Tuesday, November 29, 2005

pesky'apostrophe: always better than an unexpected period.

pesky'apostrophe: always better than an unexpected period.

Mac definately has a way about her. I particularly like her ending:

Well...you know how it is with the new conservative—personal responsibility and individual responsibility is only good when we’re talking about getting rid of the welfare system and Social Security and gun ownership. Other than that, all decisions, laws, and private matters should be mandated by the nutty Christian set. All your stuff are belong to us.

Back in the dark days before the V chip, when our "remote control" involved one of us kids running over to the TV to switch the channel, my parents decided what was OK for us to watch. Granted times were simpler and we did not have cable. But there were still shows my parents simply would not watch with us around. We got our nudity the old fashion way - stealing dad's/older brother's/etc Playboy.

This is a problem that will eventually solve itself. As the computer illiterate parents leave parenthood behind the newer, tech-savy parents will be able to setup the V chip, Internet smut guards, etc. in such a way that the kids will not be able to break into them easily.

Granted nothing can stop a kid who is really determined to see "indecent" material. It seems to be the more forbidden the fruit, the more humans want it.

Beacon Journal | 11/28/2005 | Charter schools will go on trial

Beacon Journal | 11/28/2005 | Charter schools will go on trial

I am all for getting kids the best education possible. If public schools are failing then I do feel that Charter schools should be given a chance.

HOWEVER, they have not proven themselves yet. One of my complaints was that early schools could refuse anyone admittance - which of course means that they could skip mainstreaming mentally disabled kids, kids with behavior problems, and generally anyone they felt would bring down their test scores (or drive up their costs). If you want to compare public school performance to Charter school performance then both must take any child or the comparison is moot.

Beacon Journal | 11/29/2005 | New Eagle Scout to take wing

Beacon Journal | 11/29/2005 | New Eagle Scout to take wing: "Andrew Ault "

Congratulations to Andrew Ault! As a former Eagle Scout myself I know what it takes to make it all the way. I may not agree with some of what the Boy Scouts of America is doing right now, but I still respect anyone who makes it all the way through to Eagle.

FCC seen backing new cable pricing: WSJ - Yahoo! News

FCC seen backing new cable pricing: WSJ - Yahoo! News

Hmmm.....interesting turn of events. Depending upon the costs I would consider this given I watch a handful of 50 odd stations I get above "lifeline basic" cable.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Beacon Journal | 11/27/2005 | Restaurant sale on eBay is new world

Beacon Journal | 11/27/2005 | Restaurant sale on eBay is new world

The article quotes some interesting numbers - like $3.3 billion in business category sales alone for a year, 157 million users worldwide. I like this quote:

``It's become a marketplace where everything's negotiable,'' said Mike Schiller, a management consultant who teaches e-business at the University of Akron. ``We have no idea where this is going. Young people are growing up with it; (the technology) is making things much more available than they ever used to be.''

eBay is only 10 years old and 1 category is already handling 3.3 billion in transactions in a year? Think what will happen when in another 10 years.

However it is always interesting to see how people are using technology, and how people forget how things were in the "dark ages." Mur Lafferty was commenting on one of her podcasts about how TiVo is shaping her daughters viewing habits and she is only 2-ish. How do you explain to a 2 year old that at one point not only did you have to sit down at a specific time to watch TV but that you could not stop it and pick up where you were?

The year I graduated high school we got the first real computer lab in the Akron Public Schools in 1983. I remember when the thought of a home computer was laughable. Now I hear people talk about not being able to live without the Internet. In the 20-odd years since high school home computers have gone from a luxary to a necessity. What will the next 20 years hold?

Sunday, November 27, 2005

USATODAY.com - Oscar-nominated actor Morita dies at 73

USATODAY.com - Oscar-nominated actor Morita dies at 73

I always loved the characters Pat Morita played. I always liked when he would pop up in M*A*S*H, usually at a poker game. I always said that the only way I would study martial arts is if I could get a teacher like Mr. Miyagi. Granted he worked with the script as it was given, but I also know that every actor brings a bit of their personality to the table in any role.

Domo Arigato.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Guardian Unlimited | Arts special reports | Music industry seeks access to private data to fight piracy

Guardian Unlimited | Arts special reports | Music industry seeks access to private data to fight piracy

Let's see, on one hand we have people blowing up buildings. ON the other we have people downloading the latest Britany Spears album. Similiar offense? Something seems a little off when people want the same access to info in both cases.

People don't get it, particularly the music industry. The more they propose stupid things like this, the more people are going to go to independent artists.

Friday, November 25, 2005

DRM, copyright and the end of the music industry

This has been brewing in my mind most of November, so it will probably ramble a bit.

Back on Nov 2nd Adam Curry had reported on someone, and I could not find the link, that had predicted the end of the music industry as we know it within 12-18 months. PW Fenton in a recent podcast declared that he is going "podsafe" - as he said "if I can't buy it from the artist, I ain't buying it." Of course that came as fallout from Adam Curry getting the semi-nice (at least that is my guess) "stop playing licensed music or else" letter, no doubt delivered by Guido of the 1 eyebrow.

