the parent to many of the features that people love in Firefox, including tabbed browsing. Well worth a look and something else to keep in mind when designing for the web.

Link

[via digg]

Comments Spam

Sorry to do this, but I've had to tighten up my comment policy due to a comment spam attack. 2 days and over 100 spam comments (and that's for a site with less traffic than 127.0.0.1).

Anyone who uses TypeKey gets their comments auto published; otherwise, the comment goes in the queue. Spammers are scum, and we all pay.

Penn and Teller on PETA - Bullshit

Penn & Teller's Bullshit! on Showtime is one of the most lucid shows out there. Unfortunately, it's on Showtime, which I don't get (thank you, Internet). Today, I found a link to the episode on PETA, the People for the *cough*Ethical*cough* Treatment of Animals.

It's good enough that I'm posting the video here (right-click, save as).

I was never a fan of PETA, but after this, I feel sick. Watch. Learn.

UPDATE: Video is now gone; someone slammed my server.

Tie Two Ropes Together... Properly

Lifehacker has a cool post about how to properly lash two ropes together. As a failed Cadet (kind of like Boy Scouts, but with more God and less crafts), I should know this, yet don't. I bring shame on my family.

But no longer, as I will learn how to do this... as soon as I need to lash two ropes together.

...

Link

Stupid web tricks

This is completely for a couple people at work and will make zero sense to anyone else.

You can now buy these T-shirts at Cafepress:



That is all.

Let the Disinformation Begin

The newshit recently that the next version of Windows, Vista, will come in 7 different "flavors", or SKUs. I'm making the prediction right now that this is a completely false story cooked up to divert attention from the disaster that Vista has become. After dropping pretty much every decent feature from Vista, Microsoft had another Windows Me release on their hands; a dressed-up version of the previous version.

Why do I say that? First, Microsoft may be dumb, but this would colossally dumb. People can't figure out the fact that Win XP has two versions; it's inconceivable that the general public could begin to fathom what they need to ask for when there are 7 versions.

Second, this is way to complicated for even Microsoft to support. Windows as an OS is very, very difficult to support from Microsoft's standpoint because of their insistence at maintaining backward compatibility. Introducing limited releases of an OS (which is what 6 versions of Vista would essent…

The joy of beer

I'm currently enjoying a glass of Arcadia Ales' Amber Ale, an excellent ale from the Arcadia Brewing Company (warning: crappy browsing experience) in Battle Creek. It will soon be chased by a New Holland Sundog Ale brewed in Holland (Michigan). Why the dopey post about microbrews?

Because I had to pour out five gallons of partially fermented ale when the foaming brew clogged the airlock, allowing the CO2 to build up enough pressure to blow the lid of the fermentor. I figure the beer was exposed to the open basement air for about 12 to 16 hours; not a good thing for maturing beer. I can't brew another batch until Saturday at the earliest and my last batch won't condition until at least the 16th. So I drown my sorrows in good beer from others, pretending my batch would have been as good as either of them. Ah, the brutality of failure.

Fire Michael Brown

Add geography to the growing list of FEMA fumbles.

A South Carolina health official said his colleagues scrambled Tuesday when FEMA gave only a half-hour notice to prepare for the arrival of a plane carrying as many as 180 evacuees to Charleston.

But the plane, instead, landed in Charleston, West Virginia, 400 miles away.

I know Michael Brown didn't personally do this (well, I believe he didn't), but if the leader allows this kind of incompetence to flourish, that leader is gone.

Link

Keith Olbermann on NOLA and the Fed

Yep...

Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff said it all, starting his news briefing Saturday afternoon: "Louisiana is a city that is largely underwater..."

Well there's your problem right there.

If ever a slip-of-the-tongue defined a government's response to a crisis, this was it.

The seeming definition of our time and our leaders had been their insistence on slashing federal budgets for projects that might’ve saved New Orleans. The seeming characterization of our government that it was on vacation when the city was lost, and could barely tear itself away from commemorating V.J. Day and watching Monty Python's Flying Circus, to at least pretend to get back to work. The seeming identification of these hapless bureaucrats: their pathetic use of the future tense in terms of relief they could’ve brought last Monday and Tuesday — like the President, whose statements have looked like they’re being transmitted to us by some kind of four-day tape-delay.

But no. The…

Epson printers suck

I'm at the end of my rope. About two weeks ago, the yellow cartridge on our Epson Stylus CX4600 dried up. It was a replacement from Laser Monks (which I highly recommend, by the way) which I've used since I bought the printer. I've run 6 or 7 sets of Laser Monks cartridges through this printer with no issues. So when this one died, I had a spare already sitting on my desk, popped it in and thought I'd be good to go.

Not so, first the Laser Monks cartridge wouldn't get recognized. I fiddled with it for a while, but the printer just wouldn't recognize the cartridge. No problem, I figured the chip got damaged or something was just wonky; it happens. So we bop down to Best Buy and drop $14 and change on a genuine Epson cartridge. Pop it open, replace the cartridge, let the thing charge and the printer says we're good to go; 4 ink cartridges recognized and full.

Print the first page and... only blue. Ok, it's been sitting for a while, so I run a head cleaning…

Piling On... Katrina Shows Us the Underbelly

I'm committing the ultimate blogger faux pas, but I'm piling on and saying ditto to an entire post.

If I was the President of the country I would be on the ground in the command center with my entire team and NO ONE would sleep for the next three days or until things were under control. NO ONE. [Link]

Jason Calacanis is a smart guy and, like him, I tend to be conservative in my voting and political views, but the situation in the Gulf is unconscionable. Bush didn't visibly do anything for almost two days, and he has yet to be on the ground there. Flying over the Superdome in your jet is NOT helping. Marine One should be lifting people off roofs. Marines should be sweeping through New Orleans shooting looters. Every available unit should be setting up shelters and delivering water. We have a military that can deploy anywhere in the world in less than 48 hours; what's the problem with getting to Louisiana?

This whole thing makes me sick. We have an agency who's SOLE PU…

Disgrace

New Orleans descended into anarchy Thursday, as corpses lay abandoned in street medians, fights and fires broke out and storm survivors battled for seats on the buses that would carry them away from the chaos. The tired and hungry seethed, saying they had been forsaken.

"This is not a FEMA operation. I haven't seen a single FEMA guy," [New Orleans' emergency operations chief Terry Ebbert] said. He added: "We can send massive amounts of aid to tsunami victims, but we can't bail out the city of New Orleans."

Bloody, awful, terrible disgrace. I'm not one for over-reacting, but there will be an accounting for this week very soon for every twit that dropped the ball.

New Orleans in Anarchy With Fights, Rapes - Yahoo! News

For the love of FSM

Back in March, Yahoo! bought Flickr, a growing community of people who upload their photos to share with whoever they want. Flickr was cool because it could be free (there's a pay option) and it was well designed. It allowed people to comment on other people's photos, tag them, and create groups to share.

So now, as Yahoo! starts to integrate Flickr into their portfolio, you know, like all acquired companies are eventually, Flickr Fans are pissed. Why?

At stake is a new user-profile stipulation that reads: "We will be migrating all independent Flickr accounts to Yahoo's network in 2006. At that time, if you have not done so already, you will be asked to create a Yahoo ID (or link your account to your Yahoo ID if you already have one) in order to continue using your account."


Members' photos will be deleted if they later drop their account with the portal and search engine, disappointing some.

Wow, what a terrible, evil thing to do to people. And what is their pr…