Thursday, November 30, 2006

PayPal without the evil

Google Checkout was a great idea from Google. The Consumerist has a short post with some highligts of Google Checkout over PayPal. In short it comes down to the fact that Google is less evil.

Right now, my family's PayPal account has nearly $200 from things that we have sold on ebay, and to my knowledge, there is no way to get that money except by spending it. In all reality, PayPal sucks, but is only used by people because there is no other trusted option.

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5:21 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Young favor the internet over TV

Reuters says that with online video, young people prefer using the internet over TV. Well thank you Captain Obvious! Did you spend much time researching that one?

Today's youth have practically grown up with the internet, so it is no surprise that they are heavy users. When online video is so readily available, who would want to watch TV for half an hour just to see the news when most of it is ready to play whenever you want on the internet? I only have a few shows that I watch on TV because I get everything else from the internet, specifically news.

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9:04 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Problems in the school system

Slashdot has an interesting article regarding education. While the headline is questionable, discussion is real. The following are excerpts from discussions, along with my own thoughts; pardon the length, but I need to get my words out.
Smart kids need one-on-one education as much as any other "special needs" class. They just need a really different kind - one that can keep them INTERESTED, one that can call in esoteric specialists to help them pick up whatever path they become fascinated with, and can use this to slide in other curriculum elements outside of their specialty.
I agree with this point. I may not know exactly where I want to go in terms of career, but I do know where I don't, and that should be taken into account.
I didn't act up at school because I knew what would happen when I got home. I didn't want to disappoint my parents, and I also knew there would be consequences for my actions. The parenting I had dictated my actions at school. If parents did real parenting, rather than leave it to the schools, you wouldn't see these problems.
From what I see myself, much of the problem with many people is that their parents are completely uninvolved. Kids need parents to take interest in what they are doing, give them a reason to continue toward a goal.
With the (non-funded) requirements put on schools by "No Child Left Behind", Bush has recreated nationally the same mess he made as Governor of Texas. Kids aren't being taught in school, they're being made to memorize, and they're trained to take a specific test, which hasn't even been proven a valid metric.
I never thought about this, but that makes a lot of sense. For example, my statistics teacher is repeatedly saying that the entire purpose of the class is to prepare us for the AP stats test in the spring. Not often is any class relevant to things that you would do in real life, and less often are teacher able to say why we even need to learn it.
And yet, [private schools] routinely got more qualified instructors -- people who were actual experts in their fields -- and graduated students who went on to be more successful. Why is this? I don't have a totally pat answer for you, but I think that most of their success is because of the institutions themselves: people are willing to go and teach there, even though they're not unionized and the pay is lower, because they're good places to work. Class sizes are smaller, teachers get more freedom to plan lessons and curricula, and the perceived 'quality' of the students (interest, motivation, background education) is higher. [...] In my experience, unions and the job security that they offer don't do much to attract the best talent. If anything, they attract the mediocre, who are seeking a job that it's difficult to get fired from.
Half of the problem that I see from my school is the fact that no teachers are ever fired. Teachers work as long as they feel like it, even if they suck at it. Some teachers teach the way they would twenty years ago. Many don't seem to have a firm knowledge of the material they are teaching. Public schools seem to be filled with under-qualified teachers (but I'm not saying all are so).

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7:52 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Monday, November 27, 2006

The cause of Vista's delays

A guy who previously worked for Microsoft has some input on why it took so long to get anywhere. In short, there were just too many people, but from his blog:
So that nets us a conservative estimate of 24 people involved in this feature. Also each team of 8 was separated by 6 layers of management from the leads, so let's add them in too, giving us 24 + (6 * 3) + 1 (the shared manager) 43 total people with a voice in this feature. [...] By the way "feature" is much too strong a word; a better description would be "menu". Really. By the time I left the team the total code that I'd written for this "feature" was a couple hundred lines, tops.
Continuing, he says the basic problem was that there were too many workers, and nobody was aware of what was going on anywhere else in the project.

To be honest, I am not very surprised by this. After XP, there wasn't much left to be added in terms of functionality; everything that you could need was already there. I am just waiting for the actual Vista launch day so I can see if my predictions are going to be correct: that Vista will be Microsoft's biggest flop ever.

