Monday, April 30, 2007

Lies in the media: Bush to 'negotiate'

I was browsing through the political news a few minutes ago, and ran across the following:
WASHINGTON - President Bush said Monday he wants to work with Democrats on compromise legislation to pay for the Iraq war but will carry through on his threat to veto any spending bill that sets a timetable for U.S. troop withdrawal.
It is impossible to say that Bush wants to "work with Democrats," but then also vocally declare that he will veto anything that he does not agree with. Essentially, he is saying: "I want to look like we agree." This "negotiation" is very one sided with Bush saying that it is his way, or not at all.

This is why our country has this system in place. Bush cannot control everything, so when the Bushies attack, the Democrats, can (but disappointingly don't) challenge them. It is a good thing that the line-by-line veto from many years back never passed. If it were, Bush could cut it out, thus removing congress' ability to regulate the white house.

The line-by-line veto only seems logical with democratic presidents (of course, there will always be something to contradict this) because they focus things on doing better. Bill Clinton turned this country around with his line-by-line veto because he removed all of the crap from bills so that only the core passed (think: no Bridge to Nowhere).

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10:06 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Rumormill: Dell to preload Ubuntu

[Image: Ubuntu logo]There is currently unconfirmed reports that Dell will load Ubuntu on some of their computers. I would like to see Dell offer Ubuntu on principle, to show that they are willing to break away from Windows boxes, but I would prefer a different distro. Offering Ubuntu is a great step forward. Computer companies are starting to five users a choice in their computer. No longer is it a requirement to feed the devil in order to buy a computer.

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9:33 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Dell eyeballing retail sales

[Image: Dell logo]After a considerable amount of time in online sales, Dell is looking to get into retail locations. The change in direction comes as Michael Dell believes that the demand for laptops warrants a retail location. People prefer the ability to touch the computers with laptops, and online sales do not offer that.

One of the key points that I saw brought up in the slashdot discussion is that Dell computers are the most hideous boxes ever created. The cases are nothing that anyone would leave visible. HP seems to have gotten the laptop design down, now Dell just needs to learn from them. (Neither company is any good at designing desktops.)

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10:58 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Obama: "One signature" could end war

The bill has already been passed in congress, now it is simply up to the president to sign it, which he has vocal vowed to veto. There was no effort to negotiate, as the president refused to change his ways. His current campaign says that "One signature away from ending the war":
[Image: 'One signature away from ending the war']

What does Bush (or Cheney) possibly expect to come out of Iraq? Other than oil and revenge against Saddam, was there a purpose? Could we not have saved that money to put towards education and health care, among others? Why did our president deceive us into this war? Why all the consistent fear-mongering? Just one signature could put all this behind us.

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9:26 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (1)

Dell prices adjusted, sort of

Quite a while back, I posted a little discovery about Dell's pricing, and how some things cost extra when bundled. Just today, I was pricing a possible computer to get for my birthday and I noticed that the price has been adjusted (from $360):
[Image: Dell adjusts price]

That sounds like it is good, but the price of the monitor itself was also lowered by just as much (from $330):
[Image: Dell screws up the price]

The price drop is likely due to the fact that there is a new model, but I still don't understand why they have consistently marked-up this monitor in bundles.

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11:14 AM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Friday, April 27, 2007

Republicans leave country with most debt

[Image: US debt according to president]During the control of many of the recent republican presidents, the US debt has grown the fastest. During Dubya's rule, the line made a sharp turn for the sky after Bill Clinton stopped the growth. (Click the image for a fuller graph.) My guess would be that the tax-cuts are not slowing that line down.

It is honestly a disgrace that our country has fallen apart in the last few years. Clinton stopped the debt, and then power was handed to Bush where he then went on a 7-plus-digit spending spree. All of that money that we pay out to congress is well worth it. I mean, it is imperative that we cover the important stuff like banning gay marriage, while politely ignoring the fact that there are no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

Bush has transformed the nation's democracy into a kleptocracy. We pay our money into the system so that they can give contracts to Halliburton and kill innocent American Soldiers. Now more than ever, we must straighten this country out and put the power into the hands of someone competent.

