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Mini Cooper gets Bluetooth - Recently. A (We)Blog

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  1. Iraqi abuse photos

    jake on 2004.04.30
    at 01:43 pm

    Without getting political I'd just like to say I cannot believe the argument their giving for this. I would not do these things to a dog let alone another human being.

    One of the suspended soldiers, Staff Sergeant Chip Frederick, said the way the army ran the prison had led to the abuse.

    "We had no support, no training whatsoever. And I kept asking my chain of command for certain things... like rules and regulations," he told CBS. "It just wasn't happening."

    Posted in:

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  2. RSS Readers ruining it for the rest?

    jake on 2004.04.30
    at 01:27 pm

    Wired.com has an article about how RSS could overwhelm the Internet's pipes. At frist I was frustrated cause it sounded one sided but they touched on the problems by the end.

    Mark Fletcher, chief executive of Bloglines, said he agrees that many desktop readers are broken.

    "Several clients default to polling every half hour, which on a per-user basis ends up generating a lot more traffic than if the user was just going to the website himself," he said. "A user generally doesn't go to the same website every 30 minutes looking for changes."

    That's exactly what I did at work. My boss noticed my reader was polling regulalry (even though it really wasn't that much) so he had me change it to every 2 hours for every feed I subscribe to. And as far as I know the 2 apps that I can't decide between only download if there are changes. (At home I use NetNewsWire).

    If everyone followed rules of etiquette and the readers were forced to not allow anything less than an hour between checks then it would help a lot with these problems. Mostly I think it's the check for changes thing though. Not the frequency of checks (within reason).

    Posted in: Software · Web

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  3. New iTunes

    brian on 2004.04.28
    at 07:22 pm

    Hey, iTunes 4.5 has a load of new features, but the best one for me is that I can now listen to my live music without the gaps between tracks. I listen to a majority of live music, and this is a godsend. Wish I'd brought my equipment to work so I could download and update!!

    Posted in: Apple · Music

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  4. Spiders get in on van der Waals forces

    jake on 2004.04.27
    at 11:18 pm

    spider hairsLast year it was geckos, now it's spiders. Scientists have found similar properties in the hairs on spiders legs to provide van der Waals force. It allows many small contacts between the spider and a flat service. Everyone keeps talking about fancy post-it notes. I want to see a real Spider-man type application. Or maybe a new way to attach plasma TV's to the wall? That would be great compared to all the mounting brackets.

    Andrew Martin, from the Institute of Technical Zoology and Bionics in Germany, said, "We found out that when all 600,000 tips are in contact with an underlying surface the spider can produce an adhesive force of 170 times its own weight. That's like Spiderman clinging to the flat surface of a window on a building by his fingertips and toes only, whilst rescuing 170 adults who are hanging on to his back!"

    Discovery Channel
    ScienceDaily
    Google News

    Posted in: Science

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  5. Pictures from the Left Coast

    brian on 2004.04.26
    at 06:47 pm

    Hey kids, I haven't been posting much since I don't have an internet connection at my corporate housing (at least a free one). But today, I took some time to post my pictures thus far from my Silicon Valley, San Francisco, Redwoods trips.

    San Francisco:

    Henry Cowell Redwoods:

    Posted in: Photography

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  6. Mouse Yoda passes on

    jake on 2004.04.26
    at 12:48 pm

    Mouse Yoda from Associated PressI guess we spoke too soon. Yoda has died soon after reaching the record breaking age of 4 years old.

    Posted in: Science

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  7. Scale Siege Engines

    jake on 2004.04.21
    at 07:36 pm

    small siege engineI sent this to my brother yesterday as he collects things like this. Small scale Siege Weapons. If I only had a few hundred bucks to blow, I'd love to get a F.A.Trebuchet, shown right.

    From Boing Boing

    Posted in: Cool Info

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  8. Prison writing class stopped; compositions ordered to be destroyed

    jake on 2004.04.21
    at 02:48 pm

    This is just crazy, and it happened in "my backyard." Well, at least in my state. Inmates taking a writing class at the York Correctional Facility in East Lyme had their hard work thrown out after one of the class won PEN American Center prize.

