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April 2007

Written By: Gary on April 29, 2007 One Comment
  1. Order :: Chaos
  2. Mortician :: Casket
  3. Determine :: Solve
  4. Ignore :: Noise
  5. Guy :: Girl
  6. Crush :: Blog (Blog-Crush)
  7. Garlic :: Vampire
  8. Wacky :: Weekend
  9. Parent :: Child
  10. Burning :: Fire

Free Association weekly quiz/meme from Unconscious Mutterings.

Written By: Gary on April 28, 2007 No Comment

A very old friend asked me to mentioned the Korea Peace Network and the fact that they were taking out a full page advertisement in the NY Times on Friday (unfortunately, I didn’t see the message until today). The advertisement was an “Open Letter to Shinzo Abe” will be featured in a full page ad in the New York Times while the Japanese Prime Minister is in D.C.

It’s a article about the current prime minister and he seems to be attempting to be sweeping some slavery/servitute issues of the past under the carpet. It’s a ling letter with some photos and artwork of the atrocities that are mentioned in the letter.

I thought it was interesting that at the bottom in a very large font they added (the unrelated text) that “As a Korean American Organization, the KANCC expresses its deepest regret over the horrible Virginia Tech. masssacre and offers sincere sympathy to the families of the victims.”

Written By: Gary on April 25, 2007 One Comment

StopterrorismSo I saw this today and had to take a picture. You’ll have to click on it to really see what it is.

It was a conservative place so I really thought it was an interesting way to make a statement. (I obviously had to be discrete with the camera phone and people came in so I only got the one shot…)

Written By: Gary on April 24, 2007 2 Comments

Stranger Than Fiction Marc ForsterI’m not a Will Ferrell fan but I really really enjoyed Stranger Than Fiction. I’ve heard several people (Kelly and Srah) say the same thing and since I thought the movie looked interesting I gave it a try. Before I tell you about it I’ll mention that it’s the slapstick / stupid / immature stuff that makes me not like Will Farrell but since I now know he can act I’ll pay a little more attention to his stuff; I feel the same way about Jim Carey and Adam Sandler, when they aren’t pretending to be one of The Three Stooges they’re pretty entertaining (hmm, the three of them as The 3 Stooges…).

So all of a sudden boring Harold Crick realizes he can hear the narration of his life in his head as his day goes along. It makes him think he’s a little crazy but the narration is hysterical (IMHO) in that it captures his idiosyncrasies perfectly. Eventually with lots of confusion as he occasionally speaks out to the voice he he seeks out a shrink and eventually ends up with a Literature Professor (Dustin Hoffman) who helps him to figure out what type of novel he is “in”. All of it really makes for some hysterical dialog and really has some “meaning of life” stuff in it if you think about the story you are participating in as you live out your life…

On a side note: I have a crush on Emma Thompson, but her semi-depressed chain-smoking character in this movie made that fade away; but they made up for it (with me) by having the lovely Maggie Gyllenhaal

Written By: Gary on April 19, 2007 One Comment

Costa Rica Monkey 2007Another photo-meme. Today the Thursday Photo Challenge is Wildlife so I’m using this White-Faced Monkey photo from Montezuma, Costa Rica.

If you look very close (just below/by the neck) you can see there is a (very tiny) baby on the back of the monkey!

Speaking of Costa Rica, here’s a information page from Time for Kids about Costa Rica

Written By: Gary on April 18, 2007 3 Comments

2006-04-20 15-10-44.Img 0735So today’s LensDay dealt with flowers so this week so I submitted this photo that I took in Egypt. I thought most of the flowers from there seemedso bright and beautiful. The other people on the trip compared it to flowers in Hawaii but since I’ve never been there I attributed it to the Egyptian mystique…

I just thought they all seemed so bright and beautiful….

Written By: Gary on April 15, 2007 One Comment

You’ve just been given a $2000 tax refund (that’s like $5000 dollars for you all in Canada and about 1200 pounds for you in the UK and, I don’t know what for you Aussies) but you must use it to buy home decorations.

