Umm no

23.47.20 - Mark

If this is a sign of the years to come I'm all for a media boycott. You simply do not give 32 year olds lifetime achievement awards. Period.

Especially when their "achievements" include a certain king of the world type of role in Titanic...

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It's begun...

23.27.23 - Mark

Apple has its pepsi redeem pages up on the iTunes Music Store (guessing 11:00PM EST since it makes sense - USA only) I've redeemed 4 codes already (by 11:25) in hopes of snatching an iPod Mini before everyone wakes up to this. One thing bugging me about the system - in addition to entering the code I need to verify my shipping info with each entry. Thankfully its already in there but I don't like having to redeem it every single time I enter a code. Anyways here's to a iPod mini (and free tunes).

*Mark ponders opening up the two winning bottles he grabbed earlier today for the codes...nah - not worth the effort

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14.41.48 - Mark

I so want one of these couches:

Its almost the ultimate computer user environment. Not as good in terms of ergonomics, but I think unquestionably more comfortable.

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The Ignorant Patriots

14.21.24 - Mark

Be afraid, very afraid. All of those patriotic high schoolers Bush's administration is trying to enlist and ship out feel that the press has too much freedom.

We're shipping people over to the middle east to spread Bush Brand Peace, Love, and Generic Freedom™ but the people we're shipping out aren't aware of their own frelling freedoms. Now I'm sure the people in the armed forces have a better idea of their freedoms than most high schoolers, but the fact that 36% of students feel the press has too much freedom is disconcerting to say the least. We really should fix this country before we let our leaders aspire to world domination.

Of course I didn't get permission to write this so maybe I should cut out my tongue and go praise Allah.

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The Sky is falling!

20.54.24 - Mark

Apple is making deals with Walmart, they're also reopening communications with Best Buy (which was one of the worst decisions of Apple's dark ages)

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I'm Not Yet Dead!

01.35.09 - Mark

At least that's what this guy should be singing. Another shining example of how intellegent this state is. I blame the fact that damn near everyone in this state is, was, has a dozen close relatives, or wants to be on the rescue squad, which in its own way can be a good thing, in theroy we have a lot of people who know how to handle situations, but frankly, I don't want high schoolers (and yes there are high schoolers with sirens in their cars and pagers on their belts) being able to pronounce me as dead.

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Yeah, and this is not a blog post

01.19.29 - Mark

There is further proof that some politicians are on the same level as young children. One numbskull politician wants to add a magnetic strip and a photo to your social security card. Most people will an IQ better than ambient room temprature would call this a national identity card, but we'd be wrong, since such a card would carry the words "This is not a national ID card" Personally if you have to make a national ID card (and I'd still oppose that) basing it on SSNs is a royally bad idea. Throwing that stuff around is what's leading identity theft. Then again mag stripes and photos aren't that secure either. You can read mag stripes with little more than $20 in hardware and a PC with a sound card, and photos well it doesn't take much to pick up an exacto knife now does it...

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Podcasts in the fast lane

12.52.57 - Mark

When I got to playing with my iPod for the first time I posted my first impressions and tagged on that I wanted to use the fast play feature in the 4g iPods to work though material faster (at the time I wanted to cram HHGttG Radio plays) but never quite got it to work. After initial searching it involved changing .m4a tags to .m4b (those are AAC files) but I couldn't get it to work. After listing to some IT Conversations on fast play it caught my attention once again and I went in search of a homebrew solution. And this time I found it. A small apple script called Make Bookmarkable. Mac users only, but I saw a handful of PC how tos. Anyways the fast play can get a little annoying, theres some jumping around and some podcasts are better than others, but it is handy none the less. I don't think I'll be converting HHGttG to AAC but some of my staple podcasts will be converted to ACCs if I don't recieve them that way.

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Free songs 20oz at a time

21.31.02 - Mark

The local Pepsi distributor is starting to stock vendors with the yellow iTunes music giveaway capped bottles. So far only Diet Pepsi and a few Regular Dews but I figure I'll start to see regular pepsis in the comming days. First one I saw was in class the other day, and after asking nicely I got the code, tonight I picked up 2 Dews from wallyworld. Drinking them aside the best way to get the caps is to ask, or dumpster dive. Last year after learning of the hack I stayed at 100% collection rate for each soda I drank, and considering I was social engineering cashiers into taking coupons intended for diet pepsis I was getting iTMS music for under $.99 a pop (pun partially intended) We'll how well I fare this year. So far my cost per song is $.66

I'd love to win an iPod mini, and music music is always good. I know a few bands I like from garageband.com sell music at the iTMS so I'd love to see them get money from Pepsi (poor college student here) :)

So yeah, I'll be going with 20oz bottled sodas for a while, say 2.5 months?

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Walmart to Sell Small Countries at Everyday Low Prices!

