Random Nonsense

February 21, 2008

Mac users are teh snobs.
(for good reason, damn it)

According to this week’s “Official Lost Podcast”, this explains how a Dharma Polar Bear could end up in Tunisia.
(Sure it does… Wormholes? Time travel? What’s next, leprechauns?)

Music from the System Folder…

(Somebody’s got waaay too much time on their hands)

Veronica Mars Surprise

May 14, 2005

Over on TeeVee, Nathan Alderman waxes philosophic on the end of Veronica Mars season one.

What is surprising is just how dark the show can get. Veronica’s high school is a vicious and unforgiving place where the line between social mortification and actual physical harm is all too thin. Any show can be “daring” by showing teens drinking or using drugs; Mars doesn’t flinch at physical abuse, rape or the specter of incest. The season finale’s nightmarish climax — a terrified Veronica trapped inside a burning refrigerator, her dad Keith setting himself on fire to rescue her — packed as much punch as any of 24’s best moments. (It also nabbed Keith Mars the Most Badass Dad on TV Award, making previous contenders Jack Bristow and Jack Bauer look like spineless wusses in comparison.)

It looks like Nathan and I ended up on the same page on this series.  After all was said and done, Veronica Mars stands out as the best new (surviving) series I watched this season.

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The Oracle of Redmond

May 13, 2005

Bill Gates explains why the iPod is just a passing fad during an interview Thursday.

“As good as Apple may be, I don’t believe the success of the iPod is sustainable in the long run,” he said in an interview published Thursday in German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. “You can make parallels with computers: Apple was very strong in this field before, with its Macintosh and its graphics user interface—like the iPod today—and then lost its position.”

There you have it, from the same man who once assured us that computers would never need more than 640K of memory, and that OS/2 was the operating system of the future…

(via iPodlounge)

Hearthware i-Roast

May 9, 2005

Blogging has been a little light here the past few weeks… Not because I’ve lost interest in coffee (never happen), but mostly because I’ve been trying to figure out what to say about the latest thing I’ve gotten into — roasting my own coffee…

I picked up a Hearthware i-Roast Coffee Roaster, and have been slowly learning how to properly roast my own beans.

There’s a lot of good to be said about home roasting — green beans are often available much less expensively than the roasted version of the same bean, they store well for a very long time (whereas once roasted, coffee is at its peak for 2 – 6 days), and you can roast them to suit your preferences.

The downside is that getting good results is a real art.

Coffee roasting is a very hand’s-on process — with the i-Roast, it takes about 15 minutes end-to-end to roast a batch of beans. You’ve got a lot of variables you can change (darkness of roast, speed of roast, etc.) that can have a dramatic effect on the outcome, and how each variety of green bean reacts to each of these variables differs.

I’ve been mostly roasting Organic Columbian Mesa de los Santos beans, and comparing my results to what I taste in the fresh roasted Seattle Mountain Columbian Supremo I buy from Costco.

I’m now to the point where I’m getting something comparable, and that I enjoy, but it’s missing a bit of sweetness I liked in the Seattle Mountain; that could still be my roast, or it might be the difference in the variety of bean I’m using (“Columbian Supremo” isn’t a single-origin thing, it’s combined from many growers and graded by bean size, the larger ones becoming “Supremo”).

But I’m enjoying this none the less.

The i-Roast roasts approximately a cup of green beans at a shot (they expand somewhat in the roasting process). It takes 15 minutes to roast, and you need to let the result rest 12 – 48 hours before actually brewing. This gets me about enough roasted coffee to last two days, if it’s just me drinking it.

I’ll post more on what I learn, and on some of the varietals I’m playing with, as I learn more…

USB Share Switch Review

April 13, 2005

imageIf you’re a regular reader of this site, you’re doubtless familiar with my ongoing battle with DVI/USB KVM switches.

Since I finally came to the conclusion that DVI switches just aren’t ready for prime-time yet, I decided to bite the bullet and add a second monitor for my secondary machine (a Windows box I use mostly for testing; my main machine is a PowerBook).

Unfortunately, that still left me with the USB switching issue; it’s a lot easier for me to accomodate two monitors than it is for me to accomodate two keyboards and mice.  Also, I occasionally find it handy to switch the printers I use back and forth between machines as well.

Enter the “USB Share Switch”.

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Adios, Point Pleasant

March 23, 2005

Gail Berman is leaving Fox, but not without yet another show from a Mutant Enemy alumna* going under the axe. 

