Friday, June 29, 2007

student's rights to speech

I didn't really blog about this topic before because to be honest I heard different reports on the details of the case, and didn't want to waste my time over a silly statement like "bong hits for Jesus". From what I gather, here's what happened... there was a school "sanctioned" event (ie: They let the kids out of school to attend this event) of a marathon runner carrying the Olympic torch through their town. Well, one kid (i think he was 18 at the time), thought it would be funny to hold up a banner that said "bong hits for Jesus" which is something he saw on a skateboard once. The principal saw the banner (it was pretty big), and told him to take it down, the kid refused, so he got suspended. The tricky part here is two things... one, he was on a public sidewalk at the time, so technically not in school, and there is also the matter of interpretation, was the student "promoting" illeagal drug use, or was it just a stupid joke gone too far. Well, the SUPREME COURT thought the previous, that he was promoting drug use, during a school event. So they ruled against him. Ok, I can kinda agree with that. I still think it was just a bad joke taken too far. (story here on CNN)
So today I see this headline about a kid who was suspended for wearing an anti-bush T-shirt, talking about cocaine, and drunk driving. Well, this time, the Supreme court said, the student has every right to make political statements. (story here on yahoo news)
Me confused.
It makes me wonder then, would the first student have been ok, if his banner said "bong hits for Bush"? I guess that's why we need a supreme court, to help us citizens out when we are confused.


So I get home tonight and see an important looking envelope waiting in my mail. I get worried when I see important looking envelopes, it's usually not good news. Sure enough, I opened it and it's from one of my credit card companies. It contained a brand new credit card, along with a little yellow slip of paper that said "my previous credit card MAY have been compromised" and that I should activate my new card asap so my other card can be deactivated. UGH! I am usually SO careful with my info, how could this of happened? So, thus begins an all night quest to find out what is going on. I'll spare you all the details, but as of now (just a little after midnight) I feel pretty secure that my info is ok. What gets me, is that the particular card that was compromised I hardly ever use. The last two companies that I did business with are AOL (which I canceled) and my webhost company. The guy from the "fraud alert", looked up my info and said that one of my previous merchants had their data compromised, so they issued the warning to my credit card, which then issued me the new card. What gets me, is that under law, the Fraud guy could NOT tell me which company had their records compromised. This just seems wrong! Because if I found out it was my webhost company, I'd switch in a heartbeat. AOL scares me because I don't trust them. They had a previous security breach back in 2001. And then of course, I need to worry now, as to how far the "bad guys" were able to compromise my info. How long will it take for me to feel "safe" again?
I did run my credit report tonight and everything looks to be in tip top shape (except for one minor error that I hope I'll be able to straighten out tomorrow).
So my fingers are crossed, that I'll be ok. Wish me luck.

PS> It strikes me as odd too, that we are told to protect our data at all costs... yet, if there is a problem, and you need to call your credit card company to straighten something like this out, you have to give over ALL your personal data to a complete stranger who won't give you anything but a first name. Kinda leaves you with a violated feeling.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

iphone eve...

I am a huge apple fan... BUT... I'm going to make a prediction here [drumroll please].... the overly hyped iphone is going to bomb tomorrow. Can you saw "newton"?
I'm seeing more and more negative reviews online, and it doesn't sound good. I'll recap what strikes me most as to why this will fail on it's initial release:
$500 for the smaller version and $600 for the 8 gig version. Then, on top of that initial cost, you MUST sign a 2 year contract with AT&T (you know the people who "gave" all their customer's data over to the government.) starting at $60 a month. That's $642 for the phone (including 7% tax), $1440 for the 2 years (I'm sure there is tax, and other fees that apply here), So you're looking at over $2000 for a 2 year time period. (That's roughly $87 a month!).
I saw that apple is going with ATT's "EDGE" network for the online data. But David Pogue said it is unbelievably slow!! It took almost one full minute just to load the front page of No one has time for that!
I'm sure that a first generation techno gadget will have it's share of problems. All these people rushing out to be the first to buy the phone, who are paying a lot of money are not going to want to hear that a newer phone will be released in a few months with all the bugs fixed. So you're going to get a lot of negative feedback there.
I also think that ATT will hurt the plan too. They are not known for treating their customers right.
All that said, I wish apple a lot of luck with this launch, I think they're gonna need it. Then again, what do I know :)

deep thinkers...

Hooray! A short blog post for once!
This was a very interesting read...

"Deep thinkers need not apply: how to get ahead in the modern business world"

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

maybe there will be justice here?

Following yesterday's post where I linked to a youtube video of a police officer using what appears to be unreasonable force is now on "administrative leave" while they investigate. I hope justice is served here. Don't get me wrong, if skateboarding in that area of the city is outlawed, and you skateboard, then yes you should get a ticket or fine. But from what I saw on the video shows a heavy police officer putting all his weight into pinning these teenagers to the ground (A knee in the lower back, and what looks like a choke hold on a young girl. Then he goes on to threaten them with pepper spray. I hope to hear follow ups to this story.
I'm linking here to the Houston Chronicle (which I think is a pretty far right website.)