14.16.28 - Mark

Not quite but there's a report out there suggesting that Walmart might move into new fields such as dentistry, banking, rental cars, oil refineries. There is no doubt in my mind that Walmart will be the first company that takes up the business models in Jeniffer Government

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Remedial Engrish 080

14.04.45 - Mark

Man pinned by dump truck flown to Johnstown hospital

Some people like their cars way too much, I mean how much do it cost to airlift a dump truck?

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Yes Lexington, there is a difference

13.50.35 - Mark

This is a groundhog:

This is a Pig:

As you can see there is a difference. One is sort of neat and has its own nationally recognized holiday, and while it is a useless holiday is is a special day none the less. The other well, tastes good with bread after being cooked in a tomato based sauce.

Some people don't seem to understand those basic facts.

I'd dig into it more but I won't since while in North Carolina they are not the government of North Carolina (tho' it wouldn't surprise me if the state adopted the position) I'm also getting used to the vinegar based barbecue, its not as good as the midwest version, but it isn't bad.

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Google for video?

12.37.31 - Mark

ne of the podcast ideas I've been working on involves information and how we use it, so I've had my intrest piqued by the search engine study that came out yesterday. Supprisingly I think I can make my idea work since there has been a major focus on what I want to cover. I've been writing up some rough outlines and will try to record a show in the next day or two. Due to the nature of my idea I think I'll keep it to a weekly, and a shorter one at that. I'll see how it comes out.

But getting back on the main topic google is now cooking up Google Video. No playback (yet) and its only text with an image, but I think it has potential. I think the video indexing will be a much more powerful tool than image searches are now because image searches are scatter shots at best, and completly useless at their worst. The principles google is deploying with the image search will make it a stronger tool to find images, but for now the holy grail of searching has to be in audio. I'm nearing 2GBs of podcasts and spoken audio, and 8GBs of raw audio. Aside from vague tags in the ID3 data there isn't a solid solution to sifting though the audio. But I'm straying some. I want to keep some stuff for the podcast.

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Wishing for Snow

15.14.03 - Mark

I so want to do some of these. Calvin and Hobbes rule. The again I could use the snow because I'm unusually tired and could use the extra sleep.

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Drinking Age

18.12.00 - Mark

The Macintosh is of drinking age today. 21 years ago today Apple introduced the Macintosh, and changed the world forever.

But for 21 years if you weren't in the room when Apple made the announcement you didn't get to see the presentation. Until today. Someone has been holding onto a betamax tape of the event for 21 years now and today released a digitized 5 minute clip of the original announcement, including Macintosh speaking for itself. Amazing.

Now getting the video is hard, but there's a mirror over at That shouldn't get too flooded, and as its a massive 22 MB download thats managing to stress out the bit-torrent networks you'll have a hard time finding a decent mirror for a few days now.

So much for this being the worst day of the year. January 24th is always going to be a good day for Mac users....

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Strom Chasing Sweetness

01.06.42 - Mark

I'd like to do some storm chasing at some point in my life, and its because of the amazing scenes, like these, that makes me want to go.

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Decent day

20.28.07 - Mark

Aside from being a little tired and being called a monster by some Frenchmen today is good. The family went to Winston Salem today and we got a new TV (unfortunately not anything fancy just a flat screen CRT cable ready TV) a DVD player, and The Family Guy Collection 1 (Seasons 1 and 2). Couple food items at the fresh market but its nothing major (Bagels - someone needs to start a bagel shop in Mount Airy)

Got the TV because we're going a good deal of renovations and we wanted something larger than a 19" tv for the basement (which is going to look pretty good once finished) Additionally I think we're planning on dropping satellite TV and picking up cable, so another TV could be a good thing. Really don't care much about that part tho' , I'm not watching a lot of TV - more DVDs and TV series on DVD so cable and a netflix account would be much better than satellite. cable might make it easier to argue for a DVR device (Tivo, their competitor or a DIY linux box - I bet you can tell which I'm rooting for)

Anyways sorry for the lack of posts this weekend, been banking a lot of sleep and watching videos then this trip.

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Annoying ze frenchmen

02.15.59 - Mark

I think I'm irritating a frenchmen. Not intentionally but he seems to be a little high up on the mac purist side of things.

Best as I can tell I'm some sort of spoiled, irresponsible cyberbrat noob with no appreciation of Macs. Someonly along the lines of Sid from the first Toy Story

Of Course he is ignoring the fact that I'm 1) not spoiled and have purchased, bargained or otherwise earned all of my equipment, 2) have all of my gear in working order, or at least better condition than when I first received it, 3) am far from a noob (14 years of conscientious Mac use and counting) and while I might be a cyberpunk hacker at heart, 4) I am not a brat - in fact I love helping anyone who emails me with questions about nearly any aspect of a Mac, ditto for a lot of the web stuff too.

Guess he isn't that old a Mac user, obviously that whole think different thing just went right by him.

(PS - full french to english translation would be appreciated email or comments, thanks!)

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I hate mondays

01.34.08 - Mark

Rather I hate any day where I need to wake up in those strange and often unrecognizable hours known as the A.M.

