People say I'm cynical...

23.33.00 - Mark

I hate dumb store clerks, I dealt with one earlier today, but I have never visualized/fantasized about managers putting them to rest in the storeroom with a 9mm...

Maybe now I will.

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Mad Scientists

20.42.00 - Mark

Calvin and Hobbes First Published 8/30/1994

Couple days since the reprinting, but hey, I'm just now sorting though my RSS feeds.

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Fun with frustrations

21.04.00 - Mark

I swear, I just can't find any drivers for the ATi TV Wonder Pro video capture card I bought for my Myth Box. None, Nada, Null. Of course I'm not even sure some of the other functions of my system are working like TV out. I'm not really bothering with the MythTV stuff at the moment, and concentrating more on the server stuff and just configuring it for my tastes. Linux systems are just amazingly powerful, and even when they're puzzling you, its still fun to play with.

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15.43.00 - Mark

I'm trolling away on Neuromancer (the Linux Sandbox/MythTV system/additional server) but as I'm spending more time across several systems I'm starting to take use of social bookmarking service Del.icio.us. I've been doing some crude tagging on Trilobe (my iBook, which I've fainlly gotten around to naming and customizing UI elements, I couldn't think of anything more appropriate as it really is an extention of my brain, furthermore Trilobe sounded really cool, like a supprisingly advanced lifeform for its timeperiod) and played with the idea of coding up a local versionbut why? Its online and widely used so I may as well. Here's the account for anyone interested. Some of the stuff I've stowed there include some amazing fractal backgrounds, an essay on athesim, and a podcast that deals with hyper-localized news coverage. I'm hoping to get around to doing a blog template redesign (how many times have I said that) and move both it and the mac.com homepage to a single domain. If I get to conceptualizing and coding the new design I think I'll try to incorporate the del.icio.us links into the side menu, cuz the 100+ archive links is really gettin' long (who'da thunk I would have kept this going so stong. I was looking back on it today and I'm sort of amazed at how the length of my posts has been growing over the years)

Anyways redesigns are later, I want to get back to configuring Neromancer (technically, I can argure that its a homework assignment :) )

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War. What is it good for?

22.34.00 - Mark

You need to be pretty ignorant or blindingly arrogant to dismiss the fact that our wonderful "Free Presses" are sanitizing coverage of Gulf War II. Perhaps thats a good thing considering how many Americans only care about the most recent change in gas/oil prices, the moral and ethical debates with regards to us heathens non-christians, our blasphemous lies science, and how those cursed hippies liberals are bringing about the downfall of western civilization.

Maybe we just can't handle the real war, in all its bloody glory.

The second link may require you to get a day pass at Salon.com, but there are some things that we should go oiut of our way to see. That gallery is certainly one of them.

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Prison Break

22.07.00 - Mark

Fox looks like it has a neat new show on its hands with Prison Break, but it seems like an odd choice. If you can't quite figure it out from the title the (primary) plot revolves about breaking out of prison. Complex eh? There's actually a lot more to it, always enjoyable conspiracy theories, rampant killings, and half a dozen developing sub-plots that make sure you can't possibly miss 10 minutes of any single episode. In other words the basic TV Drama formula that makes up the current TV landscape. Thats not to slam it in any way, for now, I'm hooked, and if its any sign of the Fox fall lineup I'm going to look at some of the other shows (I'll be returning for House and the increasingly outrageous 24).

But here's what gets me. How exactly are they going to extend this past the 26 or so episodes that make up a season, or did Fox sign up a one season show? I wouldn't put it past Fox, they are generally indecisive when it comes to programming. However it looks like Prison Break is developing the foundation for a hyperlong story arch (past 2 to 3 episodes to entire seasons) and a very strong following. So if it takes off how is Fox going to keep bringing in an audience (coming into a hyperarched show mid-arch is damned near impossible) and more importantly how are they going to make it last more than a single season?

I look forward to the season, but I also look forward to seeing how they make this potentially good thing last longer than the visible shelf life.

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Small Planet, I want to see more of it

18.09.00 - Mark

Sometimes I see things that trigger my wanderlust, posts at 75 Degrees South tend to be some of the more consistent triggers. This is the most recent post that has set off the craving. Of all the places on this giant space marble I'd really love to visit, Antarctica is certainly one of the more enticing. Doubt I'll ever get there tho'.

