2005.02.28

Which is worse?

12.56.00 - Mark

Janet Jackson's 2004 wardrobe malfunction, or one wrongful death of an elderly patient in a nursing home AND 2 to 4 cases of nuclear mishaps (a la Homer Simpson)?

How about saying fuck on radio/tv as opposed to illegally testing pesticides on humans?

Rolling Stone puts FCC censorship rules into perspective.

The fanatical Christian-Family-Values sect needs to wake the fuck up. Welcome to planet earth, it may not be heaven to you, but you're making it hell for me.

Good thing I have podcasts.

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Gone phishing.

12.49.00 - Mark

Take this test If you fail email me all of your usernames, passwords, and credit card information.

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Bacon - It's a Vegetable...

12.17.00 - Mark

As is the tradition of all great snow days (yes, it's a snow day here) I'm surfing off the beaten path. That said I'd like to introduce you to bacontraianism. And yes, it is a word (at least in the loosest definitions)

Sort of weird, sort of amusing, and entirely worthy of this tshirt.

I especially like this post, now to go order some baby harp seal in front of a PETA wannabe.

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We're a little worse off today

09.13.00 - Mark

Jef Raskin died over the weekend. If you don't know who he is visit his site. It's probably not enough to say that anyone reading this owes him at least a little bit of thanks for the work he's done on computer interfaces.

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Karma.

19.54.00 - Mark

Just looked at some of my site tracking tools for the blog and the main pages, and Karma is real. I know after the bloggercon (over 2 weeks already) I was a little more aware of track-backs and other similar "community" items. I'm probably stuck in the middle part of the last third of the long tail effect (for now at least) but when I linked to another small blog I found the Barbie linux thing in (via technorati ) he linked back (guess he was tracking his own address via technorati ) I think he clicked on some of the ads as well, so Karma is coming back to me, and I'm certainly going to pay more attention to trackbacks and linking to sources.

Still I'm still sort of amazed at how much this has grown over the last two years (yes I've been maintaining this blog for 2 years now, and my main site for close to 3) It used to be a good day when I got one visitor, now its a bad day if I don't crack 20 visitors.

Guess its time to update the template so it isn't as horribly mangled. Maybe after I finish up the latest project.

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Amazing!

19.21.00 - Mark

In addition to mindlessly surfing the net, snow days are ideal times to go see movies. After the Oscars last night there logical choice was Million Dollar Baby or The Avaitor.

The Avaitor didn't fit into our time slot so we (my brothers) went to see Million Dollar Baby at the worst theater in town (not by choice - they were the only ones in town airing it)

It is amazing.

The people who made the film packed tons of content into a small package, and delivered its most important messages with lots of style and class.

Go see it, even if it is at a more than half dead theater that smells remotely of piss, its amazing film, perfectly entitled to the Best Picture award it won. Feel free to take the entire population of Florida (well at least the elected officials) with you, they could learn something from it.

BTW We'll be seeing The Avaitor tomorrow, and possibly the Incredibles this weekend (the downtown cinema in Mount Airy is always worth it).

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2005.02.26

Scifi Gets it!

01.24.00 - Mark

To be entirely honest I very, very rarely the sites for the TV shows I watch. I know that may be ungeeky of me, but networks never seemed to get the web thing. But SciFi really seems to get it, at least now.

Blog, RSS, and full, uncut, commercial free episodes in streaming media. Its probably lower than broadcast quality, I mean at the very least its been run though a digital compressor to make it work around bandwidth constraints.

At least for Battlestar Galattica, which is currently their only original series.

I can't help but wonder if this is because the series was thrown up onto bittorrent networks as fast as it was being aired in Europe. In any case, I hope they can find a way to make free streaming media work. I think networks can only benefit from putting shows online, it sure beats the MPAA and RIAA models of lawsuits, lawsuits, and more lawsuits

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2005.02.25

Drool

21.32.00 - Mark

So I posted about a couch I wanted a while back (mainly because it has a built in g5 iMac) but in all seriousness, I need a good chair.

I mean some of my work space solutions are garbage, literally. While not junk there isn't a lot of really comfortable furniture in the house (stiff high back chairs, two couches that aren't that comfortable to sprawl out on, one that even sitting in isn't that comfortable) so the greatest advantage of having a laptop is being able to find something thats comfortable (however challenging it may be) so I really want a good chair, like this one, of course the problem with that one is that it costs more that pretty much all the other furniture in the house combined (or at least comes pretty close to it) Aeron chairs are supposed to be nice, but aren't much better in terms of price at $700 retail - but at least they show up on eBay for $400 or so (see the dotcom burst was good for something), and knock-offs for about half of that.

I'll probably get a cheap ass big box store special, but I still need a good chair, even the 4 hours a day in the school's computer class rooms are getting tedious - then I come home and need/want to work on some projects and can't find a good, non painful, place to work. Once I finish up some of the ebay auctions I'm conducting for a friend I'll have enough for RAM (which is the other dire need), and if I'm luck a good chair.

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Is there anything that doesn't piss them off?

19.55.00 - Mark

Animal Activists are now going after candy.

Humor is now apparently illegal.

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This is stupid

19.41.00 - Mark

I'm all for letting those that need have, but if someone takes an initiative to do something to improve their life you don't punish them for it. The case prompting me to post this is this story of a guy trying to get a kidney transplant from a donor, but was refused because he tried online outreach. Its insane. BoingBoing is covering the story here, and if you want to read the whole thing you may want to snatch the password from bugmenot.com and skip the registration

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Ibiblio.org Statistics

19.22.00 - Mark

North carolina has a profound technical devide. Half the state is assbackwards, the rest of it is pretty advanced. I'll skip the technophobes and skip to the high tech.

Ibiblio.org is one of those sites I known of for a while now, even pre-move, and its sort of neat to see the statistics.

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2005.02.24

Common Sense vs Mass Media

07.58.00 - Mark

Everyone around here has been hyping that fact that we are/were supposed to get snow/ice/wintery mess crap for the better part of a week. The same better part of the week that was better than 60F and generally sunny on a daily basis.

Corse it's still going to snow, and we'll still be out of classes/work since everything closes down if anything ever threatens to fall out of the sky between October and Februrary/March, because, of course, the local weather people said so.

The same local weather people who don't know what type of percipitation falls out of the sky on the day they're reporting it.

Isn't it great to be nuts? Anyone with half a brain knows that the warmer the days are the warmer the ground is. If its been 70, the ground is at least into the 40s, probably closer to the 50s, and snow - that melts at any tempreture over 32. But nope, we'll get 1-4 inchs of snow because nucking buck the weather man said so.

Yeah, right. This whole fear the weather thing is getting pretty inane.

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2004 words of the year

17.04.00 - Mark

While I got tired of Red State Blue State real fast, the 2004 words of the year goes on to include purple states.

I especially like nerdvana. It's a good way to describe my mood most of the time.

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the award for Best Quote by a Science Fiction Author goes to

16.32.00 - Mark

Bruce Sterling, for "No, really! The longer it takes you to catch on, the more visionary I get!"

That's the funniest thing I've read all week.

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YASS (Yet another stupid school)

15.08.00 - Mark

More schools more cameras, except this camera is actually illegal, but thats not why its being reported, no they're reporting it because it was an unsecured webcam. Which admittedly is part of the reason its illegal

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Land of the unfree, and the home of the dumb

14.37.00 - Mark

See this.