However Monday January 24th is predicted to be the worst day of the year. I don't know about that. Ice storm and snow expected over the next 72 hours. Something tells me Monday may not present much of a problem...

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11.14.04 - Mark

I should put less thought or more thought into my posts. I was going to write a longish post about debating partially because I'm bored. But I changed my mind. I would rather do a podcast on it. (tangent comment on me doing more podcasting goes here)

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Cyber-terror my ass

15.55.22 - Mark

Dear mass media:

Please shut the fuck up. Specifically when you don't have a clue nor care about what you attempt to turn into news and by extention fear mongering propaganda.

Thank you,
signed person not watching your crappy news station any more.

really I don't even know why I have CNN among my RSS feeds, all they send across is crap like "Experts: cyber-crime bigger threat than cyber-terror"

Its just a fucking virus. Some punk kid in eastern block europe made it for fun and put it on line, then some misinformed, obese tween in the US downloads it and sends it on its merry way hoping to have his fat face plastered all over the *&^%ing news. Its not cyber terrorism, its life and its the internet, and you don't need to pollute my information stream with such lucid crap.

Why don't you call Bush on his bluffs and screw ups. Clinton wanted to do stuff with an intern (with no lives lost) and you nearly shut down the *&^%ing country in protest. Bush sends the country to war under false pretenses (tens of thousands of lives lost) and what do you do? Give Bushy boy a 30 second spot at the top of the hour and pronounce it good.

Or if you must sow shit everywhere you go, make sure your news isn't two years out of date like the FBI Carnivore thing.

Wake up and show some integrity. You really don't have a clue as to how hard it is to reeducate people who have been infected with your ignorance.

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In a flash...

13.27.27 - Mark

JibJab has a new 'toon up just in time for Americans to be swear at in Bush tomorrow

Also bunnies, via Dave Berry

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Hee hee hee

01.25.57 - Mark

Stuff like this keeps me from working in situations like this.

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Not One Damn Dime Day

01.16.01 - Mark

I'll be participating.

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Material World

01.14.52 - Mark

You know we're in a material world when we've got people giving the Pope Ferraris

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Largely unimpressed

11.38.15 - Mark

Messing around with dreamweaver right now (in class, phh I'm not that lazy) and I have to say I'm largely unimpressed. Sure I can kinda sorta see some benefits to using it but really there isn't a lot it offers (to me) that a good HTML/CSS reference, a refreshing web browser and a good text editor can't do just as well. Then again I've been hard coding HTML to some degree or another for nearly a decade now. I'm not going to write it off as I've barely had an hour of experience with it but so far...

Then again I'm a geek. I like code burned into my retinas with electron charged phosphorous.

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Reassessing our values

20.30.43 - Mark

Don't you just love this, modern American values at its best. I know Doonsbury is taking it a little far but I'm really not a fan of the new and improved Bush squad. The last thing I want from my attorney general is a record of calling the geneva conventions quaint, a resume with Enron on it, and who is on the record supporting the PATRIOT Act while not being vocal on things like say, bans on assault rifles, At least he claims he'll listen to the critics of the PATRIOT Act, which is a step up from Ashcroft's hysterics comment.

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Quick Bits

01.14.08 - Mark

So I can get to those nightmares here are some quick bits (I was helping Matt install a couple of walls most of Monday, hence the early Tuesday Morning posts)

Time to pick up the Pepsi habit again since Apple and Pepsi are giving out 200 Million songs and iPod Minis this year

Picture of how the Mac Mini stacks up the the Cube over at Gizmodo I understand now why Apple wants to drop the comparason - there simply is none.

Boing Boing linked to a site that's Screwing with the Postal system fun but Wired has been encouraging this sort of thing for years.

Everyones favorite illegal monopoly Micro$haft will be trying to convince Brazil open source is evil and they should continue paying protection money licensing fees for inferior high quality solutions. hopefully they will take the same approach Nintendo did in the fake wired interview a few weeks ago.

In not so linkable news I went and saw Ray I liked the film a lot. Incredible story about an incredible man, and it wasn't something Hollywood managed to mangle. If you're in Mount Airy go catch the last showing at the Downtown Cinema Wednesday, otherwise catch it on DVD. It's a treat. It was also a very fitting film to have watched on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and a good way to end the post.

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Nightmares tonight...

01.00.20 - Mark

If this picture doesn't scare you, I don't know what will:

From Monkey Methods.org comes this scary set of images of Bill Gates sprawled out on his desk cuddling with windows 1.0. To add to the horror (I know, I didn't think it was possible either) There's a Mac in the background.

* Mark shivers

I'm gonna have nightmares tonight

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01.19.06 - Mark

I've had this glass top desk for a few months now, and during most of that time it has been nothing more than a glorified workbench. Until recently that it. Matt is building a wall in the basement and needed some of my junk moved out of the way so rather than moving it off to the side I swept off my desk (literally, there was a ton of wax shavings and saw dust on it) and started relocating the computers onto it. So now I have 5 CRT monitors, the exposed guts to a Beige g3, a Color Classic, my iBook, two keyboards, three mice, 1 iPod, 2 surge protectors, and my bawls lamp spread out on the desk. Below it is a monster PC server and a mess of wiring. I might try and take a photo. Not just to show the situation, but for the claims adjuster when the 1/4" glass decides that being together isn't nearly as much fun as being apart.