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Today Blows

16.05.00 - Mark

I typically dislike Garfield, but I couldn't find a more appropriate image for what I've been putting up with today. I'm going to zone out, but there's a decent vent forthcoming.

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Google Watching

09.49.00 - Mark

Google is shifting around some of its layouts, I've been noticing it for a week or so where they would include a sort of expanded search for the first hit (Screenshot). I haven't thought alot about it but there are certainly cases where it makes sense. However one of the last search I ran (for django) just came up with a multiple search. (Screenshot) Sort of reminds me of Google Suggest, minus the suggest interface.

It's thrown me off balance. As far as I can remember, this is the first significant change to Google's result page (by google at least) ever. I guess they added the sponsored links and adwords at some point but those are more formatting, and generally easy to ignore, but having suggested searches in the middle of the page is a very significant change. I wonder what the feedback on the is (or is going to be - I haven't checked the RSS feeds in a couple days)

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Now Hear This

09.35.00 - Mark

Listen to this keynote.

Amazingly funny, and blindingly insightful. My ideas are dealing with global/mass market news, but this, this is the future of local news coverage, period.

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How Apple Can Hurt Microsoft

01.02.00 - Mark

I, Cringely's column this week has some scary smart ideas on how Apple could deal a major blow to Microsoft's OS market share. The gist is that once Apple send 10.5 to the presses (presumably around the time the next Windows is shipping) Apple can give away the intel version 10.4 on iPods (or via a download) At first look this could, as the technology analysts love to say, "Kill Apple". When Microsoft opened up Internet Explorer as a free browser Netscape died off. That was because Microsoft can operate for years at zero profit, or at least far longer than any competing business. So in an all out battle of the free OSes, Microsoft could just drive Apple into submission. Or could they?

I don't know what the numbers are but Microsoft can't be selling that many new OSes direct to consumer. Homebrewers are either moving to *nix or recycling XP install discs. Average Joe doesn't even bother with new OSes and instead goes directly to Dell for a new system - it costs $200 for a full retail version of a MS OS, a new dell runs what $300 with free printer? Sure you might get a surge of enthusiasts buying the new version when it comes out but they're just as likely to download it. Microsoft can only really be getting any money from its OS via site license or as an OEM. Historically there hasn't been a great deal of change between Windows versions. Software always seem to be good for the last three versions of Windows as well, so consumers don't feel the need to upgrade.

This is where Apple is different. Apple has proven that it can make a decent bit of money with each OS revision. $30 for OS X public beta? No problem, 10.0? Here's $100, 10.1, just charge it, 10.2 do you take cash? There are a lot of Mac users that have paid $100 (or more) for every version of the Mac OS. 10.4 has barely been out 6 months and I'm already feeling a serious need to upgrade from 10.3 because I can't upgrade some of my favorite programs, or use some of the cool stuff programmers have been cranking out for the platform. It wasn't even hard to see it a month or so after the 10.4 release.

Thats not to say that I can't use my system, there are plenty of apps that still work perfectly fine under 10.3, but Apple sticks so much value into it's point releases that its not only worthwhile, it barely takes a month before it becomes essential (admittedly I lean towards the geek side of the equation and want to use the bleeding edge software)

Apple can give away the previous release for free (or possibly even heavily discounted ie $15 or free with the purchase of an iPod) as the Mac software community essentially makes it a fully functional "demo" OS. If you've loaded it onto the iPod they have an external harddrive - the combination is a supersized live linux distribution. If you did this the best case scenario is that the users of the "demo" pick up a new high end mac with all the goodies, at worst they bought a new iPod and became a little more aware of this other OS they've heard so much about. For the non geeks, it take time to grow into an OS, and free is a great motivator.

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Cow. Swimming in iPods

18.05.00 - Mark

One of my favorite blogs is of the drunken variety. While I may watch 300 some rss feeds, the Drunken Blog is on of a few that I read Every Single Post of, its delightfully random, with posts ranging from biting 4AM software bashing, to dissecting open source software scandals, to investigating podcasting a distribution method, to pictures of a Cow perched upon a shire of iPods.

I just love it.

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Mixed Messages

12.40.00 - Mark

Could someone explain to me why its so hard to understand that Support Our Troops does not mean Support our President?

