This ranks right up there with the Pi pie (which I'll post in a couple days) for awesomeness in the geekery category.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Apparently this is a real assignment received by an English Professor.
(Update: now you can actually read it!)
RECEIVED FROM AN ENGLISH PROFESSOR: This assignment was actually turned in by two of my English students:
Rebecca --last name deleted-- and Gary --last name deleted-- English 44A, SMU'S Creative Writing, Prof Miller
In-class Assignment for Wednesday Today we will experiment with a new form called the tandem story. The process is simple. Each person will pair off with the person sitting to his or her immediate right. One of you will then write the first paragraph of a short story. The partner will read the first paragraph and then add another paragraph to the story. The first person will then add a third paragraph, and so on back and forth. Remember to reread what has been written each time in order to keep the story coherent. The story is over when both agree a conclusion has been reached.
At first, Laurie couldn't decide which kind of tea she wanted. The chamomile, which used to be her favorite for lazy evenings at home, now reminded her too much of Carl, who once said, in happier times, that he liked chamomile. But she felt she must now, at all costs, keep her mind off Carl. His possessiveness was suffocating, and if she thought about him too much her asthma started acting up again. So chamomile was out of the question.
Meanwhile, Advance Sergeant Carl Harris, leader of the attack squadron now in orbit over Skylon 4, had more important things to think about than the neuroses of an air-headed asthmatic bimbo named Laurie with whom he had spent one sweaty night over a year ago. "A.S. Harris to Geostation 17," he said into his transgalactic communicator. "Polar orbit established. No sign of resistance so far..." But before he could sign off a bluish particle beam flashed out of nowhere and blasted a hole through his ship's cargo bay.
The jolt from the direct hit sent him flying out of his seat and across the cockpit. He bumped his head and died almost immediately, but not before he felt one last pang of regret for psychically brutalizing the one woman who had ever had feelings for him. Soon afterwards, Earth stopped its pointless hostilities towards the peaceful farmers of Skylon 4. "Congress Passes Law Permanently Abolishing War and Space Travel," Laurie read in her newspaper one morning. The news simultaneously excited her and bored her. She stared out the window, dreaming of her youth -- when the days had passed unhurriedly and carefree, with no newspapers to read, no television to distract her from her sense of innocent wonder at all the beautiful things around her. "Why must one lose one's innocence to become a woman?" she pondered wistfully.
Little did she know, but she has less than 10 seconds to live. Thousands of miles above the city, the Anu'udrian mothership launched the first of its lithium fusion missiles. The dim-witted wimpy peaceniks who pushed the Unilateral Aerospace Disarmament Treaty through Congress had left Earth a defenseless target for the hostile alien empires who were determined to destroy the human race. Within two hours after the passage of the treaty the Anu'udrian ships were on course for Earth, carrying enough firepower to pulverize the entire planet. With no one to stop them, they swiftly initiated their diabolical plan. The lithium fusion missile entered the atmosphere unimpeded. The President, in his top-secret mobile submarine headquarters on the ocean floor off the coast of Guam, felt the inconceivably massive explosion which vaporized Laurie and 85 million other Americans. The President slammed his fist on the conference table. "We can't allow this! I'm going to veto that treaty! Let's blow'em out of the sky!"
This is absurd. I refuse to continue this mockery of literature. My writing partner is a violent, chauvinistic, semi-literate adolescent.
Yeah? Well, you're a self-centered tedious neurotic whose attempts at writing are the literary equivalent of Valium.
I found this at opey.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
I came across a sweet little digital toy online today that is basically an electronic Rubik's Cube. There is a little LCD on each square and you drag on them to rotate. The cube is called the Fentix Cube and is available in limited quantities from the Kinetica Museum in London.