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

police state

The above video I found from Reddit... You know, I still have not gotten around to reading the book 1984, but I'm sure EVERYONE has heard the term "Big Brother" and how "they" are watching you, with camera's everywhere. I wish I can remember where I heard it, but just the other day, I heard someone say that YouTube may be a hugely important social website and for this reason of showing "big brother" in ways that may not be considered "right". Then they said that all these people with video cameras in their cell phones, digital cameras, etc... The tables are slowly being turned, and that "Big Brother" has to now watch out for "Little Brothers". I loved that term... so to these skateboarding "punks" - Right on Little Brothers.

X-Files spin-off

Wow, kinda creepy isn't it?
This used to be one of my favorite shows on TV at the time. There were these 3 goofy guys (aka nerds and geeks) who ran a self published newsletter called "the lone gunmen" all about UFO's, Gov Conspiracy, etc... Once the X-file's started to get a little old, this show started up as a spin-off. It was hoaky for sure, but it was kinda meant to be. These guys were sort of bumbling into things they shouldn't have been into. But hey, for me it was entertaining.
So, tonight I surfed on over to one of my newly discovered blogs (regarding conspiracy related issues), and I see a post in the forums called "the lone gunmen"... naturally I clicked on it to see what it was about. When I saw this video clip, I could hardly believe it. I don't know the time frame for this show, but I think it was in the mid to late 90's. Anyway, I had to post it here. I'm not saying anything (yet), I'm just posting this link.

TED and Frito Lay

I have to recommend this DVD that I watched last night. The only problem is that I think the only way to see it at this point is to be a member of Netflix. I would actually say that you can join Netflix for 2 weeks free (it used to be a month!), if only just to rent this movie... It's a documentary called "The Future we will create -- Inside the world of TED".
I think I may have blogged about TED before, but I'll recap it quickly... It's a conference of "rich people" (well mostly rich people). People like Al Gore, The founders of Google, scientists, entertainers, etc... All of these people gather for 4 days in Monterey California to discuss "the world". They are shown demos of new technology, new ideas using old technology, etc... The idea is that these are the people who "should" be able to make things happen... BIG things happen, in order to make our world a better place. The DVD is about the 2006 TED conference. It is really great to see that people are talking about making the world a better place. It's also cool to see some new gadgets. My only criticism is that it seems to be a class based "rich white people" for the most part. I'd LOVE to see this idea spread to us "common folk". It got me to thinking, which would have more of an impact to change the world, a group of select rich people, or a mass of lower income people. I wonder.
Still it's a great uplifting dvd. You can learn more about TED here. They have a website for the movie but it's lame.
Oh and two of the ideas that really struck me... The idea of designers and architects designing small, renewable, green, living spaces (aka homes) for the majority of the poor people in the world. Also the one woman who said that the number one killer of small children (under the age of 5 I think) is not dirty water, not malaria, but from dirty fuel used in cooking. Such as coal, or other flamable materials used in a small home. She said that corncobs turned into charcoal briquettes are a much cleaner source of fuel.
I would like to buy this dvd, but I don't even think it's for sale - strange.

Totally unrelated...
Yesterday I stopped into my local "clubstore" called BJ's. I've been trying to cut back on my snacking at night, and have been enjoying sunflower seeds as a semi-healthy alternative to chips and such. Well last night I had a weak moment and picked up a "family-size" bag of crunchy Cheetos. I saw a sticker that said "2 bags for $5" but since it was a HUGE bag to begin with, I didn't want the extra cheetos. I get up to the register to pay for my stuff, and the cashier says "these are for sale, 2 for $5" - I said, "yes I know, I only want one bag"
She kinda smiled and said "no, I can only sell you 2 bags for the 2 for $5"
I said "What? really?" I thought she may have been joking with me.
But sure enough, that was the deal. So I could either walk back across the acres of club store to get a second bag, and wait in line all over again, or simply not buy them. I chose not to buy them. On my way out the door, I thought 'clearly, the cashier misunderstood the promotion' and the manager would be able to straighten her out. I asked the manager, and she simply smiled and repeated the same line. She said it was a promotion that Frito Lay came up with and there was nothing she could do about it. I STILL can't believe what I'm hearing.
Today, I called Frito Lay... at first, the nice woman on the phone denied the promotion, and said that didn't make sense. I said, "I know, but the manager said it was Frito Lay's policy"... She said, "can I put you on hold while I check into this?" I said sure... She came back on and almost apologetically said "yes, that is an agreement that we came to with bulk stores".
Well, I simply said, ok, I guess you guys lost a sale, which sort of defeats the purpose of a promotion... she just agreed with me.
So maybe I'm a little thick for needing 3 different people explain it to me, but I STILL can't believe what I'm hearing :)
And man do I want some Cheeto's right now. Oh well.

Monday, June 25, 2007

random Mon thoughts...

