The Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny

OK so maybe you won't find this as funny as I did. Personally, I fell out of my chair. A word of warning, this might be considered PG-13 at best. (Originally found here but I saved it to my server just for posterity...)

And yeah, before you mention it, this is apparently pretty old. So am I, big whoop.


Next India Trip Lining Up

So it looks like my next excursion out to the Asian continent will be the last two weeks of March. I'd hoped to do it a little shorter this time around, but it would seem that I will actually be spending more time out there - flying out Sunday instead of Monday, and returning the following Thursday instead of Wednesday. And, I'll be travelling alone this time. Which isn't so bad, I know Nathaniel didn't want to stay in the Leeland Palace this time, but since he won't be along I can do so and walk across the street again to the AOL offices in Bangalore. I was so not looking forward to a daily rickshaw ride...


A Gaming Post

Yup, here we go, a post on nothing but gaming. Heh.

So anyways, we finally got going on the idea of a gaming clan. 'We' meaning my friends from the LAN parties, mostly co-workers from the lovely NEGT morass plus some others they knew (neighbors, significant others and the like). I think at peak we had something close to a dozen of us. SO, now that we don't work at the same place anymore, Matt moved up to PA, Mike and Veronica moved back to TX, the notion was raised once again to try and bring us all together as a clan. Just to make communication and recognition easier.

Well, lo and behold, comes the dawning of a new age. The GunRunner Clan is up and running. Even got a spiffy forum thanks to Kenny. I've been running around BF2 and CS:S with my little [GrC] tag now. W00t.

Last night a bunch or us got on a BF2:SF server, using Xfire voice chat. Nice idea, but from my end the quality was piss-poor. Though I did like the idea of not having to use push-to-talk, I think we need to work on a TeamSpeak server, especially before the next LAN party in March so those of us in disparate regions can still game with us...

Gun Control

If you consider that there have been an average of 160,000 troops in the Iraq theater of operations during the last 22 months, and a total of 2112 deaths, that gives a firearm death rate of 60 per 100,000.

The rate in Washington D.C. is 80.6 per 100,000.

That means that you are about 25% more likely to be shot and killed in our nation's capitol, which has some of the strictest gun control laws in the nation, than you are in Iraq.

Conclusion: We should immediately pull out of Washington D.C.


Ordering a Pizza in 2010

This is funny, but the scary part is it's probably not too far away.

Want to know how to order a pizza in 2010? Listen closely, turn up the volume and watch the screen and pointer carefully.


IP Spotting

Yep, some times programmers have entirely too much time on their hands. The site gives your IP a score based on how interesting it is. It's silly and pointless but fun. I only got a score of 6, very lame. And one of the worst poker hands ever seen:
Two of ♣ Clubs
Seven of ♦ Diamonds
Nine of ♦ Diamonds
Three of ♥ Hearts
Queen of ♠ Spades
Go on, give it a gander. As quoted from the site, "Kind of like 'Hot or Not' for your IP address. Possibly the dumbest thing I've ever seen."


The Secrets of Happily Married Men

Found this tidbit in a Washington Post article, Making Marriage (Like) Work. Author Scott Haltzman, a psychiatrist and Brown University professor, has been studying marriages for a long time, both in his clinical work and via his Web site. His new book, "The Secrets of Happily Married Men", collects what he says are the guy behaviors that lead to happy marriage. From his site, he's "out to save marriages, one husband at a time."

Haltzman recommends to use the male habits and male skills that serve him well at work, at play, and in competition. View marriage as your most important task, he urges, and pursue success as you would anything else that matters. "The assumption is it's a lot more pleasant, and the payoffs far greater, to live with a woman who is satisfied, secure and feeling loved compared to one who is none of the above."

So straight from the book (or at least as the Washington Post paraphrases him), here's what Haltzman says are the eight guy "secrets" for a happy marriage.

1. Make Marriage Your Job.

Premise: Guys have skills and habits developed at work that can be successfully applied to marriage.

