30 December, 2005

More from RIAA

Sorry for the abundance of RIAA releated news today - but these guys are just so damn slick.


From ArsTechnica the story of RIAA coercing a 15 year old girl to perjury.


Damn, it just doesn't get better than that now does it?

No Coldplay for me

I really wish this site[itch.in] was a joke, but I seriously doubt that it is. If Coldplya/Virgin don't want me to listen to music on my iPod or computer (also note the reference to "Macintosh PC" - idiots) then they can go fuck themselves, I won't buy it, even if I might like it. I won't even buy it off of iTunes just becuase of this dumb stunt. Unless Coldplay recants.


Until the recording industry understands market pricing, fair use and most of all quality music they will continue to lose money. It is just a matter of time until a big name act cuts the labels out entirely and self publishes - digitally. The labels need to adapt or they will find themselves obsolete.

Score one for the little guy

The little guy is standing up against the RIAA with the help of some compassionate lawyers[recording...spot.com] (that is not an oxymoron) who are helping out the EFF[eff.org].


The goal here appears to knock out any legal basis for the RIAA's "John Doe" lawsuits. The RIAA is using 3 footings for the suits and the goal of the current effort is to deny all three, leaving the RIAA with little legal grounds to continue the current line of suits. I'm sure they will find some other way to bring these anonymous suits, but at least it will take them a while if this effort succeeds.


Also reported here[slashdot.org] with some good discussion.

28 December, 2005

Wasting Time

OK - amazing facts to brighten your day. Third nipple anyone?


And if you are a _true_ major geek

Summary of RIAA

Here is a great summary of the RIAA's efforts this year. It's a lot more funny when you put it all in one place.

27 December, 2005

Lana Turner


To follow up on the puppy post from a couple weeks back, the baby pug is now here and her new name is Lana Turner. She just came home yesterday and rumor has it that Ben and I get to see her before Sunday. At least, that's what Patrick (in the picture) says-- if it's not true, I will beat him silly with "Focus on the Family" journal.

Kisses, anyone?

26 December, 2005

Random fun links

Here you go, fun stuff for today:


Uncle Goddamn - fun videos!


Disinformation - crazy fun interesting stuff


Enjoy

25 December, 2005

Wikipedia!

If you use Wikipedia (you do don't you?), please consider making a small donation to keep Wikipedia going strong. Even $5 makes a difference (it's like recycling, every little bit counts), and it's tax deductable.


If you need some extra reasons:


  • Wikipedia is incredibly expansive, almost 900,000 articles in English, and hundred of thousands of articles in other languages (if you are fluent in other languages consider adding content!)

  • Wikipedia is quite accurate, incredibly close to Britannica, but error can be easily correct in moments rather than years.

  • Wikipedia is a great jumping off point - links to external references let you explore sources and opinions and learn on your own.



If you love usingn Wikipedia like I do, think about making a small donation, if you haven't used Wikipedia, think about using it. And if you know a lot about something, consider adding articles or editing existing ones for accuracy.

24 December, 2005

Grassroots effort

This kind of grassroots effort is really cool. If you have a spare copy of Orwell's 1984 send it to your congress critter!

23 December, 2005

Mars is saved!

Oh how I wish this Pat Robertson story was true.

21 December, 2005

Did you know?

That there is a cable channel devoted to golf? Yep - the golf channel! How can this be? I mean golf is boring to do, but people will watch it? Let me say that again - "people watch golf?"


This blows my mind

20 December, 2005

More ranting

OK - you're stuck with more ranting. Get used to it.


I'm sick of union strikes. Absolutely tired it. The first big one to affect me, was the Northwest Airlines strike. Thankfully, the airline had a great contingency plan, and there was almost no disruption on service. But damn it - what a pain in the ass. These guys are fighting for better benefits than I am thankful to get. Join reality people - business are cutting back on benefits, deal with it. The rest of us have to. If you don't want your job, there are plenty of people who are happy to do it. They aren't whiney bastards.


There was a time when unions when unions where needed, when government regulation was not strong enough and management (owners of capital) was taking advantage of the workers. This is no longer the case. The market is now keeping management honest. Guess what union members - you're doing a hell of a lot better than everyone else. Not by a little, but by a lot. So damn it, I want to ride the subway in New York - most of you operating those trains are doing better than I am, and don't work 12 hours a day, travelling every week and busting ass - you're making more money, and have better benefits, so forgive me when I say "Fuck OFF" and get back to work.


If you think you are not making enough money then do what the rest of us do - go to school, bust your ass and get a new job. Stop bitching because you're not a millionare - get going and do something. Don't expect to get paid more for doing the same damn thing. If you worked in corporate America you would be thrilled to get a 2% raise for being a top rated employee. You can start bitching when you're treated wose than Wal-Mart employees (those are some folks who should start a union).