Just a few items to throw out into the world today...
Last night I watched a really interesting interview on C-span (I still miss Cspan2!) on the show called "Q&A". It was with an author of a new book called "Crashing Through" by Robert Kurson. First off I have to say, Robert looked like a giant sitting across from Brian Lamb... He had to be at least 6' 6". Robert seemed to be a "gentle giant" type, one of those guys who speaks softly and just portrays a good guy. But, for most of the interview that I saw (I missed the beginning) Robert spent the time talking about the subject of his book; Mike May. A Man who was blinded as a young child of 3, and later in life (I forgot how old he was 40's or 50's maybe?) He had a chance encounter with a doctor who offered him a risky chance to gain his eyesight back. Very Risky apparntly. But Mike decided to go for it, and has gained "some" of his eyesight back. There are some very odd "limitations" that Mike still is challenged with, but it's mostly due to brain activity and not so much the "physics" of sight. For example, Mike can look at a person's face and it just does not register. He can't tell one face from another. The story behind this man's constant willingness to throw himself at the onslaught of "LIFE" is amazing. Funny thing is, I don't know if I'll buy the book. I found the interview incredible, (as I did the interview with the man who wrote "the flags of our fathers", but really wasn't impressed with the movie). I also feel like I got the entire gist of the story based on the interview. (which Brian mentioned during the interview). You can watch the video online!

moving on...
Pop Quiz hotshot... Name an influential person... Someone who has changed the hearts or minds of say more than 100 people. Someone who is still living too... can you think of someone? It's tough isn't it? I realized this the other day when I was reading some news articles about Michael Moore's new movie "SICKO". It hit me, that Michael has had a huge influence on people with his movies. (positive or negative). Then I wondered, 'shouldn't you be able to name a politician first, before naming an artist, when it comes to influencing positive changes in people's lives?' I know... in a perfect world maybe. I think perhaps the best way for a single person to have a say and influence on other people is for them to become a film-maker.

What sparked this as a blog post as opposed to just a passing thought to ponder on, was I just read this article about a documentary filmmaker who is garnering a lot of support over her film to help ban the use of plastic shopping bags. I have only recently bought my two heavy duty canvas bags, and I'm glad I did. I encourage you to as well. It means a little change at first, and your gauranteed to forget your bags at least once, but they really work out nicely.

Oh, one more small item to throw out there today...
If I asked you what sort of governmental policy is the USA, what would you answer?
Think about it a second....
Did you say "Democracy"? I would have too...
I saw on a youtube video recently that we are NOT supposed to be a Democracy according to our founding fathers. We are supposed to be a "Republic"! I'm still not sure I understand what this means, but I'll be looking into it further. The only thing I can think of is the pledge of allegiance... "I pledge the allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the REPUBLIC...."
If someone understands the difference between republic and democracy please post a comment.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

movie: Angel-a

Just got back (well a little while ago) from a really interesting movie... Angel-a. I don't know if the average person will get to see this in the theaters... I think it's making a limited release in only the "artsy" theaters. I'm thankful that my local theater is still showing some "artsy" films in spite of being bought out by National Amusements. There were only 3 other people in the theater besides my friend and I, so maybe if the crowds don't start showing up to the artsy shows they'll get rid of them... I HOPE not!
Anyway... a very interesting movie by Luc Besson. I suppose I should mention that my friend was not impressed with this movie at all, so take my recommendation for what it's worth. Anyone know who Luc Besson is? I do, I usually like his movies. The two that most people will know of his are "The fifth Element" and "the professional" (I think it's also called "Leon" depending on what country you are in. I saw the professional in the theater and was "blown away" Instantly it became one of my favorite movies. The Fifth Element kinda grew on me... It's one of those movies that when it comes on TV I have to stop and watch part or all of it.
Well, Luc scored another hit for me. Angel-a is a foreign film (Yes, that means subtitles! Get over it :) It's all filmed in Paris and all in Black and White. I have to say the cinematography was excellent... I'd recommend this movie on that alone. Some of the black and white imagery was beautiful! The other reason I really liked this movie was that it was very creative in the story. I admit some of it got a little hoaky, but all in all, I was transfixed in watching these two actors Rie Rasmussen (the beautiful TALL blond) and Jamel Debbouze (the Short, one-armed, down-on-his-luck guy). I suppose I should warn anyone who is afraid of having their religious ideas challenged because (and I'm not giving anything away here) Angel-a is an angel like character, yet she does things that I would not imagine any angel ever doing! But that was part of the fun for me to have my ideas challenged. I also loved some of the lines in the movie that were in relation to the character "andre" and how we get to see him be psychoanalyzed.
If you're looking for a summer blockbuster, this movie is NOT it. If you are looking for something off the beaten trail, this movie is it. Try to see it in the theater due to the cinematography.
(PS> I just learned via imdb that the film was released in France 2 years ago! I wonder why it took so long to make it to USA?)
imdb movie site here.
Official movie website here.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Kooky Coincidence...

Ok, this is sort of a kooky coincidence... a few days ago, I was flipping through the channels and I saw something that reminded me of the 80's movie "The Karate Kid". I don't even recall what it was that put this thought in my head... but I remember specifically thinking "I wonder where those guys are now"... in particular I was wondering what happened to the blond hair'd kid... He just sort of faded away after a big hit. (Wow, he has been busy, just not in anything I've ever seen... I looked him up on imdb here - William Zabka).
Today I got an email from one of my old movie website contacts (I used to co-run an online movie review website). It was a press release for a new song/musical group called "no more kings". The song they are promoting is called "Sweep the leg" based on... wait for it... The Karate Kid! So I just went to the website here, and sure enough, there are several of the original characters making some cameo's in the music video. I gotta say too, it's a catchy little pop song, and the video was pretty good. Now, if you've never heard of the Karate Kid, all of this probably means bupkus, but I thought it blog worthy :)

OK, I was thinking of yet another blog post for this, but I might as well throw it in here...
Do you have "Broadband" internet (Cable or DSL)? Do you like to watch video's online, weather it be youtube or other? Then I encourage you to go check out and download "Democracy TV". I had checked this program out when I had first heard about it and was not impressed in the least. But this new version is pretty awesome. You'll need lots of Hard Drive space because you actually download the videos to your system to watch, but still pretty cool.

