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Showing posts from 2006

Christmas in Chelsea

Let's hit the major stuff.What'd you do?Not a damn thing. J-- and I stayed home, no family, no friends, just us and the pets. We got up on time and opened presents (more later), had cinnamon rolls for breakfast, and then farted around all day.For dinner, we made a prime rib using a recipe from Simply Recipes along with some asparagus and two disastrous potatoes. Potatoes were justly jettisoned and a wonderful dinner was had. What'd you get?It's not about presents.Seriously, what'd you get?Ok, maybe it's a little about the presents. I got a kick-ass Dell 20" wide-screen LCD. It makes me droll just looking at it. I kept my CRT so now I have two monitors.. I feel like such a geek. I also got a really cool stainless tea cup with an infuser and lid. Now I can finally have loose-leaf tea at work. J-- also stuffed the bottom third of my stocking with enough candy to make any Halloween begger trick-or-treater weep. What'd you get J--?I bought J-- a digital cam…

Get Raped in Second Life

No, seriously. This time it's not trading real money for fake property or fleecing some media company into opening a bureau in the game. Nope, this time it's honest-to-simulated-God avatar rape. You even get of a Choose Your Own Deviant Sexual Adventure feel as well. There's Victim, Rapist, or Participant, where you get to help, but not "help" if you know what I mean.

Sure, it's simulated. Sure, both avatar-owners have to click something to participate. But are we really so far gone that we have to enable people to commit virtual felonies?

It's not Snow Crash; get over it.
Second Life: Rape for Sale - Gawker

Second Life Sucks - Someone Calls BS

Clay Shirky pegs the issue with the graphically-awful, over-hyped, socially-devoid virtual life that is Second Life.
Finally, the current mania is largely push-driven. Many of the articles concern “The first person/group/organization in Second Life to do X”, where X is something like have a meeting or open a store — it’s the kind of stuff you could read off a press release. Unlike Warcraft, where the story is user adoption, here most of the stories are about provider adoption, as with the Reuters office or the IBM meeting or the resident creative agencies. These are things that can be created unilaterally and top-down, catnip to the press, who are generally in the business of covering the world’s deciders.
Push marketing. You'd think the hipsters and technorati would see through that. Oh, right, it's marketed by BoingBoing.
Second Life: What are the real numbers?. Many-to-Many:

9th Ward body thought to be Katrina victim

Everyone, note the day that this post is being written: 4 Dec 2006.
Coroner Frank Minyard told the City Council last month that the Michoud area of eastern New Orleans had never been searched for bodies since Katrina and should be investigated as soon as possible.
Katrina made landfall on August 29, 2005. That was 1 year, 3 months, and 5 days ago. After that long, you'd think it was buried under a ton of debris, something like the bodies being found at the World Trade Center, right?

Wrong.
The body was found Wednesday night in a yard at St. Maurice Avenue and North Robertson Street, chief coroner's investigator John Gagliano said. (emphasis mine)
In a yard. Decomposed to the point that they have to call in an anthropologist to determine the victim's gender. Their gender.
Link

Just What a Young Facist Needs for Christmas

Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer and self-appointed censor of many bad words in others' products, has been carrying a Nazi-logo'd T-shirt for months, now into Day 22 since they said the shirts would be removed. You can follow the whole saga at The Consumerist (warning, Gawker site; get your Adblock on.)

Can't have a Sheryl Crow album that refers to Wal-Mart, but hurry and get your neo-nazi iconography while it lasts. No publicity is bad publicity, right Wal-Mart?

Ohio State Defeats Michigan 42-39 In Ultimately Meaningless Game

"I mean, come on—we could have lined up in alphabetical order in the end zone dressed in nothing but helmets and socks and whacked off for 60 minutes, and the BCS would still send us to the Tostitos Championship Game," Tressel told the assembled reporters. "Hell, you'd all still vote for [Buckeyes quarterback] Troy Smith to win the Heisman. And you know it."
*snort*

Link

How is it that I've never been here before?

Washington D.C. is pretty cool. Not "I'd like to live there" cool, but "I need to go back for more than 2 hours of tourism" cool.

This title was supposed to reference a Jimmy Stewart movie

I'm out for the next few days, off to our nation's capitol to hob-nob with politicians, researchers, and vendors. Well, ok, just vendors and a few fellow customers, but hob-nob I shall! I'd ask for places to go, but I don't think I'll have the time. I've never been to DC so I would have loved to stay a few extra days. But, hotels costing what they do, I won't be. Ah well, can't always turn business into vacation. By the way, as I don't travel much anymore, I was totally flabbergasted at the idiotic rules for flying. No liquids or gels in containers over 3oz, and all those containers have to be in a plastic bag no bigger than a quart. Oh, and you can only take one plastic bag of said liquids. Good thing I travel light.

Microsoft Photosynth

Via Scoble, the demo for a new technology preview from Microsoft Live Labs, Photosynth. I'm not usually a fan boy and I try to stay away from hyperbole, but this is simply an amazing demonstration of technology and academics intersecting.

