Tuesday, May 31, 2005

FBI Official Was 'Deep Throat'

FBI Official Was 'Deep Throat'
Deep Throat, the secret source whose insider guidance was vital to The Washington Post's groundbreaking coverage of the Watergate scandal, was a pillar of the FBI named W. Mark Felt, The Post confirmed yesterday.

Finally, an answer to a long asked question.

Head-mounted surveillance cam packs 30GB HDD

Head-mounted surveillance cam packs 30GB HDD - Engadget - www.engadget.com
The DoubleVision Pro is particularly sweet, combining a head-mounted camera with a pocket 30 GB HDD that can store as much as 46 hours of video. While Second Sight markets the unit as a mobile surveillance device, we could easily see ourselves donning this and zapping our raw footage up to Bigtime TV.

Woah. Anybody remember the gargoyle from Snow Crash?

Pintlock: a lock for ice-cream pints

Boing Boing: Pintlock: a lock for ice-cream pints
A Ben and Jerry's customer requested that the ice-cream come "in stainless steel, bulletproof containers with a little padlock." The company didn't go that far, but they did create this lockable pint-lid that fits over your ice-cream and deters casual munchers from helping themselves.

Awesome! Now I can finally keep the wife out of my Phish Food.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Kevin Smith on Dinner for Five

Kevin Smith on Dinner for Five
We originally had announce dthat the episode of "Dinner for 5" hosted by Kevin would air this past Friday, May 27th. It didn't. According to the IFC website, the Favreau-free episode with “Lost” creator J.J. Abrams, Kevin Smith, Jason Lee, Stan Lee and Mark Hamill won’t be cablecast until the show gets back from a three-week hiatus on June 17th. Thanks also to Aint It Cool for the alert. Now that the major series have all wrapped for the season, this is a gem to look forward to in an otherwise TV-wasteland.

I like how they mention this after it was supposed to air. So set the DVR to June 17th 10pm on IFC. Or you can watch it live since there aren't any crappy commercials to fast forward through.


This central site allows you to request a free credit file disclosure, commonly called a credit report, once every 12 months from each of the nationwide consumer credit reporting companies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.

You can finally get your yearly free credit report online. Availability for southern states starts June 1st.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Tracker Trail - Fire From Water

Tracker Trail - Fire From Water
The basic idea is to take a piece of plastic wrap (Saran or otherwise) and form it into a "pocket", i.e. bring the four corners together.
The pocket is then filled with water.
The corners are then grouped together and twisted until the whole assembly resembles a sphere. This creates a makeshift lens.

More fun ways to start a fire. Pretty clever.

Addicted to e-mail? You're not alone

Addicted to e-mail? You're not alone | CNET News.com
The survey revealed that, on average, people check their mail about five times a day, and a quarter of them cannot go without it for more than three days at a stretch. More than 4,000 people across 20 U.S. cities participated in the survey, carried out by AOL in partnership with Opinion Research.

Kind of ironic reading this right now. I have now been without email for 8 hours. Since my nieghbor decided to have a sprinkler system installed I seem to be without cable service. No tv, no cable modem, no god damn email. I seem to fall into the unsurveyed group that can't go without email for 1 hour. I know what you are thinking. Gee Mr. Light, maybe you didn't notice, but you seem to be on the net right now. Well yes that is true. One of my neighbors generously donated their wireless access for me to use. Well, I'm certain they would if I asked. However, this generous neighbor seems to have filtering software installed that blocks access to POP, SMTP, oh and web mail too. So I can post and surf (some sites, some seems to be blocked as well) but I can't check my god damn email. I know what else you are thinking as well (I am positively psychic today). No, residential internet access is not run behind a god damn web filter. That's what happens when you live in the boonies folks. Not a single cable modem with a wireless access point installed in the whole freakin' neighborhood.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Nine Inch Nails drops MTV show over Bush backdrop

Nine Inch Nails drops MTV show over Bush backdrop - Yahoo! News
I know, what makes this blog worthy? I wasn't going to post this but then I read the quote from Reznor.
"We were set to perform 'The Hand That Feeds' with an unmolested, straightforward image of George W. Bush as the backdrop. Apparently, the image of our president is as offensive to MTV as it is to me," Nine Inch Nails' leader
Trent Reznor said in a statement posted on the band's Web site.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Download the West Point Bridge Designer 2005

Download the West Point Bridge Designer 2005
The West Point Bridge Designer 2005 will introduce you to engineering through an authentic, hands-on design experience. This software provides you with the tools to model, test, and optimize a steel highway bridge, based on realistic specifications, constraints, and performance criteria.
This is the only software that can be used to enter the 2005 West Point Bridge Design Contest.

Compliments to the Schram-man for this one. Oh man. This program is awsome! I've been playing with this for like 30 minutes now and I'm so hooked. Build your own bridge and watch it fall. Or not I suppose, but where's the fun in that? Sorry, short post. I have to see what happens if I use tempered steel instead of carbon.

The Marz sans hair, Burt Reynolds bitch slap, New "science" Museum

The Marz sans hair, Burt Reynolds bitch slap, New "science" Museum
Posted by special guest Marz!
Marz found some great stuff and posted it in the comments section. In my infinite wisdom, I have decided the post is worthy of an actual blog entry. So here we go....
See above photo. Look! Hot web babes read Clubbing Baby Seals, you should too!

The Burt Reynolds Bitch-Slap.
That's awesome. I love the Reynolds.
Marz says:
And third, to go along with your religion rants, I found this little jewel 2 days ago...every time I think about it I still laugh:


Apparently a real place which spent a lot of money to try to convince you of the following (amongst other things): 1) The earth is 6000 years old; 2) Some genious built a gigantic (FUCKING HUGE) ark (which mysteriously has never been found) that not only carried today's animals (which were always in existance since the beginning of the universe) but also all the extinct ones...that's right...dinosaurs...and the like. 3) The Garden of Eden is *not* a metaphor. I could go on and on, but why? The website speaks so clearly for itself!!

At least it isn't the intelligent design crap. My favorite is the "scientific evidence" they use to back it up.
The dinosaurs on Noah�s ark were probably juveniles. We can speculate this for two reasons; first, since dinosaurs were reptiles, they probably continued to grow throughout their lives. In their adult stage, the dinosaurs would have been quite large (e.g. the Sauropod could grow to 40 feet (12 meters) in length, 60 feet (18 meters) in height, and weigh 70 to 80 tons.).
It would be much easier to house young dinosaurs on the ark. Secondly, God put the animals on the ark specifically to repopulate the world after the flood. Since the animals had to be able to reproduce after the flood year, God would have saved younger animals to secure their reproductive viability.

Baby dinosaurs?!? Ahh, well that explains it. I always wondered how you build a boat that big. But it all works out if you use baby dinosaurs.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

AGEIA Physics Processor at E3

AGEIA Physics Processor at E3
We sat down the company and witnessed two demos running live on first-run, A0 silicon. The final silicon that will ship in boards is A1�AGEIA made a simple metal spin, but made no major changes to the silicon design. It'll be produced on a standard .13 micron CMOS process at TSMC. Who's going to build boards with this thing? So far, ASUS is the first to announce a partnership with AGEIA. They'll have a PPU board with AGEIA's chip on the market in the fourth quarter of this year, with 128MB of GDDR3 memory, for roughly $249 to $299. Initially, it will only come only in a PCI card, with PCIe cards expected further in the future.
The first demo was graphically simple, but still fairly impressive. A large rocky hillside had about 4,200 boulders dropped at the top, which all bounced, tumbled, and interacted in a realistic (and speedy) fashion. AGEIA claimed that a dual-core CPU can handle maybe 800-1,000 in a demo like this, but was quick to note that 4,200 boulders was nowhere near the capability of their chip. There's a driver issue right now where a lot of the timings need to be worked out between the massively parallel math units in the chip. Within a couple of months, the company will have a new driver which will enable them to raise the boulder count to 32,000. They're confident they can reach that number, but even if they can only get halfway there, 16,000 to 20,000 boulders is a lot better than a CPU can do.

