Episode #6 of The Guild: Total Wipe

Missed this somehow. I thought I was on a notification list via YouTube... ah well, better late than never. Episode #6 of The Guild: Total Wipe.


Pic of the Week 20080128

OK, just had to toss this in, courtesy of my lovely wife. This regards a new government health warning not to swallow your chewing gum:

See what happens?

Every GOP Presidential Candidate (Except Ron Paul) Pledges Allegiance to Iraq War

Sorry I've been quiet awhile, things have been busy. Just wanted to pop in for the main reason I will not be voting Republican this election: McCain, Romney, Huckabee, and Giuliani think the Iraq war was a GREAT idea.
During Thursday's Republican debate in Florida, moderator Tim Russert asked the candidates: Was the war in Iraq a good idea and has it been worth the blood and treasure we have lost? ...With the exception of Ron Paul the Republicans give mind bogglingly ignorant responses. Giuliani's bullshit about not letting polls (how about the feelings of the majority of Americans Rudy?) push you around might be the worst. Whatever the flaws of the Democratic contenders, not a single one of them would try to argue now that the war was a "good idea", which makes them at least on that level preferable to any of these fools. How could they all be so out of touch?

Follow the link to watch the video on AlterNet.

At least Obama pulled out a win in SC. The results so far show him pretty well ahead of everyone else... but obviously, it's still early.


The end of oil is just a game

A new combat videogame depicts a world at war over rapidly dwindling crude supplies (Frontlines: Fuel of War, developer Kaos). But what's the message players walk away with?
Most oil industry analysts say peak oil production is many decades, if not hundreds of years away, and a transition to other sources will likely be more orderly than the scenario depicted in Frontline.

But a small and growing number of experts -- some well-respected -- say peak oil production is close or has happened and the transition will be much more painful than mainstream analysts predict.

Read more from CNNMoney.com...

NLOS Cannon Challenge

Here's a fun flash game if you're bored, brought to you by the excellent Discovery Channel show Future Weapons. Take charge of your own Non-Line-of-Sight (NLOS) Cannon, the revolutionary gun that represents the future of US Field Artillery. Use the simulated elevation and velocity controls to destroy enemy targets with indirect fire.


Pic of the Week 20080118

Here be the car of the future. Nice windshield, eh?

Huckabee Equates Homosexuality With Bestiality

What a nutjob. Huckabee also managed a "gigantic flip flop and jumped on the largely discredited Tancredo "send all illegal immigrants home" bandwagon." Here's the interview quote from Beliefnet.com, after establishing that marriage has meant "a man and a woman in a relationship for life."
QUESTIONER: Is it your goal to bring the Constitution into strict conformity with the Bible? Some people would consider that a kind of dangerous undertaking, particularly given the variety of biblical interpretations.

HUCKABEE: Well, I don't think that's a radical view to say we're going to affirm marriage. I think the radical view is to say that we're going to change the definition of marriage so that it can mean two men, two women, a man and three women, a man and a child, a man and animal. Again, once we change the definition, the door is open to change it again. I think the radical position is to make a change in what's been historic.

Also, Huckabee Channels Man-on-Dog Santorum.

Gah, what a frustrating week...

So all week now I've been working (unsuccessfully) on the same project, trying to reimage these two particular servers. It's just not going well. I've got all the procedures, the scripts to transfer the backups, I know all the files that need edited to make it all mesh together... but it just won't work. I've lost count of the times I've started over to reinstall on the same box. I might be on number eight or nine. And it's not looking good this time either - I mean, having a server with broken processes is fine, I can fix things, but the bloody thing won't even boot all the way properly, and then when I get a login prompt - nada. I type the root user and password, it hangs for a sec and then returns me to the login again. Grr. And I can't get into it remotely which makes me inclined to think I missed something with the networking somehow...

I'm about ready to thrwo in the towel and broadcast a request for help to those more knowledgable peers of mine. I was hoping, after having taken a break yesterday to "work from home" (hmm, yet my Xfire shows quite a few hours logged into my new Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II game, curious...) due to the snow storm, I'd be ready to tackle this with fresh energy. Nope. It's just pissing me off more.

Well, let me go back into the server room and see if it's booted all the way yet.

I don't think I've been in my actual office since Monday. (I'm at the NOAA buildings right now. Nice not having anyone looking over my shoulder tho...)

