May 10, 2008
A moment of mac glory
Watch this music video. It's very clever, and a fantastic display of why people love to use Mac's OSX operating system.
October 09, 2007
iPhone saves the day.
I don't know what my problem was, but I didn't really realize the assignment that I posted below, a "2 paged double spaced typed" expansion of my most shameful moment, was due in class yesterday. When did I find out? During my first class of the day. On my Monday... when I have no breaks between class.
What can I do, my mind races?
iPhone. I write up that essay below on the iPhone during my first lecture class, and email it to myself. Then I stop by the computer lab, log into my yahoo email, copy and paste the stuff into Word, and print it out.
And now I don't start out my class as the idiot who didn't realize he had homework.
Bravo, iPhone, bravo.
October 03, 2007
I got an iPhone
Yeah, I finally broke down and bought one. I needed something where I could easily add and access a calendar schedule of events... and also I keep meeting tons of people who want me to take their information and the iPhone makes that simple.
It's an incredible little device, and it makes all of my previous reasons of not getting one seem pretty minor in comparison to it's strengths. With the price drop and then the $100 credit from Darby's iPhone, it was an easy decision.
So yeah, I'm one of those iPhone nerds now.
June 29, 2007
Why I won't be buying an iPhone... yet
It's been called the Jesus Phone. My 4 year old son watches the demo videos online. My 7 year old daughter begged me for one the other day. And it's made by one of the two company's that I have actual affection for (Nintendo is the other one).
It honestly is a breakthrough device. Anybody who doesn't believe it, you have to take a look at the videos that wowed my son. It deserves to sell a ton, and it makes cell phones cool to me (which they have never been before, I've always hated them).
I'm even on Cingular already, so one of the main reasons to hold off isn't a problem for me.
So why won't I buy one now?
It's not just the price. In fact... even if it were $199 I still wouldn't buy it right now. (Crazy, I know). But price is one of the reasons. That is an awful lot of money. But that's not it.
1) Not enough storage.
I've been waiting for the full screen iPod for so long. So long. And now, it's more than a little disappointing to me that the first one to have this exact feature only has 8 GB of storage, max. I know that's a lot of room, but my music collection is 40GB by itself, plus video takes even more space. People say, "Why do you need ALL your music with you." It's because... no matter how I pick and choose playlists with my nano, invariably I'll want to hear something and... It's not there. I know this will be taken care of eventually. But I have to wait. But even this wasn't the dealbreaker.
2) Not fast enough.
It's been said a million times, but this is running on a slower network. This actually wouldn't bother me so much, because I can deal with the speed of EDGE, I've been doing it for quite some time already. But, it bugs me to know that eventually a new iPhone will be able to get on a faster 3G network, and I'll be left behind if I buy into this first generation. This isn't an upgradeable feature either. But even this, I would be willing to overlook because of how awesome the phone is.
Which brings me to the reason that makes the decision for me. The reason I would keep a phone that I hate while rejecting a phone I would absolutely love.
3) Doesn't act as a bluetooth modem for my laptop.
I rely on having an internet signal for my livelihood. I need to be able to get emails, work on software on my laptop, even in places that might not have wifi. I use my motorola razor as a modem for my mac, and it's been a lifesaver any number of times. So, if I have a Macbook Pro, the iPhone should work as a modem even more seamlessly, right... being from the same company, one that has a well-earned reputation for their stuff "just working."
The iPhone does not communicate with a laptop through bluetooth. And it won't work as a modem.
I'm not really sure, honestly. But until this is fixed, I won't be able to buy this wonderful breakthrough.
Darby's phone just stopped working, though....
May 11, 2007
And this is why you make sure to treat everyone with respect.
So in this day and age of the internet and all that, you really have to make sure you treat everyone well. In the olden days, you treat someone badly, and they tell maybe 10 friends. Now, they post it online, and the whole world gets to see what you wrote and what you did.
Hit # 7 of google.... and climbing...
April 09, 2007
a really clever website
If you're ever desperate for a website and don't have the time to actually put one together, here's a great idea for you.
(My apologies to my sister Jessica, who told me she hates the posts which are all about a link, because she never clicks on them.)
January 18, 2007
I saved Hyrule. . .
I'm proud to announce that it only took me a ridiculously long 67 hours of gameplay, but the Kingdom of Hyrule is safe from the powers of the Dark Lord Gannon. It was an epic battle to the finish earlier today, which I have admit pushed and confused me.
I have to say, this is the best video game I have every played. Without a doubt. If you like games at all, you owe it to yourself to pick this up and play it. The story is top-notch, you care about the characters, the art direction amazing, the music inspiring, the gameplay astonishing. Seriously, there are parts of this game, many parts, where you just want other people to be around, because you want other people to share in just how awesome this is. And I was lucky, because my 7 year old daughter and 4 year old son were as obsessed with it as I was, and were right with me every second of the quest. Watching and cheering (and pushing me to check the internet if it took me longer then 15 minutes to figure out what to do next. . . which I didn't do!)
