« Previous Day | Main | Next Day »

2 June, 2003

The Unheard Beethoven

Beethoven wrote a lot of music that has never been recorded. At Unheard Beethoven...

This website endeavors to make all of Beethoven's unrecorded music readily accessible to the public. Now YOU may judge for yourself as to whether these pieces deserve a wider hearing and the ability to join the repertoire. These never-before-heard works are now available to anyone with a computer, a modem and a soundcard, in the form of MIDI files.

Posted on 2 June, 2003

The Secret Within Your Heart

You just gotta wonder about the type of people who fall for this type of marketing crap. This is a real web site, selling some over-priced motivational software called Dream-Minder. But it reads like a parody of a bad marketing campaign from the '50's.

Dear Friend,

Do you ever find yourself saying "I'm so tired of struggling to get ahead"?  Do you ever feel that even when you've "succeeded" you still feel unfulfilled or wondering - like the old song once said, "Is that all there is? I'm here to tell you you're not alone... and there's a simple way to solve this age old struggle.

The copy goes on and on and on...

After years of heartache and struggle, I discovered a software breakthrough that not only helps you release any stress or struggle - but also helps you find and realize your most treasured Dreams and goals - and it's so easy to use - even high school kids use it.

You have to scroll half-way through this tripe to get to the list of "amazing secrets that you will learn." One of these secrets seems very relevant:

One thing you must do so you'll never buy useless products or services again

Scroll down some more and you'll get the obligatory list of "what others are saying about Dream-Minder." And then there's an infomercial-style price pitch:

This essential software is normally priced at $159.00, but as a special Internet introductory offer it is available now for only $77.00! That's over 50% off! That's less than what most people spend on dinner and a movie for two. Just one of the over 100 tips and secrets will pay for the software.

This is followed by a list of "free bonus" offers:

That is a total value of $273.00 in free gifts, yours to keep regardless of whether you keep Dream-Minder.

And then, the "best news"...

By being an owner of Dream-Minder, you'll join a select group of people around the world who receive special updates about "hidden" features in Dream-Minder. Called Your Life's Dreams Newsletter, and worth over $157.00 of a year's tips and strategies on how to harness and maximize the unlimited potential and genius within you.

This is followed by a "how to order" rap. And then there's the classic "still undecided?" pitch. Then, finally, a "P.S." recap of all that you will receive. But wait, there's even a "P.P.S."

Remember, if you've ever considered buying ONE product or service concerning personal growth, be certain it contains every bit of benefits that you read above... Insist on it!

This is funny stuff. The only thing missing is an explanation of what the software really does.

Posted on 2 June, 2003

Stupid Guys on a Long Walk

Three guys decide to walk from Chicago to San Francisco, and chronicle their adventures at a web site appropriately named YouGuysAreStupid.com.

We are Andy, Erik and John. We're in our upper twenty-somethings and live in the Chicagoland area. We'd be lying if we said we're the most interesting people in the world, but you can learn more about us as this site develops, we promise.

Posted on 2 June, 2003

Happy Birthday Myrtle!

Today is Myrtle McNeedle's birthday, and we wish her a happy one.

Myrtle, as you probably know, is a leading web designer and writer. She is largely responsible for the look and usability of my web site, and she has had a significant impact on my writing career.

Check out Myrtle's web site, and read some of her writings. I think you'll be impressed.

Posted on 2 June, 2003

MS Office and the End User

Jack Kapica makes some good points about Microsoft Office 2003.

The new features are all about productivity and efficiency. But little was mentioned about individual users -- almost nothing, in fact. And that should raise eyebrows.

Actually, I think it will be very interesting to see how many corporations actually upgrade to Office 2003. I may be wrong, but I just don't see many compelling reasons to upgrade.

Posted on 2 June, 2003

Online Piracy = Shoplifting?

From Dan Bricklin:

I keep hearing the tag line "Pirating works online is the same as shoplifting a videotape, book or computer program from a department store" or something to that effect. It seems to just be taken as a given, and then used as reason for all sorts of laws that distort the balance between authors, distributors, and the general public. But it's not true.

Posted on 2 June, 2003

Interactive Penguins

Use your mouse to do things with penguins. For some unknown reason, the web site designer felt obligated to maximize the browser window.