Kinda like this:

Screen Shot from the Animatrix - Vision 9

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Caffeine Fix = Rent

01.27.42 - Mark

Wired is running a story on some mac developers who are Paying their rent with coffee, or rather the purchasing and consumption there of. If I liked coffee I would be doing this at The Good Life Cafe downtown, actually I may still do it at the good life. Too bad they don't have bawls or red bull, I'd rather down that then coffee, although I have to admit, Matt is slowly starting to turn me onto some coffees.

Tangent aside, its a neat story. Mac developers are crazy, and thats a good thing.

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Where do you want to go today?

23.52.38 - Mark

People sometimes ask me why I don't trust Microsoft to do anything, except take idiots' money and create massive internet threatning security problems. If those aren't enouigh of a reason take their maps for example. In the travel instructions between Haugesund, Rogaland, Norway and Trondheim, S»r-Tr»ndelag, Norway They really botch it up. Example 1: fastest route, and Example 2: Shortest Route

So do you still trust Microsoft to "Take you to where you want to go?"

(found at The Volokh Conspiracy)

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12.07.20 - Mark

Get your minds out of the gutter, I'm referring to the act taking an image and printing it on smaller pieces then reassembling it to create a larger mural type image. Not the act of chewing or any similarly pronounced words. I've actually done this to some extent on one of my hacks and that was one of my best projects ever. Those images were rasterized by hand in photoshop since they only required me to work together 8 pages. 'Course you can find anything as a web based application anymore so here it is Rasterbator Flash based but it spews out a PDF which you can then print out. Once I find some suitable images (I'm thinking iTunes visuals) I'm going to try running them though. If it tuns out well I'm going to see about plastering my ceiling in oversized visualizations. In the mean time you can entertain yourself by looking at some of the images uploaded to their gallery

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Still a good week

23.47.18 - Mark

As Brad points out iPod Linux is now working on 4g iPods such as my own. Apps still need porting but this would be the great thing for Thursday. Friday is looking good too - if for no reason beyond it's day one of a 4 day weekend :)

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A very good week indeed...

11.15.03 - Mark

One of my all time favorite software groups, Bare Bones Software killed development on one of my most used apps, BBEdit Lite, nearly two years ago.I wasn't happy about it at the time because they were charging for BBEdit's replacement.

Now I've never even tried TextWrangler, but I'll have to now that they went and made it free. Learned of an NC blogging confrence, Apple has a new $500 Mac and iPod Flash, and TextWrangler was released for free. Yes, I'd say this is a very good week.

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Mac mini :: MiniMac

22.55.24 - Mark

An update on the earlier post about PC weenies looking up Mac Mini Ram information with bad search terms (resulting on hits at my site):

I've had another dozen searches for Mac Mini stuff by PC users, including technorati links. I've had a few more Mac users come across the pages but by far the majority has been PC users.

Again I have to give Apple credit, this $500 Mac is going to do wonders for Apple. I've had PC users ask me about it (IRL) after having my iBook out, and I expect more questions tomorrow in classes where I'm well known for slamming windows.

Mac Addicts like myself aside they still have swarms of PC users 1) buying Mac minis and 2) looking for information on Mac minis to see if they want to buy mac minis. Even if they're taking a direct loss on the Mac Mini I think they'll do OK, with as many accessories as they push they're probably not having much of a problem breaking even. Not to mention that Apple is just coming off of its best quarter ever

So yes, this is good. Good job Apple. (feel free to send me one free of charge - you have my address on file)

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RIAA Artists as Idiotic as Their Labels

18.28.58 - Mark

Ashlee Simpson is blaming just about everything for her bad "performances" on Saturday Night Live and more recently the Orange Bowl. Of course she's over looking the real truth - she is a no talent hack pushed into stardom by some numbskull record executive who still thinks suing customers, pushing bland, generic crap is a better business plan than finding competent artists.

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Potential Switchers

17.31.54 - Mark

The Mac Mini is piquing the interest of PC weenies. I was skimming over my sitemeter logs and in the last day I've gotten some increased traffic from people looking for information on the Mac mini's RAM. Of course they aren't searching for that exactly, since I haven't really posted anything on the Mac mini that would make it a top google hit (especially with everyone and thier blog covering it) I'm getting hits for miniMac, which was one of my earlier hacks. So far all of the hits for miniMac RAM have been from windows users, no Mac guys, so clearly, the Mac mini is doing its job. Drawing in PC users from the dark side. On a different note, one of those free gadget sites has started freemacminis.com

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Blues and Greens

15.47.42 - Mark

The inventor of the process used to create blue and dark green LEDs has been awarded $8 Million for his work. (NYTimes blood sucking registration required) This is actually one of the sadder tech stories I've ever posted. This guy developed this technique almost on his own and went through corporate hell to do it, and since they've taken off has created a profit that will likely go into the Billions, especially since this work is essential to blu-ray drives. The problem is that he didn't see any of that profit, so he sued his employer for his fair share, and has been going though legal and political hell to get it. But he has and now the geeks are rejoicing. I think I may have posted a note about it, but I can't find it now, it really is a cool story so you might take the time to look it up (or just read the primer in the above article...)

