Sunday, December 24, 2006

NORAD tracks Santa

NORAD won't let North Korea rain on its holiday parade! Watch Santa as he flies across the globe.

Click here for live video


Full website (w/ maps, videos, etc).

Learn all about your buddies and their favorite things, without ever having to talk to them.

From December 24th's AIM Today webpage (the one that pops open when you start up AIM):


Your Buddies Are Waiting ...
Find out what your buddies are up to without having you around to amuse them. Sign in above to see what's happening in your social circle.

Buddy Icons
See all of the icons that your buddies have picked.

View AIM Page
Learn all about your buddies and their favorite things, without ever having to talk to them.


Sample Away Message
Keep track of what all your friends are doing. This way you'll never be left out of the loop.


Man, I wish I could learn all about my buddies and their favorite things without ever having to talk to them!

I really can't fathom why AIM (a system based on talking to people) portrays the very idea of talking to people, as some kind of hassle.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Great Pandora Station




If you're not familiar with it already, check out pandora.com. You enter in the name of an artist or song you like, and then it will make a steady stream of recommendations and play them for you. So it's practically radio, except that it's all playing songs with similar qualities to the one you mention.

I've used Pandora as a novelty before. Sometimes it can be so good that, well, I just get a ton of songs that sound all sort of similar and I'm not a fan.

However, I did find what I'd think'd be my favorite "station." When it asks for song, enter "The Way We Get By" by the band "Spoon." The song itself is pretty great, but the ones that it recommends all tend to fit into a similar genre of classic rock-ish, or contemporary alternative, all sort of grooving, never too much, rarely too little.

The funny thing is, while it helps pandora.com's records if you vote "I like it!" or "This isn't what I wanted," even if the song doesn't sound much like "The Way We Get By," I let it play anyway. I may not be contributing to the community filter, but I tend to enjoy what's coming out, so I don't want pandora to cut it off if I say it doesn't sound close. So at least I'm satisfied.

Friday, November 24, 2006

VT Plates are Green


I always liked these for their simplicity.

Images of all 50 states' license plates found here.

UFOs Sighted in Queens

# 2005 - Rockaway Beach, Queens A UFO was sighted over the water near what looked like aircraft carriers. It disappeared as quickly as it came.[citation needed]
# 2005 - Woodside, Queens Five Flying Saucers appeared over Woodside, Queens in November 2005. They were seen throughout the whole Queens and Manhattan area. They disappeared one at a time.[citation needed]


Full wikipedia article on UFO encounters here.

Citation needed, but one can hope.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Craigslist Culling part 8: Today's Missed Connection

Where is Hell's Kitchen tall stylish skateboy guy with big dog? - w4m - 21 (Midtown West)
Reply to: pers-237902628@craigslist.org
Date: 2006-11-21, 12:15AM EST

Once I saw you twice in the span of 10 hours as I was leaving and then returning to New York through the Lincoln Tunnel. I was stuck in traffic and bored witless and admired you on the way out. Ten hours later or so at dusk, as I sat in a white van on the way back in the city, we shared a moment of gazes in the distance. I'm not creepy, I promise. But why were you out alone all day with your large dog...rolling around in the middle of Lincoln Tunnel Traffic? You were cute...

* It's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests

237902628

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

And someone's response...

karma? Can it!
Reply to: gigs-235233563@craigslist.org
Date: 2006-11-15, 12:41PM EST

If you're the seasoned pro you think you are then certainly you've already got the contacts and talent required to find you your next gig right? Why are you hitting up craigslist and getting pissed when zero budget art flicks can't pay? These jobs are for inexperienced kids looking to pad the C.V. or people like me who make enough on the real gig that I don't mind helping out the upstarts when I'm in between projects. I guess there's a difference between artist and workman. Pull yr heads outta yr arses people.

* no -- it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
* Compensation: priceless

235233563


Two sides to every argument, I guess.

Craigslist Ad: In response to Film Shoots advertising "good karma" as payment:

My Landlord Told Me Karma Was Good Enough
Reply to: gigs-235048056@craigslist.org
Date: 2006-11-15, 12:09AM EST

I don't know why everyone gets all upset, my landlord said I could pay with karma, as long as it's good. Maybe you guys should just ask.

Maybe we could set up a whole new karma currency system where if we work for someone they could just give us karma. Of course we'd need a way to denote how much we got. Maybe pieces of paper with some preassigned amounts on them, which we could then pass on to people who work for us. Oh no, wait that's already been done... it's called cash.

* no -- it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
* Compensation: cash is karma

235048056


Props to this guy. Experience and "good karma" is nice and all, but at the end of the day, there are bills to be paid.

Friday, November 10, 2006

43 Folders Yet Again, this time, on your iTunes Playlists

Revenge of the Smart Playlist: 5 tricks for packrats & power users

The success of yesterday’s post on the basics of Smart Playlists makes me think you might enjoy seeing a few more. So, today I want to show you how to get control of a very large iTunes library — to save space by getting rid of stuff you’re not enjoying or listening to, as well as bubble up stuff you may not even realize you like.

From 43folders.com

I am an increasing fan of 43folders.com, if that was not already evident from the fact that I've already posted here 3 articles straight off the site. This post details some extremely useful ways to use smart playlists in managing your iTunes library. Mine isn't that big to start with, but it is kind of neat to find out what songs you like that you have not rated, songs you like that you forgot you had, etc and so forth. And when your iPod holds a lonely sole Gigabyte of data, this information can be rather useful to diversify what you listen to every day. (you = me).

Craigslist Ad seeks Dissertation "Re-Worder"

Dissertaion Re-worder NEEDED
Reply to: gigs-232580684@craigslist.org
Date: 2006-11-09, 6:47PM EST

Greetings!

I looking for someone to reword the first chapter (introduction) of my dissertation, roughly 10 pages single spaced. It is in the field of physiology so it is somewhat technical but the way its written I don't think you need to be a physiology expert for this job, just a good technical writer. I will submit it to you basically word-for-word out of countless references and you would need to reword it such that it is not plagiarized.

Please let me know your fair price for doing this and your general writing background.

Thanks

* no -- it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests


232580684


I think a prerequisite for a doctoral candidate should be, "don't be a no talent assclown and ask around on the internet for people to reword your countless sources into a dissertation chapter."

Sunday, October 22, 2006

NOTE: DON'T APPLY IF YOU ARE NOT INTERESTED IN DEFERRED PAY!

I saw the above on a Craigslist ad for film crew.

I am curious as to how many people out there are sincerely interested in deferred pay. Immediate pay? Screw that. Deferred pay is where the real action is.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

"The Hipster PDA"


Introducing the Hipster PDA

Hipster PDA

Recently, I got sick of lugging my Palm V around, so I developed a vastly superior, greatly simplified device for capturing and sharing information. I call it “The Hipster PDA.”

Beauty & Simplicity

Hipster PDA - the parts you'll need

The Hipster PDA (Parietal Disgorgement Aid) is a fully extensible system for coordinating incoming and outgoing data for any aspect of your life and work. It scales brilliantly, degrades gracefully, supports optional categories and “beaming,” and is configurable to an unlimited number of options. Best of all, the Hipster PDA fits into your hip pocket and costs practically nothing to purchase and maintain.

Full article available here



Through a few plugs on the podcast "MacBreak" I stumbled onto Merlin Mann's blog "43 Folders." Aside having a fun and alliterative name, Merlin authors posts on productivity, how to simplify, get stuff done. But usually, it's not too heavy handed, and has a fair amount of wit involved. Like the "Hipster PDA" described and pictured above. As I metioned before, I'm moving towards a somewhat Luddite approach to productivity. And even though I've said on many occassions that I'd be quite glad to have a Treo or Blackberry, I am also slightly titillated by the idea of being able to get as much done without those devices. Or debunking the idea that spending tons of money will help you get organized.

It is also a characteristic of "hip" to be in on a secret that the rest of the dumb masses aren't in on. According, at least, to The History of Hip, by John Leland. Hipster or not though, nothing would feel better than holding a bound stack of index cards up to a Palm Treo and saying "I like my model better."

This will not be me; while I like the "written down" part, I'm not wholly sold on the index cards. I still like keeping lists where I can just flip open a pad and see what I'm up to, so it will be notepad for me until I find reason to do otherwise.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

If you thought Batman costume was a bit much...