Not long after that we get the whole fall out from the Sony rootkit DRM stuff, which I have blogged about this month. As time as passed it looks like Sony is going to get hung up by its dangly bits, legally speaking, over this. For those who's head has been in the sand for the last month - the rootkit is a hidden program that you cannot find on your system that reports back to the mothership home office about what you do with select Sony-BMG CDs on your computer. The techology though provides for a way for various malware to hide on your system, and the original patch left an even bigger hole and potentially caused hardware problems.

Of course the RIAA and the labels will claim they are protecting the income of artists. This article, or one similar, has been around to show that the amount of money that worms its way down to the artist overall is usually rather small. Granted beer money is better than no money, but it becomes obvious that they are not protecting the financial interest of the artist as much as their own financial interests. One other interesting point I recall from the music industry is they loose money on most artists, and again they need strong sales on a few acts to support all the acts they loose money on. More on that in a bit.

Now I think that the 18 month time frame for the death of the music industry as we know it a little premature. If for no other reason they control the rights for people to cover some great music. Composers need to get their cut, and as Coverville has shown covering a song is a popular thing in the music industry.

So what are we to do? DRM is not really a good answer. Even the limited DRM, like I saw on The Reverse Engineers' Mercury In Retrograde can cause problems. They have a limited use DRM that allowed for 3 plays before you had to pay a dollar. Not a bad idea, however when I first played in it on my home computer I had to retrieve an update to my player. I have not tested this yet, but my guess is that it will run into the same problem as any other DRM when you need to move the mustic to another machine, or you get a new MP3 player. Even Dave Winer recently had a very bad experience with Apple's DRM with a new video iPod. Nothing like loosing your entire music collection that you paid for because your portable player died and you had to plug in a new one. (Granted, this was not Dave's case, but you can see where that would happen.)

So what are we to do?

First off the music industry needs to realize that times have changed. Instead of signing a 100 acts with the hope of 5 being hits, maybe the music industry needs to cut back to 50. The big labels have some advantages - they have the contacts to setup tours, promote, etc. Just because someone is a good musician does not mean they are good at PR. Podcasting can get your music heard by others, may result in some CD sales, but writing press releases, picking good photos, designing album art, and a hundred of other details may escape the musician. Maybe Adam Curry's idea of the unlabel can help with that, freeing the musician to make music.

As listeners of course the most important thing for us to do is to support musicians we like. It would be great if we could find DRM-free downloads. We need to either buy the songs we like, or maybe pickup the whole album. Word of mouth is the best form of advertising for groups, so letting people know about groups you find interesting is a must. More stores like CD Baby that caters to independent musicians need to come up.

Musicians need to release a song or two free of DRM. These songs need to be representative of their sound. Too often I have heard 30 second cuts of songs, or a whole song, that is far from representative of the song or sound of the group. If you want me to buy an album, give me something that will give me an idea of how it will all sound. If you listened to only the song Beth from Kiss you would not have an idea of their overall sound.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Thanksgiving movie fest

Since my brother and I hate football, we typically watch movies all day on Thanksgiving. Granted I do help out some with the cooking, but my big contribution is the turkey which does not take a lot of time to keep up with. Never fear - most of the cooking is usually done so my sister-in-law ends up doing more reheating than anything else. So today we watched:

Robots. A great cast and a rather entertaining movie. Classic underdogs pull together to over throw the "cool" kids, but it was very well done. A great one for my nieces & nephew and still entertaining to adults. Then again the "adults" still fnd fart humor funny so your milage may vary.

Batman Begins. A story of how Batman, AKA Bruce Wayne, trained and became the Dark Knight, along with Sgt. Gordon (before becoming the commisioner). I am not sure how close they stayed to the original story. Given how long Batman has been running I am sure at some point they explored it "officially". Enjoyable action film, although it was a bit long and possibly could have had a few things cut without affecting the overall flow of the film. Michael Caine made an excellent Alfred.

Fast Times at Ridgemont High. As someone who went to high school & college in the 80's this was a cool flashback. Mindless drivel, but it has a good cast. Just today I found out that Forest Whitaker was in the film as Charles Jeffereson, the large football player. Man did he look young! He is probably best known as the private that works as Robin Williams' sidekick in "Good Morning Vietnam". He does a lot of directing as well.

And before heading over I watched House of D. I had trouble getting into the story itself. The movie itself was ok - good acting, moved along, etc. but the story itself just did not grab me. I hate when the elements come together but the story just is not interesting. Honestly the only reason I stuck through the whole film was the actors.

Happy Thanksgiving (or Thursday for those outside of the USA)

I am sitting here waiting on some laundry to finish so I can head out to my brother's house for Thanksgiving. My peanut butter pie is made for my nieces & nephew and I will grab my roasting pan for the turkey when I go and get my laundry. I get turkey detail - I am the only one willing to clean out the turkey so I get to do cook it as well.

Tomorrow is Buy Nothing Day. I usually try to observe it, with the exception of renewing my car registration. I may hold off until Saturday on that this year. The one exception might be if I go to the gym - my membership is expired so I will have to renew. Maybe instead I'll curl up under a blanket and watch videos all day.

