Saturday, December 30, 2006

Saddam Hussein is now dead

[Image: Saddam Hussein]As of just recently, Saddam Hussein is now dead. Too bad that likely doesn't mean that the US will pull out of Iraq. To be honest, I doubted that it would happen; I figured some Saddam-follower would break him out of his confinement. Either way, good news I guess.

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12:13 AM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Friday, December 29, 2006

Website as a graph

I found this nifty little thing through digg today that created a graph from the website. I tried this on my own blog. I think that I have distinguished what is what from the graph. I think it looks cool:
[Image: This site as a graph]

Here's a screen shot of the page when I did this:
[Image: Screenshot of this site]

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

Computer choice just got stickier

[Image: Dell]When I was thinking about getting a laptop, and then a desktop as I had enough money, but it seems that my parents insist that it be something that I can use in college. College is a year and a half away and trying to get something that will last that time, and be able to continue working will be a task. I think I am changing my original choice of a laptop. I trust that a desktop computer would last at least four or so years if I get something decent.

Right now it is looking as though I might not need a new laptop after all. My dad contacted Dell support and it appears that the original owner, whom we bought it from, bought an extended warranty. That means that if we can get the original owner's name to confirm that they are the buyer, we can get it covered by warranty. If that happens, I can spend more money on a desktop. Things are getting complicated now.


2:02 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The debate: a new computer

[Image: Laptop or desktop]My laptop is dying (well, not mine, but only I use it). Because it is dying there are some choices that I need to make. My parents are saying that I need to pay for it, because I am the one that uses it, and the one asking for it. Since I am investing my own money into it, I can't go in two different directions all at once (getting both laptop and desktop). I am fairly equally split between the two.

On one hand, there is the desktop. It has extra power, more reliable, and it has scalability. With a desktop you can build off the exist machine to add more compared to a laptop where that option is nearly nonexistent. I debated using Fedora Core instead of windows, except that doubt was erased when I realized that my iPod isn't very compatible with that platform. A desktop will let me easily use two monitors, which is something that I want the option to do at the very least.

On the other hand, there is the laptop. A laptop would offer portability, which is nonexistent in desktops, but is much more expensive for all that you get. A laptop would let me take everything to a friend's place or to the library or something. With all the good, the problem lies in the fact that it relies on a battery for power. My current laptop's battery life is about thirty minutes- not much.

In the end, I think that I will go with a laptop, and not one that is filled with crap that I will never use, but just the basic stuff that will handle internet and primarily text-based work, with the capability to handle the occasional graphics work. I am thinking that if all goes as planned, I might get a desktop this summer. The laptop gives me portability, but if I get to do what I am planning in the future, I will eventually need a desktop.

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12:45 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Blogger claims to be out of beta

[Image: Blogger dashboard screenshot]
Slashdot has a short blurb on the fact that Blogger claims to be out of beta. I would eally disagree with this, but I don't make that decision. From the Slashdot's comments:
The new Blogger beta is, quite frankly, a disappointment. Blogger was pretty amazing when it came out years ago, but since Google bought them the brand has languished far behind competitors (Wordpress, Typepad, etc). Now Google adds a couple extra features, removes the Beta tag, and expects great fanfare. They just get ho-hum from me.
I agree that Blogger/Google was expecting too much. Before it happened, they talked like it was the best thing that had ever happened to Blogger. In reality, it wasn't much, and they broke too much in the process. While they have made some progress, it has not been enough to remove the beta label.

Among the things that they broken was the "previous posts list". This used to do exactly as you would expect: it listed ten posts prior to the page it was used on, and if it were on the main or archive page: it would be the ten most recent. Now it is always the ten most recent, even though it is the "previous" posts list. With the addition of built-in search, it lacked any ability to template those pages, as well as the same for label pages. There is just too much to do yet. Support for listing labels in classic templates is nonexistent. All this hype and lack of results is why I am planning a move to Wordpress once it is at a convenient time.

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8:15 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

A mass of legal stupidity

[Image: Gavel]Michael Arrington at TechCrounch has news that a bankruptcy court wants to publish all of the firm's files in a public archive. While the court may see "historical value" in all of those documents, I see (among many other people) all those files as being private. The stupidity doesn't stop there either. Former clients are free to opt-out, but doing so will only place you in a closed, but still accessible, archive which screws clients no matter what they choose.