Speaking of video... no really, I'll end this post after this...
Did you ever see the TV show Arrested Development? Remember the kid? Well, he (mikey) and this other kid (clark) have started this online TV show. The episodes are short (7-15 minutes) which is fine, and they are pretty funny. (again, broadband recommended). Check them out here at - oh, and the latest episode starts playing automatically, so hit the pause button or simply click "episode 1" so you start at the beginning, otherwise you won't know what's going on. (Episode 5 is my favorite so far).

Bayer Sells Aids contaminated drugs?

I must be living under a rock. I don't understand how these important news items are slipping past me... (hmm, maybe because I don't usually watch the news on TV?)
I would think that news like this, and that there is a standoff between the Browns and the federal government would be "hot topic" issues. The only place I'm hearing this stuff is on the internet. I did see the Brown's mentioned on Yahoo the other day.

Keep Calm and Carry On

I just read this great little clip over on BoingBoing... Back in WW2 when the UK was being attacked and bombed on a daily basis, rather than the Government scaring it's citizens and using fear mongering (ahem, like Faux News!) They came up with this phrase "Keep Calm and Carry On". How great is that!? So now this website is selling T-Shirts with this saying on it. I kinda want to buy 7 of these shirts... one for each day of the week :)
I may have to make a sticker of this too... hmm...

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Nielsen's BuzzMetrics blogpulse

A long time ago I discovered this neat little website that lets you views what's "hot" in the blogging world. I'm not even going to pretend that I understand how these numbers and stats are figured out, but I check in every now and then to see what most internet users think is hot and important. So they have this little section for just the hot video links and these two videos I have to agree are really great!
I'm going to try and embed them both here...

More Ed Brown

You may have noticed an increase in my blog posts lately... my main client is away on vacation so things are slow around here. That gives me more time to surf the web and find more content to blog about :) Things should get back to normal in about 2 days.
moving on...

I spent some time this morning searching for news stories and updates to the Ed and Elaine Brown story... this couple that are refusing to come out of their house because they refused to pay taxes. It's a really interesting story for me, this is the stuff I love to read about and for some reason deep in my psyche I always root for the little guy's to overcome the corporate/government big guys. I've learned a lot and I can't say that I support what the Browns are doing 100%, but I am rooting for a peaceful solution. Unfortunately this has all the pre-warnings that this is going to end with someone getting hurt. What also amazes me about this story is that everything I've learned about it so far has mostly come from user created content on the internet. Youtube videos of press announcements (both from the Browns and From the Marshall's). I wonder how soon or IF this story will be picked up by the mainstream media. I know it's serious, but I had to laugh... One of the Browns Neighbors (or supporter depending on who you listen to) was arrested, and supposedly tasered and tackeled... why? Because he was out walking his dog, and literally stumbled upon the Marshalls hiding in the bushes doing survelliance. (It's in the Marshall's own words here (around the 3 minute mark)) I can only imagine a handful of police in camo and black masks looking through binoculars when this guy walks right up behind em and says "what are you guys doing in those bushes?" At which point they all jump, turn and tackel and taser the guy! :)
I'm going to be following this story as best I can via the internet.

I was going to post this other topic, but I think I'll create a new post...

waco in NH? and Jets...

Two quick thoughts this morning...
Last night I learned about an event that I have not heard mentioned at all in the "main stream media"... Apparently there is a "waco style" standoff going on right now in New Hampshire. Apparently this couple Ed and Elaine Brown, are under the belief that they do not have to pay taxes because it is not a law. (I've had similar beliefs, but It's one of those arguments that I'm not ready to test the theory of in person.) If you want to know more about this line of thought, check out this amazing video on youtube... it's a clip from the movie (on dvd) called "America: Freedom to Fascism" by Aaron Russo.
SO anyway, right now there is a house in new hampshire where this couple was supposed to go to jail, but they refuse. So it's become a standoff with the authorities, who ad digging in for a long time of waiting it out. I learned about this via the new website I found about conspiracies called - you can read the article here.
I did a news search via google and found this article in the "" I wonder why/if there is any local newspapers covering this in NH?

ok, my other random thought this morning...
Back when the Gulf war was getting started, and back when the current Iraq occupation was getting started, I happened to notice a lot of jets and military helicopters flying around. I'm one of those people who always looks up when I hear a plane. In the last few day's I've again been noticing an increase in military jets and helicopters. I hope it's nothing and perhaps my "non-scientific" study is way off base.

OH... and this just reminded me of a great show I saw on PBS the other night... I came into the show after it had started, so I don't know the name, but I think PBS is running it more than once... It's comparing the three big religions Islam, Christianity and Judaism. It was very interesting (and a bit long). In a nutshell it talked about how similar the three religions are, and that somehow the main message of doing nice things for one another is often overlooked.

Well, just a few little heavy nuggets to ponder about today.

apple imac fixed!