  • What will you buy at the home decor/furniture store? (from the Question of the Day, please answer the question on their site (or your site and link back), they want to know you’re playing)

    Certainly, a new living room couch and chair/loveseat. I’ve looked lately and seen nothing exciting…

    And I could use some new curtains in the bedroom and kitchen (nothing fancy) the old ones need replacing from me laving the window open and then getting blown all about….

  • Written By: Gary on April 13, 2007 No Comment

    It’s a great sunny day out!!! I’ve got to run around to all the buildings in the school district for work today and it’s just perfect for those kinds of errands. I’m not sure what the rest of the weekend will be like but today is awesome! I wish I had solar panels on my head to store up the sunshine for the cloudy days…

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    Written By: Gary on April 12, 2007 No Comment

    KurtvonSince it’s Kurt Vonnegut who passed away yesterday we’ll link to his Wikipedia entry since there should be some content about him. He was an interesting and bizzaro author, you should try a few of his books if you haven’t. But what inspired this post is two things, both of them odd and very unrelated.

    I hadn’t realized he died yesterday until I got an ad from Border’s Books today trying to sell books in his memory (there was more but it had this at the top of the e-mail ad). I’m not sure if it’s in good taste or not and I remember them doing a few other things like this and while it might be good marketing I’m not sure about the taste part.

    Ardvil-22So I never (rarely) watch television previews for next week but last night I did watch them during Lost. As usual they jumped around a lot during the preview and I saw it something for an instant and something seemed off. So I rewound the TiVo, this took about 5 tries since it was only a few frames but I saw a cover of a book. The book was “Ardil-22” (which is Catch-22 in Portuguese) which was written by Kurt Vonnegut Joseph Heller. I’m not sure if this was a coincidence or someone had time to edit it in yesterday at ABC or what. But in hindsight it’s a pretty odd coincidence that it was just a few frames of the preview. I can’t recall if Lost has ever mentioned Kurt Vonnegut (or Joseph Heller) before…

    LATER – SO I TOTALLY SCREWED THIS UP: Since it turns out Joseph Heller wrote Catch-22 and not Kurt Vonnegut (Sorry Kurt) but while I’ve read several of Kurt’s books, I don’t think I ever read Catch-22. Plus it turns out that “Catch-22” is the title of the next episode of Lost so that’s the reasoning for that. So I’ve totally goofed up the second 1/2 of this message. There were no coincidences for me to see. And I thought I had tied this together all pretty good too :(

    Written By: Gary on April 11, 2007 No Comment

    So I hadn’t gotten my tickets to see Brandi Carlile at The Ark (in Ann Arbor), I had looked before but got confused by the floor layout that they show on TicketMaster (here’s a better floor layout) so I didn’t get them. I figured I better get them before they premiered her new video on Grey’s Anatomy tomorrow night since they might sell out. I really wanted to see her in a small venue again but I missed it and they’re all gone :(

    She was so good last summer and it was a smaller place and I don’t even think it was sold out. If anyone happens to end up with an extra ticket for the May 9, 2007 show in Ann Arbor, I’ll buy it from you…

    Written By: Gary on April 11, 2007 No Comment

    So All new troops sent overseas will now stay 15 months. This includes extending current troops stay to fifteen months. This does not guarantee that the US won’t pull out before 15 months from now (that’s a different policy). I’m getting this live off Fox news while I eat lunch (here’s a direct link). Non Deployed troops in the US are still 12 months (that was a little confusing to me since I assume that you sign up for longer, so maybe it’s for Recruited national Guard-types and others? I really don’t understand how any of that works).

    That part that I thought was interesting that Defense Secretary Gates verbalized was that he was quite disappointed (as were others in the pentagon) that the decision was made to announce this directly to the press with no advanced notice to the troops or their families (he said something to this point).