Well sounds like my clothes are done. Everyone have a great day, and for all my fellow Americans out there remember the reason for the day and come up with at least 1 thing you are thankful for before consuming mass quantities and watching too much football.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Ohio Republican Backs Off Murtha Criticism - Yahoo! News

Ohio Republican Backs Off Murtha Criticism - Yahoo! News

Trying to rip apart a Vietnam vet is about as smart as playing catch with a live hand grenade. I doubt there is ANYTHING that they can say that he has not already gone through when he came back from Vietnam.

I do not agree with Rep. Murtha on an immediate, complete withdraw from Iraq. We created a mess there and we need to make sure that the shit will not hit the fan when we leave otherwise the soldiers would have died for nothing. However there seems to be absolutely no progress on trying to get our troops out and get Iraq to have a self-sufficient defense force.

Bogus E-Mails Contain New 'Sober' Worm - Yahoo! News

Bogus E-Mails Contain New 'Sober' Worm - Yahoo! News

An important thing - your's truely received emails from the CIA, FBI and several other government organizations yesterday. They looked legit enough until I saw the attachment, a ZIP file, and then I knew to delete them compleetely. Overall I don't open attachments from unknown people anyways.

Web Site Agrees to Help Curb Access to Movies - New York Times

Web Site Agrees to Help Curb Access to Movies - New York Times

I will agree that something has to be done, but the article misses the point of BitTorrent. It is not just movies that can be sent through BitTorrent, but ANY large file. Open Office distributes their binaries through BitTorrent, SXSW Festival released 700+ songs from participating musicians (legally), and many podcasters user BitTorrent to distribute their podcasts. Even legal movie downloads use BitTorrent. I have heard that BitTorrent is also popular in the Open Source community.

I would rather see illegal downloads get choked off (especially since I don't download them) than to see this wonderful distribution method die.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

pesky'apostrophe: always better than an unexpected period.

pesky'apostrophe: always better than an unexpected period.

You go Mac!

Many years ago on the TV show Thirty Something one of the characters used the line "Happy Pagan Ritual", which is what I tend to use around my friends who know I am weird. I tend to respond with whatever people wish me - either Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays, whatever. Given I know a number of Jews, Wiccans and Christians what does it matter. Besides I know a number of people who still do trees & Santa regardless of their religion.

Beacon Journal | 11/22/2005 | Study calls Canton 30th most dangerous

Beacon Journal | 11/22/2005 | Study calls Canton 30th most dangerous

I am a bit surprised by Akron's 91st spot. Overall I find Akron to be a safe place, although I have been told my personal idea of "safe" is skewed being a 6' tall guy. I'm wondering if, like Canton, there was some number that really skewed our results.

Beacon Journal | 11/22/2005 | Summit County bans smoking -- well, sort of

Beacon Journal | 11/22/2005 | Summit County bans smoking -- well, sort of

This "ban" is a joke. Why the hell bother with all the exceptions written into it? And if Akron is excluded it make NO sense what so ever. Another group of idiots that need voted out.

What are your Top 5 electronic toys you can't live without right now?

  • Compaq Presario Laptop. The hub of my digital life. Communication, music, movie playing, finances. I keep very little outside of my laptop.

  • Palm Tungsten T3. My backup brain. I am even getting more info on there all the time. I use this as a mobile adjuct to my laptop for times when lugging a laptop is not convenient.

  • SanDisk 512 meg MP3 player. I use it primarily for podcasts.

  • Toshiba DVD player. A little old school, but I had it and it allows me to work on my laptop and watch a movie at the same time.

  • iJoy Camera. Has about the resolution of a camera phone, great for quick shots on the run.

Overall I would have to say I am pretty well set. Like Gary said in his, maybe a portable video player a la the video iPod, although as part of the Microsoft collective I would look for something outside of iTunes ;). I actually picked up a cheapy Pocket PC recently to play around with the UI. With Windows Media Player built in it would work as a media player, although it does not handle mpeg 4 files natively. It would be cool if I could get them converted to play without downloading a new player to the Pocket PC.

One thing I like about either Palm or Pocket PC is that they are generic enough to function as a video or audio player. I do not use mine as such primarily because of space concerns, although with SD cards that is not a big deal.

The only thing I might get is a TiVo or other DVR. I have considered turning my old computer into a DVR since it has a rather roomy 80 Gig drive, but I always think I don't need another thing to get me to watch more TV.

From Top 5 Friday

Did someone say winter?

  1. Do you like the colder weather, or are you into the hotter weather?
    I prefer colder weather, although not super cold.

  2. What is your favorite thing about winter?
    The possibility of a random snow day, sitting at home watching some of my favorite movies.

  3. Do you have a favorite comfy, cozy lounging around outfit?
    Not really, although my sweat pants & a hoody is probalby as close as I get.

  4. Whats your favorite warm drink when it is just too cold out there?
    Hot cocoa, with little marshmellows. Even little packets of Swiss Miss are fine.

From Tuesday Tales

Monday, November 21, 2005


Yea, it has been awhile since I posted anything substantial, or even passingly bloggish.

Part of the problem has been fat fingers. I lost a post last week I had spent an hour on when I accidently hit a key combo that ended up in the equivilant of hitting the back button and loosing all my hard earned typing. That same day I also lost 3 emails to a similar problem when working in a web-based email page. Grrrr!! I am now using w.Blogger to help with the problem. I have used w.Blogger on and off, mostly off, for awhile. Given my recent run of luck at home I definately need something.

