Thursday, December 07, 2006

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Friday, November 03, 2006

Republicans in One Breath?

Mad World Remix

Well worth a listen. ;)

GO BEARS

If you know Deb and I, you know we're Bear fans. Long suffering Bears fans.

And it's great to watch Da Bears go 7-0 this season, and even better to see a truly awesome write up about the team's best defensive lineman -- maybe ever.

Read up on Brian Urlacher. You won't be sorry. (Thanks for the link Doug!)

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Manilow + Colbert = Duet Heaven

William Says...

I started a new blog over the weekend. My son, Will, has been coming out with some amazing things these past few months. It's time I stopped letting them float away into the back of my mind, and instead capture them like rare butterflys and post them online for everyone to read. Enjoy.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Monday, September 18, 2006

9/11 NYC Video Across the Street

Imagine living on the 36th floor in an apartment directly across from the World Trade Center on 9.11.01. Here's the previously unreleased video from this apartment in its entirety.



Amazing video and pictures...
Milk + Fox News = Cancer

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Monday, August 28, 2006

Generate Your Own Wind Power

The Chispito Wind Generator was designed to be simple and efficient with fast and easy construction. There are no limits to what you can do with wind power. There is nothing more rewarding and empowering than making a wind powered generator from scrap materials. Most of the tools and materials in this manual can be found in your local hardware shop or junk pile.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Schoolhouse Rock 2006

Ten Things College Grads SHOULD Be Taught

"I’m on the campus of UCSB this week at family camp, and it's inspired me to blog about what students should learn in order to prepare for the real world after graduation. This is an opportune time to broach this subject because the school year is about to begin, and careers can still be affected." -- Guy Kawasaki
How Pink Floyd May Have Saved NASA

Peter Clifton was sitting watching television when he saw NASA was searching for original Apollo 11 footage. He had forgotten that in 1979 he ordered footage from The Smithsonian for use in The Dark Side of The Moon demo film. He had all but forgotten a pristine 16-millimetre film of the moon landing was part of his vast personal film catalogue.
Reason #981,132 Never to Smoke Cigarettes

Cigarette smoke can turn normal breast cells cancerous by blocking their ability to repair themselves, eventually triggering tumor development, University of Florida scientists report. While some cells nonetheless rally and are able to fix their damaged DNA, many others become unable to access their own cellular first aid kit, according to findings from a UF study published today (Aug. 21) in the journal Oncogene. If they survive long enough to divide and multiply, they pass along their mutations, acquiring malignant properties.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Friday, August 04, 2006

Lumos 2006 Videos on YouTube
Fan-made vids for fan-made Harry Potter con!
Long live the Minister of Magic and HPEF!

Hard to believe, but after more than two years of planning, Deb and her HPEF team's Lumos 2006 conference came and went last week in Las Vegas. And as a guy who's been involved with the planning of quite a few conferences in his past, I can say this: It was a joy to attend and work the con, folks. Professional, fun, informative, and nearly 100% free of issues.

More than 1,200 Harry Potter adult fans came to Vegas, saw, drank, dressed up, played water quidditch, wizard's chess, ate in the great hall(s), attended classes taught by BNF (big name fans), professors, and newcomers to the field -- and had an amazing time. The concert featuring Harry and the Potters and Draco and the Malfoy's were insanely fun as well.

Missed it? Check out my images here, and everyone's on Flickr, and be sure to give Deb and call and say "Job well done!" Here's some new videos as well:

Draco & The Malfoys: I Want From Voldemort

Draco & The Malfoys: About Voldemort


Your Dad is RICH/DEAD: Draco & The Malfoys


Lumos Gone Wild

Harry Potter Sucks @ Potions:
Draco & The Malfoys



Draco & The Malfoys: BEER + Dumbledore


The final clip includes Debbie's winning song: "Let's Drink to Aragog" -- fast forward to 3:40 to hear it!

Harry And The Potters: Long Set!

Friday, July 21, 2006

Spore: Robin Williams Demo



Can't wait for EA to release Spore -- one of the most creative "games" to come out in decades.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Net Neutrality Primer

If you spend any amount of time surfing the Web, you've probably come across the term "net neutrality." But what is it, and why is it stirring up controversy in Congress, the business world and the blogosphere? Here's a quick primer in text, or via video:

Monday, July 17, 2006

School fundraisers... made easy, thank goodness!

Candy bars, cookie dough, lollipops. Sound like the corner candy store? No -- they're all popular school fundraisers. It's time to put a stop to all this sugar-laden fund raising, and teach kids how to eat better and power their schools with money from healthy sources.

Check out click4kids.com -- they couldn't make it any easier to order healthy products, earn serious money, and speed cash to schools. Back to school is nearly here -- spread the word!

Monday, July 10, 2006

Wifely Kudos: Harry Potter Pride!

For the past two years, Debbie has been working her butt off as the head of Lumos 2006, a non-profit, educational conference set for the last week of July in Las Vegas. Putting her admin skills to excellent use, she and her dedicated unpaid crew have turned the event into a sold-out affair with all the bells and whistles.

Imagine my pride when this happened last week, as reported in today's Luminosity newsletter for event attendees:

HARRY AND THE POTTERS SAY, “LET’S DRINK TO ARAGOG!”
By Genii Grimsley

Last month, Harry and the Potters asked people to submit titles for a new song. In the past month, you responded by sending us a ton of lovely and hilarious possible song titles. Unfortunately, only one winner could be picked, but Harry and the Potters were up to the challenge. The band chose their favorites in a blind vote based solely on the song titles.

Nonetheless, the winner of the song title contest is none other than our Minister of Magic, Debbie McLain, who submitted the title “Let’s Drink to Aragog.” In a quick interview with the band, they told us, “We chose ‘Let’s Drink to Aragog’ because, like the scene from the book, the whole idea of raising a glass to this hideous monster is rather absurd.” Harry and the Potters will award Debbie with a hygiene kit, an autographed t-shirt, a poster, and a set of the band’s CDs. In addition to all of that, Debbie will receive the ultimate prize of hearing her song played at Lumos for the first time ever.