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5:30 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

PS3-ebay mishaps

It seems that with the plethora of PS3's that are hitting ebay, there are a few getting through with some humorous results. Two separate stories are coming from Consumerist.

One lucky bastard was able to pick one up for only $9.99. Another was a little less fortunate and found themselves with Sony Playstations, 3 of them. I think that people need to step away from their consoles and reevaluate their life, as many people seem to be a little too obsessed.

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4:57 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Monday, November 20, 2006

Google hurting their own revenue

Over at Digital Inspiration, Amit has written an interesting article on something that I never gave a thought to. He bring to our attention that Google's rules about linking ads may actually be hurting their click-thru rate.

I don't at all question the results of the report. I myself have avoided clicking ads most often because of the inability to stay on the page. I an often in the middle of something when an ad catches my eye, but I don't click on it because I know it will take me away from what I am reading. That leaves two options: leave the page to click the link, or just don't click the link, and it is most often the latter. FireFox also makes not clicking the link easier because it is so easy to read the URL from the ad, open a new tab, and then return to where you were while you wait for the page to load.

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5:51 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Friday, November 17, 2006

The Reader VII

This is the sixth edition of "The Reader" series where I collect headlines from blogs all over around sum up the week.This is actually going to be the last of "The Reader" series as next week will be in the middle of Thanksgiving, and also because I've realized that it would be easier, and more logical to simply post the news as it happens.


5:50 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Sony loses money on every PS3

Engadget reports that Sony is actually losing money for every PS3 sold. I wonder if they will drive themselves to bankruptcy. From the article:
Turns out Sony will be losing change to the tune of $241.35 for every "premium" (WiFi and 60GB HDD) console, and a whoppin' $306.85 for the bargain-basement 20 gigger. In comparison, Microsoft loses $75.70 per 360 it sells, while Nintendo is laughing all the way to the bank with a profit per Wii sold.
Interesting how one of the cheapest consoles (Wii) is the only one that is making any money. I also have to wonder if Sony had kept the whole Blu-Ray deal out PS3, would they still have so much of a loss.

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9:47 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Icebergs heading to New Zealand

News in New Zealand is that icebergs are floating towards the coasts. The icebergs are coming from Antarctica, and are bring pushed around by the wind and water currents. Imagine the the surprise of a ship operator seeing an iceberg coming up over the horizon.

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5:47 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Vista not compatible with Zune

Microsoft docs say that Zune is not compatible with Vista. You can take a look on their site to see the evidence. Is this the stupidest thing that Microsoft can possibly do? Well, they could probably do worse.

[via slashdot]

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8:03 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Bank of America loses millions over arrest

BoingBoing reports that a guy who was wrongfully arrested after Bank of America linked him to fraud. After all was said and done, BofA is refusing to reimburse him for money he had to pay to clear his name. After their refusal, many people have closed accounts, with a total over $50 million. As of now, BoingBoing readers alone have pulled out $72,000.

This is where companies' lack of respect for customers comes back to bite them in the ass, and in this case, took out a big chunk of skin. I bet BofA regrets their choice now, or at least you would hope that they would react to such bad publicity.

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5:57 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Engadget continues Zune review

As I expected, Zune isn't exactly getting the best reviews, and in my opinion is becoming a flop. Microsoft seems to be lacking in the feature department, seeing as how this was supposed to outdo the iPod. Anyhow, here are some things to note from Engadget's reviews.

To start off with the install, they had a less than pleasant experience trying to keep the app from crashing. From the time they started the install, there was no control over the installation location, which they mention installs on the primary drive without even asking. They also point out the install often crashes if you choose the "wrong" choices. From a non-user perspective, it appears that Microsoft requires all kinds of info. You need a Zune tag, whatever that is, then you need a Windows live (.NET passport), then they still continue asking for more information including phone number. One of the stages requires them to login to their Zune, which from what I can tell, is just to access the music; that would become annoying quickly. It also seems to have self-recognition issues, as it can't notice that the Zune is plugged in.