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10:54 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Thursday, April 26, 2007

US House passes bill requiring withdraw

With a vast number of Americans against the war, there was a rapid shift to Democrats in congress. Now, they are using their majority to attach a deadline to the Iraq funding bill. Bush already says he will veto it, but in doing so, he is refusing to fund his own war. It would have been nice to see some negotiating between branches, but Bush feels everyone should follow his lead.

I would really like to see an end to this war. There is a reason that people are in the process of being impeached over this war. From the moment that we even thought of setting foot in that country, the government was not prepared to handle this correctly. We are caught in the middle of a civil war in Iraq, people will be killed no matter whether we are in the crossfire or not. Iraq is not worth our time for the damage we are doing.

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11:42 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Ohio Dem. trying to impeach Cheney

Many would expect that people would impeach Bush, but Dennis Kucinich thinks that Cheney should be the first to go. The basic logic is that no one will impeach Bush because then the reigns go to Cheney, which is just as bad. His intentions are to take out Cheney, then try Bush.

Cheney is being accused of "deceiving people over WMDs in Iraq and the US." If both Cheney and Bush are impeached, power would then be handed to Nancy Pelosi, who seems to favor pulling out. This entire war has been a joke. As Lee Iacocca pushes in his book, people are now starting to question the government, which was needed some time ago.

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11:29 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (2)

New Hampshire opens to civil unions

While civil unions are just shy of the actual thing, gays in New Hampshire can now have legal civil unions, and receive many of the benefits of marriage. While I would rather be able to say that they offer marriages, civil unions are progress to many of the states that are going the other way.

I have to wonder: what ever happened to equal rights? The Constitution says that "all men are created equal," but the reality is that our country refuses to let that happen. More than many other groups, gays are at a greater disadvantage, in terms of rights. Perhaps in the coming years, things will change for the better.

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8:42 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Apple nearly doubles sales in one year

[Image: Apple Logo]Over the course of the last year, Apple's computer sales are up 88%. This fits nicely with the fact that Apple was top on the list of most trusted brands. According to my mom, the money I made from the jump in stock price is more than enough to buy a new computer, which I intend to do for my birthday.

I see this as no big surprise. People trust Apple, and don't trust Microsoft. People who were already on the line, are now switching because of the disaster that is Vista. I am one of the borderline people. I didn't mind Microsoft until all of the restrictions that come with Vista. Now I am a Apple/Linux person.

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8:45 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Most trusted brand names

[Image: Apple Logo]Consumerist has a list of the most trusted brands. On the very top of the list is Apple, which comes as no surprise to me as they offer a great product and support it without abusing customers.

Some of the brands on the list I have never heard of. Others I agree with. Jet Blue, Whole Foods, Adidas, and the like are all brands that I respect. Jet Blue stirred up the airlines; Whole Foods offers fresh, healthy food; Adidas makes up a significant portion of my wardrobe. I can say with certainty that Microsoft would never be on that list.

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11:32 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Monday, April 23, 2007

Microsoft possibly refused by DoubleClick

[Image: DoubleClick logo]Information has been uncovered that suggests that even though Microsoft offered a higher bid, DoubleClick opted to join Google instead. Here's how I see what happened: Google initially stepped in the bidding, surely driving the price up, but apparently Microsoft stayed put. Then, Google acquired DoubleClick causing Microsoft to get mad and fight it.

As much as I don't trust the amount of information that Google collects, I still prefer them over Microsoft. Microsoft has a terrible track record for respecting users, while Google is the opposite ("Don't be evil"). The only complaint that I have about today's technological state is data retention; if companies would purge it once and a while, that would alleviate many people's privacy concerns.

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7:58 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Update on Blue Angels crash

It is now reported that the cause of the crash that killed the Blue Angels pilot is a tree. During low-altitude maneuvers, it clipped a tree and crashed.


8:16 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Airport security at its best

[Image: Cover of 'Airplane']Anyone who has ever flown knows that the security at airports is a hassle. Neil Godfrey was trying to fly to Phoenix to meet his parents. Little did he know, the book that he was reading would land him on the no-fly list. It took ten to twelve people to "inspect" the book.

