Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The Escapist - Online mag or rag?

The Escapist

The Escapist, on issue 34, is an online zine mostly about online gaming. Well you say, so what? Aren't there many zines out there now talking about online gaming? I'd say yes, but this one has some high points.

My favorite thing, though it takes getting used to, is the interface. The front page is always the latest zine 'cover'. Not a bunch of flashing images, links scrolling down the side, and a 10 advertisement buttons, but a simple single image. The links are cleverly tied into the image with background hotspots.

Each hotspot link takes you directly to an article or other zine section, such as letters to the editor. The standout design continues from there! Each article is formatted to display a screen at a time, with no scrolling.

The articles are present each with a single background image, and clean contrasted text. To read through an article, previous and next buttons are provided in a neat navigation bar at the bottom right.

Other positives are that the articles are tailored for children. Some of their latest topics include online anonymity, and the (post)sexual revolution online.

The combination of format and content makes this a page worth visiting. And best of all, you don't have to! It supports as RSS feed.

As a final note, they even compete with gaming rag format via a pdf version.

All in all, if you are into gaming, give this site a few moments.

Note: they also cover other gaming besides online, a recent article on the DS game, Animal Crossing Wild World is an example.

Monday, February 27, 2006

equipped - a picture for my photographer friends

Originally uploaded by helveticaneue.
Great self-portrait by a photographer.
One commenter noted the borg-likeness of the shot.

That is sorta what caught my eye, as well as the red contrasted against the blacks and greys.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

All that snow and dogs too..8 Below

So I broke down and saw the movie everyone is talking about, Eight Below.

Well, I can definitely say it was long. If you are in the mood for a quick family friendly fix, this is not that movie. The whole movie was tame enough all but very young or impressionable children would be fine, however, the pace was slower than molasses.

Overall nearly two hours in length, the majority of the action takes place in the second half hour. Between time is filled with lots of great outdoors shots of snow and ice. Admittedly scenes most of us will never see in person. The time we are not checking out the scenery, we are watching people, wth some brief, family friendly, and generally unexciting conversation. So unless your kids can find some interest in watching dogs walk around, people mill around, or enjoy the shots, then maybe leave them at home.

On the other hand, if you like watching dogs play in the snow, wonderful panaromic shots, and a couple of decent looking actors, then this is the movie for you. It is a feel good movie for sure, and honestly not that bad.

Warnings: some violence with the dogs, some tense moments of danger
Upside: no human violence, no foul language, no sex, no nudity


Friday, February 24, 2006

Thomas Hawk's Digital Connection: iTunes, One Billion Suckers Served

Thomas Hawk's Digital Connection: iTunes, One Billion Suckers Served

I almost didn't want to blog a link to this one, since I'd hesitate to recommend the opinion. But in all fairness, it is probably not an uncommon opinion. In summary, if you are using iTunes and ITMS, you are a sucker!

Okay, talk about a wide swath to cut yourself out to support. I'd say as arguements go, they are pretty much over when you start calling names. :)

This post basically comes across with two points(almost one), that Apples DRM and AAC format are a problem. The implication is that Apple is leading folks down the primrose path with this combination.

And why you ask is this setup so evil? Well, the answer according to the blog is new technology. Yes, that's right, new technology. It seems that in the future Apple's DRM/encoding format will no longer supported. Now if you are a technogeek at all, this is probably seems all but obvious. Heck witness vinyl, tape, and CDs...um wait, people are still using those technologies. Not many, but yes, some.

The solution recommended is to buy CDs. And if you must play them on some music device other than a CD player, well then rip them to MP3 format. At least it's a safe and unlikely target of new technology. I guess Ogg Vorbis, and other's are just not a threat.

Now this much is true, technology evolves, sadly people don't seem to. But just because folks take the easy route with a technology and latch onto it, doesn't make them suckers. CDs are the easy way out right now, but they wear out, they are prone to heat damage and ripping from them definitely has some data loss potential. So these are just as likely to be replaced in the future, if not the near future.

So all the emotion aside, are people suckers? I've always thought so. Do they become bigger suckers for using iTunes/ITMS? Not really.

So, buy what you want, make the best of it, and heck, if you have to buy that music again, it'll be just like old times. (vinyl, eight track, cassette, CD, mp3)


NARA on Google Video

National Archives on Google Video
Okay, this is going to be cool, but who will care.