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Mac Modding - thinking no longer required

23.47.34 - Mark

I just realized this the Mac Mini (that really is a horrible name - Jobs should worry more about firing the idiot that came up with the name and less about suing Mac sites) motherboard has to be smaller than the mini-itx motherboard standard (which is 6.75" x 6.75") So, for aspiring Mac modders, Thinking is no longer absolutely necessary. I want one that much more now...

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Last Minute MacWorld Predictions

08.00.07 - Mark

100% sure there will be an iPod flash, no LCD, plays 200+ files in order or the more heavily advertised random feature

100% sure we'll see Tiger (10.4) demoed

99% sure Jobs will wear a black turdle neck and blue jeans.

90% sure Apple will brag about iPod and iTMS sales in addition to Mac sales

80% sure Apple will either lower prices or will announce a new low end non-portable system(I hope this happens, just not sure it will) Possibly (hopefully) both.

75% sure Apple will increase processor speeds

60% sure there will not be an office suite. Apple software leaks are really bad I don't think something as big as the rumored iWork could exist without more of a leak. Unless they just change the name of Appleworks (which could be possible) I don't see it happening. However there will be other software revisions (other than OS X.4)

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Oh Hell Yes

15.04.05 - Mark

OK so some of my predictions sucked bad, but I won't know for sure until I watch the keynote later tonight. But until then Hell YES!

Mac Mini the name sucks but the system rocks. 3 lbs G4 mac thats 6.5" square and 2" tall A whole lotta power in a little package and its a mere $499 (The Educational discount only chops off $20) Video out is weird and there's no video in. So no all in one DVR, even if they are toting it as an excellent media center PC. Looks a lot like the iHome rumor that was floating around, but not quite. I love it, I want one, no I want a pair. One I can tear into and another for my little brother who would probably love it (I'll know that in a few minutes)

The iPod Shuffle is pretty cool as well. I know I have a regular iPod already (4g 20GB) that I'm thrilled with, as well as flash drives, but theres something inexplicably cool about the iPod Shuffle, and at $100 for 512mb and $150 for 1GB I'm seriously considering it, especially since it looks like I can use it as a flash drive as well. For price comparison a 1GB thumb drive runs about $100 $80 if you catch a good deal.

I'm sure Apple is going to take a loss on some of those systems but these are the cheapest systems to come out of Apple EVER. Even back in the days of old when Apple 1s were made in a garage and Apple 2s were l33t.

I kinda got the software thing right. It wasn't a major M$ Office Killer, but rather a few upgrades. iLife got boosted to '05 Updates to iPhoto, iDVD (now both at version 5) and Garage Band (now at 2). Keynote got a similar boost and was bundled with the new app, Pages. I don't think pages is really that great. Looks like its just TextEdit with an iLife Steroid injection. Practical and I really don't care about it much as the bundle still runs the same amount as Keynote did yesterday (if not less) so Pages is really a freebie.

Don't know if Jobs talked about everything else I predicted but I've very happy with this Macworld Expo. Now If you'll excuse me I need to go and extort ~$650 for a new Mac and iPod Shuffle...

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Double the Engines, Double the Fun

12.25.55 - Mark

Jeep has a pretty sweet concept vehicle, The Hurricane, with two engines, 4 wheel independent steering meaning you can literally drive side to side (although they're suggesting you should do so at its 670hp tops off at). Looks good too, neat sporty style that I would love to have with or without a second engine. Speaking of that second engine - it probably needs its own oil refinery I think most large SUVs can edge out 10 or 15 miles to the gallon I can't imagine the cost of two engines (7 MPG or less?!?!) If you can find your own oil well I bet its just waiting for murphy to strike, he just loves complex stuff.

Despite those potential flaws, it is definitely droolworthy:

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The People Who Owned the Bible

22.25.39 - Mark

Fun satirical story on copyright extentions - The People Who Owned The Bible

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North Carolina Blogger Conference

14.48.58 - Mark

I'm so out of it. I didn't fully realize that there was a major blogging presence in North Carolina. I guess I should have taken a hint from the Greensboro thing I posted last week. I think there are several prominent blogger/podcasters in both the state and surrounding area (Dan Gillmor in NC, Dave Winer and Robert Cringely in SC IIRC, and I'm sure there's someone in VA) Apparently there was a blogging conference in Greensboro last August, and on top of that there is another one , the Triangle Bloggers Conference in Chapel Hill in a month or so. I'm tempted to go, but I don't know if it would be remotely possible to do so.