Posted on 2 June, 2003

Stupidity Awards

Mark your calendar. The first annual World Stupidity Awards ceremony will be held on 6 June, in Toronto.

While the Darwin Awards laud those who've killed themselves in acts of stupidity, "we believe the living stupid are far more influential and demand recognition."

Posted on 2 June, 2003

Fainting Goats

I had never heard of fainting goats until today.

Fainting goats are a slightly smaller version of the standard goat, who, believe it or not, thanks to a genetic condition called myotonia congenita, actually seem to faint when they are startled.

As strange as this may sound, these little critters have actually served an historical purpose. Shepherds often kept the goats in with their flocks as insurance in case of predator attacks. The theory went something like this- as wolves would come down from the hills to attack a flock of sheep, the goats would become startled and, as per the name of their breed, they would faint. The sheep would make a clean getaway, as the wolves would focus on the stunned goats rather than pursue the fleeing sheep. Not that wonderful if you were one of the goats, sure, but downright dandy if you happened to be a sheep.

Posted on 2 June, 2003

Paper Clip Trick

A classic parlor trick. The instructions below were taken from erasing.org.

  1. Take a crisp U.S. one-dollar bill and orient it so that George Washington's portrait is upside down and facing left.

  2. Fold the bill into thirds, gently, without creasing it, so it forms a squashed "S" shape. George should then be facing you, albeit still upside down.

  3. Use the paper clips to fasten the two loops of the "S" to their respective ends of the bill. Attach each clip such that each bottom corner's numeral "1" is fastened to the letter "L" in "DOLLAR" that's on the loop underneath it. (The "1" and the "L" should be lined up with one another on both sides.) Each clip should be holding the bill twice. The "S" shape should now be closed and look kind of like a squashed yin-yang.

  4. Quickly yank the ends of the bill apart, straightening it out. The paper clips will spring off the bill and fly into the air -- careful not to hit anyone in the eye -- and they will land linked to one another. Amazing.

(via Iconomy)

Posted on 2 June, 2003

Rolling Balls

Kinetic art that involves rolling balls.

Rolling Ball Sculptures are an attraction. People of any age stop and watch the rolling balls very closely and quite often for a long time. It seems to be very fascinating, to get to the bottom of the dynamic of motions, actions and effects, which are caused by the balls.

Posted on 2 June, 2003

A Timeshare Presentation Tale

Glenn, over at Hi. I'm black!, tells an amusing tale about his experiences with smarmy salespeople at a timeshare presentation. Been there. Done that.

We really didn't know what we were getting into. Total time wasted: 2.5 hours. In return we received 4 vouchers for A's tickets worth $24 each, and two $25 vouchers for the A's team store.

Hey, it could have been much worse. They could have been Padre tickets!

Posted on 2 June, 2003

Counting Buzzwords

Enter a URL, and the Buzzwordometer will give you a buzzword score for the site -- nicely broken down into "suit" buzzwords and "geek" buzzwords.

Here's the score for the J-Walk Blog.

Posted on 2 June, 2003

The End of Standalone IE

From MSNBC: Microsoft to abandon standalone IE. Internet Explorer program manager Brian Countryman said:

"Legacy OSes have reached their zenith with the addition of IE 6 SP1. Further improvements to IE will require enhancements to the underlying OS."

This, of course, is utter and complete nonsense. Look at Mozilla. Look at Opera. Both of these browsers have many great features that are lacking in Internet Explorer. Are we supposed to think that Microsoft isn't capable of making these enhancements? Horse-pucky.

On second thought, perhaps it's just a matter of semantics.

  • User's Definition of Browser Improvements: Pop-up blocking, faster rendering, tabbed pages, support for PNG graphics, support for skins, better CSS support, fewer crashes, better cache management, etc.
  • Microsoft's Definition of Browser Improvements: Extends the monopoly and locks people into using and upgrading Windows.

Posted on 2 June, 2003

Customized Classics

How about a book that features you and your friends as the main characters? That's what they do at Customized Classics.

Custom paperback editions of classic novels starring YOU! We offer the largest selection of customized books where YOU and your friends and family enter the story.

Currently we offer several Sherlock Holmes titles, Romeo and Juliet, Alice in Wonderland, and The Jungle Book, with more on the way. In the near future we will be adding Ann of Green Gables, Tarzan and Robin Hood to our selection.

Posted on 2 June, 2003