VFW declares battle on protestors. Via This blog post, make sure to read it too, as he dug up another old announcement from the VFW.

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Cartoony Goodness

17.24.00 - Mark

To do something a lot more lighthearted than questionable practices of justice departments and VFW doublespeek some cartoon panoramas (sort of)

Futurama Panoramas
Classic Jonny Quest Panoramas

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Is this really the solution?

16.13.00 - Mark

12 year old boys with $250,000 bails? What the hell is this accomplishing?

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Too bad it will never work

13.32.00 - Mark

Hawaii places price cap on gas, it upcoming news Hawaii runs out of gas.

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Next on the chopping block, Democrats

19.12.00 - Mark

Resaon 573 I luv this state, if they don't like your beliefs, they don't exist. As far as the state is concerned the Koran does not exist, Scientific theroy does not exist, quality education and school do not exist, and as of this week the Libritarian Party does not exist.

Anyone who saw some of my posts during Aug, Sept, Nov 04 know that in the face of Bush, Kerry and the other Republicrats I voted for 3rd party candidates, specifically Badnarik. Not that there were any other 3rd party candidates as NC has some of the toughest ballot access laws on earth. When November 2nd came around and the polls were tallied one item of note is that in the whole of the United States NC has a 3rd party candidate win a county.

Anyways News reports and blog coverage.

Iraq had 17 party candidates running for president in their first free election. We've had hundreds of them and for some reason we can't get past two.

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It's Alive, Aliiiive I say!

12.48.00 - Mark

I've never been intimidated by computer hardware before, until tonight. Somewhere between 5pm and 6:15pm Aug 22nd the final (ordered) component to my linux box arrived, meaning I had all the major components of a PC, carefully researched, all ordered independently of each other (no bundles), from a variety of sources all over the country. Tonight all of that waiting, paying, and drooling has finally paid off and over the last few hours I have been piecing together my very own custom PC.

This is not the first time I've speced a PC from the ground up, I've been doing that since I first got my hands onto a copy of building and upgrading home computers (newly revised for Pentium 486 processors) Its not the first time I've built a PC from parts, I must have done half a dozen of those. Nor is it the first time I've booted linux. So what makes this creation so nerve racking to do a simple power up on? Never before have I speced, shopped, financed and build a custom PC from scratch. It wasn't harder than any of the times before (well aside from the sourcing of low profile components) but knowing that I've invested $600-700 (minus rebates) on parts that could very well not work with each other (and potentially get blowed up) makes that first power on a little more nerve racking than the usual building for someone else deal.

But now that I have passed the first POST test I'm golden. There's a mile wide grin on my face from booting up a live version of Ubuntu x86 and seeing that the only two problems were either expected or simple to solve (the first was no network connection for time/date/device checks, and the second was the wireless mouse not working - because I put the batteries in the wrong way because of some counterintuitive industrial design from the fine people at Logitech)

Anyways I'm powered down now and tomorrow after classes I'm going to see what can't be done about modifying the PCI/APG backplanes so they fit the half height card slots, partitioning the drive to install Ubuntu to the hard drive, then getting the whole shebang set up as a mythtv box.

This only leaves me with a couple of final touches to look into and implement. First there are unconnected internal ports that need wires, which means buying overpriced cables or the much lower cost parts and DIYing. The other is an IrFd flasher that will enable the myth box to change the channel on the satellite service.

Have I mentioned that I'm feeling great?

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I Concur with Calvin

23.20.00 - Mark

First Published Aug 21, 1994

The onset of fall is depressing, its taking battle stations for winter. Its not that I don't like Fall, I love it once its in stride, but the period of time where Summer fades into fall is really depressing, especially when it starts rearing its head this early.

Since I'm posting:

To the Not-So-Honorable 43rd President of the United States,

Please stop dwelling on September 11th, 2001. While it was a sad day for the American People, it occurred nearly 4 years ago, and since then our reluctant allies have been attacked. This so called war will be a blemish on our great county's record. The citizens of this country have prevailed, we continued to live our lives and treat the victims of the 9/11 attacks in much the same manner as those who died in the 1998 US Embassy bombings, the 1995 Oklahoma City Federal Building Bombing, and the 1999 Columbine incident (among others). A silent reverence and respect, not a meager excuse for reckless actions and irresponsible policies.

