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8 October, 2003

The Stop RIAA Lawsuits Coalition

This site invites web site owners to endorse a one-week RIAA boycott.

A coalition of websites is coming together to create www.stopRIAAlawsuits.com, which will call for a one week boycott of RIAA music coinciding with the next round of lawsuits against music fans. We would like to invite your site to join the coalition. When the RIAA files its next round of suits, we will launch the website which will include a link to every endorsing site-- the more we have on board, the stronger a statement we can send. The record industry trying to use these suits to scare people into buying their products. To end the lawsuits, we need to show them that lawsuits will hurt their bottom line.

I'm in.

Posted on 8 October, 2003

J-Walk Picks

You may have noticed the new Picks hyperlink in the left column. This is where I list some of my favorite CDs, movies, and books. Many of these items have links to Amazon, so if you make a purchase after clicking the link, I'll get a small commission on the sale.

The point here is not to turn this blog into a profitable venture. Rather, I figured it would be nice to cover at least part of my monthly hosting costs. And, at the same time, turn my readers on to some good stuff (well, at least stuff that I like).

At this point, it's just an experiment. If nobody clicks it, I'll delete it and won't waste my time adding new items.

Posted on 8 October, 2003

Shooting Strangers

The quality of photos at the Sensitive Light blog continues to amaze me. For the past few days, Sensiti has posted photos of strangers on the street (see Townsfolk and More Townsfolk).

He just took the shots, without asking permission. He also compiled a list of various reactions, and they fall into eight categories. For example, the "almost denial" category:

It's not pointing at me, and to prove it I won't look at it again, and I'll keep looking at the ground, and I think I'll cross to the other side of the street. Most common in ladies aged 30 to 60. Sorry ladies I didn't mean to cause you any distress.

Posted on 8 October, 2003

4D Magic Cube

This 4D Magic Cube is pretty mind-boggling. Unsolvable, I think, but still mind-boggling.

This was done by Don Hatch, who has lots of other great (albeit geeky) content at his site.

Posted on 8 October, 2003

Intuit Apologizes

From Tech Web: Intuit Says It's Really, Really Sorry For Product Activation.

Intuit, famous for its Quicken personal finance software and the TurboTax tax preparation program, on Thursday ran ads in major publications apologizing to users for the anti-piracy product activation scheme it slapped on TurboTax earlier this year.

So, of the major software vendors, that leaves Microsoft and Symantec. I'm not expecting any apologies from Microsoft, but I fully expect that Symantec will back down when they see the impact on their sales.

Posted on 8 October, 2003

The Governator

It was bound to happen: A talking Arnold Schwarzenegger action figure.

They might sell more of these if the doll had at least a passing resemblance to Arnold. I guess they just recycled some old G.I. Joe dolls.

Posted on 8 October, 2003

Bugs In Internet Explorer

From CNET: Developers gripe about IE standards inaction.

Web developers want to light a fire under Microsoft to get better standards support in the company's Internet Explorer browser, but they can't seem to spark a flame.

Gripes have mounted recently over support in IE 6 for Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), a Web standard increasingly important to design professionals. Web developers and makers of Web authoring tools say the software giant has allowed CSS bugs to linger for years, undermining technology that promises to significantly cut corporate Web site design costs.

So what's the problem?

"Because it owns the marketplace, Microsoft's under very little pressure to fix remaining IE 6 bugs," said Jeffrey Zeldman, an independent Web developer and cofounder of the Web Standards Project.

Microsoft's focus these days is on the upcoming "Longhorn" operating system, which will have built-in Web browsing. And, of course, they expect everyone to upgrade. So why waste their precious resources on Internet Explorer?

Posted on 8 October, 2003

Presidential Medical History

For hard-core history buffs: Medical History of American Presidents. It covers them all, from George Washington through George W.

It's actually a very interesting site. For example, I learned this about Abe Lincoln:

  • He was color blind.
  • As a youth Lincoln was driving an old horse to turn a grist mill. Losing his patience at one point, Lincoln applied the whip and was rewarded with a kick square to the head. He was knocked unconscious and suffered a concussion.
  • A dentist broke off part of Lincoln's jaw bone while pulling a tooth -- without anesthesia

Posted on 8 October, 2003

Figure Skaters For Christ

Now there's a site for Christians who like to figure skate: Figure Skaters For Christ.