Check out the demo video. Yes, it only works in IE and via ActiveX, minus points for that. But the technology itself is stunning and opens the window for so many more possibilities.

Imagine an image search engine that could recognize related images to one you choose and stitch together a 3-dimensional representation with those images. You see this happening in the demo with a data set of images of Rome, Italy. You could potentially see Rome from angles you didn't photograph by having the software find images and forming the perspective you want to see.

Outside of virtual tourism, the possibilities roam to gaming (naturally), archeology, criminal justice, landscaping, mapping/navigation.. it's a very exciting thought. Definitely an technolog…

Holy Crap! Zeeland voters overturn alcohol ban!

I. Am. Stunned. Congratulations Zeeland for pulling yourselves out of the 30's.

For the first time since it's inception as a city in 1907, alcohol can be sold in restaurants and stores. Prepare for moral decay, rioting, and a murder or two now that people can buy booze in town. Oh, wait, they have that already (maybe not the rioting) and they can buy booze by driving 3 miles.

As someone who grew up in this community I have to wonder why it took so long. Any teenager can tell you exactly where to go to buy beer in town. And there are liquor stores in almost every direction leaving town within one mile of the city line.

Sorry CRC, it's over. Get your recount on but I imagine you'll still lose. Too bad the vote was so close (40 votes!)... it emboldens the prudes to try and re-instate the ban. Of course, once residents get a taste of having beer with their meal at Community Kitchens, they'll never go back.

Oh, and family that are reading, I'm buying the first round nex…

Election Hang Over

So, we're officially the third-most intolerant state in the union, voting down Proposal 2. Through lies, deception, and a dubiously-worded proposal, affirmative action is now illegal in Michigan. And, although it's only correlation, isn't it somehow fitting that Michigan also has the third-highest rate of hate crimes in the US? Congratulations Michiganders; you really showed the country what we're made of.

Speaking of which, here's the break-down of the voting for two Proposals (PDF). Hm, let's see, the Proposal was approved (meaning these people voted to not help minorities) by non-union, white, Republican men with less than a college education. I hate to talk in broad generalities here, but how many people in that demographic took the time to actually, you know, research the issue? How many of them knew Michigan the third-most segregated state in the country? That's right, fellow citizens, we're more segregated than many Southern states. Whoop it up. E…

Go Vote, You Lazy Bastard

Got your attention? Good. You took the time to surf over to this site and, let's face it, you're not reading something in the top 1,000,000 pages on the Web so you're scraping bottom here. You obviously have the time.

Go pick a governor, vote on some propositions (PDF), maybe elect a judge or two. Just don't sit on your butt all day and then slap your forehead at 8pm when the polls close.

Get up! Move it, buddy. See your ballot before you go. It's easy now; I've done all but drop you in front of a voting booth and pointed where you should make your mark.

Close One

Wow, I had no idea how close to annihilation we came this past week. How close, you ask?

How about a marching band forming Star Trek logos with Star Trek actors in the stadium. That's close.
Photographic Proof!

Whew. (Oh, and Patrick Stewart was in the stadium; Royal Shakespeare was in town and he guest conducted.) God help us he even said "Make it so." Perhaps all the Ann Arbor snootiness and entitlement somehow canceled out all that concentrated geekiness, nerdiness, and Star Trek fanboy, helping us to narrowly escape total destruction as the Earth herself would have reached up to consume all that social awkwardness and self abuse.

Random Hard Drive Droppings

Been a while... busy... blah blah blah.Instead of a long-winded "sorry I dropped off the face of the earth" post, I going to root through my hard drive and talk about something in my backup folder.Like this:This is a logo for a band named Cycle. When I lived in Grand Rapids, Cycle was a rock band that had a modicum of notoriety, playing the standard GR haunts: The Intersection, The Radio Tavern (now destroyed), Ten Bells, etc as well as some opening shows for major-label bands (American Hi-Fi, Sponge, Bowling for Soup). At my day job, I worked with one of the band members, drummer Jay Blakeslee. In my smokin' days, Jay and I frequently ran into each other outdoors, catching a break. Conversation led to outside interests, his musical, mine web-related. They needed to revamp their website, I needed a reason to hack and draw so we started working on their site. I hacked together a website for them (and it was a hack); no server technology, nothing but JavaScript, images and…

Requisite Halloween Post

In between working at work and working at home, J-- and I took a couple hours to lead a few more kids down the path to juvenile diabetes Sugar High City by passing out candy to the trick-or-treating kids. Chelsea has, like many towns, a designated trick-or-treating time for the kids to minimize the amount of traffic in town at night. As with last year's event, this year was from 4-6pm. This has a couple downstream effects. The first is all your neighbors are home for the festivities. Everyone comes home early from work, camps out in front of their houses and chucks obscene amounts of sugared treats at teenagers and toddlers alike. We met around-the-corner neighbors tonight... we've been here for 16 months. The second effect is that all the country kids pile into trucks, conversion vans, mini-vans, and all manner of soccer-mom modes of transport and descend on the city like locusts on Egypt. The actual amount of kids that live in the city and who wind up at your door is pretty …