They told him he could fly, only to be denied by the airline later, for three reasons:
The first reason, she said, was that Godfrey was reading a book with an illustration of a bomb on the cover. Secondly, she said, he purchased his ticket on Sept. 11. (Godfrey bought the ticket on shortly after midnight, at least eight hours before the World Trade Center was attacked).
The last was reference to his drivers license, which the employee consistently referred to as expired, as she pointed at the issue data. He left, got another flight, and then tried again, but was pulled aside to be interrogated. Needless to say, he didn't fly.

Now the thing that I find disgusting about all of this is that a book stopped him from flying. Also the fact that they pulled "ten to twelve" people from their jobs to "inspect" said book. When the airlines finally step away from their "list of know terrorists", they come after books. What harm can you do to a flight with a book? They are more shady characters than the ones carrying books.

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9:29 AM | Posted by mike | Comments (1)

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Blue Angel plane crashed

A Blue Angel plane crashed earlier today, killing the pilot. Very sad to say the least. No word yet as to why the plane crashed.

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10:35 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Creative MS Office advertisement

Microsoft wants to make sure that you won't miss their most recent MS Office 2007 advertisement- they made it take a large portion of the screen:
[Image: MS Office advertisement]

It's not just for looks either. Two of the tabs bring up options to style some of the text, or to play with the pictures. The text options only changes the font, while the picture options add different effects like "wet-floor" among others. As much as I hate Microsoft, this is advertising well done.

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10:15 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Vista is not in demand; Dell revives XP

[Image: Microsoft logo]Dell is bringing back Windows XP by demand from consumers. Perhaps they are just now seeing that Vista is not selling and people would rather have a compatible system (XP) than a pretty, unusable system (Vista). I tried looking for the XP options, but haven't seen them on Dell' site yet.

Because of all of the issues with Vista, I personally refuse to even touch it. I have looked at display models in Best Buy, and there is nothing new (to me anyhow). The only changes are cosmetic, and most of the changes only make things more complicated than they need to be. Besides, there is too much dictation of what can and cannot be done with the computer. I prefer being able to use my own computer, and that is why I have drifted to Linux.

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8:59 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (1)

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

McCain: I know what's best for security

[Image: John McCain]Senator John McCain is trying to bury himself in the polls. Just recently, he asserted that he "knows what's best for the security of this nation." This doesn't bode well, especially after his stunt in Iraq.

I doesn't take much for me to know that he would be one of the last people I would even think of voting for. At the current moment, I feel that Obama is the best choice. So far, he has appear to be honest, against the war, and has no major blunders yet.

Somewhat unrelated, but still with politics: I ordered: "Where Have All the Leaders Gone?" by Lee Iacocca, and it should be arriving tomorrow. I can't wait to start reading.

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8:36 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (1)

Secret service shoots own officers

Two secret service officers were injured as another officer shot them both, accidentally. It one thing if someone else shot them, but the agency is shooting itself. From the article:
Two Secret Service officers were injured on Tuesday after a gun held by another Secret Service officer accidentally fired inside the White House gate, according to a spokesman, Darrin Blackford.
Just who we want to be holding the guns in those dire situations, a guy who misfires and shoots his own teammates. I really makes you trust the officers to be able to protect, or end up accidentally killing you. It's like trusting the gun safety officer who shot himself.

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7:18 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Tuesday news round-up

Apart from my track meet, I have to much homework to go into much depth, but here are some notable stories from today:
  • In Hungary5000 rabbits were running wild after an accident that caused a truck to loose its cargo. The police must have had a field day trying to capture the freed rabbits.
  • After the tragic events at Virgina Tech, one story shows the heroic side of the story. A professor, a holocaust survivor, saved many lives by blocking the door so his students could escape. This man deserves some recognition for this as the shock subsides.
  • Internet radio is taking a hit after their appeal was denied. This is a stupid idea on part of the copyright royalty board, as I see that many companies are likely to move to Canada or some other country in order to continue running.
  • Sony is destroying their own product with unusable DRM. Many players are unable to play the DRM-laden discs because the discs (in the player's eyes) is corrupt. There is even speculation of a possible class-action over this.
  • One person recounts the headache that is product registration. While trying to contact support when his install would not work, they gave him trouble for using multiple computer, something which should be within the rights of the user. All of this is related to the fact that Microsoft could just as easily do the same activation revocation with Windows.
  • North Carolina State University is advising students to fight back against the RIAA. Only one student has taken up the RIAA's offer to pre-settle. Unfortunately, the school will back away once the RIAA manages to find the names of students.
I should be able to do more tomorrow.