This is a sad day for freedom. Just yesterday, the popular website tv-links.co.uk was shut down by a multinational police investigation led by FACT, an anti-copyright infringement group. The part that really sucks is that tv-links never even hosted illegal content, AT ALL. The site merely linked to video on Google and a few other video sites. Everything that could be seen as illegal was on other sites, yet tv-links got shut down and the owner arrested for finding this content and linking to it. This effectively makes the entire internet illegal since linking to something that isn't yours is apparently infringing copyrights, and I don't think that's right. The staff of tv-links has started an online petition to try to do something about this, and I encourage everybody to sign it, just click on the link to sign.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
I read about a practice that I find appalling that is happening right now in Cambodia, and probably many other places. They're called beer girls, and the spend their evenings and nights working at the bar trying to sell their employer's brand of beer. That's not the disturbing part though. What really bothers me is that most beer distributors hire these girls from poor families with promises that they will earn plenty of money and be taken care of, and then throw them into the fray with less than an hour of training, and they are only paid for what they sell. This comes to an average monthly salary of US $55, which is less than half of what it costs just to survive. The girls are under heavy pressure by their employers to do anything that is necessary to sell the beer, and that means they have to drink with each of the men buying from her, often ending up very drunk at the end of the night. That also means that after working all night, drunk, knowing they will not be able to pay even for their rent, when the drunk men want to have sex with them for a better 'tip,' they frequently have to take such offers or risk becoming homeless and possibly even losing their job when the customer complains.
This is a despicable practice which is gotten away with by many of the brewers who make the most popular beers around the world, and probably by the brewer of your favorite beer. They avoid scrutiny by listing these girls wages as 'promotional' or 'advertising' costs and not disclosing that each of these $500-600 per year advertising costs are actually a persons entire salary. Because of these conditions, around 20% of these girls contract HIV/AIDS directly because of the job and with such low wages cannot afford treatment and die within 3 months to 2 years. Most of those who do are under 25 years old and are instantly replaced with casual disregard for their life and their family. What can we do about it? We can make this issue known to the public and not sweep it under the rug. We can tell these companies that we won't stand for slavery in the name of profit, and we can vote with our wallets. To find out if your normal beer company engages in this practice, visit the Beer Girls website at beergirls.org. For more information, case studies, and other research about the issue, visit FairTradeBeer's reports page.
Sunday, October 21, 2007
I came across an extremely interesting article about a new technology in use in Japan that I believe needs to come over here. The original article is available for your viewing pleasure at http://joi.ito.com/archives/2007/10/21/otetsudai_networks.html.
The handheld device shows the location of all of the workers located in the area, and using it, employers are able to find people who are qualified for the particular job they need filled. This is in response to an increasing trend for young professionals to be in varying positions and not be locked into one job. This is not only the case in Japan, and I think that this would be not only extremely popular, but profitable here in the US. I would like to make this a reality, and am seeking somebody who is interested in getting this project off the ground, starting here in Anchorage, Alaska. I have the connections and ability to obtain space on radio towers if the interest was generated and the technology was obtained, licensed, or developed. I think this would be a great opportunity for a new startup, and would love to work with like-minded others to make this a reality. This is clearly an untapped market in the US, and potential for a national corporation exists, so forward-looking and thinking individuals who are business-oriented and enterprising should contact me immediately and we will discuss what we can do to bring this to our country. I can be reached by commenting on this article or email at lockext &t gmail /dot/ com. Decode the address, if you're human it shouldn't be too hard. ;) I'm looking for people who are serious about doing business and want to make this happen before somebody else takes over the market! Don't wait, let's make it happen!
It's come to my attention that there is a serious security issue in Windows Vista that all users should be aware of. It involves the use of Unicode characters to change the way that a filename appears in the explorer and desktop to make a dangerous executable in screensaver (.scr) format appear to be a harmless JPG. This vulnerability doesn't appear to exist in XP, only Vista. The following screenshots, as captured by Max Ried, demonstrate the vulnerability and show how serious the problem is.
The file on the XP desktop: The file on the Vista desktop:
As you can see the only way to identify it as not being just a picture is by hovering your mouse over it. It appears to me that this is done by using a particular character, which is actually 2 Unicode characters, one being the circle of commas, the other being the code which causes everything after it to be typed backwards. You can see how it works by copying the character, and pasting it into any text entry box, such as notepad.exe, then start typing right after you paste it. The character is at the bottom of this post as it becomes very hard to type forwards if pasted anywhere in the middle of the article. It looks like the filename is made up of the code to insert the gpj. backwards at the end of the filename (or appear as such to the viewer,) and then the actual filename, Nice Picture.scr. Apparently XP is not affected because it does not correctly support Unicode for filenames within explorer.exe and therefore the desktop. This vulnerability was first demonstrated at Heise Security and adapted here to include my additional data on the cause.
