2005-11 posts.

  1. Google and OpenOffice. RE: Cyber Tech. Google. Microsoft. Open Source.
  2. List of web apps. RE: Cyber Life. Google. Programming.
  3. Oracle to offer free database. RE: Cyber Tech. Database. Open Source.
  4. My quality and suitability ratings. RE: Cyber Life. Make. My Creation. Politics. Words.
  5. Digital pens. RE: Conservation. Cyber Life. Cyber Tech. Flow. Money.
  6. Microsoft SQL Server 2005 and Visual Studio 2005 released. RE: Cyber Tech. Microsoft. Programming.
  7. Revamped my Character Sets section. RE: Cyber Tech. My Creation. Words.
  8. Man Kills Buck With Bare Hands in Bedroom. RE: Quirky.
  9. Being Stalked by Intelligent Design. RE: Education. Faith. Nature. Philosophy. Science.
  10. Cute little game. RE: A04+. Play.
  11. Firefox tips and tricks. RE: Cyber Life.
  12. Become Republican. RE: A14+. Animated. Funny. Play. Politics. U.S.A. (America).
  13. Transparent Aluminum is here. RE: Engineering. Martial. Movies.
  14. The only debate on ID that is worthy of its subject. RE: Faith. Funny. Philosophy. Science.
  15. Overcoming Procrastination. RE: Flow. Life.
  16. Gas Games. RE: Game. Math. Play.
  17. Why Does God Hate Amputees?. RE: Faith. Philosophy. Science.
  18. Into the Cool. RE: Faith. Math. Philosophy. Science. Words.
  19. Tweak Headz Lab. RE: Engineering. Make. Music.
  20. Time Management for Anarchists. RE: Flow.
  21. Robot Bastard!. RE: Funny. Live Action. Movies. Quirky.
  22. US hangs on to the internet. RE: Cyber Tech. U.S.A. (America). World.
  23. U.S. admits to having used White Phosphorous. RE: Martial. U.S.A. (America). World.
  24. State of Politics 2005. RE: Politics. U.S.A. (America).
  25. Google Base launched 2005-11-16. RE: Cyber Life. Cyber Tech. Google.
  26. Family and Poetry. RE: Chicago. Conservation. Education. Faith. Personal. Science. Words.
  27. Chinese-American trade imbalance. RE: Culture. Economy. U.S.A. (America). World.
  28. Catholics say Intelligent Design isn't science. RE: Faith. Science.
  29. A human skateboard?. RE: Live Action. Play. Video.
  30. John Murtha != Michael Moore. RE: Politics. U.S.A. (America).
  31. There is No God -Penn. RE: Death. Faith. Flow. Life. Philosophy. Show Biz.
  32. I've placed Google Ads. RE: Cyber Life. Google. Money. My Creation.
  33. Non-comuter open-source. RE: Cyber Tech. Economy. Flow. Martial. Open Source.
  34. A one-handed laptop. RE: A14+. Education. Funny. Science. Sex.
  35. Low blow with Taser. RE: Funny. Martial. Quirky.
  36. Wingsuits. RE: Play.
  37. Nanotube optics. RE: Engineering.
  38. U.S. and World population clock. RE: Life. Measurements. U.S.A. (America). World.
  39. Looking up GIS. RE: Cyber Tech. Geography. Google.
  40. Gollum Browser. RE: Cyber Life. Wikimedia.
  41. Hurt their little ears!. RE: Culture. Engineering. Funny.
  42. Five myths of Intelligent Design. RE: Education. Faith. Philosophy. Science.
  43. Another game table. RE: Make. Play.
  44. You have been warned. RE: Funny. Images. Make.
  45. 10 Wikipedia hacks. RE: Cyber Life. Wikimedia.
  46. 10 things about Linux installs. RE: Cyber Tech. Open Source.
  47. The right thing is usually pragmatic. RE: Culture. Flow. Philosophy. Politics.
  48. Newspaper dome. RE: Engineering. Make. Math. Play.
  49. The IDs say that ID = Creationism. RE: Faith. Science.
  50. Cheesey Windows keybaord launching. RE: Cyber Life. Make. Microsoft.
  51. I am eating Krispy Kreme RIGHT NOW. RE: Flow. Food. Life.
  52. Mozilla Firefox 1.5 is here. RE: Cyber Life. Cyber Tech. Open Source. Wikimedia.
  53. 315 degree CSS shadows. RE: Cyber Tech. Images. Programming.
  54. Web image magnifier. RE: Cyber Tech. Images.
  55. Top 10 custom JS functions. RE: Cyber Tech. Programming.
  56. Designing mass emails. RE: Cyber Tech. Design.
  57. Free anonymous file hosting. RE: Cyber Life.
  58. Cleaning up Firefox Integrated Search. RE: Cyber Life. Firefox. Wikimedia.

2005-11-01t16:11:11Z | RE: Cyber Tech. Google. Microsoft. Open Source.
Google and OpenOffice

Yes! I want to believe! I want to believe that Google and open source can be forces of good. This is one of the most explicit head-to-head moves against Microsoft by Google. And since OpenOffice is tied with Sun, this restarts the Microsoft v Sun competition again.

Google throws bodies at OpenOffice [http://news.zdnet.com/2100-9593_22-5920762.html?tag=nl.e589]

'Now Google believes it can help OpenOffice--perhaps working to pare down the software's memory requirements or its mammoth 80MB download size, said Chris DiBona, manager for open-source programs at the search company. "We want to hire a couple of folks to help make OpenOffice better," DiBona said. '

2005-11-01t17:34:32Z | RE: Cyber Life. Google. Programming.
List of web apps

There has been an explosion of web apps. Many of them are gratis. The term social software applies but is actually restrictive. Distinctions such as folksonomy (tags) and popularity/ranking needs to be made.

He missed MapBuilder.net. Make your own maps and see the maps of others. It does folksonomy and ranking too. (BTW: I already sent him an email about this). There are of course a host of other apps based upon the Google Maps API out there now.

I want to ... [http://www.philb.com/iwantto.htm] [via http://www.metafilter.com/mefi/46291]

"I want to..." or "I need to" or "How do I?" These are all questions we all ask all the time. This is a small collection of resources that will help to answer those questions. It is not complete, nor will it ever be. I will be adding to this on a regular basis, so feel free to bookmark it and come back and visit.

2005-11-01t17:35:53Z | RE: Cyber Tech. Database. Open Source.
Oracle to offer free database

Clearly a sign of productive competition induced by the open source movement!

Oracle to offer free database [http://news.zdnet.com/2100-3513_22-5920796.html?tag=nl.e589]

The database heavyweight on Tuesday is expected to announce the beta release of Oracle 10g Express Edition (Oracle Database XE), which will be generally available by the end of the year. It is targeted at students, small organizations and software vendors that could embed the Oracle database with an application. The latest edition is the same as other databases in Oracle's lineup but is limited in usage. It can only run servers with one processor, with 4GB of disk space and 1GB of memory.

2005-11-02t18:14:45Z | RE: Cyber Life. Make. My Creation. Politics. Words.
My quality and suitability ratings

I already tag some of my content (especially posts and links) with meta data, but I'm thinking of being a bit more exact with my "ratings".

The first form of rating is a "quality rating". There are many distinctions of quality. A show may have a production rating of Q3, but a liking rating of Q7.

  • Q01. Worst
  • Q02. Horrible. Hate it.
  • Q03. Poor. Dislike it.
  • Q04.
  • Q05. Fair. Like it.
  • Q06.
  • Q07. Good. Really like it.
  • Q08.
  • Q09. Excellent. Love it.
  • Q10. Best.

The second form of rating is a "suitability rating". I'm not pro-censorship but there are several good reasons to "rate".