Things That Are Bad To Do To Your Computer

In no particular orderAllow cats to rub against the main air vents, causing a sickly build-up of hair, dander, and catiness.After allowing cats to deposit general catiness, fail to clean inside of computer for 8 weeks......then crank up the resolution on your favorite graphics-intensive application (video editing is best; games work in a pinch); Play "Count the Crashes" while attempting to figure out why computer crashes.Through dog toy under desk, when the only path from dog's current position to said dog toy is through a 6-inch opening made by your office chair and computer tower.Bonus points if dog is wider than 6-inches; guess what happens to a computer tower?Disconnect your computer from a VPN with multiple application-created connections to that VPN.Eat Cottage Inn, thin crust pizza over beloved keyboard.Remove portable hard drive from protective case with a) bare hands, b) ungrounded, c) on a cold, fall day, d) over carpet.

Your Tax Dollars At Work

Polling is a pretty well-developed industry. The Usual Suspects may provide an incomplete data set, but they’re by and large an earnest bunch, who give recovery matters a lot of thought, and their responses as individuals count as much as anyone else’s. So what was made of their sacrifice of three hours of a beautiful Saturday morning? Not much, as far as I could tell. I’m not sure how the questions were crafted - I’m sure UNOP told the AmericaSpeaks people what they wanted to ask, but my impression of how AmericaSpeaks conducted the polling suggested that they were more involved than mere readers and tabulators, and anyway, I’d expect an organization that purports to specialize in citizen-led contribution to decision-making to have some expertise how best to craft that opportunity to contribute.
Read the rest to see the spectacular use of $3 million dollars.

More to come on America Speaks, I'm sure; nothing like being cloak-and-dagger with your funding ($2.3 of their $3 million cam…

New Site Content - Google Reader Shared Items

For those on RSS readers, you may have missed the new element on the front page. I've added the shared items feed from Google Reader to the sidebar on the site. It will show the last 5 items that I've shared from my news feeds.

You can view the page here, as well; there's also an RSS feed at that page (or just grab it here) if you want to subscribe to that.

The page will be whatever I share; could be tech, could be weirdness, might be a cartoon or three.

By the way, if you haven't already, go get Firefox 2. I have one hyphenated and one whole word for you: built-in spellcheck. Awesome.

Rush Limbaugh is an Ass

Not that that's news, but usually I chalk Rush up with most of the idiots on Democratic Underground; you can't seriously believe 1/1,000,000th of the seething hatred that pours off their lips or keyboards.

But Rush has crossed a line that few will cross in pursuit of their politics. He has labeled a disabled person a liar, accusing that disabled person of pretending that their condition was worse than it is. It didn't help that that person was Michael J. Fox.

For those that don't know, Fox has Parkinson's disease and it has progressed a long way in the past couple of years. Fox takes medication, as do millions of people who suffer from Parkinson's, to control the more visible symptoms of the disease, including the tremors we all see.

Fox has made some political ads in support of stem cell research (and no, we won't be exploring that topic here). Limbaugh is opposed to this research. In his criticism of Fox's ads, Limbaugh said:
"He is exaggerating the …

Space Shot as seen from the ISS

Holy. Frakking. Cool.
(click for larger)[via warrenelliscom ]

WoW Burning Crusade Delayed until January 2007

The latest bump in my online drug will be delayed until January 2007 as Blizzard announced that the World of Warcraft expansion won't be coming out this year after all.

Maybe I'll have two level 60 toons to work with when the expansion comes out (as opposed to my single level 60 character, now).

Actually, my playing has tailed off lately; level 60 hasn't been as fun as I'd hoped and, frankly, I can't stand grinding yet another toon through the depressing landscapes of the higher-level zones. Why is everything above level 50 burned, broken, cursed, diseased, or undead? I don't want rainbows and kittens but a little green and blue now and then wouldn't kill the experience.

By the way, anyone on Medivh who has a guild that's recruiting, I'm looking for a guild that can take a casual player (one to three nights a week) and can run high-ish end instances. Having more than 3 guildies above level 20 on per evening would be a huge bonus.

Link

Monty Python star has cancer

Terry Jones has bowel cancer. His doctors believe they've caught it early, though, so things may not be as bad as they could. This is the second Python so far with cancer; Graham Chapman died in 1989 from throat cancer. Jones has always, to me, been the Python who quietly drove the troupe with his ideas, despite never catapulting to stardom as John Cleese and Michael Palin have. His commentaries on the Python experience (and outside of the Pythons) are always insightful. Best wishes and a speedy recovery to Terry. Link

Go Tigers!

22 years and the Series is back is Motown. Bless you boys.