Well the good news today is that I got my imac fixed and with very limited hassle. A quick recap... about a month or so I was burning a cd from itunes and heard a strange noise... then no matter what disk I put in, it would make a few attempts to boot, then just spit the disk back out. So I ended up purchasing a $170 extended warranty (which apple calls the "applecare protection plan")... I bought this for two reasons... one I knew I had a buggy computer after only 5 months out of the box. I figured it made sense to get the extended warranty. I also (mistakenly) thought this was the plan I needed in order to be treated like a human being when I tried to bring my computer in for repair. I later learned this was not the case... that plan is called the "pro care" card, and it can only be bought in your local apple store. I really think this is a borderline scam... it promises first rate customer service... I quote "next on the bench" with your computer when you bring it in to get fixed. So this is a mixed review here...
I brought the computer in as the shop opened at 10am. I purchased the $99 procare plan (good for one year). I then met with the "mac genius" who proceeded to boot up my mac off of a networked disk (I didn't know you could do that, that was cool that I learned something). He confirmed there was something wrong with the cd drive or optical drive. He checked and to my surprise they had a drive in stock (I guess this problem happens often). He said it should probably be done today (in approx 5 hours). GREAT!
So about 4:30 comes and I'm getting nervous that I had not gotten a call yet to say it was finished. I decided to call and see if maybe they called my home phone by mistake. I got an employee named "James" (I won't give away my local apple store... just be wary of an apple store employee named James). James was full of attitude, and at first would not even tell me if my machine had even been worked on. He said the "admin" was out (whatever that means). After I said, "Well they told me it would be done today" he put me on hold and decided to check. He said, "it's not done yet"... I said "well do you think it will be?" He said "I can't say, the tech is out to lunch (it was 4:45pm)" I said, "so there's nothing you can tell me?" He said "I've told you all that I can tell you".
So rather frustrated, I simply thanked him (sarcastically) and hung up.
I figured I would wait an hour before calling back to give the tech time to get back from "lunch"... when to my surprise my cell phone rang about 20 minutes later... the mac genius I spoke to this morning said "your computer is done" - Great! I said and thanked him.
SO... bottom line is that my computer is home, and seems to be running fine, and they fixed it within one business day.
Why I got the run-a-round from James I don't know. Was he lying when he said they had not touched my machine yet? Did the tech actually install a new optical drive in about 20 minutes? Did the mac genius lie when he said it would take 5 hours? Did I not get "next on the bench" service that my procare card promised? Who knows... I'm just happy that I have my machine back. I still feel like I got scammed out of a $99 procare plan though.
OH and for what it's worth... had I not been covered under warranty, this repair would have cost me $445.95!! ($310.94 for the optical drive, and $135.00 for the labor). Ouch!!!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Apple Keynote

Hey Nation! Any Apple fans out there? I've been watching Steve Job's keynote address online (in bits and pieces, because it's long!) Where he is introducing a lot of the new features in the soon to be released new OS X. (named Leopard (I'm starting to get confused now with all these "big cat" names of their OS. Lets see if I get this, first there is Jaguar, then Tiger, now Leopard)). I have to be honest, as say that a lot of the new updates appear to be "fluff" as far as looks and appearance updates. Which is fine, I'm all for great looking design, but the web and Steve kinda make a big deal about how you can now see a reflection on the new dock (yawn).
During the presentation Steve brought up the CEO of EA (Electronic Arts) and says apple is welcoming them back... big deal. I've never been impressed at all with the EA games for the mac. In fact one of the games I bought (Tiger Woods golf) crashed so much (and lost the progress of the game) that I gave up playing it. So, EA, if you come back to mac, you better "bring it" this time. No lame ports that are full of bugs.
Now, the main reason I'm bloging this post, is that I just saw something that Steve demo'd that really looks cool to me.... It's called "web clip" and it goes hand in hand with Safari and the apple version of widgets called "dashboard". I've actually never been a fan of dashboard. I guess I'm "old skool" because I'm a big fan of the original widget creators called "konfabulator". I don't know how or what happened, but somehow Apple "stole/bought/shared" the idea of widgets and made "dashboard". Since then, Yahoo, bought out the original Konfabulator program, and (luckily) has continued to support and keep Konfabulator alive.
But, after seeing what web clip can do I gotta say... that's awesome. You can really easily make your own widgets of practically anything on the web with just a few clicks!
IF you want to see this, go to Steve's keynote here and click on the wwdc keynote at the bottom , once the video loads/opens then click just a little past the half way mark (around 45, 46 minute mark). Leopard is looking pretty good, but I've learned my lesson... I will not be one of the first ones to run out and buy it. I'll give it at least a few months, before updating, until all the bugs get worked out.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Questions your pastor will hate...

