01 Apr 2011 @ 8:50 AM 

I know it’s a fake product (look at the URL), but I know at least a few people who would totally buy these anti-3D glasses to wear to headache-inducing films.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 01 Apr 2011 @ 08:50 AM

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Piping

 
 28 Mar 2011 @ 10:15 AM 

Customer: We need to remove about half of the files you built, based on internal variables.
Geek: No problem, the power of GREP pipes commands them!

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 06 Jul 2011 @ 03:00 PM

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 11 Mar 2011 @ 11:20 AM 

I’m always amused and somewhat aghast at the random nature of the web filtering on-base. My personal homepage is accessible, but not my wife’s (both on the exact same server). I can get to Google Mail, but not Google Calendar. Facebook is accessible, which is obviously official use. And, of course, the messages on the Access Denied pages are of no help or just stupid. My personal favorite is when the “reason” line has something like “Blocked Because: Reference/Education.” We definitely want to discourage that sort of thing.

Although I can get to NPR’s website, I can’t get to my local NPR affiliate (Reason: News/Media). Of course, whenever I run into a nonsensical block, I always try to get to two of my favorite notorious crank sites: Rush Limbaugh and G Gordon Liddy. As always whenever I’ve tried this experiment, both of those sites loaded just fine on the military network (with no conceivable official use, as well as questionable value to human beings in general). Odd.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 11 Mar 2011 @ 11:20 AM

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 08 Mar 2011 @ 3:33 PM 

Listening to the KROQ 1991 playlist in the car this week, it occurred to me how many of the songs I was completely unfamiliar with. This is likely due to the fact that I spent the entirety of 1991 in the Republic of Korea. For those of you under 35 years old, let me explain why this was significant. Back in 1991, Korea did not have a blanket of high-speed internet as they do now. In fact, they barely had reliable telephones or television stations. 1991 was a time before the commercial internet, before DVD box sets (or even DVDs of any kind), way back in the dark ages of information technology. So, that year in Korea was a year where the only American pop culture I knew of was filtered by the Armed Forces Korea Network. Civilian readers, AFKN was like swaddling pop culture in a giant blanket of blandness. I could not understand, when I returned in 1992, why people were singing a song about logs being “better than bad.” I’m pretty sure the most cutting edge thing I heard on the radio that year was “Enter Sandman” by Metallica. It’s amazing to see how far we’ve come in such a short time.

Twenty years later, I have a tiny device on my desk which looks like a miniature television set. This device is connected to my wireless router and streams Facebook updates, Gmail inbox listings, news feeds, silly games and LOLcats. Most importantly, it also streams KROQ (or KNDD, KDGE, 91X, etc.). I’m living in BFE Texas, where the best radio station around plays the same regurgitated pap that every post-Clear Channel era “best of the 80s 90s and today” channel is running. But, I am no longer beholden to the filtered geographically-dependent view of pop culture.

Alex just likes the robot clock.

Livin’ in the future, man!

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 09 Mar 2011 @ 09:47 AM

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 02 Mar 2011 @ 1:04 PM 

February 24th, 2011 – Motorola Xoom available for sale, first Honeycomb tablet, technically more advanced than the iPad.

March 11th, 2011 – Apple iPad 2 available, proven track record, technically similar to the Xoom.

April 2nd, 2011 – Blackberry Playbook (possibly) available, new OS, technically similar to the iPad 2 and Xoom.

Sometime in the middle of the year – HP’s tablet available, new OS, technically similar to all the above.

Who’s going to get to be in second place, since first is already a lock?

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 02 Mar 2011 @ 01:05 PM

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 02 Mar 2011 @ 12:07 PM 

Wanna see something geekycool?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vPnehDhGa14

That’s impressively geeky.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 02 Mar 2011 @ 12:09 PM

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 28 Jan 2011 @ 8:52 AM 

Shinmoedake Erupting and Struck by Lightning

Perhaps some parts of Japan should be avoided this week.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 28 Jan 2011 @ 08:54 AM

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 20 Jan 2011 @ 12:51 PM 

This will undoubtedly be the coolest-looking owl video you’ve seen all week, maybe longer.

Youtube Link for embedded-impaired
He gets all “I’m a big owl” when confronted by an owl slightly larger, but turns into a tree branch when mega owlzilla shows up. Nifty!

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 20 Jan 2011 @ 12:51 PM

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 12 Jan 2011 @ 5:48 PM 

Part Batman, part Dark Angel, part every cop show ever made, and a little bit of Robocop, the new series “The Cape” began this week.  So far, it’s a bit of a cliche-filled mess with one-dimensional characters.  On the other hand, Summer Glau.  Maybe we’ll give it another week to see what they make of the show.