My weekend was equally "fun".

Friday I had made arrangements to go and see IMDB. Went through Fandango to get the ticket for the 10:35 showing. As a single guy going to see what is, nominally, a kid film I think it is easier for me to go to a late showing than an earlier one and getting weird stares by parents. Hey, I know I am harmless, and I understand in this day and age, but it does not make it any easier on me. I even left work early.

However on the way home my brakes went out. Let me tell you, Stairmaster has nothing on getting your heart rate up as having your brakes go out while doing 70 on the expressway. I was able to get off the side of the road and get a tow truck called. Turns out my brake lines rusted through. Not fun. No car, ticket paid for. Fortunately my brother let me borrow his truck for the weekend (and today) so I did not loose my money on the ticket.

Since the first place I took my car to wanted an arm, leg and a few other body parts I had become attached to for the repair, I had the car towed to my favorite brake place. They do great work at a good price, although I will admit I sometimes get the family discount. They could not get to it today - they have limited Saturday hours and do not do brake work on Saturday and are closed on Sunday. This means I was using my brother's truck all weekend. Now I am not complaining since without the truck I would have been stuck at home all weekend, and would have been out $9.25 for the movie ticket. However I still hate the size of truck compared to my car.

Anyways between being up until almost 2 AM and getting the car towed out to the brake place most of Saturday was chewed through. I did get my rear screen door fixed though so the day was not a complete loss.

Sunday I was awakened by a call to do some emergency babysitting for my brother. This took a large chunk of my day. I don't mind babysitting for my brother. Overall the kids are well behaved for me, but I had planned on raking my lawn. My last leave pickup for the year is Wednesday. At least this year a little over half the leaves on my trees is down. I have been doing the leaves in this yard all my life so I pretty much have it down and 1.5 hours later I was done.

There is something very rewarding about doing lawn work. When you are done you can see the results, something that as a programmer you do not always get to do. The raking itself is very meditative, almost zen. Granted my hands are killing me today, almost an RSI injury.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Vatican Official Refutes Intelligent Design - Yahoo! News

Vatican Official Refutes Intelligent Design - Yahoo! News

WOOO HOOO! A religious person who gets it. Of course the people wrapped up in the debate still don't get it...

Legislation Renewing Patriot Act Stalls - Yahoo! News

Legislation Renewing Patriot Act Stalls - Yahoo! News

I was never a friend of the Patriot Act, since it was passed when emotions were running high after 9/11. I find that many times such knee-jerk legislation does not really take a broader look and many times duplicates legislation that is already in place. At least some people are saying "whoa" to this stuff, and at least some kind of reporting mechanism is being put in place.

Yep, that is what I paid for gas

Yep, I paid $1.95 for gas last night. It was at BJ's Wholesale Club, but even BP and Sheetz around here are at $1.98/gallon.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Mom Makes Teen Stand on Street With Sign - Yahoo! News

Mom Makes Teen Stand on Street With Sign - Yahoo! News

An interesting idea. I hope the mother does not get in trouble for this. It seems any more just about anything that a parent can use to discipline a kid is deemed bad. This seems pretty minor and at least in the short time effective.

Beacon Journal | 11/17/2005 | School funds forfeited to Uncle Sam

Beacon Journal | 11/17/2005 | School funds forfeited to Uncle Sam

This is a major bone-headed move. At this point I am not willing to vote for any incumbant because they have all been making bone-headed moves and need to get kicked out.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Alaska May Not Get 'Bridge to Nowhere' - Yahoo! News

Alaska May Not Get 'Bridge to Nowhere' - Yahoo! News

With all the other crap going on, this funding should be pulled immediately. Pork has always pissed me off anyways, but we need to rebuild cities after the hurricanes this year and we still have to fund the troops in Iraq (regardless of how I feel about them being there). Why build a bridge to somewhere that has 50 people?

Harriet the tortoise turns 175 - Yahoo! News

Harriet the tortoise turns 175 - Yahoo! News

Tortoises & turtles have always been a favorite of mine. To see a 175 year old tortoise is amazing.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Catholic Bishops Turn to Lay Ministers - Yahoo! News

Catholic Bishops Turn to Lay Ministers - Yahoo! News

It is not going to be long before the Catholic church MUST reconsider its stance on celibacy, and hence the marriage of priests. Any Episcipalian priest who switches to the Cathalic church is allowed to be married if married before. You can only depend upon the Lay Ministry for so much before you stop being a church.

CURRY.COM: Adam Curry's Weblog

CURRY.COM: Adam Curry's Weblog:

"er, yes, as I've said before, we invest in podcasters, not conferences. Let the undition begin!"

I think that was Todd's point. He also is is trying to something similiar to Podshow with the Tech Podcaster's network. I'm sure if Podshow had anything significant, worth of a sponsership, to say they would have put their money there. From what I have gathered from his blog & podcast Todd would have done the same thing. When working with a startup you need to feel you are getting enough return on conference sponsership to do it.

Monday, November 14, 2005

More Testing fun

You are a

Social Liberal
(73% permissive)

and an...