Check out this guy:




The next step was to mount the claws to a ball-bearing track that could be hooked to the back of Nate's forearm. The track was created from a sliding keyboard tray. The slider on the track was modified to be much shorter, and use only 8 ball bearings. Bolts were put through the slider on the track and then some galvanized metal was bent and hack-sawed to make the right shape for attaching the first claw.

Full story here.


Link is worth clicking on. This guy actually made a home constructed Wolverine costume, complete with retractable aluminum claws. The slider/arm/weapon imagery reminds me of DeNiro's jury-rigged spring holster in Taxi Driver.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Creepy Machines

Hi. This is the qmail-send program at yahoo.com.
I'm afraid I wasn't able to deliver your message to the following addresses.
This is a permanent error; I've given up. Sorry it didn't work out.


- MAILER-DAEMON@yahoo.com

Yahoo!'s Mailer Daemon and Washington Mutual's ATMs officially take the cake for creepiest computer/human interactions. Runner up is when I was trying to leave a voicemail, and the machine on the other end said

We're sorry you are having trouble. Have a nice day. Click.


Of course I'm the problem.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

A Palm Made of Paper

From patrickrhone.com"


Capturing Device - Paper

I use a Moleskine Lined Pocket Notebook as my main capturing device. I have tried other methods of capturing including a Palm Tungsten T5, my trusty Apple Newton MessagePad 2100 and Index Cards (Hipster PDA). No matter where I am I almost always have it with me and use it to capture all manner of action items, phone numbers, notes, calendar items, etc. I simply find the Moleskine the best device for me in terms of versatility, portability and speed. These generally all go in a running stream with a dash/plus system.

The dash/plus system goes like this. All items, no matter what they are, are treated as items to be processed. For instance, calendar items go into my calendar, phone numbers into my contact file, notes go into NoteTaker (see below), etc. Even though it is not a "next action" all items generally need to be processed in some way.The top of each page is marked with the page number and the date. The date is not used for anything other than the date the new page was started (i.e. I do not use it to track when things are added or completed, just a rough estimate thereof)...

There are a couple of other Moleskine Hacks that I employ. I do use a Post-it™ index tab to mark the page I am currently at because while the built in ribbon page marker is quaint I find it not as efficient. I also keep some small Post-it™ notes (the 2 inch square size) on the inside back cover opposite of the pocket so that I may have somewhere to write a note to pass to someone else.

Also, I also have a way to carry items forward that works for me. Every few pages I do carry unprocessed and undone items forward and add them to the current page. When I want to carry an uncompleted item forward I draw a circle around the item’s preceding dash (thus marking that it was not completed and has moved to another page). Then on the new page I write the item and provide the page number from which that item came.


Full Article Here.

Coincidentally, I recently found myself in an organizational jam of my own, in which digital to-do lists and calendars no longer served their purpose. At work I found myself spending way too much time trying to figure out how to best put to use the digital organizational tools at my disposal: namely, inbox, taskpad and calendar of Microsoft Outlook. I like computer stuff, I like organization, it just seemed to make sense. Until I realized that I was spending an excess amount of time trying to figure out where to sort my e-mails, or how to prioritize on the task pad, that I was losing the amount of time that I ought to actually be devoting to TASKS themselves. Result: stilted workflow, and a difficult time figuring out just what exactly it was I had completed in a day.

So when it came time for me to crack down on my organizational antics, and find the quickest, fastest way to simply get things done, I brought clipboard and bought legal pad and went to work. Going as minimally as possible, I simply wrote a number item for every task that I was given. When the task was complete, I'd cross it off. At a glance, away from desk or not, I could tell what needed to be completed. At the end of the day, on the subway home, I'd review what had not been crossed off, and copy it on to the top of the next day's list. I wouldn't have to kibbitz about where to sort tasks, I just wrote them down. And, though a bit hard to read, if I needed to recall info on a previous task, there it was, though under a thick pen lien or two.

Volume of tasks was also easy to gage in this manner. On a particularly busy day, I could have around 40 - 50 items that I had tackled. On a really slow day, I could have about 10. Not perfect, or as systematized as Patrick's system, or with as many tags, references or automatic reminders, but it's there, it's clear, and (knock on wood) it's all I need.

I've gone into a similar Luddite direction with my planner. I got a hgue kick out of using Google's online calendar (because, it looked like outlook, and maybe, professional-ish or PDA-like or whatever), but when it gets down to business, if I can't update this thing as I'm walking down the street or someone calls and gives me some info, it's practically useless (unless I want to make a note to add it later, and then again, we're being redundant). So, $8 and about 45 min. spent in the planners section of the Barnes & Noble, and I have replaced Google calendar.

Maybe if in the future I get rich and get some sort of phone/digital organizer thing, I'll get back on that wagon or trail (on more than one occassion, having cut and pasted address or contact info on my iPod calendar has been a useful thing). But until I get something that totally covers those bases and lets me add info on the fly, pen, paper, planner are all I need.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Amazon-- it's just so...personal.

Dear Amazon.com Customer,

We've noticed that customers who have expressed interest in The Fantasticks: The Complete Illustrated Text Plus the Official Fantasticks Scrapbook and History of the Musical by Harvey Schmidt have also ordered The Color Purple: A Memory Book of the Broadway Musical by Oprah Winfrey. For this reason, you might like to know that Oprah Winfrey's The Color Purple: A Memory Book of the Broadway Musical will be released on September 28, 2006. You can pre-order your copy at a savings of $13.60 by following the link below.


Thank you, Amazon. But I think I'll make it.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Dear Facebook: Just do what you're good at.

Facebook has had a lot of curious things going on lately. First, the "news feed" that gave all your friends a live update of your facebook activity (writing on walls, friending people, joining or leaving groups), and then something about expanding the "regions" of facebook...I guess where you search and find people. I only know about the latter, because for the second time in about two weeks, my facebook homepage had a "Letter from the Creators" responding to objections to where they were taking the site. There was also a link where you could put in suggestions, so I wrote this one and sent it to them. I'm wondering if anyone else may agree with me on this point.

(to preface, I think the header they put in for your message was "My Idea", hence my response in the first line):


or even-- something of a lack of an idea. Though I understand the need to expand, add new features, widen the breadth and appeal of the site, I find myself less interested, the bigger facebook gets.

What I liked about facebook in the first place was, a directory/public space of all sorts of people that I see at college, as well as a way to keep tabs ro get in touch with people who I used to know from high school. And taht's pretty much it, and that's what I value it for now. I use groups, friending, walls, and haven't made use of things like notes or news feed much, except for sake of satire and parody.

What defines facebook is that it is THE social networking site for college students. Myspace.com is generic, broad, big and ugly. I would suggest that instead of trying to expand in a direction that, like it or not, will seem like Facebook is trying to become myspace-- why not try to expand INWARDS. Focus on what sort of social networking tools are most useful for college students and only college students (or high school, if you're into that, but I was never involved in facebook in high school, so I wouldn't know).

I can't think of ideas of "expanding inwards" off the top of my head, but I trust that you can. Know your market, know what you're good at, stick to that, and continue to improve upon facebook as a college directory and social networking site. There is no website better this for that exclusive purpose.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Apple news...some neat stuff probably.

The iPod iPod got upgraded with a few new features. Much brighter screen, longer battery life, bigger model is 20GB bigger, at 80GB. Disappointing was the absence of the awaited "real" iPod Video, with the display taking up the full surface of the thing. At this point, the large screen iPod video seems somewhat overdue, even by a company that rarely announces products and release dates. Most exciting thing is probably the cost-- $249 for the 30GB. This is apparently a price drop, but I don't know what the original 30GB price is, so I can't say what this does for me.

Interestingness of products increases as it goes down the line. iPod Nano has been redesigned. Basically, they took the look of the iPod mini and injected that into the iPod Nano (w/ expected increases in memory capacity). So you've got the size of the Nano, plus the colors and aluminum finish of the mini, minus all the scratches that was all the fuss last year. By some feedback on digg, some like it, some don't, but it mostly depends on how minimal you like your products. I think this is just fine.