They also today, today, review the device itself. To sum up; it is bulky, but larger in terms of screen. They mention that the WiFi is 3day/3play. The app, when syncing, still continued to crash their system. If you tried to sync, it often crashed, as well as when you try to change syncing options (anyone else notice a trend of lack of choice?). They also point out that if you want to resync, it requires that you unplug and plug it back in. They also say that it is a resource hog (in typical Microsoft fashion).

I suggest that you read their stuff, as I only really skimmed the surface in terms of what they had to say. They also loaded their reviews with pictures/screenshots as well.

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5:11 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Tuesday's news round-up

Google has released an update to Google Desktop. I say that this looks really nice, but to be honest, it is not for me. I would surely get this if it were from some other trusted company, but Google has too much information from so many forms that I just don't feel that they need to have access to my desktop in any way.

GameStop decided that is was a good idea to oversell their pre-orders. Imagine the disappointment of trying to pick up your console that you put a $100 reserve on and being told that they didn't actually have that many.

Nintendo has announced that the Wii will have DVD in '07. Really though, I don't understand why DVD playback is such a big deal on consoles. Don't most people already have DVD players which most likely sit within a short distance of their console? I applaud Nintendo's decision- at least it will save them from the problem plaguing the PS3 (blu-ray player shortage).

In other PS3 news, they have also noticed a little bit of a lacking in terms of backwards compatibility. This is more of why I hate Sony, aside from the whole rootkit deal earlier in the year.

Justin Long of the Mac commercials also reports that he is continuing to do "I'm a Mac". Well that's a pity. I wanted to see some change in those commercials. I don't understand this; it was confirmed by a rep earlier that he would be done. Oh well.

Oh, and if iPods and cars and whatnot weren't enough, you can soon plug them into planes. When will this madness stop?


7:49 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Monday, November 13, 2006

The people you love and hate

Friends are those people that you enjoy being around, but can occasionally come to hate. One of the friends I played soccer with on Saturday said that he and his friend would come the next day to play outdoor (we were in a gym the first day). My friend and I, who come every week for the past x months (long time), were quite disappointed to see that neither of the two showed up like they said.

Today, I spotted said friend (skipper) in the hallway. When I was talking to him, he said that the two of them had been up all night watching movies, and he didn't get any sleep. Seeing the snow, he decided not to even show up. It's one thing to make a decision like that, but to do so after telling people the night before that you would be there is just plain annoying, and rude. I have to say that I was annoyed at what he told me to the point that I felt like hitting him. He didn't seem to care that he left others wondering why he didn't show up. He has no commitment.

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7:27 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Sunday, November 12, 2006

[Video] What Vista was supposed to be

If Vista actually worked in this way, I might get it, I think they got a little off track and lost a little bit of that:

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10:32 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Kid hospitalized over Gears of War

As I would have guessed, gamers are dysfunctional and deserve to be removed from public contact. Apparently the guy was a little mad that he didn't get his precious game so he beat up a fifteen year old in order to end up being arrest and not get the game.
Apparently, the argument developed after store clerks informed the crowd that stocks were running out, at which point the 36-year-old customer attempted to cut in line and when challenged swore at and repeatedly punched the 15-year-old who was to receive the last copy of the game.

Naturally the police were called and the man was arrested for aggravated assault and is currently awaiting arraignment at a local correctional facility.
That guy deserves to be locked up for years. There is no logical reason that he could possibly come up with to justify his actions.

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9:38 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Guy gets $2.7M because he's black

First off, I would like to say that although it may sound otherwise, I am not trying to be a racist, and there are reasons for my wording if you keep reading. A black fireman was awarded $2.7M because he suffered racial harassment. From the article:
"A fire department investigation suggested the October 2004 incident was intended to be a prank to 'humble' Pierce after a station volleyball game where he had said, 'You guys keep feeding the Big Dog.'


'This ordeal has taken its toll on me and my family,' Pierce said in a statement issued by his attorney. 'I truly hope that my case will make a difference for African-Americans in the Los Angeles Fire Department.'"
I see this as stupid for one big reason: if this were to have happened to a white guy, there likely would have been no action taken, and it would have been considered a joke among coworkers. This is just outrageous and abuse of the legal system.