Economic Liberal
(18% permissive)

You are best described as a:


Link: The Politics Test on Ok Cupid

Japan Loses Contact With Asteroid Lander - Yahoo! News

Japan Loses Contact With Asteroid Lander - Yahoo! News

This is unfortunate. Any loss of data on an operation like this is unfortunate. My hope though is that Hayabusa's landing and collection goes without a hitch and we can gather some further data.

Catholic Church no longer swears by truth of the Bible - World - Times Online

Catholic Church no longer swears by truth of the Bible - World - Times Online

This is a weird thing to read, although an old article. It took me a couple of times to really believe this. What this means for the future of religion is tough to say. I have never been much of a person to believe in the literal interprtation of the Bible. For the Catholic church to go down this path is big.

AOL, Warner to Bring Old TV Shows Online - Yahoo! News

AOL, Warner to Bring Old TV Shows Online - Yahoo! News

Sounds like TV Land may have some competition. It will be interesting to see what happens with this.

Beacon Journal | 11/14/2005 | Council will discuss ban exemptions

Beacon Journal | 11/14/2005 | Council will discuss ban exemptions

The older I get, the less I care about people whining about their businesses being affected by a smoking ban. For years we non-smokers have put up with you. There is good evidence that second hand smoke is a health problem. Allowing smoking in bars & restaurants after 10 PM is useless - when do most people go to bars? Not before 10. Besides most places do not have a good enough system to clear out the smoke (and resulting odor) in time.

If your business is that dependent upon people killing themselves and others, maybe you need to re-evaluate your business plan.

Beacon Journal | 11/14/2005 | Route 8 to be streamlined

Beacon Journal | 11/14/2005 | Route 8 to be streamlined

Driving this route for the last 10+ years I can only say this is a long time coming. This is different that what I have seen in the past, so it will be interesting to see how this all plays out.

Of course during the construction I will probably end up on an alternate route since the traffic here is alreayd pretty bad.

Friday, November 11, 2005

BOFH: Hi Honey I'm home | The Register

BOFH: Hi Honey I'm home | The Register

BOFH is sporadic, but it is usually pretty funny. For anyone who has worked in any aspect of the tech industry you can no doubt relate and have possibly comtemplated some of the things he does. Well worth the read.

Read/Write Web: Portals 2.0 flesh out their product lines

Read/Write Web: Portals 2.0 flesh out their product lines:

"My take is that of course the Big 3 (I think we can discount AOL from this level of competition) have a very similar product line - because they're all building 'portals'. It may not be currently fashionable to call them portals, but basically Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft are all trying to integrate products and services into one-stop shops for their millions of users."

I have to agree - they are all building portals in an effort to lure eyeballs. Google has the best advertising mechanisms in place (and great search), Yahoo has the best media tie ins. I have not played much with MSN, but with my knowledge of Microsoft they are probably pretty good at acting as glue between existing services.

If I had to pick one that is in the best position, I would say Yahoo. They are willing to partner with people (something Google is not), not viewed as an evil empire (like Microsoft, and slowly Google), and have been working on the whole portal thing for a long time. There is nothing saying the Yahoo will not go down the roads of either of these companies in the future, but right now that is my take.

Johnny Depp Defends Kate Moss - Yahoo! News

Johnny Depp Defends Kate Moss - Yahoo! News

I have to agree to a point with Depp - she is just human. Why do we feel the need to dig up every last piece of dirty on celebrities and then vilify them when they don't live up to our expectation? I do not condone the drug use, but she is a super model. If she was only doing cocaine I would be shocked.

Viruses Exploit Sony CD Copy-Protection - Yahoo! News

Viruses Exploit Sony CD Copy-Protection - Yahoo! News:

"'You can't uninstall it, you can't find it, and it's vastly more invasive in terms of privacy and personal property than any other (digital rights management) program to date,' he said."

Hmmmm...sounds like a trojan horse to me.

It has been suggested to start bocotting all of Sony's products until they admit they screwed up on this one. Given that this only targets Windows users is even more annoying.

The music industry as it stands today is becoming more and more irrelevant. Why annoy your dwindling number of customers? One more nail in the coffin.

Finding Said to Boost Proof of Goliath - Yahoo! News

Finding Said to Boost Proof of Goliath - Yahoo! News

It will be interesting to see what the religious conservatives will do with this bit of info. Truth is not clear proof that the story of Goliath is true, but it shows it MAY be true. Knowing how some of these people work, there will be a jump to "the whole Bible is true". Never mind the fact that these types of people poo-poo science when it goes against what they believe.

Woman Robs Banks While on Her Cell Phone - Yahoo! News

Woman Robs Banks While on Her Cell Phone - Yahoo! News

Way too bizarre for words.

Beacon Journal | 11/11/2005 | Intelligent design decried

Beacon Journal | 11/11/2005 | Intelligent design decried:

"This debate ``is not science vs. religion -- it's religion vs. religion,'' she said. ``Different religions take different views on science. The goal is to educate apart from those wars.''"

This is the most logical arguement I have heard about this. Keep in mind we are talking about science class. Unless they are going to teach all possible religious explainations, which I can guarantee they are not, no one can talk about it in school. Even if someone is willing to go to all the trouble of running through all the religious explainations it has no place in a science class.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Beacon Journal | 11/09/2005 | Akron schools suffer defeat

Beacon Journal | 11/09/2005 | Akron schools suffer defeat

Note to the Akron Public Schools - I voted against issue 78.