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9:03 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Monday, April 16, 2007

Google and control - not a good mix

[Image: Google logo]I don't care about much about what Google does, but there has been recent coverage of a growing issue. Matt Cutts, a Google employee, has solicited the help of people to report paid links to Google. There has been quite an outrage among the internet about this, and many are pissed.

Google seems to be abusing their control of the search market. They are calling out for people to report sponsored links, and are penalizing people for writing posts/links for money. Google, more and more, is seeming like the identity that would love to control the internet.

Google is increasing approaching becoming the Microsoft of the internet. Step by step, I am pulling my out of different services simply because Google seems to focus too much on money. Blogger has gone for months without any kind of update. Google Analytics is confusingly complicated to navigate. The only product actively being improved is advertising and search- the moneymakers.

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8:02 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (2)

Microsoft fighting Google-Double deal

[Image: Google and Microsoft logos]Determined not to be one-uped by Google, Microsoft is starting an antitrust case against Google. It's the pot calling the kettle black here. Microsoft has always been fighting antitrust lawsuits, and now they are calling out at others.

I think that this is just jealousy and Microsoft is made that Google stepped in and took DoubleClick. Microsoft could have stopped this had they bought DoubleClick themselves. I think they are just mad because they can't make money off the internet like Google is succeeding in doing.

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9:58 AM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Friday, April 13, 2007

Google aquires DoubleClick for $3.1B

[Image: Google logo]Google has announced that they have acquired DoubleClick for $3.1 billion in stock, which is nearly twice as much as what they paid for YouTube. I thought that Google wanted this for to expand their advertising network, and is what happened.

I mentioned before that DoubleClick uses tracking cookies to make the ads relevant to what people view, but borderlines invading privacy. Perhaps Google will live up to the "do no evil" and stop the tracking cookies and make the ads less intrusive.

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10:04 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Lee Iacocca writes book belittling gov't

[Image: Book: Where Have All the Leaders Gone?]Lee Iacocca, former Chrysler and Ford CEO, has written a book entitled: Where Have All the Leaders Gone. He goes as far as to call the Bush Administration a "gang of clueless bozos." This book appears to be something worth reading- good enough that I am going to go out and buy it myself in the next couple of days.

BoingBoing has quoted a section of the book and Lee does not hold back in any of his writing. There's is no hesitation to bash the government for their mishandling of just about everything. In the coming weeks, I hope I can read this and post a summary/review of the book.

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

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Bush brothers causing trouble for many

It's no secret that "Dubya" Bush is strongly against stem-cell research, even when it can result in a medical break-through. It should come as no surprise that Bush also plans to veto an upcoming bill that would initiate stem-cell research. This would be one of the three bills that Bush would have vetoed; the stem-cell before, Iraq spending, and again on stem-cell research. Because of Bush's (and the rest of the country's) barbaric standpoint, the United States is falling behind in research.

Bush's brother, Jeb, is causing trouble in Florida because of Jeb's education issue. The Florida University refused to give Jeb Bush an honorary degree because of his damages to the school system (like funding based on standardized tests). In response, the school is being forced to rename to the "Jeb Bush College of Education." I honestly don't believe that "Bush" and "education" belong in the same sentence, unless talking of failure.

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8:41 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

United States is 'not a chrsitian nation'

From the Treaty with Tripoli, it was brought to people's attention that:
Article 11. As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion [...]
That is also a stark contrast to today's news that 150 White House officials came from Regent University, which by the way, is a very strong religious school. They even founded the school "to produce Christian leaders who will make a difference." Try to say the government today is not drifting towards being christian-based.