Neatest product upgrade was the iPod shuffle, which does not even quite look like the iPod Shuffle anymore. It has also received an aluminum case, in silver, and perhaps more resembles Apple's FM receiver accessory than the original shuffle. With it's silver brushed metal design and built in clip, it is a huge improvement over the plastic white pack of gum that was the original shuffle. Moreover, while the new shuffle was pictured clipped to a pocket of a pair of jeans, I find it just as likely, if not more, that the very same device will be seen clipped to dress shirts or suit jacket lapels. It looks good enough to be able to get away with that. Or at least, much easier than having the white stick of gum hanging around your neck with a lanyard attached to it.

iTunes 7 got a bunch of new stuff, neatest was an "album flow" sort of cover. iTunes will now download all of the album art for your CDs, including for albums that you did not by off of iTunes, and there are a fwe new views to shuffle through them (including one that looks rather inspired by the Windows Media Player 11...but Apple's album flow is sufficiently innovative to trump this little bit of copy catting).

For movies, resolution has gone up to 640 X 480, in "near" DVD quality. I can only guess that this is somewhere between VHS and DVD, and that's ok. I probably don't have high enough resolution of any sort of display that this'd make a huge difference (though I wonder how wide screen movies will appear on the still-square iPod). Movies available now from all Disney labels, new releases will be $12.99 during preorder and the first week, but they will then jump to $14.99 immediately thereafter. I smell compromise with film studios.

On the more interesting end, though, it's $9.99 for most older films (that is, not recent). I think I kind of dig this. I didn't think I would, but when I think of the number of times that I've thought-- man, I'd buy this movie if it were $9.99 at a Walmart or something...and then have been disappointed not to find it....then I think I can justify this movie store existence, to fulfill that particular need of mine. Now to get it to my TV, though...the cost of a DVD to burn it on...and the hassle of burning it...could be an offset. But what could sell me on it a bit more, is the thin silver box that will make it possible for your TV display menu to look like this:



Product codenamed "iTV" was announced for 1st Quarter 2007. Looks like a flattened Mac Mini that'd attach to your TV. Which would allow you to access all media on your computers running iTunes, and stream it through to your television. So I could by my $9.99 iTunes edition of the original "Superman" or "Batman" (2 titles that fit into the, I'd buy it only if category...), go to my TV set w/ this box attached to it, cue it up, and just sit on the couch and watch it. The video never had to be burned to a DVD, it's sent wirelessly over my home network to my TV.

There are reservations here. The display of the movie is contingent upon the wireless network in your home being fast enough. And then there's the business of buying the "iTV."

If we look at the Mac Mini as any sort of reference guide (which...might work), we'd see the low end model at $599 (it was the Mac Mini that was originally rumored to be Apple's gateway into the living room, but if anything, perhaps it was the first step towards developing the "iTV" product). So, Mac Mini is at $599. By contrast, other set top devices go from $70 - $200 for a DVD plaer, TiVo goes $30 to $130 models. Blu-Ray or HDVD takes it up there to the $500 - $1000 range, but this is quite an exception. So perhaps we may be able to look between $99 - $549 as my crude, slightly educated guess. This, of course, works under the assumption that a use-specific device, like a media hub box for your TV should cost less than a desktop computer. But perhaps it's too early to say.

My favorites, from what I saw, (webcast cut out on me), the new Shuffle...cool enough I'd almost buy it...and the $9.99 movies. I'd almost buy those, too. Runner up in interest, the new Nano (nothing shocking, but stil kind of neat). iTV...ok...not bad...but it's far enough away that it doesn't do much for me, and I'm not too impressed with such an early product announcement from Apple. I can't quite imagine why they'd announce a product that is going to come spefically AFTER the holiday season. "Hi, Honey! It's spring time! Time for you to shell out the cash to buy that gadget that you would have much rather received a few months ago at Christmas for free!" Can only push so far though, still, so close to the Christmas buying season, why bother telling people. At the very least, though, the announcement won't cannibalize sales, except for perhaps those of Mac Minis whose perspective owners would be interested in getting one during the holidays to hook up to their TV.

Bedtime.

NOTE 9/13 9:52PM: I watched the rest of the webcast yesterday and saw that they actually did reveal their price point for the iTV device: $299. I kinda don't think that's so bad. And I found myself trying to make up reasons to get it. It'd be great to be able to stream content and movies from my computer, but I don't ahve a lot of movies on my computer...but I could. I do also have bunches of DL.TV or Diggnation video podcasts, I think I'd really enjoy the opportunity to watch those from sitting on a couch, or to show them to friends.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Microsoft training video, starring David Brent

http://blogs.smh.com.au/mashup/archives//005589.html

Apparently Microsoft in the UK commissioned Ricky Gervais and Steve Merchant to do internal training videos on working at Microsot, sort of as a spoof, but also fun type of thing, and it unintentionally got leaked onto the internet. The original story on digg said that Google and YouTube pulled the video at Microsoft's behest, but here's a link that looks like it's still functioning.

The double triple thinker in me would guess that perhaps this is part of Microsoft's campaign to change its image, by doing viral video marketing like this. Could be, could be. I mean, I actually think a little better of Microsoft if they have the good thinking to have Steve Merchant and Ricky Gervais produce just about anything for them.

A New Tom Cruise Project is coming soon...

Cruise About to Set New Course
A spokesman for Tom Cruise said Thursday that the actor is on the verge of disclosing what his next film project will be. In an interview with today's (Wednesday) USA Today, Cruise spokesman Arnold Robinson said, "He will probably be making a decision on his next film in the coming days/weeks. As he is considering several projects, I am unable to say what genre that project will be." Cruise has had successful movies in a variety of genres, including comedies, thrillers, and romance films.


- from today's imdb.com news

Can. Not. Wait.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Did I listen to pop music because I was miserable? Or was I miserable because I listened to pop music?

Other musicals expected on Broadway this fall are High Fidelity, which is based on the book and movie of the same name and will test its stuff in Boston (music is by Tom Kitt, with lyrics by Amanda Green); and a limited run of Dr. Suess' How the Grinch Stole Christmas , beginning Oct. 25, because, well, it's Christmas, and something's got to fill the Hilton Theatre until The Pirate Queen arrives in 2007.


playbill.com's full story here

It seems, in the tradition of "The Wedding Singer," movie that has a lot to do with music becomes a musical. I am not complaining. Now if it were to happen that Jack Black were to reprise his role, I think I would wet myself.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Jogging and eating

So I went jogging today. Any of you jog....yes- yes thank you, sir, in the blue. No, screw that I'm lying. I didn't go jogging. I went down to the village for a fundraiser, had some moons this shade of blue and then I came up. But as I was on my way up, me and Jim felt like we might want some, ur, Chicken Selects. So, to facilitate doing that, Tori said- hey! Use these cards that say, have a free 3 piece chicken selects! Well we tried- and they didn't work. Clearly, Jim and I had made these business cards with a hologram logo on the back and a glossy outside, solely for the purpose of getting free chicken selects.

Well our money was no good there.

So I said 3? Fuck 3. I'm going to get SEV-en. You hear me? SEV-EN. And I had them. I had them like the Atlantic had the Titanic. Then I came back up the train, the N train, back up to Astoria and then I stopped.

Stopped at Mike's 24 hour Diner.

And like yesterday, I stopped to get something for the road-- not the road, but the walk home, a good 15 minute-er. And yesterday I got French Fries- but today I got something different. Thought to myself. Got to cut back on the carbs. Eat healthy. Think ahead- the future. The future.

I bought onion rings.

And they come in an aluminum pan, with the plastic thing that you crimp over the top. I remove the plastic thing, so it's just aluminum, and the rest of the contents just fall into the bag, so that I am eating onion rings (or yesterday, in my less healthy days) French Fries. And I eat them out of a bag.

And someone, jogging, breathing heavily, comes by me in the opposite direction, and looks and me while huffing and puffing, and I eat an onion ring. And that is something right there.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

How to....

http://www.instructables.com/

This site looks pretty neat. Found it through an article on digg on how to make a 4 pointed throwing star out of exacto blades.

No, you don't got it. GET IT?!?

Paramount cuts ties with Tom Cruise
Chairman says the star’s behavior was unacceptable to the company
NEW YORK - Paramount Pictures has severed its 14-year-old ties to Tom Cruise’s production company because of his off-screen behavior, the chairman of the studio’s parent company said Wednesday in an interview with the Wall Street Journal.