Of the 5 people who waited overnight for the Nintendo Wii, I am the 3rd to beat it. Luke "the video game god" Ziegenhorn beat it in like 34 hours and about 3 weeks ago, maybe even longer. Joe "hurt his foot and had lots of free time" Kempista finished in I think around 45 hours and a week ago. I wandered around and took my time because I didn't want this game to end. The only reason I beat it today instead of looking for more hearts and shiny bugs and poe souls was because the kids pushed me to go ahead and save the world and stop wasting time.
January 13, 2007
posting from a wii
hi all. mostly i'm just writing right now to show off. because i'm posting from a nintendo wii. yes, it does not get much nerdier than publishing a blog post from a wii. but there you have it. i'm proud!
thanks so much for supporting us on tuesday. gracer was amazed at the crowd for a house show on a weeknight. the best house show they'd ever done.
go eagles! a friend sent an andy reid mii today for good luck!
November 20, 2006
Waiting for the Wii
On Saturday night, I did something very nerdy and completely insane. But it was also entirely worth it. I camped out overnight to buy a Nintendo Wii.
I was kind of hoping to avoid the complete camp out. The local Walmart was having a midnight launch and I thought if I got over there at 4 PM I could wait around for 8 hours and pick one up. After all, Nintendo was releasing a million of these little white boxes of fun, right?
Wrong, at 1:30 the Walmart already had 28 people waiting. The Walmart employee told me they only had 30 consoles. WHAT? And the party I was going to roll with was 4 people strong. When my son Ollie heard this, he said, "But Daddy, there are other big stores you can go to, right?" So, it was overnight at Target for my boy. (and maybe a little for me).
Bryan, Joe, Luke and I left my house at 4.30ish, heading for the Target on Route 202 in Brandywine. Luke had a Gamecube setup in his car, so it was quickly apparent that we made the right choice of vehicle as Joe and I played Mario Soccer on our way up I-95.
We got to Target at 5.30 PM. There were 13 people in line in front of us. One guy had been there since 8 AM. Mind you, this target wasn't going to open until 8 AM the next day. He certainly deserved his Wii.
Apparently the Brandywine Target is an extremely successful Target, so much so that it sells the most of any Target on the whole East Coast. No lie, I heard this from an older gentleman who was waiting behind us. When you sit in the cold and wait for hours upon hours you hear a lot of things. Because of this, this Target was going to get 210 consoles. Eat that, Walmart.
So, coming unprepared because I knew I was going to be outside of a Target (which closed at 10), I bought a tent and a sleeping bag. And a Nintendo DS because mine was lost. (What a horrible time to lose one, the wireless multiplayer Mario Kart games we played that night were legendary).
The people in front of us were so-so nice. One girl helped us set up our newly purchased tent, which was very nice. One guy joined our wireless DS bowling game, which was kind of nice. One tent of guys had a football and beat us in an impromptu midnight game. Not so nice.
The people waiting behind us were extremely nice. There was James, a hardcore gamer who publishes a cool magazine called Eerie Pennsylvania, all about paranormal activities around the grand state of PA. No, for some reason I didn't tell him about our short film. Too busy trying to get first place in Mario Kart I suppose.
Chris and his wife Ruth stopped by around 9 to give us some hot chocolate. Very nice of them. We cajoled Chris into staying! Such fun. Only the Wii could take Chris from a date with his beautiful wife into a tent with 4 other guys.
There was the 67 year old grandmother who was waiting in line to purchase a Wii for her 15 year old autistic grand son. Yes, think about that. She was an absolute saint, and the nicest lady. On Sunday, she left the Target and went straight to teaching special ed classes at the local Catholic school.
The group behind the people behind us were bad people. I think the one man was a rapist, or a pedophile, and most likely both. No lie. For some reason Joe talked to him for awhile around 4 am.
It's amazing how often you have to go to the bathroom when you just sit around and talk in 38 degree weather. I had to run to this special spot between bushes and trees in a median between 2 roads about 5 times through the night.
Bryan is a professional tailgater because he has season tickets to the redskins. Because of him we ruled the line with his 12 x 12 foot canopy. (not yet setup) Seriously, we looked like the absolute kings there.
As dawn broke, the sky was extremely beautiful, and I made the joke that even Jesus was coming to get a Wii. At this point, the line had stretched to many more then 210, and someone asked me if I'd give Jesus my place in line. I had to point out that Jesus spent the night in heaven, and I spent it on a cold sidewalk outside of Target. I think we know who deserves that Wii.