  • Sometimes people only want to see stuff "suitable" for their age. EG: The only people who want to see stuff for 3 year olds are three year olds and parents. On the other hand there is stuff "suitable" for younger ages that older people do want to see. EG: The Incredibles movie.
  • The Internet is largely open and it is helpful to know about the suitability of content before seeing it. This can save time and reduce the annoyance factor.
  • People should be able to view stuff at work. In general my content is SFW (Safe For Work) and I try to explicitly label stuff that isn't as NSFW (Not Safe For Work).

So here are my "age suitability ratings". For a specific age range I would have multiple tags (EG: A06; A14).

  • A02. Variant: A02+
  • A04. Variant: A04+.
  • A06. Variant: A06+.
  • A10. Variant: A10+.
  • A14. Variant: A14+.
  • A18. Variant: A18+.
  • A26. Variant: A26+.
  • A40. Variant: A40+.
  • A60.

Additional "suitability" metadata will be provided by additional tags such as the following.

  • Animated.
  • Crude.
  • Funny.
  • Live Action. Flesh and blood people as opposed to animated people.
  • NSFW. Not Safe For Work.
  • Porn.
  • Sex. Something may have sex but not be porn. Check out the magazines at your typical grocery store.
  • Video.
  • Violence.

For reference, here are some stages in human development:

  • -9 months. Zygote at conception.
  • -9 mo to -7 mo. Embryo.
  • -7 mo to 0. Fetus.
  • 0. Birth.
  • 0-13 years. Children
    • 0-1.5. Infants. Babies.
    • 1.5-3. Toddlers.
    • 4-13. Pre-pubescent.
      • 4-5. PreK. Kindergarten.
      • 6-13. 1-8 grades = primary school
        • 6-9. 1-4 grades = lower school.
        • 10-13. 5-8 grades = middle school.
  • 14-17. Pubescent. Teens.
    • 14-17. 9-12 grades = high school = secondary school.
  • 18+. Adults
    • 18-25. Young adulthood.
      • 18-21. 13-16 grades = tertiary school.
      • 22-25. 17-20 grades = quaternary school.
    • 26-39. Early adulthood.
    • 40-59. Middle adulthood = middle age.
    • 60+. Advanced adulthood.

For reference, here is a quick summary of the major suitability rating systems in America:

  • MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) film rating system [W]. See also the motion picture rating systems of other countries [W].
    • Current ratings:
      • Rated G. General audiences: All ages admitted.
      • Rated PG. Parental Guidance Suggested: Some material may not be suitable for children.
      • Rated PG-13. Parents Strongly Cautioned: Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.
      • Rated R. Restricted: Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.
      • Rated NC-17. No one 17 and under admitted.
    • Original ratings:
      • Rated G. Suggested for General Audiences. All ages admitted (including children).
      • Rated R. Admittance Restricted to persons 16 years of age and older. Persons under 16 are not admitted unless accompanied by parents or adult guardian.
      • Rated M. Suggested for Mature Audiences. Adults and mature young people (parental discretion advised).
      • Rated X. Persons under 16 or 17 not admitted (age limit may vary in certain areas).
  • ESRB (Entertainment Software Rating Board) [W].
    • Ratings:
      • eC. Early Childhood: Contains content that may be suitable for ages 3 and older.
      • E. Everyone: Contains content that may be suitable for ages 6 and older.
      • E10+. Everyone 10+: Contains content that may be suitable for ages 10 and older.
      • T. Teen: Contains content that may be suitable for ages 13 and older.
      • M. Mature: Contains content that may be suitable for persons ages 17 and older.
      • AO. Adults Only: Contains content that should only be played by persons 18 years and older.
      • RP. Rating Pending: Product has been submitted to the ESRB and is awaiting final rating.
    • Content descriptors:
      • Alcohol Reference. Reference to and/or images of alcoholic beverages
      • Animated Blood. Discolored and/or unrealistic depictions of blood
      • Blood. Depictions of blood
      • Blood and Gore. Depictions of blood or the mutilation of body parts
      • Cartoon Violence. Violent actions involving cartoon-like situations and characters. May include violence where a character is unharmed after the action has been inflicted
      • Comic Mischief. Depictions or dialogue involving slapstick or suggestive humor
      • Crude Humor. Depictions or dialogue involving vulgar antics, including "bathroom humor"
      • Drug Reference. Reference to and/or images of illegal drugs
      • Edutainment. Content of product provides user with specific skills development or reinforcement learning within an entertainment setting. Skill development is an integral part of product
      • Fantasy Violence. Violent actions of a fantasy nature, involving human or non-human characters in situations easily distinguishable from real life
      • Informational. Overall content of product contains data, facts, resource information, reference materials or instructional text
      • Intense Violence. Graphic and realistic-looking depictions of physical conflict. May involve extreme and/or realistic blood, gore, weapons, and depictions of human injury and death
      • Language. Mild to moderate use of profanity
      • Lyrics. Mild references to profanity, sexuality, violence, alcohol, or drug use in music
      • Mature Humor. Depictions or dialogue involving "adult" humor, including sexual references
      • Mild Violence. Mild scenes depicting characters in unsafe and/or violent situations
      • Nudity. Graphic or prolonged depictions of nudity
      • Partial Nudity. Brief and/or mild depictions of nudity
      • Real Gambling. Player can gamble, including betting or wagering real cash or currency
      • Sexual Themes. Mild to moderate sexual references and/or depictions. May include partial nudity
      • Sexual Violence. Depictions of rape or other sexual acts
      • Simulated Gambling. Player can gamble without betting or wagering real cash or currency
      • Some Adult Assistance May Be Needed. Intended for very young ages
      • Strong Language. Explicit and/or frequent use of profanity
      • Strong Lyrics. Explicit and/or frequent references to profanity, sex, violence, alcohol, or drug use in music
      • Strong Sexual Content. Graphic references to and/or depictions of sexual behavior, possibly including nudity
      • Suggestive Themes. Mild provocative references or materials
      • Tobacco Reference. Reference to and/or images of tobacco products
      • Use of Drugs. The consumption or use of illegal drugs
      • Use of Alcohol. The consumption of alcoholic beverages
      • Use of Tobacco. The consumption of tobacco products
      • Violence. Scenes involving aggressive conflict
  • Television rating system [W].
    • Ratings:
      • TV-Y. Suitable for young children.
      • TV-Y7. May not be suitable for children under 7.
      • TV-G. Suitable for all audiences.
      • TV-PG. Parental guidance suggested.
      • TV-14. Parental guidance strongly recommended for children under 14.
      • TV-MA. Suitable for mature audiences.
    • Sub-ratings:
      • V. Violence. TV-PG may have moderate V. TV-14 may have intense V. TV-MA may have highly graphic V.
      • S. Sexual. TV-PG may have mild S situations. TV-14 may have S situations. TV-MA may have intense S situations.
      • L. Language. TV-PG may have mild "questionable" L. TV-14 may have "questionable" L. TV-MA may have strong adult language.
      • D. Suggestive Dialogue. TV-PG may have mild D. TV-14 may have D.

2005-11-03t17:17:20Z | RE: Conservation. Cyber Life. Cyber Tech. Flow. Money.
Digital pens

Recently I've had posts on the paper-like video screens (flexible and thin) but apparently they're working on digital pens too. Its seems that the key to becoming "paper-less" is not to eliminate "paper" but to transform it. Paper and pens have a form factor (size) that is very human.

Digital pens to prescribe paper some rest [news.com.com/Digital+pens+to+prescribe+paper+some+rest/2100-1028_3-5930565.html?part=rss&tag=5930565&subj=news]

Leeds City Council is rolling out digital paper and pens to 1,300 social workers in a bid to save 1.2 million pounds ($2.13 million) by 2008, while social workers in Greenwich have been testing a digital pen-and-paper system since April.

