February 28, 2005
It is not unbeatable, and it does make some rather interesting assumptions. Consider for example where its answers disagreed with mine when the subject was “Child”
You were thinking of a child.O.K. So its not programmed to be multicultural yet. I'm sure they'll fix that.
Is it brown? You said Sometimes, I say No.
Is it black? You said Sometimes, I say No.
Can you control it? You said No, I say Yes.And clearly none of the programers have children. Control them. Help accomplish tasks. They're dreaming.
Does it help accomplish tasks? You said Rarely, I say Yes.
Does it play music? You said Yes, I say No.I have one that is getting pretty good at the piano, sings well and can even play a recognizable tune on the recorder.
Is it tall? You said Sometimes, I say No.My four-year-old son is almost as tall as his nine-year-old sister. He would be considered tall for his age.
It's rather addictive so go and play when you have a little time.
The Syrian puppet government of Lebanon has resigned. This could not have been an action they took without instruction and approval of the Syrian government. Bashar Assad must have seen the handwriting on the wall and he must know that the only way he can save his own dictatorial hide for a little while longer is to give in on Lebanon.
The next step is for they Syrian military to get out of the way and for yet another free election to be held in the middle east.
February 27, 2005
Eason Jordan. Perhaps the highest ranking moonbat in the news industry spouted some bizarre anti-American nonsense about soldiers targeting journalists. It was apparently not the first time he had made comments like that. It was however the first time they had been blogged. Jordan resigned from CNN and has thus far managed to keep any official record of the statements buried. Jordan got off easy. He should have to spend six months as an imbedded reporter with marines in Iraq.
Ward Churchill. This man is beyond the ranks of deranged moonbat. He is an asshole. But there is nothing in the world that says he does not have the right to be an asshole. There is nothing in the fact of his employment by a government institution that abrogates his rights to free speech. Public service does not eliminate an individual's right to be an ass. (See Edward Kennedy) It seems that Churchill may have lied about his heritage as an American Indian and he may have passed his free time, when he wasn't insulting the victims of 9/11, plagiarizing art. I don't know what is going to happen to Ward and quite frankly I don't care. I do know that neither of my children will ever attend the University of Colorado.
The Gates Yeah. Whatever. The only thing that can be said for it is that they didn't waste any public money. Is it art? I guess its in the eye of the beholder.
Did I miss anything important or interesting? (fyi Michael Jackson is neither).
Oh yeah, I almost forgot the president's trip to Europe. A nice little swagger across the continent reminding the leaders of old Europe of their status in the world. I mean if Chirac comes to New York it might get a headline and a mention on the evening news. Bush in France is a national event.
There's the whole Iran thing, and Syria turning over a bunch of Iraqi Baathists but those are still developing situations. Stirrings of the democratic impulse in Lebanon is a good thing too. But its still a wait and see.
Well now I'm more less caught up with the world. So Bring It On.
Monday. Cloudy. A chance of snow in the morning. Then snow in the afternoon. Snow may be heavy at times late. Snow accumulation of 2 to 4 inches. Highs around 30. East winds 10 to 20 mph.I seem to recall that it was about this time last year I was kicking myself for not buying a snowblower. That must be why this feels very familiar.
Monday night. Snow. Possibly heavy at times in the evening. Additional snow accumulation of 6 to 10 inches. With total accumulation of 8 to 14 inches. Brisk with lows in the lower 20s. North winds 15 to 25 mph with gusts up to 35 mph.
Tuesday. Snow likely. Additional light snow accumulations possible. Highs around 30. North winds 10 to 15 mph. Decreasing to around 5 mph in the afternoon. Chance of snow 60 percent.
Tuesday night. Mostly cloudy with scattered snow showers. Lows around 20. Northwest winds 5 to 10 mph. Chance of snow 40 percent.
Wednesday. Mostly cloudy with scattered snow showers. Highs around 30. Chance of snow 40 percent.