By 6AM, the line had grown very long indeed, and people from the back were constantly conducting censuses, counting to the front. One boy had finished the count and said to us, "I think I'm number 210, do you think I'll be ok." We knew this Target had exactly that number, and we told him to run back to his spot and pray. Bryan thinks we made him cry.
A night without sleep made us start doing loopy things, like push Luke around in a shopping cart. You wouldn't believe how many people would stop and ask what we were waiting for. One man stopped and we told him, and he proceeded to lecture us all, "Only in America, in other countries people wait in lines for a single grain of rice, and here we wait all night for a toy." He couldn't be more wrong. The Wii isn't a toy. It's a high precision instrument specially designed to allow for virtual manipulation of simulated digital environments. And really, a grain of rice is not filling, even if you're starving. That man was ridiculous. Plus he had a big dog. The money he spends on feeding that big dog could save like 15 kids in a 3rd World nation. Stuff it, hypocrite.
Finally, the Target security guards appeared and handed out the tickets needed to purchase the coveted toy. . .err. . .precision instrument. I was number 17. At this point, about 45 people went away empty-handed. One kid in front of us sold his ticket for $20. We told him he sold himself short. Sure enough, a couple people came by later saying they would pay $50 to $100 for a ticket. The kid audibly groaned. Because he was on the team that beat us in football, I didn't feel too bad for him honestly.
You wouldn't believe how badly we all had to go to the bathroom at this point. Because the sun had risen and now there were many cars driving by, all our outside hidden spots were now in such plain view that using them would only get us arrested for public indecency. We talked about leaving and going to Panera's across the street since we had our ticket, but we were afraid that Target would open early and we'd be out of Wii's. So we hopped around and waited for 8, checking our ticket every 10 seconds, afraid it might blow away or inexplicably disappear.
Finally, the appointed hour arrived, and Target handled the actually buying process very well, even giving us all a free Wii T-Shirt. Success.
Quick review of the machine itself. It's honestly all I was hoping for, and my regret is I haven't been able to play with it enough. On Sunday I was so tired I could barely keep my eyes open and I went to bed at 7. Today I had a huge assignment due for my class at UCLA so I couldn't put in any major time. But already my wife is playing it, and her mother played it too, and they both enjoyed it. That has never happened before. Never.
So viva la wii! If you can snag one, get it. You won't regret it.
And long after the next generation of consoles comes and passes into the dustbin of history, I'll remember this long night hanging out with good friends. So originally I was hoping to avoid the camp out, but now I'm glad stupid Walmart only had 30 units. It was a blast.
September 26, 2006
Lost Season 3 Schedule
I love Lost. I watch it religiously.
Remember last year how you never really knew if they were going to show a re-run or an original? I hated that. Well this year it's all different.
The season begins on October 4th at 9 pm. (If you are interested this wednesday, the 27th, they will be showing a refresher episode to get you back up to speed.)
There will be a brand new episode every wednesday for 6 or 7 weeks in a row! No reruns whatsoever. There will then be a 12 week hiatus, then the show will return with 17 straight weeks of brand new episodes to finish the season.
I will be a sad 12 weeks, but overall I think this is much better.
September 21, 2006
White and Nerdy
The scary thing? Members of the Look Machine fit about 80% of the things from this song. Great new video from the genius Weird AL.
August 04, 2006
who knew treadmills could be so fun?
July 28, 2006
Man Playing Star Wars on the Banjo
I found Ian's kindred spirit.
July 10, 2006
VH1's Mac Ads
I love Apple, and I think that everyone should get a Mac (if they can). I know they are (slightly) more expensive, but they last longer so really they aren't.
I find the new commercials hilarious, and mostly true.
But that doesn't stop this from being hilarious.
Update Thanks Jason, I updated it to VH1. .. it's not Comedy Central.
July 06, 2006
How I find this stuff
The other day in response to my post about George W Bush's stunning rendition of U2's Sunday Bloody Sunday we were asked "where we find this stuff."
I thought now might be as good a time as any to share my daily or semidaily sites that I visit.
I have to admit, I take a inordinate amount of pride in my bookmarks. This is actually a fairly recent trend, as before about 5 months ago I didn't even use book marks. But then I took some time to learn how to put them in folders, and from then on I was hooked.
For my "looking for something unique and interesting" moments, I'll go to Metafilter, Lifehacker, Coudal Partners, and BoingBoing. I've found by checking them out often I come across some very unique, thought-provoking and funny stuff.
When I want rumors about really nerdy stuff, like Apple products, I'll check out The Unofficial Apple Weblog, MacRumors, Macminute. Great analysis and in depth Mac writing can be found at DaringFireball.net too.When I want to get even geekier I'll check out video game sites like joystiq, kotaku, gonintendo, and WiiFanboy. (I don't know why, but I find reading the comments, especially the battles between Sony and Nintendo Fans, to be incredibly interesting. For general techy nerdiness, I like to read Gizmodo.