The digital pen is slightly larger than the average pen--about the size of a marker. When used on specially printed paper--which features a tiny dot pattern--the pen's camera determines where the pen is on the page. The pen can store 40 standard-size pages of text.

Staff get more assessments done because they don't have to go back and type up the information, which is sent back via a Bluetooth connection to a mobile phone. The pens are less likely to be stolen than mobile phones or PDAs, and even if they are, the data on the phone is encrypted.

2005-11-08t15:38:59Z | RE: Cyber Tech. Microsoft. Programming.
Microsoft SQL Server 2005 and Visual Studio 2005 released

At long last. Before people complained that releases came too frequently (for the sake of MS profits) but now people complain that releases don't come out frequently enough (for the sake of staying current).

Microsoft launches long-awaited updates [http://news.zdnet.com/2100-3513_22-5937419.html?tag=nl.e589]

In addition to the standard products, Microsoft announced a free "express," or stripped-down, version of SQL Server and a $49 express version of Visual Studio. Oracle last week said it was making a free, limited version of its database available.

Microsoft also introduced a Workgroup edition of its SQL Server product for small businesses, which costs $3,899 per processor. The Standard Edition of SQL Server went up in price from $4,999 per processor to $5,999, and its Enterprise Edition price remains the same at $24,999 per processor.

Alongside the main Visual Studio 2005, Microsoft introduced a high-end edition called Team System, which is aimed at groups of programmers, testers and architects. Visual Studio 2005 Team Suite starts at $10,939 and is used with server software components that range in price from about $500 to $5,000.

2005-11-13t21:21:56Z | RE: Cyber Tech. My Creation. Words.
Revamped my Character Sets section

I use my Character Sets section fairly regularly. I've consolidated my ASCII, ISO, and ANSI pages as my Charts pag. The emphasis on the new page is to have all the CERs (Character Entity References. EG: ¥) and NCR (Numeric Character References. EGs: ¥ or ¥) displayed in full so they can be searched for. I've also included my list of the Unicode code blocks and made it match Unicode 4.0.1 (2005).

2005-11-14t15:47:40Z | RE: Quirky.
Man Kills Buck With Bare Hands in Bedroom

Man Kills Buck With Bare Hands in Bedroom

Why use a rifle or even a spear when you can use your bare hands?

2005-11-14t17:22:55Z | RE: Education. Faith. Nature. Philosophy. Science.
Being Stalked by Intelligent Design

I would like to think that I have patience and tolerance but with this attack by the Intelligent Design people, I too have been thinking that we can't respond passively anymore. What is happening is essentially religious bullying, religious insertion into secular areas.

"Being Stalked by Intelligent Design" by Pat Shipman [AmericanScientist.org/template/AssetDetail/assetid/47366?&print=yes#47569]

In rhetoric, the line of reasoning used by ID advocates is known as an argument by incredulity. Because what is entirely plausible to one person is ludicrously unlikely to another, arguments by incredulity are inherently weak. ID is not a scientific theory amenable to testing, but an opinion, a philosophical preference, a belief. That fact made it easy for me to dismiss the ID movement as scientifically unimportant. I might have settled back into complacency had I not learned that students in the public high school in my town—a town dominated by a major university—can "opt out" of learning about evolution if their parents send a letter to the school. Allowing students to "opt out" of learning the basic facts and theories of biology is about as wise as allowing them to "opt out" of algebra or English: It constitutes malfeasance.

The Intelligent Design movement is a deliberate campaign to undermine the teaching of science in America, and the evidence of this intent is brazenly posted on ID Web sites. ... In the ID lexicon, "scientific materialism"—the idea that the world around us can be explained without resorting to supernatural forces—is the enemy. ID advocates favor instead something they call "theistic realism," which "assumes that the universe and all its creatures were brought into existence for a purpose by God." The most revealing word in this statement is assumes. Scientists rely not on assumption but on evidence, and there is none for ID. Theistic realism and ID are statements of religious faith, which does not require evidence. '

ID is an insidious attempt by a religious caucus to impose its views on the whole country. The avowed aim of ID advocates—to undermine science and replace it with their personal religious convictions—amounts to a form of prejudice that is both poisonous and horribly frightening.

2005-11-14t17:24:21Z | RE: A04+. Play.
Cute little game

I bet my kids will like this free online game.


[IMAGE: little worker]

2005-11-14t17:39:12Z | RE: Cyber Life.
Firefox tips and tricks

Pretty simple. Just a few tweaks satisfies.

Firefox Tips & Tricks [Mozilla.org/support/firefox/tips]

2005-11-14t18:02:57Z | RE: A14+. Animated. Funny. Play. Politics. U.S.A. (America).
Become Republican

This Flash activity is for Liberal fun only. I'm sure the Republicans are working on much more serious stuff.

Become Republican [TheFrown.com/frowners/becomerepublican.swf]

You can't beat us... so join the party! Don't become depressed... become Republican!

2005-11-14t18:07:14Z | RE: Engineering. Martial. Movies.
Transparent Aluminum is here

No need to wait for Scotty to invent it.

Air Force testing new transparent armor [AF.mil/news/story.asp?id=123012131]

The Air Force Research Laboratory's materials and manufacturing directorate is testing aluminum oxynitride -- ALONtm -- as a replacement for the traditional multi-layered glass transparencies now used in existing ground and air armored vehicles.

2005-11-14t18:38:04Z | RE: Faith. Funny. Philosophy. Science.
The only debate on ID that is worthy of its subject

Much like the old War Hawks v Pacifist argument, but this is more elitist in nature.

The only debate on Intelligent Design that is worthy of its subject [AbstractFactory.blogspot.com/2005/10/only-debate-on-intelligent-design-that.html]

Moderator: We're here today to debate the hot new topic, evolution versus Intelligent Des---

(Scientist pulls out baseball bat.)

Moderator: Hey, what are you doing?

So, you may think you're going to blow me away with your amazing show of rhetoric, but believe me, I have seen it before, and you're wrong. The thing that you're about to write is not only wrong, but transparently, stupidly, embarrassingly wrong, so wrong that it makes me wince inwardly with shame at the fact that you're a member of the same human race that I am. What you're about to write is evidence that you haven't bothered to read the FAQs, or comprehended a single book on evolutionary biology that's not written by one of your crackpot creationist pseudo-intellectuals. So don't bother writing what you're going to write. Just go away.

2005-11-14t19:05:27Z | RE: Flow. Life.
Overcoming Procrastination

I love reading about procrastination. This article is about avoiding procrastinating in the first place as opposed just living with it. My general view of "procrastination is not a problem unless it's a problem" is more about accepting procrastination as character feature.

"Overcoming Procrastination" by Steve Pavlina [Dexterity.com/articles/overcoming-procrastination.htm]

Here are the key points from the article:

  • Replace "Have To" With "Want To"
  • Replace "Finish It" With "Begin It"
  • Replace Perfectionism With Permission To Be Human
  • Replace Deprivation With Guaranteed Fun
  • Use Timeboxing

2005-11-14t19:25:47Z | RE: Game. Math. Play.
Gas Games

Gas Games [homokaasu.org/gasgames] are geometric games online. Interesting but I would enjoy the games more without the time pressure.

2005-11-14t21:49:19Z | RE: Faith. Philosophy. Science.
Why Does God Hate Amputees?

Marshall Brain, the founder of HowSuffWorks.com, has written a multi-chapter site that not only combats the ID (Intelligent Design) movement but goes on to challenge the superstition, fantasy, etc. of God. He references the Bible quite a bit in his work too. Good stuff many qualifications need to be made. EG: People created God, religion, spirituality for more reasons than as a coping mechanism for death and as a proxy for goodness.

Why Does God Hate Amputees? [WhyDoesGodHateAmputees.com]

2005-11-14t21:49:54Z | RE: Faith. Math. Philosophy. Science. Words.
Into the Cool

Now this sounds like a really cool book.