Google is going to digitize the National Archive film holdings. At first blush this might seem like a great thing. I mean hey, who doesn't want to preserve our history. But seriously, how is going to maintain it and pay for it? And where is it going to be stored?

Is Google going to own this archive of the archive? Will they store it on one type of media forever or will it be migrated into newer storage technologies as they arrive?

Now I'm a big Google fan, but where does it in? Will I wake up one day to find Google is offering to digitize me?


Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Flickr: Photos tagged with pepsi

Photo Tagged Images at Flickr

Some interesting, some not so..but Pepsi products are my favorite. And not just because they are the underdog right now. :)

Truly, Pepsi just tastes better than that other dark cola.

1 Timothy follow up

Well, Wednesday night went well. The men and women formed one group.

I must say leading the group was a bit different. The men's group is smaller and chimes in more often. I'm not sure how the women's group is normally, but it seems that only a few of them are of the raising hands variety.

Overall though it was a great experience, (thank you Lord). The lesson focused on prayer as a church, and church unity. See 1Tim 2:8 and associated text. Which I should post here somewhere. I used my typical style of reading the core verses and leading the group through the topic. Along the way we stop to discuss the verse and ask questions.

Some of the women shared with me afterwards how much they enjoyed the format, as well as the topic. I had to prompt a few of them to get involved, but no one seemed the worse for wear.

One great question, is it a sin to misquote the Bible if done on accident?

What do you think? If you aren't a Christian, how about in your religion, to misquote your scriptures?

More later,

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Welcome Elliott!

Welcome Elliott David to our fine world.
As promised, I have a link to Elliot's first website and photos.


Official Google Blog: Response to the DoJ motion

Official Google Blog: Response to the DoJ motion

I enjoy the fact that Google is just applying common sense here, but you can almost here the frustration on one hand, and a hint of sarcasm on the other.

Heaven forbid someone would just read this and go, duh!

Anxiously awaiting...

Friday, February 17, 2006

Voltaire quote

Men are equal; it is not birth but virtue that makes the difference.
French author, humanist, rationalist, & satirist (1694 - 1778)

Henry David Thoreau Quote

The cost of a thing is the amount of what I call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run.
Henry David Thoreau
US Transcendentalist author (1817 - 1862)

Elatable » Creators, Synthesizers, and Consumers

Elatable » Creators, Synthesizers, and Consumers

Great article on content as related to what percentage of folks are creators vs consumers.

This sort of thing applies across many fields and genres. It specifically applies of course to social sites as mentioned in the article, but also to other social experiences. Art and even participatory art are like this.

Online RPGs actually have this aspect also. In games like Everquest and World of Warcraft have a very few folks doing content creation, the synthesizers would be guilds and player organizations. Where as everyone enjoys the content and sythesization that takes place.

An online community where this really abounds is Second Life. Though anyone can create, what you find is there exists a core of individuals that create a majority of the content. Then above and beyond them, another group of folks, like myself, that use and combine and slightly modify that content. Beyond that, most folks just reap the benefits without investing any time in creation.

Our society is all about pyramids. We should have learned that from the Egyptians.


Thursday, February 16, 2006

Launching canopy USS Norfolk SSN714

Notes attached
Originally uploaded by bootbearwdc.
The USS Norfolk was the second submarine I was assigned to.

God Shined His Light Down

God Shined His Light Down
Originally uploaded by Coriebean.
Just had to post a link to this awesome photograph.
Taken by a loving husband for his wife.

Flickr: Photos from Simon Pais

Flickr: Photos from Simon Pais

Quite interesting and inventive photocomposition!
Some of these are just amazing.
Mostly G-rated stuff, but there are a very few naked rear ends, but very tasteful overall.



Well, my friend is too tired and worn out to blog about his new baby, so I will.

Welcome to the world Elliot.

Elliot joined us on Valentine's Day, so even this post is late in getting on the net.

Congratulations to Mike and his wife Emily on their new son.

I'll put a link here when Mike finally gets around to posting a baby picture.


Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Official Google Blog: Testimony: The Internet in China

Official Google Blog: Testimony: The Internet in China

This is the word straight from the proverbial horses mouth, straight to congress.

I personally found this testimony clear, on topic, and thoughtful, albiet wordy.

It makes clear one point, Google is not filtering Google.com, they are ADDING Google.cn. Google.cn will be inside China as an additional service.

Couple other key points:
1) Access to Google.com will not be blocked, removed or otherwise filtered by Google.
2) No Blogger or Gmail will be hosted in China to protect privacy.

