30 Aug 2005 @ 9:14 PM 

Despite the things I’ve been hearing from my cow-orkers and family members, the FCC has proposed 2009 as the deadline to change from analog to digital television, and it looks like Congress is going to sign that into law. So, all of you who thought your television was going to stop working soon – don’t worry.

Here in San Angelo, the local cable company (sure, there’s theoretically more than one, but get real) has been in a pissing contest with the local CBS affiliate since the beginning of the year. This has resulted in no CBS channel available on the cable system, free rabbit-ears antennas for cable subscribers that ask for them, and a striking rise in the use of satellite television receivers.

I don’t get the satellite thing. Of course, I don’t get the fascination with digital cable either. Both of them force something on the consumer that is, in my mind, unacceptable – the adapter. This is nothing less than an external tuner, rendering the tuners in my television and VCR useless. Many people wonder why I think this is a bad thing. This can be summed up in one of the marketing points for the local Dish Network folks – they brag about allowing you to have televisions in up to five rooms in your house. Allowing you to have them, you see? Because, unlike television as broadcast over the airwaves of old, the satellite provider now controls your usage of the signal.

No longer can you watch one thing and record another – oh no, your VCR has to be connected to a second external tuner to record something that you are not watching in that room at that moment. Ah, but then the Dish folks point out they are offering a free DVR upgrade, so you can record the full digital signal of other shows directly on this magical box. Ah, but can you? When the television industry is trying to get legislation passed to allow the Broadcast Flag to rise from the dead, when Tivo now puts commercials on you recorder while you’re trying to skip commercials, when the broadcasters are coercing the DVR manufacturers to disallow permanent archiving of shows… Well, I don’t trust a DVR that I don’t control 100%, and the DVR from Dish network would be a DRMed, MPAA-friendly, unexpandable, unchangeable piece of junk to me.

I don’t understand why so many people find it acceptable to cede control of the airwaves to the content providers. There is a balance in copyright law; the citizens are assumed to have some rights too, not just the people in Hollywood.

So, until I can use a standard tuner in a standard television or DVR or computer tuner card, I’ll stick with analog, thanks.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 26 Jun 2006 @ 07:37 PM

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Categories: Copyfight, Geek, Video
 29 Aug 2005 @ 9:55 PM 

I just saw an ad for the Fritos Chili Cheese Hungr Buster burger, from Dairy Queen. It’s a local Texas-only promotion, of course. What a great idea for a country that is already averaging about double “holy shit you’re fat” obesity levels…

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 29 Aug 2005 @ 09:55 PM

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Categories: Food, Musings
 28 Aug 2005 @ 4:46 PM 

While perusing the Something Positive Archive (great web comic), I came across a recommendation to listen to The Kimberly Trip. For those who aren’t up on things, The Kimberly Trip is a band which includes Sierra, who is one of my oldest LJ friends. She started her LJ about 4 weeks before I started mine, but she is an “Early Adopter” and I’m just some jonny-come-lately. 🙂

Anyway, this is a pretty weird web-centric small world moment. Carry on with your day.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 28 Aug 2005 @ 04:46 PM

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Categories: Music, Personal
 27 Aug 2005 @ 4:16 PM 

The article LPO: Caring for Your Introvert isn’t new, but I just bumped into it via Neal Stephenson’s page. Here’s a short excerpt:

Are introverts arrogant?

Hardly. I suppose this common misconception has to do with our being more intelligent, more reflective, more independent, more level-headed, more refined, and more sensitive than extroverts. Also, it is probably due to our lack of small talk, a lack that extroverts often mistake for disdain. We tend to think before talking, whereas extroverts tend to think by talking, which is why their meetings never last less than six hours.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 27 Aug 2005 @ 04:32 PM

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Categories: Geek, Personal, Random Thoughts
 26 Aug 2005 @ 10:13 PM 

Just a quick test to see if the latest Live Press update fixes what ails me.

Update – Sure looks like it.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 26 Aug 2005 @ 10:14 PM

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Categories: Site News
 24 Aug 2005 @ 9:23 PM 

Alex began kindergarten this week. On the first day, his teacher told us about the Gifted and Talented screening in the spring, and how he’d probably go to the GT program next year. See? I told you all he was the smartest boy in the world!

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 24 Aug 2005 @ 09:23 PM

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Categories: Education, The Boy
 24 Aug 2005 @ 1:15 PM 

University of Texas, in Austin, has decided to remove the books from their undergraduate library. Now, it’s filled with computers and chairs and barstools. It’ll have some kickass wifi, too.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 24 Aug 2005 @ 01:16 PM

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Categories: Education, Geek
 23 Aug 2005 @ 7:59 PM 

Here’s an entertaining new publication that I saw in Utne – $pread Magazine. It’s for sex workers, by sex workers. That is to say, it’s a pro-stripper, pro-prostitute magazine.