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    Written By: Gary on April 8, 2007 No Comment

    So I’m really liking the 2007 season of Doctor Who, the second episode of “The Shakespeare Code” was excellent. They’re still introducing the new character, Martha Jones, and it’s working out well, IMHO. I’m trying to figure out how many of the jokes are inside jokes since I’ve watched for two seasons and how many people will get it on the first time around. As I’ve said before they do ignore the technical details about how things work which they illustrated with this episode by having Martha ask all sorts of questions about the time machine and paradoxes by pretty much ignoring them or saying don’t worry…

    So they went back in time and had an adventure with William Shakespeare, I’ve never been a huge fan but I do appreciate that all the right people say he’s a genius and I accept that, especially since a lot of writers I really enjoy think he’s a genius. So it’s great that they had a character like The Doctor actually thinks he’s a genius and treated him as such. Lots of Shakespeare jokes, makes me wonder if I missed any…1

    Plus, there were a few Harry Potter jokes/references that I thought were great. But I’m getting tired of the Rose references already three episodes now (the first two of the season and the Christmas special which kinda took place between seasons) and while I loved Rose, if we’re going to ignore much of the science (and concentrate on the story) then maybe they should ignore the fact that he’s lost Rose.

    Written By: Gary on April 6, 2007 No Comment

    So PC World has a story on the Best 50 Tech products. Considering a few of the items in the list, I think few things are missing: Skype, one of the early pieces of ZIP/StuffIt software, maybe a Palm (or even Windows) cell phone, a TRS-80, the Sony WalkMan set standards for portable (choose your own) music players and I’m sure I’ll think of a few more later. Half of the software “tools” seem to be things to fix parts/utilities missing from the Windows OS. And there isn’t any software for creating web pages / FTPing files (from the era of Netscape and Eudora) or blocking spam. Should flickr or Google be considered a product? Amazon or eBay? Okay, so I’m getting ahead of myself, lets show the list.

    Of the 50 I’ve bolded items owned/used (some were free or work owned for my use) and added comments to many items (even ones I don’t use):