One of the more interesting sites on the internet, in my opinion, is Ask Metafilter. I'll check this site out a couple of times a day, because it's just so fascinating. In general, people just ask questions about anything and the nearly 40,000 members of the Metafilter community answer them. But those 40,000 people are very smart and very experienced and often come up with some great answers that are worth reading. (Note: I've also found the Metafilter community skews towards being a little more athiest, nerdy, and liberal then your average community, all of which make them even more fascinating to read for me.) For other interesting reads I'll check out the online magazine Slate, the new articles at Christianity Today, consumer based issues at the Consumerist, and environmental concerns at Treehugger.
I don't know why, it's probably because I loved Disney World and movies growing up (and still do love Disney World and Disneyland, while I hope for an animation revival with the Pixar merger), but Disney related discussion and articles also interest me. For these things, I'll check out Jim Hill Media, MiceAge, and LaughingPlace.
When it comes to music, I'll read the "industry insider" discussion boards at The Velvet Rope (the film and TV topics are good there too), and I'll follow the weekly record sales and rumors at HITS Daily Double. Also, punknews.org keeps you up to date on a whole lot of good music.
For movies, I like following the box office returns and predictions at BoxOfficeMojo, and reading about upcoming release rumors and reviews at Ain't It Cool. For other filmmaking news, I'll check out Cinematical. For screenwriting tips and discussion, I like to read screenwriter John August's blog.
Oh yeah, blogs. Well the following are the ones I check often (other then this one you are reading right now). DarbyDinatale.com, yeah I know I'm married to her but it's a great weblog to read as she mixes heart-wrenching memories with humorous insights, BoySetFire.org, another site that could update a little more these days (cough cough, Josh), but when they do it's great. MyNym, who was a visitor to our site, riled up the waters, accused us of being Nazi lovin' anti-Christs, declared a self-imposed ban on posting here, then started his own weblog, where he has a small band of devoted followers who hang on his every written word (and there are many of them). A recently started weblog is Mindy Kempista's mom/art blog MinMusings, which features a great overall design and excellent art in progress. He doesn't update it enough, but I check Jason Jazman's blog every day too. I used to love to check out the ugly bassmon's blog too. .. but Josh discontinued it. It makes me sad even now.
Two design related weblogs that I used to read everyday but I think the writers have gotten too busy because they update maybe once a quarter now are WhatDoIKnow.org and JasonSantaMaria.com. But I'll still check them out, hoping for something new.
Well, so I've shared mine. And before you accuse me of being on the internet all day, it doesn't take that long to check through these sites because of the joys of RSS feeds (which basically tell you when something new has posted to a site). . . I can get through all of those in about 10 minutes, unless there is something that is really interesting, but then I'm learning and being enlightened.
Do you have any good sites that I've missed here?
June 16, 2006
Is not reality. I find this fascinating, and I also think it's amazing that humanity has disproven the whole "seeing is believing" mantra, yet we still rely on it. . .
Look at this. You owe it to yourself, it's so cool.
May 30, 2006
In need of movie recommendations
Hi everyone, I decided that I've not been watching enough movies, so I signed up for Netflix. I already have like. . . 78 movies in my queue, but I want more.
So please, give me the 3 movies I HAVE to see. Go ahead and assume I've not seen any.
May 09, 2006
Sony PS3 - is it doomed?
It's official, the PS3 has a price.
And it's CRAZY.
They are charging $500 for the base system and $600 for a system with 40 GB more storage. That is way to much money, if you ask me. That's getting up there into the "I could buy a nice computer for this much money" range. Seriously. And when it's likely the Nintendo Wii will cost between 199 and 250, they stand to lose alot in this next generation of consoles.
Priced at $300 and lower, the PS2 dominated the last round by selling over 100 million consoles. Can anyone really see that many people shelling out $500-$600 for this new one?
I think I'll get the 360 and the Wii now.
Sorry Sony. You kind of stink anyway because you install viruses on peoples computers.
It's worse then I thought. The "cheaper" version really misses out on a lot of what Sony has been bragging about for this next generation - so to really get in on the "true PS3 experience" you'll have to get the $600 model. $600!? That's no longer an impulse buy, that's a "get a second job and save up for it" buy.
Here are the differences between the "base" and "premium" version of the console. (taken from Joystiq)
You lose 40GB (20GB base vs. 60GB)
You lose HDMI output
You lose MemoryStick / SD / CompactFlash slots
You lose 802.11 b/g wireless
You save $100
April 29, 2006
Solving The Nintendo Wii Crisis
Ever since Nintendo announced the new name for it's next generation gaming console, reaction has been, ah, mixed to say the least. Wii. Of course, the puns have been prevelant, because they are very obvious.