So please stop attempting to rally support of your actions by calling out the ghosts of 9/11/01. If you really want us to respect your actions, first realize that you are in your position, with its month long vacations, armed guards and other benifits, because 51% of the voting public still supported you to a reasonable extend on November 2nd 2004. Then realize that you no longer have a 51% approval rating, and that most Americans want to pull out of Iraq - not stay there for another 4 years. Then after you make those realizations, act on them.

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The Battle of Henrico County

12.32.00 - Mark

The iBook sale in Henrico County was botched, bad, by all accounts. For anyone not geeky and not aware of the stampede for $50 iBooks that have been abused by students for 4 years, I apologize. Go a little further back in my archives.For the rest of us it wasn't exactly a shining example of how friendly the Mac community really is. I mean Apple fanatics are very well organized and generally polite. I mean how else could you have lines miles long in a city where an Apple store was opening. What other community would camp out or stand in a rain storm for a store opening? It just doesn't happen, except for Star Wars fans and Mac users. We love our systems or as I like to bring up in Mac/PC debates we work with our computers, not around or for them. So where news started breaking of the stampede of Henrico County residents and the 17 people injured in the mad rush for iBooks (who I may point out did not want these systems when they were first offered for sale) I sort of felt bad for the Mac community. Sure the county mismanaged it in the first place, but thats not a justification for the way those people acted. In my mind the people that rushed for the iBooks are not Mac users, they are drones latching on to a half assed get rich quick scheme that goes like this:

1) Get iBook at $50
2) Sell iBook at $xxx where each x is a digit greater than 0

but like most bad ideas they fall apart when some conditions are not met like:

when (count(iBooks) <1000 && count(crowd) > 1000) {
fun riot

Thats not to say that there was an absence of Mac users at the sale, I just suspect they had the common sense to walk away. People who latch on to get rich quick schemes do no line up for anything at 1:30AM, they just don't, they line up at 7AM and expect to be given first priority because they are So-Damned-Special(tm). CNN can run all the videos they want of some woman crying over her lost flipflop or the lady that got trampled, but I'm sorry I'm just not feeling too bad about those people, they wanted quick money, not something to help themselves get along in life a little better.

Anyways the coverage that prompted this post: US iBook riot: A Survivor's Story @ TheRegister.co.uk

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Because I'm too damned lazy to think of a title

12.01.00 - Mark

This is just some assorted musings on random elements, which always makes it harder to come up with a decent title.

Unlike Tuesday, today was the start of the Fall semester of High School University, and while I still have three classes I haven't been exposed to the Tuesday Thursday sequence is shaping up to be something better than tolerable. The web site management course, which I've been fearing would be a lot of useless BS about how to organize your website, is actually looking to be more of a security class. The teacher is relatively new (I think), but my first impression is that he's sharp, and there's more than a good chance that he knows what he's talking about. I'm fairly certain he hasn't been here too long, guessing moved here for summer semester but I could be wrong. There are a couple new faces in the class and likewise they seem pretty sharp as well, so I'm no longer dreading the fact that I'm in the class, I might not even rant about how I need to wake up at the ungodly hour of Too-Damned-Early while I'm enrolled in it.

I'm still up in the air about my intro to web programming course, but I think its leaning towards the positive side. While I'm not thrilled with Javascript I'm willing to look, as its certainly used out there. The teacher is proving difficult to peg. She doesn't quite seem like the rambling southerner most of my other teachers have been but at the same time it doesn't seem like the speed talking geek type. I'm still willing to let it play out and give it a few more sessions before I start griping about it.

Anyways with those class done I came home to a pleasant surprise, Despite selecting the cheapest possible method of shipping the hard drive for my linux box is already here. I'm very happy with outpost.com, no wonder geeks on the left coast rave about Fry's Electronics. That still leaves three computer related deliveries to be made, as well as a pile of books and some replacement parts to my cybertool. I suspect the assorted delivery people in the area are getting a really good idea of where I live (somelike like a dozen packages in a couple of weeks).