    1. Netscape Navigator (1994) – Netscape and NCSA made the Internet (and Eudora), thanks!
    2. Apple II (1977) – I never owned one until years later when I got a deal on one.
    3. TiVo HDR110 (1999) – Early adoptor and I’ve added many converts
    4. Napster (1999)
    5. Lotus 1-2-3 for DOS (1983) – More of a VisaCalc/Excell user but they’re all great.
    6. Apple iPod (2001) – I waited for a color one with a big hard drive and spent the early adopter prices for it (now better ones are 1/2 the price).
    7. Hayes Smartmodem (1981) – I can’t be sure I actually had a Hayes, but I had one of the first generics if I didn’t (I’ve had so many modems, I can’t recall). Hayes changed computer communications IMHO.
    8. Motorola StarTAC (1996) – Several of these from several carriers and they were all awesome.
    9. WordPerfect 5.1 (1989) – I used it but I’m not proud, I think it’s awful
    10. Tetris (1985)
    11. Adobe Photoshop 3.0 (1994) – This has almost always been too complicated for any needs I’ve ever had.
    12. IBM ThinkPad 700C (1992)
    13. Atari VCS/2600 (1977) – I always wanted one of these (even years later) but I never had one.
    14. Apple Macintosh Plus (1986) – I was a late apple adaptor but I loved it. I still love Apple and I think I always will…
    15. RIM BlackBerry 857 (2000) – no interest in one of these ever
    16. 3dfx Voodoo3 (1999) – I don’t think I’ve ever had a machine with this card.
    17. Canon Digital Elph S100 (2000)
    18. Palm Pilot 1000 (1996) – I jumped on the palm bandwagon late but now I’m a fan
    19. id Software Doom (1993)
    20. Microsoft Windows 95 (1995) – I’m sure one of my work Machines ran this, I’m not sure if I ever owned a machine with it. I think I jumped from Windows 3.1 back to DOS and then to ME or 98 at home.
    21. Apple iTunes 4 (2003) – THE best/easiest way to shop for music on-line
    22. Nintendo Game Boy (1989)
    23. Iomega Zip Drive (1994) – These folks dominated the market. Everyone I know had one of these drives and then they just faded away…
    24. Spybot Search & Destroy (2000)
    25. Compaq Deskpro 386 (1986) – We sold these and I’ll always remember the customer that pronounced it Comp-A-Que and we had no idea what they were asking for.
    26. CompuServe (1982) – Had an account for a while, this was pre-Internet…
    27. Blizzard World of Warcraft (2004)
    28. Aldus PageMaker (1985) – I have never been a PageMaker fan.
    29. HP LaserJet 4L (1993)
    30. Apple Mac OS X (2001) – It just works! (generally)
    31. Nintendo Entertainment System (1985)
    32. Eudora (1988) – Probably one of the best e-mail clients ever, way way way before it’s time.
    33. Sony Handycam DCR-VX1000 (1995)
    34. Apple Airport Base Station (1999)
    35. Brøderbund The Print Shop (1984) – This was why people never wanted to get rid of their dot matrix printers (the pinfeed paper for banners).
    36. McAfee VirusScan (1990)
    37. Commodore Amiga 1000 (1985) – I always wanted one of these!
    38. ChipSoft TurboTax (1985) – I love tax software, it’s so worth the money
    39. Mirabilis ICQ (1996)
    40. Creative Labs Sound Blaster 16 (1992) – This was the standard for audio cards forever.
    41. Apple HyperCard (1987) – Best software ever! This was the premiere application using hyperlinks and (almost) had plug-ins and supported multimedia. Think linking and interactive pages (cards) of information and graphics all running on your computer (pre-internet)
    42. Epson MX-80 (1980) – These were one of the most durable dot matix printers ever.
    43. Central Point Software PC Tools (1985)
    44. Canon EOS Digital Rebel (2003) – I love this it feels like a real camera in my hands. It works like one too.
    45. Red Hat Linux (1994) – Awesome easy to use/maintain version of a free OS.
    46. Adaptec Easy CD Creator (1996) – I have/use various versions of it, but I’ll always love toast.
    47. PC-Talk (1982)
    48. Sony Mavica MVC-FD5 (1997) – The floppy disk cameras made it easy for everyone to get their photos off the camera. This was always my favorite camera to have schools use.
    49. Microsoft Excel (1985) – Excel is an awesome spreadsheet.
    50. Northgate OmniKey Ultra (1987)

    Here’s a complete list for “printing” but I’m not sure if it’ll link properly (at the bottom of the page are just the items).

    Written By: Gary on April 4, 2007 No Comment

    So they released Google Desktop for Macintosh, they mentioned this at the Google Blog and the Google Mac Blog (did you know they had a Mac Blog?). It’s the main Google application for desktops and since they’re supporting Macs with this, what’s next (they just started offering free virus protection for Windows from Norton)? I will be trying it especially since I’ve disliked the new search (Spotlight) in Mac OS X for a while now. I’ll try it when I get home, I’m on the go and don’t like to install things when I’m on cell phone dial up (EVDO).

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    Written By: Gary on April 4, 2007 No Comment

    I wasn’t ever a Doctor Who fan (not even a bit), a friend mentioned it to me more than a few times but it just wasn’t my cup of tea. But then they started running a new series a few years ago and it seemed okay, but then I started watching it from the beginning of the 2005 season and it was really good. I really enjoy the humor, just a little British with a lot of wit; some of with wit is just barely acknowledged and then they move along (so sometimes you miss it).