Another view of the problem in the 7Zip program, first in XP:
And in Vista:
And now the character I believe is responsible, along with the character that makes it possible to copy and paste it, otherwise the character doesn't take up any space and therefore can't be highlighted to copy, it would just cause everything you typed after it to be backwards, as I'll demonstrate here:
this is what happens after you paste and start typing
Friday, October 19, 2007
Thursday, October 18, 2007
With all the hype surrounding these next-gen video game systems, its hard to decide which is worth getting. I know what to get though, and I've known since about 1988. Nintendo! They've always had the best games and they were always designed to be fun, not just pretty. Unfortunately I can't afford a Wii, so heres where we pull some strings. Everybody Loves Coupons is running a spiffy little contest where for nothing more than making a blog post about the contest, you can win a Wii! The site is regularly updated with coupon codes that you can use to save money when you shop online, which I don't but you might, so check it out.
I have personally owned about 9 cars in my life (and trucks,) and seeing how that is a ridiculous number for being only 24 and having only had my license since 16 (8 years,) you would think that I would know how to tell what side of the car my gas tank is on. Well, I did know on all my cars, but the first week or two I had to turn around a couple times, and you know that you have to check et the gas station when you borrow or rent a car. However, there is a little known secret that can save you time and effort when you need to find out what side the tank is on in an unfamiliar car. Just look at the little gas pump icon on the dash! If the pump handle is on the left, so is your gas tank. If it is on the right, you guessed it, your gas tank is too. Why this isn't told to all drivers at 16, I don't know, but let it serve you well from now on! Here is a handy diagram you can print out and tape to your dashboard or steering wheel if you can't remember.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Well.. here we go again. Over the years I have started dozens of websites with the intent to create something that people will read, enjoy, and if the cards fall right, recognize me for. I've been a professional in the IT field for over 10 years, and have seen all the great modern milestones in computing and been an active part of them. I was on CompuServe when it first became big back in 1992 or so. This might not be that impressive, but you have to consider the fact that I lived in bush Alaska, in a little village called Naknek of about 300 people. You might wonder how there could be a local access number for such a small village, and the answer to that is that there wasn't. There was a number in Anchorage, the only city in Alaska, but it actually cost much more to dial in-state than out-of-state, so we dialed to Seattle, at about 20 cents a minute, plus the 25 to 50 cents a minute it cost for CompuServe itself, as back then there was no such thing as unlimited service plans unless you were rich or part of the company. I remember the experience of downloading a file for the first time. It cost extra to download things in those days, and we were connected at 2400 baud because they told us the phone lines wouldn't be able to handle a higher speed, so I was very limited in what I could get. It turned out the only thing I could afford to download was a 755 byte windows icon. That was the most impressive damn icon I ever did see though, and I promptly changed my CompuServe icon to it so I could derive some enjoyment from my half hour conquest of the wily little bugger. It probably would have been even cooler had it not been Windows 3.11.
Later, we upgraded to Windows 95 when it came out, and got a Pentium 'Overdrive' which boosted my then-powerful P5-60 to a blistering 100MHz. We also doubled our RAM to a total of 16MB. The problem with the first Pentium desktops was that at the time, no games existed for Windows really, since Win95 just came out, and Win3.1 was utterly worthless for games, lacking respectable graphical routines entirely. WinG was a sad attempt to provide such routines, but lacking any form of acceleration and focusing on static images, it didn't make for very exciting games, and was mostly limited to point-and-click adventures reminiscent of Myst (which I believe used WinG). Luckily, it was done away with in Win98 SE when DirectX 6 was released and for the first time bundled with the OS. Back to the problem I speak of, all worthwhile games at the time were for DOS, and since before the Pentium, timing was regulated by clock cycles which were rather predictable. The Pentium rendered all programs using this method unusable as it ran at many times the speed of previous processors, so when you tried to play a game, you would hit enter (or whatever) to start the game, and half a millisecond later a minute had gone by in the game and you were already dead! I'm sure many of you fondly remember this wonderful aspect of bringing in the new, and not being able to use any of your old software. Yeah, that was great. Now, there are programs that let you get around this problem, such as MoSlow and several others, but since most people are using Windows XP or *gag* Vista, neither of which have true DOS support, the best way to play those old games you still have lying around (or wish you did, but we'll get to that in a minute) is with a DOS emulator. There are a couple options for such, but I'll focus on a favorite of mine, DOSBox.