Into the Cool by Eric D. Schneider and Dorion Sagan.

Into the Cool is a scientific tour de force showing how evolution, ecology, economics and life itself are organized by energy flow and the laws of thermodynamics. There are natural, animate and inanimate systems like hurricanes and life whose complexity are not the result of conscious human design, nor of divine caprice, nor of repeated, computer-like functions. The common key to all organized systems is how they control their energy flow. Scientists, theologians, and philosophers have all sought to answer the questions of why we are here and where we are going. Finding this natural basis of life has proved elusive, but in the eloquent and creative Into the Cool Eric D. Schneider and Dorion Sagan look for answers in a surprising place: the second law of thermodynamics...

2005-11-14t22:02:18Z | RE: Engineering. Make. Music.
Tweak Headz Lab

Blogged here for future reference.

Tweak Headz Lab [TweakHeadz.com]

everything you need to know about producing master quality music on your computer. You will find easy-to-read articles, insightful reviews and many often guarded recording industry secrets.

2005-11-14t22:07:31Z | RE: Flow.
Time Management for Anarchists

Some good ideas here —even if you're not an anarchist.

Time Management for Anarchists [NoMediaKings.org/events/time_management_for_anarchists.html]

I do this one already:

Power to the Imagination -when you develop a habit of writing down stuff, and refering to it often enough, you’ll find out an amazing thing: you can let it all go. You can forget about missing appointments, not getting stuff done, and have your brain back to think about creative, interesting stuff. If you’re worrying that you’ll forget to get copies done before some event, then you’re not able to think about what images you’d like to put on the flyer, what projects you want to work on next, whatever.

I do this one already too:

Take it Easy on Yourself -Give yourself a really relaxed, really easy schedule, so much so that you can’t imagine not being able to finish each task in the allotted time. You can cram a project into a week and end up burning out and hating it and dreading the next time you do it, or you can do it over four weeks, intersperse it with other things and projects, and not even feel like you’re working. Variety is the spice of life, and being able to switch from one type of work to another is a break in itself -don’t pack stuff in in an effort to maximize your efficiency, make sure you take your time with family and friends as seriously as you take your work.

2005-11-14t22:19:32Z | RE: Funny. Live Action. Movies. Quirky.
Robot Bastard!

The title alone is worth a look. See the first installment online.

Robot Bastard! [RobotBastard.com]

Robot Bastard exists in an eight-grade-boy universe of Robots, Rocket ships and cute girls.

2005-11-16t16:05:37Z | RE: Cyber Tech. U.S.A. (America). World.
US hangs on to the internet

Usually I'm not for the U.S. having special treatment (equal treatment under law), but I'll make an exception for the Internet. It works, it aint broke, it's internationally very libre and practically gratis. Everyone is also free to explore variations, fixes, improvements, etc. but this should be tested by techies and not bureaucrats.

I'm sure we'll eventually truly integrate Unicode in URIs but since ASCII and the Latin alphabet are at the heart of the C-like languages, *NIX, and Microsoft, it will never go away in computers. Unless of course we have to convert to alien computer technology.

US Keeps Control of the Internet [Slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=05/11/16/1255212&from=rss]

US retains hold of the internet [news.BBC.co.uk/2/hi/technology/4441544.stm]

2005-11-17t00:51:42Z | RE: Martial. U.S.A. (America). World.
U.S. admits to having used White Phosphorous

Yet another U.S. violation of the Geneva Convention? If we're so powerful, why do we have to cheat? Shame on us.

Incendiary weapons: The big white lie [news.Independent.co.uk/world/politics/article327543.ece]

2005-11-17t19:10:13Z | RE: Politics. U.S.A. (America).
State of Politics 2005

It's time for my annual review of politics. Just two things this year:

One. My master plan of letting the Republicans run things (not much of a choice here) without saying much (notice I've hardly blogged about politics in the past year) is coming along swimmingly. The ratings of President Bush and the Republicans are at an incredible low. All sorts of screw ups, Geneva violations, crimes in office, etc. have occurred. Why even Bush's integrity is in question by a majority. Change is in the air.

Two. For the fun of it I took a political self test. This time it was at The Politics Test [OKCupid.com/Politics]. Here are the results.

  • Social Liberal (76% permissive)
  • Economic Liberal (33% permissive)
  • You are best described as a: Democrat

(Yes I purposely did not use the site's generated code for formatting reasons.)
[CHART: My placement on a basic political chart][CHART: My placement on a more detailed poltiical chart]
[CHART: My placement on a political chart with famous people][CHART: My placement on a chart with 2004 U.S. Election info]

The last chart in particular shows a red dot for test takers who voted for Bush and a blue dot for test takers who voted for Kerry.

2005-11-18t17:47:24Z | RE: Cyber Life. Cyber Tech. Google.
Google Base launched 2005-11-16

Google's forays into folksonomy are showing some more. They started with labels (aka tags. EG: "fantasy") in Gmail, but and now they're exploring attributes (EG: "author: J. R. R. Tolkien") as well with Base.Google.com. Google allows you to post content (usu. HTML in RSS format) that they will host and then add labels and attributes.

By coincidence, just yesterday I added a page on Google on my site.

Base-ic Instinct [TechnologyReview.com//wtr_15907,1,p1.html?trk=nl]

In essence, Google Base is relying on its users to be gatekeepers of how their data will be found. That's a turnaround from the company's insistence on using automated algorithms to do almost everything; in fact, it harkens back to Yahoo's early business model, which depended partly on user submissions of new URLs and a team of editors assigning a classification for each site. "With tagging, Google Base [users have] the ability to not only put in some information and expose it, but also to organize it very fluidly," says David Weinberger, author of Small Pieces Loosely Joined: A Unified Theory of The Web. "It's the kind of infrastructure people can use."

2005-11-18t18:45:29Z | RE: Chicago. Conservation. Education. Faith. Personal. Science. Words.
Family and Poetry

One of the perks of my current work is a flexible work schedule. Time together is priceless.

Earlier in the week I was able to chaperone for my daughter's field trip to the Notebaert Nature Museum [NatureMuseum.org]. It was a great time. I watched 7 kids and we named ourselves the "Nature 8" group. What a great vortex of sustainability, nature, heart, and science.

Today my wife and I were able to attend the 18th Annual Poetry Assembly held by Burley where my children attend school. York had a paper oar and did four verses of "Row, row, row your boat", while Connie did several classical playground poems including "Miss Mary Mack, Mack, Mack".

At the poetry recital I noticed a poster with this poem "What is Poetry?" by Eleanor Farjeon [W] and I thought I'd share it here:

What is Poetry? Who Knows?
Not a rose, but the scent of the rose;
Not the sky, but the light in the sky;
Not the fly, but the gleam of the fly;
Not the sea, but the sound of the sea;
Not myself, but what makes me
See, hear, and feel something that prose
Cannot: and what it is, who knows?

Poetry validates my belief that science/reason/math/etc. and art/faith/music/intuition/etc. both seek beauty and can coexist.

2005-11-18t19:15:46Z | RE: Culture. Economy. U.S.A. (America). World.
Chinese-American trade imbalance

Summary: The U.S. buys much more from China than vice versa for several reasons:

  • The glamour of American products has dimmed as the Chinese become more cosmopolitan.
  • China can get most of its own stuff except for some food and minerals.
  • The U.S. has to buy from someone and China has the stuff at a good price.

Made in U.S., Shunned in China [NYTimes.com/...]

The United States is buying $6 worth of goods from China for every $1 worth of goods it ships to China. With American imports from China climbing at a clip of nearly 30 percent a year, American exports to China would have to nearly triple each year just to keep the deficit from widening further. Many economists say that it is the United States' total trade deficit that is a more disturbing reflection of overall American weakness in trade. But it is the bilateral deficit between China and America that sets off fires on both sides.