Normally I am one to vote to help the schools. I do believe that the children are our future, and one way to help draw people to the city are to have good schools. I also have two nieces who are in the Akron Public Schools right now.

However, you guys lost a lot of cred with my after the problems with the school building plan. When the original plan was proposed, and the plan that we all signed on for when we voted for the tax, was that all the current schools would remain open. After the plan was presented to the state, all of sudden we have to close a bunch of the schools, including upwards of half the high schools.

I felt like you intentionally deceived us, or are blindingly incompetent. When I read that the state would only support rebuilding/renovating schools with a total enrollment of 350 or more I was not happy. Don't get me wrong - there have been talk about closing some of these schools since I was in the Akron schools 20+ years ago. There was talk of Akron U buying Central Hower when I was in college 15+ years ago. With some of the grade schools having less than 150 students in K-4 (or is it 5?) it is hard to justify keeping a building running.

But why couldn't you be upfront about it all? Even if my alma mater was on the chopping block (which, in the state plan, it was) I would have voted for the tax. Why? Some state money is better than no money.

I realize that operating & captial monies pay for different things, but how do I know you are not lying to me now about the short fall in money? Yes, I know you have kept your word and held the line on expenses and are making progress toward improving test scores. But keeping your word and lying are different things.

There is one other thing:

To the Ohio legislature -

Last I heard the method that the state uses to fund schools is still unconstitutional according to the Ohio Supreme Court. You are working at your 5, 6th or more time through this process. You seemed more concerned with making sure gay marriage is a no-no (and then wonder why we have trouble getting people to move to Ohio), yet you cannot find a good way to constitutionally fund our public schools.

It maybe time to draw a line in the sand - no new taxes until the state can get its collective act together and at least find something that is constitutional. And maybe we all need to start voting against renewals as well.

Microsoft, AP Team on Online Video Venture - Yahoo! News

Microsoft, AP Team on Online Video Venture - Yahoo! News

This is an interesting volley across Apple's bow. Microsoft is not much of a hardware company, but with the video iPod I could see this as a step toward teaming up with a company to offer some kind of iTunes/Disney thing.

As I said before, the video iPod makes video on demand (VOD) a new game. We not only need to shift time but location as well. Streaming is only 1 way in which we are going to want to get videos. In the future if you want to remain competitive you are going to have to offer some way to make things mobile, and on a variety of devices. Digital rights management (DRM) is going to have to get used to that as well.

Evolution Critics Score Win in Kansas - Yahoo! News

Evolution Critics Score Win in Kansas - Yahoo! News

Even the Catholic church admits that you must consider theories when backed by some evidence. The next step backwards is to go back to the idea of the universe revolving around the Earth.

Senators, oil execs to debate profits - Yahoo! News

Senators, oil execs to debate profits - Yahoo! News

Unfortunately it will turn into a dog & pony show with no real results. Senators will talk tough but in the end do nothing.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

NBC, CBS to offer shows on demand for 99 cents - Yahoo! News

NBC, CBS to offer shows on demand for 99 cents - Yahoo! News

Not sure how much sense this makes. I like the idea of $.99 episodes, but the limited nature of who can get these shows does not make sense to me.

I think the video iPod takes video on demand to a whole new level. We need to be able not only time shift, but device shift as well.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Some thoughts on aggregation

I have been a thinking about aggregation of late. In part because I have been working with Flickr and in part because I have been working with some people who are not overly tech savvy.

I am a big user of Bloglines. It is not necessarily that I find them any better than any other service, but they are web based and free. The web basis makes it easy for me to synch my reads between home & work. There are many feeds that I are techie enough that I may read them at work or at home.

Dave Winer has talked about the idea of a river of news. Instead of the email-ish UI where each feed shows if it has new items, all the new items are displayed in a way to show the stories directly. The Google Reader approximates this approach.

I find the Google reader pretty cool, and if they would use actual arrow keys for navigation it would be great. If you really want to rip through your unread entries in the order in which they were posted this is great.

However there are times I want to do both kinds of reading. At work I want to see my feeds and select individual feeds to read. At home I would prefer the river of news approach.

Feed Demon by Nick Bradbury can, or will be, able to handle both types of reading. I got Feed Demon 1.5 and it is an interesting piece of software. The problem is synching feeds between multiple computers. When version 1.6 comes out and it is integrated with NewsGator it will solve a big problem. I like that you can group your feeds, which would be nice so that I could group my techie feeds and, presumably, do the river of news with that group. It would even be better if the groups could at least note there is at least 1 new item to read. I may have some option setup wrong to get this though. Feed Demon is feature rich and if you are looking for a desktop reader and have some money to spend it is well worth it. Feed Demon works right now with NewsGator, but with 1.6 it will be one fee instead of 2.

The one thing I have not tried yet is off line reading in FeedDemon. This would be useful when I am on the road and need to snag my feeds where I am paying for connectivity by the hour.

Of course now that I have looked at it, NewsGator is free and offers some of the same features as BlogLines.