DOSBox will let you run a virtual DOS computer from your Windows, Mac, or Linux machine and play all those old DOS games as they were meant to be played. There are even some features that could never be achieved on a real DOS machine, such as saving the state of the system (like saving the game at any point in time rather than having to find a save point) and adjusting the speed, as well as other benefits. When you first run the program, you will have to create a directory (folder) for your virtual computer. I'm going to assume you know how to create a folder on your computer, so create one in your C drive (or whatever your main hard drive is) and call it something useful, like DOS. So now you have C:\DOS. This is where you will put all your DOS games to play. I'm going to assume you have downloaded or copied the game Albion to the folder C:\DOS\ALBION (remember that game? 2 nerd points if you do!) Up till now you have been working in your current OS (Windows XP I assume) but now it is time to go back to the realm of DOS, so run DOSBox. You will be presented with a beautiful black screen, just like you had years ago on your 286! Or maybe that was just me and other geeks.. but anyways. You will see that you are in Z:\> This is not where we want to be however, because we want to play Albion. What we need to do is "mount" the C:\DOS folder to be the C:\ drive in the emulator. Type in the program:
MOUNT C C:\DOS
and hit enter
You now have a C drive, w00t! Change to it by typing:
and hit enter
From here, if you type dir and hit enter you will see your ALBION directory. Change to it by typing 'cd albion' and hit enter. Now another dir will show you all the files there. Run albion.exe by typing albion and hit enter. Now you're playing! The steps to run any other DOS game are exactly the same as well, and I am totally confident you can get your favorite old game running too! For more in-depth help running DOSBox, Abandonia has a great, thorough, beginners guide that will help you get the most out of your new toy DOS. Click here to get there.
Now! The fun part begins..
What you might not know, is that all of those old DOS games you wondered what happened to, still exist, and are no longer sold, but have been released to the world by their creators for free as "Abandonware" because they are long past their window of profit! There are several places on the web that you can download almost any old game you can think of. Not only that, but it's completely legal and free. I will tell you about a few of my favorite sites for abandonware.
Home of the Underdogs - This was one of the first, and is one of the best abandonware sites out there. I've been using these guys for my old games fixes for years now and don't intend to stop anytime soon. There are a few games on here that aren't available for download due to licensing issues, but there is still tons of great information and screenshots, amongst other cool stuff. Major props to these guys for keeping these wonderful games alive!
Abandonia - Another great site, with tons of old games for download with full reviews, screenshots, box art, manuals, music, and whatever else you want to know about the games. They also have a great feature where for each game they list several other games that you are likely to enjoy if you like the current one.
Dan's 20th Century Abandonware - This one is a little different. It is the same type of stuff, old software that has been released to the public, but Dan has a different focus than the other sites. Dan has an awesome collection of rare software that is not contained anywhere else. He does not have games though, his focus is on application software for several platforms. I highly recommend checking it out and reading about what he does, but don't expect to find games. This is a site that I am glad exists however, because with the majority of people only interested in keeping old games around, otherwise much of this software might disappear entirely and all that will be left of it will be in the memory of the creators and the previous users.
Well, that about sums up all you need to know to start playing all those wonderful old games you haven't seen for years! I hope you found this useful and will continue to find my site full of useful information, as I plan on making it that way. Being my first post, please comment on what could be improved, what other things you would like to see, what you would like to learn how to do, etc. I have a huge amount of information and all I need to put it out there is to know what people want to know. Also, I have a couple suggestions for games to try if you don't already know:
The Secret of Monkey Island - One of the best adventure games EVER, and hilarious. A MUST play!
Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge - The even more awesome sequel, also a requirement for any gamer.
Alone In The Dark - A great '3d' horror/adventure game, I remember it fondly.
