Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Left Behind - the videogame

Ironically, this is the real sign that we are in End Times.


Sunday, May 28, 2006

Tired of getting the SF Examiner?

You never signed up for it, yet there it is every morning in front of your house. It's bankrolled by a right-wing douche, and when was the last time you got your news offline anyway? Email them, and tell them to stop cluttering up your front yard.

Link to bulletin board discussion

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Have a taco truck cater your next party

Chowhounders discuss this amazing why-have-I-never-thought-of-this idea.

What the Enron verdict means

Let's hope that chief executives everywhere feel uneasy on their thrones. Because the ramifications of this verdict are profound. More than any other corporation, Enron symbolized a culture of greed and arrogance that made mockery of the values of a civilized society. From its "rank-and-yank" treatment of workers to its scorn for government regulation to its elevation of the scruple-free, gunslinging trader into highflying culture hero, Enron declared with every step: We know best; we are the state of the art of modern capitalism. Follow us to the future, or suck on our exhaust.

And at its height, the company was lauded for its balls-out braggadocio. The business press fawned over it: Fortune magazine named it "most innovative corporation" in America six years in a row. Lay hobnobbed with presidents and was considered on the shortlist for energy secretary. Skilling was the Harvard-educated, McKinsey-trained "genius" who created brand-new markets with the wave of a hand. Enron was endlessly innovative, endlessly creative, endlessly profitable. Enron was what all companies aspired to be, if only those darned governments would get out of the way and let them run free.

Except now we know, Enron was run by incompetent crooks. Enron lost billions of dollars. Enron didn't know best, Enron, in truth, was pathetically managed. Enron was the worst that America can be.


Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Angry journalist tears into Rumsfeld's aide

you say i blame your boss for things 3 or 4 levels below him that he can't possibly be controlling and quote accusations from present and former flag officers who he has never eyeballed personally. well the above items are things that he directly controls, or should; things he came into office vowing he was going to fix or change drastically. and in the latest QDR, his last, he made none of the hard choices about wasted money on high dollar weapons systems that make no sense in the real world today….this is what has my attention; this is what has me in a mood to question over and over and over, waiting for answers that never come, change that never comes, course corrections that never come. you wanted some specifics. there are some specifics...

your boss is fond of saying that this or that thing is "unknowable." the most unknowable thing of all is who your enemy is going to be next time and where you are going to need allies and bases from which to attack or defend.

all i can say is what the hell are you doing questioning my columns when you ought to be in there at the elbow of your boss reading those columns aloud to him every wednesday afternoon and urging him to pay attention to them. best wishes, Joe.


Monday, May 22, 2006

Pass the Bread

Bill Moyers tries to eke out a little optimism in his graduation speech to Hamilton College.


Thursday, May 18, 2006

Tom Friedman's "6 month" problem

Friedman's appeal seems to rest on his ability to discuss complex issues in the simplest possible terms. On a recent episode of MSNBC's Hardball (5/11/06), for example, Friedman boiled down the intricacies of the Iraq situation into a make-or-break deadline: "Well, I think that we're going to find out, Chris, in the next year to six months—probably sooner—whether a decent outcome is possible there, and I think we're going to have to just let this play out."

That confident prediction would seem a lot more insightful, however, if Friedman hadn't been making essentially the same forecast almost since the beginning of the Iraq War. A review of Friedman's punditry reveals a long series of similar do-or-die dates that never seem to get any closer.


Unintentionally hilarious pro-CO2 commercials

"They call it pollution, we call it life."


Wednesday, May 17, 2006

But what about the ADVERTISERS?

Cry me a river.
It's a terrifying statistic for advertisers and networks because, "The thing that scares us most is that they say, 'When we get TiVo, we're going to skip commercials,'" said Kristi Argyilan, executive vice president of channel insight at Arnold, a Boston ad agency. And Pam McNeely, group media director at Dailey & Associates Advertising (IPG ), figures the number of installed DVRs could go to 40 percent by the end of 2007. "You tell that to clients," she says, "and they say, 'Oh, my God! I'm cutting TV spending.'"


President authorizes telco lying

What's next, is Bush going to call "I'm rubber and you're glue?" Is he seriously going to be able to signing-statement his way out of any legal culpability?


Anyone want a fun open-source project to work on?

The company I work for, Simple Devices, has decided to open-source their PC software, which has all sorts of cool features, including media management, browsing, playback, syncing (including over the internet, through the use of proxy servers), streaming, and a sweet "10-foot" user interface, for people who wish to use their PCs as home media centers. The source has not been released yet, but they are in the process of working out the details, and are encouraging people to get involved.


Monday, May 15, 2006

Kalahari truffles eaten like potatoes!

Namibians are as inventive about Kalahari truffles as others are about the potato. They bake them, boil them, puree them, slice them raw with salt or serve cooked slices in a salad. Some barbecue them or grate them over pasta. Some fry them in lashings of butter and eat them on toast. Some recommend wrapping small ones in bacon and baking them whole. Others whisper their own secret: Cook them, but let them sit a night and eat them the next day, the flavors richer and enhanced.

They like to slice truffles into thick disks or chunky cubes, with none of the delicate shavings, thin slices, strips, trimmings and peelings that the French truffle is usually subjected to.


Well, what do you know...

The Feds are using their giant dragnet to catch - wait for it - government whistleblowers! Way to go, jerkwads!


Friday, May 12, 2006

Bio-diesel from sewage!

Can we all get a small one of these in our basements?


Or how about this on every pig farm?

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Why the anger?

Because that lesson [of Vietnam] didn't take, at least with this crowd. Why the anger? Because millions of people are staggered by the idea that, yes Virginia, we have to go through this again. We have to watch soldiers slaughter and be slaughtered for reasons that bear no markings of truth. We have to watch the reputation of this great nation be savaged. We have to watch as our leaders lie to us with their bare faces hanging out.