    This is a perfect episode to start watching the series, it’s the first episode of season three (2007), it’s called ‘Smith and Jones’. She’s Dr. Martha Jones and he checked into the hospital under the name ‘Smith’. The Doctor is a bit out of sorts having lost his last traveling companion (Rose) but the show always has sidekick so we get to be introduced to the new companion. She’s a medical doctor in training who doesn’t get too freaked out about with the strange things that happen and she’ll probably be a great asset to the show. So it kind of re-introduces you to the main characters.

    Since the series was restarted they’ve changed both the doctor and his companion/assistant; it’s the start of year two for the doctor and the first episode with the new assistant. The 2005 Doctor, Christopher Eccleston, has been playing the invisible man on Heroes season one. I haven’t seen Rose on anything else yet. Some people will refer to this (2007) as the third season but some die hards will refer to it as the 29th season. I think the BCC is who restarted the numbering but I’m not sure why (but it’s probably due to a 15 year gap in the series).The Doctor is a quirky guy, smart (but seems flaky), a bit egotistical but he usually knows what he’s doing; he’s played by David Tennant and is the tenth Doctor in the series. He’s also the last of The Time Lords, his time ship which used to camouflage itself to fit in the environment got stuck looking like a 1960’s police call-box and liked it so he’s never fixed that (besides humans never noticed out o place things like that). The assistant is usually pretty helpful, not apt to panic and in some episodes is the one that saves the day. The thing to keep in mind is there isn’t always a lot of continuity between the episodes and some of the “science stuff” isn’t explained completely and won’t be; it’s a show for fun not to be over analyzed like the physics of Star Trek (or insert your geeky series here). And FYI his “sonic screwdriver” is the Dr. Who trademark tool to fix things, open doors and other oddities; it’s really the only thing he carries around everywhere.

    I don’t think anyone in the US has picked up season 3 yet so if you don’t get the BBC I think the only direction to send you is to a torrent site. (I’ve checked iTunes, Amazon unBoxed, SciFi channel, PBS and it just doesn’t seem like any stations are carrying season three yet.)

    Written By: Gary on April 2, 2007 One Comment

    So I enjoyed The Holiday but some parts were really really slow. There were parts that really appealed to my sense of humor, but I’d have a hard time recommending it. It’s got Kate Winslet (and Cameron Diaz) and I’ve always had a thing for Kate…

    It’s the story of two women who need to get away due to recent men problems and end up doing a home swap. Cameron leaves her huge home in LA to stay in Kate’s tiny place in the little town in England (and vice-versa); Kate really made out on this deal. Of course they meet men and the story goes on from there. One of the parts I really really liked is when Kate was exhausted from the trip and the jet lag and wants to sleep but it’s bright since it’s the middle of the day. Then she find the magical switch that activates the room blinds which slide down and seal the room up likes it’s a bomb shelter it was awesome; that’s how I like to sleep, when it’s pitch black so I could really handle having something like that.

    What else? Cameron makes movie previews for a living and that was cool, especially her daydreams about her life as a movie preview. I liked Jack Black’s part, when he’s not too goofy I like him, and the he was pretty good (a little less goofy would have been better, IMHO). The little girls were hysterical(!) but I won’t say anything else about them. That’s it, I wish it had been more exciting but that’s all I got, like I said, I enjoyed it…FYI, I read in the IMDB that “This film was written specifically with actors Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jude Law, and Jack Black in mind”

    Written By: Gary on April 1, 2007 4 Comments

    So this is a great idea, some have e-mail (gMail) accounts but don’t have printers. They access at internet cafes, off their cell phone or at work (where it’s not appropriate to print personal mail). But how do you get a hardcopy of your messages? This was a problem the first week or two when my Mom got her computer, she didn’t have any way to print.

    GpaperSolution: gMail paper. You click the “paper archive” button and they’ll mail you copies of the messages. “You can read it, sort it, search it, touch it. Or even move it to the trash—the real trash. (Recycling is encouraged)”. Of course it’s free, it’s from Google but I don’t see how they can afford the postage, they say that “The cost of postage is offset with the help of relevant, targeted, unobtrusive advertisements, which will appear on the back of your Gmail Paper prints”. Here’s the FAQs. Obviously I haven’t seen printouts yet (I wish they had some in the FAQ) but I’ll be ordering a few samples later and I’ll post what they look like (although printing an e-mail, then scanning it back in to post it electronically seems a little absurd).