The Shame of The Nation

Magna Carta required the king to renounce certain rights, respect certain legal procedures and accept that the will of the king could be bound by law. Link
Oh how far we have fallen. Tuesday will be remembered as one of the saddest days in the legislative life of this country. Tuesday, by law, the President (a single, elected official) has the ability to indefinitely detain, incarcerate and torture anyone. Anyone. All this frothing about how it's only aliens is a cover to the real, central issue. Today, representatives of your rights allowed your right to be taken away. Watch Olbermann for the scenario where you're the one who gets picked up as an "unlawful combatant".
It is immoral, it is reprehensible, and it is a travesty to the memory of hundreds of thousands of fallen men and women who laid down their lives so this generation, the generation currently buckling to the war-mongering power grabs of a corrupt government, can claim to live in safety.

This country should…

Situations Under Which You Automatically Lose

180 pound man, 3 ton truck.You begin a sentence with "In Azeroth/$MAJOR_CITY/Europe..."You end a sentence with "..., trust me."Invoking religion as an argument for or against anything....or abortion......or hunting......or pie. (Don't ask)Using "Don't ask" as an out for a meaningless joke.Any web-like term comes up in casual conversation and you get a silly grin on your face. "I heard IE7 supports something called Are-Ess-Ess??" *stupid grin*Pointing out the disproportionate treatment of a sibling in order to gain a favorable outcome with a parent. e.g. "You never did that for $SIBLING!" "Well, I'm doing it for you!"Feel free to pile on.

Screw Your Family Values!

Why? Because I'm now classed as a "nonfamily household". According to the last US Census, "...for the first time, a new survey has shown that traditional marriage has ceased to be the preferred living arrangement in the majority of US households."

By the numbers this means that 50.2% of households weren't comprised of traditionally married couples but instead were made up of selfish single men and women and heathens such as myself and J--, unmarried cohabitants, and homosexual couples. But the really fun stat is this:
By comparison, the number of traditional households with married couples at their core stood at slightly more than 55.2 million, or 49.8 percent of the total.
That's right, we out number you by 0.4%! And the really significant figure: this represents a drop in traditionally married households from 52% in six years.

Reading towards the bottom of the article, though, reveals some of the philosophical takes on this data. Take the conclusions dra…

Oughtta Be In Pictures

Who wouldn't buy a bag of dog food with that face on the bag?Purina, Alpo, Science Diet, shoot me an email!

Snow

Everyone talked about it already but honestly, is this really anything to get worked up about? Are we not Michiganians/Michiganders? I didn't even have to brush the Jeep off.Oh, right, October. Way too early.

I'll Take Two - Multi-Point Touch-Screen Input

Jeff Han is a research scientist for New York University's Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences . Here, he demonstrates-for the first time publicly-his intuitive, "interface-free," touch-driven computer screen , which can be manipulated intuitively with the fingertips, and responds to varying levels of pressure. (Recorded February 2006 in Monterey, CA. Duration: 09:32) Link (requires Flash)

Guess Who's Back, Back Again

Shady's back, tell a friend! Kidding. And don't ever call me slim anything.. someone's bound to die laughing.I am back in town, pets are alive (Grandma was happy to spend time with her grand-dogs and grand-cats). This trip was for pleasure. I have a feeling many more trips to come will not; hopefully more on that in the future (job stuff).I hear the Tigers made the World Series. Friends, family, I have to ask you... are you right with God? Because if they win, it's likely that fire, brimstone, and a seven-headed dragon will lay waste to the planet. Or San Fran will fall off the edge of the coast. Or snow will fall in Houston.. I can't remember how it ends, just make sure that, should the Tigers win 3 games you pray extra hard the night before Game 4. That said... Go Tigers!

Ah yes, there's the snow

Asmanypeople have shown, it snowed here for the first time. While I'm not thrilled, snow really doesn't bother me that much. I like the cold and I like the quiet that winter brings as everyone hides inside. I don't ski or anything, so I've always found winter to be a slower season.

That said, I'm really not looking forward to driving up North tonight. Every moron from here to Charlevoix will be freaking out at the first freezing temps and snowflakes. Yeah winter.

AllofMP3 Must Shut Down before Russia allowed in WTO

This is the pressing issue that is keeping Russia out the WTO? A music retailer?

Russia, a country where oil, natural gas, metals, and timber account for nearly 80% of its exports, a country with 74 million laborers, a country that has existed in some form since the 12th century, is being held up from joining the rest of world's super economic powers (of which it already is one) over music.

The sad fact is, Russia needs to join the WTO in order to gain some help with their myriad of other problems; a failing banking system, a dying manufacturing industry, and a business environment so corrupt, American reality looks almost as good as the American ideal.

So, what better time to hang the damn Ruskie's over a barrel, right? I can't imagine the amount of money being spent by the music industry to have US diplomats threaten a foreign government's formal acceptance into a group they belong to in all but name.