I found this link this morning via reddit... some interesting questions posed (and a few interesting comments, I suspect the comments list will get much longer when the folks from reddit start posting. It's also interesting to me the "tone" in the comments. The author of these "Dennis Diehl" says he's a former pastor... I can see why :)
I think some of Dennis' questions were answered by "johnrohan" in the comments, but I don't like john's "tone" or attitude.
It's questions like these that always bother me as well. I see the Bible as a great logic puzzle, and at this point in time, I can't figure it out. I also admit that I've read very little of the Bible, so maybe if I read more I would have more answers. But I find it such a chore to plod through all the repetitious verses. I also get very frustrated while reading the Bible, because I always come up with these types of questions as I'm reading it. So then I get mad at myself for being frustrated, and then usually just stop reading. A confusing and frustrating loop for me.
The link is here.
Oh, and I also think it odd that this post made it to the top page of Reddit. Usually Reddit is a techy site, or politics, not so much about religion. Hmm, that would be pretty cool if there were a reddit type page dedicated to religious topics only.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

New Book - Almost Human

Just a quick post about a new book that I'm enjoying. It's called "Almost Human" by Lee Gutkind. A little hard to describe, but apparently Mr. Gutkind just hung out at "Carnegie Mellon" and got to know a bunch of the staff and student that build Robots. It's not a techy book in that it won't teach you how to build a robot, but rather a glimpse into the people who are often times obsessed with building these machine, and pushing to boundaries to create the "Next Generation" of Robots. I find it all very interesting, and actually feel a bit of remorse that I was not a better student in that I could have been involved in some way with this. ARGH!? Did I just say that I wished I was a better student? What's gotten into me? I hated school. But, as I'm in my middle ages now I'm beginning to realize what options in life I may have missed out on because I didn't apply myself. Ah, such is life I guess.
I googled "almost human" and found this Wired interview online with the author.
Oh and I also think it's a great book cover design.

Oh on a totally unrelated side note... I happened to catch a movie tonight on the "classic movies" channel with Jimmy Stewart. I missed the beginning, but when flipping the channels I heard the word "Pooka" mentioned and it caught my attention. Turns out Robert Anton Wilson used the "Pooka" in his talks and I never knew what it meant. (I'm not gonna tell ya... go look it up on wikipedia ;) I have a new word to look up too a "rumpot". I also thought it was a good movie too. It was filmed in 1950... I'm AMAZED how things were so different culture wise only 60 years ago. I just learned via imdb that the movie is called "Harvey".

ClustrMaps anniversary

Well, I only missed it by a couple of days, but June 12th was my one year anniversary since I put the "clustrmap" widget on my blog. So in a years time I've had 5261 visitors to my blog from all around the globe! Hard to believe! I thank everyone who found this small blog out of the millions on the intertubes. Now I need to determine if I should reset my counter, or just let it continue...

Mike Colameco back on

Yes! I just finished watching a NEW Mike Colameco cooking show right now. I had not seen his show for at least 3-4 weeks and had feared that the show was canceled or moved to a different time slot. But I was up at 10am this Sat morning, and sure enough they did change the time slot but only by a half hour, it's on now at 10:30am. (In my area, your area may be different).
So no recipes to transcribe this time. Mike and his family were on a vacation to Hawaii so they did the entire show about the food of Hawaii. It was interesting, little bit of everything really, from tons of seafood to an ice cream factory and a sugar plant. The sugar plant was interesting, in that it is very energy efficient, after they press the cane and get all they can from it, the left over "bio-mass" is then burned and converted to electricty, so the plant not only makes sugar, but is also an energy plant - cool.
Mike did not do a demo afterwards, but had three local chef's do a grilling demo. They listed the ingredients WAY to fast for me to write down, but then I stopped because all of the ingedients were local ingredients anyway.
One other thing I thought interesting is that Hawaiian food is influenced by several cultures, Chinese, Japanese, and Philippines and European (there may have been a few more cultures mentioned). So this makes the food very different.
Glad to see Mike's show back on the air!

Friday, June 15, 2007

close-up dandelion

A Foto for Friday - TGIF

Thursday, June 14, 2007

rats... tagged again.

So I just signed onto my "bloglines" to read my blogs that I subscribe to via RSS, and saw that my sis got tagged for an 8 random facts Meme... I got to about point 1 and thought (I bet she's gonna tag me) Sure enough :)

1. Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.

2. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.

3. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.

4. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

1. I was a passenger in a Camaro (late 80's) in a high speed police chase that ended tragically for another family. We hit speeds over 100mph (my friend and I were in the back seat, and it was his car). The "bad guy" had stolen a police car when they tried to catch him on the highway. The "bad guy" doubled back on them, jumped in their car, and took off leaving them stranded on the side of the road. My friend and I saw this happen right in front of us while we were at the red light. My friend said "should we stop and help?" I said "Sure" So we pulled over, and the two officers told us to get in the back seat (not sure why they didn't tell us to just wait on the side of the road). We took off after them. It was thrilling! We ended up losing the car at an intersection... which is lucky for us... a few minutes later, the bad guy ran a red light, and T-boned a station wagon with a family in it. He lived, but he killed most (or all, I can't recall) of the family. If we had not lost him at the previous intersection that could have been us that was in the accident.

2. I've only really been in one fight (fist fight) in my life. I was around 7, I lost, and it was with a girl. (I'm actually proud of this fact - not that I lost to a girl, but that I've only been in one fight.)

3. I don't like talking about myself (which makes this meme difficult).

4. I used to enjoy camping so much, and then it slowly became a pain in the neck. I hope to get back to camping someday.

5. I find it amazing how my sister is able to remember so many details about her (and my) childhood, where as I can barely recall what I had for dinner last night. I struggle to think if I've consciously blocked out my memories or if I've simply forgotten.