    "It flies in the face of the First Amendment," Lamb said.

    Department of Correction Commissioner Theresa Lantz halted the writing program March 29 after learning that inmate Barbara Parsons Lane had won a $25,000 PEN American Center prize for her work on the 2003 book "Couldn't Keep It To Myself: Testimonies from our Imprisoned Sisters."

    From Boing Boing

    Update: A follow up post from Boing Boing links to two NYTimes articles declaring the prize money will be given. Too bad they wanted to destroy the work, that's still unacceptible.

    Posted in: Recent Events

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  9. Personal ways to reduce air conditioning costs

    jake on 2004.04.19
    at 05:44 pm

    This doesn't quite work for me since I live on the first floor of a house as an apartment. But a study done a while ago points out how doing things like changing the roofing of your house can reduce your cooling costs.

    From good 'ol Boing Boing

    Posted in: Service Announcement

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  10. Live from 1 Infinite Loop

    brian on 2004.04.19
    at 02:19 pm

    I'm blogging from the lobby of the beautiful Apple Campus in Cupertino. Nothing yet to report. I'll check in later.

    Posted in: Apple

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  11. Silicon Valley Bound

    brian on 2004.04.19
    at 02:18 pm

    From yesterday,
    Greetings from 31,000 feet above America's heart land. The "fly-over states" as they say, and that's true for me, at least today. I'm on my journey to the mecca of high tech, Silicon Valley. The first leg of my journey was Boston to Los Angeles. I've just completed my in flight dinner, which was better than the last time I ate on plane, but that was four years ago.

    The iPod has been an exquisite travel companion. Phish's December 29th, 2003 show from Miami is great travel music. Steve Garrity had suggested Postal Service's "Give Up" as a great choice, after his last sojourn to San Francisco. They have a particularlly fitting song called "Recycled Air." Maybe further on in my travels.

    The in-flight movie is underway, Paycheck with Boston-native Ben Affleck. Unfortunately, I'm going to have a hard time keeping the movie straight, because our row is having electrical difficulties. First, my neighbors couldn't plug in their dying ThinkPads to DC power (via cigarette-style connections on this Boeing 737), and now our headset connections are on the fritz to say that least. One channel at a time, at best, and a persistent beeping in the ear. Much like an electric metronome. Perhaps like Ben Affleck's character, they're trying to erase my memories of a bumpy six hour flight, that had electrical difficulties. Actually, I don't think I'd miss those memories much.

    The flight's gotten bumpier, so I'm guessing we've hit the Rockies. I'm also out of stuff to talk about.

    Posted in: Apple

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  12. NECN Replies, With Class.

    brian on 2004.04.16
    at 03:51 pm

    Well it's nice to see that a smaller network will reply, and quite quickly, to a concerned viewer. I received a note from their Station Manager shortly after emailing them the aforementioned rant.

    In the interests of equal time, their reply is below (formatting in context).

    Dear Brian, thanks for writing us. I am the News Director of NECN and have been for the past twelve years. I can assure you that Comcast's partial ownership of NECN has had no influence on our news coverage. Whenever we need to cover something regarding Comcast, we always reveal our ownership. It was not subtle but right up front before the piece aired. If you read the Boston Globe's article on the front page of their Business Page, you will find that they covered this story very similarly to our report. Indeed, we talked to an analyst from Forrester Research about the significant concerns of our industry regarding advertiser support for VOD. As to Satellite, yes, it can respond two say but limitations on bandwith make VOD impractical or impossible. You will not find VOD as a service on DBS anytime in the coming years. As to Giant Glass, I could not agree with you more. In fact, we are working with them on a new ad because we get so much feedback from viewers like you.  So, I want you to know that NECN will continue to adhere to our values of depth, context and quality.  We will not chase every car crash and fire as so many other local outlets do. We will take the time to tell stories well.  I'm sorry to hear you will not continue to watch NECN. I sincerely hope you find an alternative outlet that better serves your interests. With all best regards. Charles Kravetz, VP of News and Station Manager.