Cool concept for sure, but another $300 on my gaming rig? Bastards! I have to admit that it could have a very dramatic effect ingames. I think I'll wait until I see a game running this one before jumping off the cliff.

Free Florida wi-fi cafes & other wireless hotspots

Free Florida wi-fi cafes & other wireless hotspots | Florida FreeFi
Florida is full of free wi-fi locations so why pay for them? Skip Starbucks and other paid access locations and support local businesses and your community for free. Stop into your local free hotspot, buy a mocha, and let them know how much you appreciate the free wi-fi!

Free Wi-fi certainly beats having to pay for it. Here is the link for Tampa. And for the weary traveler Baa (and any non-Floridians), here is the link for the parent site which maintains wi-fi locations for the U.S. What really suprised me was Tampa has the most locations for Florida (20). Orlando runs a close second at 16.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Free (or at least cheap) Ice Packs

I can't remember where I saw this tip but since I still remember it a few days later I thought I should share. As a slightly accident prone person (know anyone else who has been run through with a sword twice?) I collect them flexible gel ice packs like Paris Hilton collects STD's. So here is how to make your own...ice packs, not STD's ya freakin'perv.

1 zip-top bag
1 part rubbing alcohol
3 parts water

mix and freeze.

Fun physics fact: Alcohol has a much lower freezing point than water which prevent the ziploc from turning into a block of ice. This also allows you to keep your hard liquor in the freezer for an icy cold drink. I've also heard this is a good solution for making cheap vodka taste better, apparently the theory is the colder vodka the less taste you get. I don't know if I buy that one as I only drink Grey Goose. In my book the only thing that taste worse than cheap vodka is gin. Any gin. Really, the Brits should have stuck with beer.

BBS: The Documentary

BBS: The Documentary
Long before the Internet escaped from the lab, connected the planet and redefined what it meant to use a computer...
....there was a brave and pioneering band of computer users who spent their time, money and sanity setting up their home computers and phone lines to welcome anyone who called. By using a modem, anyone else who knew the phone number of these computers could connect to them, leave messages, send and recieve files.... and millions did.
They called these places "Bulletin Board Systems", or BBSes. And their collections of messages, rants, thoughts and dreams became the way that an entire generation learned about being online.
When the Internet grew in popularity in the early 1990s, the world of the BBS faded, changed, and became a part of the present networked world.. but it wasn't the same.

Wow. This page took me waaay back. I don't know that I would buy the documentary, but it has some really great links. Check out the BBS Timeline and the BBS software list. He also runs a site called textfiles.com that has ALL of the old text files that made were in circulation during the BBS boom.

Hello : Introducing BloggerBot

Hello : Introducing BloggerBot
Just use Hello to send your pictures to BloggerBot. BloggerBot will automatically resize your JPG pictures, add your captions, and publish your pictures to the Web.
You don't have to resize pictures by hand, transfer files, format HTML posts, or even find a place to host your images - Hello does all the work for you. And, it's totally free.

Baa was wondering what I used to post the pics to the blog, so here it is. It's called hello and I is owned by Blogger. I have to say, this has been dead ass easy for me. And as anyone who knows me will emphatically agree, I am one seriously lazy bastard. The only bitch I can come up with is you have to log in and edit the title for the article. Which is about a 5 second cut and paste operation so no real sweat there. Anyway, check it out if you are interested.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

The Weary Traveller- Travel Tips for the Corporate Road Zombie

Clight has commented that I do not pull my weight on the Blog. Perhaps he is right. Then again, he is a no-job, "housedad" whiny slacker. I, on the other hand, am blessed with a job which makes me travel over 50% of the time. Hence, I do not post as much as my homebound co-author.

So, Clight suggests- "Hey Baa, how about a travel column!" Bastid. Fair enough. I will attempt to randomly share my thoughts and tips on how to survive constant business travel. Not that I am currently surviving.....

Today's episode-

Frequent Flyer Miles and You....

If your travelling for business, your not the one paying for the plane tickets. My first tip is to try, as hard as you can, to fly as much as possible on one carrier. I fly Delta if I can help it. Yes, they are going out of business quickly. Yes, their staff is amazingly unhelpful. But they have a great flight schedule and are usually within a couple bucks of their main competitors like United and American. So, as long as your booking your own travel for business, use the same carrier.

Why, you ask? Simple- Besides the obvious free tickets, you can generally get into the carrier's basic Elite program with 25,000 miles in a calendar year. This makes you eligible (on Delta and American anyway) for free upgrades, earlier boarding, first dibs on the exit rows in coach, "special" ticket counters at the airport, and usually extra % of miles when you travel.

The most important part of the list above is the "free upgrade to first/business" which is very important if your 6ft + like I am. Now, getting one of the free upgrades can be tricky, as other travellers can also get them and there is a good chance they are a higher level elite than you, or they managed to effectively bitch and get a free upgrade to shut them up (see my next column, how to talk the airline customer service people into anything.) If your travelling between large cities and during peak travel times, forget about getting that free upgrade... But, you, the Weary Traveller know the tricks to getting those free upgrades!!


If you can, travel in the middle of the day or later in the evening. Every business traveller tries for the 6-8am flight out and the 4-7pm flight back. Stay away from those flights if you can help it. Your more likely to get that free upgrade and failing that, the exit row.

ALWAYS put in for your upgrade upon booking the flight. This puts you ahead of the people who request an upgrade when they get to the airport EVEN if they are a higher elite level.

Know your favored carrier's hubs and typical schedules to/from those hubs to your destination and return airports. Case in point- I fly Delta whenever I can. I am a Delta "Gold Medallion (50k a year) member." Delta's primary hubs in the Eastern US are Atlanta and Cincinatti. Atlanta is the primary hub. My home airport is Tampa. However, if I book through Cincinatti, I am 60% more likely to get an upgrade because 90% of people going to and from Tampa go through Atlanta, yet there are at least 4 flights a day through Cincinatti (and yes, I misspelled it, three times!!!) This has never added more then 30 minutes to my flight time, and the CIN airport is a lot nicer than Atlanta-Hartsfield International Nightmare.

Book full fare coach when it makes sense. You get more elite miles and your more likely to get upgraded.

When in doubt, whine to the gate attendant. A little whining will go a long way. They do have the power to bump someone up the standby upgrade list.

Did I mention people smell better and are generally more attractive in 1st class??

Stay tuned for my next installment of- The Weary Traveller

Treo 650 - Treo Branded Blue Tooth Headset - another review (sorry)

Verizon-Treo 650-BT headset

I ordered a new bluetooth headset for my Treo 650. After doing a lot of research on BT headsets in general, and for the Treo 650 specifically, I decided to go ahead and purchase the Treo Branded headset from Treonauts.com. Treonauts is an excellent source of news and accessories for your Treo 650. Ordering and purchasing the headset was flaweless. I got it via UPS today. After charging it for 2 long and painful hours (don't they know we must use the new battery powered toys right now!??!) I was able to pair it up with the Treo and test it out. A quick word on the headset itself. Rumor is the headset is a rabranded Jabra BT headset which has been adapted to use the same charger as the Treo. This means that the charger you get with the headset will also charge your phone! So, your basically getting an extra travel charger (which has international plugs in the box) and a BT headset for $70. Not bad.

