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10 September, 2003

Thanks To All

In the past few days I've received about 150 blog-related emails about my quit/won't quit decision. Every one of them positive (click here for some examples). I can't reply to all of these emails, so this is my official thank-you message for the kind support and words of encouragement.

Now I'll have a Sally Field moment and say, "I can't deny the fact that you like me! You really like me!"

Posted on 10 September, 2003

Moms Insisting On Licensed Tools

This is a good parody site: Moms Insisting On Licensed Tools

Unbeknownst to most Americans, a Danger lurks in our homes. As common as a clothespin but as deadly as a snake, many look directly at it without realizing the menace in their midst. Yes, friends, we are talking about Full Auto Assault Tools.

Power tools - in the hands of unskilled and unlicensed users - kill a tremendous number of people each year - maiming most, electrocuting the remainder. Many of the victims are children.

Where do these kids get the tools?

The sales of tools over the unregulated Internet are exploding, and it is only going to get worse. Armed with their parent's credit card number, youngsters all over the country are shopping for power tools at an alarming rate, and having them conveniently shipped to their homes

And not only that...

Not satisfied with the number of unregistered and unlicensed tools in American homes today, the Tool Lobby has convinced it's customers that they need to sell more. More tools, more hazards, more potential for death and disfiguring injury- that's what they're after.

Thanks to the bright light of publicity M.I.L.T. has shown on their activities, the Tool Industry as decided to go on the offensive. Tool Shows.

Posted on 10 September, 2003

A List of Freeware

Bob's World's Best Freeware, listed by category.

Posted on 10 September, 2003

Bridal Fashion

Weddings have never been my favorite type of event, but I do like this site: The Cavalcade of Bad Bridal Fashion.

It's basically a good collection of photos that show brides who look ridiculous -- but think they're beautiful.

I would have liked to hear the comments made to this bride who wore a crown of bows. I'll bet they were all extremely complimentary. But, in the back of their minds, the guests were thinking, "what a stupid looking bow."

(via Love and the Happy Cynic)

Posted on 10 September, 2003

NYC: Brought To You By Snapple

From the New York Post: The Big Snapple.

Under a first-of-its-kind deal, Snapple beverages are now the official water, juice and iced-tea provider for the Big Apple - in exchange for $166 million, Mayor Bloomberg announced yesterday. Starting today, city schools will allow only Snapple machines selling water and fruit juices.

The city also will help promote the New York City-based company by putting its logo on ferries and garbage cans and having Snapple sponsor concerts in parks.

Posted on 10 September, 2003

An Open Letter To The RIAA

This letter, published at the Boycott-RIAA site, pretty much nails it:

In the last 24 hours, you and the RIAA have dumped on your own doorstep, shot yourselves in the foot and managed to get huge amounts of egg not merely all over your own faces, but also on that of the entire entertainment industry.

And for that we thank you. Heartily.

It's clear to me that the RIAA's current sue-the-customers tactic is going to backfire, big-time. People who had never even heard of the RIAA are starting to read about this organization, and understand that it's not a friend of the people. Hopefully, they will understand that not all CDs are on RIAA-affiliated labels, and make some selective buying decisions.

Senator Orrin Hatch likes these RIAA lawsuits. Here's a recent quote from the Moron from Utah:

"it's great" that the first slate of lawsuits, initiated this week, was widely reported on TV and in daily papers, because it lets parents know what their kids are doing when they're downloading."

Yep. And it also spreads the word about the RIAA. Keep those news reports coming.

Posted on 10 September, 2003

Understanding 133t Speak

You've probably seen l33t speak, but didn't know what it was (it's pronounced "LEET".)  Basically, it's an Internet language that's reliant on the keyboard. Here's An Explanation of 133t Speak.

As the Internet was coming into its own, during the early 1980s, hackers that didn't want their websites, newsgroups, etc, to be picked up in a simple keyword search began using numbers to replace certain letters (mostly vowels) such as A = 4 or E = 3.

At this point, l33t speak was only known to a select few and only used when necessary. However, in 1994, id Software began to add Internet connectivity to Doom and Doom II, leading to a revolution in PC gaming and also to the rise of l33t speak.

My name, in 133t speak is this: j0hn VV4lk3nb4ch.

(via th3 pr3s|_|rf3r)

Posted on 10 September, 2003

9 / 11 + 2

730 days ago, the world changed. Those who care to re-live that day should take a look at the photos by James Nachtwey, at the Time Magazine site. Better yet, visit his personal web site for some powerful images.

And David Plotz wrote an interesting article at Slate: What You Think You Know About Sept. 11...

But there is also plenty that we think we know but don't. I'm not talking about shoddy conspiracy theories (that Jews were warned not to show up for work at the World Trade Center, for example) believed by the ignorant and the paranoid, but widespread misconceptions held by everyday Americans.