This website, Figure Skaters For Christ was started because I am a Christian and I like figure skating very much. Because I also noticed that not many skaters were saved, I was motivated to create a site for skaters to get to know God and to get to know other skaters that are saved.

So, I made the site thinking maybe some skaters will get linked to my site and read the salvation message I have here and accept Jesus into there hearts.

Posted on 8 October, 2003

Changes at EMusic

Regular readers know that I'm a huge fan of EMusic. Pay $15 a month and get unlimited downloads of real MP3 files. I knew it was too good to last. Inevitably, EMusic is making a change. Now your $15 gives you no more than 65 downloads per month. They'll also offer some other monthly fee options. Complete details are here.

The $15 per month option works out to about 5-6 CDs per month, or about $0.23 per song -- so it's still a very good deal (and you can preview all the songs before you download). The best part is that, unlike the other music download services, these are real MP3 files with no copy restrictions.

Even though it's a good deal, I'm going to cancel my account (as soon as I scarf up everything I can find that looks good). I think there will be a mass exodus, and EMusic will lose at least half of its subscribers. In a few months, it will probably join that big bit bucket in the sky.

And it's not a good sign when you try to access EMusic's discussion boards and see this:

We're sorry but our messageboards are temporarily unavailable. Stay tuned, the messageboards will available again soon.

Posted on 8 October, 2003

More Macro Insects

I just can't get enough of macro photos of insects. Here's a collection of photos by Mark Plonsky.

For all of these images, I used a Canon G1 or G3 along with accessory lens. A common setup includes a closeup or two, and then a 2x teleconverter. For the more extreme macros, I attached a Pentax 50mm 1.4 lens in the reversed position to the Canon.

Posted on 8 October, 2003

Upside Down Typing

The new communications method that's sweeping the nation: Upside Down Typing.

Ever wanted to be able to type upside down? I bet you've never even thought about it. I hadn't either until I saw an upside down discussion on a newsgroup. So what is upside down typing?

Here's an example...

Original text: Today is the first day of the rest of your life.

Upside down text: 'aJ!l jnoh Jo +saj ay+ Jo hep +sj!J ay+ s! hepo�

Now, if you stand on your head and read the upside down text, it is almost legible:

(via The Presurfer)

Posted on 8 October, 2003

Muslim Toys

A site called NoorArt sells a variety of Muslim items, including a selection of Muslim toys. The most popular item, I think, is the Razanne doll.

Like a Barbie, Razanne comes in a variety of styles, including Muslim Scout Razanne, Playday Razanne, Schoolgirl Razanne, and Teacher Razanne. Shown here is Praying Razanne.

Allahu Akbar! God is the Greatest! It's time to pray and Razanne is ready! When it's time for prayer, many Muslim girls cover their everyday clothes with these traditional two-piece garments and stand to pray on colorful prayer rugs.

We receive so many letters from customers that tell us that Razanne usually joins the family for salah!

And, of course, you can purchase accessories for your Razanne. You'll probably want a prayer rug and undergarments.

(via Hi. I'm Black!)

Posted on 8 October, 2003

Feedback From My Links

I just checked my email, and there were two messages about recent links that I've posted.

Broken Beauties

Your site is a perfect example of the "amazingness" of the Internet. On the 3rd of October you had a story about our company Broken Beauties. We have decided to take the "ugly" out of orthopedics and make arm slings, cast covers and even crutch covers into fashion accessories. We wanted to bring morale boosting and positive attention to the person that is experiencing a very negative situation. and bring them everything they need for life with this type of injury.

The BBC television show "So Graham Norton" (6 million viewers in the U.K. and many more in the states on BBC America) picked up your story about us and wants to do a whole show on dressing up injured celebrities.

87 Billion Dollars

Thanks for the exposure, John. Thanks in part to you and others, the page managed to climb to #12 on the Blogdex this morning. And a magazine in LA thinks they may want to use some of the illustrations for publication.