Civilization - The original strategy game that all other strategy games wish they could be. If you haven't played this you are missing a very important part of life.
Settlers 2 Gold - Another awesome strategy game that I have sacrificed many hours to over the years.
Rampage - If you don't know what this is, I just don't know what to say. You play a giant monster and smash buildings and eat people. Great fun!
I'll probably think of more that you MUST play, and I'll update when I do!
This post was entered in a really cool contest that I read about at GeeksAreSexy which is awarding $1300 in cash and prizes for the geekiest and greatest blog posts that teach you how to do the things that we, as geeks, love, so you too can be blissfully nerdy! If you want to get in on the geek action, check out the contest here!
Saturday, October 13, 2007
Well, by popular demand, here is my current desktop theme. It is ThinIce controls, LiNsta-Black-Plastic-Alu window borders, and Tango icons. I gotta say, Tango is a GREAT set of icons, and I use it not only here, but on my WinXP box at work using the Super Turbo Tango Patcher program.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
I just found out that there is a good way that everyone on the net can help in the search for missing pilot Steve Fossett, and it is very easy. I implore everyone to go to http://www.mturk.com/mturk/ and sign up for this service (it is an Amazon.com service) which will allow you to accept jobs (many of which you can earn money for) including reviewing satellite images for objects that could be the wreckage of his plane. This is very important, and a good cause, and when you decide you are finished looking at satellite images for plane wreckage, you can use the service, called Mechanical Turk, to either submit jobs to be done by members of the internet community for a fair rate, or you can work on jobs submitted by others with a known amount to be paid on completion. If you submit jobs, you will be able to review the work done and accept or reject it, and you will only be charged if you accept. As a member of the community working on jobs, you post your solutions and if accepted, the amount earned is deposited in your Amazon.com account, and you can then transfer it to your personal checking account.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Along the same lines as the last post (trying to get traffic) I found out about this site called PingMyBlog.com which will automatically ping all of the popular blog listing sites so your site is registered and linked to, which is a GREAT idea, and we'll see how it works! I read about it on a nifty little site called Ortis' blog 'bout blogging. Try it yourself and see what happens.
You ever hear about the Million Dollar Homepage? Basically it is this: a large grid of square boxes, each one of them with an image and a link to whatever webpage someone pays $1 for. I found a pretty much identical site that allows you to take one square for free, so I did. The page is at http://www.anthonyjudelawrence.com/million-blog/ and my link is the second from the top, second from the right (the second from the top-right corner diagonally.) You can get one too, so do it and post about it so it will be useful!
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
I found a great post on TopSecretBlogger that lists 5 ways you can make money with your blog, which is definitely a goal that probably all bloggers have. I will definitely be using some of Zakk's advice on my own blog and maybe if I get some traffic I'll be able to eat this month. Anyways, check out the article at this link and enjoy!
Well, here we go again, another day, another problem. I'm not sure why I have such bad luck or if that's just life or what, but sure seems to be the former. But at least I can rant about it here so that nobody can read it. Well, if you're reading it I guess that's moot. Actually that gives me an idea for Yet Another Facet within this Facet! It's a Facet within a Facet! Any time you spend time writing something that you intend for somebody to read so you can get it off your chest, nobody will read it! So, let's escape that control sequence and return to the outer loop (if you're not a programmer that probably doesn't make sense so here is some info if you're interested.) As you may or may not know, I live in Alaska, and it is starting to get damn cold out. As you also may or may not know, I don't have a working vehicle and am not going to be able to afford one anytime soon (unless people start coming to my site and clicking the ads *wink wink nudge nudge*) so I have to ride my bike to work and back every day. And it's not a short ride either. So, OF COURSE, as soon as you are forced to ride to work and it is freezing out, you will NEVER be able to find your hat and gloves!!! And if you are me, you won't be able to afford new ones either. :P Alright I'll stop. I'd say have a nice day, but since nobody is reading this, it seems kinda pointless, so I guess I'll just end the post.
Monday, October 8, 2007
1 to change the light bulb and to post to the mail list that the light bulb has been changed.
14 to share similar experiences of changing light bulbs and how the light bulb could have been changed differently.
