Pic of the Week 20070831

Just so y'all wouldn't feel neglected. A little bit of education for the male geeks.

Happy Labor Day

Well it's been a crazy month, and one very crazy summer, but here we are at the end of it. The big finale. Labor Day Weekend. So, enjoy the long weekend.

Labor Day is a United States federal holiday that takes place on the first Monday in September. The holiday began in 1882, originating from a desire by the Central Labor Union to create a day off for the "working man". It is still celebrated mainly as a day of rest and marks the symbolic end of summer for many. Labor Day became a national holiday by Act of Congress in 1894.

A recurring Labor Day event in the United States, since 1966, is the annual telethon of the Muscular Dystrophy Association, hosted by Jerry Lewis to fund research and patient support programs for the various diseases grouped as muscular dystrophy The telethon raises tens of millions of dollars each year.

Labor Day weekend also marked the annual running of the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway in Darlington, SC. The race was run at any time during the weekend from 1950 - 2002. In 2004, NASCAR began racing on Labor Day weekend at California Speedway in Fontana, CA. This dropped the race to November in the schedule for 2004 which became a night race and was dropped altogether in 2005 in favor of a Mother's Day weekend night race.

A really old custom eschewed wearing white after Labor Day. The custom is rooted in nothing more than popular fashion etiquette. In actuality, the etiquette originally stated that white shoes were the taboo while white or "winter white" clothes were acceptable. This custom is fading from popularity as it continues to be questioned and challenged, particularly by leaders in the fashion world. "Fashion magazines are jumping on this growing trend, calling people who 'dare' to wear white after Labor Day innovative, creative, and bold. Slowly but surely, white is beginning to break free from its box, and is becoming acceptable to wear whenever one pleases. This etiquette is comparable to the Canadian fashion rule against wearing green after Remembrance Day. In the world of western attire, it is similarly tradition to wear a straw cowboy hat until Labor Day. After Labor Day, the felt hat is worn until Memorial Day. "


The Guild - Episode 2: Zaboo'd

Almost forgot to post this today, just found out right from the source that the second episode of The Guild is out (mentioned previously):

I'm following the series now with avid interest, at first I thought it was just a one-time short, but as Felicia's made this into a series I'm all the more interested... She does a really nice job of directing this, as well as acting (I love the intense awkwardness she exhibits!) - so go on YouTube and give her five stars!

A Gentlemen's Duel

For the funny animation of the day we present to you A Gentlemen's Duel. Although it is a bit long ( 07:45 ), it is one of the best made short computer-generated animations I've seen in a long while, needless to say one of the funniest too. This is Dreamworks-level goodness.


Pico-ITX, Because Size Matters

An adventure in the incredibly shrinking computing box...
It's not every day that a new form factor comes out, especially not one that is 10cm x 7.2cm. Despite its size, Pico-ITX is the hottest new thing in the rapidly changing small form factor market. It is considerably smaller than Mini-ITX (17cm x 17cm) which has proven itself to be quite versatile and though some sacrifices had to be made to shrink the platform, Pico-ITX is surprisingly complete. The system was tested with Feather Linux but the PX10000 has the power to run Windows XP or Ubuntu if you want to add on a hard drive.

SCO Loses

Yup, it's been all around the news. 'Bout dang time, I sez. Here's the finishing-move endgame news delivery from Slashdot:
The one summary judgement that puts a stick into SCO's spokes has just come down. The judge in the epic SCO case has ruled that SCO doesn't own the Unix copyrights. With that one decision, a whole bunch of other decisions will fall like dominoes. As PJ says, 'That's Aaaaall, Folks! ... All right, all you Doubting Thomases. I double dog dare you to complain about the US court system now. I told you if you would just be patient, I had confidence in the system's ability to sort this out in the end. But we must say thank you to Novell and especially to its legal team for the incredible work they have done. I know it's not technically over and there will be more to slog through, but they won what matters most, and it's been a plum pleasin' pleasure watching you work. The entire FOSS community thanks you for your skill and all the hard work and thanks go to Novell for being willing to see this through.

Charging the Unhealthy More For Insurance

A reader sent into Slashdot a link to a BusinessWeek story, run on Yahoo, about Clarian Health and the new thing they are trying with health insurance coverage for their employees. They are charging unhealthy people more. The article goes into some depth about whether this is a good idea and whether the practice might spread.
"In late June, the Indianapolis-based hospital system announced that starting in 2009, it will fine employees $10 per paycheck if their body mass index (BMI, a ratio of height to weight that measures body fat) is over 30. If their cholesterol, blood pressure, and glucose levels are too high, they'll be charged $5 for each standard they don't meet. Ditto if they smoke: Starting next year, they'll be charged another $5 in each check."