Posted on 10 September, 2003

Kevin Warwick, Cyborg

Check out Kevin Warwick's home page.

On the 14th of March 2002 a one hundred electrode array was surgically implanted into the median nerve fibres of the left arm of Professor Kevin Warwick...

A number of experiments have been carried out using the signals detected by the array, most notably Professor Warwick was able to control an electric wheelchair and an intelligent artificial hand, developed by Dr Peter Kyberd, using this neural interface. In addition to being able to measure the nerve signals transmitted down Professor Wariwck's left arm, the implant was also able to create artificial sensation by stimluating individual electrodes within the array.

Posted on 10 September, 2003

A Scorpion On The Wall

A few nights ago, I was outside and noticed something on the side of the house. Upon closer inspection, it was a scorpion. I grabbed my camera, and this is the result:

I've never seen a scorpion in San Diego before. In fact, I don't think I've ever seen a scorpion (except maybe at a zoo). It's a lousy photo, but the only light to focus by was from the moon. My Sony F707's infrared focusing came to the rescue.

For some much better scorpion photos, go here.

Posted on 10 September, 2003

Serendipitous Surfing

Banana Slug adds a new twist to Google searches.

BananaSlug was designed to promote serendipitous surfing: finding the unexpected in the 3,083,324,652 web pages indexed by Google. Directed Google searches return pages most relevant to your search term, based on the pages' popularity on the Web. You may never see some of the pages way down the list that are relevant or interesting, but off the beaten path.

So we give you a little boost. We "seed" your search with another word, chosen at random, and this accidental encounter results in pages you may have overlooked.

You can use the entire dictionary of random words, or select a word from a category (such as World Cities or Animals). I searched for the word "photos" and Banana Slug chose "crashing" as the random word. That led me to Adam's Vacation Photos of Kauai -- with lots of crashing waves. Coincidentally, we have a Kauai trip planned for next month, and we'll be seeing those crashing waves in person.

Posted on 10 September, 2003

Spamming For Votes

A posting at TechDirt talks about California governor candidates who use spam.

Peter Ueberroth dropped out of the California gubernatorial race yesterday after idiotically spamming voters. Now we can cross another potential governor off my list. I received spam today from Arianna Huffington.

(via JD's New Media Musings)

Posted on 10 September, 2003

Fantastic Art

From the Rare and Manuscript Collections of Cornell University: The Fantastic in Art and Fiction.

Shown here is a woodblock -- a skeleton portrait of a Spanish gentleman, called Calavera Poncianista, from 1930


Posted on 10 September, 2003

Spammers Lose

Here's some good news: Ohio Spammers Hit With $250,000 Judgment.

Anti-spam activist Nigel Featherston has won a $250,000 judgment from a Washington state court in his suit against Ohio-based spammers Charles Childs and Linda Lightfoot, who do business as Universal Direct, Mega Direct and Ultra-Trim.

Featherston claimed to have received 58,000 emails from these scum. He said:

"Some spammers have this warped idea that their freedom of speech is guaranteed all the way into my hard drive, but it is my firm belief that their rights end at my firewall."

Posted on 10 September, 2003

Nothing But Ungulates

Those who are into ungulates should know about the Ultimate Ungulate Page.

Ungulates, or hoofed mammals, comprise one of the most successful and diverse groups of large mammals alive today, having colonized nearly every habitat on all continents except Antarctica and Australia.

Oddly, the sea cow is classified as an ungulate. Sea cows (also known as manatees) are descended from original ungulates, and they still exhibit remnants of hoof-nails on their flippers.

Posted on 10 September, 2003


Apparently, Barbecue University is a TV show. It looks pretty good to me.

The Barbecue University TV show and bbqu.net are based on an acclaimed culinary instruction program launched by multi-award-winning author Steven Raichlen in 1999. Our "campus" is the luxurious, historic Greenbrier resort in the Allegheny Mountains of West Virginia. Our "classroom" is a mountain lodge with an outdoor "burn area" equipped with a state-of-the-art collection of grills and smokers.

There's also a Barbecue Bible site, which features Steven's BBQ Blog.

Posted on 10 September, 2003

Change For a $200 Bill

A guy in North Carolina paid for his groceries with a $200 bill, and got change back.

The bogus bill -- the U.S. Mint does not print a $200 bill -- bore the image of President Bush on the front and had the White House on the back. It also included signs on the front lawn of the White House with slogans such as "We like broccoli" and "USA deserves a tax cut," Roanoke Rapids police said.

It's happened before at least once. A guy in Kentucky tried to pay for his $2.00 food order with a Bush bill.

Posted on 10 September, 2003