7 to caution about the dangers of changing light bulbs.
27 to point out spelling/grammar errors in posts about changing light bulbs.
53 to flame the spell checkers.
156 to write to the list administrator complaining about the light bulb discussion and its inappropriateness to this mail list.
41 to correct spelling in the spelling/grammar flames.
109 to post that this list is not about light bulbs and to please take this email exchange to alt.lite.bulb.
203 to demand that cross posting to alt.grammar, alt.spelling and alt.punctuation about changing light bulbs be stopped.
111 to defend the posting to this list saying that we are all use light bulbs and therefore the posts **are** relevant to this mail list.
306 to debate which method of changing light bulbs is superior, where to buy the best light bulbs, what brand of light bulbs work best for this technique, and what brands are faulty.
27 to post URLs where one can see examples of different light bulbs.
14 to post that the URLs were posted incorrectly, and to post corrected URLs.
3 to post about links they found from the URLs that are relevant to this list which makes light bulbs relevant to this list.
33 to concatenate all posts to date, then quote them including all headers and footers, and then add "Me Too."
12 to post to the list that they are unsubscribing because they cannot handle the light bulb controversey.
19 to quote the "Me Too's" to say, "Me Three."
4 to suggest that posters request the light bulb FAQ.
1 to propose new alt.change.lite.bulb newsgroup.
47 to say this is just what alt.physic.cold_fusion was meant for, leave it here.
12 to compare the naysayers to Hitler.
143 votes for alt.lite.bulb.
jacked from http://www.pinetree.net/humor/emaillightbulb.html
So I was riding my bike to work this morning, like every morning, except that it was goddamn cold and I had to wear two coats, and about halfway there I saw this guy standing on the side of the road brandishing a cardboard sign at cars passing by. The guy looked about 30-something, native (maybe American Indian, but most likely Alaska native), and wasn't a beggar or anything like that. If he was he was in the crappiest location a beggar could pick, hell he wasn't even at a cross street, let alone a stoplight. Anyways, I was curious so I slowed down to look, and his sign said, in big bold letters, "CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS SUCKS!" I laughed, but I wonder what his purpose was.. any ideas?
Saturday, October 6, 2007
Friday, October 5, 2007
It seems like only months ago I was still using Ubuntu Breezy Badger 5.10, which even then was an incredibly useful, simple, and stable OS. So much so that from the moment I installed it, I forsook my Windows partition entirely and it languished in a state of disuse from then on. I still used the files on it though, so I couldn't delete it entirely yet. Then I decided to move to Dapper Drake 6.06 LTS, and it was then that I moved to a bigger hard drive. I copied everything from both my partitions that I wanted onto my new 80gig, and installed 6.06. Being a long-term-support release, it was remarkably stable and polished, and I never had any problems with it of any sort besides taking some time to figure out how to get stuff I wanted to try running, but that just makes it more fun. :)
I currently run Ubuntu Feisty Fawn 7.04, and it is by far the nicest, quickest, and most stable OS I've ever run, and I wouldn't trade it for anything (though I would and do give it away to as many people as are willing to take it.) These days, all the talk is about Gutsy Gibbon 7.10, and thousands or millions of people are trying out the pre-release versions quite successfully from what I've heard, though I don't really put any OS on my system until its the full release. However, I just read today that the next new version of Ubuntu has been announced as 8.04 Hardy Heron, and will be released in April of 2008! This is great news and Ubuntu is advancing rapidly as the biggest and one of the best distributions in Linux history, and putting a face to Linux that people can identify with and see for its benefits, even when they have never seen any Linux before. The announcement was made by Jono Bacon on August 29 this year on his blog at this address.
Thursday, October 4, 2007
Maybe I'm making excuses, but hey, whatever. Murphy is a cruel and cunning dealer of misfortune, and for this, I salute. Without fail, if you decide to do something and make a promise to continue doing it, something will get in the way. Like when you say you're going to update a webpage every day, and then your internet stops working... uhh yeah..
I came across this java app today that is just absolutely mind-bogglingly trippy, and I want to share it with all of you, which is probably actually just myself looking at my own page, but anyways, check it out right here but don't blame me if you zone out and miss an appointment/job/date/whatever.