After pairing the headset with the Treo (which was fairly easy, though you have to mash the button down for more than the 10 seconds specified in the manual.) I tested it out. I called Clight, who reported I sounded better than I did on my old wired headset. Calls were very clear. The volume on the headset was loud enough for me to carry on a conversation outside with traffic around me. Clight reported he could barely hear the fairly high wind I was standing in when testing.

The headset is very small and extremely light. I am not a big fan of Over-The-Ear headsets, but I am finding this one to be very comfortable. Rumor is that the Jabra ear gels fit on to the speaker nub on the headset. I have some on order and will follow up when I get to try them.

On the downside- The 10m range reported was crap. The headset needed to be within about 8 feet with a line of sight to the phone. If I had the headset on my left ear and the Treo in my right front pocket, I heard a crackling, which sounded like packet loss (and I am probably sterilizing my gonads at the same time.) Now, granted, I tested all this at work, where people run around with 2.4ghz cordless phones and we have a Wi-Fi access point also on 2.4ghz. I will conduct some more tests in other areas.

Summary- It works. It's comfortable. Treo bluetooth support sucks. (Ask my sister about her Treo 650 and her Toyota Prius if you want a laugh.) It's a cool toy for my new toy.

Verizon Coughs up my Treo 650!!!! and a sorry excuse for a review!!!!

Verizon-Treo 650

Well, at long long long last, Verizon Wireless has gotten off it's arse and released the PalmOne Treo 650. I was one of the lucky 5 in my area to get one via a retail outfit yesterday. Nothing like good launch planning guys!! Oh, and the reason the Verizon Wireless sales guy gave me for the delay- "There were uhh, Bugs in the 650." Riggghhhht No mention that Sprint and Cingular have had this model out for the better part of 6 months.

I digress. Quick review-

The Verizon branded Treo 650 is pretty damn cool. It's fairly small for it's functions. Despite reports of it being very unstable, mine has been solid for all of 48ish hours. The Verizon Wireless sync email and PIM push application works flawlessly, after installing it on my desktop at work 6 times (it has an interesting and convoluted setup process.) Granted, once it started working, no problem! Like the Blackberry Desktop Redirector, it sends email out via the cellular network. I get and send email very quickly without any real fuss. However!!!! You must subscribe to Verizon's data plan or you will get screwed! And I am not talking the 5mb for $25 plan here. I have pulled over 8mb in 1 day so far! Go for the unlimited data plan for 44.95. Ass rape for that price? Yes! But, if your a busy mobile professional who likes to use their cool electronic toys to hit on hot women on airplanes, the Treo 650 cannot be beat! Hey, my Ipod was a hit for the first couple weeks, so the Treo has to be the shizzle for geek chick bait....

Again, I digress.

In short-

Size- Suprisingly nicely sized. See Photo below. To the left is my Wife's Audiovox CDM-8900, which is on the small side of flip phones.

Audiovox Treo size comparison

Phone- Works great a phone. One handed dialing. Easy redial, speed dial, dial from your Palm Contacts etc. One glaring omission is the lack of a voice dial program. You have to purchase a 3rd party app... WTF?!?! My $99 LG VX6600 had freaking voice dialing. Sound quality is very good. The speaker phone is nice and loud. I was able to carry on phone calls with 1 bar showing. All in all, it works well in it's phone mode.

Memory- Memory on the Treo 650 sucks spacewise, but at least it is NVram. For more details on PalmOne's "interesting" memory implementation, just google the Treo 650. A SD memory card is a must on this phone.

Bluetooth- Check, kinda. Palmone's bluetooth implementation is terrible. More on that in my BT headset review.

Email- I know people say the Blackberry is the true king of the mobile email world, but the Treo 650 can answer this claim. With the Verizon Wireless sync push, you get the same features as a Blackberry. In addition, I setup Versamail (the Treo 650's standard email program) with my personal email via POP3. while Versamail is kind of limited, it grabs my email just fine.

PIM- Calendar, contact, task list, memos. Verizon Wireless Sync flawelessly syncs between outlook and PDA.

Camera- The Camera is suprisingly good on this unit. The VGA pictures are suprisingly sharp and its great in low light. It has a camcorder function too, which seems to work ok. I need to futz around with it more to form a real opinion.

MP3 support- The Realplayer bundled with the Treo 650 SUCKS! It only supports MP3s, has no real play list capability, and just plain annoyed the crap out of me. There are other 3rd party players out there which I will try out and report on. Oh, again, you need a SD card to play MP3s. Sound is suprisingly good on the phone speaker. To hear it in stereo, you need to buy an adapter. MP3s do NOT play through the Bluetooth Headset.

3rd Pary Applications- Hey, it's PalmOS, the most (or second most if you count Symbian) popular PDA/phone OS. Many thousands and thousands of 3rd party applications out there to stuff into your PDA. Keep in mind though- 3rd party apps can make your PDA unstable. When your PDA is also your phone.... Simply put- If you do not need the application, don't install it!

Battery Life- So far... not bad. Using it as just a phone, with hourly email updates, and it seems to last all day. If you surf the web alot or anally check your email every 10 minutes, expect that battery to drain drain drain!

Keypad/Interface- It's PalmOS, only better! Seriously, you don't need to do graffiti to enter text on this thing. The keypad is small and somewhat cramped, but I am already able to bang out messages/emails pretty quickly. One rarely needs the stylus to interact with the Treo. I only needed when using the web browser, or setting up some of the configurations. Normally, your thumbnail works great on the touchscreen.

Web- The Browser on the Treo650 is... ok. Nothing special. Seems to load webpages slowly. I will be hunting for a new browser.

Games- LOL. None. Zip, Zilch, Nada.

Verdict- The coolest smartphone I have used to date. I like the Treo 650 far more than the Blackberry or Windows Smartphones I have tried out. It has some serious flaws, but all in all, its an incredible little machine. I recommend it.

The LightSaber Maker program

LSMaker's homepage - The LightSaber Maker program
Whoops. I apparently posted a link to a skeezy Mac only program (the Mac is skeazy not the program) for the lightsaber effects. Well, here is a link to one for real computers. Take that Marz! You nasty Mac lover!

P.s. Skeazy is a combination of Skank and sleazy.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Record-breaking 'Star Wars' a box office force

Record-breaking 'Star Wars' a box office force - Yahoo! News
"Star Wars: Episode III -- Revenge of the Sith," the final installment of George Lucas' sci-fi fantasy series, smashed multiple sales records during its first four days at the North American box office as its total raced to $158.5 million.
Among the North American records set by "Revenge of the Sith" were best one-day, two-day, three-day and four-day sales. It also managed to beat the five-day record. The only record out of "Sith's" grasp was the Friday-to-Sunday opening weekend tally of $114.8 million achieved by "Spider-Man" in 2002, which it missed by about $6 million.

Damn those peer-to-peer for killing our profits!

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Sin City Sequel Details Hinted

Sin City Sequel Details Hinted
Robert Rodriguez told the Reuters news service that he and co-director Frank Miller are planning a sequel to their hit Sin City, based on Miller's ultraviolent graphic novel series of the same name. "We've been talking about it [a sequel] since day one," Rodriguez told Reuters at the Cannes Film Festival, where Sin City is screening in competition.
The next film will be based on Miller's Dame to Kill For, one of the Sin City titles that was not included in the original movie. Rodriguez added that he wants to keep the cast if possible, which included Mickey Rourke, Bruce Willis, Clive Owen and Jessica Alba. "We'd always thought Dame to Kill For was the story [for the sequel]," Rodriguez said. "It has all the characters. Mickey's in it. Clive is in it. So it would be great to bring everybody back."
Sin City has earned more than $72 million at the U.S. box office.