Just making your day a tad more surreal.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 23 Aug 2005 @ 07:59 PM

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Categories: Literary
 20 Aug 2005 @ 7:29 PM 

A strange thing about the Amazon recommendation system – it’s retarded.

It may make sense, in the context of books or music, to suggest you might be interested in something similar to a previously purchased item. But, in the context of technology, it’s just bizarre. “Hey, we noticed you own a wifi card, so you might be interested in another wifi card.” Um, yeah. Thanks, got one. “You purchased a couple books on Microsoft Access, maybe you’d like all the other books on Access ever published.” Why would I?

And don’t even get me started on the way that different editions of the same book or CD get hawked, after I purchased one already. “You bought Depeche Mode’s Songs of Faith and Devotion, maybe you’d like Songs of Faith and Devotion [Enhanced]?” Seems unlikely, doesn’t it?

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 22 Aug 2005 @ 06:47 PM

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Categories: Geek, Musings
 17 Aug 2005 @ 6:23 PM 

From MLFoley, here is a musical meme. Go to Music Outfitters and put the year of your birth in the search engine. It’ll show you the top 100 songs of that year. Bold the ones you like.

1. Bridge Over Troubled Water, Simon and Garfunkel
2. (They Long To Be) Close To You, Carpenters
3. American Woman / No Sugar Tonight, The Guess Who
4. Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head, B.J. Thomas
5. War, Edwin Starr
6. Ain’t No Mountain High Enough, Diana Ross
7. I’ll Be There, Jackson 5
8. Get Ready, Rare Earth
9. Let It Be, The Beatles
10. Band Of Gold, Freda Payne
11. Mama Told Me (Not To Come), Three Dog Night
12. Everything Is Beautiful, Ray Stevens
13. Make It With You, Bread
14. Hitchin’ A Ride, Vanity Fair
15. ABC, Jackson 5
16. The Love You Save / I Found That Girl, Jackson 5
17. Cracklin’ Rose, Neil Diamond
18. Candida, Dawn
19. Thank You (Fallettin Me Be Mice Elf Again) / Everybody Is A Star, Sly and The Family Stone
20. Spill The Wine, Eric Burdon and War
21. O-o-h Child / Dear Prudence, Five Stairsteps and Cubie
22. Spirit In The Sky, Norman Greenbaum (although the Doctor and the Medics version is my fave)
23. Lay Down (Candles In The Rain), Melanie and The Edwin Hawkins Singers
24. Ball Of Confusion (That’s What The World Is Today), Temptations
25. Love On A Two Way Street, Moments
27. Which Way You Goin’ Billy?, Poppy Family
28. All Right Now, Free
29. Julie, Do Ya Love Me, Bobby Sherman
30. Green-eyed Lady, Sugarloaf
31. Signed Sealed, Delivered (I’m Yours), Stevie Wonder
32. Ride Captain Ride, Blues Image
33. Venus, Shocking Blue
34. Instant Karma (We All Shine On), John Ono Lennon
35. Patches, Clarence Carter
36. Lookin’ Out My Back Door / Long As I Can See The Light, Creedence Clearwater Revival
37. Rainy Night In Georgia, Brook Benton
38. Something’s Burning, Kenny Rogers and The First Edition
39. Give Me Just A Little More Time, Chairmen Of The Board
40. Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes), Edison Lighthouse
41. The Long And Winding Road / For You Blue, The Beatles
42. Snowbird, Anne Murray
43. Reflections Of My Life, Marmalade
44. Hey There Lonely Girl, Eddie Holman
45. The Rapper, Jaggerz
46. He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother, Hollies
47. Tighter, Tighter, Alive and Kicking
48. Come And Get It, Badfinger
49. Cecelia, Simon and Garfunkel
50. Love Land, Charles Wright and The Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band
51. Turn Back The Hands Of Time, Tyrone Davis
52. Lola, Kinks
53. In The Summertime, Mungo Jerry
54. Indiana Wants Me, R. Dean Taylor
55. (I Know) I’m Losing You, Rare Earth
56. Easy Come, Easy Go, Bobby Sherman
57. Express Yourself, Charles Wright and The Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band
58. Still Water (Love), Four Tops
59. Make Me Smile, Chicago
60. House Of The Rising Sun , Frijid Pink
61. 25 Or 6 To 4, Chicago
62. My Baby Loves Lovin’, White Plains
63. Love Or Let Me Be Lonely, Friends Of Distinction
64. United We Stand, Brotherhood Of Man
65. We’ve Only Just Begun, Carpenters
66. Arizona, Mark Lindsay
67. Fire And Rain, James Taylor
68. Groovy Situation, Gene Chandler
69. Evil Ways, Santana
70. No Time, The Guess Who
71. Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind This Time), Delfonics
72. The Wonder Of You / Mama Liked The Roses, Elvis Presley
73. Up Around The Bend / Run Through The Jungle, Creedence Clearwater Revival
74. (If You Let Me Make Love To You Then) Why Can’t I Touch You, Ronnie Dyson
75. I Just Can’t Help Believing, B.J. Thomas
76. It’s A Shame, Spinners
77. For The Love Of Him, Bobbi Martin
78. Mississippi Queen, Mountain
79. I Want To Take You Higher, Ike and Tina Turner
80. The Letter, Joe Cocker
81. Ma Belle Amie, Tee Set
82. The Bells, Originals
83. Yellow River, Christie
84. Somebody’s Been Sleeping, 100 Proof and Aged In Soul
85. Vehicle, Ides Of March
86. Gimme Dat Ding, Pipkins
87. Lay A Little Lovin’ On Me, Robin Mcnamara
88. Up The Ladder To The Roof, Supremes
89. Travelin’ Band / Who’ll Stop The Rain, Creedence Clearwater Revival
90. Come Saturday Morning, Sandpipers
91. Psychedelic Shack, Temptations
92. Without Love (There Is Nothing), Tom Jones
93. Are You Ready?, Pacific Gas and Electric
94. Woodstock, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young
95. I’ll Never Fall In Love Again, Dionne Warwick
96. Look What They’ve Done To My Song Ma, New Seekers
97. Walk A Mile In My Shoes, Joe South
98. The Thrill Is Gone, B.B. King
99. It’s Only Make Believe, Glen Campbell
100. Call Me, Aretha Franklin

