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Showing posts from November, 2005

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 …