Once again, Lumos and Harry and the Potters would like to thank everyone for submitting their wonderful titles. For now, the band “expect[s] to spend the next few weeks in the van passing around all sorts of sing-a-long verses in preparation for the premiere of this song at Lumos.” We will see everyone in just a few short weeks. Don’t forget to bring a glass to raise to Aragog as Harry and the Potters sing their brand-new song!"

WAY TO GO DEBBER!

Friday, July 07, 2006

Best Whiteboard on the Internet

This is one of those great tools that the Internet was born to host! A free online white board that you can easily invite people to collaborate with. With a plethora of features and no membership required. Great for small businesses, not for profits and just people that want to share ideas.
Bloggers & "Ted Hitler"

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin 1
Conspiracy Theorist 0




All About The Pentiums... Baby!

Net Neutrality Has a Spokesperson: The Village Idiot

The Net neutrality bill took kind of a weird turn despite its defeat, when the public got to hear the mouthpiece for the telecom industry, Senator Ted Stevens. Wow. Stevens, an Alaska Republican, made a 10-minute speech before Congress that was something of a cross between a comedy act by Professor Irwin Corey and testimony by Casey Stengel, both famous for flubs, non sequiturs, and double-talk.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Losing their jobs and even their iPods

National Semiconductor giveth, and it taketh away. The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company gained loads of publicity last month for announcing plans to give every employee a 30-gigabyte video iPod. Last week, the company laid off 35 employees at its Arlington plant. To the surprise of some at the plant, the laid-off workers were asked to give back their high-tech toys.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Mr. Firefox looks to the future

Excellent interview with one of the guys behind Firefox, the anti-Internet Explorer web browser. One of the more interesting passages: "Q: Microsoft essentially allowed Internet Explorer to go dormant for several years, until Firefox started coming along and chipping away at its market share. What do you think about that, and what does that say about the state of competition?"

"Ross: That makes me furious, to be completely honest with you. That, more than anything, is why we really had to start Firefox in the first place... The truth is I think Microsoft is very directly responsible for spyware and adware and the pop-up ads in general that proliferated across the Web after they abandoned their product. I mean, this is the world's most-used software application ever ... and I just think it's irresponsible for a company to abandon it simply because they can't find a financial incentive to continue development on it."

Right on!

Friday, June 30, 2006

John Stewart: Chicago Terrorists? Not.



The Guys Who Do Simpsons: Conan

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Dust Art

No doubt all drivers have seen interesting words finger'd into dust and grime on the back of large trucks and cars. But how about this... real art in the dust of rear windows of cars?
L.A. police turn to adhesive GPS darts

A Virginia-based company StarChase has proposed a safer way to catch fast-moving crooks—shoot GPS homing devices like darts and stick them to the back of fleeing vehicles. Instead of a frantic pursuit, an officer eases off the chase and lets police headquarters track the suspect by computer. Police can then move in for a calmer arrest.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Fighting Microsoft's piracy check

The company is forging ahead with a program, Windows Genuine Advantage, tied to its free software downloads and updates, that checks whether the Windows installation on a PC is pirated. But some people, including some who say they own a legitimately acquired copy of Windows, have challenged the need for such validation. Most of their criticism is directed at the way Microsoft's antipiracy technology, Windows Genuine Advantage, interacts with a PC.

Also, Microsoft has now posted approved ways to remove WGA from your Windows XP system. Get to it people!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

High Schoolers Pick Web Yearbook

A Tuckahoe High School (NY) student is trying to persuade as many as his friends as possible to sign up at MyYearbook.com -- and save some money, too. "I'm going to bring everyone who matters to me to MyYearbook," said John, who attends school in Eastchester, a suburb just north of New York City. "I'm confident in that, and besides, they're like $70." But skeptics wonder if the free website can ever truly replace the traditional printed chronicle of high-school memories -- even for the generation that's grown up with the internet.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Earth 'likely' hottest in 2,000 years

Plus, this new research shows that global warming produced about half of the extra hurricane-fueled warmth in the North Atlantic in 2005, and natural cycles were a minor factor, according to Kevin Trenberth and Dennis Shea of the National Center for Atmospheric Research... The Bush administration has maintained that the threat is not severe enough to warrant new pollution controls that the White House says would have cost 5 million Americans their jobs.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

WiFi freeloader arrested in Washington

...20-year-old Alexander Eric Smith was arrested after a three-month stretch where he periodically parked in front of a coffee shop off-and-on with a laptop and used its WAP. The kicker? He never bought so much as a small latte.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Pixar 1.0: John Lasseter College Movie

Want to see where Pixar's main creative genius got his start? Here's the ultra-rare student film he made during this college days...

Real-Time Earth Views

Views are calculated every handful of minutes with cloud cover updated eight times a day, all thanks to the power of Xplanet. The daylight background map is the Blue Marble monthly map, automatically rotated in place the first day of each month. Enjoy the changing vegetation and snow cover and the views from different points in space.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Why Yahoo Can't Deliver Email

I'd been wondering about this. In recent months, I've tried to get email into or out of my Yahoo! Mailbox many times, without success: "The web is alive with complaints from Yahoo Mail account holders who didn't get mail, and legitimate senders whose mail never was delivered. Everybody seems to know it happens, but nobody ever figured out why... until now. After Email Battles mapped, analyzed and charted Yahoo Mail's mail servers, it's easy to see why the wealthy company wants to charge for certified sender services. It apparently needs the money for a new mail server."

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Why fast foods are bad, even in moderation

Eating a diet consisting largely of fast food could cause your waistline to bulge more than eating the same amount of fat from healthier sources. Monkeys fed a diet rich in trans-fats – commonly found in fast foods – grew bigger bellies than those fed a diet rich in unsaturated fats, but containing the same overall number of calories. They also developed signs of insulin resistance, which is an early indicator of diabetes...