In a New Jersey high school a teacher forced a student to stand for the national anthem by 1) yelling like a drill sargent, and 2) by pulling the chair out from under the student. The student was probably just lazy, but what the teacher did was illegal, of corse the school, which is even more inept than my own high school, choose not to punish the teacher (how dare we punish a teacher) insted opting to suspend the student who recorded the incident because it violated the teachers rights, despite the fact that it was perfectly legal, partially as journalism, partially as he was a public employee on public property.

So teachers can violate student rights, but students can't do anything. How typical.

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Proof Hollywood should give up

01.12.00 - Mark

Forget reality TV, the upcoming sequel to The Net (which on its own is pretty bad) has a plot that sounds like a common case of identity theift. Reality Movies? Welcome to the end of the world.

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Bittersweetness

01.10.00 - Mark

Holy shit I can't believe I forgot about engineer's week! (It's because I'm not reading Rockwood like I used to - cursed lack of RSS - I should fix that)

In any case read the Rockwood Strips for the week, the back logs if you really want to.

The look at the l33t mario loving postit note building hackers.

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2005.02.23

Memos from the future:

14.43.00 - Mark

A list of banned books from 2191

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More fun shit to do @ wally world

14.33.00 - Mark

Fun and games at walmart. Not that there's much else to do in Mount Airy at night...

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2005.02.22

Feels good, real good...

11.08.00 - Mark

Just steped outside to get a soda, and man is it a nice day. Feels like early to mid April, not the last week of February. Maybe low to mid 60s, really sunny, a slight breeze, and a bright blue sky overhead. I miss the snow, but this is one of those days that gets you though the other 364.

Right now I can't wait to get home from classes, I have every intention of grabbing a bite to eat then lounging outside and working on websites and quite possibly, a podcast.

/me wishes he still had a good hammock

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Mark's Guide to being an evil overlord : reloaded

09.40.00 - Mark

I've shown you what to do as an evil overlord, and argued the benifits and drawbacks of evil henchmen, and shice we know those won't work out proposed a robo-rat army as a replacement. I even pointed out how to smuggle your new robotic rat army into the USA though Mexico.

Of course the taking over the world thing is a major hassle, so let's just destroy the damned thing! :) (yes that's the only new link in this post)

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A Northerner's Guide to Southern "Hospitality"

18.30.00 - Mark

Moving to the south east there are three major changes. First is this extremely temperate weather (and yes I am sitting outside writing this), these none of that -0F crap and you barely need an inch of snow to shut down everything - they just let it melt.

Secondly is tea, they love their sweet tea in the south. Then again I don't drink tea, or any variants thereof, so I could care less about it.

Third is the hospitality. This people are nice, I mean really really nice. Ned Flanders okally doakally nice.

Too Nice.

Sure its attractive, I doubt anyone wants to deal with the type of festering assholes that come out of New York (the stereotypical type of New Yorkers) but these "nice" people can be just as bad. If you're in a shitty situation, know it, and ask for some help they'll avoid the fact that its a shitty situation, and tell you how it isn't your fault, and that you'll do your best, and a load of BS along the same lines. Accomplishes jack squat, but hell it sure is nice of them.

Then there's the way they act in groups, this is even worse than individual hospitality. If you stick them in a committee, don't expect a (useful) report for a long, long time. Because of their hospitality they'll never reach a consensus, it gets down to XYZ has a good point, and so does UVW, and the one item RST mention is probably important as well. to which the general reply is why thank you OPQ, that's so kind of you to say. Again jack squat is accomplished and you can't even have a single leader because they all want to pass it on to someone they respect (which in case you haven't picked up on it is E V E R Y O N E) you can't even have a southern dictator, since no one wants to be selfish. Again, you're rolling no dice, but at least we have our manners ::)

Now this is all dangerous for two reasons. First nothing gets done, or if it does take forever and a day, secondly us northerners, people who aren't adapted to so many niceties, foolishly try to get things done and aren't always that nice about how we try and do it. If you push in the south, you may or may not live to regret it.

The reason I bring this up is because as part of an Engrish project we had to participate in two mock interviews, once as the candidate, and again as the interviewer.

Apparently I'm a very dangerous interviewer.

Most of the locals were hi, how are you (insert a bunch of bland questions with prepared and regurgitated answers) thank you, blah blah blah.

Then I came up as the interviewer. The job the candidate, John (named changed) was looking for was as a systems administrator (if you haven't noticed by now I am a geek, I know something about the field) and my opinion of John wasn't very high. I think John is pretty lazy, has the sophistication of an internet troll, and despite what he may say is a generic luser who thinks his xbox is l337. That aside his prepared paper work was crap, the resume he prepared was barely half a page, and didn't include a fraction of what he claimed he had in his cover letter. personally i have no problem exposing these flaws. How the hell else do people learn.

But I was wrong, horribly, horribly wrong. How dare I question a nice southern guy about his paper work.

I started off easily enough, hi, you're here for this job, tell me about your education, why do you want this job, and he was giving good answers so I started weaving in harder questions, like why he didn't include these items on the resume, was he working on them, how did he feel his education compensate for a lack of experience. Hell I started helping him along repeating and confirming high points.

But I'm still wrong, because I presented a challenge, a slice of reality to an area too damn nice for its own good. I know I was a little hard. The questions I was asking were not questions you would ask a serious applicant - if this had been real I wouldn't have even bothered calling John back, let alone for an interview. I don't feel bad about asking hard questions, actually I wish the person interviewing me would have asked a challenging question or two - like everyone else the questions were being read off a hastily written list of questions, regardless of the responses I gave.

Needless to say John was more than willing to take a few shots at what my experiences were, and honestly I didn't feel like arguing over how much I've webmastered and consulted (which would be eight sites and counting) partially because it would have been bragging and I usually try to avoid that (what's the frelling point?) partially because I had already pissed him off.

I guess all I'm really saying is that as a Northerner in the south, questioning people isn't a good thing, they aren't used to it and it will put you in a very awkward, uncomfortable, and generally not-nice situation.

(note: sorry for any changes of tone/style in the corse of the post, I started writing this 5 hours before I had it to a point where I could hit post safely)

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2005.02.21

What's better than Nigerian Spammers?

23.14.00 - Mark

How 'bout hispanic spammers?

Just got this gem in my email account (which is a post spam rant)

Hello ,


That was the sound of me hitting the floor
when I realized that I had finally found El Dorado!

If you want me to tell you the secrets,
all you have to do is to email me to:

(spammer email removed)

Put "Ok,let me know" in the subject,
with your fullname and country you represented
in the body of your email.

There is plenty for all of us!


Best Wishes,

Ruel



I'd like to thank some people for this piece of spam, first Ruel, the soulless jackass who composed this email, mymail.ph.inter.net for giving the leach some bandwidth and access to a username, and finally the US government and the elected officials who passed CANSPAM, one of many technology related laws where more time was spend writing a cute acronym than in the actually legislation, for which provided the unblock-able holes that Raul and several others have exploited.

Usually I wouldn't post something like this, but I've gotten so much spam in the last 2 weeks in all of my POP/IMAP accounts that I'm now training smart spam filters to catch the garbage. (I've received more junk email in the last two weeks than I have in the last two years)

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Not Supprised

10.15.00 - Mark


I am nerdier than 98% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

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Oh no, oh god no...

10.02.00 - Mark

This is the stuff geek nightmares are made of - Barbie Linux Distros. This is even scarier than the Hello Kitty Laptop

from some blog I found browsing Technorati

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Bye-bye fourth ammentment...