"Intelligent Design"

Slashdot has a great conversation on "Intelligent Design"


If you don't know, Intelligent Design (ID) has been pushed by conservatives as the answer to the theory of evolution, and there has been an effort to get the ID ideas in to the school system, not as mythology, theology or philosophy, but as science. This is of course absurd, and some courts have held the line.


The theory of evolution describes what we see around us. It does not require a god, nor does it eliminate the possibility of such. It is a scientific theory describing what happens in the work arround us. There is nothing for or against religion about it. There is nothing about it that Christians, Muslims, Hindus or Bhuddists should argue about - it describes a mechanism. If theologians want to argue about the origin of the mechanism, fine - but that should not be in science class. Yet ID proponents attempt to inject religion in to science - to marry the mechanism to the impetus.


You'll remember that Pat Robertson, in his great Christian love for everyone, infinite wisdom, and mandate from "God," has announced that entire towns are condemned because they refuse to recognize that ID is "right." Great Pat - show your ignorance and overall stupidity. Why not run for president?

19 December, 2005

Disinformation

Very interesting, the Disinformation guys had a show on BBC 4 that made it to the US on DVD


I've seen only a part of this DVD, but it is awesome. It pushes the limits - it could never be on TV in the US - made me a little uncomfortable (chicks with dicks are not my thing) - but acheives the goal, to make us think, "is this true?" (government brainwashing, covered up UFOs, actually funny shit)


The book is a great read, very in depth and thorough, not light hearted beach reading (for most people). But sometimes you feel like reading, sometimes you feel like watching, and neither is better. The initial book spawned others (link only has some of these are from the same publisher, but they are obvious).


While not everything Disinformation publishes is true (I'm not sure the publishler believes all of it to be true) it makes you think, and that is the point. Think about it. The media is feeding us what they want us to hear - sometimes this is OK, but we need to pay attention to what is on the fringes too - to get the whole story.


Please note that I do not have an affiliate agreement with Amazon, and I will get nothing from them. Disinformation is just cool.

Columbia, SC

I'm in Columbia, SC this week, which in the mid 50's has at least better
weather than MSP.

But, so far I'm surprised. It is a nice little town. There are a ton of
restaurants in the 'historic downtown' area, and I chose the one connected
(sort of) to my hotel - The Liberty Tap Room and Grill. I have to admit,
damn good. After my delectible lunch of McDonalds I wasn't starving, but
the nachos were fantastic, and the micro brew makes that LA place look like
crap - rich and flavorful.

Since I've given up burgers, and most anything that walks (though bacon is
a fruit), my new standards are nachos and pizza. I will from now on not be
the authority on burgers across the land, but the authority on nachos and
pizza across the land. I am also no longer a knight who says 'nee' but a
knight who says 'ichy ...' ah you get it.

Presidential Library Destroyed

Crawford, Texas -- A tragic flood this morning destroyed the personal library of President George W. Bush. The flood began in the presidential bathroom where the books were kept. Both of his books have been lost. A presidential spokesman said the president was devastated, as he had almost finished coloring the second one.

The White House tried to call FEMA but there was no answer.

18 December, 2005

That's right, more rant

Again with the CNN articles. If anyone has managed to not read this article (and the NY Times article that started it all), it is Bush admitting he authorized wire taps on US citizens, and that he will continue to authorize such internal spying, all in the name of security. He stops short of admitting these are illegal, but media sources and member of the House and Senate seem to agree that this activity is either illegal or damn close to it.


Making matters worse, there are already provisions allowing such internal spying, but only with approval and oversight. What Bush has done is an end run around the rules put in place to protect civil liberties and government transparency. If wiretaps were needed to protect national security, they could have easily been put in place - as long as there was reasonable justification for it.


The question is - what will be done about it? Congress (thankfully) rejected extensions to portions of the PATRIOT act, at least in part because Bush has shown the government has not been very responsible with expanded power. I get a sick sense that the Bush administration is pushing the boundries, trying to see just how much they can get away with before the people (through Congress and the media) push back. What's next? We find out about a presidential order abandoning term limits if a new president would pose a threat to national security? A presidential order declaring Haliburton the preferred government provider for everything?


Bush is giving the Republican party a bad image. Hopefully it is just a matter of time before the rest of the party realized that he has sold them out and we can have an old fashioned impeachment (this time without the ugly intern).


Cheers to the New York Times for publishing the article - better late than never.

Rant mode ON

Today is rant day. Sorry, that's just the way it is.