After six years on the diet, the trans-fat-fed monkeys had gained 7.2% of their body weight, compared to just 1.8% in the unsaturated group. CT scans also revealed that the trans-fat monkeys carried 30% more abdominal fat, which is risk factor for diabetes and heart disease.
Hurricane Season 2006

Check out this multimedia demo -- prepare to be amazed, and a little scared. Honest.
Wikipedia Founder Discourages Academic Use of His Creation

Finally some clarity on the Wiki effect on learning: "Wikipedia, an online encyclopedia compiled by a distributed network of volunteers, has often come under attack by academics as being shoddy and full of inaccuracies. Even Wikipedia’s founder, Jimmy Wales, says he wants to get the message out to college students that they shouldn’t use it for class projects or serious research." Duh.
Apple Sweatshop Charge

A report in the middlebrow Mail on Sunday entitled "iPod City" features photos and first-hand accounts from inside factories operated by Foxconn, a company contracted by Apple to assemble millions of iPods by hand. According to the report, Foxconn's giant Longhua plant employs 200,000 workers, who work 15-hour days but are paid just $50 a month -- miserable even by China's standards. It claims they work and live in the plant, in dormitories housing 100 people, and outside visitors are forbidden.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Top 10 Strangest Desks and Tables

Our editors have compiled a list of the Top 10 Strangest Desks and Tables for your weekend enjoyment. Which ones are your favorites?
Operation Take Down Blog

A blogg about the Swedish governments attempt to take down the Swedish torrenttracker The Piratebay and the political and international reasons behind the take down...
Index of 300 Full Length TV Shows

There’s no garbage clips to weed through, just 300 full length episodes organized alphabetically: Doctor Who, Get Smart, Lost, Quantum Leap, Seinfeld, The Screen Savers, The Wonder Years, and more.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Help: Save the Internet

The large telcos didn't invent the Internet -- they simply bought up the backbones upon which the traffic flows, and are now demanding total control for their own economic gain. Please do not allow these latecomers to the open, democratic information superhighway set up checkpoints, roadblocks, or toll booths on a public utility to block innovation, business development, and the "little guy" from setting up shop online.

Please send a message to stop the greedy telcos to the White House and your members of Congress. If you don't act today, you will be sorry.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

18 Days of Reckless Computing

What kind of idiot buys a computer and willingly – even eagerly – exposes it to all the malware and viruses he can? Me. I bought a Dell Dimension B110 ($468! Cheap!) and tried to kill it for more than two weeks. I clicked on every pop-up and downloaded the gnarliest porn, gambling, and hacker files I could find. It seems our Internet overlords are sterilizing spam. If I were to treat my body the way I treated this computer, I’d have yellow fever, bird flu, and Alzheimer’s. But the Dell? Eh. Somewhat the worse for wear.
Computer Viruses: Dynamic Worldmap

Click here and prepare to enjoy a real-time worldmap of our planet, overlayed with outbreaks of virus/Internet computer attacks. Nifty... and scary.
New Superbug is Stalking the World

If you're are unfortunate enough to catch it, you will suffer from intractable diarrhoea with gut-searing pain and fever. If you are frail, you may die. Should you survive, you may be stricken by repeated bouts of sickness. Rates of the disease among patients in, or recently discharged from, American short-stay hospitals seem to have doubled between 2000 and 2003 and risen another 25% in 2004, the most recent year for which estimates are available. That translates into at least 225,000 new cases a year, according to the Centres for Disease Control.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Domino Books in Online RPG +
Unlimited Free Time =
Time Wasting Made Semi-Cool




Things You Didn't Know About Your Body

So that's why we like sushi. By simultaneously eating "bad" high-glycemic foods (pasta, rice, etc.) and protein (fish, meat, etc.), you greatly lower the former's absorption rate -- and reduce their tendency to be stored in the body as fat. More facts here!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

New Way To Find Popular Websites

First, we had Digg.com. Awesome site -- if you haven't heard of it, check it out. Now there's Swarm. The site presents a graphical representation of hundreds of websites, and swaps in new thumbnails of sites as people surf from link to link. It's a real-time way to see what sites people are looking at, and where they're going. Come with an open mind, mouse over the small screens, and prepare to find websites you never knew existed.
Flying Car Beats Wright Brothers

Autoblog has finally found video of the 009 Aston Martin ALMS racecar that "flew" 142 feet off the track at Mid-Ohio Raceway last weekend. The racecar traveled in the air 22 feet farther than the Wright brothers' first powered flight on December 17th, 1903.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Ice Tea + Plane + Barrel Roll = No Spill

Google: Insiders R' Sellin'

If you take a look at Google's insider trading sheet you will note that company insiders have sold off $6.5 Bn worth of stock while not buying a single share (some insiders have sold every last share). With rumors of click fraud running rampant one has to wonder if these people know something the rest of us don't.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Empire Strikes Back Parody



Palpatine Chats Up Vader
Post-Death Star 1.0 Explosion
Semi-Not For Kiddies



Nepolion Dinamyte

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Monday, May 15, 2006

Nintendo Wii: Next Generation Controllers


Chernobyl Legacy

On April 26th, 1986, Chernobyl's Reactor No. 4 unleashed a thoroughly modern plague that emptied cities, condemned entire regions, and seeped invisibly into the bodies of those exposed to its destructive presence. Photographer Paul Fusco faces the dark legacy of Chernobyl, focusing on the horrifying human consequences of the event that is now 20 years in the past.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Stephen Colbert: New American Hero

"Virtually overnight, Stephen Colbert became a hero to countless Americans, following his April 30 performance at the White House Correspondents' Association dinner."

"Since then, millions of people have either watched the video or read the transcript of his skewering of both the president and the press corps, and have discussed it avidly. Tens of thousands of people have gone to the website ThankYouStephenColbert.com and written letters of appreciation. Talk about water-cooler chatter; the event crashed internet servers across the land. It truly was one of those moments of media shock and delight."