Full story here

There needs, NEEDS, to be a made-for-TV movie about the rise and fall of Tom Cruise. Not that he has fallen in my opinion- I don't know who those USA Today poll participants are whose opinion of Tom Cruise has some how declined. He's an actor, he makes movies, and unless he's doing ridiculous stunts or interviews, he's simply really really good looking, shorter in person, and rumored to be gay. I don't know about you, but I enjoy couch jumping, defensive about religion Tom Cruise far better, and I am excited for the contribution that he as this is making to our culture right now.

I tried to see the play I Was Tom Cruise at the Fringe Festival this past week. Unfortunately, it was all sold out. I was number 14 in line about, and the line was up to about 30 or 40, going up the block. When the box office person announced, all sold out in case 4 press or industry don't show up, 20 persons, including myself, simply stood in line, holding out for that chance among chances. It didn't come. But I'm crossing my fingers that I somehow get to see this show at some point in time.

Monday, August 21, 2006

It is true, crosswalk buttons are fake.

You were right all along, pushing the crosswalk button doesn
�t do diddly squat, at least not in New York City. More than 2,500 of the 3,250 walk buttons that still exist in New York function only as mechanical placebos. Any benefit from them is ONLY IMAGINED. This should make you wonder - do the buttons really work in your city?

read more | digg story

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Bye-Bye, Boring Laundry

Doing laundry is one of my most detested chores. But the dreaded chore will become easier with the latest innovations in laundry.

read more | digg story

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Digg Praised In PBS' Mediashift

"The democratization of media is about letting a billion flowers bloom, and turning the power of news analysis, commentary, punditry and spoofery over to the people." The article is about how the media is undergoing no less than a full-blown revolution because of people-powered sites. Digg is mentioned as an alternative to editor tyranny.

read more | digg story

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Transformers

Transformers

Live action film directed by Michael Bay, scheduled to be released next year, July 4th.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

A good show


I originally had very elaborate plans for what to do after college. Most of which involved winding down my brain through an immersion in nearly anything nerdy or geeky, much of which involved purchases. Because of that last bit, there are only a few of these things that I actually did do. One of which involved reading a collection of Ultimate X-Men comics, the other involved buying and starting to watch the first season of Battlestar Galactica.



Back in August there was a back to back marathon of about four episodes in a row, and lacking anything else to do, I actually reclined on the couch and watched them all. Not thoroughly sold-- but interested enough. Enough so that when it came down to buying the DVDs of the miniseries alone or the full first season, I figured I liked it well enough to just get the whole first season. Which, neatly, includes the original miniseries. Glad I got the whole thing.

Battlestar sort of fits into that genre of hour long dramas that've started becoming popular lately. It sort of fits in the same scheme as Alias, Lost, the OC, maybe not perfectly in terms of form-- but with high production values and overarching storylines that go through the whole season. I'm guessing that the sale of TV episodes on DVD has probably fueled this shift as well. From what I've read, Star Trek: Enterprise started to move in that direction, but was unable to garner enough ratings to save it from cancellation. So emphasis on characters, plot lines, etcetera. And there is a concentrated effort to make it as "cinematic" in scope and quality as possible.

Genre wise, it's probably a lot closer to the short lived Fox series Space: Above and Beyond or the film Starship Troopers than Star Trek. But I feel like one of its closer affinities is to the Wing Commander series. Similar enough-- a dark atmosphere, gritty pilot kind of business going on. They're really not identical, maybe even not all that close, but Battlestar pretty much covers whatever craving I would have had for a Wing Commander series or new film. The much derided Freddy Prinze Junior/Matt Lillard starring Wing Commander film from a number of years ago, sort of tried for a similar feel, but failed on nearly every count. Not faithful enough to the original material, not good enough on its own feet or as a film in general to attract viewers. This show kind of "gets it right" where the dark space opera genre is concerned.

Big guns involved, "Edward James Olmos," from Stand and Deliver, plays a leading part, he's probably my favorite character on the show. I have to confess, I was pretty unfamiliar with what he'd done previously, but the most recent times I've heard someone reference the show, it's been- "oh wow, did you see that Edward James Olmos is in that sci fi show..." And while the blond Victoria's Secret model probably has a lot of appeal to the target Battlestar Audience, her plot lines/scenes are probably my least favorites of the show so far; psycho blond mind trip business. Hot lead fighter pilot dude guy, character named "Apollo," is ok...but sort of the boring boy scout of the bunch. And fighter pilot dame named "Starbuck," is also ok...but not too interesting yet. Though-- I've only finished the miniseries and one regular episode. So there's a ways to go with this.

Long and short, I'd recommend it. I don't know how it fares if you're not into sci-fi, but if you enjoy military/navy/WWII type atmosphered movies and such, probably worth taking at least a look.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Monday, April 17, 2006

You need to get money, pronto.

Taxes? I sort of had to deal with them. Theoretically I made more money this year than I ever have ever, yet somehow it doesn't feel that way.

At risk of exposing way too much personal information on the internet, I paid a total of $70 for TurboTax to process, fill out and send my taxes out, based on the information I plugged in. So no- add line seventeen, subtract line 12, and multiply by the number of goats you own. I got back, let's say, So I paid $70 for a computer to help me with my taxes...but my taxes are getting me back $180...soooo that's about...$70 worth of convenience...for getting $110 that I wouldn't've gotten otherwise? Probably.

Looking at the printed out forms that came as the result, if I were doing this by hand, I'd probably still be here (and be screwing it up). I guess, um, time for pizza.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006





Monday, April 03, 2006

Tom Cruise is Insanely Great



Tom Cruise has obviously taken a cue from Tony Danza.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Neat logo, guy



Ghosbusters has a great logo, especially on the black VHS box-- white & red ghost with X through it, over the black background and "GHOSTBUSTERS" in a serious looking font. Looks official.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

"being friendly against one's will causes nothing but stress".

Secret to a long life - get even more often

People who smile a lot and say "have a nice day" are headed to an early grave while the grumpy stay fit.

Researchers at a German university - a land where surliness is an Olympic discipline -say enforced jolliness on the job is much more likely to make people fall ill.

They cite flight attendants, sales personnel, call centre operators, waiters and others in contact with the public for extended periods of time as being at risk of seriously harming their health.

...

The study tested students working in an imaginary call centre who were subject to abuse from clients.

Some of the participants were allowed to answer back, while others had to be polite and friendly all the time.

Those who stood up to clients had a rapid heartbeat for a brief period, but for those who had to remain friendly their heart was still racing long after the client had hung up.




Sunday, March 19, 2006

www.findagrave.com

(link here) The title could be no simpler than that.

Something is wrong with blogger.com's image uploader, or my computer, so unfortunately I cannot post the ironicly cartoonish graphic that is the site's logo.

Where it comes from is, I was watching Angels in America and was somewhat curious about a character based on a real life person, Roy Cohn. Cohn was a high powered lawyer who got his start at a young age during the McCarthy hearings. He had an instrumental role in securing the conviction and, possibly, the death penalty for Ethel Rosenberg. He is portrayed in the film towards the end of his life, during which he began to suffer from complications from AIDs. Was something of an "open secret" homosexual. Anyway, on going to the page, the only link outside wikipedia was for the Find-a-Grave link for Roy Cohn.

And sure enough, click on the link, and there it is. There are two search tools available: one for famous persons, one for non. It's rather morbid, but fascinating at the same time. The webpage authors also seem to have an odd fascination with cartoon-like imagery in decorating their site, but with no sense of irony. This is apparent by the virtual flowers option, through which one can leave flowers on the virtual grave site, but unfortunately, for the likes of Roy Cohn and Lee Harvey Oswald, the second guy I looked up, that feature has been removed due to continual misuse. There's a cartoon of flower with a sad face next to this notice.

* Searches also produced results for John Wayne, Peter Lorre, John Lennon (there are pictures of the "IMAGINE" mosaic in Central Park: apparently, it is unclear where or if Yoko Ono scattered his ashes), Gene Roddenberry creator of Star Trek (it says ashes unknown, but I recently read that they were sent into outer space; this makes the choice of a cartoon of a space shuttle ascending off a launch pad either odd or somewhat suitable); and just for stretching, Daniel Webster is also listed, with portrait and grave photo.