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    Written By: Gary on April 1, 2007 One Comment

    Forget that it lets you create awful looking pages and that it’s ultra slow (partially due to the large quantities of photos and slideshows). We’re just talking about normal software problems that would probably save them bandwidth if they fixed/tweaked things (and make our MySpace lives easier and faster). Let’s get everyone to stop wasting clicks and using it better (which will stop wasting bandwidth!). I might even spend more time there if it wasn’t for all the wasted time…
    So here we go (I hope Tom is listening):

  • If I’m looking at an event it should tell me if I’ve added it to my calendar already when I’m looking at it. It should not make me click it and then add it twice. It should know this already.
  • I need a way to get the calendar out of MySpace. I’ve already got a calendar on my computer, it’s on my phone, it’s every where I go (and it’s all the same calendar). I need a way to get those events from MySpace to my other synchronized calendars. There are standardized protocols for this, if they really want me to see these performers (they really don’t care, IMHO) they need to make sure I know about them.
  • If I add a calendar item from someone’s page it should remember when I got the event from with a link back to the original page.
  • If someone is my friend already say that on the page don’t say “I’m in their extended network”, it says that for everyone. You go to add a band (or someone) and you can’t remember if they’re in your list already and it’s got to go to another page. It should know this already.
  • Artists can set their page to let you download some of their songs (or none) but the filenames are awful (like 89SAD09G89SD0FSDF089SDFS8D00S.mp3) and the songs have none of the tags so you can see who it is when you play it later (on the computer or your mp3 player). Once again, they aren’t helping the artists, it’s whatever they can do to get you to come back to the site for unnecessary things. If you’re hooked your coming back, just let me download something useful.
  • MySpace will send me e-mail reminders and alerts but you can’t choose which ones and it’s hard to get them past your spam filter since they change their e-mail address with every message. If you use some form of disposable address now your friends can’t search for you since they don’t know that address (I only send friends to MySpace to find the links to my bands, I have no real content there).
  • If I go to someone’s page for the first time, I’ll click play if I want to hear their favorite song, don’t start streaming me music I don’t want to hear. I almost want to say the same about a musician’s page too but I can understand that they want it to play (how about a 10 second delay so the page will stop loading first?).
  • They don’t let you subscribe via RSS/Atom to a persons blog, once again, no info unless you go to theirSpace. They could at least let you view an excerpt so then you’d want to come back…
  • If someone has no pics (or videos) it shouldn’t give me an option to view them. There aren’t any there!!
  • There should be a limit of 15 slideshows or 1500 photos per page. That’s sarcasm, have you seen how many photos and slideshows people put on their page? It takes 5 minutes to download them all on a high speed connection!
  • Why can’t I rotate my favorite song? Or my Avatar? Oops, wait those aren’t aesthetic complaints, they’re user wishes. I’ve been spending too much time in theirSpace….

    I really hope I’m not missing an easy calendar solution, I’ll feel kinda silly if I did. If I’m complaining, I suppose it begs the question why am I using MySpace? Because they’ve got my local bands convinced it’s the only place to list their calendars. And occasionally I follow a few other clicks while I’m there…

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    Written By: Gary on April 1, 2007 One Comment

    So all of a sudden you look out the window and you realize that somehow you, and the building you are in, just got transported to the Moon. Do you:

    Start running, screaming and freaking out
    OR
    Do you think something like “how cool is this!?!”

    I’m all for the second choice! Getting home and lack of oxygen are potential problems, but let’s look around in case you get transported back to plain ol’ boring Earth, okay?

    It’s the Moon!!! How cool would that be?!?

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