Why the anger? It can be summed up in one run-on sentence: We have lost two towers in New York, a part of the Pentagon, an important American city called New Orleans, our economic solvency, our global reputation, our moral authority, our children's future, we have lost tens of thousands of American soldiers to death and grievous injury, we must endure the Abramoffs and the Cunninghams and the Libbys and the whores and the bribes and the utter corruption, we must contemplate the staggering depth of the hole we have been hurled down into, and we expect little to no help from the mainstream DC press, whose lazy go-along-to-get-along cocktail-circuit mentality allowed so much of this to happen because they failed comprehensively to do their job.


Auto-chord analyzer software released

Tone-deaf musicians rejoice!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Instant anonymous browsing

Tor has been integrated into Firefox in Torpark. It will run off an external flash drive, including USB sticks. Bring a copy along with you the next time you visit an oppressive country.


Monday, May 08, 2006

OK, I'm totally sold on Wii now

Good job, Time Magazine...
Nintendo gave TIME the first look at its new controller--but before I pick it up, Miyamoto suggests that I remove my jacket. That turns out to be a good idea. The first game I try--Miyamoto walks me through it, which to a gamer is the rough equivalent of getting to trade bons mots with Jerry Seinfeld--is a Warioware title (Wario being Mario's shorter, fatter evil twin). It consists of dozens of manic five-second mini games in a row. They're geared to the Japanese gaming sensibility, which has a zany, cartoonish, game-show bent. In one hot minute, I use the controller to swat a fly, do squat-thrusts as a weight lifter, turn a key in a lock, catch a fish, drive a car, sauté some vegetables, balance a broom on my outstretched hand, color in a circle and fence with a foil. And yes, dance the hula. Since very few people outside Nintendo have seen the new hardware, the room is watching me closely.

It's a remarkable experience. Instead of passively playing the games, with the new controller you physically perform them. You act them out. It's almost like theater: the fourth wall between game and player dissolves. The sense of immersion--the illusion that you, personally, are projected into the game world--is powerful. And there's an instant party atmosphere in the room. One advantage of the new controller is that it not only is fun, it looks fun. When you play with an old-style controller, you look like a loser, a blank-eyed joystick fondler. But when you're jumping around and shaking your hulamaker, everybody's having a good time.


And here are some scans from the magazine...

Friday, May 05, 2006

Readers respond to Reason editor Nick Gillespie's appearance on the Factor

"O'REILLY: OK, Mr. Gillespie, do you think this is a good thing that the Senate pass a symbolic law saying that you got to sing the national anthem in English?

NICK GILLESPIE, EDITOR IN CHIEF, REASON MAGAZINE: I want to congratulate the senator because who knew that war in Iraq was over? Who knew that the out of control spending the Republicans have brought to Washington 11 years of budget control and that the saber-rattling by North Korea and Iran and other countries, it's over. And we can spend time on a completely inane and asinine issue. To be talking about passing resolutions in a way even, especially if they're nonbinding about what language people should be able to sing the national anthem or say the pledge after allegiance is ludicrous beyond belief. One of the great things about America is our First Amendment which guarantees political expression. Certainly the pledge of allegiance and the national anthem are political speech. And now you're trying to say that only way can you be truly American is to say it in English, which the last time I checked was the language of our colonial overlord from a couple hundred years ago."

Best over-the-top reader response?
Subject: O'reilly show


It is amazing how many nuts are falling from the trees in diverse American now. The AMERICAN National Anthem is just what it says American, not Mexican American or African American BUT AMERICAN only as far as I am concerned. No I am not against any race but enough is enough. Mexico and Africa are both countries that are falling apart and we are suppose to help them or we don't care but then we cannot be a people who are American, why? We are supposed to tolerate everyone and everything but we cannot have our own rights, again why? I am a Baptist preacher and many think that Jesus was a tolerate LORD and that is deadly wrong. Jesus loves us all but He hates sin and does not tolerate sin at all and we should not either. Tolerance is making our country go down fast and I love America and I am not a Irish American I am a American, period. Again, hate me if you want but I am not like others who will change my mind because someone does not like it. I don't want anyone to dislike me but I cannot and do not live my life on their rules but on what my LORD Jesus tells me thru His word, not what others say His word says. If you do not like America leave. Jesus Will Rule With a Rod of Iron Like it OR Not,


Thursday, May 04, 2006

Jay Babcock (from Arthur) takes on Godsmack

Yeah, this is a kind-of mean ambush interview, but you know what? When you let the military use your songs for recruitment, you should be ready to take a little heat.


More analysis on Jane Siberry's music store

From the Freakonomics guys:
Even more cleverly, Siberry posts the average payment rate for each song as you pull your payment option from the drop-down menu—another reminder that, Hey, you’re more than welcome to steal this music but here’s how other people have acted in the recent past. Methinks Ms. Siberry grasps the power of incentives quite well. This allows for at least a couple of interesting things to happen: people can decide what to pay after they hear the music, and see how much it’s worth to them (it looks like people generally pay the most per song under this option); and it takes the variable-pricing scheme that economists love and puts it in the hands of the consumer, not the seller.


Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Is MS in deep doo-doo?

Dvorak seems to think they are.


Sweet news for kids

The nation's largest beverage distributors have agreed to halt nearly all soda sales to public schools, according to a deal announced Wednesday by the William J. Clinton Foundation.


Monday, May 01, 2006

Digital downloads making up for lost CD sales

Take a look at this article, and keep in mind that the "shipments" of digital media are infinitely less expensive for the industry than shipments of physical media.

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