Legend:

Orwell = Lucius Fox (Batman)/Eyes Only (Dark Angel)
ARK = OCP (Robocop)
The Cape = Batman

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 12 Jan 2011 @ 05:53 PM

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 05 Jan 2011 @ 11:31 AM 

Just over ten years ago, I bought my first digital camera, a Canon S10. As with most of my big purchases, I bought last year’s model with a lot of research beforehand, and I was very pleased with the boxy little thing. Canon has been my go-to camera brand ever since (with the notable exception of our waterproof camera, as the Canon D10 was just too fugly to love). My most recent is an SX20, a break from my older point-and-shoot roots into a bigger camera with a giant zoom lens. As expected, in ten years the camera became much cheaper and much more powerful. This week, Canon announced their new lineup, and for the first time they have a camera with a suggested price of less than $100. So, just because I’ve got time on my hands, let’s compare my $500 camera from 2000 with the latest $90 camera from 2011.

Feature S10 A800
Resolution 2 Megapixels 10 Megapixels
Zoom 2x 3.3x
Screen 1.8″ 2.5″
Video None VGA
Weight 11 oz 6 oz (est.)
Battery Proprietary $40 NiMH AA
Retail price
(when released)
$700 $90

 

Isn’t it great, living in the future?

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 05 Jan 2011 @ 11:33 AM

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 04 Jan 2011 @ 12:58 PM 

I think this recent court precedent really shows the importance of personal encryption.  As in so many of these civil liberties cases, it’s hard to feel any sympathy for the person, as he’s an obvious drug dealer.  But, since it’s possible for police to do a pat-down of anyone at a traffic stop, and if “anything in your pockets” is free game for them to search through… Most of us don’t do a lot of illegal things, but we almost all do embarassing things.  As smartphones proliferate, many people are carrying the equivalent of a large filing cabinet of personal documents and photos and videos with them at all times.  Although the police have the obligation to do their utmost within the law to uphold the law, it’s possible that you may want to think about what you keep in your smartphone that you might not want a random stranger to see.  This goes double at border crossings or customs stations at airports – there is a solid precedent that customs agents can pretty much just take all your personal electronics and never give them back whenever you enter the USA.  It seems messed up, because it is.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 04 Jan 2011 @ 12:58 PM

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 25 Dec 2010 @ 8:57 PM 

The latest Doctor Who Christmas special, with Michael Gambon and Katherine Jenkins, is the best yet.  Of course, doing a Google search for Katherine Jenkins shows that she likes to show off her cleavage at public events, so bonus!

But, why was Rory dressed as a Roman soldier?  The final episode of last season, they remade the universe so the Rorybot never existed.  They’ve got a lot of explaining to do this spring.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 25 Dec 2010 @ 08:58 PM

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 17 Dec 2010 @ 6:15 PM 

screenshot-20101218-171303.pngI’ve had the Stealthbook for 2 days now, and I’m ready to give my first report.  It’s heavier than I’d think from a device with no hard drive; I assume that giant battery is the reason for that.  I unplugged it after giving it a full charge, and after one and a half nights of use, it claims to have 40% and just about 3 hours of battery life remaining.  The claimed 8 hours of use seems likely to be true.  The Flash plugin is flakier than a pie crust, and this illustrates some differences between ChromeOS and Chrome on Windows. If a plugin crashes in Windows Chrome, Chrome offers to restart it; ChromeOS doesn’t.  If all else fails, you can close Chrome in Windows and restart it; since the browser is the OS on the Cr-48, restarting the browser requires logging out and logging back in.  Since the login process takes only a couple seconds, the difference is minimal, although it does mean you have to type your password more.

Most web sites work just fine, including Youtube and LOLcats – although the Flash instability means that I may avoid them until a patch shows up.  Just as with any other Atom-powered netbook, don’t expect to run any fun Flash games on the Cr-48; Bejeweled Blitz on Facebook is a slideshow.  Netflix doesn’t work, as it needs Silverlight.  That is one thing which needs to be addressed in order to make the Stealthbook a replacement for Kat’s netbook – she uses that thing for Netflix streaming, LOLcats, email and Facebook.  I think a big question is the cost.  Nobody has indicated how expensive these machines will be once they are actually for sale.  You can buy a single-core netbook with integrated graphics for under 300 bucks.  Bumping up to a dual core or adding decent graphics power moves the Windows netbook into the 500 dollar range, which is awfully close to real laptop territory.  Even assuming the Microsoft tax is $100, it becomes hard to imagine the Chrome netbooks entering the market for under 200 and having anything like good performance.  We’ll have to see what happens.  I also didn’t understand the iPad, so marketers aren’t looking at me for guidance.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 20 Dec 2010 @ 09:05 PM

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 17 Dec 2010 @ 8:25 AM 

If you’ve never taken a programming or discrete math class, you should just move along. For the two of you that remain, here is the funniest binary tree Christmas joke I’ve ever seen.*  And a bonus max-heap joke!