As if that weren't enough legal stupidity for one day, a judge has rules that linking is not permitted if copyright holder objects. This is also one of the worst possible decision that could come out of this. The fact that the copyright holding company took this to court because the advertisements weren't being shown from the link is unbelievable. I may not know much about server configuration and the backend, but I do know that it is possible to rectify the situation without all the legal mumbo-jumbo.

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11:44 AM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Friday, December 22, 2006

[Video] The ultimate line-rider

This person has just too much time on their hands:

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6:11 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Free at last

[Image: Pirates of the Caribbean poster]I have been out/busy all day today, and it is such a great feeling to be able to sleep in tomorrow. My sister is finally home. I lost possession of my car to the sister, but is nice to see her once again. School was a waste today as nothing was done in any class. I watched Pirates of the Caribbean, then an episode of Grey's Anatomy.

These next days have the potential to be either enjoyable, or very stressful. I have no idea which it will be.


10:45 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Dubai creating one-of-a-kind building

[Image: Dubai tower]Dubai may be creating what I would consider to be on of the coolest buildings built (or soon to be). They have a building planned that will rotate over the course of a week. Nothing would be cooler (in terms of horizons) than being able to look out and see a different skyline each night- a little variety.

This tower would not only be cool, but environmentally friendly as it will be powered by solar panels. Well, I guess you could say that it's not saving energy because the inhabitants of the building will use the same either way and that the tower doesn't need to spin, but where's the fun in that. If only I had the money, I would love to live in one of those.

Imagine the planning required to build an ordinary building. Now take that and try to find a way to spin it around safely. Not that building such a thing would be easy in the first place, they are also planning to build 23 just like it- one for each time zone in the world.

[via engadget]

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8:14 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Today's consumer news

[Image: Zune]Most recently, a Chicago family got a little surprise with their newly bought Zune, resulting in a Zune preloaded with gay sex videos, and the present was for their daughter. Walmart is pointing the finger at Microsoft, but nobody believes them. The box is reported to have been opened and a charger was missing. The father says the store just didn't check what was being returned.

[Image: Zune]Bank of America is back in the news again, this time because they refused to cash a check and demanded that a customer give a fingerprint. It's not like BofA is in the best position to be doing this. It seems that they are fairly money oriented, and a little too happy to use security officers.

[Image: Zune]Home Depot is even making the headlines after an older gentleman returned to his home to retrieve a gun after no one would help him. There is no way that you can deny anything is wrong with your store when people are ready to shoot things up because they are so tired of the customer service.

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7:17 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Sunday, December 17, 2006

[Video] Anti-Net Neutrality Commercial

This is a commercial against net neutrality:

I am all for net neutrality, but I do see both sides of the argument. On the pro-net neutrality side, the argument is simple: ISPs and other companies should be required to treat all data the same. On the other hand, ISPs are saying that in charging websites for data transfer, they are saving the consumer money by not having to charge them.

I say that the argument against is just plain weak. For example, Charter Communications is reported to have revenue at about five and a quarter Billion dollars. How can you possibly say that you need websites like Google to pay for upkeep? Also, no ISP should ever have the right to restrict access to any website, and that is what they say they will do if companies don't pay.

[Image: Hutchison(R-TX)]The whole problem lies in the people who make the decisions: congress. The picture at right is a senator from Texas(R). Save the Internet says that she is against net neutrality. Does she look like she knows anything about the internet? Or, was she simply pressured by her friends in the corporate world?

[via digg]

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12:02 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Google adds multi-point directions

[Image: Google maps with multiple destinations]
This could have come in handy a month or so back when we were planning how to stop and pick my sister up on our way to Thanksgiving. Nonetheless, Google now supports multiple point directions. I made a little example to demonstrate how it works. Google also makes it simple to add or remove a point from your map, and in doing so, updates accordingly. [via Googlified]

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8:31 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

[Video] Blending an iPod

Hopefully it was just a defunct one anyhow:

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6:54 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Today: working with money

In a very much mocking fashion, The Consumerist has a little bit on Verizon and math. In the past few days, they has been covering the Verizon math trouble. This is just the icing on the top to poke fun at them. Not even I could solve that, and I know the difference between dollars and cents.

