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5 March, 2004

How Dick Dale Got His Start

From Fender's 60 Cycle Hum: Dick Dale, the King of the Surf Guitar, Speaks!

Q. How did you take up the guitar?

A. I was reading a Superman comic in Quincy in the early '40s. The comic book had an ad that read "sell so many jars of Noxema skin cream and you'll get this ukulele with a cowboy on it."

I'd go out every night in the snow, bang on doors throughout the neighborhood and ask them to buy the skin cream. I still use Noxzema for shaving cream (laughs)! It took about four months for me to get that ukulele. But, when I got the package, it was a piece of pressed green cardboard shaped into a ukulele. I was so discouraged, I threw it in the trashcan! So, I got a bunch of Pepsi Cola bottles, cashed them in and got a plastic ukulele for $5.95.

I bought a book to learn how to play it, but I had some trouble. The book didn't read "turn it the other way stupid, you're left-handed!" Later, my buddy and I were listening to some music that a band was playing. One of the band members was selling a flat top guitar for $8. I gave him payments of $.50 a week. Later, I asked him how I was going to play all those strings, since my ukulele only had four strings. He told me to play the strings you're used to playing and muffle the other two (laughs)!

Here's Dick Dale's Official World Wide Website.

Posted on 5 March, 2004

E-Mail Stamps

From CNN: Gates: Buy stamps to send e-mail.

If the U.S. Postal Service delivered mail for free, our mailboxes would surely runneth over with more credit-card offers, sweepstakes entries, and supermarket fliers. That's why we get so much junk e-mail: It's essentially free to send. So Microsoft Corp. chairman Bill Gates, among others, is now suggesting that we start buying "stamps" for e-mail.

It seems that this is the only anti-spam measure that has a chance of working. I think it's a great idea.

Posted on 5 March, 2004

The Vision For MS Office 12

From Mary Jo Foley's Microsoft Watch: Microsoft MVPs to Get Office 12 Sneak Peek.

Early next month, Microsoft is set to share its vision for its next-generation Office, Windows, database and other products with hundreds of its Most Valuable Professionals (MVPs).

MVPs are the independent technology buffs who are recognized experts in one or more Microsoft technologies. They complement Microsoft executives, product managers and developers in tasks ranging from answering online forum questions, to assisting Microsoft at trade shows and other events. The MVP program is eleven years old.

Coincidentally, I happen to be a Microsoft MVP, and I'll be attending that event. It will be my third trip to the MVP Global Summit. Frankly, most of the meetings are pretty boring. But the Excel sessions are good, and it's always fun to meet up with other Excel geeks, down a few beers, and exchange theories about why Excel hasn't been getting any useful new features lately.

The article also says:

For the past few years, Microsoft has convened an annual MVP summit where these evangelists hear about Microsoft's current and forthcoming products straight from the developers, product managers and top management.

Please, Mary Jo. Don't call me an evangelist! Billy Graham is an evangelist. Robert Scoble is an evangelist. I am NOT an evangelist. Thank you.

Posted on 5 March, 2004

The House Of Books

A house made of books? Kind of. It's called Casa di Libri No.1.

Can you imagine a house made out of books? A house in which even the table, the chairs and the bed seem to have been made of pages to turn and bound covers? You might say that this is a dream turned into reality by Livio De Marchi!

Items in the house are carved from wood, and they appear to be books. Even the bookcase is filled with wooden books.

(via The Presurfer)

Posted on 5 March, 2004


This is kind of interesting: BrowserSpy.

BrowserSpy can tell you all kinds of detailed information about you and your browser. Stuff like the version of your browser. What kind of things it supports and what it doesn't support. Furthermore it can provide you detailed information about JavaScript, Java, Plug-ins, Components, Bandwidth, Language, Screen, Hardware, IP, Cookies, Web Server, and much more....

Posted on 5 March, 2004

Whole Wheat Radio Blog

Jim Kloss, the man behind the webcasting phenomenon known as Whole Wheat Radio, has started a blog. He even took my advice and used pMachine.

I'll give this blog about a week and a half before it's abandoned.

Posted on 5 March, 2004

Tiny Tim's Ukulele

At eBay: Vintage 1920s era Kumalae Ukulele [from the] estate of Tiny Tim.

You are bidding on a Kumalae Gold Award ukelele that was owned and played by the legendary, flamboyant entertainer Herbert Khaury, aka Tiny Tim. The ukelele has been commissioned to us for auction by Tiny Tim's daughter, Tulip. Included with the auction is the case that the entertainer used to transport this particular instrument as well as the other contents of the case at the time it was given to Tulip by her stepmother Sue Khaury.

Inside the ukulele case he left phone bills, lottery tickets, stamps and even a song that he wrote for OJ Simpson during the infamous murder trial.

The reserve is $2,900. Only two days left. So far, not a single bid.

(via Ukulelia)

Posted on 5 March, 2004

Pope Quiz

How much do you know about popes? Take the Pope Quiz (AKA the Catholic Scandal Quiz).

By the way, the image shown here is for decorative purposes only. That guy is not the pope, and I'm pretty sure that he has never been a pope.

He's simply posing in an authentic Deluxe Pope Hat that he purchased for $22.00. He got it from Cosmic Outfitters. Did you know that state law prohibits the return of wigs or hats? Even pope hats.

(via thirdredeye)

Posted on 5 March, 2004

Bob Vila, Spammer?

News flash: Bob Vila Web site sued for spam.

An Internet service provider sued the operator and online marketer of the BobVila.com home improvement Web site on Thursday for allegedly violating a new federal anti-spam law.

