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29 December, 2004

Disaster Relief Scams

It didn't take long for the scam artists to pick up on the tsunami disaster. From an email I just received:

Dear Sir/Madam,

With sympathy and heavy laden hearts, we hereby appeal to your sense of generosity to assist by donating any amount you can afford towards The "TSUNAMIS DISASTER HELP FUNDS", which is aimed at assisting the victims of the Asians Tsunamis which took place on Sunday the 26TH December, 2004.

We are a non- governmental charity organisation with offices and members across 5 continents namely Europe, North America, South America, Africa and Asia. Our goal is to assist poor, innocent survivals of both man-made and natural disasters.

Yeah, right...

Posted on 29 December, 2004

Ugly Logo?

Can anyone find an uglier logo than the one used at Blogads?

It looks like it was created by a 6-year old using Windows Paint.

My apologies, in advance, to the designer. As you can see, I know nothing about graphic design. I'm sure that logo is very cutting-edge.

Posted on 29 December, 2004

Bad News For Arizona

It's official: Arizona now 2nd fastest growing state.

In a single year, Arizona jumped from being the fourth to being the second fastest growing state in the nation, eclipsed only by Nevada, according to estimates released Dec. 20 by the U.S. Census Bureau.

I just hope this place doesn't turn into another California. Phoenix the new L.A., Tucson the new San Diego.

(via AZ Perspective and Junk)

Posted on 29 December, 2004

Car Furniture

Furniture made from car parts: Vintage Auto Furniture. Here's a table made from a Mustang.

(via Grow A Brain)

Posted on 29 December, 2004

You Asked Me

I've been neglecting the Ask J-Walk questions that have been accumulating in my inbox. Here are a few of them.

Webbie: I noticed a reoccurring theme with guitars so I'll take a guess you collect them? But how far does your collecting go? Do you have a guitar-shaped toilet lid?

Yes, I collect them, but not very seriously. Unlike a serious collector, I hang them on the wall and actually play them. I've only got 13 guitars -- but no guitar-shaped toilet lid (yet).

Jody: I read an article in a newspaper or magazine a number of years ago and never forgot this story. It goes like this- Some of the first western explorers of the Amazon rain forest heard someone singing the musical scales in the jungle at first they were amazed that the same system of music could have been evolved my tribesmen on the other side of the world. As they searched for the source they found no natives but were dumbfounded to find that it was the Sloths who were singing the major scales.

I've never heard of such a thing. If it's true, I would be dumbfounded too. Can anyone shed some light on this?

ed: How do I type in italics and boldface when I make a comment? I hate to ask technical questions, but I really don't know how to do this.

See FAQ.

Kevin: I see that Dick Kusleika likes to drink Newcastle Brown Ale, which is a favorite of mine. Is that something you stock in the house, or did he bring it with?

Lately, we've been buying it. It's Pamn's favorite. When Dick was here, I think that was the only choice (except for Coors Light, which we keep on hand for beer-butt chicken).

Bryan: I plan is to start a blog for use in my secondary business and computer classes. I want to update the blog with fresh information every day that would be interesting to the high school student, school appropriate and be something that I could use to introduce real life situations and to use in my lessons. I don't have very much to time to surf the net. What is the most efficient way to gather information for a blog? Any insight would be appreciated.

You can do what many bloggers do: Bookmark about a half-dozen good blogs, and then reproduce the entries they like. But really. I have no idea what would be interesting to high school students. Maybe you could make it a group project, and let the students write the blog? You could probably learn a lot from that.

Tracey : Just got a jukebox for a present and am looking for vinyl catalogues that will give me info on records that made charts from the 50's - 80's that I can keep as reference for chart places and value. Any ideas where I can get one?

This link might be useful: UK Top 40 Hit Database. You can find charts of the top records of each decade or year. I couldn't find a similar site for US music, but I'm sure one exists.

Jason: John, your blog is real popular and your sort of in the public eye exposed. I was wondering if you've ever had a problem with people harassing you in any way. Do you just ignore it? You seem real nice and I'm sure it doesn't happen often.