What else would I like to see? More scripting abilities to keep things open for future stuff. Many handle enclosures with no problem, some do not do auto downloads, some will not shot the enclosure to another program, etc.

Phil Collins Says Genesis Reunion Possible - Yahoo! News

Phil Collins Says Genesis Reunion Possible - Yahoo! News

This would be cool. I think I saw them during the "We Can't Dance" tour at Cleveland's old Municipal stadium. This is when both the Indians & Browns played at the same stadium. I never saw them with Peter Gabriel singing, but I have listened to some of their CDs from that time frame and like it.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

What does your birth date mean

Your Birthdate: December 20

You are a virtual roller coaster of emotions, and most people enjoy the ride.
Your mood tends to set the tone of the room, and when you're happy, this is a good thing.
When you get in a dark mood, watch out - it's very hard to get you out of it.
It's sometimes hard for you to cheer up, and your gloom can be contagious.

Your strength: Your warm heart

Your weakness: Trouble controlling your emotions

Your power color: Black

Your power symbol: Musical note

Your power month: February

A catchup meme

Since Katherine said she had no one to tag with this meme, I thought I would go ahead and do it.

Three names I go by:
Hey you (for some reason people have trouble with my name so I tend to resond to just about any name)

Three screen names I have had:
MysticOne (back in the old BBS days)

Three physical things I like about myself:
My eyes
My hands
My legs

Three physical things I don't like about myself:
The settling around the waist
My nose
My hair

Three parts of my heritage:

Three things that scare me:
Religous fanatics
Modern business practices
Never finding love

Three of my everyday essentials:
Tea or hot chocolate
The Internet
A walk

Three of my favorite musical artists:
Phil Collins

Three of my favorite songs:
Come Sail Away - Styx
Don't Stop Believing - Journey
Beautiful - Christina Aguilera

Three things I want in a relationship:

Three LIES:
I know what I want to be when I grow up
I have a kick-ass car
I love brussel sprouts

I was extremely extroverted, but then became introverted
I hate watching football on TV
I believe magic exists

Three physical things about the opposite sex that appeal to me:

Three of my favorite hobbies:

Three things I want to do really badly now:
Get my dinner started
Get my house completely cleaned up
Fix my back door

Three careers I've considered:
History Teacher

Three places I want to go on vacation:
Sedona, AZ

Three kid's names I like:

Three things I want to do before I die:
Travel extensively
Visit the pyramids in Egypt
Learn to play guitar

Three ways that I am stereotypically a boy:
My slobbish house cleaning
My clothes
My love of fart humor

Three ways that I am stereotypically a girl:
I am in touch with my feelings
I am a pretty good listener
I am a sucker for a good romantic comedy

Three celebrity crushes:
Nicole Kidman
Sandra Bullock
Mare Winningham

Beacon Journal | 11/06/2005 | New trail is way to get more places

Beacon Journal | 11/06/2005 | New trail is way to get more places

This is great news! Our area has some great parks, and some good trails but few of the trails hook together.

Now we need to get some more inter-city trails. We have a number of abandoned-looking rail beds that would make great bike trails. Even here in NE Ohio I don't think we can overlook the need to encourage people to use bikes for transportation. Problem us our roads are pretty crappy for bikers, and a few dedicated cut throughs might help draw in some people. If they can get some hook ups from neighborhoods to both the Bike & Hike trail or the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath then you have the best of both worlds.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Becky's T*blog: What Flickr clusters say about you

Becky's T*blog: What Flickr clusters say about you

An interesting little meme, and I learned something about Flikr.

So what does Howard "mean"?

"bush, blair, streetart"

"politics, john, dean"

"chicago, train, redline"

"soma, sanfrancisco"

"england, castle"

Apparently Howards are pretty politically involved, leaning either right or left, enjoys street art, and travels a lot, many times by train.

Becky said it hit about 40%, for me even less. I will say I am sort of middle of the road politically, but I have not been to Chicago, San Francisco or England.

CommonMedia Launches DRM-Free Music and Video Stores - CommonMedia.org

CommonMedia Launches DRM-Free Music and Video Stores - CommonMedia.org

An intesting idea. BitTorrent is a great way to disribute large files, but only really works when there are lots of people downloading the same file. I grabbed a file from CommonFlix that was free just to see how it worked, but only 1 other person had downloaded the file so it was painfully slow. It will be interesting to see what people do with this with TV shows.

Via Geek News Central

Scripting News: 10/29/2005

Scripting News: 10/29/2005:

Hey we're having a Old Farts Genius Network breakfast at Denny's in Palo Alto, tomorow at 9:30AM. You don't have to be a club member to join the party. Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I find the name Old Farts Genius Network. Not sure about the genius part, but at work I am an old fart.

Tarot quiz results: The Moon

The Moon Card
You are the Moon card. Entering the Moon we enter
the intuitive and psychic realms. This is the
stuff dreams are made on. And like dreams the
imagery we find here may inspire us or torment
us. Understanding the moon requires looking
within. Our own bodily rhythms are echoed in
this luminary that circles the earth every
month and reflects the sun in its progress.
Listening to those rhythms may produce visions
and lead you towards insight. The Moon is a
force that has legends attached to it. It
carries with it both romance and insanity.
Moonlight reveals itself as an illusion and it
is only those willing to work with the force of
dreams that are able to withstand this
reflective light. Image from: Stevee Postman.