Anyways, y'all have a nice holiday weekend. Go do something for the community on Monday, keep the dream alive.


Pic of the Week 2008.01.10

Just so you understand the irony here. The only reason the sign exists, is to warn that you may bump your head on the sign.

On Leave ( Funny Video )

Awesome video. I don't think it's on YouTube so you'll have to follow the link to FunZu.com to watch - but definitely do so.

Alienware's Curved Monitor

Slashdot noticed on 2008.01.08:
Alienware has showcased a curved display prototype supporting a resolution of 2880x900, aimed mainly toward gamers, with a refresh rate of .02ms. This 3 feet wide DLP with LED illumination will be available by the second half of 2008. The monitor is still showing some flaws, but Alienware assures us that these will be gone by release. No price has been revealed as of yet.

From the article itself:
The Sighting: We can't have one of these Alienware curved monitors until the second half of this year, but until then, we've been abducted by its four nearly seamless and sharp screens of DLP goodness. Lit by LEDs, this 2880x900 monster is well over three feet wide and is said to have an other-worldly .02ms response time, great for gaming. The Soylent Green: You can see the seams between this monitor's four segments, but the Alienware humanoids tell us that flaw will be gone by the time this craft lands on Earth. The blacks look a bit washed out to our eyes, too. Price is yet to be determined.

Wow. Just... wow. .02ms response??? On a screen that big?? Drooooool.... Definitely check out Gizmodo's site for a sweet video of the monitor awesomeness and the full gallery.

Vista Shipped On 39% of PCs In 2007

Slashdot reports on 2008.01.08:
Vista is proving far less popular than XP did with new PC buyers during the earlier OS's first year on the market. This conclusion follows from statements by Bill Gates at this week's Consumer Electronics Show. Gates boasted that Microsoft has sold more than 100 million copies of Windows Vista since the OS launched last January. Based on Gates's statement, Windows Vista was aboard just 39% of the PC's that shipped in 2007. And Vista, in terms of units shipped, only outperformed first-year sales of XP by 10%, according to Gates's numbers, while PC shipments have doubled in the years since XP's release.

Yeah, the 100 million included OEM sales. And I'm sure the numbers above don't include those who had no choice but to buy their new computer with Vista installed, but then uninstalled it upon receipt and placed XP or Linux or some such on instead.


Who Owns Your Social Data? You Do, Sort of

Another post from Slashdot on 2008.01.04 questions just how much of our information online is actually ours to do with as we like...
Mad about Facebook's treatment of Robert Scoble? 'The idea for people to move their social graph from one service to other is a fabulous benefit,' Wikia co-founder Jimmy Wales told eWEEK. 'To me, it's a benefit to customers. People should be very wary about services that are uptight about that kind of thing in an effort to lock you out of the customer.' The problem is that while the profile data may be yours and yours alone, your address book contains the names and e-mail addresses of your friends, family and business contacts. So who owns the data?

Robert Scoble was booted off of Facebook and lost all his profile info (including over 5000 friends) for alpha testing an upcoming feature of Plaxo Pulse. According to Robert:
It is a Facebook importer that works just like any other address book importer... it’s trying to connect Facebook names with names in its database.

For instance, it learned that of the 5,000 people in my Facebook account about 1,800 were already on Plaxo.

Apparently he was just trying to sync up his Facebook contacts who were in Plaxo into his Outlook address book. But, as it went against the TOS, he got the boot.

Scientist Suggests We Explore 'Universe is a VR Simulation' Theory

Slashdot post from 2008.01.04:
A New Zealand physicist has written a paper saying that physicists should seriously explore the possibility the universe is a giant virtual reality simulation. He says that the existence of quantum phenomena could be due to the underlying digital nature of the simulation and also claims his VR hypothesis can explain relativity, the big bang and more. It should be possible to perform experiments to prove the hypothesis too. He reasons that if reality was to do something that information processing cannot, then it cannot be virtual.

I know we've talked about this before (not that I can find the post)... I think he's just watched the Matrix one too many times...

NH Results

So Clinton and McCain walk away with a win in NH. CNN still estimates Obama leading Clinton overall (barely). Voters now have a month to mull over the results. It will be interesting to see what the pundits will spin off of Clinton's win and Huckabee's loss (it'd also be nice if a reporter would ask him to explain why it was God's will for him to lose in New Hampshire)...