Many people I talk to that are strong republicans at school (yes, I am stereotyping them) often all say that abortion is killing and a sin and that homosexuality is also a sin and promote the pointless fighting in Iraq. But the fact of the matter is that they are forcing their religious beliefs on everyone. What is a "sin" in their eyes does not equate to a sin to everyone else.

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8:06 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Monday, April 9, 2007

Bush cheats to appoint ambassador

[Image: President Bush]President Bush wants everything his way, and when he couldn't get one of his people approved, he took advantage of the Senate being on leave and used his power to appoint an ambassador without Senate approval. This is democracy at its best.

To me, it is apparently obvious that Bush has his own agenda and he doesn't care what the public thinks as long as he gets what he wants. He pushes for a troop surge that makes no sense, and insists that "he knows best," but he doesn't. I can't wait until 2008 when he is gone. Just about anyone (other than Cheney) could handle things better than Bush has over the last seven years. [via digg]

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12:55 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (1)

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Easter afternoon computer rambling

My birthday is coming up (in about a little over a month) and I am already planning what I want to get. In the past, my parents have always tried to get me things that I don't care for that much. This year, I am going to push for a computer, which is no surprise to them as I have been trying to put one together. I will likely do a I'll-pay-for-half sort of deal with my parents so that I can get it.

I have what I want in mind already. I thought of putting it together myself, but finding (and knowing) parts that work together is a bit much for me. Instead, I am going to buy it from Dell because they are far cheaper, and they have what I want.

I am looking for a computer that has a 64-bit processor, preferably from AMD, and at least 1GB of RAM. Hard drives are not an issue for me, so most any size will do. Dell by default, offers a decent sound card, which I will team up with some new speakers. Then, I am going crazy on the monitor:
[Image: The monitor I want]
[Image: Relative scaling of the monitor to what I currently use]The monitor is about 35% larger in screen area than the one that my family uses, and is a 22" wide-screen. I made the image at right to show about how the two compare. This monitor will last me, and then when I go to college, I might get another depending on how things fare with this one.

Since the money will be burnt on Vista, by no option, I might install it to use for a while, just to review it. More likely, I will jump right in and install Fedora Core 6, which I have already tried on the LiveCDs. Before I buy, I am going to run all of this by my brother, who works with computers running FC5 to make sure that the computer I will be buying will be Linux-capable. I just need to hold out a little bit longer.

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3:12 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (3)

Schools and open source alternatives

[Image: OpenOffice logo]OpenOffice is the free alternative to Microsoft Office, a is something schools should consider. The author points out that with MS Office, schools pay out between $50 and $100 for the software. Even if the software isn't quite as robust as MS Office, the fact that it is free will help you forget about it. Still, for all intensive purposes, OpenOffice is sufficient for the job.

Even still, purchasing Microsoft Windows for school computers is a significant waste. School can save a considerable amount of money by switching to Linux. Before I get all fanboyish about Linux, I must say that I don't necessarily object to Windows being used, but that school's should not have to pay for the software they use. It is pathetic that schools should waste so much money on software.

Take my school for instance. There are about ~150 computers in the labs alone, not counting the ones that teachers get to use in the classrooms. On top of that, there is one lab where the computers are near-new with dual-monitors and extra software. On each of those computers is AutoCADD software that the teacher claims to be $5000 per computer. None of that even includes buying the operating system. If the software companies would donate to the school, they could invest in computers that will last longer and require less maintenance. But that would make sense.

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11:48 AM | Posted by mike | Comments (1)

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Michigan: Let's waste money on iPods

As part of a questionable legislation in Michigan, students may be given iPods as "educational materials". The program will cost $38 million to the already financially struggling state. None of this makes any sense at all.

Michigan has already cut millions of dollars from schools in an effort to try to balance the budget. Now, they are making the most ass-backward decision they could possibly make. As much as I like iPods, there is no educational value to it. What stops kids from just putting music on it?

The only option that makes any sense is to provide lectures and such on them, but even then, that could simply be done through the school website. If that were the goal, the lectures should simply be downloadable so that students can access them at home.