Obviously, 1970 was not a bad year for music. Lots of Beatles and CCR in there. Sweet.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 22 Aug 2005 @ 06:47 PM

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Categories: Memes, Music
 17 Aug 2005 @ 6:10 PM 

Since I’ve got like 180 megs free in my hosting account, I figured I’d fill it up with a little something interesting. From my home movie DVD, titled “Vacation 2005,” here’s the Monterey clip. This is, of course, shrunk to one-quarter television size. If you’re one of the lucky few to be on the receiving end of the DVD mailing I’m doing this weekend, you’ll get a much better version. If you’re not, well, enjoy this one. 🙂 It’s about 47 megs.

It starts in the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and then we move to Carmel Beach (home of the world’s most aggressive panhandling squirrels), followed by a few minutes of Dennis the Menace Park.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 18 Aug 2005 @ 06:42 AM

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Categories: Personal, The Boy
 17 Aug 2005 @ 4:24 PM 

I’ve just bookmarked NK News under “Online Oddities” – it’s a searchable archive of all the wacky DPRK propaganda spewed onto the web from the Korean Central News Agency. Fun stuff, and the host is Kim Jung Il (as portrayed in Team America).

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 17 Aug 2005 @ 04:24 PM

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Categories: Political
 16 Aug 2005 @ 7:55 PM 

I love the amazing chutpah of people who mindlessly back a political personality. Some jackass drove his pickemup truck over a war memorial. This good ol’ boy destroyed hundreds of crosses memorializing the fallen servicemembers and desecrated the American flag by driving over dozens of them as well.

So, as Patridiot says:

bq. That’s some kind of moral relativism from the right wing. If you put up a memorial to fallen soldiers and you support the war, that’s a valuable moral thing and any desecration of the memorial is treason. If you put up a memorial to fallen soldiers and you oppose the war, that’s a godless, anti-American thing and any desecration of the memorial is patriotic.

Way to go, moron. Way to help your side look like reasonable and sane human beings. Yep.

Twelve years I served in the United States Army. I shudder to think that anyone could be persuaded to believe this type of behavior is supporting the troops. You ran over the crosses and ripped up the flag! Holy crap, what a jackass.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 17 Aug 2005 @ 11:33 AM

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Categories: Political
 13 Aug 2005 @ 8:43 AM 

Fun with LJ and Google Maps! LJ Friendsmap

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 13 Aug 2005 @ 08:43 AM

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Categories: Journal, Memes
 10 Aug 2005 @ 10:00 AM 

Blu-Ray and HD-DVD disks will have DRM that is compatible. Isn’t that nice? Not that any DRM system has ever worked, but it’s great that they can find ways to funnel money into worthless technology that has the only end result the inconveniencing of their own customers. One piece of this technology, ROM Mark, is meant to stop the big pirates in Asia. Want to bet it won’t work?