No, so far I've been lucky. Some of the stuff I've posted has ruffled a few feathers, but I've never been the target for any type of harassment.

Jim: Reading the comments, it sounds like from Pamn that you are a soup junkie! So how about giving us your top ten, or half-dozen (or whatever number) recipes so we can steal Pamn?

Yes, we do like soup. Stay tuned. In the very near future we're planning to make a different soup every day for a week. And, of course, each soup will be featured and discussed right here in the blog.

Mike: How do vending machines actually work? How do the machines know what coins are being used?

Three words: Very tiny people.

But seriously, I went to How Stuff Works, thinking I'd find a good overview of this topic. I struck out. In fact, after 10 minutes of Googling I still couldn't find a good explanation. I'm sure it's out there. I just got tired of looking for it.

Kathryn: My best friend and I are going to Mexico for a week; leaving January 7th. We'll be flying into San Diego and then driving down the Baja Peninsula. (A nice break from the upstate New York winter!) I remember that you used to live in San Diego. Do you know of any places in Baja that we shouldn't miss?

I don't think I ever drove further south than Ensenada. Tijuana might be a fun experience, but be careful and try not to get arrested. Puerto Nuevo is a small town where everyone stops to eat lobster. It used to be very inexpensive, but it's so popular that they've raised the prices. There's a nice (and inexpensive) hotel near Ensenada called Las Rosas. At least it used to be nice and inexpensive. And if you get all the way to Cabo, check out the (very expensive) Hotel Twin Dolphin. That's about all I can tell you -- which isn't much.

Posted on 29 December, 2004

Generate Fake IDs

Create your very own fake ID: Ausweis-Generator! The site is in German, but even I could figure it out.

(via Ursi's Blog)

Posted on 29 December, 2004

Localism And Blogs

Brendon Connelly is trying to start a new non-profit / charity thing called Localism: Help me lasso the Long Tail for charity.

The basic idea behind Localism is the same as with Gawker and Weblogs Inc, but the primary organizational difference is that Localism will organize blogs across two dimensions--geographic location and topic.

So you'd find blogs about snowboarding in Canada, in the PNW, and in the alps. Blogs about mountain biking in Hawai'i, Northern California and Vermont. Blogs about surfing in Oregon and blogs about surfing in Asia. Blogs about art in NYC and art in London. Blogs about professional sports teams, since they're so closely tied to location. You get the idea--place and topic.

Posted on 29 December, 2004

One More Mystery Pic

OK, try this one.

Posted on 29 December, 2004

The Office Meets The Simpsons

This should be good: Gervais writing Simpsons episode.

The Office's Ricky Gervais is writing an episode of hit US cartoon The Simpsons, following an invitation from its creator Matt Groening.

Gervais has already begun writing the script but is keeping its subject matter a closely guarded secret.

He will also write a part for himself in the episode.

"I've got the rough idea but this is the most intimidating project of my career. The Simpsons is the greatest TV show of all time," he said.

Yes it is.

Posted on 29 December, 2004

I Saw A Werewolf...

Warren Zevon wrote this:

"I saw a werewolf with a Chinese menu in his hand Walking through the streets of Soho in the rain He was looking for the place called Lee Ho Fook's Going to get a big dish of beef chow mein."

It was #1 in BBC Radio 2's Greatest Opening Song Line vote.

(Thanks Kevin)

Posted on 29 December, 2004

OK, So What's This?

This one may be a bit difficult. Maybe not.

Posted on 29 December, 2004

Remotes

A Web site devoted to remote control devices: Remote Central.

As home theaters become more and more popular, sooner or later everyone begins to experience the same basic problem: too many remote controls sitting on the coffee table. While a few such as those packaged with television sets or receivers may feature basic universal capability, it always seems there's a few buttons on every other remote that you're unable to program yet just can't live without. That's where a Universal Remote Control comes in. One unit that can learn the signals for even the most obscure feature and allow you to finally, once and for all, put the rest away.