Woot! More Sin City! If you haven't seen it...what are you crazy? Robert Rodriguez rocks! I have seen and loved every movie the guy has made. My favorite is still Desperado, but even the Spy Kids movies were good. What? I got kids all right? Hey, it's waaaay better than seeing Agent Cody Banks. Skip the 3rd Spy kids unless they have a version without the 3-D. Great movie, but it was those awful red/blue glasses 3-D. Ended up with a raging headache for hours. Aw man, just went to find a hyperlink for Desperado and found they have a special edition for it and El Mariachi. Bastards! Well, on the upside, if you haven't bought it you can probably get the original version for less than $10 now.

Newsday.com: Accelerator Used to Decipher Archimedes

Newsday.com: Accelerator Used to Decipher Archimedes
A particle accelerator is being used to reveal the long-lost writings of the Greek mathematician Archimedes, work hidden for centuries after a Christian monk wrote over it in the Middle Ages.
Highly focused X-rays produced at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center were used last week to begin deciphering the parts of the 174-page text that have not yet been revealed. The X-rays cause iron in the hidden ink to glow.

This sounds suspiciously like a previous post that was kinda questionable. But, in the interest of our budding archeologist here ya go.

The God Damned Plushies are back!

Plushies Faq
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
Fur and Loathing 05/22/2005 7:00 PM, 1 hr
Grissom and Catherine investigate a bizarre case in which a man dressed in a full-body raccoon suit is shot and then hit by a car along a dark stretch of highway. The woman driving the car is also killed when an 18-wheeler smashes into her vehicle. In town, Sara and Nick look into the murder of a man found shot and frozen in a warehouse's walk-in freezer. Greg: Eric Szmanda. Phillips: David Berman.
Cast & Credits: William Petersen, Marg Helgenberger, Gary Dourdan, George Eads, Paul Guilfoyle

Check out UPN tonight at 7EST for more info on the evils that are plushophiles. As many of you know, or can infer from my previous post, I am primarily a live and let live kinda guy. There are a few things that, as a human being, I must oppose. They are: Sony, Christina Ho-gulera, Paris Hilton, Commies, smelly hippies, child abuse, and the god damned plushies. I have submitted solutions to the evil plushie problem before, but didn't recieve the support I hoped. I must assume this is caused by lack of information since any sane being must oppose true evil in its many guises (I'm willing to make an exeption on the Sony thing). So here is a link to the Plushie Faq. Inform yourself and fight the good fight!

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Clubbing Baby Seals. Now with RSS support!

FeedBurner - Point your feed here. We'll do the rest.
We now support RSS thanks to Feedburner.
Provides feed republishing for Blogger's Atom feed's into RSS. So if you are using an old feed reader now you can get your daily goodness via RSS. Also added links for MyYahoo, Newsgator, and MyMSN. Check farther down on the right hand side. In addition Feedburner also gives us some basic stats on the blog (So I can better track our progress towards taking over the world!). So if you were already subscribing via the Atom feed, make sure to change it to the new one.


Lightsaber Effects

Easy Lightsaber Effect
Crimson FX is an effect generator for Quicktime movies and DV streams designed to make adding laser and light blade effects (and possibly other effects) as easy as possible.
I decided to write Crimson FX after reading a posting on BoingBoing about how to create rotoscoped Light Saber effects. Unfortunately, it required quite a chunk of expensive and complicated software to do it. I figured not everybody who would want to make their own home-rolled laser and light saber effects would have access to those fine programs, so I sat down and hacked this out. Fortunately, I was able to re-use a lot of code I'd written over the course of a couple of years. It took me just a few days to get a working copy. Then I got busy with work and life and forgot about it.

Ahh, more movie making goodness. What home movie can't use some lightsaber action?



Friday, May 20, 2005

$14 Steadycam

$14 Steadycam
Steadycams (or camera stabilizers) are attachments used to capture smooth looking video even when the camera and camera operator are in motion. The camera operator may walk (or even jog), move through tight hallways and doorways, and even climb up and down stairs without shaking the camera. Unfortunately, professional steadycams cost around $1500. Even the cheap 3rd party ones cost $600+. Not exactly a bargain considering many of us use cameras in that price range. So, I decided to make my own version. It turns out, it only costs $14. Not too bad. And I'll show you how to build your own right here (or you can buy a ready-to-use steadycam from me through this website [littlegreatideas.com]). Whether you are an aspiring filmmaker, a videographer, the family documentarian, or just want more utility out of your video camera, you'll appreciate a steadycam.

Here is one for the Schram-man, to bad he doesn't read the blog. Anyway, great idea. The site has some nice clips of it in action as well.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Mindjack - Piracy is Good? How Battlestar Galactica Killed Broadcast TV

Mindjack - Piracy is Good? How Battlestar Galactica Killed Broadcast TV
That has certainly been the case with Battlestar Galactica. The British aficionados of the series provided torrents for each episode within a few hours of each broadcast. Many fans in the US picked them up and watched them; so did many people in Australia.
While you might assume the SciFi Channel saw a significant drop-off in viewership as a result of this piracy, it appears to have had the reverse effect: the series is so good that the few tens of thousands of people who watched downloaded versions told their friends to tune in on January 14th, and see for themselves. From its premiere, Battlestar Galactica has been the most popular program ever to air on the SciFi Channel, and its audiences have only grown throughout the first series. Piracy made it possible for "word-of-mouth" to spread about Battlestar Galactica.

Pretty interesting article. Has some intriguing ideas for ad space and revenue generation using "hyperdistribution" (that's torrents for us in the know). I keep wondering what's going to happen when we all have fiber to the house. Bandwith problems go bye-bye and allow all sorts of crazy shit. Videophones? Laughably easy. Video on demand? No, not that crap that cable companies are doing. I'm talking about everything on demand. Fuck channel surfing. How about you sit down to watch TV and a list of all your favorite shows that have new episodes out pop up? "There is a new Southpark available. Would you like to watch it now?" What's that you say? Bandwidth might not be a problem but what about storage? How about slapping a bit torrent client on all of the DVR's? Integration stuff is pretty cool as well. While on a video call you can send your buddy that show you saw on chicken sodomy (what?, just an example). Bah, I'm bored. Maybe I'll rant more later.

Boing Boing: Color version of "Walt Disney Memorial Orgy"
Turtle" kindly sent us a large (1568x971 pixels) color version of Wally Wood's "Walt Disney Memorial Orgy," which Paul Krassner published in The Realist and later sold as a poster.

Oh my. That's just wrong. Reeeeeeally damn funny, but so wrong.

Wal-Mart teams with Netflix on DVD deal - Yahoo! News

Wal-Mart teams with Netflix on DVD deal - Yahoo! News
Wal-Mart Stores Inc (NYSE:WMT - news), the world's largest retailer, on Thursday said it was closing its online DVD rental business and would direct customers to Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq:NFLX - news), the company that pioneered online rentals.
Shares of Netflix jumped 19 percent in early trade, reaching their highest level since October when the company cut prices to compete with an online service launched by rival Blockbuster Inc.
Under the agreement, Netflix will promote Wal-Mart DVD sales to its 3 million subscribers, and Wal-Mart will offer its online customers the opportunity to sign up with Netflix at their current subscription price for a year.

Whoa! Didn't see that one coming.