I have never used AllOfMP3, not out of some sense of idealism, but mor…

Something to think about

A tyrant must put on the appearance of uncommon devotion to religion. Subjects are less apprehensive of illegal treatment from a ruler whom they consider god-fearing and pious. On the other hand, they do less easily move against him, believing that he has the gods on his side.
~~Aristotle

[via Crooks & Liars]

New Rule

You must be this smart..... in order to use the self check-out lanes. That is all.

How would a Technical Writer phrase "Idiotic Omission"?

In a former life, I was a technical writer. Scratch that, I was a damn good technical writer, the lack of appreciation from one Southeast Michigan-based employer not withstanding. I dreaded every minute spent writing a manual, help system, or technical spec. But I was damn good at doing it.

That said, it's not hard to be a technical writer. It is hard to be a good technical writer, however. So, to all you struggling tech writers, take this small piece of advice from a tech writer turned pseudo-developer/business process analyst: every blurb of documentation you put out should lead to a measurable outcome. Yes, you have to do the expository "this is why we built it this way" crap, but if I can't act on the information you put out, that information is worthless - documentative lint, if you will.

This post brought to you by two weeks of frustration caused by bad documentation. Frustration, I might add, that was cleared up by a 5 minutes phone call with a very accessible S…

Google Gadgets For Your Webpage

Interesting thing happened today, Google opened its gadgets for placement on any web page (it used to only work on their own properties). Why is this interesting? Because most of Google is open via their API.

As part of the wiki/blog at ThinkNOLA, this opens up a possibility for something that has generated a little discussion in the past, that of a community calendar. Now, with open gadgets and the Google API, ThinkNOLA could create and maintain a public Google calendar of events and publish the mini calendar on the site. Updates to the calendar automatically go on the mini-calendar, which could be placed anywhere. Thoughts?

Google Press release
Main Google Gadget page

Moments from someone else's childhood

I never watched Bob Ross, mostly because I never considered myself artistic as a kid. So, watching this fascinating clip of Bob Ross that someone posted to YouTube made me feel like I was watching clips from someone else's childhood. I was vaguely aware of Bob Ross and slightly more aware of this painting thing, but I never actually sat and watched this show. Now, I sort of regret that. For all it's kitsch, there are so many redeeming qualities to Ross' work: it was approachable, it was simple, and it was completely for the audience. Ross never tried to make what he was doing anything more than it was. Even in this short clip, you can sense the pride in his voice as he teaches. Compare this clip with any show on HGTV or your favorite DIY show. You don't find the simple pride in something done well there, all you get is "see how simple it is" as they hide the complex issues behind jump cuts. Huh, I think I was just pining. (Sorry for not posting the video dire…

How did they kill the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park again?

I only ask because it might be important to know in the future. Seems that some paleontologists (that would be smart people who play in the dirt) found a friggen huge Tyrannosaurus rex thigh bone in Montana a couple months ago. Unfortunately, when they tried to stuff the bone in their chopper, it wouldn't fit. So, after spending what was likely weeks dusting off this bone to preserve it, they very scientifically broke it in two. Luckily, this paid off as they found soft tissue in the middle of this bone. What kind?This tissue, including blood vessels, bone cells, and perhaps even blood cells, was so well preserved that it was still stretchy and flexible.If someone teaches Wayne Knight to use bash, we're in big trouble.Link[via Digg]

19 Year Old Diebold Technician Wins U.S. Presidency

Buwhahahahaha!
In a dramatic development that has come as a surprise to pundits and the public alike, a youthful technician with Diebold, Inc. has emerged as the unlikely winner of the 2008 U.S. Presidential election. The president-elect, 19 year old Billy Pustule of Green, Ohio, reached via SMS at the garage apartment by his mother's house in which he currently resides, said he was "real psyched about being the president" and "had big plans for the inauguration party".
Link

Intelligent design OK for science class, DeVos says

And another interesting race became a moot point. It's too bad because DeVos had everything going for him: he wasn't Jenny, he was a DeVos, and he wasn't Jenny. But then he had to go and do something stupid like this.
"Lots of intelligent people can disagree about the origins of life. In the end, I believe in our system of local control,” he said in a news release Wednesday afternoon. “Local school boards should have the opportunity to offer evolution and intelligent design in their curriculums."
Sigh. Sorry Dick, not even Lee Iacocca can pull you out of this stupid, stupid maneuver. You just lost my vote.
Let's say this one more time: Intelligent Design is religion. As someone from the unbelievably religious West side of this state (which is the only reason DeVos made this statement, sucking up to the old, Dutch protestants), I know religion's effects on a young mind. Note to all you old (and not so old) Dutch protestants: not everyone believes what you bel…

Motivational Moment

I. Effing. Hate. those insipid managerial motivational posters. The Demotivational posters [purchase] jumped the shark a long time ago, too. But, you have to have something in your mental back pocket to jump start yourself (as my last post illustrates). Mine is from Hugh MacLeod at gapidvoid.com and came from the Hughtrain, his response to the Clue Train Manifesto. It's simple, true, and hits a certain spot for me.
Merit can be bought. Passion can't. The only people who can change the world are people who want to. And not everybody does.
I see this over and over in people like NOLA bloggers, national figures (both Left and Right), and even in my team. I can buy my way into a meritocracy; I can't make someone passionate. And only the passionate see those fundamental things that really and truly matter.