6. hmm, I guess I should throw a habit in here... I suppose I have a lot because I don't like change. So I don't really think of them as habits, but more as things I like to do over and over... I go out with a friend of mine to the movies almost every Saturday night for the past 15 years or so.

7. I went to a college in upstate New York for forestry and surveying for just under one semester. It was the best vacation I ever had! I got in a snowball fight while drunk, and got hit in the eye with a snowball. Ended up going to the hospital the next day because I couldn't open it or see out if it. Doctor said I was lucky, and that in a few days it should be ok. I hated being at college after several weeks. It got to be the week before final exams, and I was not doing well with several of the classes... I ended up just packing all my stuff in my 1967 Jeep and just left. I didn't know what the process was for "dropping out" and didn't care... I didn't tell anyone and I just left. For all I know, they're still looking for me.

8. Finally... I have a skull collection. Some real some fake.

I don't know any other bloggers other than my sister (who tagged me) and Valejandras, so I guess you are now tagged V :)

A few rants today

Well, one of the best things about having a blog for me is having a place to vent. It's been a while so I guess I can't complain too much. But, just in the past week I've had a few company rants that I need to vent now...

IKEA - I'm a big fan of Ikea. I like their design most of all, and I like the prices. I don't like the cheapness of some of their products though, and that chipboard... I think they use a LEAD based glue because it's some of the heaviest wood I've ever had to lift. So I've been meaning to get up to my local (30 minutes away) to buy a new set of drawers for my living room. I ended buying one that I liked, yet it won't match any other item in my apartment, but I don't really care because it looks nice :) While I was there I HAD to visit their lighting department, they always have the coolest lights. I bought a neat little desklamp for $9, and a nice looking book reading lamp for $34. I got it home and started putting the book lamp together... I took the base of the lamp out and was a bit shocked to see that the bottom of the base was all dirty and skuffed up! Somehow I got a used base!? It still sort of worked (I think I stripped the one pipe while screwing it into the base, but it appears to be strong enough.) But it just stinks that I got a used piece of equipment when I thought it was going to be brand new.

Verizon - Overall I'm pretty happy with Verizon for my DSL, but I've noticed that when it rains I always get a crappy connection. It's both at the office (next town over) and at home. That's it... no big rant here, just that it's incredibly frustrating to get such slow connections and disconnects whenever it rains.

Apple - I'm a big fan of Apple too. I think I blogged a little while back about how my 6 month old imac is now broken with a bum cd/dvd drive. I went through a few hoops when I tried to call and bring it into the local apple store to get it looked at. One of the things Apple offers is a Procare plan that lets you get treated nicely. There's really no other way to put it. You pay $99 for the ability to make plans over the phone, you get the option of booking an appointment at the first available time slots, you get a yearly tune-up, and generally you get treated nicely. Well, I decided to break down and purchase this...well to my surprise, I got hooked and skewered, because I bought the "wrong plan"! I ended up buying the "Apple Care" plan which is their way of saying the "extended warranty" for my imac, and not the "Pro Care" plan. Now, In a way, I'm still glad I bought the extended warranty especially now that I know that I have a problem with my particular computer, but it was a bit of a smack to learn, that I still needed to shell out another $99 for the "pro care" plan to be treated nicely. I know I should NOT get it on principle alone, but I'm going to. I'd rather pay that $99 to be treated nice, than to be brushed aside. Man does that stink.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Angry students

I found the above youtube video via the blog just now. Apparently, people were just a little upset that Andrew Card was being given an honary degree. Here's the wikipedia entry for Andrew. I'm a bit confused, because on one hand the article says that Mr. Card was part of the Bush Admin's cheerleading squad to help diseminate misleading tidbits on the build-up to the Iraq war, yet it also makes it sound like Mr. Card resigned when he felt things had gotten out of control. I don't know enough to make a judgement, so I bow to the students and faculty who must be pretty smart.


Is it presumptuous of me to say that these latest macro photos that I took remind me of the famous artist Georgia O'Keeffe? Check out my other shots similar to this on my flickr page.

Friday, June 08, 2007

great comic today

A great comic today over on xkcd (click to enlarge).

It's been a slow week for blogging. I guess I just didn't have much to say this week. Things have been busy at work (which is nice). I'm almost finished a book! I hope to finish it up tonight actually... It's called the "The Third Secret", and it's supposed to be a murder mystery type book about the death of a pope. The tagline on the book made a reference to the DaVinci code, but I can't find a thing about it that relates to the DaVinci Code. Regardless, it's been an ok read, and simply a little entertainment for the mind. I have a small fascination on the Catholic religion too... their rituals and traditions seem so foreign to me (with some that seem to go against what I've read in the Bible, but that's a whole other story). And like any true bibliophile junkie, just this past week I bought two new books from amazon (had a gift certificate!) One about Nicola Tesla, and one about Robots. I'm looking forward to both, and I'm not sure which one to start next. I HOPE the Tesla book can keep me interested, I find other people's lives interesting, but biographies are usually a struggle for me to get into.
Other than that, just trying to stay cool now. It's about 88 and 54% humidty here, but I'm resisting turning on my AC (which sucks too... the coolest it gets in here is 82 with the AC on!).