Wow, that's very cool.

Posted on 8 October, 2003

Larger Than Life

A site called Great Big Stuff sell great big stuff.

Many years ago, I was delighted to find a store called "Think BIG!" in my local mall. Over the years I purchased a number of their larger-than-life products. However, I was dismayed when their retail stores shut their doors.

I discovered that I was not alone feeling their absence. I took that as a call to action to fill the void - and a BIG void it was! That is why I started GreatBigStuff.com. We have made great strides in providing a wide selection of oversized items.

The 5-foot toothbrush is just one of their many products. It can be yours for $219.

(via Geisha asobi blog)

Posted on 8 October, 2003

New Governor

Oh yeah, we Californians have a new governor: Arnold Schwarzenegger.

I don't really care much one way or the other (we don't plan to live here too much longer). But from what I've seen of politicians, I'll take a non-politician any day.

Posted on 8 October, 2003

The Porsche 959

I'm not really into cars, but this article from AutoWeek is kind of interesting because it also involves Bill Gates. Apparently, this vehicle could not be imported to the U.S.

Canepa imported a pair of 959s for Microsoft founders Bill Gates and Paul Allen in the early 1990s, but the cars never made it past U.S. Customs officials in Oakland, California. Little did Canepa know it would be the first step of a frustrating and confusing, but ultimately rewarding, decade-long project.

Bill had a good idea:

Gates, who was becoming increasingly frustrated at having his 959 eternally tied up in the Port of Oakland's "free trade zone," suggested to Canepa that perhaps they could federalize the car by buying a number of sacrificial 959s to "crash and test." But Canepa felt that wouldn't solve the problems. No stranger to a courtroom, Gates suggested the legal approach, but even his attorney couldn't untangle the mess.

Then the article goes on with stuff way too boring to read. But there is a happy ending:

Original partners Gates and Lauren have taken delivery of their cars.

Posted on 8 October, 2003

Old Business Calculators

This site, Computomer, is for...

...those who are curious about the early development of the business calculator around the turn of the twentieth century in America. Also, for the ever-growing number of collectors, curators and just fans of this elegant machine, the "shoebox" Comptometer.

The machine pictured here is a "Super Totalizer," which was introduced in the 1930's.

Posted on 8 October, 2003

Doodles

This site is fun to browse: Doodles.

I guess it's a photoblog. Lots of images, and very few words.

Posted on 8 October, 2003

The Ladder Theory

This is interesting: The Ladder Theory.

The ladder theory is a theory of adult male/female interaction. It has its basis in many years of sociological field testing. it was first conceptualized in 1994 in Exeter, CA.

The basis of this theory is that every time you meet someone, you give them a quick mental rating. And each sex has a different rating system.

I wasn't sure if this was for real, so I read the FAQ:

Q. Are you serious or is the site just satire?

A. Nothing is just satire.

(Thanks Justin)

Posted on 8 October, 2003

For Truckers

The Virtual Truck Route is a web site for truck drivers who like truck-drivin' music.

The Virtual Truck Route offers many stops along the way. This site has been developed as a tribute to the drivers of the big rigs, to the artists of truck drivin' music, to the DJ's of the truck drivin' radio networks, and to those who love them. Happy motoring!

Posted on 8 October, 2003

Beer Openers

A web site devoted to beer openers. It's name, appropriately enough, Just For Openers.

Just for Openers was founded in 1979 by Don Bull of Wirtz, Virginia. Members in the United States and Canada mainly collect beer advertising openers and corkscrews, but may also collect soda advertising openers, figural cast iron bottle openers, can openers and non-advertising corkscrews.

The crude-looking device shown here is from the Augusta Brewing Company, in Georgia (circa 1910).

Posted on 8 October, 2003

A Chart Question

Somebody had a question about creating an Excel chart, and posted the following in the microsoft.public.excel.charting newsgroup:

I have been trying to plot the number of world series championships won over the past 80 years by each of the teams in the current baseball playoffs. My problem is that two of the teams never show up on the chart. And one only once. What causes this problem?

And here's the reply:

Weak pitching?

Posted on 8 October, 2003