And now that this post has become way too journal-ly for my tastes lets break it up:

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Support Our Troops Redux

19.46.00 - Mark

I have ranted about those cursed magnetic yellow ribbons that say Support Our Troops, as well as the War in/on Iraq/Terror in general before and my position on both is pretty much unchanged. The short version is support our troops does not mean support our president and his administration because this war is wrong. It is very clearly my generations Vietnam. The Sheehan issue is bring about an entirely new twist on this situation and I think Ed Code did a good job of summarizing it here.

Thats not what motivated me to pen this post, its when vandals run over the white crosses erected in memory of fallen soldiers that you have to wonder about what the hell they were thinking. Who in their right mind would mow down white crosses for the soldiers that have fallen in defense of this country no matter how real or fiction the threat may be? The man that ran over those crosses is a moron, a coward, and is blindly following a blind leader, and most dangerous of all he's doing it in a misguided sense of "patriotism".

Rather than this message of shut up and support our troops the nation is coming to realize that this war is very very wrong, Sheehan is the unifying symbol of that belief, one many people have been waiting for or trying to create since the first days of this war. However while we let the powers that be know we want out we need to continue to support our troops, and that doesn't just mean the ones that are still alive and fighting for us, it means that we need to support the ones that have fallen in that fight, possibly even more than those who are still alive.

A Message to the Crawford Memorial Vandal

Update 8:30PM - Go figure, I post this and she pulls out. However, I have no doubt in my mind that the protest will continue, she has become a symbol, nothing kills symbols

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Hurray! Now hurry up lazy bums

18.59.00 - Mark

I'm equally happy with newegg, whose basket of goodies arrived for me a little while ago. Now all I need is the Power Supply and ram, both of which have shipped, however not as quickly. The PSU is taking forever and a day and UPS claims that it hasn't seen the package since Tuesday and furthermore than it won't be here until next Tuesday. Sometimes UPS surprises. I'm not sure how the RAM shipped but at best it could be here tomorrow (sort of doubt it but for as much as he charged for shipping...) maybe Saturday if it was USPS and more likely Monday. I'm really setting my eye on being done on Monday, but if I could have it built in time to record everything on SciFi Tomorrow night I'd be thrilled to death, Anyways I'm going to go what I can do now.

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19.55.00 - Mark

After mentioning Watching America I may as well post another site I love watching (via RSS of course), especially since I just looked at a lot of really well done entries in one of the recently ended contests, X-ray vision:

Worth1000.com is nothing more than a stream of photoshop contests, and unlike most FARK enties of the same variety almost all of the entries at Worth1000 are really well done, so whenever I see a contest that interests me and has recently ended its submission phase I always check it out. I've haven't been disappointed yet.

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Watching the box:

19.02.00 - Mark

Everyone in America at one point in time or another has been advised to "think outside the box", and the smart ones take it to heart. Unfortunately thats rarely the case with our media, which loves digesting the same old content they lazily pull off the AP wire, maybe off Reuters, and extremely rarely off of UPI. To get news outside of America, Reuters is the best bet, but like all good news sources its pretty bland - just the facts ma'm. So recently I've really kept a close eye on Watching America, which translates and hosts non-English articles about America and its assorted policy, or linking to english language stories that have a unique perspective on the country. Introduction over with I really liked this story

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D'oh (or why I should have double checked my schedule)

10.19.00 - Mark

I was stupid, I don't return to class today, I return on Thursday, which doesn't make a lot of sense (then again returning on a Tuesday doesn't either) Not entirely a wasted trip as I still needed to hand money over to them. Anyways, my ego is bruised so I'm pretty sure no one cares about that so back to the PC.

Here's the breakdown:
Abit KV-80 motherboard with onboard firewire, USB2, gigabit ethernet, serial ATA, audio and video
300GB hard drive
AMD Sempron 3400+ 2GHz 64bit processor
Cheap low-cost Geforce FX5200 AGP card
16x DVD +/- RW drive
ATi TV Wonder Pro capture card
RF Wireless Keyboard and Mouse
Replacement power supply
1GB ram (to be purchased)

total paid $550

All to be housed in the Coolmaster ATC-630 case I received a few months ago:

I know it will run Linux, I think I want to use Ubuntu, and possibly duel or tri boot with Windows XP then if I get bold I may mess with < cough>10.4 x86< /cough>.

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This sucks

07.15.00 - Mark

Returning to class shortly. Would much rather not be, not today anyways.