OK, so again, like I've said, I'm still going to buy it and enjoy it. Really, how can you let a silly name get in the way of playing a game where you hold a sword in one hand and a gun in another? Or let a bad monikor stop you from playing Madden where the following is your control scheme:
When you first play it, it's completely different. When you go to hike the ball, for instance, as opposed to pressing a button you simply jerk the controller up. Boom, you snap the ball. When you want to pass the ball, you gesture a throwing motion while holding the button down to the intended receiver. When you want to stiff-arm left or right, you juke with the nunchuck controller literally. When you want to kick, you gesture the kick motion.
Come on, that's going to be fantastic, and they could call the console the Nintendo VomitMaster and I'd still give it a chance.
But still, I think that I've stumbled upon a solution for their Wii-problem.
I shall be pronouncing the W like a V, like Germans do when they torture people "Ve have Vays of making you talk!" Yes, for me, this console will be called the Nintendo Vii.
Which actually makes some sense, it's their 5th major console (NES, SNES, N64, Gamecube, Vii), and those two little i's could even stand in for the gameboy and the DS. Also, V is just cool, like it can stand for Victory. And it just sounds tougher, yet not too tough and technical like the XBOX 360.
Now you may say, "you can't just call it something different," but I would disagree and say there is actually precedent for consumers calling something different then the corporation intended.
Target is often pronounced Tar-jay by people who are hoping to increase the stores' hipness factor. (Incidentally, I tried doing the same thing for Walmart by pronouncing it Val-Marr, which I think sounds much more chic, but it never caught on).
So if people can call their Targets "Tar-jay," I will be calling my Nintendo Wii a Nintendo Vii.
And now it will be very easy to say, "Hey, let's get together and play with my Vii."
Come on people, spread the word. One person it's an idea. Two people it's an inside joke. 3 people and it's a movement. Nintendo Vii -- you heard it here first.
April 27, 2006
Wii - erd!?
The Nintendo Revolution has a new name. Yes, it's now called Nintendo Wii. Like "we," only spelled wii.
I'm still going to buy it the day it comes out, but I like the old name better. This one makes me think of. . . ah I don't want to say exactly. But let's just say that I don't look forward to the day I say, "Hey Darby is it ok if some guys come over and check out my Wii?"
But really, it could work. Maybe. Because this is a game console "we" can play together. And it's also. .. small. .. like a "wee" little console.
They should have stuck with Revolution. But maybe in a year Wii will make you think cool games and not urine or pee-pees. Who knows?
April 03, 2006
Set your alarm
Did you know that Wednesday morning, at exactly 2 minutes and 3 seconds past 1 AM, the official time and date will be:
Enjoy it, it won't happen for another 100 years.
March 28, 2006
So, I purchased the awesome video game Karaoke Revolution on Saturday, because we were having a birthday party for my sister in law, and she's good at singing and I thought it would be fun.
I had no idea just how fun it would be. This is one enjoyable game. It comes with a microphone that plugs into the Gamecube, and then runs this vocal analyzer that judges your pitch and timing and scores you accordingly. This description doesn't quite do the game justice, it's just a blast. We had like 8 people all playing and it was so much fun.
I've played it for hours since. You can sing duets if you have two microphones. You can play volleyball against each other, moving your players around by singing higher and lower notes. You can screetch along with Aerosmith or croon along with Whitney. Drew got a perfect score while singing Pain by Jimmy Eat World.
My 6 year old daughter really kind of rocks the score when she sings Uptown Girl by Billy Joel.
There are 4 levels of judging difficulty, easy, medium, hard, and expert. I can get perfect scores on easy. Still score platinum level on medium and hard, but wow I have to work on expert still. . . if you use and vibratto at all it thinks you've lost the pitch, which is kind of a flaw of the game I think but well I just have to adjust and show them who's the karaoke star here.
You have to try this game out. it's fun.
February 09, 2006
IT Spammer: The Final Chapter
The fun is, alas, over. And it all ended on a odd note. But it seems that Mr. Chris has a good sense of humor.
12 minutes after I sent my last email to him, I received this.
Jason, I think it's been 15 minutes. I don't see anything in my CDROM drive. Can you please resend? -cm
Now, it had only been 12 minutes according to the email timestamps so I wrote back:
Wait Wait WAIIT. Look at the time you sent the email and the time I sent mine. That was 12 minutes. YOU CANNOT OPEN THE CD-ROM SLOT EARLY TO CHECK FOR THE PROTOTYPE or you overlaod it and break it. YOU BROKE MY PROTOTYPE you with your impatience! You shall be hearing from my lawyer/.