Obviously emotions run high on this, but mine has shifted more towards a positive view of this effort.


New MacOS 10.4.4 hacked for non-Apple x86 PCs

New MacOS 10.4.4 hacked for non-Apple x86 PCs | News.blog | CNET News.com

Blogged for the interesting note at the bottom, quoted from inside the kernel.


LiveScience.com - The Future of Science: A Conversation with Alan Lightman

LiveScience.com - The Future of Science: A Conversation with Alan Lightman

Alan Lightman is one of the top minds of our times, so of course he has much to say, http://web.mit.edu/humanistic/www/faculty/lightman.html

I'll post detailed thoughts on this interview later, but it is an interesting read. The answers mark out Lightman's opinion of the US is that we are in an 'anti-intellectual' period.

Hmmm, I have mixed feelings about that statement. I believe people society is always driven by self interest. If the US is going through anything now it is a period of over-tolerance.

Anyway, read the article, post your opinion here, there or on your own blog.


1 Timothy, it's in the Bible you know

Our church is currently working through 1 Timothy during Sunday mornings. On Wednesdays, the men's group has been keeping in that vein with Bible study. We often use a read, question, discuss format and incorporate related scriptures.

The women's group though, yes we have seperate groups, usually only references the Sunday sermon tangentially(sp?) and often covers an entirely different subject.

So is this a problem you say? Well, not normally. And overall, not in my opinion is there anything wrong with either group chosing to not always dig deeper on a Sunday sermon. But tonight it's a potential issue.

Our normal women's group leader won't be there, and it is short notice. So the pastor has asked me to lead a combined group.....you can see where this is going.

So, where does that leave me? How do you approach leading a combined group such that you make it a postive and fruitful experience for as many as possible, both men and women.

Another downside is that some of the folks won't be early enough to get a heads up and others will. Some individuals are very uncomfortable about being in a mixed group, others have mentioned being excited about the opportunity.

Oh well, didn't solve anything here, but say a prayer it works out.


Password Insanity (by Jeremy Zawodny)

Password Insanity

When I read this blog post I almost laughed out loud. Or would have if it wasn't sadly becoming the standard.

The worst part as a commenter mentioned is that passwords have become so complex, and we are required to have so many, that most folks have taken to writing them down or using very simple passwords, such as MyTimmy.1 or some such.

Not that I'm sure a crack program would fair any better against MyTimmy.1 than say *234,8jdf3 but your local security director might disagree.

Me, I'd use Security.password.1 and see if anyone notices. :)


How to Become an Early Riser

How to Become an Early Riser

This is a great article opinion piece.
It is basically how I operate and can't imagine folks successfully do it any other way.

I've found that the most consistent folks I work with are the ones that are consistent in rising and coming to work. Or maybe that is just because that's how I am?!


Monday, February 13, 2006

New law could ban US servers in China

New law could ban US servers in China

I'm not sure how I feel about this move by the government.
Personally I don't think any organization should welcome doing business in China if they have to deal with the government.

The government's evil doings may be exaggerated but the reports of atrocity aren't totally untrue.

On the other hand, I've always felt that a little capitalism goes a long way towards affecting change in communist countries. Sadly it starts as an underground thing or with the top government pleebs or both.

But on the other hand, being a Christian brings up mixed feelings. On one hand they have been reported to openly abusing, jailing, and killing Christians. The government believes they Christians pose a threat. On the flip side, Christians are called to go where they can, share what they can and pray for everyone, especially those that would persecute them.

If my job called me to go to China, I'd have to pray about it, but I'm going to believe that God would use me there in some way.

So I'll say a prayer knowing that God will make good use of whatever happens in the future.

Google and Yahoo, spread your wings but respect the values you claim to have.


Top 10 Things All Switchers Should Know at Plastic Bugs

Top 10 Things All Switchers Should Know at Plastic Bugs

Thought my friends might like this short list of things folks switching to Apple should know.

Please keep in mind this list is written with a bit of humor.


Just an ordinary Monday

Just another ordinary Monday. Get to work, and not there two hours and some litte thing misbehaves. Not a new thing, but something that rarely happens.
Needless to say, it is now very urgent to get it fixed.

No big deal, just another Monday. It is actually a nice diversion.

Too bad this will be one of those fix it quick versus reinvent sort of things. The whole process not just the one piece needs revisited. The whole process is just a bit too busy and carries too much work load for what its target function is.