"And then, an odd but revealing thing happened. Some of the chattering class commentators, mainstream media writers and columnists, and Democratic officials didn't get it: Not very funny, rude, not respectful of the president, and so on. Are they kidding? How could they not understand they were witnessing one of the bravest, most subversive performances in memory, which thrilled and gave hope to untold viewers and readers, and will be a huge marker when people look back on the Bush era?"
GEICO Roxxors: My Story

I couldn't believe it. There I was, my 2003 Honda Odyssey backing out of my driveway on a rainy Friday night (5/5), when suddenly it happened -- CRASH went the window, DENT went the center of my van's liftgate, and SCRAPE went the bumper. I sighed -- then chuckled despite myself.

I'd done it -- surely as the rain was falling. I'd hit my mailbox with my van, and now, it was time to file my first-ever claim with GEICO. I headed into the house, took off my coat, grabbed a notebook, and placed the call to the toll-free claims line.

A few second later, Jack Ripley took my call. He was polite, cheerful, and laughed right along with me when I explained what I'd done. "We'll take care of it Mr. McLain," he said patiently. "Don't you worry."

After taking all of my information, he hesitated a second, then asked: "Mr. McLain, would it be OK to tell you about a new pilot program we're offering that could go a long way in helping you with this claim?"

"Fill me in," I said. The basics: Take my van to a nearby body shop that GEICO has chosen specifically for its excellent record of service. A GEICO representative would be on-site to take my information, then he would work on my behalf with the staff of the shop to ensure a great repair, at the lowest possible price, and on a quick turnaround. Plus, when I'd arrive, a car would be waiting for me, rented from Enterprise -- and the company would bill GEICO directly for the rental car. No fuss, no muss.

How could I say no? "Sounds like a no-brainer, let's do it!" I replied.

Jack seemed happy that I was willing to go along with the program, and set me up for an early appointment Monday morning (5/8) at Coats Auto Body and Paint, Inc., near my home outside Raleigh, NC. I carefully taped some clear plastic to the back end of the van, and parked it out of the rain for the weekend.

On Monday I made my way across town to Coats, and headed in the door. Leah Solano was there to greet me from the shop, and put me in touch with Peter Matsushige, GEICO's in-house adjustor. Peter took a few minutes to fill out some information, examined my Honda, and we headed back inside. A rep from Enterprise was waiting in the lobby, and quickly gave me the keys to my Ford Taurus rental.

I was in and out in under 15 minutes. I was overjoyed by every aspect of my experience thus far -- I felt sure that the van was being repaired at a top-notch facility, GEICO was on the ground to make sure everything was happening the right way, and Enterprise made the rental car drop off a breeze.

My four-year-old son, William, loved the rental and loved driving in it over the course of the week. He could sit in the back seat safe in his car seat and play with the window -- something he couldn't do in our van! Up and down went the window, and he loved being in control!

So he was a little sad when, four days later, we got the call to head back over to Coats and pick up the van. I arrived, and within 10 minutes paid my deductible, then went out to inspect the van. The bumper looks even better now than when I bought it, and the lift gate is shiny and new, fitting perfectly in its place -- again, even more firmly I believe than when I'd bought it.

Plus… I couldn't believe it… The Coats people had cleaned the interior from top to bottom, polished the tires, and even had the exterior washed. The van was gleaming -- and in every way BETTER off than when I'd dropped it off on Monday.

My first auto claim experience with GEICO was nothing but a positive one -- so I present it to you as a math formula: (GEICO's Pilot Program + Enterprise) + Coats Auto Body and Paint, Inc., Raleigh, NC = Excellent Service

Thank you for this pilot program, and thank you GEICO, Enterprise, and Coats for going the extra mile to make my week! I don't mind writing this up as a bit of an ad for these folks. They roxxor!

Friday, May 12, 2006

Thursday, May 11, 2006

In 2021, You'll Grow A New Heart

With my dad ready to head in for bypass surgery next week (I'll be there to help big guy), it was literally "heartening" to read this new article from Popular Science: "Although doctors may someday heal weakened body parts by infusing them with stem cells that develop into specialized tissues, coaxing the body’s own cells to become self-repairing would be an even bigger biological coup. What if we could simply prompt damaged organs to repair themselves?"

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Chef Dies: South Park (For Paul)



Twister + Soccer = Funny

Spore Trailer V3

Come see what all the fuss is about -- this amazing "game" is on its way to going gold:

Wiki: "Spore is, at first glance, a 'teleological evolution' game: The player molds and guides a species across many generations, growing it from a single-celled organism into a more complex animal, until the species becomes intelligent. At this point the player begins molding and guiding this species' society, progressing towards a spacefaring civilization. Spore's main innovation portends to be Wright's use of procedural generation for many of the components of the game, providing vast scope and open-endedness."

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Why We Fight
BBC Documentary:
The Modern Military Industrial Complex

No-Mow Grass May Be Coming to Your Yard Soon

For anyone tethered to a lawnmower, the Holy Grail of horticultural accomplishment would be grass that never grows but is always green.

Now, that vision of suburban bliss seems plausible as scientists have mapped a critical hormone signaling pathway that regulates the stature of plants. In addition to lawns that rarely require mowing, the finding could also enable the development of sturdier, more fruitful crop plants such as rice, wheat, soybeans, and corn.
Gadgets: Then & Now

As a teen in the 80's, it was incredible to see so many new technologys come along -- from cassette tapes w/programs to huge thin diskettes, huge "portable" phones to cell phones, etc. Here's a cool look back at today's tech vs. the old.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Work Well With Others--Online?

Test yourself... see if you can help make a live mosaic via your Web browser with others in real time and NOT mess up others attempts at swearing/making rude things.
Incredible Video: Landing on Titan

Curious what it would be like to mount a camera on the belly of a spacecraft hurtling through the atmosphere of a distant moon, then crash landing -- all in real time? Get the 11MB video of Huygens smacking into Titan right here -- then view this... and prepare to be amazed.