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8:24 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Friday, November 10, 2006

Blogger improves their posting page

After what has been much too long of a wait, Blogger has finally fixed a little issue with their posting page. It was in no way a bug, but a lack of thought. It is now possible to see all of the tags used, posts or drafts, from the posting page. Previously it was limited solely to tags that had published posts only. Usability is still slightly lacking, but improving. What I would like to see is Blogger use up the whole page, instead of the fixed width currently used.


8:07 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

The Reader VI

This is a special Friday where it is the fifth of the reader series, on the same day this blog is three months old.In other news, this day also marks the third complete month that this blog has been running.


3:56 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Stolen teen's iPod makes another headline

After quite a ruckus in the blogosphere, The stolen iPod lawsuit finally ends. The story on all of this runs back a few months, but an agreement has been made. From the article:
"Melanie McCarthy, Shannon’s mother, said she considers the used iPod offering 'an insult.' The iPod has more space for songs and a video playback capability that Shannon's iPod Nano did not have, but the screen and back were scratched and worn, compared to what she said was Shannon's new iPod.

McCarthy told French she simply did not have the time to go through with a trial, but did not consider the used iPod comparable to Shannon's loss of a brand new one. However, she said by helping to start a junior CrimeStoppers program she wants to take a bad experience and turn it into something positive."
Now we will take a moment to step back and examine the past. The girl ended up with a used iPod; she could have gotten a new iPod, case, and $50 in iTunes music, but her mother refused the anonymous donation. They could have gotten more out of all this and avoided all of the publicity if they had just accepted the offer.

I am also annoyed at the fact that the mother is "insulted" by all of this. She was the one pushing for court, she refused an anonymous donation so she could continue to harass the other girl. I guess saying that they are probably no longer friends would simply be stating the obvious.

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1:24 AM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Thursday, November 9, 2006

Battle over gay marriage in Mass.

Gay activists are doing their part in Massachusetts by rallying against the possible ban of gay marriage. In a country where the motto is: "all men are created equal," people sure don't show it. Here is a little bit I would like to point out:
"A poll this week showed most New Jersey voters support granting gay couples the benefits of marriage but do not want to call the unions 'marriage.'"
I hate when people put catches in their decisions like that. This is nearing the idea of the political cartoon I posted a little over a week ago. Marriage is marriage, no matter who it is between; stop trying to "protect" the idea of marriage.

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11:33 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Tuesday, November 7, 2006

Mario meets Vice City

The Mario brothers find Vice City:

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4:36 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Monday, November 6, 2006

Parents are ruining sports

There is an article on the ridiculousness of people in america; a coach was fired because he did not play the commissioner's son. The firing of the coach resulted in the rest of the team losing out.

This is the example of why parents are so much disliked by people. The players are perfectly fine, but the parents are always the ones that are out of control. They are the ones running out on the field causing trouble. They are the ones who are yelling at the referees.

I am appalled that that guy had the nerve to fire a coach because he did not play his son 100% of the time. They won the game and were heading to the playoffs, but he thought that the coach had no grounds to do so. The commissioner fired the coach as the team was heading to the playoffs. I think that the commissioner's son would rather go to the playoffs than to not at all because his father thought the coach was in the wrong.

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8:49 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Sunday, November 5, 2006

Things to remember when you vote

With the elections coming up, there is a list of things that republicans want you to forget when you go to vote. I think that it is a very well made list, but the intro is better:
When you go to the polls on November 7th, 2006, don’t forget what the Republicans have been doing to you and your family for the past six years.

It’s easy to get distracted in our attention deficit disorder world. We need a pill to help us focus, another to keep us sane, some to raise our level of arousal and others to put us to bed at night.[...]
Some of the highlights from the list:
  • Republicans want you to forget that when the Army Chief of Staff Eric Shinseki suggested that “several hundred thousand troops”would be needed to stabilize and occupy a country the size of Iraq, President Bush and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld both derided the Army Chief of Staff. His reward for his honesty? They let him go.
  • Republicans want you to forget that they inherited the biggest surplus in the history of the United States when they assumed control of all three branches of the United States government in 2000 when they took power, and turned it into the largest deficit in the history of the United States.
  • Republicans want you to forget that a Republican President has started every war since WW2. If they can’t find enemies, they just pick a noun (drugs, terror).
  • Republicans want you to forget that they have people in their party who solicit sex from underage boys – and when they get caught, they just quit and oh darn, Congress has no authority over private citizens so now Mark Foley cannot be prosecuted.
  • Republicans want you to forget that even though you are not making record profits, oil companies are.
Everything on the list is backed with a article of some sort, be it a news article or one from Wikipedia. If only I could vote, I would vote against all republican canidates.