The current process chunks over every document it is gathering for processing. This leads to a problem with excessively large documents in a limited resource environment. My fix is going to be to relocate the work into a process that just does that and out of band with a synchronous process. But toying with that concept makes it evident that several other pieces of the big process could use the same touch.

Anyway, one other thing is that the current process tree requires a rough level of testing and offers few opportunities to test individual pieces. Currently break points would be required and manual tests conducted.

Oh well, we'll just have to add that to the job jar.


Sunday, February 12, 2006

More things learned on a submarine...

1) Blue nose isn't about being cold...or is it
2) Greased isn't about being fast
3) Whatever they tell you, it ain't fresh
4) Women love submariner's
5) But a little aftershave goes a long way
6) Women visiting a sub should think modest
7) Trash is everyone's job
8) No matter how the movies portray it, sitting in sonar puts you to sleep
9) You can ping something besides a computer
10) Losing a ping is a lot more scary in the submarine world

Ninja Wisdom

Ninja Wisdom

Don't ask how I got here, but this is funny.

OK, probably only funny if you watch ninja movies. :)


Things I learned on a submarine...

1) Fresh meat doesn't refer to your dinner
2) Being blue isn't about being sad
3) The sound of turnbines can be restful
4) Hotracking isn't about bed warmers
5) They really do say 'Dive! Dive! Dive!'
6) A little grease, oil and dirt never killed anyone
7) But the smell of diesel fuel takes a long time to come out
8) Manuevering isn't about steering the ship
9) Control isn't about running the engines
10) There are 'facilities' in the engine room if it's urgent



Homepage for that new old game Sudoku.
They have a trial version of their software, and a contest to win a free version.


A not so recent photo Posted by Picasa

Rcjsan's Anime Freak Blog

Rcjsan's Anime Freak Blog
My son's first attempt at a personal blog.

Things I've learned in Everquest

1) Hearing the ding sound is its own small high
2) Most things in the world hate you
3) Carpets can fly!
4) You only find the bad guy's loot if you kill him
5) Timeliness in humans is rare
6) Everyone you meet has a story to tell (if they are of any value is another thing)
7) They can take your home (Sony server moves)
8) Things that look good can still be worthless
9) Even ogres have a sense of cultural and self identity
10) Random things you find on the ground can be valuable but only if you find matching pieces

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Earn Your Traffic (by Jeremy Zawodny)

Earn Your Traffic (by Jeremy Zawodny)

This topic is about getting more traffic to your web page but it's really about sooo much more.

I commented on this but on his blog but I'll say it again here for lazy readers.

I hear folks talk about finding the right guy or gal and what techniques work best to get them to draw to you. The best technique isn't putting on a facade but becoming the type of person that draws a great guy/gal.

The same should apply to how companies hire coders. Instead of weeding through too many folks you don't want, why not become the type of place that good coders flock too.

Sadly, I know I've read that last thought somewhere before, so I won't take credit.

Trust People and They'll Surprise You (by Jeremy Zawodny)

Trust People and They'll Surprise You (by Jeremy Zawodny)

Thoughtful piece of group self organization and trust.
Business and large group focus. Also a funny read.

Wonder how this would work in my neck of the woods?

Sketch Swap

Sketch Swap
Cute toy on the net!
Submit and get a drawing.
Would work best with graphic tablet, and it says that.

Things I learned at work this week

1) if you don't know how to test it, do you really know what your target is
2) design the test first
3) not all tools cost money
4) your boss won't always get it
5) sometimes he will
6) being an analyst isn't all it's cracked up to be
7) revisit old things, you never know who you are today
8) programmers can bake


Things I learned in Animal Crossing

Your community likes it when:
1) you plant things
2) you pull up weeds
3) you don't litter
4) you contribute something back
5) you write letters
6) you talk to people
7) when you get a bigger house

Individuals like it when:
1) you give them a catchphrase
2) you design their clothes
3) you buy their junk
4) you visit their house
5) they can visit your house
6) you send them mail
7) you give them compliments

You'll profit if:
1) you fish
2) collect seashells
3) dig things up
4) mail gifts - you get ones in return
5) buy insurance
6) grow fruit


Saturday, February 04, 2006

Google Food Photo Blog - a photoset on Flickr

Google Food Photo Blog - a photoset on Flickr

This flickr collection is scary and interesting at the same time.
What people eat is a whole science, what they eat at Google...well you decide.

This is purpoted to be one man's sampling of his feeding frenzy at Google.

Gee, if i'd have only known folks cared.