Re¢ently

  1. MT Mail Must Get Through

    brian on 2005.01.31
    at 04:44 pm

    In a follow up on my ruminations about Montana and Weather from an early few posts, I’d like to link to this story in the Montana Standard about a mail carrier and her appointed rounds on the longest rural mail route in the state. Very cool, especially the insight on her attitude and her choice of vehicles.

    Posted in: Weather

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  2. Bostonian Apprentice

    brian on 2005.01.31
    at 02:59 pm

    Speaking of The Apprentice, does one of these guys look familiar? Six degrees disclosure, I am 4 degrees from he. No, I don’t know him, or the degree closest to him at all. But I do enjoy his presence on the show, and we’re pulling for him! (Even though everyone knows the taping is already complete)

    Posted in: Media

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  3. Legalizing TV Torrents

    brian on 2005.01.31
    at 02:16 pm

    I read somewhere this morning that networks were investigating how much a viewer might pay (per view) for their favorite show that they can watch when they want to. This made think about when people have to use BitTorrent to download their favorite show when the networks change their schedules to put your two favorite shows on at the same time, and you don’t have a dual-tuner TiVO to get on the record/watch goodness.

    The result of the torrent would be a high-quality version of the show, with commercials conveniently extracted. Since TV is clearly supported by advertising and advertising judged by ratings (which don’t count BT downloads, obviously)… this is a recipe for disaster for your favorite show: if everyone BTs the show, and doesn’t watch it over the cable box, there’s no ratings for the show, and it gets dropped, despite the unmeasured popularity of the show itself.

    What if, instead of charging micropayments, the networks simply followed Salon’s highly successful lead of day passes where any reader can have full access to a pay-for -content piece after watching a short, but highly-targeted ad. In the case of a TV episode, I’d say one of these ads for access to a network-hosted torrent (which of course, would route people away from pirate-torrent sites which would indirectly reduce pirate content’s popularity).

    If I had a legal way of downloading an episode of my favorite show in exchange for a day-pass-esque few minutes, I certainly feel it would be a fair exchange, a fair payment, if you would. Would you?

    There is a demo available! Someone (and I’m not suggesting you or anyone try this) could try this experiment at home. Locate an episode of NBC’s “The Apprentice” online and download via BT. Then go to Yahoo!‘s online Apprentice shill site. Look around, check out tie-ins to BK, Levis, Pepsi, Genworth, all the other companies that are pimped on the show, or pick up a Donald Trump Bobblehead doll.. I’d say that constitutes fair trade… NBC/Yahoo! Get you only a click or two away from buying their products… much more beneficial to them than a sign on top of a computer screen that says “Yahoo! Local.” Eyes and clicks. I’d almost guarantee a bump of purchases. And enjoy the show!

    Posted in: Media · Technology

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  4. Donationware Music

    brian on 2005.01.31
    at 02:06 pm

    I’ve just become aware of the existence of the donation-ware Chemical Brothers Remixed , where you can torrent a full remixed album (unavailable elsewhere) for free and it’s sanctioned OK by the band. The ask that you donate a CD’s worth of money (but leave it up to you) to their suggested charity.

    The group that made the remix, Always Outsiders, Never Outdone also had a similar effort with The Prodigy .

    Posted in: Music

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  5. New PowerBooks

    brian on 2005.01.31
    at 01:35 pm

    Hi, all. You may notice that I usually don’t blog about new Apple product releases. But since Jake asked me to, I’ll point out a few less noticeable, but seriously cool, upgrades to the new line of PowerBookG4s . Everyone can see the speed bump and the price drop but here’s a few things you might miss:

    • Scrolling touchpad. No longer do you need to turn to third party software if you care to scroll using your touchpad, you can now scroll with built-in drivers.
    • New Bluetooth 2.0. Improves speeds from 1.0 to 3mbps. These G4 portables are the first computers to offer Bluetooth 2.0+EDR (enhanced data rate) in the world. Still backwards compatible with BT 1.0, of course.
    • Dual DVI technology. Some of you may know that Apple’s gargantuan 30 HD display requires two DVI connections to move all those pixels. Now Apple has graphics in a portable that can support that: standard in the 17”, optional on the 15” Stock 15”‘s and 12”‘s can use the 23”‘s as max.
    • Sudden Motion Sensing. You may have seen IBMs adds regarding dropping your co-worker’s laptop while at the lunch counter. This is still a bad idea (dropping any electronic device), but now Apple’s portable hard drives can go a little further in attempting to lock down their moving parts to “brace” for impact. Still, don’t drop your laptop.
    • Super SuperDrives: DVD-burning is now supported in the DVD+R/RW disc format as well as DVD-R/RW. And does so at 8x speed, if you have 8x discs.
    • Up to 100mb hard drives available. All drives (60, 80, 100) come as 5400rpm mechanisms. All machines have minimum 512mb of DDR RAM installed at the factory.