16.57.00 - Mark

the RIAA and MPAA are chiseling away at the 1st amendment, along with the Christians, homeland security, and even the major media outlets (discrediting bloggers)

Then there are anti-gun nuts, who are always fighting to get rid of that dangerous 2nd amendment

The owners of those land yachts with Support our troops yellow ribbon magnets are a stones throw from repealing the 3rd amendment, or at least it seems that way.

and now we've got federal judges ruling that asking for directions is consent for a search and seizure, even if we aren't aware of it


I'd go into how many of the other amendments are being trampled on and seemingly in danger of collapsing, but I won't partial because it would be too hard to write, and partially because I have more hope for people than that. Its important that as citizens we are aware of our rights and local ordinances, but above all make sure you have read and understand the constitution. Without it America is just another screwed up 3rd world nation with a stockpile of nukes...

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Cursed Shock Journalism

16.30.00 - Mark

I detest shock journalism (the type of headlines and stories American media prefers, as opposed to the styles used by more sane media outlets in other countries) it boils down to irrational fear mongering, which works well with some people's agendas, but doesn't do squat for the general public. Maybe this is why I opt for more blogs than traditional media. One of the things I hate most is how common it is and how its creeped into every aspect of american life, its loud its obnoxious, its American, its no wonder the world hates us.

It's also pretty pathetic when we let it creep into our holidays, as librarian.net points out

Which sounds better to you: Freedom to Read Week or Banned Book Week

They both have the same intention, are run by similar organizations, but are in different countries. Now sure banned book week grabs your attention for a fraction of a second, but really Freedom to read week is more open and inviting, and encourages positive participation as opposed to book burning

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2005.02.20

So uhhh, yeah.

21.49.00 - Mark

If you're really interested in why there aren't many posts in the blog for this weekend, its partially because its a fee movie weekend on Starz, partially because Matt and I have been working on the basement, and partially because my mood is sort of shitty right now. If you want an idea of how I feel download Alessandra by Unorganized Crime then listen to it while slowly driving during a light rain at night. Not really depressed or anything, but disconnected. A sort of surreal feeling.

I was thinking about doing a podcast last night, but it got to being too late, I may do one tonight - possibly. If not I'll work on posting the material as text soon, as there are only a few days a year when it would be relevant. (Extra points if you think you know what it is and post it into the comments)

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2005.02.18

No Love from Google

15.33.00 - Mark

Fables of Reconstruction claims google is dropping the page rank on blogs Somehow I'm not surprised. At the blogger con on Saturday one of the sub conversations I had was about Signal t noise ratio and on a tangent to that, how does google rank blogs. At the time I was drawing on some observations I have made in my own logs, noting that Google prefers my static site while yahoo and others prefer my blog. Of course by blog isn't linked to as my static site is, which accounts for some, but I felt that googles indexing didn't move though blogs fast enough, or does keep up and discredits fast changing sites. Of course this is just speculation

There was one example was a few months ago when I posed My Turrets Syndrome is acting up during a period of time when I wasn't regularly updating my blog (1-3 posts a week at most). While idle Google indexed it and I quickly jumped up the google chain for no apparent reason. When I tried posting the word into other posts when I was regularly posting (once a day +) Google didn't even flinch and I didn't see any traffic from the experiment.

It would be interesting if someone set up a blog and a static site and ensured that they get equal linkage, the blog being updated daily, the static once a week with the same content as the blog. Hmmm...

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Weird day

01.28.00 - Mark

I've kinda been in and out of it today, not exactly tired, but my body and mind have just been drifting in and out of reality. I mean I'm awake, I'm aware of my surroundings, but when I try and do something, however simple like touching my face, I'm aware I'm trying to touching my face, I know I moved my arm and hand and made contact with the face, but it doesn't feel like I've touched my face. Stuff like that.

Another case was when I though I was feeling tired an should lay down or something along those lines, and for a fraction of a second I though "why aren't day's 32 hours long - yeah 32 hour's that'd be the prefect length, so who decided it should be 24, and how they'd do it - wouldn't it be cool to be on a planet with a 32 hour day? What would that planet be like"

And as soon as I thought about it the basic ideas the class was talking about (why do people put sites online - from a book that looks like it predates the dot com burst) disappeared and my mind is trying to grasp the characteristics of a planet that had a 32 hour day. Was it bigger or smaller than earth, closer or further from the star it orbits? Maybe it moved faster or slower. To be honest it doesn't matter now*, it was just a zen-like connecting with the universe kinda thing - in retrospect I probably would have been more comfortable if I had crossed my legs and started making "ohm" sound in a deep bass pitch.

*(meaning: I'll get obsessed with it again and look it up until I know what characteristics create up with a 32 hour day )

Anyways I have another meeting at the Good Life tomorrow/today with the guy I'm doing a website for. I'm slowly getting hooked into this expensive coffee thing, and no that's not a good thing.

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2005.02.17

ROTFLMAO!

11.40.00 - Mark

Some people are inempt, completly and totally. SurryPi is one of them (relax I stuck a nofollow attribute in there - no boost for them). Their site is butt ugly (alabit better now), broken, and if it is ever updated, no one ever knows about it - and they're offering web design services?!?

This really is one of the funniest things I've seen in a while.

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These are cool

15.35.00 - Mark

Floating homes

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Damn 24 hour days

01.08.00 - Mark

I don't know why, but there never seems to be enough time to write up my opinion on this NY Times piece on the latest round of bloggers vs big media. when ever it pops back into my mind so rather than keep putting it off I'm posting it now, and with luck I'll write up my feelings on it in a day or two. The basic jist is this squabling between big media and bloggers is nothing new, newsworthy, or even that important, and for some strange reason no one wants to admit it. More latter, when I can write what I really want to say on the subject (if i don't opt to make it a podcast, which I may, yelling it out may help actually...)

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2005.02.16

Beam me up...

10.02.00 - Mark

Slashdot has another Trek future posting. I still think the diehards trying to finance the 5th season are off base, and that Enterprise is too far gone to be saved, but there is always hope for the franchise. But something from J. Michael Straczynski could be cool. I never got into Babaloyn 5, I mean I think I watched an episode or two, and possible one of the miniseries but never got into it. Jeremiah on the other hand was some cool stuff, and is lingering around in that DVDs to buy list. So yeah I'm interested, it's got to be better than not having a Trek in production, right?

Edit: spoke too soon If it happens, which I hope it does, it won't happen for a couple of years

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New Doctorow Short Story

20.38.00 - Mark

Just finshed the latest Doctorow short story I, Robot You can see his introduction to it over at BoingBoing.net

I liked this one more than than Anda's Game - which I posted about a few months ago This ones a little longer, but I think the universe is a little closer to my knowlege base. Anda's Game was aimed at gamers, this one is more techie. In any case I like how he's twisting some classic SciFi, I've read both Enders Game and I, Robot so I remember the general twists, and while I'm not activly thinking about it while reading the new work, the subtle twists are churning away in my mind as I write this. Like I said last time take an hour or so and sit down to read this, its a well constructed universe to visit, but one I and others are trying very hard not to live in

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Economics of Shit. Or How I Reverse Engineer the Cost a Mac Mini Accessory

19.00.00 - Mark

"As long as people will accept crap, it will be financially profitable to dispense it." D. Cavett

Most iPod accessories fall into that category (with few notable exceptions), and are often much cheaper to make equivalent items for a fraction of the cost. Now its starting to happen with the Mac Mini. The Plasticsmith is selling a plexiglas sheet with and without an LED for $30 I'm making some assumptions but I bet they have access to a laser cutter, so matching the curve on the Mac Mini is no problem.