All the juicy details are here.

"This movie, built with data collected during the European Space Agency's Huygens probe on Jan. 14, 2005, shows the operation of the Descent Imager/Spectral Radiometer camera during its descent and after touchdown. The camera was funded by NASA. The almost four-hour-long operation of the camera is shown in less than five minutes. That's 40 times the actual speed up to landing and 100 times the actual speed thereafter. The Huygens probe was delivered to Saturn's moon Titan by the Cassini spacecraft, which is managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. NASA supplied two instruments on the probe, the descent imager/spectral radiometer and the gas chromatograph mass spectrometer."
Eyewitnesses: Nukes Incoming

The title says it all. This is one-in-a-million eye-witness testimony of two of the most powerful events of the previous century. With any luck this type of thing will never have to be witnessed again: Hiroshima & Nagasaki.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Report: W gets Colbert-ed



Steven Colbert -- a man who needs no introduction. He's sooo... Lincolnish. Worth watching his show on Comedy Central -- The Colbert Report. Here he gives the prez a little roast, and of course, the truth makes W and his pals a little nervous. Some of his best:



Gun Engine: 220MPG + Big Oil = No Chance

Here we go again. An inventor has come up with a way to vastly increase the fuel efficiency of cars using something called a "gun engine." How long do you think it'll take for Big Oil to buy and bury this interesting technology?

"...this engine is cheaper to produce due to elimination of some production processes and complexities. As the gun-engine can accept any fuel, including hydrogen, the owner of the vehicle could select the most economic fuel on the market. With the greatly-improved mileage of a transmission-free vehicle exceeding 220 mpg would naturally eliminate traditional engines from the market altogether."
JB Franchise: Shaken AND Stirred

James Bond is about to return... again. The series that will never die (my Dad was a huge fan back in the 60s, kinda like how huge Star Wars is/was with my generation) will be reincarnated with Casino Royale and an all-new Bond. Watch the trailer -- I might actually want to see this one.

In a movie mood? Here's the new trailer for the Jack Sparrow/Pirates of the Caribbean summer release. Looking better and better. James, you may have met your match...

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

"Where's Tim?"

No... not me. I'm at home of course, just like always. I'm talking about another guy named Tim -- a guy with a GPS-enabled cell phone whom you can track using real-time Google Maps. Woah. This guy has gone totally Big Brother on himself. Fun stuff!

Monday, May 01, 2006

Google Videos: Chernobyl

A little over a month ago I found a set of amazing Chernobyl videos online. They were super-hidden in a very weird place, so I decided to use the new beta Google Video service to post them to the world. The views have been pretty amazing -- here's the stats for April.

To find the videos (be sure to check out the fly over video below -- super creepy), connect to http://video.google.com/ and in the search box type: Filatova Elena.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Tech Support: Life on the Other End of the Line

Death threats, PCs hurled out windows, squeals of joy--tech support pros see it all: "Do you hate calling tech support? Guess what--it's no picnic for the people on the other end of the line either. Tech support reps say their job description includes occasional death threats, tedium, possible hemorrhoids, low pay, and sporadic moments of job satisfaction."
Whoops! Google just made some cash...

Ever mis-type a Web address? Say bistbuy.com? Whoops -- up comes an ad-filled site. And Google makes cash if you click/use the site you end up on. It's something I've always wondered about -- and it seems many folks are trying to make serious cash on your mistakes. Read more.

"The Washington Post found hundreds of active Web sites showing Google ads at addresses that appear to be misspelled variations of well-known company names, known as "typo-domains." Their owners are known as typosquatters."

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Dial-up Net Access: In Death Throes?

With phone companies well aware that cable companies are eating their lunch when it comes to high speed Internet access, the price of DSL has gone wayy down in recent months. How low? In some markets, you can get a nice DSL connection for less than the cost of dialup -- some are getting it for $18 a month or even less.

So is it any surprise that telco's are doing their best to wean all of us off slow, lame dial-up Net connections? Not that I agree with this -- pretty underhanded if you ask me.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Crazy Planes

Get ready to see some of the biggest, heaviest planes ever made: "A concept aircraft currently under development at Boeing’s Phantom Works Research and Development unit might be the largest airplane to ever fly, but it won’t set any altitude records. Its called the Pelican and it would have a normal cruising altitude of only twenty feet because it uses the concept of ground effect to achieve lift. Performance specifications say this ground effect vehicle (GEV) will have a wingspan of 150 meters and be able to carry up to 1,400 tons of cargo."

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Email Chain: Stay Awake In Meetings

Just came into my Inbox... Worth a try:

Do you keep falling asleep in meetings and seminars? What about those long and boring conference calls? Here's a way to change all of that.

1. Before (or during) the next meeting, seminar, or conference call, prepare yourself by drawing a square. I find that 5" x 5" is a good size. Divide the card into columns-five across and five down. That will give you 25 one-inch blocks.

2. Write one of the following words/phrases in each block:Synergy, strategic fit, core competencies, best practice, bottom line, revisit, expeditious, to tell you the truth (or "the truth is), 24/7, out of the loop, benchmark, value-added, proactive, win-win, think outside the box, fast track, result-driven, knowledge base, at the end of the day, touch base, mindset, client focus(ed), paradigm, game plan, leverage.

3. Now check off the appropriate block when you hear one of those words/phrases.

4. When you get five blocks horizontally, vertically, or diagonally stand up and shout "BULLS%$!T!"

"Real Testimonials" from satisfied players, after the jump...

"I had been in the meeting for only five minutes when I won." - Adam W., Atlanta

"The atmosphere was tense in the last process meeting as 14 of us waited for the fifth box." - Ben G., Denver
True Story: Humpback Says 'Thanks'

"If you read the front page story of the SF Chronicle on Thursday, Dec 14, 2005, you would have read about a female humpback whale who had become entangled in a spider web of crab traps and lines. She was weighted down by hundreds of pounds of traps that caused her to struggle to stay afloat. She also had hundreds of yards of line rope wrapped around her body, her tail, her torso and a line in her mouth."