    Man, these make look at my 867mhz 12” and think back to when it was the top of the line…

    These are just my own observations, do please see the official Apple press release for details and check out the PowerBook on Apple’s website .

    Posted in: Apple

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  6. Blizzard Post #3 - Pics

    brian on 2005.01.26
    at 12:40 am

    So, as threatened, I’ve posted some pictures on Flickr.

    Here’s my set of pics I took on the way to the ceremonial digging out of the car. Now featuring car-roof-high snow drifts…

    Blizzard of 2005!

    Posted in: Photography · Recent Events

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  7. Problems with the current Stem Cell Lines

    jake on 2005.01.24
    at 06:54 pm

    I’m sure you’ve all heard about how the current Administration views stem cells and the “problems with their “science.. To summarize, although there are points to be made on both sides, they would have you think that to gather stem cells we’re massacring babies. Not quite true.

    Now to add to the problem, some of the methods used to grow the current cells and use them for development could be contaminating them.

    When embryonic stem cells are added to serum from human blood, antibodies stick to the cells. This suggests the cells are seen as foreign, and that transplanting them into the body would trigger the immune system to reject them.

    The administration still hasn’t gotten its head out of its ass on this issue.

    From: Wired
    Nature

    Posted in: Politics · Science

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  8. Blizzard Post #2

    brian on 2005.01.23
    at 04:47 pm

    We’re still snowed in here in Brookline. We’ll brave the blizzard in an hour or two to start digging out the car. We may not need the car tomorrow (see the next sentence) but we want to start working on it. Amanda already has the day off tomorrow as her school district called the morning to inform her. I am surprised enough that I have today off, that the wheels of American commerce have ground to a halt for a day. We’ll see about tomorrow. The city of Boston has already called school off for Tuesday as well.

    I’ve been looking at a lot of pictures of the storm from the surrounding area, and a good deal of them are posted on Flickr, a free, online photo site, which has attracted the attention of bloggers of late. I decided to sign up for an account to play around with it. The biggest thing people have been loving recently is the “tagging” feature (meta data, ‘folksonomies’) where if you put, say a ‘Boston’ tag on a picture, you can see all the photos on Flickr that are Boston related. You can also cross reference, like ‘Boston’ and ‘Snow.’ Very cool. I currently post all my pictures online via my dotMac account, which is an enjoyable experience, from the stellar iPhoto experience, three clicks and you’ve got a pretty gallery.

    Recently, I’ve been thinking about doing something with a better integration with the weblog. All I can do with a dotMac gallery is link to it, and I cannot link directly to any one picture. Also, the code, while robust, is terribly heavy… and I cannot edit the layout or code.

    With Flickr, you can integrate RSS/Atom feeds and other direct links to your blog. However, everything is Flash based for display, which is great for cool transitions, and may be slightly lighter code. Good and bad, too. But has a community aspect… Also, Flickr has an upload utility for Mac OS X, and someone has made an open-source plug-in for iPhoto 4

    I think ultimately, I will have to build my own gallery. I’m trying to find something that can integrate with Textpattern, something I’ve installed on my own domain, which I’m trying to build up some personal, online stuff. I think I’ve figured out the theory of TXP, which is a little complex, but that means power in the long run. Plus the code download is tiny. Tiny is beautiful.

    And speaking of beautiful, I certainly hope my attempt will look half, half as good as this gallery. Phenomenal.

    Posted in: Photography · Recent Events

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  9. Blizzard Blessings

    brian on 2005.01.23
    at 01:19 am

    So thanks to the Blizzard of ’05, I got off early tonight from work, allowing me to watch my UConn Huskies play the big game against Pittsburgh.

    UConn proactively asked ticket holders for the game who knew they would not be coming out in the blizzard to call in, so that the school could offer the tickets to the student on campus without tickets.

    The result is what should happen at every UConn game at Gampel Pavilion. The entire lower section appears to be students, along with both ends of the arena. What that is a massive home court advantage. The students are standing, and exerting their presence. I think every game should be at Gampel, the Hartford Civic Center, although it seats 6,000 more, sucks.

    Note to UConn athletics: fill at least the bottom ring with all students. Your home court advantage will go up. The great small-venue basketball facilities do this, and no opposing team wants to play there. You make so much stinking money off this team that you can afford to put the big wigs in the upper section, plus this way, they can see over people who want to stand.

    Signed,

    Proud Alumn Brian.