Plexi as always is pretty cheap, in this case you can get a 96"x48"x3/4" sheet for $440, that makes 98 platforms, if you get 12 sheets get a discount of $15 and you bring the individual price per platform to $4, and you get 1200 of the things. They're selling to $20 (basic no LED version) In case you didn't crunch that number in your head thats $16 profit per unit making a grand total of near $20,000 For a piece of fucking plastic. Any joe blow with a jigsaw/bansaw/dremal/router/coping saw and some sandpaper can make these things for $5

Corse its a lot more lucrative when you polish it up with an LED. The cost for a bright blue LEDs in bulk are ~$.10 - $.16 each with resistor. Solder that to a female type-B USB port (about $.52 each once you top 1000 units) Drill a hole, stick the LED/port assembly into the hole, tab it with some epoxy and package a cheap A->B USB cable (worth $.50-$1.50) For $1.25 to $2.25 you up the profits by another $8 and all of a sudden you're making an easy $25,000 - $30,000, not counting labor, on 1200 units. (My final profit was $27,236, not counting shipping, labor, or anything other than material costs)

I understand why these things are made - they're not labor intensive, they still look great, and works with all the Mac Mini's out there. I don't get why people buy these things or why they make a big deal about the merits of buying computer accessories

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Big Name Blogs - Who Needs 'em

17.04.00 - Mark

One of the contributers at the The Volokh Conspiracy made the same mistake I did, except it took them a few hours more than me. One of the cool things about RSS is how much faster I'm getting content - well at least after I clear away the queues - which anymore are getting into the hundreds of posts. If I wasn't so against massive self publicity I could probably be a big blog - yeah right...

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Assisted Shipboard living?

01.27.00 - Mark

This idea came up in November when all the democrats joked about leaving the country, when many of them realized all countries suck they joked about starting a new country, but that's actually a challenge, since all those other countries want to invade you.

However for people in need of assisting living, CruiseShipCare may be an affordable answer. I'm not so sure. I know a number of people that have had very negative experiences with cruises (some sort of shipboard failure or illness), and the older permanent residents would be more susceptible to such things. Then again I'm not into geriatrics so I could be completely unfounded. The idea is interesting, and given the choice, I'd certainly opt for the ship.

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Better living though chemistry...

01.10.00 - Mark

Cooking for Engineers, a site I really like for its unique way of listing recipies has a good summary of food additives, description, side effects, and common uses.

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The Gates

01.06.00 - Mark

These are some neat images of New york's Central Park and an art type project called The gates over at CoolHunting.com The single terra based images are nice, by the space based image is by far the best. Note to self check out Spaceimaging.com when it isn't the middle of the night

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2005.02.15

Depressing

23.46.00 - Mark

Anyone with a media connection knows about the 15 year old South Carolina kid being sentenced to 30 years in jail. Most of America, sick pieces of shit that we are, seem to agree with the judgment. Both of these are pretty depressing facts.

First the kid was on drugs, intentionally mind altering drugs, drugs not recommended for someone his age at the time. Its doubtful he had a say in the matter, and it is likely he wasn't fully aware of what the drugs were for or what they could do to his mind. And he shot his grandparents, and the drugs, if not fully, are partially to blame. He was 12.

I know a 12 year old who can be really screwed up at times, hell when I was 12 I was screwed up, everyone is screwed up at 12, its part of being 12, you've got 6 years before your supposed to be recognized as a legal adult, and the last four of those are set aside by society for you to get the next 60 years of your life in order.

I'm not saying he should go unpunished for what he did, after all punishment is part of the learning process that enables most of us to become responsible citizens in our older years. By we're going to lock him up for 30 years - until he's 45 - because of something he probably didn't fully understand he did, and something drug-dependent society as a whole has a partial blame to.

Now we're going to pay for him for the next 30 years at least (he'll probably be depended on whatever remains of SS in 30 years too) because of a emotional condition we've deemed unacceptable. This country has some fucked up morals. A bunch of sick fucking hypocrites who can't understand a world beyond the common overweight, unimaginitive, unwashed mass living lives of moral corruption while condemning anyone that doesn't comply with the wishes of the arrogant masses.

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Roadtrip Nation

09.53.00 - Mark

Sorry for the lack of/inconsistency of posts (or quite possibly my ignorance in regard to my own postings). While I loved going to the thing in Chapel hill, it didn't do anything to help my biological clock (crap weather, messed up sleep cycles, I'm not sure what day or time it is really)

Anyways Sunday night I was flipping though channels and ran a ground at PBS and there was a neat documentary on. Don't know why but it just popped into mind. The show was Roadtrip Nation, and I'm sure it isn't just something that pops up at 2 AM on Sunday nights/Monday morning.

I'm going to stumble my way thought the rest of my classes now.

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2005.02.14

Yo know what this is...

20.22.00 - Mark

You civil rights going down the crapper With a couple of arrogant representatives in my district, I'm not going to be able to effect much change. Maybe I'll get them back before I die or opt to move out of country.

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New Feed

01.03.00 - Mark

One of the discussions that came up in the podcasting lunch group was using blogger with podcasts, the differences of ATOM and RSS, and setting up blogrolls as well as the tools to use all of these goodies.

Since I can manage ATOM feeds in my browser I was contempt with that, but I'm now opting to set up an RSS feed with feedburner.

Here's the new feed its also in the left hand column. I'd prefer if you used the feedburner feed.

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2005.02.13

BloggerCon Photos

22.42.00 - Mark

There's a flickr group forming from the bloggercon. Just skimmed though the photos and I'm actually in one.

I'm the guy in the apple shirt looking at something else (wish I could remember what I was looking up at the time)

For some reason every photo of me in a group has me not doing what everyone else in the group is doing. Its not intentional, it just happens that way.

I think I was talking to the photographer at some point as well. Like I said a lot of connections were made at the blogger con.

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This is freedom?

22.27.00 - Mark

A San Francisco photographer was threaten with arrest for taking pictures on/near a train platform, and more specifically with challenging the officers on the existence of the law.

You call this freedom? This is treachery.

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2005.02.12

Read this:

12.37.00 - Mark

Really drop everything and go read this post by Dave Winer about the Greensboro blogosphere. Can't wait for the blogger con. I need to leave in ~6 hours so see you in Chapel Hill...

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Holy Shit!

22.02.00 - Mark

The blogger con really was amazing. I left about 4 PM today after being there since 8:30 this morning and got home around 6:30, and I can say without doubt that it was more than worth the 5 hours of driving (mostly into the glaring sun) and $30 I spent on the day (food). I mean wow!

I've probably got plenty of content for a week, probably more, and I will still have to listen to it again. Some of it may make it into podcast form, other pieces writings posted there.

What really stuck a cord with me was how a group like that handles itself - there were at least 100 people - everyone was approachable, everyone was interested, and I'm sure everyone had a good time. People helped others get onto the wifi and find their way around the campus (note: the drivers in Chapel Hill are fucking morons, rude, reckless, fucking morons)

People of all skill levels as well, from non-bloggers, to commenters (leave comments more than blog entries, or leave comments and don't have a blog), to random/mid-low range bloggers like myself to more than a handful of higher end and powerhouse bloggers (Ed Cone, Dave Winer, Dan Gillmor). All the sessions fit together, and even the lunch break had a clean segway. I think a lot of people would have liked to see a subsession or two. Get a blog, make your blog better, find the best tools for your blog, etc. I don't know how that could have worked logistically, but it would be something to see at the next con (and after the turn out they got, there will be another NC blogger con)

I found it pretty easy to find a group similar to what I do - people who are random bloggers, more interested in documenting something for the pleasure of it as opposed to participating actively in citizen journalism, but none the less interested in the subject matter. Signal to noise ratios, the community aspect of it, and Long tail Effects (what I've been calling power curve laws - yes I'll be going back and taking another look to see WTF I crossed the terms)

After the main portion of the confrence I opted to go with the podcasting lunch group and got Pizza at a cool place a couple blocks from the Hall (Pepper's Pizza) and about 4 of us split a pizza (the group was closer to 15 total, we really packed into the place) The sub group I sat with have all messed around with recording and setting up podcasts, so we actually got to talk tech, including the experiances from both user and content creators ends. The consensus was it has a ways to go in all aspects of the field.