Details: If men are to accept marriage as a job, they need a job description. Here's Haltzman's: Love, honor and respect her; be sexually and emotionally faithful; listen without being judgmental; support her ambitions; try to understand how she is different emotionally; be honest at all times and keep promises; share in child care and domestic work; be as attentive, fun-loving and adoring as you were during courtship; and be affectionate. This is no part-time gig.

2. Know Your Wife.

Premise: You think you know your wife, but you haven't really been paying attention. Do your research.

Details: Citing the old therapists' joke (there are two times men don't understand women: (1) before marriage and (2) after marriage), Haltzman urges guys to do what guys do: Collect data. Observe her in mundane situations where she reveals herself: at the sidelines at a kid's game; when she's with her best friend; at a restaurant or coffee shop; and before, during and after sex. Here is where you will discover who she really is, not who she says she is. For detail and accuracy, Haltzman recommends creating a "Daily Observation Chart" (um, right, that would go over well...) to record her activities. He appears to be serious about this.

3. Be Home Now.

Premise: Guys evolved as prowlers and hunters, not home-tenders. But to make a marriage work, you've got to spend a lot of time around the cave.

Details: "To . . . build a lasting marriage, you have to be there, in person, day by day, Mr. Regular, at home, in the building -- and that's that." And why don't more guys do this? Saltzman says men need to be honest about why they often leave the cave, returning only to feed, sleep and lie with their mate: to avoid conflict, loss of control, domestic responsibilities, intimacy or . . . having to grow up. But if men are sufficiently present at home -- and attentive while present -- the payoff is "direct and bountiful . . . love, friendship, support, emotional nourishment, peace of mind, fun, intimacy and sexual satisfaction."

4. Expect Conflict; Deal With It.

Premise: Fights are inevitable, but you can control them.

Details: "You can . . . stop the mounting tensions in their tracks," Saltzman says, not by doing what guys are inclined to do (dig in and fight to the death) but by using various higher cerebral strategies. For instance, take advantage of a woman's natural inclination to nurture by softening your tone. And stymie escalation by not letting emotion drive something you say or do.

5. Learn to Listen.

Premise: Listening does not come naturally to male humans, who are more inclined to act. But it can be learned, to great benefit.

Details: Stand still while she talks. Turn off the TV. Look directly at her. Use verbal nods to show that you're listening. If it's important, seek clarification. If not, just let her talk.

6. Aim to Please.

Premise: "In the workplace . . . men are masters of relationship-building." So: Bring this skill home.

Details: Treat your wife at least as well as you would a valuable client, co-worker or employee: Greet her warmly, ask how she is, see what she needs and how you can help. Do thoughtful favors, anticipate desires and entertain and offer gifts as appropriate.

7. Understand the Truth About Sex.

Premise: Men. Women. They're different!

Details: In response to the old women-want-slow-intimacy / men-want-to-get-down-to-business conflict, Saltzman planks out a by-the-numbers program consisting of five "gears" that men need to move through, sort of like a sporty transmission. First gear is holding hands, kissing, etc. Second gear gets more emotional and private. Third is playful. Fourth is getting awfully close, and fifth is where guys usually wanted to be from the beginning. Attend to the earlier stages, the author says, and the fifth is more likely -- and better.

8. Introduce yourself.

Premise: Enough about her. Time to let her know "this is who I am, this is what I need."

Details: Take inventory of who you are, Haltzman says, which is something that can get lost in the shuffle of a busy married life. Then, assuming you've mastered the seven "secrets" above, your efforts to meet your own needs -- doing stuff together that you like, hanging with the guys, taking occasional solo sorties, playing sports, cultivating personal interests and hobbies -- won't be greeted as if they are threats or acts of abandonment.


The American Way

The tribal wisdom of the Dakota Indians, passed on from generation to generation, says that, "When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount."

However, in government, education, and in corporate America, more advanced strategies are often employed in such situations, such as:

1. Buying a stronger whip.

2. Changing riders.

3. Appointing a committee to study the horse.

4. Visiting other countries to see how other cultures ride dead horses.

5. Lowering the standards so that dead horses can be included.

6. Reclassifying the dead horse as living-impaired.

7. Hiring outside contractors to ride the dead horse.

8. Harnessing several dead horses together to increase speed.

9. Providing additional funding and/or training to increase dead horse's performance.

10. Doing a productivity study to see if lighter riders would improve the dead horse's performance.

11. Declaring that as the dead horse does not have to be fed, it is less costly, carries lower overhead, and therefore contributes substantially more to the bottom line of the economy than do some other horses.