    Posted in: Sports

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  10. Don't Drive Like My Brother

    brian on 2005.01.12
    at 11:46 pm

    I love Car Talk. I wish they had a PodCast, but I think they’re going to stick with selling episodes through Audible/iTunes. It bums me to pay for something I can get for free on Public Radio…

    Posted in: Auto

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  11. Mac Mini and other Apple announcements

    jake on 2005.01.11
    at 07:26 pm

    Early this afternoon Apple had one of their famous conferences where they talk about the really cool stuff coming out in the near future. I still haven’t figured out why I write about this stuff more than Brian. Maybe he feels you all might think he’s biased.

    Mac Mini

    Mac Mini being heldIn this expo the biggest announcement in my book was the Mac Mini. Not only is it small but it’s almost as powerful as my Power Book. If I had a reason to buy one outside of some urge to fit in with the Mac community I’d do it. Especially since I’d have to up the power and push the cost well above it’s $499-$599 base price.

    Mac Mini backsideThe only gripe I have is the weak graphics power with no expansion. I’m not saying it has to be top of the line, but at least give us a little more RAM on those things. Well that and not including Gigabit Ethernet.

    That would really help my dream… Could someone buy a group of them, cluster them, and show pictures of them stacked up? I would absolutely love to see that.

    Technorati Mac Mini Results

    iWork

    Although I’m a fan of the software upgrade to iLife. I’m more interested to see where Apple is taking iWork

    Are they really gonna take on Office in the future? Pages looks like a nice word processor.

    The iPod shuffle looks cute. But I think if I was to buy any iPod I’d go for a full size original version.

    Update

    Go to http://www.apple.com/ipodshuffle/ and at the bottom, read footnote number two, it could save your life.

    Posted in: Apple

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  12. Short story about copyright extension

    jake on 2005.01.11
    at 07:21 pm

    This morning I had the pleasure of reading The People Who Owned the Bible – a story. It’s a funny little story about copyright extension and how silly it really can be. Copyright extension is a rather ludicrous proposition. It’s doing a lot more harm than good.

    Thanks Cory

    Posted in: History · Media

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  13. Weaken U.S. Endangered Species Law?

    jake on 2005.01.10
    at 07:47 pm

    Although not all laws are perfect, I find it troubling that a bunch of greedy assholes are interested in damaging the U.S. Endangered Species Law. It might benefit from some tweaking, but naturally big industries want to damage its effectiveness.

    But Ralph Morgenweck, regional director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, argues that rules are strict because a species is not listed until it is at death’s door. “The species are in bad shape. They didn’t get that way overnight and it will not go in the other direction overnight,” he said.

    Posted in: Politics

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  14. Random Links

    jake on 2005.01.10
    at 05:21 pm

    • I noticed on the Superficial a funny spoof of The Ashley Simpson Show.
    • The site that linked to that originally also had a link to a video of the 4-year old drummer. His fills could use a little work, but in general he plays very well for someone his age. He could be cool when he’s older if he doesn’t get full of himself. Otherwise I’ll have to start referring to him as “The Mediocre 34 Year Old Drummer.”
    • Gizmodo relays us to some interesting features on Hacking Netflix about adding profiles to user accounts. It has many benefits but I wonder if they thought about pushing movies up the queue if multiple profiles (family members perhaps) request a movie. I’m kinda excited to switch over from my Blockbuster account which I got while trying to barter referrals for my Free Camera
    • Unleashed is a new movie starring Jet Li, Bob Hoskins, and Morgan Freeman, looks pretty cool. Too bad Li spends the movie trying not to kill people. ;)

    Posted in: Movies · Music · Rant · Technology

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  15. Good Fonts are Hard to Find

    brian on 2005.01.09
    at 04:15 pm

    I don’t know who is responsible for http://www.goodfonts.org/ but thank you for putting up 300 excellent freeware fonts, I took several.

    Posted in: Design

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  16. Track Your Government

    brian on 2005.01.09
    at 02:05 pm

    I’m surprised that it took so long for someone to build such a tool, but at last http://www.govtrack.us/ has come, allowing you to keep tabs on your representative. Thanks so much to Joshua Tauberer for doing this. Your country will be grateful.

    Posted in: Politics · Technology

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  17. Family Guy: Uncancelled

    brian on 2005.01.06
    at 08:41 pm

    I’ll admit to occasionally watching Fox. Football, baseball, those are givens. Simpsons, yes (though certainly not regularly). Well, I may soon again add another show to the line up.

    Fox is doing the unheard of, and un-cancelling Family Guy. They even have a website about it. Rumor has it they sold so many DVDs that they decided to un-bury it. As Peter would say “Freaken Sweet!”

    Posted in: Technology

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  18. US Voting Facts

    brian on 2005.01.04
    at 05:41 pm

    Just in case you were wondering, people are still investigating the presidential voting. There’s plenty of reasons why they are doing that. . Sketchy indeed.

    Posted in: Politics

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