East Asia has achieved the dream that a dozen years ago gave rise to the North American Free Trade Agreement: a regional manufacturing center that taps each country for the part it can produce most efficiently.

2005-11-21t00:10:28Z | RE: Faith. Science.
Catholics say Intelligent Design isn't science

At least one major Christian organization is going against Intelligent Design. The Catholics are at least more careful with qualifying their statements.

Intelligent design 'not science' [WashingtonTimes.com/world/20051118-110234-8122r.htm]

The Vatican's chief astronomer said yesterday that "intelligent design" isn't science and doesn't belong in science classrooms, the latest high-ranking Roman Catholic official to enter the evolution debate in the United States. "If you want to teach it in schools, intelligent design should be taught when religion or cultural history is taught, not science," said the Rev. George Coyne, the Jesuit director of the Vatican Observatory. "Intelligent design isn't science even though it pretends to be," the ANSA news agency quoted Father Coyne as saying on the sidelines of a conference in Florence, Italy. Mixing the two, he said, is akin to mixing apples with oranges.

2005-11-21t00:22:12Z | RE: Live Action. Play. Video.
A human skateboard?


Via http://dreamchimney.com/oftheday/index.php?date=11.10.105&otd=3

2005-11-21t17:14:05Z | RE: Politics. U.S.A. (America).
John Murtha != Michael Moore

I find it hard to believe that White House spokesman Scott McClellan mentioned Michael Moore out of the blue. Most likely that was a preplanned talking point to paint Murtha as a extreme polarizer. Sad considering that it isn't even an election year.

Waiting to hear the endgame of Team Bush [ChicagoTribune.com/...]

You know the Bush administration is desperate when it starts playing the Michael Moore card. The Double-M words came up in response to a call by Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.), a decorated Vietnam War veteran and senior House Democrat, for the immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. "The war in Iraq is not going as advertised," Murtha said. "It's a flawed policy wrapped in illusion. The American public is way ahead of the members of Congress." White House spokesman Scott McClellan fired back. He acknowledged that Murtha is "a respected veteran," but called it "baffling" that Murtha is "endorsing the policy positions of Michael Moore and the extreme liberal wing of the Democratic Party."

Murtha is the un-Michael. He voted for the war. He has advised presidents of both parties. He is a longtime friend of military commanders, enlisted personnel and their families. He's a Marine veteran with two Purple Hearts, the Bronze Star with Combat "V" and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry. Calling him a "Michael Moore" is like calling Rambo a girlie man.

Judging by the polls, it is not the Michael Moores out there, but Bush's own base that has been losing faith in his administration's war policy. A USA Today/CNN/Gallup poll released Wednesday, for example, reported 54 percent of Americans want U.S. troops pulled out of Iraq over the next year. Another 60 percent said the war in Iraq was not worth fighting, according to a Washington Post/ABC News poll. And a stunning 57 percent of Americans agreed in a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll that Bush "deliberately misled people to make the case for war with Iraq." That's an impeachable offense, I'm sure Michael Moore would remind us.

Wouldn't it be nice, for a change, if Team Bush showed a concerned public enough respect to skip the smear bombs and hold a serious debate? Maybe this time the administration will answer the criticism of its war policy by reasonably explaining its endgame to a war-weary public, in the way great leaders have in past wars. Or maybe that's just me daydreaming again.

2005-11-21t17:35:48Z | RE: Death. Faith. Flow. Life. Philosophy. Show Biz.
There is No God -Penn

Sometimes people take celebrities more seriously so here is a serious and sincere article by the taller half of Penn and Teller. Well done.

"This I believe: There is No God" by Penn Jillette [NPR.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5015557] [via MetaFilter.com/mefi/46861]

So, anyone with a love for truth outside of herself has to start with no belief in God and then look for evidence of God. She needs to search for some objective evidence of a supernatural power. All the people I write e-mails to often are still stuck at this searching stage. The Atheism part is easy. But, this "This I Believe" thing seems to demand something more personal, some leap of faith that helps one see life's big picture, some rules to live by. So, I'm saying, "This I believe: I believe there is no God."

Believing there's no God means I can't really be forgiven except by kindness and faulty memories. That's good; it makes me want to be more thoughtful. I have to try to treat people right the first time around.

Believing there's no God stops me from being solipsistic. I can read ideas from all different people from all different cultures. Without God, we can agree on reality, and I can keep learning where I'm wrong. We can all keep adjusting, so we can really communicate. I don't travel in circles where people say, "I have faith, I believe this in my heart and nothing you can say or do can shake my faith." That's just a long-winded religious way to say, "shut up," or another two words that the FCC likes less. But all obscenity is less insulting than, "How I was brought up and my imaginary friend means more to me than anything you can ever say or do." So, believing there is no God lets me be proven wrong and that's always fun. It means I'm learning something.

Believing there is no God means the suffering I've seen in my family, and indeed all the suffering in the world, isn't caused by an omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent force that isn't bothered to help or is just testing us, but rather something we all may be able to help others with in the future. No God means the possibility of less suffering in the future.

Believing there is no God gives me more room for belief in family, people, love, truth, beauty, sex, Jell-o and all the other things I can prove and that make this life the best life I will ever have.

2005-11-23t22:19:12Z | RE: Cyber Life. Google. Money. My Creation.
I've placed Google Ads

I just signed up for Google AdSense and I can already feel its influence. Having ads on my pages is like inviting someone into my home, so I'm putting a lot of trust in Google. I'm trusting that they'll match my content but most importantly I'm trusting that they won't interfere with the consumption of my content.

If I were a real ad-whore, I'd put more ads on my pages but as it is I put just one big one on the home page, and most of my other pages have just one little ad in the upper left corner. I was also considering using their "AdSense for Search" (which is basically a way of putting a "monetize" search box on a page) but it doesn't support a "search this directory" feature which I use. I considered modifying my current search box to implement "SafeSearch" but then I figured that each user can set their preference themselves.

Implementing Google AdSense is so easy that it will probably become ubiquitous all over the Web.

2005-11-23t23:18:01Z | RE: Cyber Tech. Economy. Flow. Martial. Open Source.
Non-comuter open-source

Hank Green compares the model train arena with the open source arena in "Open the damn source" [BoulderDirt.com/columns/article.cfm/4992]. Basically there are at least 176,000 model train enthusiasts and many makers. The makers are proprietary/closed source and have no serious incentive to standardize because then they might lose their niche and not make money.

In contrast open source software projects have many enthusiasts, but the makers are libre/open source and love standards. The makers are also enthusiasts and their incentive is a better product for everyone (sound Liberal, eh?). The difference between the model trains and the open source arenas is that the Internet allows the many enthusiasts/makers to cooperate. This can be done on the cheap may not even need donations or advertising.

Dana Blankenhorn goes on to ask "What if other things were open source?" [blogs.zdnet.com/open-source/index.php?p=504&tag=nl.e550]. What other things besides software and websites can be open source? Many non-profit organizations run very close to the concept of "enthusiastic content supported by enthusiasts". There are theaters with gratis/free admission that are run entirely by donations. Political parties run on donations. Sports organizations are supported by enthusiasts and advertising. However, the funding is just secondary, the real primary issue is whether the content is good and whether the content is libre/open source.

Personally I've been thinking about open sourcing the martial arts. It could start with a wiki but then it could move on to multi-style activities. (There should be no "secret moves"). While software and websites can be created virtually, martial arts activities requires the physical presence of people in a physical place.

2005-11-23t23:50:19Z | RE: A14+. Education. Funny. Science. Sex.
A one-handed laptop

There are handfuls of pokes in the both links.