CNN is running an article on the American Family Association's (here on referred to as AF ASS) plan to boycott Ford and Ford brands for, of all things, running advertising in publications targeted toward a homosexual audience. Apparently they want "driving while gay" to become a crime on par with "driving while intoxicated" although based on the (lack of) information on their website drunk driving is really just fine. Personally, I boycott Ford myself, but that is just because I don't like their cars. In my opinion, the best reason not to buy a company's product is simply not liking the product.


So, here is an organization that is whole heartedly against the "Homosexual Agenda" - but never really explains what this agenda is. I don't think they know. Can anyone tell me what this "radical homosexual agenda" is? Anyone? Bueller? Is there something especially radical about a person saying "this is who I am"?


They devote a huge amount of energy to condemming gay marriage with the reasoning that it threatens the sanctity of marriage - but they can't seem to come up with any causal relationship. It appears that they feel allowing homosexual people to get married legitimizes what they see as a "sinful" lifestyle. I can't find an article on their site describing how marital infidelity threatens marriage, or divorce, or abuse - but hey, I guess those things don't threaten good ol' family values as much as two guys making a comittment to each other.


There's more, in this article we find out that Fox News' Bill O'Reily is actually too liberal for these people, that the media bias is just too strong. The only radical agenda I can find here is that of the AF ASS.


Looking around on their site, it turns out they are against things like Channel One - the high advertising, low content program for Junior High and High Schools - but are all for having "In God We Trust" posters in every classroom in the country. Now here's the thing that is bothersome, these people do not apply the same set of rules to themselves as they do to others. The key is that they belive their radical agenda is right, and everyone else is wrong. So, it is not OK to advertise Mountian Dew in school, but it is OK to advertise their particular ideal of the Judeo-Christian deity/faith.


My suggestion is to support every every company the AF ASS wants to boycott. They claim over 3 million members, and this blog can claim maybe three readers, but so what. If Ford, Kraft, 7-11, Disney and many others are pissing these people off, then those are the companies I support. Groups like the AF ASS will not be happy until everyone is just like them, and that is just tooo boring to imagine.

17 December, 2005

Josefine

When I was leaving for the US back in 97, my mom said that there's a very good chance I will never see my dog, Josefine (or Jaffy), again. I thought that was silly, my dog was young and strong and I was going to college and would definitely come back to visit.

We got Jaffy when she was just 32 days old—I went to US when she was 3. Since then, she became the glue that held my parents together, a substitute for a child in the house. Jaffy’s gone through a lot over the years: a lost eye and a brain swelling, two surgeries to remove cancerous tumors in her intestines and ovaries, another two surgeries to untwist her stomach that spontaneously got out of shape, a stopped heart and a few moments of a clinical death. Strict diet and experimental cancer drugs kept her going alive and well—at age 11 only graying muzzle gave away Jaffy’s age. Nevertheless, she was getting old and there was blood in her stomach again, so my parents were paralyzed with fear that at some point they would have to make a decision to put her to sleep.

She spared them the trouble. Jaffy passed away yesterday at about 6 PM after a coming back from a walk and walking up the stairs to the second floor apartment all by herself. There were few warning signs and it didn’t take her long to leave. My mom was there and remained amazingly strong and calm by taking care of logistics while waiting to cry till the next day.

In a couple of weeks Jaffy would have turned twelve. She was a good dog and the most loyal friend our family could ask for. I love you Jaffy

16 December, 2005

Puppy!


Please meet a new puppy! Patrick's boyfriend Nick just got this little precious thing. Her name (for now) is Sosha and she was born on October 30th. Listen up Patrick: as soon as she moves in with Nick, we expect an invitation for dinner and/or pug-sitting!

15 December, 2005

More Extensions!

From our friends at Google is another great extension for FireFox that should help a lot of web users (though admittedly, not the users already using FireFox).

Basically, this extension will warn a user if it appears the site being visited may be phishing. I haven't tried this extension, since I can spot a phishing attack, but also know that companies never send email asking for username/password. But, this could be a great extension for the 90% of people who are not major geeks and don't work in ID theft prevention. If you have friends/family/pets who are not huge geeks but do use this 'Intarweb' thing, encourage them to use FireFox (that blue "E" != the web) and load this extension for them.

As usual, remember that your bank/eBay/Amazon/PayPal will never send an email asking for your user name and password. If you do get an offer from a company you do business with and are interested in, use the site you have bookmarked, or type the site address in to the browser. Legitimate offers will include a promotional code and description of how to sign up for an offer from the companies web page - there is no need to use the link in the email.