    My reply was as such (definitions added for the blog only, emphasis for formatting only, as well):

    Dear Charles,

    I sincerely appreciate you taking the time to address my concerns.

    {Quote}Whenever we need to cover something regarding Comcast, we always reveal our ownership. It was not subtle but right up front before the piece aired.{End Quote}

    Correct, you did reveal it, but it was in passing, and not as up front as most stations do, when talking about their owners. In your case, the anchor read the disclaimer right inline in a sentence, "...Comcast, an owner of NECN, is introducing..." as opposed to, say, ABC's coverage of the Disney/Eisner episodes, where someone like Peter Jennings would introduce the piece. Pause (which I think is key, to set it apart from the rest of the introduction), and right before the video rolled, would say "Let it be noted that Disney is the parent company of ABC." Then the video would roll. In my opinion, your disclaimer was not obvious enough. In situations like these, which are becoming increasingly too common (NBC reporting on GE, CNN on anything Turner related, CBS on Viacom... my head is beginning to hurt), I think the disclaimers need to be very, very clear. It's murky waters to report on one's owners (how can one be unbiased, or disclose bad news about their owner? Would you report if VOD was shorting out people's TV sets?)

    {Quote}You will not find VOD as a service on DBS anytime in the coming years {End Quote}

    Personally, I don't see Comcast VOD as news-worthy. Perhaps the overall movement by media providers, cable and satellite to provide their customers with more control over their TV watching, that might be worth a story.

    This is what makes this whole story so murky to come from a Comcast subsidiary: What your report failed to mention, is that, no, VOD isn't coming to satellite soon, but DirectTV will basically give you a digital TiVO for a couple dollars a month extra, and then you can record, pause live tv, do anything, to any network, at anytime, and even store it as long as you want, without DirectTV or Hughes telling you which of the limited stations you can do this on. (same with other satellite providers)

    That's sounds a lot more flexible to me than VOD controlled by Comcast. But all your story said was "you won't find this on Satellite" which is true, but totally misleading. And then consider the source: a news network owned by, surprise! Comcast! So even if your parent didn't know you were airing this piece (and of course, they did, since you interviewed someone from there), to the viewers who realize the relationship, and know the full story, it looks fishy. TiVO is becoming a cultural phenomenon, and like Google, is become part of America's vocabulary. To not mention satellite's adoption of it, which is a direct answer to VOD, is not fair. Sounds like an ad for cable. Especially when Comcast advertises "You won't find NECN on Satellite." That's my problem with this story.

    In summary, if I were in your position, I wouldn't put my network into the position of reporting on its parent company, unless, like in the ABC situation, there's something big going on, that another network would also report.

    {Quote}As to Giant Glass, I could not agree with you more.{End Quote}

    This may single handedly win me back.

    Best,
    ~brian

    Posted in: Television

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  13. Comcast Takes NECN Down the Tubes

    brian on 2004.04.16
    at 02:43 pm

    Since moving to Boston, I have watched NECN for my morning news. When their owner was bought by Comcast, I was leery. I decided to keep watching until something happened to confirm my suspicions. That happened today. Below is my letter to NECN saying goodbye.

    NECN,
    I just finished watching your story on Comcast On-Demand. I am really, really disappointed. This isn't journalism, it's a flipping info-mercial for your owner. Your disclaimer at the beginning of the story was subtle to say the least. I had to use my TiVo to go back and see if it was even there. You even bashed on satellite providers, ("Their customers can't feedback, since the connection is one way" -- which isn't true, you have a phoneline connection to your provider) just like an actual Comcast advertisement. It's really sickening. You've lost all journalistic integrity, in my opinion.