Self-study [Education.Guardian.co.uk/egweekly/story/0,,1647455,00.html] [via MonkeyFilter.com/link.php/10421]

The scientists begin their report by pointing out that "sexual motivation plays a direct or indirect role in wide-ranging social interactions and in considerable economic activity." Pornography alone, they say, takes in more revenues in the United States than the three largest professional sports (football, basketball and baseball) combined. Having established that the topic is of value, Ariely and Loewenstein get right to the action. They explain how they recruited 35 students, offering to pay each a small fee for the effort of masturbating while answering a survey. Each student was given a laptop computer with a keypad "designed to be operated easily using only the non-dominant hand."

2005-11-23t23:53:19Z | RE: Funny. Martial. Quirky.
Low blow with Taser

Appropriate justice indeed.

Police Hit Man in Genitals With Taser [News.Yahoo.com/s/ap/20051122/ap_on_fe_st/naked_taser]

Police accidentally hit a naked man in the genitals with a Taser after he was caught breaking windows and asking women to touch him, authorities said.  

2005-11-26t10:38:38Z | RE: Play.

As if skydiving isn't enough, now you can get skydiving outfits that turn you into a human wing. Many designs, choose your own colors.

[PHOTO: Bird-Man wingsuit in action] Bird-Man.com

Kuosma is president and owner of BirdMan Inc., the world's first and largest purveyor of "wingsuits." Anyone who's logged 200 jumps can buy one of these getups for $618 and experience an entirely new kind of skydiving. According to Kuosma, wingsuiters can slow the downward speed of a free fall from 120 mph to 37 mph and fly horizontally through the clouds. This nearly triples their time in the air before pulling the rip cord. About 2,000 people have experienced the wingsuit since the company was founded in 1999. Only four have died.

2005-11-28t15:45:52Z | RE: Engineering.
Nanotube optics

Not your ordinary fiber optics. A thousand-fold improvement isn't half bad.

Brighter Nanotubes [TechnologyReview.com/NanoTech/wtr_15925,318,p1.html?trk=nl]

Light-emitting carbon nanotubes could find uses in telecommunications, lighting, and high-performance computers.

In the past, light-emitting carbon nanotubes were very inefficient at converting electrons into photons -- so inefficient that finding applications for them seemed a distant possibility. But in recent findings, announced last week in Science, IBM researchers fabricated nanotube devices that were around 1,000 times more efficient than previous ones at emitting light.

2005-11-28t19:08:28Z | RE: Life. Measurements. U.S.A. (America). World.
U.S. and World population clock

I just stumbled upon U.S. and World Population Clocks [Census.gov/main/www/popclock.html] provided by the U.S. Census Bureau. It gives population estimates every five minutes (requires a refresh). It's sort of spooky to quantify people in near real time.

In just five minutes  the U.S. grew by 25 people:

  • 297,761,097 @ 12:44 to
  • 297,761,122 @ 12:49
  • a change of 0.000008%

In just five minutes the World grew by 710 people:

  • 6,481,753,749 @ 12:44 to
  • 6,481,754,459 @ 12:49
  • a change of 0.000011%

2005-11-29t18:13:50Z | RE: Cyber Tech. Geography. Google.
Looking up GIS

I've been exploring mapping software for work —the idea is to plot healthcare data geographically. This post is a summary of my exploration into that area.

This field involves Geographic Information Systems (GIS [W]), which create and manage spatial data and associated attributes. The field is related to the ancient art of cartography or mapmaking, but unlike older static maps, GIS maps are "smart", dynamic, and interactive. GIS really came about in 1967 when Roger Tomlinson, the "father of GIS", made the Canadian GIS which used computers to store, analyze and manipulate data collected for the Canada Land Inventory (CLI).

Like images, GIS information is usually stored either as raster or vector. In raster GIS, a map may consist of "pixels", each of which may represent a block in a city, or a coordinate such as a Global Positioning System (GPS) point, or a longitude, latitude, and elevation point, or a geocode like a U.S. zipcode, or some other unit. In vector GIS, a map consists points, lines, and areas represented by mathematical equations. In either case metadata can be attached to parts of the map. This metadata can be a percentage of Democratic voters or even elevation with rainfall over time (for a 4D map).

In the U.S. a lot of geographic, demographic, etc. info is at the U.S. Census Bureau [census.gov]. There are a lot of free things there for the general public (EG: Census Bureau Map Products [census.gov/geo/www/maps/CP_MapProducts.htm] has lots of free maps and American FactFinder [factfinder.census.gov] presents a lot of data with a consumer-friendly interface). However as far as GIS is concerned the Census Bureau is important because they provide the Topologically Integrated Geographic Encoding and Referencing system (TIGER [census.gov/geo/www/tiger/]), which is the free vector GIS database. TIGER is the official map as far as the government and elections are concerned.

Most GIS software takes in TIGER as well as other maps but the users of GIS need to provide the associated attributes. The associated attributes may be collected by all sorts of means —you may doa Megatransect across Africa (like ecologist J. Michael Fay did for the National Geographic Society), or you may have access to the list of registered voters in Chicago. GIS software brings together maps and associated attributes.

There is a nice list of GIS software [W]. The list is primarily divided into open source (libre) or free (gratis) software, followed by closed source (proprietary) or commercial (priced) software. [Just to be a stickler: There are two axes (libre-proprietary and gratis-priced) so there should be four categories not two.] Here are the most pertinent items on (and off) the list.

  • Geographic Resources Analysis Support System (GRASS) is the biggest of the libre/gratis bunch but it only runs on Windows via Cygwin. Otherwise it seems pretty nice.
  • Environmental Systems Research Institute, Inc. [ESRI.com] is the biggest proprietary GIS maker. I called ESRI (and yes, they say it by spelling it out) and spoke with a friendly person there. The ArcView 9.1 at $1500 best matched the needs of work. The ESRI employee and I both laughed at the demos of the other products because they were for making presentations to Congress, the National Geographic Society, and such, and thus overkill for work. The ArcView comes with all sorts of maps and benchmark associated attributes. There is a 14 hour online course for $175 or there are also in-person classes. System requirements: 512MB (1GB recommended) RAM; 700MB hard disk space.
  • AWhere SIS by MudSprings is only $700 but it seems like it can provide basic GIS capability. System requirements: 128MB (256MB+) RAM; 300MB (10GB recommended) hard disk space.
  • Google Earth [Earth.Google.com] is mentioned in the Wikipedia articles in an off-hand way, and the articles don't even mention Google Maps (aka "Local") [Maps.Google.com] at all. However Google Maps is different from other Web map servers (like Yahoo! Maps or MapQuest) because it exposes an Application Programming Interface (API) that enables users to associate attributes with interactive maps. This is in effect a GIS. However Google Maps is largely "point" oriented and other than using different point markers, you have to click on the markers to get the metadata. [BTW: I've edited Wikipedia with this info] Here are a few sites that use Google Maps as a GIS:
    • GymPost.com. Locates and reviews gyms.
    • MapBuilder.net. Store your own maps and see the maps of others. Folksonomy tags and ranks too.
    • MapSexOffenders.com. Maps sex offenders in the U.S.. Interesting use but I do not promote living in fear.

Final analysis for work:

  • For cheap, fast, and small jobs: Google Maps and MapBuilder.
  • For medium price/quality: AWhere SIS by MudSprings.
  • For high quality and fair price: ArcView by ESRI. I'm all for upgrading my laptop! The 1GB of RAM will also come in handy for other processing too.

2005-11-29t20:29:16Z | RE: Cyber Life. Wikimedia.
Gollum Browser

The Gollum Browser [gollum.easycp.de/en/] is a simplified Web browser that only opens articles from Wikipedia. Links external to Wikipedia are opened in the user's regular browser. Gollum is opened from a regular browser and makes a window that puts the Wikipedia search bar on the toolbar. Gollum was created by Harald Hanek in 2005 using PHP and AJAX.

FYI: I just put it into Wikipedia as Gollum_browser. I was also a good boy and I did the disambiguation on the Gollum page too.