12. Rewriting the expected performance requirements for all horses.

And of course my favorite...

13. Promoting the dead horse to a supervisory position.


Piracy Setup Discovered in WV Capitol Building

A new article from Slashdot just tickles me pink over my state's government. I'm so glad our taxes and trust are not misspent...
Someone in West Virginia has apparently spent tens of thousands in state funds to acquire computers and video gear to copy movies and music. From the article: 'Ferguson confirmed Tuesday that his staff found the makeshift audio-video studio amid his widening probe into spending and other abuses at the state General Services Division.' Looks like some employees are getting the axe for everything from purchasing abuse to time fraud.


Katie's Ear Piercing

Building a Linux Home Media Center

Another post from Slashdot, this one concerning my new favorite Linux distro and a pet project of mine that I still intend to see off the ground someday:
Tom Lynema assembles an Ubuntu-based Linux home media center. 'Like a lot of people nowadays, I have a growing collection of digital media. My digital media is stored on a home Linux server. Most of the digital media players available today do not support protocols to connect to a Linux server, which make them unsuitable for my use. I realized the best way to connect my digital media library with my home theatre was to build my own Linux home media center (LHMC).
On a side note, I just noticed that I cannot change the date or time anymore on my blog posts... that's mildly annoying, as I wanted to keep my post about Katie getting her ears pierced near the pics I intend to post up later on...

Toyota Prius Under Fire For Patent Infringement

From Slashdot:
According to Auto Service World, Toyota (and possibly other hybrid companies) are guilty of violating a patent with their Prius hybrid Systems. The patent in particular looks like it covers most of how the drive-train and even the braking system of a Toyota Prius functions. The implications of which are big if there is no deal or settlement made (such as ceasing of hybrid vehicles in the United States).

Proud and Morose All At Once

So last night, while at Claire's (not a place I normally frequent, but the girls had their gift cards to redeem) my 8-yr-old finally decides it's time to get her ears pierced. She has my wife's pain tolerance, and was vehemently opposed to getting them done, but now it would seem one of her friends had it done, and she said it was no big deal. Katie's at that "tween" age where she's more into Hillary Duff now than the Wiggles, and watches more Winx Club and Teen Titans than she does Sesame Street.

So it was with a good deal of pride (that she could overcome her fears, and take the responsibility to take care of her ears) and not just a little bit of moroseness (she's still my little girl) that I watched her have it done. She didn't squirm or cry out, just said "ouch", and had the other done without complaint. Very unlike her.

Maybe she is growing up after all. Pictures to follow, once I upload them from my cell phone camera.


Compact Digital Cameras--What to Look For

From the O'Reilly Network:
Are you in the market for a new compact digital camera, or are you looking at upgrading? Today's digital cameras come fully loaded with lots of bells and whistles, but do you really need lots of advanced features? What are the features that will benefit you the most? Professional photographer and best-selling author, Derrick Story, steps you through the latest features and provides valuable tips on what to look for.

Ten Thoughts to Ponder for 2006

Number 10
Life is sexually transmitted.

Number 9
Good health is merely the slowest possible rate at which one Can die.

Number 8
Men have two emotions: Hungry and Horny. If you see us without an erection, make us a sandwich.

Number 7
Give a person a fish and you feed them for a day; teach a person to use the Internet and they won't bother you for weeks.

Number 6
Some people are like a Slinky... not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile when you shove them down the stairs.

Number 5
Health nuts are going to feel stupid someday,lying in hospitals dying of nothing.

Number 4
All of us could take a lesson from the weather. It pays no attention to criticism.

Number 3
Why does a slight tax increase cost you two hundred dollars and a substantial tax cut saves you thirty cents?

Number 2
In the 60s, people took acid to make the world weird. Now the world is weird and people take Prozac to make it normal.