    The only reason I watched NECN is because it's generally unhyped local news, plus I'm originally from Connecticut, so it's nice hear something about the rest of New England on top of the three murders in Boston today. Well, since your transfer to ownership by Comcast, my opinion is sliding. Basically, I was afraid of their influence on the content (that's THE reason I don't watch the CN8 channel), but until today, I found their influence minimal. Now it's gone too far, and I suppose its time to find a new local news source. Preferably one without Giant Glass commercials which make me scream and change the channel each time I see them. Someone should tell them their annoying commercials are sticking in potential customer minds, but when I needed glass work, I purposely *avoided* them, since they've made my mornings nearly unbearable with their "jingle."

    One last criticism, I hate that your show is taped and looped till noon. It should be live and change through the morning. But I guess that won't bother me anymore.

    One more lost viewer,

    ~brian

    Brookline, MA

    If you too are a disgruntled and now former viewer of NECN, they can be reached at feedback@necn.com.

    Posted in: Television

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  14. Some research on that last post.

    jake on 2004.04.16
    at 01:53 pm

    After Brian asked me what the heck was going on I started looking around for info on that "game." I traced it back to a Livejournal post. But after it the second post, the content changed, from Page 18 - Line 4, to Page 23 - Line 5.

    It's a Meme. From what I just read, it can be changed like when you're playing Porno Password, which might explain Elkins decision to change it. It sifted down through a bunch of people, of course, this is all text so it doesn't get skewed like just telling someone would, and got here.

    So since I don't remember where I saw it first, and I'd hate to ruin the fun, I'll just say that Andy told me.

    Posted in: Books · Rant

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  15. Page Twenty-three

    jake on 2004.04.16
    at 12:08 pm

    No one “told me to do this” as I keep seeing other authors say. I just noticed them all doing it, and after trying it came up with an interesting result, so I thought I’d share. The instructions are…

    1. Grab the nearest book
    2. Open the book at page 23
    3. Find the fifth sentence
    4. Post the text of the sentence along with these instructions
    If all else fails, tell the truth…

    This is from Stark by Ben Elton. I borrowed this from my distant cousins in Ireland. It’s a good book, I’m just having a hard time getting engrossed in it where I read for 6 hours straight and I’ve been trying to read it for almost a year.

    Posted in: Books

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  16. Someone Was Worried About Planes as Missiles, pre 9/11.

    brian on 2004.04.15
    at 08:43 pm

    There is some news leaking through today that perhaps the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) was concerned about the use of hijacked passenger jets as missiles five months prior to the September 11th attacks. This is contrary to many in Washington who have said they never could have imagined this form of attack. Lack of inter-organizational communication, or hiding of one's head in the sand? Discuss.

    Posted in: Politics

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  17. Interview with spokesman of G4 tv about merger

    jake on 2004.04.15
    at 01:21 am

    This pretty much solidifies my fears about the merger. David Shane spends most of the interview proclaiming the greatness of G4 and how the new merged channel will revolve around video games. My brothers agree with me that G4 is pretty crappy channel. Last time I watched it there was a couple decent shows and a bunch of hosts who looked like they walked in off the street. And while I enjoy X-Play on TechTV, devoting a whole channel to games and reducing the general technology shows is a bad idea. If things go down the way this guy is talking, they might lose one of their "44 million" viewers.

    I hope I'm wrong and the channel takes the best of both and creates something new and great. This geek is keeping his fingers crossed.

    Posted in: Technology · Television

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  18. Willfull Infringement

    jake on 2004.04.14
    at 11:20 pm

    Dan pointed out an article about a documentary made to showcase where copyright holders harass and push around people trying to inovate. The only problem is the DVD is $55 bucks with shipping.

    "The Killing Fields"

    Posted in: Politics · Technology

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  19. Free On-Line Dictionary of Computing

    brian on 2004.04.14
    at 04:25 pm

    FOLDOC is the Free On-Line Dictionary of Computing. I found this today after looking up the word "twain" as in "Ne’er the twain shall meet" which is said to give birth to the term TWAIN, a standard technology which brought together personal computers and scanners. TWAIN is not an acronym, but that did keep popular folklore from making up an extension for it, "Technology Without An Interesting Name."