8 Celebrities You Didn't Know Were Geeks

As any nerd can tell you, being smarter than everyone else has a price. Poor social skills, being grossly over or under weight, being terrible at sports. Skin problems, probably bad eyesight ... you get the idea. Yet, there is a whole class of nerds who break that universal rule, who somehow wind up smarter than us... yet also, are so good at kicking ass or being hot that they've got legions of adoring fans. Browse on over to cracked.com for the full article, it's definitely worth the read. For the curious, here's the rundown (some of these I knew were geeks, others I had no idea - Dolph??? Are you serious???):
#8. Natalie Portman
#7. The Offspring lead singer Dexter Holland
#5 & 6. Underworld's Kate Beckinsale and Kevin Grevioux
#4. Vin Diesel
#3. Porn star Asia Carrera
#2. Queen guitarist Brian May
#1. Dolph Lundgren

Most memorable line, after describing the academic heights that Brian May achieved:
Then, he was appointed Chancellor of Liverpool John Moores University, meaning we now have a man who can look upon both Albert Einstein and Eddie Van Halen and ask why they didn't get more done.

I roflmao'd.


The 2600 Story

Ahhh, the beloved and venerable Atari 2600. This is the first of three parts in a story behind the history of this console which, 30 years ago, went on to "define the modern gaming industry, and play such an important part in history."

This article is based on excerpts from a historical book on Atari being written by the poster Marty "Retro Rogue" Goldberg and his friend Curt Vendel. Read on for a ClassicGaming.com look at the full story behind the development of the Atari 2600.

A look at Barack Obama's environmental platform and record

It's difficult not to step into the political waters (or at least dip my toes) during these times. I was already impressed with Barack Obama's technology platform, but I just read a segment from the Grist regarding his stand on environmental issues. It's worth a read, but I do want to include a memorable quote:
"Saying that America is addicted to oil without following a real plan for energy independence is like admitting alcoholism and then skipping out on the 12-step program."
-- April 2, 2006, in a speech at the Associated Press' annual luncheon, referring to President Bush's 2006 State of the Union address

I'll try to stay away from the politics and keep things to tech and gaming. Honest.


HD Monitor Causes DRM Issues with Netflix

On Slashdot today, Jeremiah Cornelius points us to Davis Freeberg's blog, where he discusses his "nightmare scenario" of losing access to his DRM-protected purchases by upgrading his PC monitor.
"When I called them they confirmed my worst fears. In order to access the Watch Now service, I had to give Microsoft's DRM sniffing program access to all of the files on my hard drive. If the software found any non-Netflix video files, it would revoke my rights to the content and invalidate the DRM. This means that I would lose all the movies that I've purchased from Amazon's Unbox, just to troubleshoot the issue. Because my computer allows me to send an unrestricted HDTV feed to my monitor, Hollywood has decided to revoke my ability to stream 480 resolution video files from Netflix. In order to fix my problem, Netflix recommended that I downgrade to a lower res VGA setup."

Could there possibly be any remaining questions as to why DRM is evil, and benefits only the corporations?

Politics, Politics, Politics...

So looks like the Iowa Caucus results are mostly in. Obama came out on top of the Dems, and Huckabee for the Republicans. Fruitcake Ron Paul got only 10% (my apologies to my republican friends who like the man, but he is a certifiable nut).

AlterNet has some interesting perspectives on what Barak Obama's win means for everyone (even if it is only one caucus in one midwestern state):
Obama's win gives us all hope. It signifies the kind of country we imagine ourselves being: optimistic, forward-looking and unafraid to take risks...

Unfortunately Clinton's campaign rode the same fear-mongering horse that Bush and Cheney have been flogging to death, this time directed at Obama (Be afraid of something new, something different. He might meet with our enemies. His middle name is Hussein. He went to a madrassa school. A vote for him would be like rolling the dice..) - and funny enough, Obama beat Hitlery (sorry, had to throw that bone back to the Ron Paul fanatics) by a decent margin (9%) in what was supposed to be a dead heat three-way tie. Huh, go figure.

Further question posed: Why should ABC and Fox get to decide who is a viable candidate for president?