This site is designed to be the ultimate online source for information on mid- to high-end home theater remote controls

We have four remote controls, and I don't see any need to replace them with a universal remote. I've mastered them all, and I can operate them quickly and accurately. The main problem with multiple remotes is that they look ugly sitting on the coffee table. We solved that problem by having a coffee table with drawers.

Posted on 29 December, 2004

Magnatune Blog

I've mentioned Magnatune a few times in the past. It's a music company that operates a bit differently than others.

We call it "try before you buy." It's the shareware model applied to music. Listen to 326 complete MP3 albums we've picked (not 30 second snippets).

The owner of Magnatune has a blog: Buckman's Magnatune Blog. John Buckman shares some of the sales information for his company. He shows lots of charts, and provides some very interesting analyses. For example, this chart shows how much, on average, each country volunteers to pay for an album of music.

Italians volunteer the most, and Mexicans volunteer the least.

Posted on 29 December, 2004

Overpackaging

From David Weinberger: Most over-packed item in history.

See that little bag at the top with the red things? IBM felt the need to ship it in that big box

If you've ever ordered a CD from Amazon, it probably shipped in a box that could easily hold 100 CDs.

Posted on 29 December, 2004

Panorama Ephemera

Last night I watched a movie that I downloaded from the Internet Archives: Rick Prelinger's Panorama Ephemera.

PANORAMA EPHEMERA (2004, 89:35 min., color and black and white) is a collage of sequences drawn from a wide variety of ephemeral (industrial, advertising, educational and amateur) films, touring the conflicted landscapes of twentieth-century America. The films' often-skewed visions construct an American history filled with horror and hope, unreeling in familiar and unexpected ways.

PANORAMA EPHEMERA focuses on familiar and mythical activities and images in America (1626-1978). Many creatures and substances that we hardly notice because we feel so used to them take center stage, including pigs, corn, water, telephones, fire, and rice. At first resembling a compilation, it soon reveals itself as a journey through the American landscape over time, and the story begins to emerge between the sequences.

It gets a bit slow in parts, but overall it's highly recommended.

Posted on 29 December, 2004

He's Still Black

My old buddy Glenn has abandoned pMachine (which I use) and now uses WordPress for his blog: Hi. I'm Black!

I've really been looking forward to the day where I had blogging software that wasn't AS vulnerable to those dorky ass comment spammers as pMachine (l'originale) is/was. Anyone remember when I made commenting members only? Anyone still read this? Hell my girlfriend doesn't even read this blog anymore. How sad is that?

His blog is "skinnable," so you can change the look.

I've considered moving to WordPress, and I even tried it out. I've just gotten comfortable with pMachine, and things here are working smoothly. It's not broken, so why fix it? And besides, I think I've solved pMachine's comment spam vulnerability.

Posted on 29 December, 2004

Some Type Of Photo Project

You'll either love this or you'll hate it: escape : route.

It's one of those mystery navigation sites (and, of course, it opens a new full-screen window). I have no idea what it's about or who did it. Click around and you'll find some photos. That's about all I know.

Somebody spent a lot of time doing this.

Posted on 29 December, 2004

Fruit Freshness

Does the world really need a technology that tells you when fruit is ripe? Apparently so. It's called ripeSense.

ripeSense is the worlds first intelligent sensor label that changes colour to indicate the ripeness of fruit.

The ripeSense sensor works by reacting to the aromas released by the fruit as it ripens. The sensor is initially red and graduates to orange and finally yellow. By matching the colour of the sensor with your eating preferences, you can now accurately choose fruit as ripe as you like it.

It's available only in New Zealand -- and so far, it can only handle pears.

(via Engadget)

Posted on 29 December, 2004

A List Of Lists

The end of a year means lists. Fimoculous has a list of 2004 Lists. Dozens of lists. No, hundreds of lists. All nicely categorized for your list-reading pleasure.

Posted on 29 December, 2004