13 December, 2005

That's what I've been trying to say

Slashdot is reporting that chimps are smarter than human children. This is no surprise, although they did not mention specifically American children. The NY Times (sacrifice of first born required, or use BugMeNot) has a more in depth article, but still suggest that human children are essentially less intelligent than monkeys (duh) or much, much more intelligent (unlikely).

If you've ever seen a kid at the store _not_ getting a candy bar/toy/blow job from its mother and pitching a shit-fit how can you not be reminded of the proverbial crap flinging monkey?

I'll readily admit a pretty severe bias on my part, since I just hate children in general, but I find it pretty easy to image that adult chimps are smarter than human children. One may also note that canine puppies seem to learn faster than human children.

PS - I'm sure that your children are above average, and completely indistinguishable from chimps/angels/shrimp. But, to be on the safe side, give him/her a pile of crap and see if it gets thrown at you.

Another Day in LA

So today was a bit of an early day "at the office" so after a little working I headed out for some dinner (no food _all_ day). But, I needed some cancer sticks, so a quick reference to the hotel provided map showing 3 convenience stores within about 3 blocks.

So I was warned that going too far in any direction would put me places I didn't want to be, but I headed out knowing I wasn't going to "the wrong side of the tracks." Well, the first corner store seemed non-existant, turn around, head to the other one. 3 blocks through a tunnel (not on the map) so a block with signs only in Spanish, and people yelling in Spanish as I walk by. Here's a strange thing about downtown LA - there are hills, open air skyways, and strange tunnels and ramps all over. So, if you think you are just going down 3 blocks, oh no. You need to figure out how to get up to the "skyway" level somehow, go half way around the block and figure out how to get down.

How does it all end? After about 4 miles of walking (uphill) I managed to get to the Bonaventure Brewing Company for dinner. Next time you're in LA you can skip this one. I tried the stout and the IPA - neither was great. The seared Ahi tuna sandwich was fine, but such a mess it was almost impossible to eat. Imagine a 2 inch thick raw tuna steak on ciabatta bread with a mess of alioli and red onion on it.

So, here's LA.

What would you thinK?

if upon moving to a vacant cube at work you found "HOT SEX-- 1000 erotic tips for men and women" book left in a drawer? After the initial shock and a giggle, an obvious question creeps into your mind: What were they thinking? Did that person really think that it would be cute and funny and morale building to leave something like that as a parting gift for future generations of corporate slaves? Or did they keep the treasure in their desk for personal use and read it casually in the lunchroom covered by a bland-looking Newsweek? The same lunchroom where the BIG BOSS would throw away an issue of Cosmopolitan left for community reading because of its provocative headlines? Evem worse, is that the reason they would spend way too much time in the office bathroom?

Or maybe the book owner was ashamed to bring this masterpiece home so they decided that hiding it in a corporate environment was a safer choice? Really? Have you heard of a desk audit or “he’s out today so I am just going to see if I can find that TPR report in his desk” scenario?

While I am all for improving this nation's intimate life and fully support the idea that informed sex is better sex, nothing disturbs me more and makes me want to go wash my hands, or better yet, take a disinfectant shower than an idea of a co-worker studying "Tip #78-- G-spot: Myth or Reality?" during business hours in a cubicle next to me!

P.S. For those of you who have/had the joy of working in the same office with me, the initials of the former co-worker in question is ML. I can see Genya running for that disinfectant shower right now!

Gina's Beer website!

After months of being best friends with Photoshop and Dreamweaver, I present you Gina's class project website!
You will have to have the latest Flash plug-in to view it as all animation was done in Flash 8. If you haven't designed a web page before, feel free to stop reading the post right about here, go explore the beer site and leave a comment on how you liked it.
However, if your geekiness factor is above average, maybe you can help me with a thing or two. First of all, despite my best efforts this site works best with IE. Why? Because we wanted to embed .WMV files and those don't really render well anywhere else. The videos will only play in Firefox if you have installed ActiveX extenstion (but why would you? Better security is one of the reasons you have installed this browser in the first place!)
Even if you do have the extension in FF, the videos are still not displayed properly-- they start playing right away despite the fact that I set the AutoPlay to False. Why is this happening? The short answer is that because we used EMBED tag that only works well in IE. I tried adding an OBJECT tag for the Firefox but for some reason the code wouldn't support local links for the videos, only URLs. So, the player would show up with status "Ready" but nothing will play. Hmmm, I have spent too many hours on this riddle already and I will not stop until I figure it out!
One more quirk you can notice: in IE the frames have a very thin line around them even though I set border and frameborder to 0. Works fine in Firefox and Safari.
Ok, so what's the lesson here? HTML is easy and can be very fun but it would be really nice if everyone can argee to some standartization of tags and move away from proprietary code (I am talking about you, Microsoft!) Grr!