"A fisherman spotted her just east of the Farralone Islands (outside the Golden Gate) and radioed an environmental group for help. Within a few hours, the rescue team arrived and determined that she was so badly off that they must act immediately. The only way to save her was to dive in and untangle her, a very dangerous proposition. Just one slap of the tail could kill a rescuer."

"They worked for hours with curved knives and eventually she was freed. When she was free, the divers say she swam in what seemed like joyous circles. She then came back to each and every diver, one at a time, and nudged them, pushed them gently around, she was thanking them. Some said it was the most incredibly beautiful experience of their lives. The guy who cut the rope out of her mouth says her eyes were following him the whole time, and he will never be the same."

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Tired of Internet Explorer? So is John...

John C. Dvorak: "I think it can now be safely said, in hindsight, that Microsoft's entry into the browser business and its subsequent linking of the browser into the Windows operating system looks to be the worst decision—and perhaps the biggest, most costly gaffe—the company ever made. I call it the Great Microsoft Blunder."

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Carver: The "Car" of the Future

Bandaid: So it sticks all day!

No-Brainer: 1GB Free Backup Space

Now you and I have zero excuses for not backing up our stuff. Shame, really. ;) Sign up for a free 1,000MB (1GB) spot to upload your files.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Free Daily Cartoons via iTunes

"If we could have a crush on a podcast, we would be totally crushing out right now all over the recently launched ReFrederator (click to subscribe via iTunes), which puts out a classic cartoon every single day. Some of them star the likes of Bugs Bunny, Mighty Mouse, Daffy Duck, Betty Boop, Porky Pig, Donald Duck and Felix the Cat--ah, the beauty of things returning to the public domain--and others feature fairy tales and musicals." -- Gizmodo
"Shock Me Sometime!"

That's right... Forget ringtones and vibration--here comes the shock treatment to let you know that someone is calling. Best of all: "Power levels and frequencies can be adjusted, allowing the owner to give a sort of 'personal ring' to an individual caller." Imagine the possibilities.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Biggest... Laptop... Ever...

So what can you buy for $4,000, with a pair of insane graphics cards inside and a large (did we mention big? huge?) 19 inch display? It's the Eurocom M590K Emperor, and you gotta see it to believe it.
Flash Mob: XBox Ad

No doubt you've heard of flash mobs... right? No? Basically, one person emails a slew of others, asking them to show up at a certain spot on a certain day at a specific time, along with instructions on what to do. Here's the first video I've found of a flash mob in action, re-enacting a banned XBox commercial. Watch the guy in the orange cap, and enjoy.
Awesome Rainbow Pictures

Just when you thought you'd seen them all -- here are some of the most amazing rainbow pictures I've ever seen. Including what the end of a rainbow looks like close up! (Did they find gold? Check it!) Be sure to scroll down to look at them all. Have a great weekend...

Thursday, April 20, 2006

New: Tall Building Escape System

Next time you're in a high-rise, see if they have one of these (video) available. Might just save your life!
Take a Flying Leap



Life have you ready to jump off a cliff? Now you can, vicariously. ;)
You: Cutthroat or Pussycat?

Take salon.com's Machiavelli personality test and find out. "This survey itself measures only one thing -- whether you subscribe to the ideas of a 16th century Italian political philosopher. But experiments have shown that reactions to Machiavelli act as a kind of litmus test, delineating differences in temperament that can be confirmed with more traditional personality inventories. High Machs constitute a distinct type: charming, confident and glib, but also arrogant, calculating and cynical, prone to manipulate and exploit. (Think Rupert Murdoch, or if your politics permit it, President Clinton.) "

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

A Scanner Darkly

Another Reaves movie, looks freaky. Definitely will see this one.
Religion in the United States

How many Presbyterians are there in Alaska? Answer: More than you think. This site contains a growing set of U.S. maps with overlays showing where members of more than a dozen religious denominations reside. Fascinating.

What's up with so few Catholics living in the South? Wait, I think I know why. And here's one I could have drawn without going to the site.

Here's a tight overview combining all the data.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

How Web Surfers Read Web Pages

For years we've been told that most Web surfers read webpages in a reverse 6 pattern. That is, their eye starts near the center, tracks down and back to the top. Well, looks like we were wrong -- think F for "fast" web surfing/content scanning. Check out these heat scans of eye movement across web sites.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Evolution Timeline

Flash can be used to do so many cool things. This evolution timeline is an amazing example - click on the image to start your journey.

Once the file loads, click and hold down on the small red triangle on the lower left, and start dragging it to the right.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Spongeback Mountain

Ok, we've had Brokeback to the Future and Star Wars Brokeback. Now it's time for... Spongebob? LOL for the weekend is here!

Friday, April 14, 2006

An Inconvenient Truth: Trailer

And now for something completely... serious.




Official Movie Website
Big Brother is Listening

Here's your creepy story of the week: "AT&T engineer: NSA built secret rooms in our facilities." Read it and be afraid: "...this room contained (among other things) a [traffic analyzer] into which all of AT&T's Internet and phone traffic was routed... In addition to AT&T's own traffic, [a techie with AT&T] alleges that the company also routed its peering links into the splitter, meaning that any traffic that passed through AT&T's own network could be scanned. Futhermore, San Francisco wasn't the only place such secret rooms were built; [he] claims that AT&T offices in Seattle, San Jose, Los Angeles, and San Diego also have them." More in-depth NSA tapping information can be found at The Atlantic Online.
Outsourcing Saves Less Than Claimed

One more reason U.S. companies should do their homework before sending American jobs overseas: "(Reuters) Outsourcing of information technology and business services delivers average cost savings of 15 percent, a survey found on Thursday, disproving market claims that outsourcing can reduce costs by over 60 percent. After professional fees, severance pay and governance costs, savings range between 10 percent and 39 percent, with the average level at 15 percent."
TiVo Victorious

Anyone who's been to my home knows that our TiVo is the centerpiece of our entertainment center. Deb loves it, I love it, and William hasn't known TV without one. (For some reason, he really doesn't like it when we're not around to skip the ads. Seems he wants to watch shows and not ads. Interesting.)