Azureus : Java BitTorrent Client

Azureus : Java BitTorrent Client
It provides a bittorrent protocol implementation using java language.
Azureus offers multiple torrent downloads, queuing/priority systems (on torrents and files), start/stop seeding options and instant access to numerous pieces of information about your torrents.
Azureus now features an embedded tracker easily set up and ready to use.

I've tried numerous torrent clients and this is the best one so far. Blazing speed, more info and control. Plus its java based so the Unix weenies can run it too. The only downside is you have to forward a port for it to get the uber speeds.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Personal Nuclear Power: New Battery Lasts 12 Years

Personal Nuclear Power: New Battery Lasts 12 Years
A new type of battery based on the radioactive decay of nuclear material is 10 times more powerful than similar prototypes and should last a decade or more without a charge, scientists announced this week.
The longevity would make the battery ideal for use in pacemakers or other surgically implanted devices, developers say, or it might power spacecraft or deep-sea probes.
You might also find these nuclear batteries running sensors and other small devices in your home in a few years. Such devices "don't consume much power," said University of Rochester electrical engineer Philippe Fauchet, "and yet having to replace the battery every so often is a real pain in the neck."
Fauchet told LiveScience the batteries could last a dozen years. They're being developed at Rochester and the technology has been licensed by BetaBatt Inc.

Doesn't seem to have much power output but a 12 year battery is ok in my book.


Defense Tech: RC TOYS VS. IEDs
A young private [named "E.S."] in that platoon has one of those radio-controlled toy cars. When they find unidentifiable debris in the road, E.S. sends out his little RC car and rams it. If it's light enough to be moved or knocked over, it's too light to be a bomb, so we can approach it and get rid of it. If it's heavy, we call EOD [explosive ordnance disposal -- the military's bomb squad]. At night, they duct tape a flashlight to the car.
The military actually has robots that it uses for such things, but they are larger, slower, higher-tech, and frightfully expensive. Only EOD units have them, and you could wait for hours and hours before they show up with their robot. If 200 units read about this idea, and 50 units actually buy a toy RC car, and it saves just one single life, it would all be worth it.

Now that is freakin' brilliant. Yes, I love the cool military toys but that 500 billion dollar budget has got me wndering if a whole lot of cheaper toys might not be better than one expensive one.

Poll: U.S. divided on same-sex marriage

Poll: U.S. divided on same-sex marriage - Politics - MSNBC.com
The poll released Sunday found that 50 percent of Americans disapprove of gay and lesbian marriages, while 37 percent approve and 11 percent are neutral.
Although the poll found that half of Americans disapprove of gay marriages, 46 percent of those surveyed said they support civil unions that would provide gay couples with “some, but not all of the legal rights of married couples.” Forty-one percent opposed civil unions.
Americans older than age 65, Republicans, Protestants, regular churchgoers and Southerners were more likely to oppose gay marriage.
People under age 35, Democrats and people who do not attend worship services or attend sporadically were more likely to support gay marriages.

Woohoo. Only half of America are narrow minded bigots. Guess they missed that "All men are created equal" thingie (I must have missed the "unless they are buggering other men" clause). Well, and the "Pursuit of happiness" thingie too. Not to mention that "Seperate but Equal", isn't. I'd like to leave you with one of my favorite sayings. Prejudice is narrow minded, broaden your mind and hate everyone.

CPU Cheatsheet - Seven Years of Covert CPU Operations

AnandTech: Updated CPU Cheatsheet - Seven Years of Covert CPU Operations
Here is nice listing of all AMD and Intel Cpu's including socket info, core, buss speed, cache, process and more. Very handy for the shopper.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Daily Show - The Media on Bloggers

05-09-05-bloggers.mov (video/quicktime Object)
A small follow up to the Rocketboom story. Here is a link to The Daily Show video clip on the media's coverage of Blogs. Very funny as usual, and gives a bit of insight as to how clueless the media is regarding the blog phenomenon.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Firefox - Rediscover the web

Firefox - Rediscover the web
Version 1.04 of Firefox is out. Get it!

Broadcast Flag back from the dead

Boing Boing: Broadcast Flag back from the dead
Well, they've barely finished hosing the blood off the tile after our total creaming of Hollywood's would-be device-czars in the Broadcast Flag victory (where we got a judge to tell Hollywood that they shouldn't have a veto over new digital television technologies), but it's already back.
Here's the shockingly broad and badly conceived bill that Hollywood is shopping on the Hill, trying to find a Congresscritter so fantastically, suicidally stupid that s/he will actually set out to break America's televisions.
The draft bill says, simply, that the FCC will "have authority to adopt regulations governing digital television apparatus necessary to control the indiscriminate redistribution of digital television broadcast content over digital networks."

Goodness. That was quick. And I might add, that wording is wider than Paris Hilton's legs.

Great Quote

Apple's DRM Strategy: Corante > Copyfight >:
"The problem is that the iPod only works with either songs that you buy from the on-line Apple iTunes store or songs that you rip from your own CD’s. But those other music sites have lots of music that you can’t get at the iTunes store. If you are really a geek, you can figure out how to strip the songs you might have bought from another on-line store of all identifying information so that they will go into the iPod. But then you have also degraded the sound quality. How cruel."

Guess who this quote is from....go ahead guess. Awww, you'll never guess. It's from Hilary Rosen! You might know her as the ex chief executive of the RIAA. That's right. The woman who spear-headed the drive for DRM, the DMCA, and sued the crap out of little old ladies is bitching about DRM. Snicker.


Rocketboom is a three minute daily video weblog based in New York City. We cover and create a wide range of information and commentary from top news stories to quirky internet culture. Agenda includes releasing each new clip at 9am EST, Monday through Friday. With a heavy emphasis on international arts, technology and weblog drama, Rocketboom is presented via online video and widely distributed through RSS.
We differ from a regular TV program in many important ways. Instead of costing millions of dollars to produce, Rocketboom is created with a consumer-level video camera, a laptop, two lights and a map with no additional overhead or costs. Also, Rocketboom is distributed online, all around the world and on demand, and thus has a much larger potential audience than any TV broadcast. However, we spend $0 on promotion, relying entirely on word-of-mouth, and close to $0 on distribution because bandwidth costs and space are so inexpensive. While TV programs have traditionally been uni-directional, Rocketboom engages its international audience in a wide range of topical discussions.

All right, not my usual post. But, this is a) Really cool b) really funny c) She's really hot. Seriously, there is something about it that makes you stop and think about the future of media. No I'm not kidding. I do so think sometimes! Anyway, it is pretty amazing what they manage to acomplish for basically free. Did I mention she's really hot? I think it's the glasses. I digress. It is honestly pretty amazing.

I think this is what what the news networks really wanted when they jumped on the blog band-wagon. It wouldn't suprise me in the least to see this get picked up by one of the networks in thier continuing (and pretty much futile) quest to understand the blog phenomenon. And yes, they really are doing this. Not just CNN. All of them. Really. Imagine a news caster reading a blog on the air. Tragic. Anyway, the site is really cool. Check it out. It's definitely the glasses.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

"Who's Your Daddy?" "No idea. All I Know Is, He Said He's Straight"

"Who's Your Daddy?" "No idea. All I Know Is, He Said He's Straight"
In the name of preventing the accidental transmission of HIV, the FDA is recommending sperm banks should screen out gay donors. Gay rights groups are challenging the rule as bigoted and not based on science; they point out that HIV is increasingly transmitted via het sex, and that the HIV screening already in place is sufficient to keep the bank "accounts" safe.
Meanwhile, this could be both hard to swallow for the sperm banks, and a major blow for a core group of donors. The FDA defines "gay" as having engaged in homosexual activity in the preceding five years. If that includes either "fraternity initiation rites" or "that time at summer camp," tens of thousands of college students are gonna have to earn beer money somewhere else.