There were no results for Rick Moranis;
I only checked because someone recently mentioned a rumor that he was dead-- and I thought this, not wholly impossible.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Karl believes that because jellyfish are 97% water, we should "give 'em another three percent and make 'em water - it's more useful".



Karl Pilkington, of the Ricky Gervais Show podcast.

While everyone waiting to pay bills at the Optimum store looks like they hate their life, I'm trying to keep myself from grinning inexplicably like an idiot, largely due to this show. Though I had downloaded all 12 free episodes, I never sat down and listened to them; I've recently found that it can make daily experiences that could otherwise be a total chore (like waiting in line to pay bills) even marginally pleasant.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

8 simple tricks for iTunes to keep your music collection interesting

You�ll want to hear newer songs more often than older ones, yet at the same time you�ll want to make sure that the old music doesn�t get lost. You want to hear your favourite songs slightly more often than everything else, but you don�t want to keep listening to the same old tracks over and over again.

read more | digg story

Humans evolved color vision to see emotion, not food

The eyes in humans and their closest relatives in the primate world are geared to detect subtle changes in skin tone caused by blood oxygen levels, according to a new study from Caltech.

read more | digg story

This May, don't leave home without your jeans, polos, and retractable adamantium claws.

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La Salle Professor Shows That Studying Islam Supercedes Race, Religion or Gender

That's my mom...

dot.com.2.0?

What is "Web 2.0"?

The concept of "Web 2.0" began with a conference brainstorming session between O'Reilly and MediaLive International. Dale Dougherty, web pioneer and O'Reilly VP, noted that far from having "crashed", the web was more important than ever, with exciting new applications and sites popping up with surprising regularity. What's more, the companies that had survived the collapse seemed to have some things in common. Could it be that the dot-com collapse marked some kind of turning point for the web, such that a call to action such as "Web 2.0" might make sense? We agreed that it did, and so the Web 2.0 Conference was born.

This article is an attempt to clarify just what we mean by Web 2.0.

In our initial brainstorming, we formulated our sense of Web 2.0 by example:

Web 1.0 Web 2.0
DoubleClick --> Google AdSense
Ofoto --> Flickr
Akamai --> BitTorrent
mp3.com --> Napster
Britannica Online --> Wikipedia
personal websites --> blogging
evite --> upcoming.org and EVDB
domain name speculation --> search engine optimization
page views --> cost per click
screen scraping --> web services
publishing --> participation
content management systems --> wikis
directories (taxonomy) --> tagging ("folksonomy")
stickiness --> syndication



The elaborate, multipage article linked and quoted above attempts to define the concept of "Web 2.0," a buzzword that has become something of a catchall associated with nearly anything new and hip on the internet. Of course, the flip side is that it may not be that it refers to everything now on the internet-- rather, it very likely refers to the most hip stuff. Like some of the sites listed above. O'Reilly's article tries to pin down what exactly the big deal is about these sites like wikipedia or flickr, and describe the general principles explaining these sites effectiveness and popularity. More clearly, O'Reilly tries to define a broad concept, which he calls "Web 2.0," that seems to be the force behind a lot of the innovation on the internet.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Friday, March 10, 2006

The Eyes Have Hills

http://www.melflower.com/Yonkers1146.html

Virtual Tour of an apartment in Yonkers.

But it's a little creepy.

History of the Veal Fattening Pen

Courtesy of slashdot.org is this CNN Fortune report on the history of the cubicle, entitled Cubicles: The Great Mistake.

The cubicle was not born evil, or even square. It began, in fact, as a beautiful vision. The year was 1968. Nixon won the presidency. The Beatles released The White Album. And home-furnishings company Herman Miller (Research) in Zeeland, Mich., launched the Action Office. It was the brainchild of Bob Propst, a Coloradan who had joined the company as director of research.

After years of prototyping and studying how people work, and vowing to improve on the open-bullpen office that dominated much of the 20th century, Propst designed a system he thought would increase productivity (hence the name Action Office). The young designer, who also worked on projects as varied as heart pumps and tree harvesters, theorized that productivity would rise if people could see more of their work spread out in front of them, not just stacked in an in-box.


The article notes that even the original designer of the cubicle admitted that it had been a bad idea.

For full article, click here.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

They call me Mr. Tibbs.



Two things in the Oscars are certain:

(1) It will run long.

(2) This clip will be aired in a montage.

Monday, March 06, 2006

I know because Tyler knows.

Fight club, like, for real. Yo.

The words of a prophet.

"The room smelled like whore. Which is, incidentally, a mix of Chanel No. 5, Marlboro cigarrettes, and stale beer."

- Andy Pacheco

Saturday, March 04, 2006

She's fast enough for you, old man.



Click on photo for entire story.

Poking out of that cockpit-- a webcam. Hiding under that plastic shell-- a computer. Pretty cool deal/worth checking out of you are a Star Wars geek, computer geek, or both.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Fordham Campus Webcams


Click on the image to go to Fordham's webcam menu.

There are four webcams that regularly post images on line, with at least one webcam in each campus location, including the biological research station at Armonk. If you're ever on Eddie's parade, in front of McGinley, or on the path to the library late in the evening, rest assured...someone is watching. Or, they could be.

(Andy pointed out that the webcam in front of McGinley was particularly interesting to watch reload as it snowed today).

Monday, February 27, 2006

A Mostly Text Adventure

One of the many incarnations of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy was a text adventure game. Similar to "Adventure" or the original "Zork," if you were into this sort of thing in the very early nineties. The text adventure genre of game works like this...in a test screen much more vacant than a word document, a room will be described to you. Then you type into the computer what you want to do. Like...

You wake up and the room is spinning. It is dark.


And then you type in...

Turn on light.


And then the computer tells you,

The light is on. You are in your bedroom.


And the interactions progress like that. I downloaded the free text version of the hitchhiker game once, and, after running into this link from digg.com to 1up.com...ran into a spiffy version of that exact same text adventure game from oh so long ago. Except it does have some graphics and a flashy interface...but the text content, far as I can tell, is just about the same.

Where Time Stops.

You walk in...you hang...you walk out...and you realize that 5 hours have elapsed in the time you've been there. Three places spring to mind in this category:

1. Webster Cafe

 

If you leave the Tinker when it closes, and then you eat at Webster's, it will be near daybreak when you leave. Or at least, that tends to be the case for me. Because I tend to forget that a usual sit down and eat process at a restaurant can take about an hour. So, 3:30 plus 1 hour = 4:30. Not only that, but add some amount of chattiness or an interesting conversation. And that 1 hour becomes an hour and a half, perhaps even more...so 3:30 plus 1.5 hours becomse 5:00 becomes, you may be able to catch Pete's opening on the other side of campus.




2. FET

 

The only windows there are painted black. How can one expect to know what time it is.

3. Hoffman 2423 Apt 3 Common Room

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There is an occupational hazard to having a space where time stops that is right outside of your bedroom. Taking a break from a paper, or for folks who didn't live there, visiting from on campus...the time tends to expand...and then all of a sudden, it's 5AM.

Part nostalgia, part observation, part, me having fun uploading pictures through Picasa.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

where iPod/Tunes goes wrong...

I'm a self admitted mac/apple fiend. Despite not owning any of their products. All the same, though, here's a blogger who makes a pretty good case against apple or using iTunes. I don't know if I totally buy into it, sure. And he sounds pretty angry. But at the same time, he makes a good point.



Basically, what Apple has done, is-- under the guise of "Digital Rights Management," that is...making sure that artists get paid for their work, as opposed to piracy (in which they get nothing but fame and recognition)-- they charge $0.99 per song, for songs that can only play on an iPod. Now, technically, you can (as I do), burn your songs to a CD, and then load the newly encoded mp3 format songs onto your non-apple mp3 player. However, only an iPod will allow the smooth movement between online music store, to music player, to your ears.



On the other hand, Microsoft publishes a format entitled "Plays-for-Sure," which they've licensed to nearly any mp3-player-maker that will ask for it. SO, if you download something from any music store that uses plays-for-sure (from what I understand, anything but iTunes music store), it will most likely play on whatever mp3 player you buy. And there are TONS out there. Many worse, some comparably good, to the iPod. The main hitch-- under the guise of digital rights management, iTunes does not allow you to play their music on any player except for the one that they own.