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8:39 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Christmas shopping has begun

I was out yesterday, looking for some new shoes, and ran into the mess that is Christmas traffic. It also doesn't help that one of the roads was narrowed for construction. No matter where you went traffic was backed up beyond belief. It's not even Thanksgiving yet, but the traffic says otherwise.

On the other hand, there is my sister who has demand that all of our Christmas lists be online, which is very smart of her. She has always been that way, but it is now even more important with her almost-two year old son (who is my nephew). I'm sure the last thing she would want to do is go out with a two year old in New York craziness. Speaking of the little one, I can't wait until Thanksgiving were I will get to see him again.

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11:46 AM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Saturday, November 4, 2006

iVue case makes your iPod clear

[Image: Clear iPod case]The only music player better than an iPod is an iPod with visible insides. The iVue case replaces your iPod's hard outer shell. I must say that it would be nice to have one, something that none of your friends have.

From what I can tell, it sounds like you need to send in your iPod in order to get the case, but for that awesomeness, I would do it.

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9:24 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Friday, November 3, 2006

The Reader V

This is now the fifth week of "The Reader" series where I sift through Google reader to find the best of the weeks posts.Email me if you have suggestions for additional feeds to what.


5:22 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Thursday, November 2, 2006

Google reader is lackluster

Google reader, while I respect its capabilities, is still fairly bare. For all of the many features that it does have, there are still plenty that are missing.

The first, and perhaps one of the most annoying is the fact that when you add a new feed, it gives you no options for labeling that feed in any way. In order to do so, you must enter the settings page, find the feed, and then label it. Even then, there is no easy way to create a new label, which requires you to jump hoops in order to create one.

The second most annoying thing is how it will only count the number of items up to one hundred. Beyond that, it simply says "100+", which is rather annoying as it gives me now way to set a reasonable amount of time to get through them all. I know that they are capable of counting them all, why don't they?

The last, only gets my once and a while, and once every twenty items. I get very annoyed at waiting for the reader to loading additional items. I would prefer that it didn't wait for me to reach the last item before loading more. It would be preferable if it would sense that you were within two or three from the bottom and load the extras as to prepare.


4:52 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 1, 2006 sued by

It appears that the first, publicly-notable lawsuit against Google/YouTube is not for copyright infringement.
The lawsuit alleges that YouTube is confusingly similar to Universal Tube's, which sells tube, pipe and rollforming machinery. Universal Tube said its Web site traffic jumped from 1,500 users a month to more than 2 million, paralyzing the site.
I would assume they probably only have one server, and I bet two million will take down any server.
The lawsuit asks that YouTube stop using the domain name or reimburse Universal Tube for the cost of establishing a new corporate identity.
I can only see one logical idea, and that would be for Google/YouTube to offer to host their website so that the no longer have to deal with the server issue. I really don't think that the lawsuit has any ground to stand on as there is any infringment or rights.

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10:30 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Political correctness

I am rather annoyed at some of the ideas brought up by our local paper yesterday. They brought up that many of the area schools were celebrating a "harvest festival" instead of Halloween. They mention that it is a move to try to keep from offending anyone.

Is it just me, or are people making way too big of a deal about political correctness. People have celebrated Halloween for who knows how long, and the idea behind it (to me) is that get a bunch of kids dressed up so they can wander around getting candy and having a good time. When I was little, I remember how schools always had a parade through the school so that everyone could show off their costume.

People just need to get some thicker skin. It's not right to get rid of things because you might offend a person or two. People just need to start facing the facts that they will be offended, and they need to get over that.

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8:29 AM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)
Barack Obama for President