Wow, look at that. I guess gay-bashing isn't just for Republicans any more. Why can't we pick on people who deserve it? Focus people! There are still goddamn tree-huggin' hippies ,and worse, French people out there! Like gays don't have enough problems with the Queer Eye guys making them look bad.
P.s For any of the Republicans reading this and sputtering "I don't have a problem with gay people". News flash: You don't have a freaking party any more! Sorry, but it's true. Republican is now synonymous with the religious reich...errr...right. You might want to take a look at the Libertarians or take back control of your party. And no, I'm not a Libertarian. But I am thinking of switching. At least I won't have to hang around all the goddamn tree-huggin' hippies on the left.

Yahoo Low-Cost Music Service Hurts Rivals

Yahoo Low-Cost Music Service Hurts Rivals - Yahoo! News
Wednesday's stock market reaction reflected a wide belief that Yahoo's music subscription service, introduced Wednesday, will force Napster and RealNetworks to either lower their prices or risk losing subscribers.
In an effort to make up for lost time in the booming digital music market, Yahoo is offering consumers unlimited access to a library of 1 million songs for as little as $4.99 per month, or about $60 annually.
Subscribers who don't want to make a one-year commitment can pay a rental fee of $6.99 per month.
Napster and RealNetworks charge $14.95 per month, or nearly $180 annually, for a comparable service that enables users to transfer songs from the Internet to portable MP3 players that use Microsoft Corp.'s digital music software.

Woohoo! Let the music wars begin!

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Kursk - Full Text: February '98 World War II Feature

Kursk - Full Text: February '98 World War II Feature
Following their disastrous defeat at Stalingrad during the winter of 1942-43, the German armed forces launched a climactic offensive in the East known as Operation Citadel on July 4,1943. The climax of Operation Citadel, the Battle of Kursk, involved as many as 6,000 tanks, 4,000 aircraft and 2 million fighting men and is remembered as the greatest tank battle in history. The high-water mark of the battle was the massive armor engagement at Prochorovka (also spelled Prokhorovka), which began on July 12. But while historians have categorized Prochorovka as a victory of improved Soviet tactics over German firepower and heavy tanks, new evidence casts the struggle at the "gully of death" in a very different light.

And now for something completely different. How about a little history folks? Basically, the article suggests that the Germans in WWII were far closer to winning the key battle of Kursk than most historians give them create for. History is fluid.

Bible college tax money

adn.com | opinion : Bible college tax money
It's hard to imagine a more clear violation of the separation of church and state than the $1 million the federal government has given the fledgling Alaska Christian College. The 3-year-old institution is a divinity school, founded to produce ministers for the Evangelical Covenant Church. There is no way government can give the college money without impermissibly advancing a religious mission.
This was not a token amount of support delivered through arguably secular channels. The $1 million of federal money supplied half the school's budget. Government aid amounted to an astounding $20,000 per student.

See big honkin' rant posted earlier. Or the short version. Like the founding fathers said, "The government should stay the fuck out of religion."

Washington Lawmakers in Video Game Madness

morons.org - Washington Lawmakers in Video Game Madness
Washington's House Bill 2178 proposes that those who make and sell video games could be held liable "if someone under 17 years old commits a crime, due in any part, to playing the game." Apparently forgoing any thought of human free will or cognitive ability, the bill's supporters, among them Washington Police and Sheriff's Association member Bill Hanson, believe "kids" are playing these games and become desensitized by violence. As Hanson states,
"If you sit up and watch this and play these games over and over again... it seems that this is alright to walk up and hit a police officer over the head with a bat,"

I've ranted enough this week so I will simply let this one stand in all its beauteous glory.

Define Irony

morons.org - Anti-Gay Republican Mayor Trolls gay.com for Sex
i·ro·ny Pronunciation Key (r-n, r-)
n. pl. i·ro·nies

1. The use of words to express something different from and often opposite to their literal meaning.
2. An expression or utterance marked by a deliberate contrast between apparent and intended meaning.
3. A literary style employing such contrasts for humorous or rhetorical effect. See Synonyms at wit1.
1. Incongruity between what might be expected and what actually occurs: “Hyde noted the irony of Ireland's copying the nation she most hated” (Richard Kain).
2. An occurrence, result, or circumstance notable for such incongruity.
See also: Spokane, Washington mayor James E. West
I swear, the hypocrisy in politics just kills me.

Free Online Graph Paper / Grid Paper PDFs

Free Online Graph Paper / Grid Paper PDFs
Incompetech.com has printable graph paper PDF’s of all different types and sizes available for download - from plain ol’ vanilla graph paper to hexagonal, multi-width and dotted varieties.

Yeah, I know what you are thinking. Wow Mr. Light, just what I was looking for....NOT! What can I say, the wife is a teacher and is always bugging me about graph paper for the kiddies. Now I can just give her the link and leave me the hell alone. Besides, keep complaining and I'll go back on my church and state rant!

More Firefox tab shortcuts : Lifehacker

More Firefox tab shortcuts : Lifehacker
* Click on a link with the mouse scroll wheel to open that page in a new tab
* Click on an open tab with the mouse scroll wheel to close that tab
* Non-mouse scroll wheelers: Control-click (Command-click for Mac users) opens a link in a new tab
* Shift-click opens a link in a new window

Separation of Church and State.

Amendments to the Constitution
Yup, today's theme is religion. Blame the Schram-man. Since we had yet another discussion on the Separation of Church and State. Starting with the inevitable "there's no mention of Separation of Church and State anywhere" clap trap. This statement is ,of course, technically correct. It is not found in any government document. The phrase was coined when Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter to the Danbury Baptist Association in 1802. Here is an excerpt.
Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man & his god, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between church and state.

Ahhh fuck him. Who the hell is he anyway, one of the founding fathers? Oh, he was? Well, fuck him anyhow he should have wrote it in the amendments. All right. So it isn't in the codified laws of the country. Of course there is a small reference to religous freedom. No, not in the Constitution. That document contains only one reference to religion (which I might add was very controversial at the time and no not the Lord part. I was refering to the complete lack of reference to religion) . "In the year of our Lord..." (the popular dating method of the time). Well, if it ain't in the Constitution it can't be anywhere important right? Not too important, just that little ol' Bill of Rights thingie. Oh, did I mention it was first? That's right, out of the top ten rights, guess which one got top dollar? Here is the first amendment to our constitution.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Well, looky there. It even beat out freedom of speech and the press. Ah, well it just means the government can't establish a state religion. Umm no. There is a small flaw in that logic. Here is an excerpt from about.com's Myths About the Separation of Church and State. Which gives a nice example of the flaw in that logic.
If the "no establishment only" interpretation were accurate, then the federal government could enforce compliance with the rules or dogmas of particular religious beliefs, and so long as it created no national church and allowed people to follow their own, separate, religious rules, this would not be unconstitutional. But does anyone really think that it would be permissible for the government to force all men to wear yarmulkes, or prohibit women from wearing jewelry?