We know exactly where one cow with Mad-cow-disease is located among the millions and millions of cows in America but we haven't got a clue as to where thousands of illegal immigrants or terrorists are located. Maybe we should put the Department of Agriculture in charge of Immigration or Homeland Security.


The Price of Children

We've repeatedly seen the breakdown of the cost of raising a child. The government recently calculated the cost of raising a child from birth to 18 and came up with $160,140 for a middle income family. Talk about sticker shock! That doesn't even touch college tuition. But $160,140 isn't so bad if you break it down. It translates into: $8,896.66 a year, $741.38 a month or $171.08 a week. That's a mere $24.24 a day, and just over a dollar an hour! Still, you might think the best financial advice is to not have children if you want to be "rich".

Actually, it is just the opposite.

What do you get for your $160,140?

  • Naming rights. First, middle and last!

  • Glimpses of God every day

  • Giggles under the covers every night

  • More love than your heart can hold

  • Butterfly kisses and Velcro hugs

  • Endless wonder over rocks, ants, clouds, & warm cookies

  • A hand to hold, usually covered with jelly or chocolate

  • A partner for blowing bubbles, flying kites, building sand castles, and skipping down the sidewalk in the pouring rain

  • Someone to laugh yourself silly with, no matter what the boss said or how your stocks performed that day

  • For $160,140, you never have to grow up. You get to:

  • Finger-paint

  • Carve pumpkins

  • Play hide-and-seek

  • Catch lightning bugs

  • Never stop believing in Santa Claus

  • You have an excuse to:

  • Keep reading the Adventures of Piglet and Pooh

  • Watch Saturday morning cartoons

  • Go to Disney movies

  • Wish on stars

  • You get to frame rainbows, hearts, and flowers under refrigerator magnets and collect spray painted noodle wreaths for Christmas, handprints set in clay for Mother's Day, and cards with backward letters for Father's Day. For $160,140, there is no greater bang for your buck. You get to be a hero just for:

  • Retrieving a Frisbee off the garage roof

  • Taking the training wheels off a bike

  • Removing a splinter

  • Filling a wading pool

  • Coaxing a wad of gum out of bangs

  • Coaching a baseball team that never wins but always gets treated to ice cream regardless

  • You get a front row seat to history to witness the:

  • First step

  • First word

  • First bra

  • First date

  • First time behind the wheel!

  • You get to be immortal. You get another branch added to your family tree, and if you're lucky, a long list of limbs in your obituary called grandchildren and great grandchildren. You get an education in psychology, nursing, criminal justice, communications, and human sexuality that no college can match. In the eyes of a child, you rank right up there under God. You have all the power to heal a boo-boo, scare away the monsters under the bed, patch a broken heart, police a slumber party, ground them forever, and love them without limits, so one day they will, like you, love without counting the cost.

    That's quite a deal for the price!

    Love & enjoy your children & grandchildren.


    Guess What I'm Lookin' At Right Now...

    A Dell UltraSharp 2005FPW 20.1-inch Wide Aspect Flat Panel LCD Monitor. Oh yeah. It's pretty sweet.


    Quad-SLI PC

    NVIDIA and Dell unveiled the first-ever Quad-SLI PC at CES this year. Taking its acclaimed SLI technology to the next level, NVIDIA introduced support for not one, not two, not three, but FOUR GPUs.

    Delivering the most extreme high definition gaming experience available on the PC, Quad SLI features four of NVIDIA's flagship GeForce® 7800 GTX GPUs with an NVIDIA nForce®4 SLI motherboard.

    Imagine tearing through today's most advanced PC games with an unheard of 41 gigapixels per second of raw graphics performance, 5.2 teraflops of compute power, 96 pixel pipes, and an astounding 2 GB of on-board graphics memory. Nothing can stop you when you have this kind of hardware on your side.

    Now imagine yourself doing all of this at extreme HD resolutions with everything turned on.