Apparently Point Pleasant is history, effective immediately.  Here’s the word, direct from Marti Noxon.

“No new ep on Thursday… In a way I’m glad because Thursday’s episode didn’t quite come together the way I would have liked and I would have hated for that to be our final word. Eps 9-12 were going to be pretty cool, though. Lots of twists and scary stuff.

Anyway – thanks to those of you who care. It’s been a bumpy ride for sure. If you feel inclined you can bug Fox studios to issue the season on DVD. I know they are thinking about it – and you’d get to see all the “lost” eps, which will be airing overseas.”

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Alcohol Knowledge Test

March 16, 2005

Lovely… This is why I don’t often take these silly tests.  I’m never quite sure whether a result like this means I won or lost…

Bacardi 151
Congratulations! You’re 137 proof, with specific scores in beer (80) , wine (100), and liquor (113).
All right. No more messing around. Your knowledge of alcohol is so high that you have drinking and getting plastered down to a science. Sure, you could get wasted drinking beer, but who needs all those trips to the bathroom? You head straight for the bar and pick up that which is most efficient.

Give it a try here, and tell us how you did…

Learn to Cook – Geek Edition

December 3, 2004

Some people have known they were geeks their whole life long. For others, the realization comes more slowly, but the signs are always clear. Too many gadgets. A tendency towards obsessiveness. You read posts on obscure blogs. Whatever…

So you’re a geek? So what? It’s the new millennium. Being a geek is almost cool. There are geeks among the rich and famous. Well, the rich anyway. Geekhood is the new black.

So, why should you learn to cook? Excluding the infamous Robert Rodriguez quote for a minute there are lots of reasons:

  • Eating raman noodles three times a day just isn’t healthy (it’s the coconut oil)
  • You don’t have to learn the chemistry and physics involved to do it, but you’ll be a lot more versatile if you do (think "the difference between script kiddies and code ninjas")
  • There is a sense of amazement and accomplishment when a dish comes together, just like any other good hack.
  • It tastes good.
  • It’s another thing that you can feel superior to the mundanes about.
  • It’s another thing that you can feel superior to your peers about.
  • You can involve a lot of cool tech and gadgets.
  • Being a good cook can help attract a mate, and you probably need all the help you can get.
  • You’ll astonish relatives when you show up for family get togethers with amazing edibles.
  • Like a tableless three-column CSS layout, it looks impressive despite being simple when you know how.
  • It’s easy (or it will be for you, anyway)
  • It’s fun.

Okay so there are some good reasons to learn how to cook. Let’s face it, though — even if she was a good cook, you’re not going to ask your momma to teach you, and you’re not going to take a home ec. course. Just how does one learn to cook the geek way?

Well, funny you should ask…

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Murder, Mayhem & Conspiracy – O.J. and Nicole, 10 years after…

November 23, 2004

It’s been a long time since I’ve lost any sleep over the O.J. trial (nor is tonight an exception—I’m up late brining a turkey) but a post over to Peking Duck on the topic from back in June has taken on a life of it’s own the comments section, with a lot of interaction from journalists and others directly involved in the trial.

This conversation apparently led Joseph Bosco (a journalist who maintains that if O.J. was guilty he was far from the only one) to post some of his own material on the subject, covering some stuff that has not seen the light of day before.

I’ll admit that back in the day I was as horridly fascinated as anyone else—several co-workers and I used to make a point of lunching every day at a sports bar where we could watch the trial coverage on the big screen, but it’s been so long now that I’ve probably forgotten a lot of the details.

Still, this makes an interesting read, at least on a cool and rainy late night in Texas…

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A Real Solution to Spam? (Mailblocks Review)

July 7, 2004

Mailblocks - a better way to do e-mail

Everybody complains about spam.

I built my first website shortly before Mosaic and web graphics came along (yes, I’m older than dirt), and I’ve owned my own domain since shortly thereafter (and numerous more over the years). Back in those halcyon days, we all put our e-mail addresses on our web sites. We even posted to Usenet with our own addresses. Then came spam, and address harvesters, and it was too late to do anything — e-mail addresses that I’ve owned forever are on every spam list that is peddled. For better or worse, though, I still want to get mail from people who’ve had my address since back when, so I keep those addresses, and have put up with the bombardment.

Over the last year, it’s gotten particularly bad — hundreds and often thousands of junk messages a day. Bad enough that if I’m on a dial-up line, I can’t hardly download them fast enough to filter them. Forget about using mail on a PDA or smartphone.

Something had to give.

Something did…

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