Another option for saving money would be to get rid of most of the teachers presently there. Many of the teachers at my school are just waiting until they can retire. Until then, they offer no value to the school, and many are simply a waste of time.

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

VeriSign increasing rates; 4500% profit

[Image: Trend of domain tasting compared to registrations]The current controversy is VeriSign and how they recently raised the base cost of domains. One person has gone as far as to calculate that there is a 4500% profit margin for VeriSign. An ex-board member of VeriSign has said that each domain costs the company $0.14 to handle- everything else becomes profit.

One of the underlying problems with VeriSign is their lack of initiative. The image at right is of the trend of domain "tasting." Tasting is where the registrant will register the name to see how well it works for type-in traffic, and then drop it within the five-day grace period. VeriSign has done nothing to stop people from gaming the system in such a way.

Like Microsoft, VeriSign is abusing the control that they have of the system. Because they can, they will, and as far as anyone can tell, there is no justification for the rise in price.

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10:09 AM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Friday, April 6, 2007

The record labels did it themselves

One former music store owner has written a piece in the NYTimes about how the record industry killed itself, not the downloads. The underlying problem is the fact that the big labels are more interested in what their pocketbook is like now, and pay no attention to the future. Their decisions are in no way based on consumers. From the article:
In the late '90s, our business, and the music retail business in general, was booming. Enter Napster, the granddaddy of illegal download sites. How did the major record labels react? By continuing their campaign to eliminate the comparatively unprofitable CD single, raising list prices on album-length CDs to $18 or $19 and promoting artists like the Backstreet Boys and Britney Spears — whose strength was single songs, not albums. The result was a lot of unhappy customers, who blamed retailers like us for the dearth of singles and the high prices.
What the record labels did was increase prices to compensate for the dip in profits, but in the long run, they made more of an incentive to download. With such high prices, it practically encourages people to download. Even with online sales legal, music companies are focusing on albums, which has been proven to be wrong. The only way they can continue to exist is to create high-quality songs, not albums.

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5:52 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (1)

The end of the Gumball coverage

The Gumball coverage that I had planned is stopping here. I had a lot of enthusiasm when I started this, and made an abrupt change to the blog in order to do so, but I realized that I didn't genuinely want to do that.

After I went crazy with the Gumball coverage, I noticed that there was a significant drop to the visitors to this site, which may be chance, but I think it is because this wasn't the reason people came. People came for when I did technology and news, and that is where I am returning. Here are some links if you want to finish watching the series on you own: 2005, 2006.

Now back to tech: a guy makes a public rant about new computers and how they are filled to the brim with "craplets." My sister probably doesn't fully appreciate how much shit was on her computer when she got it because I spent about two hours removing the extra software.

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12:24 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Best of Gumball 3000 in 2005

Just as an FYI, I won't do a per-episode post as I did with the 2004 ExtremeTV series. I found that it doesn't add any value to the blog and just detracts from the original focus of the blog. Tomorrow I will simply posts links to the whole series, as well as the 2006 series as well. From then on, I will return to the posting that I did prior to the Gumball. Here are the two videos:

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11:06 AM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Gumball 3000: Episode 4,5,6 for 2004

Gumballers are on their way to the ferry out of Africa. More carnage as they travel through the country. The roads prove difficult as multiple people lose their rides, but no one loses a life. Most Gumballers catch the ferry and are on their way back to Europe. (Part 4 of 6; 26 minutes 22 seconds):

More and more police as the Gumballers are not welcomed back to Europe. Many people are changing their routes to avoid being caught. Stickers are peeled off to avoid being noticed as Gumballers. All are doing their best to make it in time for the Grand Prix in Barcelona. (Part 5 of 6; 25 minutes 46 seconds):

The Gumballers are finishing the rally. Many are taping over their numbers, changing their plates, and doing everything they can to avoid being caught. Gumballers stranded in Africa chartered a plane to catch up with the rest of the rally and make the final party. (Part 6 of 6; 26 minutes 12 seconds)

This post is part of a series. Continue following the rally by subscribing to the RSS feed, or bookmarking the label so you can easily find new posts. (Existing feed subscribers will already receive these posts.)