On an unrelated note I've purchased all of the parts I need for my PC except for some RAM which I'll probably snatch off ebay tomorrow. I may post a better list of parts later but its a low profile PC, 300GB drive, DVD burner, AMD Sempron 64 3400+, USB2, firewire, TV Wonder pro video in, duel video cards (2VGA + TV out) wireless keyboard. Its by no means the most wicked fast system I could possibly build but I'm certain its a very nice midrange system for the money I've put into it certainly more back for my buck than some Dell or Gateway box (total is around $600 minus some mail in rebates) Anywho off to class.

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Web Pages that Suck0rz

15.16.00 - Mark

There's someone in Mount Airy thats doing their best to slander the name of area. The Mount Airy News and its amazing ability to produce typos and its, uhh, unique usage of the english language has appeared in nationally syndicated columns several times in the last year, but that is the Mount Airy News.

Now local web pages are showing up at WebPagesThatSuck.com. I mean The Bright Leaf Drive In's Website really has no business as a commercial website (and really has no business being a website of any variety), but someone in town has got to be leaking the worst of the area, and thats sort of a shame.

On the other hand... another opportunity?

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Run for your iBooks!!!!

14.28.00 - Mark

This is more than mildly amusing, make sure to check out the video.

Like all good stories anymore, there is always some excellent first hand coverage in the blogosphere

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Bush's New Enviromental Policy

11.33.00 - Mark

To be entirely serious about a Bush policy (for a change) I think this is the most wonderfulest environmental policy ever conceived within the span of a week. (would be flamers are encouraged to take note of the publication date and byline on the story before flaming)

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Speaking of Bush Science Policy

22.44.00 - Mark

Can you spot the real "scientist"?

Its funny that the most important items being linked to because of slashdot is no longer the stories on slashdot, but the comments on slashdot. Via Boing Boing

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Walmart, Maximum Deniability, Everyday

20.25.00 - Mark

Like I needed another reason to dislike Walmart.

Answers sought in death outside Wal-Mart

Man accused of theft begged to be let up from hot pavement, witness says
A man suspected of shoplifting goods from an Atascocita Wal-Mart including diapers and a BB gun had begged employees to let him up from the blistering pavement in the store's parking lot where he was held, shirtless, before he died Sunday, a witness said.

Inital Coverage
Further Coverage

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NC's Kickback Infatuation

19.00.00 - Mark

I swear this state has an unhealthy love for kickbacks. Every school in this states retched educational system (which I'll remind the readers is overly centralized) has a passion for 1) getting students to buy thirty thousand 2" binders every semester (which thoughtly cleans out the binder supply at every store in the area for 2 weeks before school starts and a good week afterwards) 2) getting students to pay for sub-par educational materials from Course Technologies 3) managing to use some of the worse web applications available within the kickback market (ie Blackboard whose insecurities have been mentioned in several recent issues of 2600)

Its absolutely bonkers. For example one of the lovely Course Technology books I need to purchase sells for a wonderfully discounted price of $80. Looking at the used market for the same book in new, like new, and very good conditions will get you a decent list of vendors willing to sell you the paperweight for a measly $20. I haven't taken economics, but when the consumer's perceived value is 1/4 of the "retail value" isn't there something wrong?

What's worse is that it is damned near impossible to get rid of the fracking things. It seems like NC is the only state in the union that actually buys endorses the crap Course Technology puts out.

Geeze, I won't be in a serious class until the end of the week and I'm already back to my full blown rants about this sick and twisted educational system. I haven't even mentioned the bum deal the school is offering me in place of the degree required classes they've been canceling before I even had a chance to register.

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18.45.00 - Mark

Mount Airy, North Carolina now has its own little Apple Reseller.

I've known about this for a good while now, but not knowing what announcements Mark Spencer and anyone else at 802 Link wanted to make I figured I'd wait until it got posted somewhere nice and public, like say Apple's reseller database. Just punch in 27030 (or Mount Airy, NC) and assuming the database is returning all its records (which it occasionally does not) you should see 802Link proving network intergration, enterprise and business productivity, and development/programming solutions at 0.0 miles.

Makes me happy. It makes my local evangelizing efforts a little easier.

