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28 September, 2003

Ugliest Site In The World?

If there were an Ugly Web Site Championship, USOFT Records would certainly have a great chance at taking top honors.

(via Web Pages That Suck)

Posted on 28 September, 2003

Ted Turner On the Future Of The World

From The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Turner not optimistic about world's future.

"If I had to predict, the way things are going, I'd say the chances are about 50-50 that humanity will be extinct or nearly extinct within 50 years," Turner said. "Weapons of mass destruction, disease, I mean this global warming is scaring the living daylights out of me.

And what about the war in Iraq?

"We spent $87 billion to blow Iraq up and then we spent another $87 billion to put it back together, and all to get one man and we still haven't got him," Turner said. "Talk about a failure."

Posted on 28 September, 2003

Detecting Software Piracy

What are the most effective methods for detecting software piracy? Software audits? Nope. Security measures? Nope. The answer, according to this article, is chance: Chance is most effective weapon against software piracy.

Software pirates are more likely to be caught by accident than by security measures or software audits, according to a survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC).

The PWC Product Piracy Survey 2003, published on Wednesday, discovered that more than one in three cases of piracy only came to light because of an accident, while security measures and software audits accounted for around one in four and one in five cases respectively.

Posted on 28 September, 2003

Compare Weather Data In U.S. Cities

Here's a pretty slick Excel app, if I do say so myself.

Open this workbook with Excel, and you can select two U.S. cities from drop-down lists. You'll then see a comparative chart, and you can choose any of four climatic measures: temperature, precipitation, sunshine, and wind.

The chart below compares the average monthly precipitation for San Diego and Tucson. You can select from a list of 284 cities.

Interestingly, the workbook does not contain any macros or programming. All of the work is done with clever use of names and formulas.

This is one of the example files from the "Interactive Charts" chapter in my Excel Charts book.

Posted on 28 September, 2003

Chuck Brodsky

Chuck Brodsky is another one of those obscure artists that I discovered on Whole Wheat Radio. He's a singer/songwriter, and I've really grown to like his stuff.

His down to earth presence, touching storytelling, and his dry, barb-witted social commentary bring both tears and laughter to the listener...often during the course of the very same song.

The San Francisco Bay Guardian describes him as "A genuine troubadour with no soap box, no urban boho contentions, and a few axes to grind," adding that " Brodsky picks and grins with the best of the Woody and Ramblin' Jack descendants."

Interestingly, he has an entire CD devoted to baseball. You can listen to several songs at his web site (entire songs, not clips). For a good baseball song, listen to "Doc Ellis' No-No," a song about the famous LSD no-hitter. For a non-baseball song, try "Radio" or "Schmoozing."

Posted on 28 September, 2003

Discard Art

Lots of photos of discard art.

You've seen it at the curb, leaning against a dust bin. In that old junk or thrift store it lurks, hiding behind the recalled baby cribs, sometimes stacked one on the other like an art burial ground. It's Discard Art, mostly anonymous art that people discard, throw away like an old cigarette pack.

We have been seeking Discard Art out, buying it where it's sold, taking it where it's been thrown out with the trash. Usually a buck or two, Discard Art always entertains, enlightens and creates questions.

Shown here is a...

A great psychedelic goat that I swear I've seen a long time ago, thankfully not recently!

Posted on 28 September, 2003

Microsoft's Shut-Down Notice To Lindows

A few weeks ago I noted that Lindows will file a claim on your behalf, and give you a free computer. This is for Californians who want to take advantage of the $1.1. billion class action settlement against Microsoft. Here's a link to the Lindows site.

Not too surprisingly, Microsoft's attorneys don't think much of this idea. You can read the letter they sent to Lindows.

...your website is deceptive, seriously mischaracterizes the settlement, misleads the public and encourages class members to submit improper fraudulent claims that will be denied by the Settlement Claims Administrator.

The letter goes on to state that all claims submitted via the Lindows site will be invalid because they are not signed.