And not to draw analogies out too far, but there is a certain operating system, that runs on...90% of computers in the world, without which, many, and nearly most, mainstream programs, will not run. That's "Windows," the supposed dark side, as opposed to Apple- the light side alternative to dark Win-doze users! So let's get this straight...when you're generous to license your software to tons of manufacturers, such taht you accumulate a 90% market share...you're the dark side. When you're the 5% minority, then you're the light side alternative.



Now. The market share values for iPods, especially the hard drive iPods (30GB, 60GB) is somewhere close to 80%. How can Apple continue to claim being the "light side" when their market share of the portable music player market nears the supposedly oppressive market share of Windows on PCs? Granted, Apple isn't making this standard, or comparison, but for a company that proclaims to be "all about the music" when it comes to iPods and the iTunes Music Store, it seems to be qualified. All about the music-- as long as Apple continues to sell iPods.



And as far as the iTunes Music Store goes, taking a page from the blogger above...and my own undersatnding, from what I've read about Apple....yes, we pay the iTunes Music Store $0.99 per song. Apple makes nearly nothing, barely pennies, on the songs that they sell on iTunes (which just recently hit the "billion songs" mark). So they make pennies, the record companies make pennies...where does the money get made? Some place else, some place else that has higher profit margins-- someplace outside the iTunes Music Store, and that's the iPod. As referenced in the book Apple Confidential 2.0, the iTunes Music Store is a vehicle for selling more iPods. And it's working.



And that won't stop me from buying one. Why?


Because there is no comparable, as simply efficient chocie

.

Friday, February 24, 2006

On prolonged Fordham Commencement exercises...

You know, we wouldn't have to deal with this if Rob had gone to the University of Phoenix.

- Mike Nguyen

Thursday, February 16, 2006

LOTR: The Musical






The Lord of the Rings: The Musical.

Like the Tony Danza show, its existence, while somewhat probable, is still surprising.

I believe it has already started its run in Toronto, and will have an official press "opening" in late March. I am personally not certain what the difference means exactly. According to news sites, it involves a cast of 55, and is 3.5 hours long. It is already contracted to move to London in '07, and potentially moving to New York in the years to come. I am wholly not certain how I quite feel about this, especially since, with the movies so close in mind, anything "musically" related, I'd expect to have something of the original film score. This is most likely not the case.

The wikipedia article says that stage/play adaptations have gone on before, with fairly favorable reviews for the last two plays in the three play sequence. This one though...musicals are pretty crazy enough, combining musical theater with Lord of the Rings, I'm not quite sure how seriously I could take it. I mean, yes, wizards, dwarves and goblins could be a little ridiculous (if you're not inclined to enjoy such a thing), but seeing them live on stage singing and dancing might be a little tougher to swallow.

It doesn't mean I'm not curious. It just means I may be hesitant to plop down the dollars. Or take a bus to Toronto.

Who IS the boss?

The Tony Danza Show

Funny because, for one, it exists.

For two, click on the website.


...

Rizzo was good enough to point out a question that did not arise in my brain when I first viewed the site: Why is Tony Danza on a Vespa?

If digg.com the website didn't do it for you...

If you go to the iTunes Music Store, and then search "DiggNation" under podcasts, you'll probably run into one of the more interesting pieces of video/tv type programming that I've seen in a while.

PS: this is a...if you heard the story about the guys with laptops and beer, skip this...

But basically, each episode, Kevin Rose (founder of digg.com) and Alex Albrecht (another host previously from Tech TV) will go through the top stories from digg and talk about them. In some sense, it's a news show from bringing up those issues (usually technology, computer, or science oriented); otherwise, it's a talking heads commentary kind of thing. Enough to be entertaining.

Anyway, if you're just screwing around on the internet or answering your e-mail, might as well start up something like DiggNation to just run in the background. Either download the most recent episode to see what the weekly business is like; or download the Christmas/Thanksgiving episode, to get a clip show of some of the top stories.

The podcasts also do NPR type stuff, CNN, big companies...then there's tons of other crap type stuff that just started once or only has one or two episodes. DiggNation is a guaranteed new episode every week.

Actually, if you're not into the DiggNation/computer type stuff, search for the Ricky Gervais Podcast. Ricky Gervais and Steve Merchant (co-creators of The Office), along with another guy that's there for the ride-- it's pretty funny.

When White Castle Gets Old...

Am in no position at all to make recommendations, BUT, if I were to leave recommendations here for any folks who have had a similar amount of cooking experience as myself, I'd say something like the following...

1. 99 cent bags of pasta, available in the frozen foods section.
- It's cheap.
- You boil the water, you put in the pasta.
- Typically, you take it out before it's too soft, otherwise, it'll just get soggy.
- Comes in many varieties. Watch for the ravioli or tortellini, they're a bit salty, so don't add any.

2. Tomato Sauce: 39 cents or so per can.
- about one can of sauce per 99 cent bag.
- Yes, Ragu and other thicker sauces may be tastier or more nutritious. But we're talking budget eating here.
- If you don't have sauce (like me, right now), try pouring olive oil over the pasta, and then adding seasoning like salt/pepper/basil/oregano. Better than just eating the stuff with nothing on it.

3. Vegetable on hand and on demand.
- Frozen packs: 99 cents, again, probably cheaper than the canned variety.
- Same principle as pasta when it comes to cooking.

4. Spam.

- You laugh, you cry, but ultimately, it will let you eat.
- For whatever reason, at home in the Philippines, it was common practice to
fry slices of spam and have them with fried rice for breakfast or lunch.
Since this never induced a spam-gag reaction from anyone in that context, I
did not import it back over to this side of the pacific.

5. Carbohydrates (also on demand)

- I tried to get away from rice when I came to college. Then I realized, it costs
less than going to McDonald's once. And it'll feed you for a while.
- You boil it.
- Mashed potatoes:
- If you're something of a purist, the big can full of flakes is a sin, BUT,
when you don't have time to boil and whip fresh potatoes, this will fill the
stomach craving moderately well. Especially if you've gotten tired of rice.

6. Meat
- This is where it gets tricky. There are few ways to quickly, easily cook meat, and if you take the boil water-put-it-in approach, like for most of the materials above, you will be sorely disappointed and hungry for at least an hour or more to come.
- My brother Mike once described the "stir fry" as the bachelor's best friend-- if you want to cook meat quickly, that or broiling may be the best option. Fry it in a pan, but under low heat so that you don't scorch the outside without cooking the inside.
- Lesson I learned from cooking in Walsh: Do not expect to take a frozen steak, defrost it, and fry it all in one go. These things take time. Also, when making chili, don't buy dried kidney beans.

7. Hamburger Helper, other prepared foods...
- Like anything here, probably not great on the health spectrum, and I'm guessing they cost more. Doesn't mean it doesn't taste good.

8. Wine or Beer

- Particularly the wine...makes whatever your eating...feel slightly classier. Some sort of bottle if you do that sort of thing, a hefty box of Franzia if you're looking towards a more long term (and economically sound) investment.

Friday, February 10, 2006

The Olympic Ceremonies

Or as I like to call it, an excuse to do something extraordinarily weird, in front of lots and lots of people.

Remember the procession in Greece with the people as plastic half-living statues?

Monday, February 06, 2006

A not so super dining receptacle?

I've seen some super bowls in my time. In fact, pretty much the last four. I'd have to rate the most exciting, as Super Bowl 2002. The Patriots were playing. Someone named Bledsoe was important. Larry Holmes was going nuts, and as a bonus nostalgia feature, Bec, T, and Coll were there, along with my favorite I-liked-you-four-years-ago smirnoff ice. But you know, despite being in Good Company (as the Chris Rock movie by the same name is entitled) this time...not much of a clincher. Some sort of score from 10 - 14 or close...between...people from Seattle...and people from...Pittsburgh. And it didnt' really get me. I feel like most close superbowls, or the ones that are "good," are engaging at some sort of visceral level. Like two armies, going to the battlefield, you don't know who's going to come out on top, and some how, the sheer adrenaline, testosterone, or whatever, keeps you going. This one. Not so much. Two thumbs down, and try to entertain me more next time, billion dollar sports franchise(s).

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Headphones. Accessory?

At one point during a family trip to Washington, I was wearing a Hawaiian shirt and a pair of headphones. Attached to nothing. This was my notion of being artsy and hip.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

I'll have a double quarter-pounder with fries, please.