I will work to be one of the passionate.

Doldrums

Warning: This post contains petty whining, references to winter, and cathartic material. I am not depressed, I just play it on the Internet.

Fall must be on the way; I'm feeling the demotivating doldrums coming on. J-- and I talked about this last night about how, in the middle of the day, I felt as if anywhere but where I was would be better. Not the "I want to quit my job and join the Peace Corps" kind of anywhere, just the "not my butt in that seat yet again" kind. Maybe it's a leftover from a disastrous Labor Day vacation attempt (which I now realize I didn't blog). Maybe it's the realization that I just helped justify my team (most of which hasn't even been hired yet) into $5 million. And, oh yeah, we have to build a complete ERP system in two years.

Maybe it's the onset of fall and the realization that snow is right around the corner. I actually don't mind the snow, just the constant dramatics that come with it ("a whole FOOT of…

Confessions of an Angry Blogger

I have to 'fess up; I got snookered, hoodwinked, and down-right tricked. My previous post about the Humane Society of the US (Don't We Have More Important Things to Do) was, in short, wrong.

Thanks to Dan for pointing out my ironic reaction to that false report about Wayne Pacelle's statements; the Animal Agriculture Alliance apparently either placed comments out of context or made them up completely. Dan's right when he says "They've got plenty of reasons to be mocked, but the use of the silly "canine American" term ain't one of 'em." So true. So, sorry for the mis-info, I was wrong.

That said, my comments about animal activists still stand. Reading Mr. Pacelle's Statement of Beliefs gave me pause. The euphemism-laden statement is a bleach-faded version of more radical activist propaganda. His profile in the Washington Post (linked by many vegan sites) shows a more radical side to Mr. Pacelle, including his agenda to "ban huntin…

Don't We Have More Important Things To Do?

UPDATE: Welcome Googlers. Check out the follow-up post before you flame this one.

Remember kids, if you want to advance your cause, personalize the subject and rev up your logical fallacies. Today's example: they're not dogs, they're "Canine Americans". No joke.

And animal-rights groups wonder why we don't take them seriously. I'm not advocating random acts of brutality against dogs, cats, or rodents, but are we so confused about this issue that we have to anthropomorphize our pets?

I love my dog, he's the closest I ever hope to having a child. But even I know that, at the end of the day, he's a dog. Yes, he has feelings and emotions and desires, but he also has no opposable thumbs, would run away at the first chance you gave him, and would knock down a door to get peanut butter. I am responsible for that animal, but that doesn't make him anything more than that, an animal. He has primal instincts and motivations that, with education, I have been…

Crooks and Liars » Keith Olbermann’s Special Comment on Bush: Who has left this hole in the ground? We have not forgotten, Mr. President. You have. May this country forgive you

I've talked about Keith Olbermann before. I'm doing it again. Edward R. Murrow would be proud.

Video here. Text below. Read it, watch it.


And lastly tonight a Special Comment on why we are here. Half a lifetime ago, I worked in this now-empty space.
And for 40 days after the attacks, I worked here again, trying to make sense of what happened, and was yet to happen, as a reporter.
And all the time, I knew that the very air I breathed contained the remains of thousands of people, including four of my friends, two in the planes and — as I discovered from those "missing posters" seared still into my soul — two more in the Towers.
And I knew too, that this was the pyre for hundreds of New York policemen and firemen, of whom my family can claim half a dozen or more, as our ancestors.


I belabor this to emphasize that, for me… this was, and is, and always shall be, personal.
And anyone who claims that I and others like me are "soft", or have "forgotten" the less…

Words you must read. Words you must understand

We don't have enough orators in this world anymore, at least not orators that make any damned sense. We get people like Bush, or Gore, or Rumsfeld who fancy themselves orators but, really, at their heart are passionless readers.Except, that today, we may have found one. A writer, to be sure, of some prowess. A writer who, tonight, spoke the words that every American needs to hear and understand. Below is a transcript; this is a link to the video. Dismissal of these words based on the source is foolish beyond even this generation. Not understanding these words importance is proof that you're part of the problem.The man who sees absolutes, where all other men see nuances and shades of meaning, is either a prophet, or a quack.
Donald H. Rumsfeld is not a prophet.
Mr. Rumsfeld’s remarkable speech to the American Legion yesterday demands the deep analysis—and the sober contemplation—of every American.
For it did not merely serve to impugn the morality or intelligence -- indeed, the lo…

Feedback

Scoble says that Steve Ball, group program manager for the Windows Audio Video Excellence team (hell of title) is reading all the blog, newsgroup, and beta feedback about the Vista sound.