The other piece is called BD+ and is geared to hindering attempts to crack the encryption technology shielding the content. Essentially, it allows the BDA to update the encryption scheme should the current technique be cracked. If a coder comes up with the Blu-ray equivalent of DeCSS, the BDA simply updates the format’s crypto engine on all future releases, limiting the volume of content that can be nabbed. Does that mean that the existing players will cease to work with newer movies? Hey, great way to punk your customers. Alternately, the system could force all DVD players to have an internet connection in order to have “updates” forced on them at the whim of the manufacturer or the MPAA. Um, yeah, good idea. How many people are ready to hook their television set to the internet?

Explain how it’s possible to protect things my eyes can see and my ears can hear from being copied in some way. Sure, you may be able to slow the adoption of technology that makes perfect copies. You won’t stop it. More importantly, the MP3 revolution has taught us one thing – people don’t care about perfect copies, just decent ones. Nobody can say an MP3 encoded at 160 kbps sounds just as good as the CD, but it’s good enough. Nobody can say that an XVID-encoded 1 gig video rip of a DVD looks as good as the original DVD, but it’s good enough.

So, why bother with DRM that won’t stop the big pirates in China, won’t stop people from making “good enough” copies at all, and just annoys the hell out of people who aren’t geeky enough to read the internet instructions on how to make those “good enough” copies? It’s an amazing waste of money, when the movie industry claims it’s low on cash. Ignore their record-setting box office numbers – if the MPAA says they’re hurting, those crocodile tears must be dealt with.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 10 Aug 2005 @ 01:32 PM

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Categories: Geek, Video
 09 Aug 2005 @ 9:14 PM 

Kung Fu Monkey has a great post on The President and Intelligent Design

bq. Opinion has been enshrined as superior to fact. No longer need a person take into account the way the world works when forming their worldview — they can instead hunt down “facts” and “theories” which support their own comfort zone, and what’s worse, we can NO LONGER CALL BULLSHIT. Because if our leaders — pardon me, your leaders — don’t call bullshit, who will? They have undermined the very process by which we know WHEN to call bullshit!

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 09 Aug 2005 @ 09:14 PM

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Categories: Education, Political
 08 Aug 2005 @ 6:45 AM 

The end of an era…With Brokaw and Rather retired, and Jennings gone, the big three anchors that most of us grew up with are no longer on the news. This is akin to when Cronkite and Brinkley retired for our parents, I suppose.

I wonder if any of the new crop of anchors will have the staying power of those three. I can’t see Stone Philips being the grand old man of television news, and certainly not the idiots that pretend to be journalists on the cable news channels.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 08 Aug 2005 @ 06:45 AM

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Categories: News
 07 Aug 2005 @ 6:02 PM 

Alex has lost his marbles. Well, at least two of them. The marble run game he’s got started with twelve and now it has ten. I’m sure I’ll fall on my ass one day soon and find them.

I really wish he’d stop quoting every cartoon he’s ever seen as his entire vocabulary, but he is having fun with the marbles. I’m trying to teach him that the longer runs are usually slower, which seems so basic to us but not so obvious to him.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 07 Aug 2005 @ 06:03 PM

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Categories: The Boy
 06 Aug 2005 @ 8:09 PM 

Went to see March of the Penguins with monkey boy today. Wow, what a fantastic film. I can’t believe the amount of time the crew must have spent on the scene during an Antarctic winter. Great views of the birds, especially close-ups of the fur-like feathers. Beautiful.

If you want to see a movie that is rated G and doesn’t involve talking animals, this is probably the only one that will come out this year.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 06 Aug 2005 @ 08:09 PM

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Categories: Entertainment, The Boy
 05 Aug 2005 @ 8:06 PM 

From the Alt Friday 5:

1. Have you ever quit a job? Tell us a little about it. Well, I quit the family business to join the army and quit the army after twelve years. Not really the usual definition of quitting, are they?

2. Have you ever been fired? Tell us a little about it. Nope.

3. Have you ever been bought as part of a merger or takeover? Tell us a little about it. Twice. TRW was bought by Northrup Grumman and pretty much nothing changed. CTI was bought by MTC, and they took away our snacks and sodas; we’ve been waiting eight months for the stock sale money to show up. Yay.

4. Of all the jobs you’ve had, which job were you saddest to leave? Why? Never really been sad to leave a job, but I was most ambivalent about leaving TRW/NGMS – they were willing to pay me a lot of money to be just barely competent, because most other employees were actively incompetent.

5. Of all the jobs you’ve had, which job were you happiest to leave? Why? The army. No more involuntary trips to Korea, no more wearing face paint, no more living in a tent for weeks. Oh, yeah. Glad to be done with that.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 05 Aug 2005 @ 08:06 PM

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