I think it might be fun and I would probably learn something but it seems like the agenda is more focused on the blogger/reporter and not the casual blogger (more personal geekery and much, much less oooh look CBS just fired 4 idiots, wow...) However I need to look more at that side of blogging with the work I'm doing with MountAiryNC.net. 'course looking thought the blog roll at the confrence site I might find some place to fit in.

Still not entirely sure, but at the moment, it is so damned tempting...

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Mmmmmm... iKill.....

14.03.32 - Mark

Some guy got a riffle for xmas and was taking a lot of shit from his intellectual blue-state friends. Personally I wouldn't be pestering some guy that just got a gun about being a redneck in the first place but apparently he has a good sense of humor becuase when he got tired of the redneck jokes he upgraded his nice new gun to an iKill, or in other words the same gun with a nice shiny Apple sticker.

Perfect for hunting down those damned windows bugs...

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Pimpin' Out Segways

13.42.49 - Mark

CES brings out the showmanship in every company. Engadget and Gizmodo both have extensive coverage of the gadgets and tech, but Josh Rubin's Cool Hunting has some of the weird showmanship items - like this pimped out segway:

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This explains alot...

12.50.26 - Mark

My generation is doomed to be mindless consumers, or at least it seems that way. Just a bunch of idiots who are perfectly happy to blow untold millions on commercialized junk and throw out anything and everything if it breaks in the slightest, least noticeable ways possible.

But apparently I'm blaming the wrong thing, maybe its not too many junk shops like walmart but rather the fact that there are people out there who don't know that you boil the potatoes before mashing them, and many similar stories. I find it pathetically funny really. I never read manuals and I know I didn't learn anything from home ec (teacher was sick for the entire semester) but I still don't have a problem with surviving.

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Mildly aching

12.19.27 - Mark

Went to an interview weekend at Raven Knob yesterday and it went fairly well. Real nice seeing some friends from past years, as well as some of the improvements that have been made since the end of the summer. Don't know what my position is going to be exactly, but I think I'll be fine. My only real problem was sleeping. Too many people crammed into to small an area with too many ass holes making too much noise at 3 in the *&^%ing morning. That's still pretty typical for the camp. I ended up improvising a bed with a small couch and a folding chair. Better than the people who had to sprawl out on the floor with a ratty mattress but I might have been better pitching a tent and staying in it. I didn't so I've got some mild aches from weird sleeping positions last night. Still a very enjoyable Saturday overall.

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Why Microsoft Will Die

16.24.44 - Mark

Gadget and tech blog Gizmodo got an interview with Gates, and it isn't exactly shining (on either end) The interview has been run in two parts, and some questions are more kiss ass than others. One that got my attention is where Bill displays his incredibly overlooked ignorance of the general population and how we want the "2 foot experience" (See also Bill Gates thinks I'm a commie)

Here's the snipit (and interview):

Gates: But the full-screen... The idea that you get when you sit at two feet and you have a full screen, that will always be fundamental. That's just human physiology. There's nothing that substitutes for that. So whatever the software isˇthe platform that drives that two foot experienceˇwill always be the most important software we do. Not so important that if we don't connect up with other people's software and other devices and ourselves write software for those other devices that we'll stay successful. It's a heterogeneous world. Will it be more tablet oriented, will it be more speech recognition orientedˇwell we put more R&D into those breakthroughs than any company on the planet. We're very optimistic about those things.

That paragraph is filled with bullshit. First I don't think anyone likes the two foot experience. Mobile platforms are taking off like crazy, bluetooth and similar technologies are exploding. Its quickly becoming more about being able to connect dozens of devices, find the data you want and have it report back. Windows doesn't do it, Macs don't do it, Linux doesn't do it. No one has developed this software that can seamlessly and automatically detect datas, who owns it, and can control the flow of data. Ideally this is going to extend into the real world, similar to augmented reality, except a stronger focus on the technology surrounding the individual as opposed to the real world.

For Example the podcasts I'm listing to anymore. I want a system, not a device a whole system, that can play the podcasts, but if in the middle of one I want to create a reply. In this reply I want to cite the show notes so I want to have it flash up over one eye (monocular display) and have the system automatically cite the relevant notes, because I'm citing the shownotes it already knows I'm sending something as a text so the system starts writing down what I say to the owner of the podcast. From there I may opt to include a link to a source and be able to send it without having to dig around for an hour to find the relevant material and prepare the note, assuming I remember to do it when I get back to a device I can set down two feet in front of me.

I want smart systems where I only need to carry one device (wearable display with wireless broadcasting, and audio interfaces) I imagine this would be something similar to the Oakley MP3 sunglasses except not as tacky and more personal. I know it probably means another sever type system left in another location to handle the massive amounts of data, full connection to the internet, and the processing, but I think it will be completely possible in the coming years.

I'm probably splitting hairs over the rest of it (specifically about the R&D funds he mentions) so I'll stop here. I don't think that a desktop or laptop computer is the future. People are already starting to see what information overload is, and desktop systems are not going to be the devices that will cure the problems it presents.