* – This is also the only binary Christmas tree joke I’ve ever seen, so your mileage may vary.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 17 Dec 2010 @ 08:30 AM

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 16 Dec 2010 @ 11:09 AM 

I understand the USAF’s web filters must be working overtime right now, as they attempt to keep the “disclosed but still classified” documents from Wikileaks away from anyone in the military, while they remain available to everyone else on the planet.  Just nod and smile.  What I find particularly amusing is that there seems to be one way to ensure any arbitrary URL is blocked: add the word “wikileaks” to the path. I open up a news site and some of the images are red Xs – they are all named some variant of xxahbr-wikileaks.jpg or something similar.  There are articles in mainstream websites which are not available, even though other articles on the same site are – the articles which are blocked all have “wikileaks” in the URL somewhere.  I can’t even get to the Wikipedia article about Wikileaks, while I can otherwise wander Wikipedia with impunity.  It’s bizarre, and entertaining, and yet… A Fox News article my boss emailed me the other day, pointing out the USAF blocking which the USAF has not seen fit to tell us about – that article I could access, even though it had the offending term in its URL.  I guess Fox News is on the USAF’s “always trust” list, while CBS isn’t.  Just a coincidence, I’m sure.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 16 Dec 2010 @ 11:09 AM

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 15 Dec 2010 @ 7:22 PM 

Imagine my surprise when UPS delivered an unexpected package this evening, which contained the new hotness, a Cr-48.  That’s right, skippy, I was chosen to get one of the prototype ChromeOS laptops.  12 inch screen, matte black soft-touch chassis, auto-updating magic box!  More in the days to come, no doubt, and I’m not going to post any silly unboxing photos – go to any gadget blog to see those.  Yay, new toy!

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 15 Dec 2010 @ 07:22 PM

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 14 Dec 2010 @ 8:05 AM 

I built a computer in August, which was intended to be a reliable and semi-powerful machine, to play current games and work in Premiere and Photoshop.  Instead, I’ve been plagued with random shutdowns, crashing programs, and a growing hatred of technology.  The most recent issue is that downloaded games no longer work.  I buy most of my games via Direct2Drive or Steam or Impulse – I tend to buy older games on sale and boy are some of the deals awesome.  I grabbed Bioshock for five bucks last month, downloaded it, installed it, played it nonstop, and then I was done – all in one week.  I know, there is replay value by playing as a jerk instead of a nice guy, whatever.

Anyway, last week two games popped up as good deals online – Crysis and Bioshock 2.  I bought both (one from GamersGate and the other from Direct2Drive), and began the download cycle.  Both games are approximately 7 gigabyte downloads.  I’ve now downloaded Bioshock 2 seven times, and Crysis four.  I’ve downloaded them to my C drive, my D drive, to Kat’s computer.  Bioshock 2 has multiple methods of downloading the ZIP file – Comrade, Download Manager, and browser direct.  I’ve used each method at least twice.  Every time, I get a corrupt download. I’m using a computer with a direct ethernet connection, not wifi.  The download manager says the download is done and correct. But, once it unzips and begins installing, it craps out with a CRC error.

Same with Crysis, but there’s only one method of downloading that game from GamersGate.  I can only assume that two different games, from two different sources, must indicate there’s something wrong on my end.  Darned if I know what, though.  Anyone have six hundred bucks so I can get a rig from Cyberpower?  No?  Darnit.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 14 Dec 2010 @ 08:05 AM

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 05 Nov 2010 @ 11:32 AM 

My new best imaginary friend, Kenji Lopez-Alt, has completed a four-week experiment to determine what truth the “McDonald’s Burgers Don’t Rot” meme has behind it.  Most serious speculators assumed that the burgers and buns dried out in the air-conditioned interior of an average home. Surprise, surprise – that’s exactly what Kenji discovered. There’s nothing magical about it, just small burgers in a dry environment. Science!

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 05 Nov 2010 @ 11:32 AM

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 27 Oct 2010 @ 9:19 AM 

I’m sure that none of our elected representatives are unduly influenced by the truly stupendous amount of money lavished on them by corporate contributors.  But just in case you’re curious about where that money comes from, how about a cool interactive political whore influence tracker?

Interestingly, here in Texas, the two US Senators have vastly different records on this issue: John Cornyn has received nearly 3 million dollars, while Kay Bailey Hutchison has only raked in 15 thousand. I disagree with Senator Hutchison on many (most?) issues of substance, but she does appear to keep above the money-grubbing fray.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 27 Oct 2010 @ 09:20 AM

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 22 Oct 2010 @ 1:04 PM 

Microsoft, in a stunningly brilliant move, has announced a new site, Games for Windows Market, to be launched on November 15th of this year. Wow. It’s a good thing nobody else has ever come up with that idea. Heck, it’s a good thing Microsoft has never launched a site for the same purpose before, maybe even a year earlier.

Magnets, how do they work?!?

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 22 Oct 2010 @ 01:06 PM

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