Peace out
Namaste (to quote V and the Hanso Foundation ;)

Oh, one more thing... My sis has complimented me on her blog the other day by saying that I was conspiracy prone ;) On that note, I discovered a new conspiracy related blog earlier in the week... TruthEra. (Coincidence?) TruthEra seems a little out there, but a true conspiracy site... mentions of the Illuminati, the Bilderberg Group pn the front page and one of my favorite books "Rule by Secrecy" is one of their prize giveaways! I'm going to have to check on this blog more often.

In other news, I also just found the book by George Orwell (which I also learned was a pseudonym for Eric Blair) 1984 online via the gutenberg project. I will have to try reading this too in my spare time.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

photo today

A photo that I took of a goldfinch

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Reporter gets arrested for asking question

So I found this link via reddit, to a website called "prisonplanet" (I saw one on there the other day too, I don't know what the story is behind "prisonplanet" but it looks like a conspiracy type website - I'll have to check it out later. Regardless of what type of website it is, they have this news item and a youtube video that is amazing to me. In a nutshell, after the Republican presidential "debate" last night, the candidates and their people hit the spin room to be interviewed by the press. As the video here shows, this guy (Matt Lepacek) was asking one of Giuliani's people a question about the 9-11 conspiracy. After a bit of a heated (but polite) back and forth, Giuliani's man, points out the reporter to the state police, who then proceed to escort him out of the building and arrest him for "criminal trespassing". Really sums up America's "freedom of speech" doesn't it? I don't care if the reporter was a nut job or not, as long as he was simply asking a question and not posing a threat, he should have simply been ignored, not escorted out and arrested. I'm a bit dumbfounded by this.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Make Philly

What an amazing video huh? I've known about Theo Jansen for quite some time now, but this youtube video was new to me. I will defintely be heading over to his website to check if I can order the DVD. I think he's located in Sweden, so I'm not sure what's involved with ordering something from another country. Hmm, maybe Amazon might have something.

Well, a quick post before this weekend is over... Today (Sunday June 3rd) I went to yet another meeting held by MakePhilly. We had a great presentation from a guy who is persuing his PHD in Nano Technology. Granted, much of the science went over my head, but he was able to give a quick presentation that even a layman like myself was able to grasp most of. One of the items I walked away with that someone posed as a question afterwards was that there are companies rushing to get "nano-tech" to the market as fast as possible since it's the next "new thing". But Mike pointed out that nano tech is SO small that a single nano-tube (which he said is being used in tennis rackets now) that these tubes are smaller than our pores in our skin. So there could be health related issues (I thought of Asbestos) that none of the corporations are concerning themselves with. I think I'll take Mike's words of caution when I hear about new products that contain nano-tech.
I won't even attempt to try and repeat what I learned, but it was amazing the things they are doing in this field. We're talking about not just "seeing" or looking at things really tiny, we're talking about scientists are now able to BUILD objects (including a motor) using molecules! Mind boggling.
Then, like true maker style, the meeting took a turn to the otherside of tech... people broke into small teams and created their own miniature golf course. Lot's of creative "machines" and course holes. I decided to sit the actual making part out this time simply so I could wander and take photos, but I missed not being able to make something. I think next time, I'm just going to have the do both, help make them, and take photos too. At one point I thought it funny that only a few minutes ago is a PHD student involved with Nano Technology giving a scientific presentation, only now to be duct-taping his own miniature golf course hole. That's one of the reasons I love this Maker movement. :)
I hope to upload photos to my flickr account within a day or so.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Joined the EFF today

Bloggers' Rights at EFF

Well, I finally joined the EFF. I've been meaning to do this for a very long time, and then while at the Maker Faire, I stopped at their booth, and purchased some stickers (not sure what I'm going to stick them on, but that's ok - I did put one on my moleskin.) So with a small donation of $25 I signed up today. If you care about your "right" to blog, freedom of speech, your rights as they apply to computers and the internet I encourage you to go check out their website here.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Made me laugh

So I stopped by Reddit today to see what's hot in the intertubes and saw this post about how to close a chip bag so that you don't need a clip. So out of curiosity I checked it out... Yeah, I admit, kinda clever. I use a slightly different method, when I "reverse-engineered" a bag that I got some Chinese food in... I was always amazed at how the bag is always closed without the use of a stapler. I don't think my method would work as well with it being overturned, but really, how many people grab an open bag of chips and turn it upside down.
ANYWAY... the whole reason I'm posting this here, is because I started to read the comments... After several other internet webpages I'd been to today, and reading insane comments, I've developed a sort of mental filter to crap comments. Like watching the 11 o'clock news and hearing all the horrible things, and yet still being able to go to sleep at night. So about 2 or 3 comments down, some Anonymous (they're always Anon) posted this comment...
"Well, what if the bag is ripped?"
This is just mind boggling stupid, that I won't even comment on that...
But then I read the comment below it...
"Well, what if your mom ripped?"
I don't know why, but I just cracked up! What a most excellent way to respond to an insane comment. Perhaps it was meant as a crude joke, but I don't see it like that. It's the only comment you can make to an idiotic one. I may have to use this in the future (as Anon of course).
I know, you're probably scratching your head right now saying "I don't get it" or "That's not the slightest bit funny" - I guess you had to be there :)

Original post here: on FUNL