And apparently this caused "cm" to just melt down into incomprehensible strangeness because he sent this message back:
"Shiiiiit yo!! Maybe I be trippin on these magically delicious shrooms over here and all this is a dreeeam?? I better stop cashing bowls on my 10-foot binger cuz I tink my brayn ez frieyeddddd."
So this fun diversion from everyday work is now over. Thanks for the fun, Chris.
February 08, 2006
My Response to the IT Spammer
Thanks everyone for the suggestions. Good stuff. I did a greatest hits combination of the ideas. Let's see what Chris sends in response. (For the record, I think that he probably read the entry and knows that I'm just toying with him.)
But still it's fun.
I'm so glad you asked! I actually *DO* have a prototype, a Working ONE. I might even be willing to sell it or license it for a handy fee (interested?).
Here's the thing, I would send the prototype to you but I doubt you're set up to receive it. I'll test it though. Check your CD ROM SLOT about 15 minutes after you receive this and see if there is a thing that looks like a protoype in there. It does work, but it's never actually sent anything because no one else is set up with a proper RECEPTICLE, you know?
Anyway, I wanted you to know that your support means the world to me. Everyone else I talk to about this says I'm CRAZEE. But I can tell that you're my kindred spirit. You are honestly (sorry to get all religiousity on ya here) but you are honestly a mega answer to prayers. I've been working hard on getting this idea together and I think you're the missing ingredient to my plan. I know that if we put our heads together, there is no end to what I can accomplish.
"I can fly higher than an eagle, cuz you are the wind beneath my wings" -- Bette Midler
That's how I feel about you.
Cost analysis = $0. I have the idea. You have the know-how. I have a prototype, you have to make it work. I don't see any money needing to change hands here.
February 07, 2006
Fun with Spammers, Part 2
Well, I got a response to my earlier response to a spammer.
The development costs of such an endeavor will likely be high, but I am willing to looking into this. Have you done a cost analysis or developed a prototype?
CGT Consulting Inc.
18032-C Lemon Drive, Suite 350
Yorba Linda, CA 92886
So how should I answer? I want something really really witty. Um. . .. what I am asking is. . . impossible. How much would he take from me, I wonder?
February 03, 2006
Fun with Spammers
I got this email. From a spammer. Bless his soul, he was offering us help.
Are there any IT requirements I can help you with currently? CGT provides specialized contract consultants and permanent employees for immediate results. We can assist with a multitude of IT and Engineering requirements.
How can I be of service?
CGT Consulting Inc.
18032-C Lemon Drive, Suite 350
Yorba Linda, CA 92886
Tel: (714) 572-1055 or (714) 579-1248
Fax: (714) 364-9705
Read more to see how I answered him.
So I decided to have a little bit of fun with the dude.
I would like to be able to email and let people download actual CDs and T-Shirts. No mp3s or images, but an ACTUAL CD, just like they would buy in a store. But with the convenience of the internt. I want them to be able to open the attachment and then it just pops out of their CD slot in their computer -- in the package and everything! And maybe the T-Shirt could come out of their printer (because, duh, the CD slot isn't big enough for a T-Shirt)!
I saw a Lycos commercial one day when these flippers came out of a printer and I was like, "Wow, that would really be great for a band!"
How much would this cost and why hasn't anyone thought of this great idea yet?
I'll let you if or when or how he answers.
January 14, 2006
So you may think this makes me geeky
But I think my complete set of Narnia figurines makes me cool.
(And technically, they are for my kids. Though they are kept in my office when not being played with.)
January 07, 2006
the video iPod
I've had the video iPod for about a month now, and I'm very impressed. What can I say, it's very cool. I've even watched some movies on it, using trusty old Handbrake software to rip some of my DVDs. And of course, I've downloaded episodes of Lost and the Office, and Pixar shorts from iTunes Music Store. All in all, a very impressive device.
Today, I bought the iPod Av cable from the Apple store and watched some of the iPod video's contrent on a television. I have to admit, I was blown away by the quality. It wasn't hi-def or DVD quality, but it was certainly as crisp and clear as normal cable or VHS tapes. I thought the picture would be pixelated and kind of unwatchable, but I was very impressed.
Why don't people talk about this feature more often? I now have a portable VCR that can carry 75 hours of footage whereever I go and easily plug into to any TV.
Wow, what a cool gadget.
PS. Bonus coolness. If you just want to listen to music, you can listen through you TV's speakers. Which really works out well if you don't have the money for a Bose docking station or something like that.
January 02, 2006
If you are on a Windows computer, beware the WMF vulnerability.
This is a warning for everyone out there using a Microsoft Operating System. . .
If I were you, I'd unplug your modem for the next week or 2. Many people don't know, but a huge vulnerability has recently been discovered in the Windows platform, one that will allow malicious hackers to execute code on your machine and install horrible spyware software. . . and you don't even have to accept or open a file. It happens automatically, just from using your email, using intant messenger, or browsing the web.