Linux News Roundup

Just catching up on some Linux news out of Slashdot over the past week or so...

Tales of Conversion - Using Ubuntu at Work 2007.08.05 1:56
Here is a short story about my switch to Ubuntu from XP at work. I have been Microsoft-free for 3 months now at a Microsoft heavy shop. Few people know I am using Open Office and Linux. I create countless documents that people open using Word, Excel, PPT and nobody can tell that they were created using Open Office. From the article: 'When I first started my experiment I was trying to keep it a secret out of fear of attacks from angry Microsoft worshipers (especially from the admins and desktop support). What I am finding out is that most of the folks that I was hiding from are sick and tired of supporting Windows and are proponents of Linux. Several of them are using Linux at home. One of the guys I talked to has Vista and XP installed on his laptop. He swaps out the hard drive when switching between OS's.'

Lenovo to Sell, Support Linux on ThinkPads 2007.08.06 15:08
Lenovo has announced that they will begin selling T-series ThinkPads with SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 pre-installed beginning sometime during the fourth quarter. In addition to supplying the hardware support, Lenovo will also handle OS support for ThinkPad customers, with Novell providing software updates. 'Unlike Dell, which has targeted its Linux offering primarily at the enthusiast community, Lenovo's SLED laptops are targeted at the enterprise. Whether they are running Ubuntu, SLED, or some other distribution, the availability of Linux pre-installation from mainstream vendors increases the visibility of the operating system and gives component makers an incentive to provide better Linux drivers and hardware support. If Lenovo is willing to collaborate with the Linux development community to improve the Linux laptop user experience, it will be a big win for all Linux users, not just the ones who buy laptops from Lenovo.'

Ubuntu Dell Now In UK, France, and Germany 2007.08.07 22:16
Dell announced the availability of Ubuntu in Europe and future plans for China. 'I hinted at this before, but today, it's official: Dell announced that consumers in the United Kingdom, France and Germany can order an Inspiron 6400 notebook or an Inspiron 530N desktop with Ubuntu 7.04 pre-installed... In his LinuxWorld keynote, Kevin Kettler announced that Dell and Novell intend to offer SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 factory-installed on select consumer notebooks and desktops in China.'

Linux Foundation Calls for 'Respect for Microsoft' 2007.08.11 13:21
Jim Zemlin (executive director for the Linux Foundation) gave a talk at LinuxWorld saying that the open source community should stop poking fun at Microsoft. From the VNU article: 'Open source vendors have to recognize that Windows is here to stay and that together with Microsoft it will form a duopoly in the market for operating systems. This also requires that the Linux community respects Microsoft rather than ridicule it. "There are some things that Windows does pretty well," Zemlin said. Microsoft for instance has excelled in marketing the operating system, and has a good track record in fending off competition.'

Torvalds on Linux and Microsoft 2007.08.11 21:40

Sniper223 wrote in with a link to an interview on the Network World site with Linus Torvalds. Linus goes through the usual spiel about stuff like why he released the Linux OS in the first place, and how the future is open source. He also has some interesting commentary on the Microsoft/Novell deal:
"I actually thought that whole discussion was interesting, not because of any Novell versus MS issues at all, but because all the people talking about them so clearly showed their own biases. The actual partnership itself seemed pretty much a nonissue to me, and not nearly as interesting as the reaction it got from people, and how it was reported ... I don't actually personally think the Novell-MS agreement kind of thing matters all that much in the end, but it's interesting to see the signs that the sides are at least talking to each other. I don't know what the end result will be, but I think it would be healthier for everybody if there wasn't the kind of rabid hatred on both sides. Some people get a bit too excited about MS, I think. I don't think they are that interesting."
An interesting contrast to Slashdot's earlier conversation (above).

Scotsman Jokes

An Englishman, an American, and a Scotsman go to the bar together, and each orders a Guinness stout. As they're preparing to take a drink, each has a fly land in his beer. The Englishman hands the beer over to the bartender and says "I'd like a new beer, chap." The American flicks the fly out of his glass and proceeds to drink the beer. The Scotsman grabs the fly by a leg, and shakes it over the beer, shouting "Spit it oot, ya wee bastard, spit it oot!"


Scotsman walking through a field, sees a man drinking water from a pool with his hand.

The Scotsman shouts "Awa ye feel hoor thats full O coos Sharn" (Don't drink the water, it's full of cow dung.)