The Consumerist also reports that the state of Florida sued AOL and won. The Florida Attorney General filed suit on behalf of the consumers after AOL's abusive customer treatment. They say that they are suing because AOL refused to cancel accounts, bad charges, and unauthorized account reactivations. Perhaps it's just me, but I think that AOL is going to go out of business in the somewhat near future.

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10:36 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

One step on the slippery political slope

Senator John McCain (R-AZ) wants to push a proposal that would require bloggers, website owners, and just about anyone who has anything to do with the web to report "illegal" images to authorities. This has caused quite a ruckus on many fronts. From the article:
Millions of commercial Web sites and personal blogs would be required to report illegal images or videos posted by their users or pay fines of up to $300,000, if a new proposal in the U.S. Senate came into law.
I can see this failing for many reasons, the most obvious of them being that nobody wants to deal with all that. I would expect that if everyone reported everything that was even questionable, the officials handling that would be too overloaded to do anything about it. Also, anyone who publishes on the web, and anyone who doesn't, would agree that it would make everyone's life easier if it could just be removed and ignored. Sure, blatant disregard for the law should be reported, but the websites themselves should not be held responsible.

Slashdot is how I first came across this article, and as if everything to do with Slashdot, there is some good coming through the comments. The first that I came across is about how the United States needs to get its priorities straight. No Slashdot article would be complete without sarcasm. And one of the logical reasonings behind this, regarding censorship and tolerance. I hate politics.

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6:19 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Monday, December 11, 2006

The "tent" of Kazakhstan

[Image: Proposed building]
Not that Borat didn't do his part in promoting Kazakhstan, but they all now planning a pretty sweet building that would be impressive to see at the very least. On the official project page, they say that the builing is to be built to protect the inside from the harsh weather on the outside. I, at the very least, want to see this in person someday.

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9:14 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Sunday, December 10, 2006

How to get the coporation's attention

[Image: Dell logo]Engadget has a little story on how one man's creativity won him the attention of Dell. After five months of a broken laptop that wouldn't be fixed, he took it to court. From the article:
Instead of going through the normal process of sending the court papers to Dell's headquarters in Texas, Dori thought to have the papers delivered to a Dell shopping mall kiosk instead. Quite unsurprisingly, no-one from Dell turned up in court on the stipulated date, resulting in Dori winning a $3,000 default judgment and a ruling to allow bailiffs to close the kiosk and seize items if the judgment was not paid.
If you think about it, this is one great idea. The company will pay out in order to save the stand, and you then either: have the attention of the company which was the original intent, or the money needed to get a working computer. Too bad that it had to get all the way to the court system before anything happened.

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5:49 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Thursday, December 7, 2006

Awesome biking

It's a little like parkour, except closer to the ground and with a bike. I would like to be able to do this someday:

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10:47 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

James Kim found to be deceased

James Kim, who has been missing for 11 days, has been found dead. It is a very unfortunate ending to the story. He died trying to do the best he could for his family, search for help when they were stranded.

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6:07 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Copyright takes film from public

Copyright is beginning to claim the lives of films and documentaries. The National Film Board of Canada has said that because it costs so much to license the material used in the film, it will no longer make it available. From the article:
Thanks to spiralling copyright licensing costs, payable to whoever holds the copyright (unions, archives, creators, corporations) -- and thanks, too, to the rising cost of insurance to protect against copyright claims -- more and more public film footage is no longer available to the Canadian public, nor for use by Canadian creators. That's the message of the DOC's new white paper, released yesterday by the 700-member organization.
This is why the world should abolish copyright. They are taking out a film because of outrageous costs. Anything associated with copyright almost always fails to win the public (read: RIAA and MPAA).

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5:29 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Monday, December 4, 2006

Music CEO admits his own kids pirate

Apparently not even those on the inside are immune to the desire to download. Engadget reports that the CEO of Warner Music admits that his own kids pirate music. They also go on to mock him for what he says. How can you criminalize so many people for such an act, but act as though it doesn't happen when it is your own family.

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

Reporter's family found alive

After days in the headlines, the family of James Kim was found earlier today, but he is yet to be located. By the sounds of it, they had car trouble which led him to seek help, which explains the separation. The finding of his family renews the hope of finding him.

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11:01 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Sunday, December 3, 2006

Great frame-by-frame video

Currently at the top of CollegeHumor's video list, Tony v. Paul is simply magnificent. Frame-by-frame action, it must have taken ages to make. You must watch this.

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11:32 AM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)
Barack Obama for President