After the pizza place the larger group invaded a coffee house and had a larger discussion to help some of the people interested but unfamiliar. Dave Winer was pretty active in that group which was sort of cool. Having met him and listen to some of what he was saying the the lunch group made me feel that he's a more than a little elitist about blogging. opposes comments, feels there were too many non-bloggers trying to understand blogging and similar things (he has liveblogging some and there's a note in his blog that shows it, but there was some more in the lunch group that isn't covered anywhere.)

Personally I didn't have a big problem with the LuLu push, they had a lot of people there who seemed to be just as interested as anyone else, and while I'm going to remember the name its going to be from talking to Bob Young - about blogger privacy issue, permanence of blogs, signal to noise ratio, google searches for blogs and some of the recent blogger firings, as it will be from the sponsorship (I'm wearing a freebee lulu.com hat right now, they also gave out some books and food). Another Lulu guy was in the podcasting lunch group.

Did I mention the free stuff? I got an ibiblio t-shirt, lulu.com hat, a couple of UNC branded RJ-11 zip cords (which will be hacked to 10base-T RJ-45 cables once I find DIY ethernet wiring kit I've got floating about), and a mini poster for OSDN.

Like I said very fun day, and there's a lot of more detailed stuff I'll try and put up in the next few days. As I said earlier, for ass backwards state, there are a lot of cutting edge things going on here.

And if you're even remotly interested in blogging, go to a bloggercon if at all possible. Sure they may be podcast, but you really do need to go in person. It just isn't the same.

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Linkage

09.45.00 - Mark

Loving this conversation on blog traffic. I know I should go for more cross linkage, and I probably will with the mtairynet project. Sure its the currency of the blogoshpere, but Dave Winer brings up a good comment - Why are we tying to build community? Shouldn't we push content more than popularity? I think that's the stance I've taken with this blog

Its moved onto some of the ethics of pushing, pulling, selling content.

(procrastinated in hitting post)

Moved on to comments and pros cons in community (wide spread)

and seemlessly into geographically tied blogging/blogospheres

If you want something out of this wait for the pod cast - you aren't getting it here (not right now at least - I'll post here in a while)

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Blogger con is here!

09.15.00 - Mark

Everything just started up (9:15) , tons of Macs. there's something like a 5 to 1 Mac PC ratio. Bloggers love Macs.

Parking was a bitch to find, the conference hall wasn't much better, but everyone is happy to be here. Met up with a couple of bloggers trying to find everything. Got to talking about podcasts before it started up. Some cool people who all see what I'm seeing in North Carolina (half assbackwards, half cutting edge) and all thrilled to be here. Very positive atmosphere. Sort of laid back, informal, but with a goal - I love working this way. :)

Not only is this being recorded (and presumably podcasted) there's video recording going, and will eventually be archived on ibiblio.org (further proof that NC is higher tech than it may seem)

Defiantly feeling good about coming here (and I didn't even need the Jolt to wake up)

Anyways more in a while. (this isn't going to be blogged in chronicle order [insert DNA/HHGttG quote about time and sequential order here] )

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5:51 in the *&^%ing morning

06.07.00 - Mark

I can't remember the last time I woke up and 5:51, but I can't imagine it felt any better then. Still tired, slightly acking, but ina supprisingly good mood. Posting at 6:06, basically tapping the caffeine supply (Red Bull and Jolt - yoohoo!) and I'll be out of town in another 15.

Post when I can.

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2005.02.11

Assholes

12.13.00 - Mark

I missed an episode of House on Tuesday because I had a commitment go a little long.
I've missed two full episodes of 24 since the season began, and parts of a couple more.
There was an episode of ER about a month ago that was conveniently interrupted by a tornado watch/warning in my viewing area.
Oh and Firefly - I can't wait to get that DVD set and I never saw it on broadcast TV, it was cancelled way too soon...
Then there were a few shows I missed on Adult Swim when I was on vacation, a few enterprises.

See a pattern? I've missed the official airing of several TV shows that I enjoy watching. When I can I watch them live, its usually convient, but sometimes life runs long, and I don't know about you but I have satallite and getting a DVR to work with non-terestial broadcasts is more than a little tricky, and even if it wasn't I'm not exactly the type to preprogram a Tivo to get all my favorite shows for the next three years, nor am I going to drop everything and double check on a box I don't need.

So whats with the title? I use bittorrent to get back episodes of shows I like a lot, all broadcast, and when possible I support the content producers. Either by sitting though ads, noticing the product placements they usually don't mention, hell I've even gone to ad ridden bloated show websites to find the episode I missed so I could DL the right thing. And I wasn't lying when I said I can't wait to buy the Firefly DVD set, I really can't.

So why then do they insist on suing bit torrent sites? I'm not pirating movies, I'm downloading shows that whey pumped into the airwaves. They aren't extending any effort to sent it though bit torrent - its all fans and its all peer to peer. No cost to them. They aren't even loosing the advertising. Commercials may be cut out, but they've been moving more to product placement anyways and I am going to their websites for show info to make sure I DL the right episode

Among all the copyright and piracy muck being thrown around by the xxAA organizations and their dogs of war I think broadcast shows are by far the weakest argument. They need to adopt these models like some indy films have (Thebroken.org, Cyberpunkfilm's Cyberpunk Educator which is really neat, or any number of other files)

Free, easy to use, and really fast/secure. Not private but there's no need to worry about a virus or spyware. WinWinWin, especialy if the studios are the ones pumping out the torrent files and not the fans (IE ads will stay in place)

This (look up three paragraphs) round of lawsuits isn't the first, there was another one raid/major filing back in December. That round took out my first pick site, suprnova.org (not linking because they came back online with some PC only proprietary shit) and surprise dozens of new sites popped up. Right now my main bit torrent staples are torrentreactor.com and tvtorrents.ws (they move around so you may need to search it out - something like "tvtorrents" in google)

It works, and it isn't going to go away like napster did. Rather than futile attempts at suing your customers, you should embrace change, cuz if you don't you're going to sue yourself into debt, and as much as I may like good TV, I'm not going to let the government bail you out like they do the railways and airlines.

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Question. (please comment)

17.27.00 - Mark

I've started working on making my posts longer, trying to create content as opposed to the snatch and regurgitation postings I have mainly done. I'm not planning on dropping the links and quick comments, and I'm not going to become a busblog consisting of nothing but long posts and random photos. Instead I want a balance between the two, balancing the recycled linkage out with my own stuff. The question is what you think.

I'm (probably) not going to change my style, but I do what your feedback. Do you like the new style? Should I try to do fewer long posts or try to strike a middle ground within the middle ground (ie longer comments on linkage or more links in longer comments to break up my monologue).

I've only really noticed the change in the last week, and I was thinking about how content flows down from the top dog sites (power curve law) a while ago for my podcast concept, but who knows I may change the style some more after tomorrows bloggercon (I'm really looking forward to it :) ) and everything I just wrote will loose all relevence.

Anyways let me know, just sign it.