Which Tarot Card Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Friday, November 04, 2005

Been awhile

I have been AWOL for awhile here. Things usually get out of control around the For Purpose Conference, and it just completely throws off my schedule.

The conference itself was great. The speakers were great, even the one's whom I did not necessarily connect with what they were saying. One thing I have learned to appreciate is that a speaker can do a great job but you may not connect with their particular symbology. Sometimes it is important to look for themes and to see if you can translate the speaker's symbology to your own.

The real pleasure for me though was participating in the Saturday healing ceremony. This is an energetic healing with Reiki or similar techniques. I was a "catcher". Catchers have two basic jobs. The first is to escort people to a healers tables, kind of keeping the process moving. The second, and more important, is to help people after they are done on the table. People can get stiff from being on the table, plus sometimes they need some grounding. There are others who help with the grounding, but the extra hands (and muscle) is usually appreciated.

I drove to VA Beach, which I always like as a nice bugger between the regular world and the coccoon we put ourselves in while in VA Beach. It is about a 10 hour drive, but it is worth it to me.

Bloglines is showing I have over 70 saved posts for me to do something with. A fair chunk of that is a book that is being released through RSS that I am 20+ chapters beind in. I am going to go through those tomorrow so I will probably be doing a lot of posts tomorrow.

One other thing that came out of the Conference was I somehow got tagged as the eBay guy. I have an eBay credit card that I applied for while fulfilling some online offer. I have not been a huge user of eBay. Sure I have picked up a few items here and there, but checking eBay has never been my first inclination. I have been doing some searching on eBay and finding a variety of things. The biggest surprise was finding clothes in my size. I normally shop in a big & tall shop, which is never cheap. I actually found a pair of jeans that will fit. When I loose the weight I will probably keep going back. Unfortunately I am between inseam sizes and a 32 inseam (which is really too long) is not something most stores carry. Even if I get down to a "normal" size I will still be getting my pants in the big & tall shop. At least eBay might get me some cheaper clothes!

Vatican: Faithful Should Listen to Science - Yahoo! News

Vatican: Faithful Should Listen to Science - Yahoo! News

This is a big deal, at least in my view. It always seemed like the Catholic church puts on its blinders, sticks its fingers in its ears and screams "LALALALA" at lound as possible. I think they are realizing they are not the only game in town.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Geek News Central Revealing Links & Useful Technical Information

Hollywood Studios Fair Use Public Enemy Number One

The truth is no matter what the MPAA does, people will find a way around it. DVDs are, buy and large, cheap and probably not worth pirating.

I know that Hollywood has been complaining about the drop off of box office sales. There are two parts to that. By and large a lot of what is coming out lately flat out sucks. It is not worth even the $6 (roughly) matinee price. It MIGHT be worth a $3.50 rental. This year seemed to be the year of remakes: Longest Yard, Bewitched, Herbie, etc. Where are the original ideas??

The second problem is the movie going experience. My brother, nephew and I went to see Star Wars III. It was $8.25 for my ticket (my brother had passes), $19.75 for pop, popcorn and candy and THAT was with a special they were running that day. Without the passes, it would have been around $42 for 3 of us to see a film, sharing a tub of popcorn and two drinks between us. My brother's family of 6 could not afford a night at the movies at a first-run theater, and even has trouble getting everyone in at the local second-run theater. At least it is only $18 for everyone there.

Given that many people have big screen TVs, DVD players, surround sound watching a video at home is almost as good as being in the theater. You can buy the same snacks for a fraction of the cost at a store. Unless you enjoy sticky floors (and just about every theater I have been in has them) and people's cell phones going off, why not save a few bucks?

If Hollywood is really worried, maybe if they gave us a product worth our time we would spend the money. I still go to the theater for select films - some things just look good on the big screen. But there is so much out there that I am willing to wait for it to come out on DVD, if I want to spend the time at all.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Boing Boing: Principal says students can't keep blogs or MySpace profiles

Via Geek News Central

Boing Boing: Principal says students can't keep blogs or MySpace profiles

The given reason is to safegaurd the children from predators. Given the problems that the Catholic church has had of late it comes of as sounding like the schools want to save the children for themselves. Maybe I am just being pessamistic on that.

I do believe that parents should take some responsiblity teaching their kids how to behave on line, just like they tell children to not talk to strangers they likewise need to teach them to be leary of anyone on line. Cyber space is no different than meat space. In fact cyber space is worse since people can track people easier online and from anywhere. I would hope that parents would keep some tabs on what their kids do online, at least in the home.

My blog is not worth much

Thanks to John I found out how much my blog is worth. Good thing I do this for love and not money ;).

My blog is worth $2,822.70.
How much is your blog worth?

Beacon Journal | 11/01/2005 | Smoking debate lights up Summit

Beacon Journal | 11/01/2005 | Smoking debate lights up Summit

As a non-smoker I support this ban whole heartedly. Having just come from VA Beach where smoking is allowed everywhere I hate trying to enjoy a meal while people around you smoke. I might get out more and go to places to enjoy live music if I did not have to put up with smokers everywhere there is live music.