Microsoft has known about it for 4 weeks, but no patch has been released yet.
Here's some background on it.
The way it works is with a graphic file called a "WMF," which the operating system is trained to accept without question, and which. . . for some strange reason. . . can execute code on an administrator level. .. and screw everything up. And just filtering for "WMF"s won't work because they can be disguised as a JPEG or a GIF or any other image file.
So there is your warning. There is an unofficial 3rd party patch that some nice fellow put out that might protect you. (How some individual coder can put out a patch while MS twidles its collective thumbs is beyond me). Microsoft advises that you disable some dll files, but apparently that isn't really going to protect you very well.
But really, I would just unplug your modem and wait this thing out until MS releases the patch.
Oh. . . cough cough. . .by the way. . . cough cough. . . Apple and Linux computers are completely unaffected by this problem.
December 16, 2005
The Look Machine PWNs the internet
We have been having trouble recently with something called bandwidth leaching. Basically, that is when people do an image search, steal pictures from our site, and put them on their site. The problem with this is that people leave the pictures on our server so all of their traffic and all of the bandwidth they use counts against us! The worst part is that when you view one of these leach sites, you would never the difference. It just looks like a normal picture on a web site, so all of that traffic was doing NOTHING good for us. We have been getting thousands and thousands of these kinds of hits per day and that was beginning to adversely affect our site. It was time to put the smack down. The smack came in the form of the pretty little picture below.
With the help of our friend Joe (the code master) from Elany Arts, and the kind people at Ask Meta Filter we wrote a little piece of HTML code called an image redirect for our site. Basically, what this does is redirect every one of those leaching links to the "official fanclub member" picture above. The result was that we instantaneously had thousands of sites hosting our banner and claiming to be a part of our fanclub. It is hilarious. It is so seamlessly incorporated into these sites, it looks intentional.
Here are a few examples of the beauty in action:
1. Remember the "Happy Birthday" post I wrote back in the summer for Poncho? Well people have been linking to that birthday cake by the thousands. it seems that every time somebody wants to wish their cyber-pal a happy b-day on their myspace site or on their blog, they just take advantage of our server space and use that picture. Well, thanks to our fancy redirect, there are now thousands of people giving out "Official Look Machine Fanclub Member" birthday cards. I especially love the one below. It looks like the author just loves us so much that they thought they would wish their mom a happy birthday with a picture of... yours truly.
2. Remember when Shane posted that picture of the squirrel with the machine gun? Well people keep finding that in the search engines and then linking to it and leaching our bandwidth. This guy below posted it as his "pic of the week" but now it just looks like he is a HUGE Look Machine fan and he is so proud of it that he posts it as his picture of the week.
3. I have no idea what this guy was saying, but now we are his new favorite American band!
There are thousands of these online now and it has been bringing us tremendous joy. I think it is only a matter of time, however, until some hapless person who doesn't know what they did gets extremely mad and writes us a nasty letter accusing us of hacking their site. If that happens, I will take great joy in reminding them that they brought it on their own head. That's what you get for being a thief. You really can turn any situation into something good... like free advertising.
November 28, 2005
Talk to an actual person
OK, so if you're at all like me you probably hate it when you get trapped in the endless maze of "press 1 if blah blah blah" and most of the time you need to talk to a person and not a robot.
Well, some brilliant guy has now made that possible, listing a whole bunch of ways to cut straight to a real person.
November 21, 2005
So who is buying one?
In my younger days I perhaps would be outside tonight waiting in line to get my hands on one. Actually, if I'd have gotten one, I'd be selling it. Like I did when the PS2 came out and I made $500 off the transaction.
But honestly, right now I just think it's all a little too much. And I really don't like how you can't seem to buy one without have a $1000 lying around.
I think I'll wait until it's $150 in the bargain bin. Oh not. I never did buy one of the first Xbox systems. But I do want to get on Xbox Live at some point.
November 07, 2005
Call me Julius Caesar
I took a very thought-provoking survey called "Which Historical General are You?" I'm proud to say that I am Julius Causer. Should I be trying to figure out who my Brutus is?
By the way, I first saw this on Jason Jazemski's cool Xanga site.
Read on to see the breakdown and take the test for yourself.
You scored 50 Wisdom, 71 Tactics, 54 Guts, and 45 Ruthlessness!
Roman military and political leader. He was instrumental in the transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire. His conquest of Gallia Comata extended the Roman world all the way to the Atlantic Ocean, introducing Roman influence into what has become modern France, an accomplishment of which direct consequences are visible to this day. In 55 BC Caesar launched the first Roman invasion of Britain.