It's like taking a soggy hunk of matter and placing it into your stomach.

Then gargling with vegetable oil.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

The sky is falling!

I wonder what that would be like.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Knight Rider Replicas

Speaking of David Hasselhoff, this one was a total surprise. Some things exist...that I never even imagined or considered. Like Knight Registries: a website for those who have decided that they love Knight Rider so much, that they convert or make cars duplicated or inspired by the car KITT. Or KITT's evil brother KARR.

Though a few photos of the straight replicas looked ok, here's an "inspired by" one that looked particularly impressive:




I thought this was something because I recall, when watching the original series, looking inside the "cockpit" of the car, the dash looked all hi-tech in general, but not very specific. This...seems to pretty much nail it, apparently, complete with six exterior cameras connected to the monitors, and a DVD player. Now if you could only duplicate other things. Like the shield that lets you ram through another car, destroying it into tiny bits. And coming out unscathed. Well, one can't have everything.

Here's a fun bit from the wikipedia entry on the TV movie "Knight Rider 2000", in regards to some of the hi-tech features of the new car featured in that movie:

▪ Fax Machine - KIFT can print out faxed messages from a dash mounted printer. (A technology misconception of the late 80's is that fax machines would be in common use everywhere by the 21st Century, including automobiles).

"David Hasselhoff is hooked on a feeling."

This video, presented by www.thesuperficial.com, proves yet again in the words of Norm MacDonald: Germans love David Hasselhoff.

Towards the tail end of the video, especially, I see some Tunak Tunak Tun influences. Is David Hasselhoff to Germany what Daler Mehndi is to America?

Monday, January 23, 2006

If I say I'm wearing pants, that makes it true.

Microsoft ads aim to erase 'huge' image
Software maker's campaign to cost $120 million

By REBECCA BARR
BLOOMBERG NEWS

Microsoft Corp., the world's biggest software maker, will spend $120 million a year on an advertising campaign to fight its image as "a huge American company."


full article here

referred to by digg.com.

***

Let's backpedal and read that again:

"an advertising campaign to fight its image as a 'a huge American company."

I am not any sort of anti-Microsoft zealot, really. There are reasons to not be fans, sure, but what I find more striking is this question: IS Microsoft a "huge American company"? On all counts of that description, I'd say...yes. It's...huge. It's American. And it's a company. And while I understand the motivation: to try to improve the company's image, it's a really hard case to make. And to suggest that Microsoft ISN'T a huge American company...I mean, that's almost sort of lying, isn't it?

As much as I'd like this to be the case, just because I say right now that I'm wearing pants, does not make it true.

Can ya dig it? Also, nuclear explosions.

Another useful find courtesy of the podcast "DLTV" (published by the same company that runs P.C. Magazine", the webiste "digg.com." The dltv folks didn't find it per se. They actually mentioned it, off hand, as if you're kinda supposed to have heard of it already. If you're geeky enough to be watching the podcast of dltv.

ANYWAY, if none of your facebook friends have updated their profiles, and if you've already looked up every movie title you can think of on imdb.com, digg.com is another route to just seeing how radically big the internet is. The concept (as far as I understand it), is that there are all these news stories, all over the internet. And if you have a login or username on digg.com, the website will list the most popular ones. And you can vote for it if you think it's worth reading, by clicking on a simple icon that says "digg it!". The articles that the most people have voted for, will appear on the homepage.

I haven't explored it yet, this may not exactly be how it works, but I find it fascinating, because it has a sort of "open source," uber-democratic idea to it. You can basically promote a story with a click of a button. And the "bigger" stories, are the ones that the most users have clicked on. But what makes it really interesting is that really, it's not just news, it's just as much internet finds in general. The sort of random stuff you wouldn't think to look for, you wouldn't run into just browsing around on your own, but nonetheless, here it is.

Here are a few examples of the headlines:

Hack Attack: Mouseless Firefox. 86 diggs. Not a huge deal. How to use firefox web browser with only your keyboard.

6 solid ways to view blocked sites at work & school (Facebook, Myspace). 475 diggs. Apparently, a bit more interesting than browsing firefox mouseless.

This was my favorite, and the only one that I'll link to, since I don't feel like going through the effort for every story:

Google Video - Huge 1958 Nuclear Underwater Explosion Footage! 1499 diggs.

I have not been to this website too often, but 1499 diggs, as you can see, is relatively a lot. And with good reason. Check out the video. You see a huge cloud/steam cloud, generated by an underwater nuclear explosion, blowing over a Navy test drone ship. The comments board doesn't list anything about it being a fraud, and there doesn't seem to be any reason to doubt its veracity.

So yes, this an interesting website, for just running into lots of cool stuff. But then, let's think about that video again. I'd "digg" it, had I a login, not because "oh man, neat explosion," but because I'd think. Wait. Wait now. Holy shit. At some point in time...we thought. It'd be a great idea. To set off nuclear weapons in the middle of the ocean. Now I know there are lots of pros and cons about this (probably mostly cons. Since, far as I know, we've stopped doing it), issues of "nuclear deterrence," maintaining gaps of different sorts and colors, sure. But let's think about this again.

"Let's take huge nuclear bombs. And explode them in the middle of the ocean."

The idea. To me...of purposefully blowing up nuclear weapons. Is just kind of crazy. It is, really ridiculous. And granted, that's from retrospect, so I'm not...hugely...contesting their policy decision at the time, I just think that it is sort of amazing that at some point, this is simply what we were up to.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Star Trek....AGAIN???

And that's why I'm typing it on the interweb, instead of repeating it out loud for the 4th time.

A funny thing about Star Trek is that in some ways, it's any other TV show. Or movie. At least, in the sense that, if you are an actor who hasn't had a particularly successful break, if you're a fan of the franchise and look forward to a role, or perhaps even, you're tired of eating hormel chili...it's a job. No intended derision, especially to hormel chili. I may be eating hormel chili in very similar circumstances in the near future, or, tomorrow, even. But basically. It's a part in a show with, at the very least, a very loyal following that's going to see your work.

Nonetheless, here are a few Star Trek guest stars who may come as something of a surprise. But you don't have to take my word for it.

Let's start off simple. If you take a look, it's in a book, it's



Levar Burton, from Reading Rainbow. Also from the miniseries, Roots. Subtract vision, and we have:



Lieutenant Commander Geordi LaForge, originally pilot of the Enterprise, later turned engineer when producers/writers decided that, while the notion of the blind pilot was neat, the character really didn't have much to do there. It's a more striking picture back when he was wearing what looked like a headband over his eyes, but it works for comparison.

Moving on a bit, a familiar comedian we all know and perhaps might love, Whoopi Goldberg had her own stint in space. By day, sunglasses wearing potty mouthed comedian:



By moonlight...



Guinan. Bartender at Ten-Forward, the Enterprise's bar and lounge. They serve "synthehol" there, which, according to wikipedia, is supposed to "allowing the drinker to experience the intoxicating effects [of alcohol] without any adverse after-effects such as hangovers; also the intoxicating effects themselves can be dispelled easily, apparently simply by the intent to do so." This notion, despite its idyllic sound...is somewhat disturbing.

But moving a bit towards the more obscure, here's a shot from an episode called "The Perfect Mate" (I may be wrong on the episode title but I will not look it up):



Not a great photo, but the dame standing next to the ever dignified Patrick Stewart is the same actor from:



X-Men/X2/X-Men 3...playing Jean Grey/Phoenix.

If you're still here, patience may be wearing thin, in which case, I will jump to my two favorites (and if you know me well, I've certainly mentioned this before):

The actor playing the marine biologist from Star Trek IV, The Voyage Home (yes, the one with the whales):



And the one playing Captain Willard Decker in Star Trek I.



If you're as big fans of the Camden family as the rest of America should be, you'll recognize mom and dad, back from those crazy years in the seventies and eighties when they would go gallivanting around the galaxy.



Footnote: Stewie actually references a line/action of Catherine Hicks from Star Trek IV when he grabs on to his older self, whispers, "Surprise!" and is transported into the future in Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story.

Ok, I just have one more.

This actor from Star Trek VI played Lieutenant Valeris, an efficient officer, yet emotionally and morally detached:



She later reprised the role in this show:





Wholly unfair, I've never seen the show...but hey, how do I know that's not true?