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The Good Life

16.51.00 - Mark

I love my iBook, and contrary to local opinion Mount Airy really is a good place to live. People are friendly, there's a decent mix of people, and we have big city sorts of things without the nuisances presented by big cities. Sure there isn't much for the night owls (especially insomniacs like myself) but during the day its can be very comfortable.

This afternoon I went down to The Good Life to meet with someone about doing a website I met him at a business plan competition related event I entered MountAiryNC.net into. We talked and tried to meet up back in December/early January. Didn't pan out then but we did meet up today down at The Good Life. I opted to ride my bike, little cold today but warm enough to not make it uncomfortable. I was about 20 minutes early so I wandered about down town for about 10, 15 minutes. Mainstreet in Mount Airy is an amazing thing. Unlike many places in the USA, Mount Airy doesn't just have a down town, they have a thriving downtown. Economic studies say its slipping, but there are very few places in the country that still have a true downtown. Malls and big box stores tend to skirt cities and draw the masses away from the center of town.

Anyways there were people walking around like myself, most of the parking places were filled up and there were people in both stores I went into (book store and then the Main Oak building the Good Life is in.) A few minutes before the meeting I went up to get a drink (it is a coffee place). The guy I was meeting came in and saw I was in line so he looked around while I waited, and due to my Apple shirt and headphones another guy - a halfback Mac user - struck up a conversation. We talked Macs/Linux/Windows - which is always fun - until my drink came up then I went to the guy I was meeting.

We sat down talked for about 90 minutes, then left. No one bothered us, didn't have to do it in whispers or anything, and I was able to check some stuff over the 802link wifi while we talked. (Have I mentioned how much I love my iBook recently?)

Meeting went well I the project doesn't seem too hard. I'll be able to have some fun with it, make some money and build up my experience all at the same time. We're probably going to talk again next week and get a little further ahead. We'll probably meet at the Good Life again too.

Anyways afterwards I wandered around Mainstreet a little more, went to see someone at the Chamber of Commerce for the MountAiryNC.net project but they're out until next week.

Just really enjoyable. Now on to the point, Mount Airy has a lot going for it, so does the county for that matter. I have ranted about how stupid some of these people are, but beyond those there are a lot of smart people here, and they care about the place they live. Give it some time, and I think even us night owls will have lots to be happy about. It certainly beats the shit hole I moved out of a few years ago...

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120 pages, 120 seconds

01.16.00 - Mark

I am officially hooked on TextWrangler. After noting Google's Adwords seem to be working better today I decided it was finally time to edit the main site to have advertising. So i fired up TextWrangler and customized the google code so it would fit better on the main site. I opened up all my html documentsin textwrangler, set up a search and replace to place the code. A couple of clicks (muli-document search and replace all) and within a couple minutes I editied over 100 pages - twice - since after place the code I put in some absolute links where I had relitives. What would have taken hours (if not days) with BBEdit Lite took me minutes with TextWrangler.

As I said I am now officially hooked on TextWrangler. Way to go BareBones.

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2005.02.10

New comment system

23.28.00 - Mark

Blogger updated the way it handles comments and I like it a lot. I tend to use comments as threads of discussion and usually reply to comments with comments, and until this revision had to refer to the comments in my mail client. With the new system all the comments are listed in a column and the OP is an optional thing. I actually noticed it a few minutes ago when replying to some anonymous coward in the superbowl commentary from Sunday. It wasn't until after I published that did I see the article on the blogger home page. For now I think I'll leave comments on the individual post pages. I'm not a fan of pop ups, and its not like comment spam is going to work all that well. First I'm not that important in the blogging power curve and secondly Google/Blogger are the guys behind the no-ref notes that stop the links from getting indexed and pageranked.

As an additional thank google note the adwords seem to be targeting a little better now, it used to be blogs, blogs blogs, now I'm starting to catch some decent ads (ie Superbowl Ads in the aforementioned post)

Anyways I think I'm going to DL some more iTMS tunes, maybe blow some shit up then get some REM cycles in.

Comment more! (and click on Ads, we like clicking on the occasional ad, we are susceptible to last line comments on a geek's blog, yes we are...)

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NC Bloggercons and Other Website Stuff

08.45.30 - Mark

Dave Winer was at the Greensboro News and Record last night. He's got a write up and a podcast here If I had my firewire cable I'd be DLing it right now and moveing it over to my iBook, but I don't I'm not and I'll have to wait a few hours to get it. I knew about the meeting last week and would have liked to have gone but knew I wouldn't be able to make it. To make up for it I am planning on going to Chapel Hill Saturday for the NC bloggercon, where he's making another appearance.

I'm really interested in the Greensboro News and Record revamp partially because that's my parent's pimary income (daily print journalism) and its facing a forced change because of bloggers, but more of the community square concepts they're deveoping and they fact that its happening right down the road. Jouranalism aside its very similar to what I'm aming to create with MountAiryNC.net. I've got this thing about free research and development :) This is actually bretty big in NC, and many of the bloggers in the more urban, less hick areas are getting together and doing some pretty cool stuff.

I should be OK tho' I'll have the podcast and I'll listen to it either today or sometime before 9AM Saturday. Speeking of which I need to sign up for the Chapel Hill thing and send in my MAC address ('cuz I like wireless connectivity) I'm sure the same guy at audioactivism.org will record the discussions in Chapel Hill if you're interested, and I'll link to those when I get a chance (Sunday or Monday)

Throw in a few meetings with people about websites tomorrow (certain) and some I'm working on getting organied, I'm going to have a busy week over the next week or so. (That would be a good thing)

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Signed up

15.59.58 - Mark

Just signed up for the blogger con a few minutes ago, tho it was as mountairync.net, getting my MAC address right now so I can be online during the conference.

My earlier note on the subject

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Drop your drawers and start walking

15.54.18 - Mark

Virginia seems to be on a dumb law binge, and being that the state is only a few miles away I'm kinda temped to cross the state line with my pants drooping a little. It will make it easier for me to moon 'em when they try and give me a ticket. What a bunch of idiots.

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2005.02.09

Liters of drool and counting

22.08.18 - Mark

I know what my next major tech purchase is going to be:

One of these.

And by the time they're released in July I'll have the cash in hand (assuming my schedule lets me work at Raven Knob again this year) Even if I don't work at CRK I should be able to make that much with websites :)

I'll run the risk of wanting to hack it (battery) and fabricating a mount. I image it could be incorporated into a nice home media center with a Mac Mini (I just want one, and I'll probably get one by the end of the year) and some custom fabricated boxes (zero footprint form factor cases)

As for why, I'm a budding road warrior, and having a pocketable battery powered VGA projector will kick ass, especially with one that doesn't need a lot of space to project in.

Anyways I better go get a mop before I slip in the puddle of drool under my desk...

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Cello Rock

14.51.05 - Mark

I'm very throughly addicted to podcasts. The ideas they throw out are usually high quality stuff, the over the top content makes them funnier than hell, and it isn't mindless crap pumped into the atmosphere by major companies. They're personal, wacky, and they expose you to some awesome music.

This afternoon I was listing to some Daily Source Code I've had on my iPod for about 2 weeks now, and at the end there was a cover of You Don't Own Me, which has made several apperances by several artists in the last few weeks, but this one was different, it was cello rock. By Rasputina. Lots of covers but some amazing stuff.

A few years ago I played the cello in an orchestra, and if given a cello today I could probably remember some stuff. Always sucked at tuning it and, in my sporadic tendencies, never practiced it as much as I should have, but I love the sound of the cello, especially when in capable hands. Its the reason I picked up the cello back in the fourth grade (or something like that), and Rasputina reminded me of that.