Caesar fought and won a civil war which left him undisputed master of the Roman world, and began extensive reforms of Roman society and government. He was proclaimed dictator for life, and heavily centralized the already faltering government of the weak Republic. Caesar's friend Marcus Brutus conspired with others to assassinate Caesar in hopes of saving the Republic. The dramatic assassination on the Ides of March was the catalyst for a second set of civil wars, which marked the end of the Roman Republic and the beginning of the Roman Empire under Caesar's grand-nephew and adopted son Octavian, later known as Caesar Augustus.
Caesar's military campaigns are known in detail from his own written Commentaries (Commentarii), and many details of his life are recorded by later historians such as Suetonius, Plutarch, and Cassius Dio.
My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
|Link: The Which Historic General Are You Test written by dasnyds on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the 32-Type Dating Test|
October 28, 2005
Yoda's got a brand new dance
He's got some fancy moves. Hip Hop, he does!
Posted by jason on 01:36 AM
October 04, 2005
Sometimes Y. .. and sometimes W?
When you spend 4 hours in a basement with 4 other guys, inevitably interesting conversations will arise. Many of them probably can't be repeated without risking certain things being taken out of context. But one of the conversations we had last night I thought I should mention here.
So we were talking about. . . vowels. Of course, don't all rock bands talk about vowels? As in, "A, E, I, O, U, sometimes Y." And I mentioned, "And sometimes W."
That's what I had heard. Ever since elementary school, it had been ground into me, "sometimes W."
Now I've tried to think of one word that used W as it's vowel. We embarked on this mystery again last night. I've kind of always thought that maybe the word "WHY" was what that rule applied to - like take your choice whether the vowel in that word is W or Y. But really I knew that wasn't the answer.
Ian thought the whole "W is a vowel" sentiment was worthy of ridicule. Collin concurred. Drew couldn't quite understand what we were even talking about. (He just learned what a consonant is).
Actually, to be fair, Drew tried to say the Halo-inspired word "Pwn" was an example of a word that used W as it's vowel. If you don't understand, ask him. I still don't understand it myself, but Drew has a bracelet with the word on it. I suspect it's dirty.
Shane was too busy fielding female applicants from his Xanga site.
Well today, I found the answer. There are, basically, 2 words in the English language the originated in Welsh, that use W as their vowel. And they are both pretty cool words too.
"Cwm" -- a mountaineering term, pronounced like "room" but with a "k." It's basically a basin like edge of a valley, much like a cirque. I shall start using this word as appropriate.
And "Crwth" - which means, roughly, "crowd"
So, there you go. . .sometimes W means, basically, for "Cwm" and "Crwth" (BTW - to truly cap off the nerdiness of this post, I hasten to point out that both of those words would be sweet Scrabble plays).
September 26, 2005
Death Cab for Cutie Video
Hey. What's going on everybody? Things have been really busy for me lately, I've been a little bit swamped with school. However, there will soon be a long and bitter post on the blog from me. Keep your eyes open.
September 17, 2005
Nintendo's big gamble
I'll admit it, I have a soft spot in my heart for Nintendo. Ever since I first played Zelda in the 6th Grade, I've been hooked. And I've been frustrated for and with them as their last 2 systems haven't been anywhere near as popular as Sony's and Microsoft's offering.
I am now excited and nervous for them. When I first saw the controller for their next generation console, I was worried. It looked insane for a controller. So different from the normal.
But now I've read more about it, in places like this excellent rundown from ign.com, and now I'm completely amazed by the potential that the new design holds. In fact, it's not really just a new design, it's a completely new way of interacting with your games.
I believe that I will buy the new Xbox (for the XBOX LIVE functionality) when it releases this year, and then wait for the Nintendo, skipping the Playstation 3. And it's cool, because I think the 2 systems won't be redundant. My Revolution will let me swing Link's sword, or actually hold a gun and aim at the screen, or physically cast and reel in a fishing rod. If it succeeds where it's trying to succeed. . . the Nintendo will just may make all the other systems look primitive. Who would have thought they would be able to accomplish that?
PS. The overall design of the revolution is very pleasing to the eye. It looks like they're taking a play out of Apple's playbook with it. . . but it kind of looks a little like something Sony would design too. Very nice overall. I can't wait.
PPS. Of course, the only reason I'd buy these systems would be so I could play them with my kids.
September 13, 2005
If you don't want your identity spoofed - say, for instance, you come to the site and see that someone is putting words in your virtual mouth - take a minute and sign up for a TypeKey Identity. That way we'll always know it's really you. Just like you can know if it's really us. There is this graphic that shows up next to your name proving that you are who you are.
Boring, but if you don't want people to think you have said something nasty, maybe necessary. However, you certainly don't have to sign up if one minute is just too much time out of your busy day. (I know how it is).