Monday, January 16, 2006

MASK: Mobile Armored Strike Kommand







A fairly decent top to bottom website of what, if memory serves, was a really good cartoon .

"MASK" ran from 1985 - 1988, and was about a group of special agents called "MASK," which stood for "Mobile Armored Strike Kommand." The reason for the forced acronym is to encapsulate some of the premise into the title-- the special agents use transforming vehicles and armored "masks" to fight the machinations of the evil criminal organization "VENOM." VENOM, of course, is an acronym for "Vicious Evil Network of Mayhem," double play on the word Mayhem, since the evil commander's name is Miles. Miles Mayhem. Even though they get foiled at the end of every 20 minute episode, at least they can spell.

The wikipedia article for MASK notes that like G.I. Joe and Transformers, the cartoon worked hand in hand with the toy line; the cartoon basically "sold" both advertising as well as toys. It's funny that I have not thought of MASK more often, because off the bat, it ranks 3rd in "prominent childhood toys," behind Transformers and G.I. Joe. In fact, I get the feeling that were I to watch episodes of MASK now, I'm guessing that I might vote in favor of them over the Joes and autobots.

It must be the secret agent thing. Each MASK character has some sort of "day job," and then the MASK leader will call them into action. So the opening sequence of any episode will show the MASK agent at their job (race car driver, pet store owner, rock star), and then ditch it with some sort of lame excuse so that they can execute their secret mission. Which is kind of cool. And then, see, the "mask" part, is that when they change into their secret mission clothes, the mask is this helmet that covers their entire face, through which they can execute some sort of special power, like seeing through walls, or shooting acid, or gliding through air. And then they have some sort of accompanying vehicle that, in a more than meets the eye way, transforms into something else.

SO maybe the appeal is. Sure, I'll never be a military special agent. Or a giant robot that transforms into a walkman. BUT, I STILL grow up and maintain whatever job I want, but also be a secret MASK agent...I'll have some sort of neato helmet, and also have car that'll transform into some sort of airplane or boat. Why WOULDN'T that sort of thing appeal to a kid, or for that matter, a 22 year old "adult." Come to think of it, why persist in having the annoying kid-sidekick characters on these cartoons; they could've instead gone for the angle of- hey, you could grow up and be like this someday. Our dreams shall never die.

Like this guy. Brad Turner. Rock star by day, motorcycle/helicopter pilot by night.

.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

On disposing of a dead mouse...

"I kind of don't want to pick it up."

"Do you want me to do it?"

"You want to do it?

"Well no, I don't want to pick it up either"...

"Let's get the dustpan." "Yeah, let's do that."

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Sparks

"Sparks," by The Who, is a great instrumental rock song.

Neat link: If you're looking for new music, there's a website Pandora.com that can look up music with similar traits to the songs or artists that you enter into its search engine (saw it demonstrated on dltv podcast from a few weeks ago). What makes it more interesting than iTunes' recommended feature is, of course, that it's free, but it also breaks down all the characteristics of the song that might make a song "similar" to another, and it will usually describe them to you, traits like "mild rhythmic syncopation," "major key tonality," "subtle use of vocal harmony." I have to say from my last two searches on it ("Sparks," by The Who, or "Shadow Stabbing," by Cake), I've had some slightly disappointing hits; however, if you're like me, and you don't listen to the radio often but still ike finding/hearing new music, it's a good way to get at least a few good recommendations.

I think there was some sort of rumor of spyware at work on the site, but far as I know, they haven't been confirmed, and it doesn't seem to be bothering my computer at all.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Is facebook spying on you?

I really couldn't tell you. But in the "Blogs of Note" header, there was a link to one fella...he seems something of a conspiracy theorist, and I didn't look at it closely...but it does look like it probably has some factual information in it, at the very least.

Jacob Morse's Blog

I believe MySpace also gets some scrutiny there, as well.

For those who've heard "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds," as performed by William Shatner...

"The Surprise Of The Year, October 9, 2004
Reviewer: Dean Esmay (Westland, MI United States) - See all my reviews

I would never have believed I'd give a five star review to a William Shatner album, and be serious about it. But I am serious. Kudos to both Shatner and to the producer Ben Folds for this brilliant little gem of an album.

For those sneering without hearing, I'll merely note that if you remember the William Shatner Priceline commercials, you'll have some idea what this CD is like. Only it's even better than those were."

- an Amazon.com user review of "Has Been"


Amazing. I recall listening in Robert's First to Shatner's spoken word performance of Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, from his spoken word album Transformed Man. It ranked among such prestigious finds as the Yatta video, Daler Mehndi, and that video of Leonard Nimoy performing the Ballad of Bilbo Baggins in and around a rock formation with fly girls. So, it was humorous. No offense to Mr. Shatner, and perhaps I don't have a proper appreciation for the form that is spoken word. I believe it has some relation to Slam Poetry.

In any case, I was rather shocked to find from a coworker today that Shatner released another album-- 35 years later...that is-- two years ago! He collaborated with Ben Folds to produce an album, most of which was singing, with only one spoken word piece. There were also a number of guest artists, such as Aimee Mann and High Fidelity's Nick Hornby. And apparently...as the review above states...it's pretty good! It hit in the top one hundred of "hot" artists on some sort of important chart. Stylistically, Shatner relates it to Johnny Cash's later cover albums, in which tone and pitch are not as prominent as the performer's very particular vocal quality and style (Shatner's assessment, not mine).

On top of that, Shatner also received an Emmy award for his performance in the David Kelly series Boston Legal, in which he stars alongside James Spader, from Sex, Lies and Videotape as well as Stargate . I have seen one out of those two past films. Apparently he's pretty hilarious.

At any rate, I'm hopefully going get a chance to download/listen-to/watch either of the above at some point soon. I think the Folds connection also gives the album mad street credit.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Great iTunes Radio Station

http://www.virginradio.co.uk/thestation/linktous/

That's the website, but of course, the easiest way to listen to it is via iTunes, under the Top 40 section of the radio stations. I listened to it all through finals. If you perchance walked by the glass windows of the EIC to see an asian fellow typing and apparently rocking out at the same time, this is what I was probably listening to. It's a good mix of classic rock, a good number of early/mid-90s hits, and then I think a few bits of current music, but just really good stuff. 10 points for good taste.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Ahh, so that's a "Blog"

First of all there are two categories of blogs. One is the traditional web-log where a web surfer shares his online discoveries. And the second is the web diary where person shares his or her thoughts of the day. Most blogs of either style often have elements of the other style once in a while.


- http://www.dvorak.org/blog/primer/blogprimer1.htm
From the weblog of John C. Dvorak (internet/technology commentator/columnist)

This makes much more sense now. Wikipedia has a much more involved entry that lends itself towards the generic, but this makes a useful distinction. So if I'm reading this right (and I'd like to think that I am), the idea is that a "weblog" is actually just that-- a log of the web. Users run into stuff on the internet that they think is worth sharing...and they link it on their blog, often with some bit or two of commentary on the material. Then the livejournal is...hey, what's up, this is what I'm doing today/thinkinga bout. Like Dvorak notes on his explanatory page, certainly this distinction can be blurred, but it explains a lot of things, like why when I search for stuff online, lots of times, I hit "blogs" that have little more than a link and a short bit of text. And here I was thinkign taht that was them just being hacks, that's apparently what the format seems to expect. So I guess that makes this post something of a meta-commentary.

Well Happy New Year...

I started this weekend intending to see Narnia, and then go home and run errands, and then come back into the city for New Year's Eve...and perhaps it was the point at which I was buying disposable razors at Duane Reade that I realized that plan had been slightly altered. The weekend quickly evolved into going out, catching up with old friends, seeing Narnia the next afternoon, and then ringing in the new year.

This is repetitive, but well hey. It was pretty sweet. And there was some amount of huddling around said TV here this evening, watching some said Ryan Seacrest/Dick Clark New Year's Eve Special (I think Ryan was just, stunning). Two words. A. Mazing. I mean. Journalistic reporting has not been that good sincw good morning and goodnight what time is it! Three seventeen. About time for me to go to bed. Hopefully, by nearly this time tomorrow, I will have bathed.

Kidding. I bathed once earlier this evening. It was glorious. Like the phoenix, springing forth from the trees. Or whatever it is those looney birds do.