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Banging Out Code

02.36.00 - Mark

A couple months ago I got it into my head that I could code my own applescript based Andy Ihnatko YellowText-clone blogging system with textwrangler and cyberduck, maybe even incorporate a commenting with an email system. I messed with it a couple days and did in fact start to learn how to play with applescript but I got lazy and went back to messing with my other sites.

Now I'm back to blogging system but this time in the KISS system using the much more documented PHP and MySQL combination, but I'm not looking to replace blogger with my own system (not yet at least) I'm looking to create a newsblogging system.

"serious" Bloggers think the way they cover news is superior, "old media" thinks the way that has worked for centuries will keep working, and in their ignorance both are butchering it. Thje solution is a hybrid, an intersection of practices and fields, and I know what it is. So in the traditional internet startup practice I'm banging out the back end code on my laptop and writing out some of my ideas in an IBM-esque commenting practice of authoring more lines of comments and internal documentation than lines of code. When this thing goes live I'll be removing those excessive comments and work towards trimming some of the fat on the code, but I'm pretty sure I'm on to something. Of course the code is rather trivial, the key to this system is going to be the humans behind this system.

Any newshounds out there? mark.welker@gmail.com

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The Business of Star Trek

16.21.00 - Mark

Star Trek TOS business cards

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Lessons Learned from the iPod

15.56.00 - Mark

Its widely accepted in the technoverse that you will never succeed at anything by following in the footsteps of giants. The eBay auction model may be great won't get you help you start an auction site, your windowed GUI interface won't displace Microsoft, you're welcome to start your own free web solutions website, but I'm stilling going to Yahoo!, and you can make all the iPod knockoffs you want but the iPod will still reign supreme.

Copycats are always miserable failures, to innovate you need to take lessons learned from the Big Name Successes. eBay's lessons include paying attention to your users. Communities help you thrive. Yahoo is keep it simple, make it easy. Lessons from the iPod include pay attention to design, the complete total design from rounded edges to tactile feedback, to a clean interface, to the packaging and marketing.

But according to this article, there are some other lessons to be learned from the iPod, decentralized design. It mainly focuses on the company Apple partnered with for the iPod, portalplayer, and how it has utilizes the global village. High-level (conceptual) design, marketing, and corporate dealings in the USA, technical and other low-level design in India, manufacturing and assembly in Taiwan. Its hard to deny its an inferior product, actually its quite the opposite. So maybe, rather than complain about the problems with NAFTA and how its causing us to loose jobs to Mexico, maybe what we need is more portalplayers in more fields. Otherwise, retrain. Its really a clear choice, low paying jobs and high priced products or cheap goods and fewer of those cheap jobs.

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04.05.00 - Mark

Welcome to 4AM.

A week or two ago I had been doing a very good job of keeping semi-normal hours (conscious at 10 AM without being a groggy bastard), but since I got out of class I've fallen back towards the 1PM to 3AM regime, and to be entirely honest I'm not thrilled about it so I'm going to try and readjust to that more normal clock. There are probably several ways of resetting, and the 24 stretch is certainly not the most ideal method, but I have matters that I need to deal with (the community site) so I'm going the dumb route in hopes of productivity.

I'll likely fail to but oh well. There's something almost tranquil about late night code sessions.

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Life, Remixed

12.46.00 - Mark

Listing: Verve Remixed 3*
Watching: Firefly, Current
Drinking: from a Nalgene
Making: Websites
Cursing: Cars
Snacking: Cashews, Jelly Bellys
Classes: None

Enjoying: Life
Current Mood: Bliss

This is how Summer months should be spent.

*I enjoyed the first Verve Remix album I bout so much I bought the other two

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I pissed off the voodoo gods

01.47.00 - Mark

I once played a joke on a friend, he wanted to play a DVD on my DVD player and just couldn't get it to work. So he woke me up to troubleshoot. This must have been at 8 in the morning or so (and I am not a wake up in the morning person) but I needed to wake up regardless. The DVD player was just fine and despite my groggy state I knew it. The problem was that every time he closed the tray on the player it came right out again. By the time he explained it once or twice I had managed to opened my eyes at which point I realized that the remote was working just fine as well.