    By the way, "twain" means a lot of things, but "pair" is one of the fitting definitions in this case.

    Lastly, FOLDOC is supposed to be found at http://www.foldoc.org but the first time I typed that, it didn't connect. Subsequently, it redirected to the above linked site. Additionally, there are mirrors of the Imperial College (UK) FOLDOC site.

    None of this has the least to do with Samuel Langhorne Clemens. Sorry for any confusion.

    Posted in: Standards · Technology · Web

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  20. Bluetooth Stereo Adapter

    jake on 2004.04.14
    at 01:47 am

    More from the realm of Bluetooth. D-Link has released some adapters. They allow wireless streaming of content to your audio equipment.

    From Engadget

    Posted in: Music · Technology

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  21. Genetically altered mouse still lookin' good

    jake on 2004.04.14
    at 01:32 am

    when 136 years you reach, look as good you will not

    Yoda is still going strong at 136 in human years.

    Posted in: Science

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  22. Tips to help your wireless

    jake on 2004.04.14
    at 01:16 am

    PCWorld ran an article to help troubleshoot and improve wireless performance.

    Posted in: Hardware · Software

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  23. President's News Conference

    brian on 2004.04.14
    at 12:43 am

    All I have to say about the President's news conference tonight is "Duck and weave." I'll also point to Craig Newmark, who asks similarly, "When does evasion and misrepresentation become outright lying?"

    Here's one paraphrased quote (morphed from several similar questions and similar answers) from the event...

    Q: Do you feel you have made any mistakes, before or after Sept. 11th?

    President Bush: Not that I can think of at the moment. Hindsight is great, but I wouldn't use any. And don't forget, there was mustard gas in Libya, in a turkey farm! And we weren't even looking there!

    And in closing, I'd like to add that this is only President Bush's third primetime news conference since taking office more than three years ago.

    Posted in: Politics

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  24. Nifty Lampshades

    jake on 2004.04.13
    at 11:48 pm

    Installation of lamp shadesI mostly wanted to archive this for my own purposes. I have a nice lamp my grandparents gave me that could use a new lampshade. Moon Shine makes shades and scones and more to spruce up and beautify lamps around your home.

    From Boing Boing

    Posted in: Art

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  25. Kill Bill 3?

    jake on 2004.04.13
    at 10:20 pm

    At first I thought this was another stupid cash in...

    But Tarantino is apparently taking a different route. He plans on taking the daughter of Vivica A Fox's character and having her get revenge against Uma Thurman's character. He will do this by waiting 10-15 years and shooting some now, some then. Very cool.

    Posted in: Movies

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  26. Weird Al's parents die from carbon monoxide poisoning

    jake on 2004.04.12
    at 12:03 pm

    My condolences go out to “Weird Al” Yankovic on the loss of his parents. I’ve always loved his music. One of my first albums (on cassette tape) was his “Even Worse“ album which I purchased from a fellow classmate in 3rd or 4th grade.

    More news from Google.

    Posted in: Music

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  27. The Donald's Reality: A Hoax

    brian on 2004.04.10
    at 02:26 am

    NBCs and Donald Trump's The Apprentice is fixed. At least according to this first hand account of the down stairs neighbor of Brooklyn brownstone seen in the renting episode. Apparently the renter had already agreed to one rent, but had to appear on the show and fake taking the place at a higher one. Sad, but that's par for course the Donald. A hoax.

    Posted in: Television

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  28. LeMond Poprad

    brian on 2004.04.09
    at 02:35 am

    As a follow up to my previous post, I thought I'd announce that I have taken delivery of the bike, and that I'm quite happy with it thus far.

    The bike came with a few surprises, including an extra set of brake levers on the closest part of drop bars. These will be terribly useful to me in the bike's primary purpose, that of a commuter, when ever I need to assume the more upright position. Also, the drop bars themselves are more upright, which are a better shape for me.