That's just an exaggeration! That's just silly. That's stupid! (try and use the logic above in an argument and you are guaranteed to get a reaction such as these). Fine, forget that little logic exercise. And move on to a different one.
I can prove that little ol' me is way smarter than them founding father dudes. Watch this...Congress shall pass no law that establishes a state religion. Tada! All that confusion just cleared right up. Who needs them founding dudes anyway? Seriously though, the founding fathers were pretty smart dudes right? I mean some people have complaints about them (slavery and all) but nobody really calls them stupid. So if fixing it is that easy, what happened? They sure spent a lot of time on the rest of the amendments. Were they nursing wicked hangovers? Just had a brain fart? Or maybe, it means exactly what it says. "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion". If you read it at the most literal level, might it mean that Congress can't pass any law regarding an establishment of religion? Certainly a possibility considering the opinions of the founding fathers. And taking the second part of the first amendment into account it seems even more likely. If they were only concerned with the establishment of a state religion why bother with the second half (or prohibiting the free exercise thereof)? So the short version seems to be the government can't make a state religion and has to guarantee an individuals right to worship how they wish. If you take into account the varied religions of the founding fathers(Christian, Deist, Liberal Unitarians and possibly atheists) and the fact that they left England to get away from religious persecution it seems to me they are saying "The government needs to stay the fuck out of religion". I'm wrong? Maybe. You are entitled to your own opinion. Just remember, the same amendment that guarantees you that right listed my right to freely exercise my religion and ban a state religion before your right to free speech.

P.s The worst part is the guy I was arguing with doesn't even read the blog. So you had to suffer through this diatribe for no real reason what so ever.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

God's Law

Evil Bible Home Page
Ran across this page this morning and it reminded me of a very funny email I received a while back. Here ya go....
Dear President Bush,

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. I have learned a great deal from you and understand why you would propose and support a constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage.
As you said, "in the eyes of God marriage is based between a man and a woman." I try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination... End of debate.
I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of God's Laws and how to follow them.

1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?

2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her? She is 6 years old, healthy, and very smart. She doesn't want to be a slave, so that might be a problem.

3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanness - Lev.15: 19-24. The problem is how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

4. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord - Lev.1:9. The problem is, my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

5. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2. clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it?

6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination - Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this? Are there
'degrees' of abomination?

7. Lev.21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear contact lenses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle-room here?

8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though Lev. 19 expressly forbids this: How should
they die?

9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves? What should we do with the NFL?

10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev.19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? Lev.24:10-16.
Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14) I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such matters, so I am confident you can help.

Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Tricks of the Trade: Frequent Flier

Tricks of the Trade: Frequent Flier
When all that is left are the middle seats on the plane, ask the person at the counter if you can be seated between two people with the same last name.
Typically they will be family members travelling together and hoping to claim the whole row. If you split them up they will offer you a trade, and you'll wind up by the window or on the aisle.

This one goes out to da dude with the eight gajilion air miles. Course he's such a mean bastard that he probably already figured this one out.

Start-up on track to fill gaps in GPS

MercuryNews.com | 05/09/2005 | Start-up on track to fill gaps in GPS
Even if you're lost, Rosum will find you. That's the promise of the Redwood City start-up that has figured out how to use television signals to track your whereabouts.
Rosum, which counts among its investors In-Q-Tel, the investment arm of the Central Intelligence Agency, promises a vast improvement in location-tracking services and gadgets. That could help everyone from the military to dispatchers tracking delivery trucks. It could even be used to track parolees like Martha Stewart when they go indoors, or locate someone making a 911 emergency call on an Internet phone.

Gaa. Feeling a little queasy.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

American Library Association - USA Patriot Act Petition

ALA | USA Patriot Act Petition
The USA PATRIOT Act threatens your privacy in bookstores and libraries. It gives the FBI the power to apply to a secret court for an order compelling the surrender of records of the books you purchase or borrow.
The government does not have to produce any evidence that you are a terrorist-or even that you are suspected of any crime. The order also gags booksellers and librarians, making it illegal to reveal that your records have been searched.

Speaking of the privacy thing. The ALA is trying to get a million signatures to get rid of the library portion of the Patriot Act. Personally, I think they should repeal the whole damn thing but I wouldn't mind this part going away either. You can sign the petition online so no real work invovled.

Easy Firefox 'open in a new tab'

Easy Firefox 'open in a new tab' : Lifehacker
A little something I accidentally stumbled across in Firefox: apparently, if you click on a link with the mouse scroll wheel button click instead of the actual mouse button, it will automatically open the link in a new tab.

While I surf mainly on the laptop which lacks a scroll wheel. The rest of you may find this pretty useful.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Implant gives artist the sense of "magnetic vision"

Boing Boing: Implant gives artist the sense of "magnetic vision"
In one sensory incident, I was walking out of the library, and I sensed the inductive anti-theft device. I have walked in and out of dozens of libraries hundreds of times, and never once have I thought about the magnetic fields passed through me to prevent me from stealing a book. I have been intellectually aware of the mechanism, but never paid attention until now. Another time I opened a can of cat food for my pets, and I sensed the electric motor running. My hand was about six inches away from the electric can opener, and I was able to sense where the motor was inside of the assembly. Again it brought my attention to a magnetic source that I understood intellectually, but would have otherwise been unaware of. I feel I am one step closer to fully grokking the reality I inhabit.

Ummmmm....wow....the Gibsonian 2020 is getting closer awful quick-like.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Waving Flags of Victory - Broadcast Flag Struck Down!

Waving Flags of Victory
In a unanimous decision, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals tossed out the broadcast flag, the FCC rule that would have crippled digital television receivers starting July 1. The ruling came in ALA v. FCC, a challenge led by Public Knowledge and EFF.
The court ruled, as we argued, that the FCC lacks the authority to regulate what happens inside your TV or computer once it has received a broadcast signal. The broadcast flag rule would have required all signal demodulators to "recognize and give effect to" a broadcast flag, forcing them not to record or output an unencrypted high-def digital signal if the flag were set. This technology mandate, set to take effect July 1, would have stopped the manufacture of open hardware that has enabled us to build our own digital television recorders.
This is extraordinary victory for fair use and innovation.

The fight isn't over yet, though. The flag's proponents at the MPAA will head to Congress to get authority for the rule, and we'll need your help to fight it.
If Congress takes this up, we hope it will address the important public interest concerns raised by this unprecedented federal technology mandate. During the development of the broadcast flag, both before and after it was submitted to the FCC, the concerns of smaller innovators (like Elgato Systems, leading maker of HDTV PVR software for the Mac), libraries, archives, consumer groups, and open source developers were ignored. Congress will have an opportunity to correct this mistake if it takes up this issue.

Woot! Score one for consumer rights! Of course they will go to Congress and with the amount of money the MPAA is spending you know congress will pass it. Damn, I hate being this cynical.

Augmented card game

Augmented card game
TARBoard consists of a glass table, two cameras and a mirror. Markers are attached to the back side of the cards (the front side shows the creature). A first camera tracks the image of markers reflected in the mirror below the table. Another camera, the "augmenting" one provides a 3D model of a creature when the card is flipped. A player cannot see the card processed by the other player.

OOOOOOHHHHH! Star Wars chess!!!! Look, look! STAR WARS CHESS!

Boing Boing: Zabasearch: Your identity, open to all

Boing Boing: Zabasearch: Your identity, open to all: "Zabasearch: Your identity, open to all
I interviewed the founders of Zabasearch, a recently-launched 'people data search engine,' for Wired News today. The controversial site offers free searches that reveal addresses, unlisted phone numbers, birth years, and other info dating back often ten years or more. Records include those of public figures and celebrities -- and, possibly, you. Critics say the service exploits the lack of data privacy in America. Many claim the company has been less than transparent about its fee-based services, and unresponsive to opt-out requests."