2005-11-29t20:54:37Z | RE: Culture. Engineering. Funny.
Hurt their little ears!

[CARTOON: U.S. Dennis the Menace]I can just see Mr. Wilson from Dennis the Menace [W] paying good money for this, but the way the article is written, it seem that the target for the device is the British Dennis the Menace.
[CARTOON: U.K. Dennis the Menace]

What's the Buzz? Rowdy Teenagers Don't Want to Hear It [NYTimes.com/...] [via Metafilter.com/mefi/47068]

The device, called the Mosquito ("It's small and annoying," Mr. Stapleton said), emits a high-frequency pulsing sound that, he says, can be heard by most people younger than 20 and almost no one older than 30. The sound is designed to so irritate young people that after several minutes, they cannot stand it and go away.

And here's proof that adults are liars:

At first, members of the usual crowd tried to gather as normal, repeatedly going inside the store with their fingers in their ears and "begging me to turn it off," Mr. Gough said. But he held firm and neatly avoided possible aggressive confrontations: "I told them it was to keep birds away because of the bird flu epidemic.

And here's proof that adults are cruel:

Mr. Stapleton, a security consultant whose experience in installing store alarms and the like alerted him to the gravity of the loitering problem, studied other teenage-repellents as part of his research. Some shops, for example, use "zit lamps," which drive teenagers away by casting a blue light onto their spotty skin, accentuating any whiteheads and other blemishes.

2005-11-29t21:31:35Z | RE: Education. Faith. Philosophy. Science.
Five myths of Intelligent Design

This is basic stuff but when you talk with the Intelligent Design (ID) people, it's like talking to a wall.

Fact and Fiction on Evolution [reason.com/cy/cy111505.shtml]

Here's a summary of ID's five favorite myths or pseudo-facts and the counters:

  1. "Evolution is just a theory". True, but that's how science works. You have theories and you test them. However as theories go, evolution has not been disproved and it has predicted many things.
  2. "Opponents of ID are closed minded and afraid of alternative viewpoints". Actually we're more open-minded because we our is open and subject to testing. ID cannot be tested. And yes, we're "afraid" when the supernatural tires to sneak in to schools that are supposed to be secular.
  3. "Science dislikes ID because it challenges the status quo". Science is all about challenging the status quo. Remember spontaneous generation?
    From the time of the ancient Romans, through the Middle Ages, and until the late nineteenth century, it was generally accepted that some life forms arose spontaneously from non-living matter. Such "spontaneous generation" appeared to occur primarily in decaying matter. For example, a seventeenth century recipe for the spontaneous production of mice required placing sweaty underwear and husks of wheat in an open-mouthed jar, then waiting for about 21 days, during which time it was alleged that the sweat from the underwear would penetrate the husks of wheat, changing them into mice. Although such a concept may seem laughable today, it is consistent with the other widely held cultural and religious beliefs of the time.

    -The Slow Death of Spontaneous Generation (1668-1859) [http://www.accessexcellence.org/RC/AB/BC/Spontaneous_Generation.html]

  4. "ID is science based". Oh please. Read the ID literature itself. Their motivation and foundation is faith. Their theories are not open to testing and do not predict.
  5. "Darwinism leads to materialism and atheism". Charles Darwin and many scientists are Christian. Many of the major churches have issued statements that evolution is not contrary to their faith. Why does the natural have to conflict with the supernatural.

2005-11-29t21:52:31Z | RE: Make. Play.
Another game table

Mind you, it's a great and grand gaming table but it's misnamed. To get the "ultimate" title, you wouldn't build it on the cheap.

  • 8' x 4' size table. Nice.
  • ... with a plexiglass dry-erase ready surface. Good idea.
  • Pull out trays. New idea. Nice.
  • ...with cup holders. Awesome idea.
  • Solid base resistant to bumping. Good idea but prove it! I don't buy it from the underside photos. The table would have to be bolted to the floor. And the table top would have to be very solid and probably very thick.

[PHOTO: Game table with games on it]

The table could also incorporate Digital Map Projection [d20srd.org/extras/mapProjection.htm] that I blogged about in 2005-03.

I also like how the room is revved up with speakers, references, and a fridge. No mention of a computer with an Internet connection to settle arguments via checking the Web. Plus shouldn't the walls have big oversized weapons too?

2005-11-29t21:53:18Z | RE: Funny. Images. Make.
You have been warned

A Warning Label Generator [WarningLabelGenerator.com] has so many possible uses!
[LABEL: You've been warned.]

2005-11-29t22:01:13Z | RE: Cyber Life. Wikimedia.
10 Wikipedia hacks

I already know most of these Ten Wikipedia Hacks [micropersuasion.com/2005/11/ten_wikipedia_h.html] but it's nice to have them together in one spot.

2005-11-29t22:11:53Z | RE: Cyber Tech. Open Source.
10 things about Linux installs

Simple enough

10 things you should know about every Linux installation [techrepublic.com.com/5102-10877-5960961.html]

2005-11-29t22:14:42Z | RE: Culture. Flow. Philosophy. Politics.
The right thing is usually pragmatic

Aside from the political slant, the secret is pretty decent.

"The Secret" by Ian Welsh [bopnews.com/archives/005462.html]

I'm going to tell you a little secret that a lot of people give lip service to, but few really believe. The right thing to do morally is usually the right thing to do pragmatically.

And I will tell you this: when you abrogate civil rights, when you get rid of habeas corpus; when you torture and when you lock up citizens without trial; you play exactly into the hands of your enemies. You make into truth their assertions that you are evil, that you are hypocrites, that you are not a force for democracy, or law or justice. You make it easier for them to recruit the next person to kill you. You make it easier for the next person who knows where a terrorist is to say "he's no worse than they are. They've killed and tortured more than he ever did."

2005-11-29t22:21:36Z | RE: Engineering. Make. Math. Play.
Newspaper dome

Geodesic Clubhouse [yesmag.bc.ca/projects/geodesic.html]? Wicked cool! Even if it is made out of newspapers.
[PHOTO:Kid made geodesic dome]

2005-11-29t23:09:26Z | RE: Faith. Science.
The IDs say that ID = Creationism

It couldn't be any clearer: The leader of the Intelligent Design movement explicitly state that "Creationism" and "Intelligent Design" are the same thing.

Of Pandas and People: Creation Relabeled [pandasthumb.org/archives/2005/09/of_pandas_and_p.html]

[I'm sure they won't mind if I just copy the whole post here:]

One of the items available via the new NCSE resource on Kitzmiller v. DASD is the court transcript of testimony in the FTE motion to intervene. There is a telling interchange between the Foundation for Thought and Ethics President Jon A. Buell and Pepper Hamilton lawyer Eric Rothschild, showing precisely the relationship between “intelligent design” and “creation”: it’s the very same thing, defined in exactly the same way.
In the following section taken from the court transcript, “Q” indicates Eric Rothschild and “A” indicates Jon A. Buell. The book is Of Pandas and People, the supplemental textbook published by FTE.

Q Actually in this version of the book it describes who creationists are, doesn’t it, if you look at pages 22 and 23 and 24. It says there’s different types of creationist’s literature. There are older [old earth] creationists, younger [young earth] creationists, agnostic creationists, right?

A Yes. We were trying to give some articulation to the breadth of what that term means.

Q And then if you could turn back to page 22, you explain that “Creation is the theory that various forms of life began abruptly, with their distinctive features already intact: Fish with fins and scales, birds with feathers and wings, mammals with fur and mammary glands.” That’s how you defined creation, correct?

A Yes.

Q All right. And I would like to take — you to take a look at an excerpt from Pandas and People. Turn to page 99 in the excerpt I gave you.

A All right.

Q Says, “Intelligent design means that various forms of life began abruptly through an intelligent agency, with their distinctive features already intact: Fish with fins and scales, birds with feathers, beaks and wings, et cetera.”