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7:11 PM | Posted by mike

"Don't ask. Don't tell"; Military lunacy

It's a funny thing that the military is always begging for recruits, but they reject, or in this case, redicule potential recruits. What kind of barbaric country do we live in? It's not legal to discriminate by gender or racial background, how is being gay any different?

People are willing to fight to defend their country, voluntarily (not me), but the government denies them. Meanwhile, recruiters are tricking people by telling them they won't see combat so that there are enough people. It doesn't make any sense. How can beg for people to defend the country, but then reject people who are willing and capable?

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12:36 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (1)

Gumball 3000: Episode 3 for 2004

Gumballers arrive in Africa, where the police are much nicer. The Gumball rally was actually invited to Morocco. In this segment, you get a taste of real Gumball driving like passing on the shoulder at extremely high speeds. In Africa, you start to see the first carnage from the race. (Part 3 of 6; 25 minutes, 55 seconds):

This post is part of a series. Continue following the rally by subscribing to the RSS feed, or bookmarking the label so you can easily find new posts. (Existing feed subscribers will already receive these posts.)

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10:12 AM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Gumball 3000: Episode 2 for 2004

In this episode, Gumballers reunite at the end of stage one, party, and move onward toward Africa. They all load up and cross the straits to Morocco, Afirca. Next episode will have some interesting events. (Part 2 of 6; 22 minutes, 45 seconds):

This post is part of a series. Continue following the rally by subscribing to the RSS feed, or bookmarking the label so you can easily find new posts. (Existing feed subscribers will already receive these posts.)

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6:39 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Real estate roller coaster makes you sick

Below is a video of what real estate values (adjusted to inflation) have been from 1890 to the present. It simply ridiculous the amount that it has gone up just recently. I wouldn't be surprised if it has anything to do with the fact that so many people think that real estate is a good investment (like the stock market but with material objects):

[via boingboing and consumerist]

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2:24 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (2)

Gumball 3000: Episode 1 for 2004

This episode starts with an introduction to the rally where you meet some of the "characters" of the rally as well as flip through segments for future episodes. The rally starts and the police are already after the Gumballers. (Part 1 of 6; 26 minutes, 32 seconds):

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12:24 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Check out the new design

[Image: Old design]I know there are a number of people who subscribe to my feed, so I don't know if all of those people have taken the time to see the new design. At right is a thumbnail of the old layout, which I personally believe was fairly bland. No longer is the blog based on shades of gray. I needed some color, and I figured that with my coverage of the Gumball, this would be the best time to make the shift.

[Image: Old design]The new design, right now anyhow, is simple yet inspiring (at least to me). The header image has been changed from the broken pilings (see above) to a Porsche, which is a car I want to buy one day. It ties closely with the Gumball rally, considering that many cars in the rally are made by Porsche. I tried to make the design as clean as I could, so the "About me" section was removed. Many of the borders of various items were removed to make the page more "open."

Any suggestions? I want this design to stick for at least a few months, so any feedback would be appreciated.

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4:23 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Best of Gumball 3000 in 2004

This is the exact video that I was first exposed to that got me into the Gumball 3000 in the first place. In 2004, the Gumball rally covered Europe and also touched in Africa. The race started in Paris, traveled though France and Spain, ferried to Morocco, back to Spain and finished in Cannes (France).

While in Morocco, the prince personally invited the Gumball rally, which explains why the rally ventured to Africa. In videos that I will show later this week, you will see that because of this invitation, and general kindness of the Moroccan police, there were no tickets. In fact, some roads were closed to all other traffic so that the rally would not be obstructed.

France and Spain were not as welcoming, as the police targeted the Gumballers, impounding some cars and giving tickets to all they found. Here is some real driving:

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2:03 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Google interested in buying DoubleClick

[Image: Google logo]Don't worry, not everything is cars now, still some tech in between. Google is reportedly interested in buying DoubleClick, the advertising company. Their intent is still unknown, but I speculate that it is to gain more control over the advertising network.