Over the past year or two, I've been a little scared about the future viability of TiVo. Most major cable monopolies have offered cheap knock-offs to undercut this flashy startup, and seem to have copied many of the best parts of the TiVo service without any legal ramifications. Until now -- this article has two big things in it that give me joy -- TiVo and victorious used in the headline, plus TiVo someday reaping some financial gain, which I'm sure it really, really needs. Gratz TiVo!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Bill Gates Goes to College

Forget Viruses: Hello Rootkits & "Malware"

We all know the dangers of viruses -- those pestky bits of computer code that can be embedded in email attachments and even pictures that, when run, can do all kinds of crazy things/damage to your computer. In recent years, adware and spyware have had their day, degrading our computer performance and tracking our every movement online.

And while the good news is that most people are running virus checkers (dump anything you run that costs any cash, and get/install/scan with AVG Free Edition from GriSoft) and adware/spyware removers (AdAware Personal kills 'em dead, and is also free) -- there's a new threat plaguing Netizens: Rootkits and Malware.

First, rootkits. The first time I heard this term was a few months back listening to the TWIT (This Week In Tech) podcast. You can listen to the episode here. Leo and his roundtable of pals were soundly kicking in Sony/BMG's head for embedding a rootkit in their audio CDs. Basically, a customer purchases the new Celion Dion music CD, puts it into the computer to listen/rip to MP3s, and upon insertion the CD installs a program in the very root of your computer's operating system which disables copying.

So big deal you say -- Sony should be able to protect their intellectual property, right? Sure, however, Sony's rootkit was just that -- something that latched onto the root of a computer and gave a back door to hackers to exploit. Now cybercriminals could send out new code that could detect and make use of the Sony rootkit to damage computers. Worst of all, Sony originally made it impossible for virus software to detect the kit and remove it. Thus the perfect storm of criticism.

The lawsuit and resulting settlement resulted in more press stories/online coverage than you could shake a stick at. This also fed the fire of the hackers, who now saw rootkits as the core for their next generation of invasive software. Forget viruses/adware which could be detected and removed with up-to-date programs like the ones I mentioned above -- rootkits can hide in your PC's core and do their misdeeds unobstructed.

On top of that, we have another new techie term to learn -- Malware. Consider this the 2006 way of saying virus, adware, trojan horse, you name it. As Microsoft puts is, "Malware is short for malicious software and is typically used as a catch-all term to refer to any software designed to cause damage to a single computer, server, or computer network, whether it's a virus, spyware, et al."

Malware has, in my mind, become even more pervasive and dangerous in recent months. If you've ever tried to launch a server on the Net, you're feeling my pain. Within a few minutes of any new server going live, thousands upon thousands of queries hit every port on the machine, automatically checking for openings and vulnerabilites. Of course, a few are always found -- unless you're a Nazi about security and lock the machine down. And once the openings are... open... your server will be malfunctioning faster than you can say "No way!"

So what can you do about these new developments? First, download and install AVG and Adaware using the links above. Check for updates, then run a scan at least once a week using both tools. You'll have 99% of the viruses and adware kicked from your machine.

For rootkits, a few new tools have emerged to help. Most are still in beta (testing prior to release), but are all we have to find and root out the rootkits. Download, install, and run these tools as well once a week to keep on top of things:

Windows Defender
Rootkit & Malware Removal: Microsoft
SpyBoy Search and Destroy

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Landing Planes in Crosswinds

Stumbled across these videos a few weeks back, thought anyone who flies/has flown/will fly might find them interesting. See how pilots bring in heavies under crosswind conditions. Woah.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Peak Oil & The Future

Want to get scared? Really, really scared? I came across this site late last night, and can't get it out of my head. Read it all here, intro:

"Civilization as we know it is coming to an end soon. This is not the wacky proclamation of a doomsday cult, apocalypse bible prophecy sect, or conspiracy theory society. Rather, it is the scientific conclusion of the best paid, most widely-respected geologists, physicists, and investment bankers in the world. These are rational, professional, conservative individuals who are absolutely terrified by a phenomenon known as global Peak Oil."
Prius: 94 MPG? Woah!

The next Toyota Prius will offer an astonishing 94 mpg (U.S.), according to a report in the U.K.’s AutoExpress magazine. Take that greedy oil companies!

Monday, April 10, 2006

VW: Unpimpin' Da Rides

Love these ads -- perfect test of seeing if I can shorehorn them into my blog. Here goes nothing -- enjoy!



William Rides Solo

One day, my son needs me -- hold him steady, give him that push, and off he goes on his two-wheeler -- "thanks Dad! Weeee!"

Less than 24 hours later, he recovers from a fall, hops on... pushes off, steadies himself on his pedals, and goes like mad... without any help. Balanced like a champ!

Next month, college? This is one proud poppa! Go Will go! :) Here's a larger version of the animated GIF I made. Enjoy!

Sunday, April 09, 2006


Some Things You Never Forget

...like how to ride a bicycle. Today, I had the incredible joy of suiting up Will (he's 4 now) with arm pads, knee braces, kid gloves (literally) and his usual helmet, and proceeded to remove the training wheels from his little bike.

"Daddy, I want the training wheels off!" he said last week. "Like Alan and Jay - they don't use them."

A few minutes later, we were across the street in the cul de sac, and he was making it straight across, from driveway to driveway, after 2-3 initial tries - with no serious falls. ;)

It's hard to describe the feeling - Will is growing up too fast for his daddy!

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Make Your Own Comic Strip

Like any good Kinyon household (yea, our last name is McLain, but those in the know will agree with me when I say that the Kinyon genes from your spouse dominate all), we love to read the comics in the paper daily. And there comes a time when everyone thinks, "Hey, I could make those!"

