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8 January, 2004

Privacy And The U.S. Government

From CNET: Treasury breaks word on e-mail anonymity.

The U.S. Treasury Department plans to publish nearly 10,000 e-mail addresses on the Web, violating its privacy promise to Americans who used e-mail to comment on a government proceeding.

Well, nobody really thinks they can trust the U.S. government, do they?

Posted on 8 January, 2004

False Perspective

A small collection of false perspective photos. I really want to try some shots like these.

This is one part of the Best of B3ta 2003.

Posted on 8 January, 2004

Happy Birthday Jimbo

As regular readers know, I'm a big fan of Whole Wheat Radio -- a tiny webcast based in Alaska. The webcast is the brainchild of Jim Kloss, and today is his birthday. Happy 48th birthday, Jimbob!

And check out this most excellent poetic tribute, by Sol.

The photo below was taken at the White House, when Jim was attending a high-level meeting with George W.

Posted on 8 January, 2004

Lessons From Busking

From Washington Monthly, an article by Nicholas Thompson: What the ailing record industry can learn from a successful subway musician.

Every two weeks or so, I pack up my Taylor acoustic guitar, fill my backpack with CDs of my music, and head down into the New York City subways to busk away...

When I first started playing in the subways, I experimented with different prices for my albums: $2, $5, $8, $10. I sold slightly more CDs at $2, but far fewer at $8 or $10. The sweet spot seemed to be a price of $5. Later, I gave up pricing my CDs altogether when I got a ticket for selling CDs in the NYC subways. Now I post a sign saying that my CDs are technically free, but they cost something to make, and people should pay what they want. Occasionally someone will take one for free. Sometimes a passerby will drop $20 into my guitar case. But the mean, median, and mode are all, again, $5.

This confirms what I've been saying for more than a year. CDs should cost $5.00. The article makes lots of other good points. Highly recommended.

Here's a link to Nick's web site. You can buy a CD for $10.

(via Metafilter)

Posted on 8 January, 2004

Gzip Follow-up

Yesterday I did a gzip test to see if compressing the files at this site would have any benefit. Thanks to all who loaded that test file and posted a comment. Most people didn't notice any speed difference, but several did (notably, those with a slow connection).

I also examined my site stats, and found the following:

My "normal" index file: average size = 32.3K
My gzip test index file: average size = 15.6K

These numbers do not include the images. For for text transfer, this technique seems to cut the bandwidth in half.

So, I've now added the code to gzip the index and archive pages. Hopefully, the dial-up users will notice the difference.

Posted on 8 January, 2004

Suing Wal-Mart

I can't decide if this is funny or sad: Couple Sues Wal-Mart For Overfilled Grocery Bag.

According to a lawsuit filed Wednesday, the handle and the bottom of an overstuffed bag broke when Brenda and Ronald Sager returned home from a trip to the Wal-Mart in East Huntingdon Township.

The contents of the bag -- including a 32-ounce jar of Miracle Whip, a 46-ounce bottle of ketchup and fruit cans -- fell on Brenda Sager's right ankle, foot and toes.

She's suing for $30,000. But she'll probably settle for $25,000.

Posted on 8 January, 2004

Stock Photos From LuckyPix

Here's a stock photo site that's interesting to browse: LuckyPix. It's a...

...growing collection of some of the most unique and serendipitous images in stock photography. Whether you're a buy or a contributor, welcome to a new brand of pictures.

Here's one by Tom Maday called Woman as seen through a pair of propped-up sandals.

Posted on 8 January, 2004

Music Fun From The BBC

This is at the BBC site: Onestudio Sequencer (requires Shockwave). Just drag some icons into the grid to create some music.

If you get tired of the sequencer, try the Onestudio Mixer.

Posted on 8 January, 2004

Mary Ellen Marks Photos

Photos by Mary Ellen Mark.

Mary Ellen Mark has achieved worldwide visibility through her numerous books, exhibitions and editorial magazine work. She has published photo-essays and portraits in such publications as LIFE, New York Times Magazine, New Yorker, Rolling Stone, Vogue, US and the London Sunday Times Magazine. For almost three decades, she has traveled extensively to make pictures that reflect a high degree of humanism. Today, she is recognized as one of our most respected and influential photographers.

The photo shown here is from her Miami Beach series (1979).

Posted on 8 January, 2004

Geek Superhero

This software sounds like it might be useful: Geek Superhero.

It watches dozens and dozens of important settings on your computer and warns you if any program has changed them. This catches many of the changes a virus, worm, or trojan program will make to your computer and lets you immediately fix them back! Plus Geek Superhero includes a lot of other useful features like a Popup blocker and more!

I wonder if it will prevent Real player from hijacking all of your media file associations?

Posted on 8 January, 2004

More Nonsense From Adobe?

I saw this in Slashdot this morning: Photoshop CS Adds Banknote Image Detection, Blocking?

A visitor to the Adobe Photoshop-for-Windows Forum has described a curious 'feature' with Photoshop 8 (also known as 'CS'). Seems this latest version of Adobe's flagship product has the built-in ability to detect that an image is of American currency. Something has been built into Photoshop's core coding that can detect something in images of currency and will prevent the user from opening the file.

So, presumably, Photoshop CS won't open this image:

Here's the link to the Adobe forum. It's slashdotted big-time, and I haven't been able to look at it.

Posted on 8 January, 2004

Toothpaste For Dinner

I like these drawings/cartoons, from a site called Toothpaste For Dinner. Here's one called Plans With Hamster:

(via Gruntled)

Posted on 8 January, 2004

Windows 1.03

From the DigiBarn Computer Museum: Windows 1.03. These images from 1985 bring back memories of a kinder, simpler computing experience.

Posted on 8 January, 2004

A Patriotic Rock

This rock, located  in Iowa, just might be the most patriot rock in the world.

Posted on 8 January, 2004

Software To Avoid

Coming soon: More worthless software from RealNetworks. See Universal media player unveiled.

RealNetworks today unveils the Switzerland of media players -- a RealPlayer 10 that supports all major media types, including those from rivals Microsoft and Apple Computer.

The RealPlayer 10 reflects RealNetworks' increasing focus on packaging and delivering Internet content for a $5.95 monthly subscription fee. The media player neatly organizes content into a guide form that makes finding live newscasts or checking the latest sports scores as easy as changing channels on a TV.

The final paragraph sums it up nicely.

The drawback for consumers is that the RealPlayer relentlessly prods the user to subscribe to RealNetworks' premium SuperPass service.

Tell me about it. RealNetworks has mastered the art of annoying software users.

Posted on 8 January, 2004

Fake Dogs

This fake dog spoof is pretty good.

Each Realdog is hand crafted to exact specifications, using the same high grade materials used by Canada's top special effects wizards. We use an exclusive formulation of ultra non-flammable dryer lint, which emulates the soft, fluffy fur of real doggies.

Every dog contains an articulated exoskeleton, with joints that realistically approximate the range of motion found in the canine body.

Don't overlook the FAQ.

Posted on 8 January, 2004

Creative Sugar

Have you ever seen decorated sugar cubes?

You can do lots of things with sugar. Including building a dollhouse.

(via The Future of Real Estate)

Posted on 8 January, 2004