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Earth to... wait, stay on earth!

13.13.13 - Mark

Sirius Radio is going to start offering satellite TV to your car using the same tech as the radio. Their partner in this venture is Microsoft. I can't believe they're getting away with it. The idiots on the road here can't fudge with the AM/FM radio without coming damned close to screwing something up. Not to mention the shit they pull when using cellphones, MP3 players (iPods included) or the DVD GPS expresso combos already installed in some cars. This is all on top of some recent lawsuits over custom car guys replacing dashboard components with LCD screens.

I can't begin to imagine how screwed we're going to be if we let people install satellite TV into their car when the user interfaces are going to be designed by Microsoft. I Really can't see this ending well....

Edit: Forgot the NY Times link

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Hail Bill, oh wait...

12.54.44 - Mark

Best Buy thinks I'm the devil, Bill Gates thinks I'm a commie. No one cares what I think of the highway robbers or the over celebrated thief/con artist.

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Dear Apple, Wake the fuck up

23.37.44 - Mark

First, Stop suing your fan base Its not working for the RIAA, it won't work for you (and we like you)
Second Exploit this, and uhh, this too. Not like its that hard to do.
Third Can you say 5G iPod? (except internalized, none of that dongle crap)

Thank you,
(from a guy you're already pissed off)

That said I really want to see Apple make a $500 headless iMac. I've brought it up with several people all of whom said they would jump at the chance to own a new $500 Mac so Apple, it can only do you good (unless you can't deliver on Monday and your stock rating do down the tube post keynote)

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Is 911 effective?

01.03.12 - Mark

Interesting article questioning how effective 911 systems really are, at least in terms of crime prevention. The Fire and medical aspects of it aren't questioned, the article is focusing on the gun control argument of "you should call 911" One statistic stated is that an average response time is 10 minutes, that is, if the caller isn't placed on hold. Anyways it's worth the read and some thought.

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I feel sorry for someone

12.20.10 - Mark

Britney Spears is looking to become a CSI and not just on TV. Pop Stars turned whores should stay pop stars turned whores, please keep them out of law enforcement.

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Cartoon Skeletons

18.34.08 - Mark

Except for darker physical gags just about no one thinks the skeletons of cartoon characters. I'll think about the physics of cartoons once in a while (it made sitting though lunch a little more bearable at the hell hole known as Mount Airy High School) but not the skeletons. However the internet being what it is has produced skeletal drawing of a number of cartoon characters There are some other neat pieces on the site, but I really like the skeletons. The guy had to put some serious thought into them.

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Note to RIAA

18.27.19 - Mark

Found this blog post/ open letter to the RIAA, and I really couldn't put it better myself

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18.18.01 - Mark

This is crap, I can't believe that there are parts in the PATRIOT Act that are allowing the government to arrest owners of laser pointers. Its ridiculous. Especially where aviators and related experts are unworried about this because the chances of it doing serious damage is next to nothing. I think there's a better chance of me getting hit in the head with a solid gold brick in the next five minutes that there is of some guy blinding 2 pilots in a cockpit with a curved glass windshield flying at 3000 feet. It just ain't gonna happen. But like always reality is a deterrent to the US government and they're suing this guy trying to stick him in jail for 25 years. What a load of crock.

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Star Treking with floppy disks

02.02.41 - Mark

This from a floppy disk, with now to.

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02.02.07 - Mark

I normally don't like the brag, but in this case I am a fucking genius. The Greensboro News and Record put out a request for comment last week on how to revamp their current site so it better functions as an online community for Greensboro and Gilford County.


Excerpt from an early version of my business plan for MountAiryNC.net

The Primary goals of the project are:

´ Create and maintain a large portal site (similar to Yahoo.com or DMOZ.com) with an empahsis on commercial businesses and non-profit orginizations in the Mount Airy/Surry County Area. As the site grows the links project should be able to encompass personal sites and outside groups with related intrests such as Andy Griffith Show Fan Clubs.

´ Create a community based portion of the site, putting an emphasis on public forums (message boards) so members can comment on projects or offer suggestions. The area should be able to grow in a way that members can upload and share photos and datafiles in addition to text comments. While it should remain free and open to everyone registration will be required to post comments and the discussions will be moderated to remove offencive or false information

In other words develop a website that functions as the online version of Mount Airy and the surrounding area - and I had it hooked up and online before the RFC expired. A newspaper puts out an RFC and it gets billed as progressive and forward thinking all over the web (not quite but it pulls up a crud load of google hits and was mentioned in a couple podcasts) I enter this idea into a business plan competition and it gets, well a membership to the local COC, and a free online class at the college I'm already attending. Rolls eyes. Oh well. Thats life, and I guess its a good thing I'm not the only one doing this in NC I can probably spin this to my advantage when I go get advertisers...

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Clarification Please!