Long Story short, I just got a half dozen Rasputina recordings (including the version of You Don't Own Me that hooked me) off iTMS. Listing to them now, and I'm more than happy with the purchase. Its amazing how they flow together.

And for the record, this is about a dozen songs I've bought because of podcasting and two or three times that for things I have bought due to file swaping. Stuff I would have never found without free file downloads. So a suggestion to the RIAA, stop suing people (including that dead technophobe you got in the last round) and give us something worthwhile. Its not like you're really going to be able to stop this, you've been loosing your war for nearly 5 years now.

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2005.02.08

The End is Neer

12.23.04 - Mark

NASA has had a lot of failures over the years, and a lot of wild successes. Its always sad when a NASA project is axed or mucked up. The Hubble is one of the resounding successes, and also one of the major screw ups. I'm a fan of Hubble, and per tax dollar it has been by far NASA's greatest success stories. It's also helped countless students fill up those impossibly long science reports and provided generic geeks like myself with amazing desktop images. All that said, its going to be hard watching NASA put Hubble down into an ocean

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Google Maps

08.36.27 - Mark

Google labs has added yet another new search tool this week - Google Maps. Love the interface, its everything peopl have come to expect from google, but the accuracy isn't there yet. Based on my searches its good to about one to three blocks, if the address is even in the database. A few key word searchs also brought up some weird results, but I like how the results are tagged on the map.

Parts of it reminds me of Map24.com which is also java based. IIRC its more accurate, and has some more tools, but it's not as clean as google's system.

In anycase Mapquest and the MSN system are dead if they don't get into gear PDQ. Then again Microsoft's systems are already mucked up (see also: "Where do you want to go today?")

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2005.02.07

Stupid beyond words

16.04.44 - Mark

I know I rant about copyright bullshit often, but this is proof it has gone too far.

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Superbowl commercials

14.09.17 - Mark

GoDaddy.com, the excellent registrar I've used for all of my domains, aired a commercial last night during the superbowl and it was easily one of the best, which is pretty sad considering it was aired on Fox. You can see both the aired ad and the full ad online right here. It was supposed to air twice last night but somehow the assholes at the NFL took offense, convinced Fox to agree and the Simpsons got the spot (which spawns its own ). You can see some of that coverage at the CEO's blog specifically in this post. If you didn't see it last night, watch the aired version first. While the uncut one isn't bad, you should see the only commercial to be barred a repeat airing.

Actually lots of the stuff on fox last night were pretty disappointing. American Dad Sucked ass (how the hell did this come from the minds that brought us Family Guy!?!).

The Simpsons while not as horrible, wasn't up to typical standards, and way overhyped. I took borderline offense to the secular humanist comments, only borderline because I know they usually attack both sides, and then some, but last night's episode was way to biased in favor of the religious nut jobs out there.

I mean this is Fox, they're the fucking kings of broadcasted indecency. We get an uber-religious simpsons, a political satire with no satire, and the NFL censoring commercials that don't need censoring (I've seen reports that a number of other commercials were pulled at the last moment with no notice)

America land of the free as long as you don't want freedom.

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Thinking about software

13.29.28 - Mark

I know I had a commentary on software the other day, but have you ever seriously looked at the software you use to see how functional it really is? Didn't think so. Maybe you should.

I find that I have lots of software installed on my computer (at least 120, plus more files that haven't been installed or moved to my Application folder), but only a few apps I use all the time. They seem intuitive (which isn't - its more of a faster learning curve but thats another subject) they're responsive, the look good and they work well. They may have a manual included but you don't really need it, and you certainly don't need a 3rd party book to find out how to create a new document.

While good software is pretty timeless, its important to change software packages from time to time. Back in the days of old when internet meant AOL, BBSes or Compuserve long distance in the middle of the night there was Netscape, and it was good. Not because it was the only GUI browser out there, but because it worked and worked well. Fast forward to 1997 or something like that and you see Netscape communicator 4.17 something, and all of a sudden this wonderful software company had turned to crap, and reluctantly people moved to M$ Exploder.

That's sort of an unnecessary tangent, but I realize I just made one of these switches (from BBEdit Lite to TextWrangler) have been looking at another one (podcasting clients, currently sticking to iPodder Lemon Version 2 Beta) and I'm looking at another one, from Safari (Apple's browser) to another. I know Firefox is out there and I have version 1 loaded, but I don't really like the way it feels. Even if it has less fat than Exploder it still seems sluggish on my iBook and I don't need some of its extra functions (like live bookmarks) since I have those covered in other apps.

Anyways (cutting closer to the point) people don't evaluate their software. As I mentioned the other day I've been using OmniGraffle for flow charts in my Programming class, and in addition to being amazingly simple to use, it looks great, from both the production and product ends. Lines are clean, its easy to configure pretty much anything on the graph, and it automatically throws in shading. It works because there's less that the user needs to do. So I'm using OmniGraffle and everyone else is using Visio (Microsofts drawing program - its not really a competition) and there is a very noticeable difference. While Omni might be Mac only it wouldn't surprise me if there was a better windows drawing program, but most of the people in the class (and this isn't a fault of theirs) don't know there may be better software out there, so they don't look.

A similar case in point is Powerpoint and presentation software. Keynote is an Apple competitor, but there is also OpenOffice on Mac, Windows, and Linux. Powerpoint is one of these applications that is going to slip into obscurity. What it does it has done well for years. But it isn't there anymore. You can't export presentations to something web friendly and keep everything (ie you loose animations) but its competitors can. Both OpenOffice and Keynote (as of version 2) can export as Flash animations. While I can't speak on Open Office, I can speak on Keynote. In keynote it took me less time to throw together presentation on my first try than it takes me for most of the Powerpoint presentations I have had to create. Its just simpler, and where there's too much shit to do, that extra time adds up.

Still want to use Word, Exploder, and all your other default Microsoft apps? Fine, but go out and try something else, because there are better applications that do things better. They might not do everything, but look at your own work. You aren't using 90% of what your office suite offers, hell I'm sure you can ever find a better Application to play solitaire with. I know I have.

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2005.02.06

We can forget about the Virgin Mary Grilled Cheese now

11.53.56 - Mark

Faces on grilled cheese sandwiches are now officially passe. Instead direct your attention to boing boing's posting of 9 weird food sites

I especially liked "Steve Don't Eat It!", the Meatshakes, and the Museum of Food Anomalies.

Anyone else hungry?

(note: this post was held over a day for undisclosed reasons )

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Augmented Reality

23.47.49 - Mark

Because of more than a little sloth on my part I haven't been posting much. Actually I haven't been doing much of anything, so here's a link to a cool augmented reality presentation.

Hopefully the sloth has been satisfied and I'll get back to something resembling a "normal" schedule tomorrow, which would mean I get back to posting more. No promises as I want to get a good deal of work done on MountAiryNC.net before Saturday.

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2005.02.05

February! How the hell did that happen

01.27.18 - Mark

Sure I know I'm posting this on the fifth, but I swear, it only hit me today that it is February. Where the hell did January go?

Someone, please tell me.

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2005.02.03

Disappointed

12.31.51 - Mark

I'm a Star Trek Fan. I admit it. I remember watching TNG, I've seen all the movies (even tho I can't remember all the details) I've watched the specials, I read Wil Wheaton's Blog (More of the techie stuff, but I don't gag when he posts something trek related), own a Star Trek technical manual and I even like Enterprise.

Too bad, Enterprise was cancelled this week and the last episode is in May. Just when it was making up lost ground. The early plot lines and long arcs killed it and all of its potential couldn't save it. Early on I liked the idea of Enterprise working with basic tools and fighting with everything to work, developing the later star treks. It never really happened and we got stuck with a bunch of junk that didn't fit into the trek universe (too much time travel - and even with time travel in the other series this stuff defied everything that has come before) One bad idea got taken much too far.