In a suit filed in federal court in San Francisco, Hypertouch Inc., a small Internet service provider based in Foster City, Calif., accused BVWebTies LLC and BlueStream Media of sending e-mail ads for Bob Vila's "Home Again Newsletter" to recipients who had specifically requested to be removed from that e-mail list.

I never did like that guy.

Posted on 5 March, 2004

Happy Birthday Spam!

From Netcraft: Spam's Tenth Birthday Today.

Ten years ago today, spam as we know it was born. On 5 March 1994, a message was posted to some Usenet newsgroups by a law firm called Canter and Siegel, advertising their services for the U.S. Green Card lottery. It sounds mild enough today, but at the time that move and its follow-ups provoked increasing outrage across the Net. Many were appalled that "netiquette" - the unspoken rules that hitherto had maintained order in cyberspace - had been breached, sensing perhaps that things would never be the same again.

I remember that. But I think they have the date wrong. Here's a Usenet post from 15 February, 1994.

Canter and Siegel went on to write a book, which is still available at Amazon: How to Make a Fortune on the Information Superhighway: Everyone's Guerrilla Guide to Marketing on the Internet and Other On-Line Services

Posted on 5 March, 2004

Concealable Weapons

For tips on how to hide weapons, check out the FBI Guide to Concealable Weapons (PDF file).

In the wake of the September 11, 2001, airline hijackings the FIREARMS AND TOOLMARKS UNIT of the FBI LABORATORY has started a collection of small and easily concealed knives. This is the first installment of a continuing effort to collect and distribute information on knives that otherwise may be dismissed as non threatening items.

Shown here is a pocket full of pens. Or is it? Actually, those pens are all knives -- enough weaponry to force a 747 to make an unscheduled landing.

(via Gizmodo)

Posted on 5 March, 2004

The Ultimate Sneakwrap Agreement?

From Ed Foster's GripeLog: The Worst Sneakwrap Agreement.

Over eight years ago a reader first called my attention to the license agreement for "The Breeder's Standard," a software package for dog kennel owners and breeders from Man's Best Friend Software, Inc. (MBFS) of Antioch, IL... MBFS's software license agreement had quite an array of liquidated damage clauses of its own, including $1.5 million for any violations of broadly-worded non-compete clauses. My favorite part though was the $5,000 liquidated damages one agreed to pay for any credit card chargeback (i.e., a charge that's reversed after the cardholder disputes it) made against the company for whatever reason.

Read it for yourself. Here's an excerpt:

You may not discuss the contents of any page of our web sites, or publish the contents of any page on our web sites, to any third party. This includes, but is not limited to, our competitors, any Internet mailing list, any vendor, and any previous, current or prospective customer. In the event that you violate this provision, the damage to MBFS is incalculable, and you agree, in lieu of a trial or hearing on damages, to pay MBFS the sum of US$5000 per publication, as liquidated damages and not as a penalty.

For example, suppose I wrote this at my blog:

MBFS sells a software produce called CompuPed for $129, but I would never buy it from them because I don't agree with their absurd user agreement.

If I did write that, then I would owe them $5,000 because I discussed the contents of their site.

How about this excerpt?

By using the Site, you agree, for a period of one year from the date and time you last use the Site, not to publish any private or public derogatory comment about MBFS, its products, service, or employees (past or present).

Do they really think that legal garbage like this is enforceable? Why would anyone do business with a company like this?

Posted on 5 March, 2004

Cell Phone Background Sounds

If you use a cell phone and want to fake out the person you're talking to, consider SoundCover.

Did you ever wish you could hide your location when talking on the phone? Ever wanted to give the impression you were somewhere else?

SounderCover gives you the ability to add a background sound to any incoming or outgoing call, giving the impression that you really are in the environment where the background sound is normally heard.

I wonder how many people need to lie about being at a circus parade?

Posted on 5 March, 2004


Find out what's hot in the world of blogs: BlogPulse.

And here's an article in Wired about it: Warning Blogs Can Be Infectious.

Using newly developed techniques for graphing the flow of information between blogs, the researchers have discovered that authors of popular blog sites regularly borrow topics from lesser-known bloggers -- and they often do so without attribution

Posted on 5 March, 2004

The California Experience

Some of you may not have seen this: The California Experience. It's just a simple JavaScript app that gives your browser a good shaking.

Posted on 5 March, 2004

RSS Files

If you don't use an RSS reader, check out this Slate article to see what you're missing: How To Speed-Read the Net.

Most major newspapers and nearly all blogs-in a lightweight, speed-readable format that lets you scan dozens, even hundreds, of fresh headlines a day without the time-wasting tedium of opening one Web site after another. All you need to do is download and install an RSS reader, which is no harder than installing Netscape's browser was in 1994.

I use a web-based RSS reader: Bloglines. Installation not necessary.

Posted on 5 March, 2004

Monster Cards

I vaguely remember these: Monster Cards of the 1950's and 1960's.

A Non-Sports Card Guide to Classic Monster Cards. Descriptions, Photos, Price Guide, Articles and Information.

This is from 1959:

Posted on 5 March, 2004

Microsoft's SenseCam

From Wired: Does SenseCam Make Any Sense?

SenseCam, touted as a visual diary of sorts by Microsoft, is designed to be worn around the neck and take up to 2,000 images in a 12-hour day automatically.

The prototype responds to changes such as bright lights and sudden movements and might one day even respond to other stimuli such as heart rate or skin temperature -- to track medical problems as easily as to record a Hawaiian vacation. And it could eventually link with other technology, such as face recognition to remind wearers when they've seen someone before.

This could be very handy for us old folks who are losing their memory.

Posted on 5 March, 2004