    Unfortunately, I haven't commuted on it yet, perhaps tomorrow if its nice out.

    Posted in: Sports

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  29. One Less Car

    brian on 2004.04.06
    at 03:21 am

    Lemond Poprad Cyclocross BicycleThanks to the afore posted development, I will be adapting my commute to work. I have ordered a Lemond Poprad cyclocross bike from the fine people at Wheelworks. It's built and ready for me to pick up (hopefully Wednesday night). Then when weather and scheduling permits, I will be riding the two-to-three miles from Brookline to Cambridge.

    "Wait!" You say, "Boston is awful to drive in, the roads are nuts. Would that make cycling there suicidal?" Well, you might be right. Heck the former CEO of a local bicycle company once told me during an interview that I would be nuts to commute on bike in the city. During that interview, one of his employees called in to say she had broken her leg in a bike commute accident (no car involved, just a rainy day and a wet, slippery expansion joint).

    However, I happen to be lucky. 80% of my commute would be on the bicycling paths of the MDC's Charles River Reservation. I would be segregated from auto traffic, while paralleling the raceway-like Soldiers Field Drive.

    I can't wait to to start. I hope to trim my current commute (by the "T" that's light rail / subway for non-Bostonians) by half. Currently, I need to plan for a one hour commute to deal with the fluctuations in the schedules. Strike that. They don't even have a schedule. I think 30 minutes should be attainable with little sweat.

    For those who are interested, I plan on wear cycling garb, and bringing clothes in my courier bag. Luckily, attire at work is jeans, a company t-shirt and of course, custom shoes. I leave the shoes at work in a locker.
    I already have the iPod case for the cycling bag (which will be listened to in only one ear).

    I'll keep everyone updated on my attempt to shake up my commute, subdue pollution, undermine the funding of terrorism via oil sales, reduce road congestion, rail-car congestion, reintroduce exercise to my life and damnit, have some fun.

    Posted in: Hardware · Politics · Sports

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  30. Brian gets Promoted

    brian on 2004.04.06
    at 02:19 am

    Well, hoo-ray for me. My time and hard work at Apple has earned me the title of "Mac Genius." Well, once I pass the tests, at least. I'm very happy.

    At this point in my life, I never pictured myself working in a retail store. Of course, Apple broke the mold when they made the Apple Store. Too bad they couldn't find a way to allow us to work 8am-5pm, though. Upsides: a) It doesn't pay like retail. b) it's Apple. Of course, where else can you have an Apple technician look at your Mac at 9pm on a Tuesday. Or worse, a Saturday night? We're crazy enough to be "that guy."

    Anyhow, back to the fun. My training begins next week, 40 hours of study time for my three exams, which will cover "help desk basics" "desktop" and "portable" topics. Also troubleshooting theory and other topics. Really. "Troubleshooting Theory," I'm not making that up! And to be an MG, that has to sound interesting to me! (and it does)

    After studying, I have to take the tests. However, the up side to that is that I get to take them in sunny Cupertino, California, the heart of Silicon Valley. I get two weeks of training at 1 Infinite Loop, the famous Apple Campus. Hopefully, I'll post a few pics and updates from the left coast!

    Posted in: Apple

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  31. IKEA Founder beats out Mr. Gates

    jake on 2004.04.05
    at 11:21 pm

    I think the most interesting thing about Bill losing the number one position is that it's partially attributed to the weakning of the dollar.

    Posted in: Rant

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  32. Mini Cooper gets Bluetooth

    jake on 2004.04.02
    at 07:07 pm

    Mini ConvertibleI just had to post that Mini's are getting Bluetooth as Peanut Butter has given me a new affinity for Bluetooth. Many higher end cars have Bluetooth already but this particular brand is at the top of my list for future car.

    I like the use of Bluetooth for hands free calling (besides the fact my phone does not include it) but I'd like to see more uses of it. Like wirelessly streaming music from an mp3 player or something over the stereo.

    Image found at car.kak.net. Many more available.

    Posted in: Auto · Technology

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