A third party, who wasn't particularly interested in watching a movie, was doing a very good job of pressing the eject disc button on the remote. Being more than a little spiteful (it was morning after all and I was having a particularly good sleep) at the time I told this friend of the consumer electronics gods, their voodoo powers, and how one must appease the gods. It must have been a scene since I was probably sitting on my bed with legs crossed and some sheets draped over my body spouting some bull about false gods. At the end of a micro-sermon he asked how to appease the consumer electronics gods.

"Simple" I remarked "Get on your knees before the TV, then bow down to the almighty consumer electronics gods"

Much to my suppress (and the delight of everyone in the room) he actually did it. I know he didn't buy it but it was funny as hell. He must have bowed before the TV half a dozen times before a 4th party finally (out of sympathy) pointed out that the third party was messing with the remote.

This is the background on my experiences on Wednesday, Aug the 3rd 2005.

I pissed off the voodoo gods.

I had a final exam for my PHP class, and because I can get too into coding a nice elegant and exact solution to a problem I failed to jerry-rig a macgyver solution that would have sufficed as far as the teacher was concerned (look for Monday/Wednesday rants over the last few weeks) It doesn't help that I was using school servers which are miserable excuses for big iron in the first place.

Following that technical blunder I went on to do more work on the site I've been developing for a local business (Carolina Carports Inc. now that its uploaded) and while all my code is perfect the iron they lease (globat.com) is likewise a miserable excuse of web server technology. The PHP server module is/was configured all weird and for some oddest reason won't render the code unless you stow it in a subfolder with specifically set privileges (755 or better for the folder and the PHP docs - if you are unlucky enough to have to deal with PHP on globat servers) All my other servers. Just fine, globat, we don't do fine. I spent 45 minutes in a 1 way chat with some overworked drone in a tech support cube farm (who didn't help me find the solution) so after a quick reworking of my code it was fixed and uploaded and I got to proceed to my next weird problems.

Sometime around 10PM matt needed to go to the grocery store so I took him, he got his stuff, and we went home we went to a car that refused to start for me. I generally drive a 191 honda, which still has a lot of life in it, just a couple little quirks. It gets hyper sluggish after its burned 9 gallons of gas, its stereo never drives all of the 4 speakers in the car, and the a couple of the power windows are getting a little hard to roll up and down. It also has this thing about being slammed into park. If its not placed in park in just the right way, it will refuse to start. Usually I can fix this. its not that hard and I learned after it happened to me the first time. Except this time the frelling thing didn't respond to the regular fix. A quick call and my dad came over and, did the same thing I did, and what happens, the damned thing starts up no problem. I tried doing it a dozen times and it just didn't respond. I don't get it.

I must have pissed off the consumer electronics gods.

At least they didn't see fit to make the VCR blow up or spew tape. I would have been really irate if I couldn't watch Tripping the Rift immediately.

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Unintellegent Design

01.23.00 - Mark

I like this opinion.

Slacker Astronomy has had some play on this as well in one of their extra feed shows a good while back. The gist of it is we should have (un)intelligent design taught in schools, but not for the reasons its pushers would want. Intelligent design is in no way a competing theory with evolution, it just doesn't hash out, it is however a perfect example of bad science which is just what todays science classes need.

Education needs to shift to learning methodology, research, experimentation, reporting, and if you're a lucky student you have had a teacher that understood that, and rather than blindly obey no child left behind (or was around before it) and was able to avoid teaching to a test. They preached that learning was not memorization and trained recall of fact, it was knowing how, where, why, and what to look up.

Unfortunately, while intelligent design is a very good example of bad science, it is a hot button topic thats more likely to instigate riots than to enable learning. This country, surely to the distain of founding fathers, has become far too mono-religious. Those preaching intelligent design don't want a competing theory, they want a back door to spread half truths, arrogant lies, and downright ignorance. That's the problem.

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Fitness, sure....

01.18.19 - Mark

usa fitness
Originally uploaded by thisoneboy.
Found somewhere, but that doesn't matter. Its still funny as hell. Really place too, just look though the comments.

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I wish I had a crazed Apple based Android

01.06.00 - Mark

I really like the webcomic AppleGeeks, I like the story arcs and I love the art, especially over the last month or so, and I really wish I had a psychopathic android based on OS X and Apple hardware, it would go a long way in winning those flame wars, as the current arc is very clearly demonstrating.

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