And in case you're wondering as I am, why Iowa and New Hampshire are considered such a huge caucus deal when they just don't represent a good cross-section of the American electorate, AlterNet ponders the same.
It seems like we go through this every four years. People bitch and moan about the inflation of importance (and influence) of early primaries in New Hampshire and Iowa in selecting presidential nominees. According to an AP article today, neither state represents a true cross section of the American electorate…

The AP article in question discusses the frustration that voters in other states feel with the current nominating process.
According to national survey conducted for The Associated Press and Yahoo News, just over half of all voters said New Hampshire and Iowa have an extraordinary amount of influence over who wins the two nominations.

Doesn't seem to draw any conclusions or offer any insight as to what could change. They just seem to quote people defending the process. Ah well. Unsurprisingly, the Iowans and NH residents who participated in the survey didn't have a problem with their state's influence on politics (actually, the NH folk want more).

But out of all the news bits that have come across from yesterday (and I'm sure there are already pundits theorizing on a Obama-Huckabee matchup) there was one particularly interesting insight I found on CNN.com that I wish to close with. What isn't remarkable about the Iowa Dem caucus is the fact that Obama beat out Clinton and Edwards. What is remarkable is the way he did beat them, by beating his opponents across a stunning demographic spectrum.
Obama won Democrats, Republicans and independents; men and women; and virtually every income bracket. People most worried about the Iraq war gave him their vote. So did voters most concerned about the state of the economy. And those whose top priority is fixing the nation’s health care system.

Huckabee seems to have pulled off his expected demographic: evangelicals. Though he managed to attract a wide demographic of income and age (excluding the over-$100K income bracket).

So, stuck with the system we have still, we move on to New Hampshire. Can Obama keep his lead? Will Clinton change tactics, or stick to the same? Can Edwards still prove he's a contender?

And will Huckabee, faring well in a state where more than half the voters are evangelical, make a similar showing in the (admittedly) less-pious demographic of NH?

EDIT: I just came across a very funny piece on the Burbia blog. They had written a prior article questioning why we're holding caucus' in IA and NH, and got some very funny outraged replies, mostly from Iowans. In short, they say "Get over yourselves."


101 Things in 1001 Days

I'm constantly amazed by Felicia Day, by her focus and drive and creativity in putting together the Guild movies and with her blog posts on the Flog... but this latest has blown me away. This is something that her brother has put together as well, and I recall her mentioning previously that there was a movement of sorts online for people to assemble such lists. But there it is now, in all its glory, 101 things to accomplish over the next 1001 days. Wow. I'm feeling partly motivated to do something similar myself, and partly intimidated on the organization this would require for my cluttered and preoccupied and distracted mind.

If I want to do this I need to get hopping. 1001 days from Jan 1 would be... let's see, 3 years is 1095 days, so that would be late 2010... ok, somewhere around late September 2010. Hm. Maybe it's not as urgent as I thought. Heh.

Some of the things I see on Felicia's list include a running task list, like things to do weekly. I think if I were to do this I would lean more towards actual accomplishments that I can tick off and say "yep, did that!" Heck, I could make a whole category for Home Improvement. That may take up half the list...

I shall dwell upon this further.

Bad foods that are actually great for your waist

From the Health section of CNN.com: If you've been avoiding burgers, ice cream, and pizza thinking you're doing your waistline a favor, don't. They can actually help you lose weight -- and keep it off, too. Here are the hidden slim-down perks of five foods that get a bad rap and the best way to add each one back into your diet.

Story Highlights
  • Red meat: Stick to a three-ounce serving (the size of a deck of cards)
  • The protein in eggs increases satiety and decreases hunger
  • Pizza with whole-wheat crust and topped with veggies is diet friendly

Full story...

Creeping Fascism: From Nazi Germany to Post 9/11 America

Published on AlterNet, December 29, 2007. Americans today are seeing the same sheepish submissiveness that characterized Germany after the burning of the Reichstag.
"There are few things as odd as the calm, superior indifference with which I and those like me watched the beginnings of the Nazi revolution in Germany, as if from a box at the theater ... Perhaps the only comparably odd thing is the way that now, years later ..."


Disappearing Car Door

OK, so this is extremely cool. Would you buy this as an option on a car? I need to look into what this does to side crash ratings... More info at their site.


Pic of the Week 20080102


(Click on the pic below for the full-size, it's worth it...)