DoubleClick offers video advertising (which I have seen), and almost surely this is what Google wants. Google hasn't gotten far with their video ads, so this is likely to gain those customers.

Perhaps if Google buys out DoubleClick they can stop the questionable practices of DoubleClick. DoubleClick (in the past at least) uses tracking cookies to "serve the most relevant ads," but I block DoubleClick for that very reason. Google would have the ability to stop that if they buy them out.

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

Monday, April 2, 2007

Gumball 3000 starts in four weeks

This is the start of a long-term series that will cover the Gumball 3000. Over the next four weeks, more posts will explain more of the rally, and will bring videos.

[Image: Gumball timer hits 28 days]The Gumball 3000 is due to start in four weeks. I was first exposed to the Gumball rally earlier this year, and to be honest, it is one of the inspiring moments that pushed me to loving cars. In the rally, participants drive with celebrities like Bam Margera and Tony Hawk, among many others driving cars like Lamboghinis and Porsches.

This years rally is London to London, traveling through Europe:
[Gumball 3000 route for 2007]

For this year, the entrance fee for new drivers is £28,000 (about $55,000), which means that other than owning the car, you need to be fairly wealthy in order to participate. That's not to say it is a waste of money. The race has numerous parties throughout the rally, and all hotels are five stars. Not all people can enter, as you must be at least 21, which I assume is due to the amount of alcohol at parties.

One of my dreams is to participate in the Gumball 3000 someday. At the soonest, it would be 2011 or 2012, based on my age. Even then, I would need money to buy a suitable car and then more to enter, and that's not accounting for all the speeding tickets along the way. Some day, I will enter though.

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7:08 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

EMI to offer DRM-free music

The day has finally come when record labels are dropping DRM for the first time. Now on iTunes, you can buy DRM-free music for $1.29, which is a twenty cent increase over the DRM-laden version. Either way, it is a great step forward for the music industry. Now all we have to do is convince all the other labels to do the same.

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2:59 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Vermont planning to secede from US

Update (5:30p): Apparently, this article is questionable in validity because of it's April 1st publishing date. Take it as you wish.

Not everyone is going to sit back and wait around for the president to get his act in order. Vermont is considering seceding from the United States. I think it's not a bad idea. From the article:
Over the past 50 years, the U.S. government has grown too big, too corrupt and too aggressive toward the world, toward its own citizens and toward local democratic institutions. It has abandoned the democratic vision of its founders and eroded Americans' fundamental freedoms.
I think that the only way to return the country to a decent state would be to ditch our current government and model a new one after the European Union. The US is simply too big to be controlled in the way it is. Power should be returned to states, where they can cater to the needs of their people, not the country as a whole. Power needs to be removed from the central government because, as Bush has demonstrated, one person has too much power. Europe has it down, why don't we copy them?

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9:34 AM | Posted by mike | Comments (5)

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Vista is not moving anywhere

[Image: Windows Vista]Many hardware manufacturers have been disappointed in the lack of sales spurred by Vista. Companies across the board are saying that there was no "Vista effect" and that Vista did nothing to spur the sales of new hardware. In fact, the helping hand is coming the other way.

The hardware is the only thing selling Vista. The growth in sales of Vista over XP is entirely based on the growth of the computer market in general. The only reason that Vista is even selling now is the fact that it is bundled with new computers. That also means that if people buy a computer only to reformat it for Linux, the computer itself tallied one more for Microsoft.

Note: this was reported first on March 30th, so this is not April Fools day trickery.

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10:58 AM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Project Teaspoon: free home wifi

[Image: Google TiSP]
Google has announced their newest service: TiSP. To get started, sign up and they send you a free installation kit. From there, you simply flush the unit down the toilet where it then connections to the sewer's fiber optic network. I waited all week for Google to do their April fools joke, and this one was pretty funny.

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10:09 AM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

[Video] Halliburton provides contaminated water

Confession of a Halliburton employee regarding the quality of water being provided to troops in Iraq. It is disgusting in so many ways to see how poorly this "war" has been handled:

[via digg]

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12:05 AM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)
Barack Obama for President