12 December, 2005

OK, seriously

I'm sitting in a hotel room in LA, flipping channels and reading /. - and I come across some show where they thow a nanny at an out-of-control family. I'm sickly intrigued by the Americana of it. So, I watch the opening 3 minutes - these people have six out of control children and "are open to having more."

OK, TV family listen up - STOP FUCKING!

OK, that was harsh. STOP FUCKING WITHOUT CONTRACEPTION!

That's better. Making it all good, the "dad's" escape? - church choir. Ahhhhh, I knew the Christian church had something to offer - escape! If the guy played softball or went to the bar he'd be bad, but he escapes to church, so it's OK. I almost want to watch the show to see what the "nannies" come up with, but I don't want to throw up.


Multiple posts in one day......this is not good.

Use FireFox

Here is a great Wired article on good Firefox extensions. I've used enough extensions that were just a waste of screen real estate, did useful things - but were rarely needed, and seen a number that seemed just plain silly. But these are most really good. If you're still using IE, well, I'm sorry. FireFox all by itself is breath of fresh air compared to IE - and these three:


BugMeNot makes BugMeNot seamless

Tab Mix Plus makes tabbed browsing even more useful

Tab X gives FireFox tabs "X" buttons like Safari (great with Tab Mix Plus)


are really some of the best extensions I've seen. Read the Wired article (don't worry it's short) to get an idea of what these do.

How different

I didn't think LA is that far south, but the sun goes down almost half hour
later than in MSP. Who thought?

Also, seems really weird that exactly one week ago Gina and I were in Palm
Beach, the other side of the country. Not quite as warm here, but a hell of
a lot better than MSP. Ah well, as long as I can see palm trees and no snow
I'm happy.

Comin' in to Los Angeles

Bringin' in a couple of keys...

Not really. I'm glad for the 65 degree weather, but it looks like LA is
what they say it is- huge and full of smog. Like a brownish mist hanging
out on the skyline.

11 December, 2005

Wasting time

I know I'm going to hell anyway, so here is a game where you can drive a short bus and run over kids!

09 December, 2005

Back from Sunny Florida

Here they are, a little belated, but some pictures from Palm Beach, FL.

Next stops: LA, CA; Dallas, TX; NYC, NY





Buy Blue!

Recently this blog has been one big redirection link to other people's site. This time is no different and there's a reason for that. Our lives are rather uneventful in the middle of Minnesota deep freeze-- just back from Florida, I am already counting days till I leave this state again. For me, the next trip will be to New York City on the 6th of January for a weekend with the main purpose of attending Russia! the exibition at Guggenheim That's right-- this thing is so Russian that yours truly has to fly cross-country to see it!

Ben-pumpkins is a bit "luckier"-- he has a couple business trips planned before the end of the year. The good news is that he will be in places much warmer than this; the bad news is that I will be all by myself in a cold empty apartment (hey, any of you good people want to have me over and cook me dinner? Lemmie know!)

And now to the main attraction: as I was reading my favorite Opinion Columnist Mark Morford (this guy somehow managed to have more hatred towards Republicans, SUVs, and fat people than Andrew and me combined, wow!) I have come to this site. Here you can see where the monetary contributions of a lot of corporations go. Just when I got all proud that Wells Fargo supports gay organizations in spite of losing clients, Mark lovingly pointed out that the stagecoach is still overwhelmingly red (why should anyone be surprised?). But please take time and browse other listings! Note, for example, that while Google Inc. is giving mostly to Dems, Yahoo! is a Republican-backer. Interesting, huh? Now remember that and go put your dollars where your heart is!

07 December, 2005

SUV drivers: obese and conservative

I really don't care how scientific this data is or the fact that the survey comes from Australia, but here we go people. What I long suspected was true is now confirmed in printed word: people driving large SUVs and trucks are fat, lazy with no regard for others. Wait, hey did we really need a study to confirm that?

In completely unrelated news, Ben and I have faced about 80 degrees difference in temperatures yesterday upon flying back to Minnesota. Our apartment was at balmy 50 degrees. Can someone please remind me why I live here?

02 December, 2005

Here we go again!

Gina and I have been forced to travel to West Palm Beach, FL this weekend. We were absolutely against going anywhere with 75+ F weather, but we had to go.

Hopefully we'll have some sunny pictures, and no hurricanes!

01 December, 2005

You know you've made it....

....in buisness when you can sit on a plane for five and a half hours, travel only 550 miles, and feel like that is a normal part of your life and work.

Oops - it looks like I mispelled "lost it"