Do you see that?

A I see it.

Q So that’s pretty much the exact same sentence substituting creation for intelligent design, isn’t that right?

A The reason that you find the similarity in the two passages is because this obviously was at a time when we were developing the manuscript. We had not chosen the term “intelligent design” at that point. We were trying to — this was just a place holder term until we came to grips with which of the plausible two or three terms that are in scientific literature we would settle on. And that was the last thing we did before the book was revise — I mean was sent to the publisher.

Q It was creation, creation, creation until the end and then it was intelligent design.

(Court transcript, pp.97-99)

2005-11-29t23:10:10Z | RE: Cyber Life. Make. Microsoft.
Cheesey Windows keybaord launching

Ha ha! Cheesy and cheap but it works! It's not faster than my single-click access, but whatever floats your boat.

Cheap Windows keyword launcher [lifehacker.com/software/productivity/cheap-windows-keyword-launcher-039890.php]

First, create a folder with Windows shortcuts to programs or files you use often and name them something you’ll remember. (For example, I renamed a Thunderbird shortcut “email.”) Then, add your new shortcuts folder to your Windows path. (To do this, in Control Panel double-click System. In the Advanced tab, click on Environment Variables. Under System Variables, choose PATH and Edit. Add the folder you added your shortcuts to the end of the path, with a semicolon following it, ie, c:\myshortcuts\;).

Then, to launch, say, Thunderbird, hit the Windows-R key, and type email. After the first time you use a keyword shortcut, the Run box will auto-complete for you, so just typing “e” will suggest “email” as one of the choices. Works for files, too. Super-neat and cheap way to drive Windows for keyboard aficionados.

2005-11-29t23:15:56Z | RE: Flow. Food. Life.
I am eating Krispy Kreme RIGHT NOW

I am eating a small box of Krispy Kreme doughnuts right now. I just discovered their suggestion of heating a doughnut for 8 seconds. It's like having the "HOT DOUGHNUTS NOW" sign lit. These are "doughnuts" not "donuts". My fingers are sticky but I am in heaven.
[PHOTO: One Krispy Kreme Original Glazed Doughnut] [PHOTO: One Krispy Kreme Original Glazed Doughnut] [PHOTO: One Krispy Kreme Original Glazed Doughnut] [PHOTO: One Krispy Kreme Original Glazed Doughnut] [PHOTO: One Krispy Kreme Original Glazed Doughnut] [PHOTO: One Krispy Kreme Original Glazed Doughnut]

2005-11-30t17:27:02Z | RE: Cyber Life. Cyber Tech. Open Source. Wikimedia.
Mozilla Firefox 1.5 is here

I was going to wait until the after they put out 1.5.1 but I can't resist. After all Mozilla Firefox 1.5 is their first major update in a year.

  • Download. I thought they might have download problems but the install downloaded in a snap. Nice.
  • Extensions. All my extensions transferred over... except for the Wikipedia extension! This is forgivable. Am I imagining it or does Sage look better?
  • Integrated Search (usually in the top right)
    • The new defaults search engines are now (in order): Google, Yahoo, Amazon, Answers, Creative Commons, and eBay. Why no Wikipedia?!? I went to add Wikipedia and all I get was a blank spot that didn't work. I had to dig around until I found http://mycroft.mozdev.org/quick/wikipedia.html which had many variations of Wikipedia searches for Integrated Search. There is one called "Wikipedia with Google" that is works but it searches non-English versions of Wikpedia too. None of the other English Wikipedia search engines seem to work properly.
    • Dictionary.com isn't available at tier 1, but TheFreeDictionary.com is.
    • The A9.com search engine by Amazon is awesome. Simultaneously search and display results from Google, Google Images, IceRocket Blog Search, and Wikipedia.
    • If I hover over the available search engines, all I get is a tool tip that says "Search Creative Commons". Apparently the bug is that the tool tip depends on what engine you used last.
    • Why is there still not a way to manage the available search engines in Integrated Search? You still can't delete engines and you still can't reorder the engines.
  • Location Bar Search. Just type in at the Location Bar, hit Enter, and it spits back the result from Google's "I'm Feeling Lucky" search. Nice.
  • zMisc
    • Option to "Force links that open new window to open in: the same tab/window as the link OR a new tab". Nice.
    • Some sites seem faster. Is it really because of their tweaks for AJAX?

Overall, it's a fine upgrade but the lack of a Wikipedia as a default in Integrated Search is nasty because that's something I use all the time.

2005-11-30t18:29:01Z | RE: Cyber Tech. Images. Programming.
315 degree CSS shadows

Ah the quest for bordering-and-shadowing an image via CSS.

My contribution to the CSS shadow kerfuffle [theshapeofdays.com/2005/11/my_contribution.html]

There are some techniques out there for doing shadows entirely with CSS, but they’re not really suitable for my purposes. See, all the techniques I know about rely on what we call a 315° shadow. That is, the notional light source is 45° counter-clockwise of vertical, which means the shadow appears below and to the ri3ght of the element that’s casting it. The only problem is, I don’t know anybody who’s really thought about it who thinks that kind of shadow looks good. The shadows I use on this site are 0° shadows, meaning they appear below and on both side of the object casting them, as if the notional light source were right above your screen. Existing CSS shadow techniques are totally unsuitable for creating shadows like those. So I went to work concocting my own.

2005-11-30t18:29:36Z | RE: Cyber Tech. Images.
Web image magnifier

I like his variation of "Where's Waldo".

JavaScript / CSS / DOM image magnifier [valid.tjp.hu/zoom/index_en.html]

2005-11-30t18:33:54Z | RE: Cyber Tech. Programming.
Top 10 custom JS functions

Programming sweetness.

If there was ever a universal common.js shared among the entire develosphere, you’d fine these ten (plus one bonus) functions. It would be the swiss army knife no developer would go into production without. They have no doubt been tested tried and true and have proven usefulness and helpfulness to all those who’ve used them. So without further ado, here are what I believe to the top ten greatest custom JavaScript functions in use today.

2005-11-30t19:09:23Z | RE: Cyber Tech. Design.
Designing mass emails

Email Design Guidelines for 2006 [campaignmonitor.com/blog/archives/2005/11/html_email_desi.html]

  1. Never use images for important content like headlines, links and any calls to action.
  2. Use alt text for all images for a better experience in Gmail and always add the height and width to the image to ensure that the blank placeholder image doesn't throw your design out.
  3. Add a text-based link to a web version of your design at the top of your email.
  4. Ensure your most compelling content is at the top (and preferably to the left).
  5. Test your design in a preview pane, full screen and with images turned on and off before you send it.
  6. Ask your subscriber to add your From address to their address book at every opportunity.

2005-11-30t19:10:37Z | RE: Cyber Life.
Free anonymous file hosting

A gigabyte isn't as big as it used to be.

A Big Collection of Free File Hosting [copylog.blogspot.com/2005/11/big-collection-of-free-file-hosting.html]

Collection of 50+ free file hosting from 10MB to 2GB that do not require registration, with detailed of file size limit, download limit and file life. Keep it for future reference.

2005-11-30t21:18:27Z | RE: Cyber Life. Firefox. Wikimedia.
Cleaning up Firefox Integrated Search

I did a quick search on how to remove search engines from Mozilla Firefox's Integrated Search.

Apparently you can remove the default search engines by looking in someplace like C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\searchplugins, and then removing the desired *.src and image file. However the links don't tell you that in order to remove the search engines that  you've added on, you have to go someplace like C:\Documents and Settings\Administrator\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\o9f8ined.default\searchplugins, and then remove the desired *.src and image file. Both methods need a restart of Firefox.

I cleaned up the bad installs and retried installing the tier 1 Wikipedia again. Now all of those ducks are lined up.

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