While I generally leave the ranting to Clight, I feel I must unload on this topic. Privacy Rights seem unimportant the the majority of Americans these days. I mean, all our credit info etc is easily gotten by just about anyone. I think the American public just assumes their information is easy to obtain and accepts it. The problem here is that by accepting this situation, we get "services" like Zaba which truly do undermine our Privacy Rights in very real and scary ways. My fear is that the Right to Privacy, a subject I hold dear, is a dead issue. We, the accepting sheeplike masses have given up, or just do not care that all of our vital data has become a commodity resource which can be bought and sold without any input on our part. "But, I have nothing to hide, Mr. Baa. I live a lawful life." I hear this all the time. WAKE UP!!! It's not about hiding secrets. It's about your basic right to control information about your life, and decide who can and cannot access your information and create targeting marketing, wonderful credit card offers, perfect vacations, and more.

/rant off

Boing Boing: Google Accelerator is bad news for Web apps

Boing Boing: Google Accelerator is bad news for Web apps: "Google Accelerator is bad news for Web apps
Google Accelerator wreaks havoc on Web-apps by 'clicking every link' on every control screen in order to cache it -- so it also ends up clicking on 'Delete my account' and 'Launch pre-emptive nuclear strike,' etc."

Go Google! While a certainly am all for making the web faster, this type of caching is not well thought out. One would expect Google to be a bit brighter when it comes to developing these handy utilities.

Spike TV Orders Pilot Based on 'Blade'

Spike TV Orders Pilot Based on 'Blade' - Yahoo! News
Spike TV has ordered a pilot based on the successful "Blade" movies starring Wesley Snipes as the half-human, half-vampire hunter of the undead.
A two-hour movie based on the Marvel comic books will premiere early next year, the network said Thursday.

Man, I hope this turns out as cool as the Battlestar Galactica series. Mind you, after Blade 2 I ain't holdin' my breath but I can hope. Oh, if you ain't watching Galactica, WHY NOT? They are re-running the series on SciFi Fridays at 10. Think they are up to episode 4 or so and you can buy the 4 part pilot from Amazon (not available on Netflix yet). Since it is Scifi they will probably do a marathon when the next season starts though. Aw screw it. You shoulda been watchin' from the beginning.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Rodriguez Developing Conan?

Rodriguez Developing Conan?
TheArnoldFans.com reported that Robert Rodriguez (Sin City) has been brought in to develop a new Conan the Barbarian film, and that original Conan helmer John Milius has been let go by Warner Brothers. Milius had been developing his own sequel, called King Conan, the site reported.
The site reported that Rodriguez's project will also be called King Conan, but it's unlikely he would use Milius' script. It's also unclear whether original Conan star and current California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger will be involved.

Lots of good movie news today. Rodriguez and Conan, how can you go wrong. As a side note, The above quote is what thearnoldfans.com people said, but not how they said it. They seem a trifle upset.

Silver Surfer the Movie!

Silver Surfer
Marvel and Fox executives told SCI FI Wire that a planned Silver Surfer movie is in serious development as a project to be started after Fantastic Four and the next X-Men film, which begins production later this summer. "We're just starting, and we are very excited," Marvel film chief Avi Arad said in an interview at the Saturn Awards ceremony in Los Angeles. "We are finishing [Fantastic Four], and the next thing we'll go on our way to Silver Surfer."

Woohoo! Surf's up dood! Hope they don't pull a Punisher on it.

A guide to youth language

News: A guide to youth language - New Zealand Ministry of Youth Development
Ever felt like today’s youngsters are speaking a different language? With Youth Week 2005 upon us from 9-15 May, now is the perfect time to brush up on some current youth terms…

You do realize that I will now try to use as many of these phrases as possible now? Aight? True dat!

Dinner For Five

News Askew: [Feature Story]
Word comes from on high that Kevin's episode of "Dinner for Five", which he guest-hosted (with Jason Lee, Stan Lee, Mark Hamill, and JJ Abrams as guests) will be airing on May 27th. IFC.

Airs on IFC (Independant Film Channel) at 10pm. Careful with the DVR scheduling though. IFC shows always start late. Might want to set a manual recording.

110,000 volt Gatling Taser Gun

Lightning On Demand
The Taser Cannon can direct a 15,000 Ampere plasma channel through the air along a straight trajectory, at grounded targets up to 35 ft downrange. The cannon consists of 30 high pressure pneumatic dart stations, each capable of launching a tapered aluminum sabot that trails a thin 'seed wire' 0.008 inches in diameter. Cannon tilt and pan is pneumatic, and a sighting laser is located inside the cannon head. When a launched sabot contacts the target, the Marx-configured capacitor bank automatically fires and erects the bank to 110,000 volts, igniting a plasma channel along the vaporized seed wire. The plasma channel quickly intensifies, magnetically confined in the air by the Lorentz forces of its own current.

Well, you've probably already seen this one but how could I resist. A 110,000 volt Gatling Taser Gun!

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

The Hilton Technology Room

The Hilton Technology Room - Engadget - www.engadget.com /
including a 70-inch projection screen with Bose home theater 5-channel surround sound, sonically matched cube speaker arrays, satellite and high def programming, and a couple of wireless touchscreen remotes to control the whole works (including the LCD flat-panel above the hot tub, of course)

Daaaaaamn! No wonder you like travelling so much Baa. You didn't tell me that you were set up in a phat crib like this! Other features include, gourmet coffee brew station, biometric safe, shower has four automated jets for full-body pleasure (ok, this one is kinda disturbing), and king-size VSS Sleep System.

Monday, May 02, 2005

A Sell-Out's Tale - Zpedia

A Sell-Out's Tale - Zpedia
One day in February I got a message from a woman named Jennifer. As messages go, it was a good one. She worked for Volvo of North America, and she wanted to fly me to Phoenix for a three-day stay in a first-class hotel, all expenses paid.
She had a nice voice. Her message was short. She said, "You are preregistered for the Volvo C70 introduction in Phoenix. Can you call me back to work out the flight details?"
It would have been a cryptic message, but I had already been on one Volvo press trip, and I knew immediately that I had just been offered a cushy free vacation. All Volvo wanted, in return, was for me to mention their car in a national publication. Or, to put it bluntly, all they wanted was my journalistic integrity.

I found this through one of the many "demise of old media" articles. The "demise" article wasn't that interesting but they had a really interesting link in the article. It basically confirms what everyone suspects but no one ever confirms, people can be eaisly bought. Just to assure everyone, we at Clubbing Baby Seals have never accepted any form of compensation or gifts from anyone for favorable reviews or plugs. We try, but apparently no one wants to buy. So, if you have a product and are lacking a paid pundit. Please contact us. I promise there are no embarrassing naked pictures of myself or Baa floating around like that Jeff Gannon character. Of course, there can be, for the right price!

Bacon Strips Bandages

Bacon Strips Bandages
Ouch! That smarts! Treat your minor cuts, scrapes and scratches with the incredible healing power of a designer bandage from Accoutrements. And if a fancy bandage isn't enough to dry up your tears, how about a FREE TOY! Each comes in a 3-3/4" tall metal pocket tin and contains a small plastic trinket to help make even the ouchiest owies feel all better in no time. The 3" x 1" Bacon Strips are cut to look like small slabs of bacon. Fifteen per tin.

Well, I haven't had a fit of the giggles since this bad since the Bill O'Reilly Thailand thing. I'm almost ready to buy a box of these just to see what kind of "free toy" you put in a box of bacon bandages. Wishbone hemostats? Pancake Guaze? Sausage tampons?

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Distressed Leather Jacket
Great for a dressed-down look, this distressed Illuminati Jacket features a blazer design with contrast stitching. Patches adorn the back and left sleeve and an image is screen-printed on the interior. Country Of Origin: Imported.

I'll bet this is what the super sneaky Sony agents wear.