    A Quad-SLI PC lets you run your favorite games at an unbelievably high resolution of 2560x1600 while maintaining silky smooth frame rates. In addition, support for a new 32x antialiasing mode and 16x anisotropic filtering enables stunning visuals.
    Wow. Just... wow. Tom's Hardware has a run-up as well.
    Thanks to the PCI Express (PCIe) interface, combining two graphics cards in an SLI configuration is easily achieved. Just plug two identical GeForce 6 or GeForce 7 cards into the motherboard, and connect them with the SLI bridge connector. The two cards will then split the 3D rendering load between them, which can result in a performance improvement of up to 70 percent in everyday life. Now that PCI Express motherboards are available with PCIe x32 - or, more correctly, two x16 slots - there are also some new and intriguing possibilities.
    Mere words simply cannot describe the emotions... combine all that with the new Dell 30 inch 3007WFP LCD panel... 'scuse me, I have some drool to clean off my keyboard...

    EDIT: Some coverage from Slashdot as well.
    Today at the Consumer Electronics Show, Dell and NVIDIA announced a new XPS system coming later this year that will sport not one, not two, but FOUR GeForce 7800 GTX 512 GPUs running in a quad-SLI configuration. There are two physical graphics cards in the system still, but each has two seperate PCBs with a GPU and 512 MB of memory on each. PC Perspective has some information including pictures of the cards and Dell system as well as specs and details on how NVIDIA handles the new SLI data configurations. No word yet on power consumption and heat levels, of course.

    OEM Hard Drive With Window

    WD Raptor XOooh, saw this on Slashdot and knew I had to jot it down, gotta stick this in my next wish list... w00t!!!
    At last, you don't need to mess around with Dremel tools and Lexan (and destroy your valuable data) to get a clear window in your hard drive. Western Digital has released the Raptor X 150GB SATA hard drive. 10,000 RPM, 4.6ms seek time, 16MB buffer, and, yes, a clear window so you can see what's going on inside. Made out of a special polycarbonate lens with an ESD-dissipative coating, the lens is designed to let case modders and their groupies see the drive platters and heads without sacrificing data integrity.
    Great googly moogly, can you imagine a pair of these beauties in a RAID0 configuration? Can we say SMOKIN'??

    What Would You Do For A Flying Car?

    Far too funny to describe. You have to watch it. Do it now. Right now.

    Milestones and Trends in Renewable Energy

    More fun reading from Slashdot, with some reflections and projections: The year 2005 saw large wind power installments come into a price range where they are now competitive with traditional grid prices. 2006 could see several solar designs do the same. Cold fusion was boosted with two, concurrent and independent sonofusion breakthroughs, though the stigma in the name is still deeply seated. 2006 could see floating wind turbines arrive on the commercial scene -- floating in the water like oil rigs, or floating high in the air, courtesy of helium. 2006 will see at least three companies offering after-market kits for adding Brown's gas (H and O from electrolysis, common ducted) to the air intake of vehicles for enhanced mileage and performance. Many other fuel economizing systems are slated to mature in the marketplace. Climate change evidence will continue to mount. It will yet be years before we harness lightning, but stable tornado systems prototypes that tap waste heat from power plants could arrive this coming year. Will 2006 be the year that clean energy becomes more the vogue than cool computer gadgets?

    Coffin Hotels Opening Near You

    Saw this on Slashdot, a CNN article entitled "Goodbye mini bar, hello mini room" about a new style of shadowrunner-style hotels opening around London airports.
    Costing roughly 70 dollars a night (but also bookable for four-hour periods), the rooms are aimed at passengers waiting for connections or those who want to sleep or work before a meeting.

    Each soundproof cabin will contain a sofa that converts into a double bed, a pull down desk, closet space, adjustable mood lighting, a shower, wireless Internet, an iPod connection and a flat-screen TV.
    Reminds me of something out of a William Gibson novel.
    But, like their easyHotel rivals, Yotel rooms may seem a little claustrophobic, with no natural lighting -- a concern that Woodroffe says is likely to be offset by the quality of the product.
    For approximately $70 a night (also with an hourly rate for layover passengers) you get a 10-square-meter room with no natural light but with some very cyberpunkish features... now if I can just get a node to jack in my cybernetic implant whilst staying there...