Good point. A few days ago I received my claim form directly from Microsoft. I filled it out and signed it. Now I'll be waiting (and waiting and waiting and waiting) for my $100 voucher.

Posted on 28 September, 2003

Electronic Music Guide

Fans of electronic music should check out Ishkur's Guide to Electronic Music.

Posted on 28 September, 2003

The Good Side Of The Net

Dan Gillmor: Remembering the People Who Give Back to the Net, and All of Us.

The Internet has become a grossly commercialized Wild West in so many ways. But the community spirit on which it was founded is alive and well. The Net depends on the same spirit that motivates volunteers in the physical world: a commitment to solve problems and make life better for those who might otherwise not have the resources or expertise.

Posted on 28 September, 2003

Coconut Pearl

I've never heard of a coconut pearl.

Certainly the rarest and most valuable botanical jewel is the legendary "coconut pearl" that occasionally forms inside a coconut.

Like the pearls of oysters and giant clams, it is a shiny calcareous sphere. It is difficult to place a monetary value on a genuine coconut pearl, but the odds of finding one in a coconut are certainly less than one in a million.

This same site also has a blog devoted to coconuts: The Coconut Blog.

Posted on 28 September, 2003

SkyHigh Airlines

At SkyHigh Airlines, their motto is:

Flying is expensive. Let us cheapen the experience.

This is an absolutely superb parody site.

Posted on 28 September, 2003

Jesus' Middle Name

From The Straight Dope: Why do folks say "Jesus H. Christ"?

The H stands for Harold, as in, "Our Father, who art in heaven, Harold be thy name" (snort).

Cecil provides three other explanations.

Posted on 28 September, 2003

Preparing For Divorce

For men who are contemplating a divorce: Divorce PREP.

Divorce PREP is a $179 golden parachute for husbands whose divorce alarms are starting to ring. By arranging certain things early and understanding the reality of the divorce process, men can avoid a brutal divorce settlement that can financially cripple them for their entire life.

Top 10 signs you should order now:

1. You have the urge to start hiding money.

2. You have trouble sleeping.

3. There is constant tension in the house.

4. You don't just argue, you call each other names.

5. Money is missing.

6. You have spoken to a "friend" about her attitude.

7. She showers before bed...is she cheating?

8. There is less food in the house than normal.

9. No attraction to wife, but attracted to other women.

10.She doesn't know what she wants anymore.

Posted on 28 September, 2003

Spinning A CD

This is kind of interesting: The Case Of The Exploding CD-ROM.

Manufacturers try to outspin each other all the time by selling CD-ROM drives with higher and higher spin ratios. Spin ratios of 2x, 4x, 8x, 16x, 32x, 56x and 64x come in a never ending stream. The CD is forced to rotate faster and faster. At what speed will a CD blow up, and can you do something to prevent it from exploding?

I decided to investigate all facts of the case:

The image below shows a CD after the experiment was over.

Posted on 28 September, 2003

English Spelling Variations

If you don't think English is a difficult language, take a look at this: Variations of Traditional English Spelling.

(Thanks Jondo)

Posted on 28 September, 2003


Bobble Dobbles makes those bobblehead dolls that some people actually collect.

Featuring pictures of over 1,000 different bobblehead dolls, we are the world's #1 Producer of bobblehead dolls.

Shown here is a Barry Bonds bobblehead. This, however, is very unrealistic because it shows Bonds with a smile on his face.

(via Tom McMahon)

Posted on 28 September, 2003

International Tongue Twisters

This is billed as the world's largest collection of tongue twisters. You'll find 2,637 entries in 104 languages. Try this one (in Thai):

Posted on 28 September, 2003

Movie Title Screens

This is very impressive: A collection of movie title screens -- 2,346, to be exact.