For those of you not familiar, the Windows Audio Video Excellence team has decided that the default, startup sound for Windows Vista will not be configurable. They're considering allowing "advanced users" to disable the sound. How considerate.
Hey Steve, here's some feedback. Don't you ever, ever, tell me I can't turn a sound off. I know Microsoft probably paid a shit-ton of money to get just that sound, and good for you. But you know what, after hearing it for maybe a week, I'm going to want it off. Every corporate IT person in the world will want it off. You know why?

Imagine a Tuesday morning in late 2008. It's 7:56am. 500 people on a floor all start arriving for work. For the next 20 minutes the entire floor will echo with, what will be by that time, the insipid sou…

Hey Ray!

Brilliant political strategy or stupidest thing you've heard in a year?

Ray Nagin to CBS Reporter (on camera)
"That’s alright. You guys in New York can’t get a hole in the ground fixed and it’s five years later. So let’s be fair."
*head to desk*

[via Ashley Morris]

ARG! There's Goes Another Fact!

At some point, I believe I heard or read that the human mind has a certain capacity for retaining information, sort of like a hard drive. At some point, you have kick out data in order to accommodate new data.

Which makes reading articles like this so damn infuriating. BBC NEWS | UK | Cows also 'have regional accents'

First, let me get this out of the way: Who effin' cares? How, in any way, shape, or form, does this improve the life of anyone? A university in the UK paid someone to research this. The stunning conclusion was expressed by a local farmer:
I spend a lot of time with my ones and they definitely moo with a Somerset drawl
Lloyd Green
Farmer
Wow. Assuming it's true (and, let's just say it is), this idea wasn't valid until some professor pronounced it so. Only then does it get a BBC story.

Second, I read this due to the car-accident effect; the article simply couldn't be about actual cows with actual accents. But, oh yes, it was. And now some fact which wi…

News Flash: This Story *might* be a subliminal advertisement

As J-- said, must be a slow news day.

ABC News has just learned that Republicans have sex. In fact, they have so much of it, they're out-producing Democrats and creating a "Baby Gap". Like that? Baby Gap.. get it? It's like the store. Oh, and want a little trivia with your slow news day? Paul Pressler, President and CEO for Gap, Inc. since Sep 2002, joined the Gap, Inc. board after leaving.. anyone.. anyone? That's right, The Walt Disney Company, which owns.. anyone? If you said ABC News, you'd be smarter than the average American.

But, back to the real news.. baby gaps *snicker* in political groups. If you can get through the blatant stereotyping (Democrats have cats not kids, Republicans are Puritan abstainers) and rhetoric ("'They're for abortion policy, they're for same-sex marriage, they're for many of the agenda items that eventually mean you probably don't have children in the household,' [conservative pollster Kellyanne] C…

This list means something

Hmm..Unbelievably expensive dinner (and damn good steak)Wrapping paperChocolate Bill Knapp's cakeCandlesDog begging for food at my feetWell, four of those things are special. Must be my birthday. No more blogging today.

Idiots

As the anniversary of Katrina rolls over us, everyone is scrambling to do something "meaningful" to commemorate the event.

Like TalkLeft. Their brilliant idea?
Help water the bushes for the anniversary of Katrina.

Please send a bottle of water to:

President George Bush
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Put your return address as:

Ernest N. Morial Convention Center
900 Convention Center Boulevard
New Orleans, LA 70130
Har Har! Get it? Water the bushes? Yes, send your bottle of water to Washington, that'll really help the hundreds of thousands of people still waiting for work to begin on their homes in New Orleans. Send your bottle of water and wallow in your sense of self satisfaction and wittiness. Send your bottle of water and then go back to concentrating on mid-term election analysis.

Someone else will pick up your slack. Do-nothing, feel-good, blogging; yeah!

Keyboard Down

I'm thoroughly disappointed. My Microsoft Ergonomic 4000 keyboard, for which, I might add, I paid over $50 for, just crapped out on me in under 8 months of use. I've had nothing but love for Microsoft keyboards in the past, pounding Ergonomic Pros into the ground for over 6 years.

But I've never had a keyboard flat out die on me after less than a year. At first I thought had some driver corruption or a, god forbid, a virus. Hitting "x" resulted in nothing, pressing "s" 3 times opened the help for the application I was working in, hitting "\" printed out some machine code. After installing the Intellitype software and the keyboard on J--'s computer, however, and seeing the same thing, we knew the keyboard was toast.

I have a spare POS keyboard that came with J--'s computer, but it's straight and small, so I'll be running to get a new keyboard when I get some time. But the frustration of having only a few hours of our own over the …

Ah Jeez.. another "Virgin" sighting

Workers in some California chocolate factory spotted a clump of waste chocolate that, kid you not, looked like the Virgin Mary. You know, the same Virgin that seems to pop up beneath overpasses, in burned houses, and slices of 10-year-old toast.You'd think the Virgin Mother would have better things to do.Or, maybe, it's delusional people....but [Cruz] Jacinto said she froze when she noticed the unusual shape of this cast-off: It looked just like the Virgin Mary on the prayer card she always carries in her right pocket.Uh, yeah... it's called pareidolia people. Look it up. Nevermind.