The man shouts back "I'm English, Speak English, I don't understand you".

The Scotsman shouts back "Use both hands, you'll get more in."


Pic of the Week 20070808


When you see this on your way out the door in the morning...

...go back in and have another cup of coffee. It is probably not going to be a good day!


Snacky's Journal, Episode 3

You've seen episode 1... You've seen episode 2... Now, see Snacky, Angie, and Roberto in their most daring adventure yet as Snacky's Journal, Episode 3 takes us on a wild ride fishing adventure. This episode of Snacky's Journal premired at BlizzCon 2007 after winning the action/adventure category and taking best in show as well. So, if you see them wandering around Azeroth or lurking in their YouTube comments, remember to congratulate Stone Falcon Productions on their victory!


The History of Warlocks

The History of Warlocks. A story told by a level 19 gnome warrior named Tankytwinky. <3

Once upon a time,
there was a beautiful RPG,
it's name was World of Warcraft,
and there were lot's of things to see!

The game had nine different classes,
each with their specialty,
and you could choose completely,
which one you wanted to be!

There were Paladins, Shamans and Druids,
there were many things they could do!
It also had Mages and Hunters,
They kinda did pewpew!

And don't forget the priest,
the master of the heals!
And ofcourse the rogues and warriors,
they were masters of "FAST KEELS"!

And last, there was the warlock.
Wicked, awesome and cruel.
They were supposed to dps like mages.
And debuff you in a duel!

Well, this was what the book said,
which was included with the game.
But warlocks kinda sucked!
Yep, that sure was lame.

And so people were happy,
with the class they rolled.
All, except the warlock.
They didnt get what they were told!

And so they went to the forums,
and said: "i've got something to say!"
But all the classes replied:
" It's fine, just learn2play".

And so the warlocks played,
the first 60's were already here!
But the warlock was still a mushroom,
and they only got a nerf to fear.

And the warlock's went to the forums,
and said: " Why am i not a predator but prey? "
And all the classes replied:
" It's fine, just learn2play".

Some time had passed now,
maybe half a year.
But warlocks were still useless.
And again Blizzard nerfed fear.

" If they are keeping it like this,
and don't know if this is what I'll stay!"
But all the classes replied:
" It's fine, just learn2play! "

But then something awesome happened.
It sure was a beautiful thing!
On that very day,
Blizzard crowned the Warlock king!

They got DPS like mages,
even better, at some times!
And they could debuff people!
As good as this sentence rhymes!

Now people were feared of warlocks,
and not only the spell.
Cause if they met a warlock,
there we're going straight to hell!

And all the classes went to the forums,
and said: " This is not good, no!
" Where is my free honor? "
" My rank is now SO low! "

" We demand a nerf Blizzard!
This is not okay! "
But all the warlocks replied:
"It's fine, just learn2play ;)"

Hardcore Gamers

I'm often in awe of the eloquent verbosity displayed by Elysium over at the Gamers with Jobs blog. Today at the bottom of a particularly nice article concerning the path that mainstream gaming has taken, he said something that just hit the nail right on the head. His definition of the "Hardcore Gamer":
We are the cinema aficionados who champion foreign films, the music lovers that only listen to indie music, the literature snobs who talk about Proust and smoke clove cigarettes. As popular culture embraces gaming, it shrugs us old-school gamers off dismissively, and to be honest we're probably better off that way. At least, that's what we should tell ourselves until we figure out how to act cool again and hang out at the popular lunch table.
Sheer genius I tell you.


Toyota Unveils Plug-in Hybrid Prius

As seen on Slashdot, 2007.07.27:
Toyota has announced a plug-in hybrid vehicle, based on their popular Prius. So far, it will only have a range of 8 miles on the battery (13km). They are going to test this vehicle on the public roads, apparently a first for the industry. From the article: 'Unlike earlier gasoline-electric hybrids, which run on a parallel system twinning battery power and a combustion engine, plug-in cars are designed to enable short trips powered entirely by the electric motor, using a battery that can be charged through an electric socket at home. Many environmental advocates see them as the best available technology to reduce gasoline consumption and global-warming greenhouse gas emissions, but engineers say battery technology is still insufficient to store enough energy for long-distance travel.'
I just don't see 8 miles as being very feasible. More and more families aren't living close to where they need to travel as they move further out to the suburbs. Now, this may be terrific for urban travel - but what happens if you're stuck in traffic? The battery has to power everything in the car, not just the engine...

But yeah, battery technology has to come a lot further... Shoot, 8 miles wouldn't even get us to the post office and back...