Doing this has given me a great appreciation for title designs and the effect they can sometimes have on a movie. And since I had all these images, I thought why not share them? So I did a little programming in Access, and now I can update these pages and add new movies with a few clicks. And if you think it's a colossal waste of time, why not just browse elsewhere?

Posted on 28 September, 2003

Bad Advice From The Washington Post

From a Q-and-A column in the Washington Post: Transferring a Software License.

 I recently bought a computer for my daughter with Windows XP Home pre-loaded. Her college wanted XP Pro, so I bought that operating system and put it on her PC. Can I install the original copy of XP Home on a machine I got from work?

You'll have to ask Microsoft for permission.

Windows XP uses an "activation" system to prevent piracy: Once installed, it takes a snapshot of your computer's hardware, generates a number that identifies it and uploads that number to Microsoft. When that copy is installed on a different computer (or if the original machine has been sufficiently modified), the new number won't match, and XP will balk at activating itself.

That is what you'll run into if you try to activate an already-installed copy of XP on a second computer. Call Microsoft's activation hotline (888-571-2048) and explain things; you should then be able to get a new activation code for the new PC.

Truth is, the copy of Windows that's provided with a new PC is licensed for that PC only. It is not transferable, and Microsoft will never issue a new activation code. So, even though you paid for the software, you are very limited in what you can do with your purchase.

Posted on 28 September, 2003

Xupiter Is Dead

Good news: Xupiter.com, one of the worst spyware sites has closed down.

We regret to inform you that the Xupiter.com service has officially closed and has been discontinued.

Read what I had to say about Xupiter back in January.

One down, many more to go.

Posted on 28 September, 2003

The Head Balancer

John Evans is a head balancer and a strongman. In fact, he's the undefeated world head balancing champion.

John Evans is a retired builder with a very strange hobby of carrying anything and everything on his head. It has earned him 29 Guinness World Records and there are few things John's thick-set neck cannot take. He has been known to balance anything from beer kegs, coffins, cement mixers and girls on bikes on his head.

His latest record attempt - balancing 92 people or a staggering 11,420 lbs in one hour - John's 28th certificate. What next for this truly remarkable Star !

In the photo shown here, John is balancing a man sitting in a chair. And if that weren't enough, the man is holding a small dog in his lap.

Posted on 28 September, 2003

Pillow Varieties

Check out Sofa Garden's pillow collections.

Pillows shaped like wine bottles and olives are just a few of the many pillows they make and sell.

Posted on 28 September, 2003

The Most Hated Sports

What's the most hated sport? According to this article, it's dog fighting (I didn't even know it was a sport).

Popularity polls come and go. As the baseball playoffs begin, the NFL is boasting that one poll shows it is more than twice as popular as the national pastime. But a new survey looks deeper into the American psyche, rating the sports that are loathed the most.

Number 2 on the most-hated list is pro wrestling, followed by bullfighting, boxing, and the PGA Tour.

Posted on 28 September, 2003

Verisign's Site Traffic Rank

Now that Verisign has hijacked the Internet with their Site-finder scheme, their Web site's traffic has skyrocketed. The chart below is from Alexa.


Even more interesting are the user reviews for the site. Just a few excerpts:

Verisign should go down in flames because of the ill-conceived SiteFinder. Who will want to business with the thiefs? Make a buck off of their demise by shorting the stock

The sitefinder "service" is a travesty. Frankly, I would rather see an error message than that infernal sitefinder page. I seldom linger more than a couple of seconds, so they aren't getting any commercial benefit from my "visits."

sitefinder is a disgraceful abuse of the power that has been bestowed on this company. I no longer do any business with this company, and I have encouraged people I know to avoid them at all costs. I hope action is taken to relieve them of their control of the .com and .net namespace.

The most overpriced service out there. No support at all. Once you buy, good luck on getting your own domains from them. They think they own them. Known by those in the know as "Verislime". Buyer beware. Too bad you can't put in negative stars for ratings, forced to put in 1.

Yeah, Verislime. I like that.

Posted on 28 September, 2003