If you want to know what I think Enterprise should have been go get your hands on Firefly, or at least go see Serenity when it comes out later this year which is the greatest science fiction you have never seen. After you watch it take out the centralized politics, add more broken technologies, and keep the existing trek species (but the off beat ones we got to meet in Enterprise)

Sure there's a Save Enterprise thing going on but honestly those things never catch the intended goal. Sure we got some Farscape (mini series), and yes we will get Serenity (Movie version of Firefly), and yes Family Guy is coming back, but Enterprise is too well hated, and for some of the reason I posted above, almost understandably.

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2005.02.02

The (Sad) State of the Union Address

22.38.40 - Mark

Unlike during the debates I didn't note take, I just watched (and drank ~40oz of soda in accordance with the State of the Union Address Drinking Game - I quit after about 30 minutes due to lack of more soda)

And the verdict (like anyone cares about my opinion):

It was probably Bush's best speech to date (please restart your heart at this point)



Yes I know Mark the "Oh shit we're stuck with that (long string of explicitives goes here) for four more wars years" guy is conceeding that it was one of the best Bush speeches ever *1.

I still disagree with him.



Amending the constitution to ban gay marriages is a just plain bad idea. The country has passed these faith based amendments in the past (Amendment 18) and were nullified just as fast (Amendment 21) While we can drink there are still a lot of cravats left in the laws that has a nasty aftertaste to it. Not that it matters considering people are having a bad enough time with the first amendment. I think banning gay marriage also sets up some bad precedents covered in the next issue

Abortion. Live and let live. First off I'm all for the mother's rights on this one. I'm not in a position to be affected by this per say but it starts giving the government power to regulate my body as well. I'm extremely against that. If I want to eat an Extra Large Deep Dish Chicago Pizza (not the commercialize junk - pizzas where the thickness is measured in inches) I don't want the government telling me not to eat it - My body my rules. As for when a baby takes ownership of his or her own body thats for the doctors to decide. Politicians can argue real well, they can also sweet talk you so much you'll need insulin, but they are not (for the most part) medical doctors.

I think its specifically ridiculous that Bush was toting a right to live line while he is well recorded as handing out the fewest pardon of nearly every other president, his state had the most criminal executions in the nation while he was governor and is in the process of wiping out terror cells and military forces in the middle east. Lot of death over there, and a lot of the blood spilt is on American hands.

This gets me into the stem cell stuff. Science is good. Say it with me Science is good. While I think there is lots of positive reform to be had in scientific funding (ie Double Blind NGO funding - go read Crichton's State of Fear, if you can remember anything about basic science you'll see what I mean as everything in the novel comes together in the last few chapters) rallying against potentially valuable research now is going to screw us over later. In case you failed to notice Cuba's biotech is surprisingly well developed and other prosperous nations like Brazil and some Asian countries are ever further along in the med tech fields. Now there's a synthetic bone to chew on.

Iraq - the things you're taking pride in now, such as the elections and Iraqis taking pride in running their own nation are the fleeting remnants of your justification for a continued occupation of Iraq. Either pull of on the double (as Bush said they're eager to take control) or stop making half-assed attempts to do what you say you're doing like troop training. Show them and show them how to teach. Let them take over all aspects of the military. Teach them how to do everything from the training down then start pulling out. Shouldn't be that hard.

And now for the big ticket item. Social Security. Holy shit is this a major fuck up waiting to happen. The High School student survey I've linked to shows that 50% of Young Americans can't get their heads around the 1st amendment and thats written in plain english. (The rest of the population doesn't fare much better) How the hell are they going to figure out how to navigate their finances enough to protect their social security funds? The government protection bush said would be in place is crock. Its a kludge, and the only way it could happen would be social security for social security. Even before mucking with the current system look at the reasons for its existence. People couldn't protect their money (fluid or long term retirement) in the 1920s, 80 years later Average Joe isn't faring much better

People are going to piss away retirement finances if you let them control the money, they will loose it and come back for more. Sure you might keep a few people off the system but you'll still have leaches from failed privatization. There needs to be a better plan for this, because simply privatizing parts of SS isn't going to work.

On the note of idiots - please stop screwing with schools. Test scores are "up" because the standards the national government is setting are "low". Public schools are state funded baby sitting centers. take away tests and let teachers teach. That what the title is supposed to imply. Also keep your filthy hands off community colleges. Going to one in North Carolina I know how messed up centralized control really is - and thats only going to the state building. Federal control over community colleges will do nothing more than make the baby sitting extend past the 12th grade. If you can't leave K12 alone at least leave the CCs to their own devices. It is college, and if you look you'll see that there are lots of smart people working at that level.

Anyways, sorry for the long post. The state of the union is poor, and with our bi-polar-political-system in control there's little hope anything will improve in the next 24 to 48 months

1. Not that he's given that many speeches

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2005.02.01

Software that Works

23.59.51 - Mark

When I first started using OS X several years ago there was only one app worth switching for, a third party browser known as OmniWeb. I've used it on and off (usually following the major releases) ever since. Like all off brand browsers it had more than its share of quirks, flaws and some functions that were so mangled its a wonder they made it into the software OmniWeb was a relic of the NeXt Era. Not quite worth the money they were asking but it was some cool software.

But that isn't the only thing to Omni, no they write software that just works. Beautifully, intuitivly, and simply. All their apps are small given consideration for the great power they weild, and Omni even provides one day keys to most of the commercial apps. Hell they even thow out some quality freebies as well.

it takes some mind blowing work to get me to even think about forking over up to $300 for a software package in this day of open source, but barely a doubt comes to mind now.

I've been using OmniOutliner just about every day for the last week or two, OmniGraffle and its pro version brother are lightyears ahead of the comparable Microsoft program Visio I mean there is no comparison between the two. My Programming class is making heavy use of flow charts - the book comes with a copy of Microsoft Visio Pro. However when it comes down to the end I know my charts look better and that they were made faster.

Omni Disk Sweeper has helped immensly when I needed to clear out my hard drive (it found 4 GBs of temp files I wouldn't have found on my own) and OmniDictionary (its broken look up commands aside) are also amazingly well though out applications

If you own a Mac with OS X installed stop reading and start downloading some demos from OmniGroup.com

You can thank me later

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Its one of those days

08.00.07 - Mark

You know the type, you wake up and within the first 20 minutes of consciousnous shit starts to go wrong. Days where you wake up aching, cold, and still unquestionably tired but know you can't crawl back under the warm sheets no matter how much you want or, in these cases, need to?

You know the type right?

I do: shit started going wrong for me within the first 5 fucking minutes.

If anything good happens today, it will be nothing short of a frelling miricle.

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To reinforce that need to vomit:

01.11.32 - Mark

A few hours ago I posted a link to a story covering a study that reveled how ignorant my peers really are. Here's some more vomit-inducing goodness:

Downloads of the 100 page study (pdf) power point presentation, and political cartoon (resized below) Loads of material thoughout the ste, including videos, responces, etc.

A lively slashdot thread on the subject, I skimmed over it at +4 threshold there are some dead on comments in there (somewhat unusual for a slashdot thread)



I know I complain about dumbass legislation a lot, but I never imagined that political ignorance was so rampant in my generation. No wonder we're stuck in a bi-polar unitarian system (your kidding your self if you really thing we're still a bi-party system) thats cat-fighting over which is better : Michael-Moorean Logic or Swift Vote Veterans for Truth Propaganda

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