So go ahead, make your own comic here!
Marketing & Design Resources: One Big Page

There's PDFs about marketing/barnding, links to portfolios, ad agencies, clip art, web tools, blogs and tons of other stuff all on one nice page. Check it out, if you're so inclined.

DesignEducation.ca

Friday, April 07, 2006

Locking Down Your Home Network

Hands-on advice for anyone with a high-speed (DSL or Cable Modem) Internet connection. "Ever delve inside your home network routers and use the hidden security settings that can lock down a network nice and tight? Most people never do. Andy Walker reveals 10 secrets on how to easily access your router's security settings."

Security Secrets Article
bigchalk.com Daze

I mentioned my time at bigchalk.com yesterday -- and then stumbled on this old link buried in my Favorites.

Take a trip, won't you, back to 2000 and the formation of The Education Network: bigchalk.com, thanks to my old boss, Jay Bryant (his blog is here).

Photos by Jay from his days at bigchalk.com

Note the first pic of a glass wall being used to hold some pretty cool buzzwords -- you'll find this in most .edu .com startups from the period. Keep moving till you see my empty desk, then on and on into the circus.
First Time Homebuyers

I was debating about whether or not to blog about this today, but darn it, someone sent me something that forced my hand. Feedback email chains, I love ya.

My wife and I have had our house on the market for three weeks. We've had lots of great folks in to take a peek. We've had exactly zero helpful comments come back -- none. Zip.

Not that we're expecting anything out of our potential buyers.

Or wait, are we?

Here's the gem that came in over my lunch break that made me write today's post: "THE HOME IS VERY NICE BUT IT IS VERY PERSONALIZED WITH THE CHILDRENS THEME... BUYER FELT THAT WOULD BE A BIG TASK TO CHANGE.. HAYWOOD"

So lemme get this right.

This house has like eight rooms. We've repainted all of them. All are in generally neutral tones. Except my son William's room, which is the smallest bedroom in the house. Like 10 X 10 or so. Took us exactly 10 hours over two days to paint it.

And now some lazy, prolly first-time homebuyer says a few hours of work would be a "big task" to change?

Kids, if you're gonna buy a home, you're going to want to do some stuff to it. And yea, it takes a little work. Surprised? I hope not.

Curious about the other feedback we've gotten? Ok, the number one thing -- I can't make this up -- is that they were surprised that the house was small. That they couldn't cram 2, 3, even 4 kids into it.

Huh? Read the listing folks, THEN come on over! Otherwise, the fact that the house has 3 bedrooms and 3 full baths might escape your eagle-eyes if you were hoping for... what, 4? 5? For our low, low price? ;) Shrug.

Anyhoo, wish us luck. Lots coming through this weekend!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

"Art of the Start"


Ok, I admit it. I used to be a Mac-aholic. An Apple Macintosh lover to the extreme.

A little background. Somewhere deep inside, I have the need to solve other people's technology problems. I got paid to write books to teach others how to make good use of technology in their lives.

So when I was introducted to my first Mac, I made it my mission to convert the brainwashed masses *cough* Windows *cough* to Apple. It's a better machine, I told everyone, sooo much better/easier. You'd be a fool not to rush right out and buy one. (Of course, I was cured of my Apple Fever a few years ago, but that's another post.)

Anyhoo, I made a few converts along the way, and at some point tripped over the name Guy Kawasaki. Big time Apple evangelist, paid to spread the Mac love full-time. I mean, how cool would that be? To fall madly in love with a technology company and then get paid to infect them with the virus of your vision -- that a Mac could make you both much cooler, and much more productive?

I read a few of his books, and recently picked up his new "The Art of the Start" for a song on eBay. This is, of course, a funny, insightful read -- just what you'd expect from Guy.

But a passage on page 36 had me laughing so hard I had to drop the book to catch a breath!

Keep this in mind -- on Y2K my wife and I moved to NC from Silicon Valley so I could start a new job with a company called bigchalk.com. Here's the passage that made me LOL, from the chapter entitled "The Art of Positioning":

"AVOID THE TRENDY. With hindsight, we made two mistakes naming Garage Technology Ventures when we started it in 1997. First, we initially called the company "garage.com." Unfortunately, dot-com acquired negative connotations when the Internet tide went out because it came to stand for companies run by people with business acumen in markets without business models."

Dead on Guy! There's more...

"The second mistake was lowercasing the "g" in garage.com. It was a silly act of pseudohumility, but those were silly times. The problem with lowercase "g" was that it was hard to pick out in blocks of text. The visual cue that the word was a proper noun wasn't there--you'd think that someone named guy (sic) would know this. Also, no one could really figure out what to do when a sentence started with "garage.com" -- should it be capitalized or not?"

"The bottom line, in hindsight, is that you should come up with a name that will endure for decades, and save your cleverness for the features of your products and services."

Amen Guy! bigchalk.com (See? what do I do there?) was rife with outbursts from fellow content authors, wondering what to do with that ever-lowercase-b. Eventually, about a year into the company, the bosses decided we should cap it when we start a sentence -- but honestly, I do what I always do in weird situations involving text/grammar I don't fully understand: I rewrote the text so bigchalk.com always appears somewhere inside of the sentence.

Problem solved!

And that, my readers, whomever you are, is today's trip into Tim's sordid .com past. ;)
"Red vs. Blue" Web Episodes

Take some guys with way too much time on their hands, some digital video and audio equipment, funny writing/scripts, and a copy of Halo, and what do you get? Why, Red vs. Blue of course. Download the videos and prepare to enjoy some really creative gamer-focused laughs. Fun for the whole family!

Check it:
http://rvb.roosterteeth.com/home.php
Really Good Clip Art & Photos

I remember the first time I was asked to make a PowerPoint presentation. The clip art Microsoft used to give you was really, really bad.

Thankfully, the entire clip art piece of Office has been moved online, and they've spent a good deal of time (and cash no doubt) to beef up this important part of Office.

Check it:
Microsoft Office Clip Art Collection