Psychic Knew What JonBenet's Killer Looked Like?

A sketch created on a 1998 television show, when compared to a photo of the current suspect in the JonBenet case, has a "remarkable resemblance", according to the Denver Channel.

Take a look.. it's not just some "here's an vaguely familiar man" sketch; the "psychic" put a great deal of shading and features into the sketch, which correspond to the face of John Karr very well. I'm not postulating that she actually was psychic, but anyone know what the connection is here? Did she know the Ramsey's well? Would she have been privy to information not released publicly?

Because if she wasn't, that's one hell of a coincidence.

Wow, I Didn't Know You Could Do That

I'm all Web 2.0'd up with No Place to Go

Oh yeah.. we're Web 2.0, baby. We're lean, mean, and we like to validate. Or something... Does any get this Web 2.0 thing, aside from the people trying to sell you something Web 2.0 related?
You can make your own logo here.

[via Micro Persuasion]

Open Source Developers Add "No Military Use" Clause to License, Snicker as Friend Makes Farting Sound with Armpit

GPU, an open-source project that allows the formation of P2P grids, added a "no military use" clause to their GPL-based software license. The license says that

"the program and its derivative work will neither be modified or executed to harm any human being nor through inaction permit any human being to be harmed."

Which is cute and all in that Disney-esque picture of the world that the developers apparently have. But, it's the sort of hypocritical stance that sullies the name of open-source development. Open-source is just that, open. It's also, frankly, highly unlikely to be enforceable as there just in no precedent for excluding a specific user community based on intent.

The developer who inserted the clause cites ham radio operators as an inspiration, stating that a rule that says the technology can't be used commercially is "respected by almost every ham operator". Which, I suppose, is good enough, if we ignore those few who don't respec…

So, What's For Dinner?

The Picture that Defines Ann Arbor

Via Patrick Austin's photo stream, who takes some of the coolest photos of A2.

Terror Starts at Home

Want to know why yesterday's foiled terrorist plot actually worked? Watch the show with zefrank - 08-10-06 and you'll understand. To wit:
Today the President said, "This nation is at war with Islamic fascists who will use any means to destroy those of us who love freedom to hurt our nation." Generalized statements like this which instill nebulous fear without specific information are exactly in line with the goals of terrorism.
Indeed.

Land Use in NOLA

Why are developers always, always at loggerheads with residents? What is it about open land, rows of modest houses, and quiet neighborhoods that just screams "Build condos on me!!!"?
In many ways the Lower Ninth Ward incorporated all of the components of a lively, sustainable, engaging Smart Growth neighborhood. Residents understand the authentic connectivity that made their neighborhood work, the kind of physical, social and economic co-mingling that so many Americans desire, but which actually existed in the Lower Ninth.

It’s easy, even in the wreckage left by the hurricanes, to understand how the Lower Ninth Ward represents the idea of “neighborhood” and “community” — not as developers build them, or planners map them, or architects design them or politicians campaign in them. [source]
Hmm, that sounds downright lovely. With my developer hat firmly in place, I must recommend bulldozing the entire Ward and find my company's Johnny Mallseed to skip through town to sprinkle…

To Do Today - New Orleans Wiki

So, in my continuing immersion (descent?) into all thing New Orleans, I have one nagging question at the fringes of my mind: How, exactly, does a Michigan resident (native and current) actually go about involving himself in, well, all things New Orleans? I can't go there with any regularity or, for that matter, at all, at the moment. I can't attend meetings or talk to citizens or any of that.

Or can I?

Excuse me while I wax poetic, but I can do much of this from the relative comfort of my home and/or office via the mystical experience of the Internet. From Blogometer to NorthWest Carollton, Think New Orleans to Gentilly Girl, Ray in New Orleans to Your Right Hand Thief, I can virtually participate. I can hearpodcastsofmeetings, collaborate on Wikis, comment on blogs. I can, for intents and purposes all my own, become part of a larger community, one that only exists because of technology. Granted, many of these blogs and the people behind them can interact in ways I cannot, but t…

Return to Your Hovels, This Is Not An Election

So, I've been drawn into New Orleans politics, mostly because a) they matter and b) people around Ann Arbor think their politics are as important, which they are not. What got my hackles up was a "vote" conducted by Concordia Architecture and Planning (which I talked about over here). I'm still coming up to speed on a large backstory, but the current issue is basically this: planners are being chosen to rebuild the city after Katrina. Yeah, by the way, you should read some blogs from New Orleans; it's not all puppies and song-birds down there yet.
Think New Orleansexposed a process for receiving input from New Orleans citizens as a sham; many citizens groups considered the process a vote and their one opportunity to influence or outright choose the planners. Concordia, after the fact, is saying that it wasn't, and that the process was, in fact, a "consultation".

It should be noted that this "consultation" took the form of an easily-manip…