12.28.36 - Mark

Does this make sence to anyone? Excerpt from New York Times interview with the chairperson of the President's Inaugural Ho-Down Orginization I'd link to the first blog to note it but I really don't want to go net trawling at the moment.

[NYT reporter in italics]

I hear one of the balls will be reserved for troops who have served in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Yes, the Commander-in-Chief Ball. That is new. It will be about 2,000 servicemen and their guests. And that should be a really fun event for them.

As an alternative way of honoring them, did you or the president ever discuss canceling the nine balls and using the $40 million inaugural budget to purchase better equipment for the troops?

I think we felt like we would have a traditional set of events and we would focus on honoring the people who are serving our country right now -- not just the people in the armed forces, but also the community volunteers, the firemen, the policemen, the teachers, the people who serve at, you know, the -- well, it's called the StewPot in Dallas, people who work with the homeless.

How do any of them benefit from the inaugural balls?

I'm not sure that they do benefit from them.

Then how, exactly, are you honoring them?

Honoring service is what our theme is about.

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Cool RSS tools

18.56.23 - Mark

Track UPS shipments with an RSS feed

Right now my bluetooth head set is headed towards the greensboro distribution center, so I'll get it sometime tomorrow afternoon.

For fast moving readers of this blog (yeah, right) its available again, but for a few dollars more than what I paid, right here tho' as of posting there were only 30 left, and I don't think they'll last that long (the set I got mine from cleared out in a few hours - and it was posted in the middle of the night)

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Podcast Feed

02.05.05 - Mark

I have a valid RSS 2.0 podcast feed for my podcast


I might make a write up on how to create your own RSS podcasting feed by hand, because it takes some digging. Still not hard. I'm thinking about writing some form pages to make show notes and the RSS feed easier to manage. Right now its a little time consuming. Not hard, but not drain bramageing simple either

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23.16.19 - Mark

OK I got the podcast taken care of, ended up much better thanthe first as well. One thing I want out of this is comments, I know I'm weak in a few areas and would like some opinions before I send this into a podcast dirrectory or two. So Please fire off some feedback. Anyways, fixing the podcast didn't take too long, and I would have had it online hours ago except I coded some shownotes and an HTML micro site for my podcasts. The 'cast itself will be up in a few minutes (uploading as I write this) I'll revise that page and create some better models for the show notes in the coming editions. For now take it as it is and let me know what you think.

I've also got an RSS document coded in there, but I'm not sure it will work. Everything needs a chance to upload so I've synced up my iPod and I think I'm going to go for my evening walk once I publish this post. And please, send feedback.

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Cool pixar article

20.30.09 - Mark

Pixar never ceases to amaze me. I like intelligent films, and aside from a few based on books its hard to find them. Except for Pixar. They make intelligent films for intelligent people. There's also the culure of Pixar. Tech start up, and evolved into film production. Anyways, here's another inside view of Pixar. It really is a cool company.

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Well, almost

03.29.48 - Mark

Well I almost had a podcast prepared. was getting really good sound quality out of my iBooks internal mic from a couple feet away and I had what I thought was a nice set of music and clips, but like many first attempts this one failed miserably. I caught everything I said for about 30 minutes and none of the clips and audio that made up the majority of my first 'cast. I'll trouble shoot and recreate tomorrow, but right now I'm going on too many hours without sleep.

I' like the idea of doing a podcast, and still will. I intended this to be a test of my setup (despite the fact that the Bluetooth headset isn't here yet) and I think that there's still plenty of time to be an early adopter (its only been a couple months since it really launched...) So I'll keep plugging away. I think the main thing I need to look into is different software setups. The one I have right now is obviously borked.

Watch this space. I will have a podcast up by Jan 6th...

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Skydivers are nuts and other screwed up names

01.43.00 - Mark

Fun post over at the Volokh Conspiracy. Skydivers naming parachutes and dive schools after Icarus. The linked PDF, Trojan Doctrine, is worth the download as well.

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Happy New Year, or something like that

01.20.12 - Mark

Call me apathetic but I don't really give a damn about new years. Honestly what is the frelling point?

Getting Drunk and killing enough brain cells you forget half of the previous year and so inebriated you still write 04 or 2004 for the year for 2 months into 2005. That's about it.

Now I'm too young to legally drink and I don't write down dates that much so I don't really give a hoot about New Years. So at 12PM I was still out walking, granted about 5 blocks from home, and listing to a podcast. I got to see some fireworks shot up and was feeling pretty good.

'course that all changed when I got home and walked into the family room where everyone else in the family is glazed over watching the Dick clark-less Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve 2005 and Matt yelled something incredibly stupid like "New York blew up!" and one glance at the TV proved otherwise. "uhh Matt, they're dancing - New york didn't blow up otherwise they'd be showing picture of it" to which he replied "because they can't broadcast out of New York, besides everyone saw it - it was live" or some similar shit. I know am pretty sure he does it out of jest. Its beyond inane, I don't know how he can even stand doing it.

Anyways, Happy New Year, or something like that.

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