Wednesday night. Mostly cloudy. Scattered snow showers after midnight. Lows 15 to 20. Chance of snow 30 percent.
Thursday. Mostly cloudy with scattered snow showers. Highs around 30. Chance of snow 30 percent.
February 25, 2005
For every gallon of gas, the federal government collects 18.4¢. For my typical 11 gallon fill-up that's $2.024 which is $105.248 a year. The state of Connecticut takes in $.25 per gallon. That's $2.75 every trip to the pump or $143 a year. There is also a 5% excise tax. That's another $.07 per gallon, $.77 per tank, $40.04 per year That's a total tax of $288.29. This doesn't include any taxes on the production and delivery of the fuel to the station that get rolled into the price.
I drive a small car with a small gas tank, if it takes 12 gallons at the pump I barely made it there. I have a fairly short commute in the opposite direction of rush hour gridlock so I don't spend any time sitting in traffic. Someone with an SUV or a modern land yacht probably pays at least twice the tax.
The governor recently proposed a increase in the gas tax to help cover a growing budget gap. The proposal was not well received though it has not been shelved. I think I would be willing to accept a higher gas tax if it came with a regulation that the sign on top of the pump revealed what the per gallon taxes are. If they are going to take my money, they should do it openly and honestly.
Instead we have representatives like Andrew Fleischmann who has introduced legislation requiring theaters to include two times in their advertising. One for the time the trailers begin and one for when the movie actually starts. He calls it a matter of truth in advertising.
February 24, 2005
I don't have any inside information so I'm not in any danger of being sued for this. What I do have is years of watching Apple do business and a fertile imagination. I think I know what Apple is going to do next.
Here is the pattern I have observed from Apple over many years of buying systems for myself and the people I worked for. Typically about a quarter before they come out with something new they make minor adjustments to the existing line. Usually this comes in the form of feature tweaks and price adjustments. When I bought my G4 cube, I got a $300 rebate. I knew this meant one of two things either they were about to come out with a newer better cube or they were going to discontinue the product line. I was O.K. with either outcome. I had a system that met my performance and space needs and a nice rebate check.
Today Apple has tweaked features and adjusted prices of iPods. The middle of the line, the 40GB, has been replaced with a slimmer 30GB priced $150 less than the 40. Most importantly the price of the top of the line iPod Photo has been cut from $599 to $449. This leaves a hole at the top of the price line that there is something new in the works to fill.
The question is what does Steve jobs have up his sleeve?
Here's a clue. Apple also announced the $29 iPod Camera Connector. This allows you to move photos straight from your digital camera to your iPod photo without going through a computer. I think Apple is moving the iPod toward a stand alone device - untethered from the desktop. Here is how they are going to do it.
They will take the slimmer 30GB drive and put it in the 40GB case. What will they do with all that extra space?
The AirPort Extreme Card is about half the size of a standard business card (smaller than the previous AirPort Card). With AirPort Extreme-enabled Macintosh systems, it's a snap to exchange files or play multiplayer games at data transfer rates of up to 54 megabits per second. AirPort Extreme uses a brand new wireless standard called 802.11g, which is also backward compatible with the 802.11b standard.Add in the color screen from the iPod Photo and upgrade the software to be able to surf the iTunes Music Store. Hear a song in the bar at the airport that you really like, hop over to the iTunes store and its yours.
This would also make it compatible with AirTunes. Meaning you could walk into your home or office, the iPod would pick up your wireless network and the music plays via your stereo.
And hey, if its got a wireless card and a color screen why not throw in an iPod version of Safari?
Now that would be cool.
February 23, 2005
Macklin's Magic Meatloaf
This is a recipe in the loosest possible sense of the term. I generally look at recipes for cooking as rough guides. Strict adherence to recipes I generally reserve for baking.
Two pounds of Ground Turkey - works with beef also but there is that whole less fat thing.Now where are the rides?
1 cup of bread crumbs - seasoned or unseasoned. From a can or homemade. Whatever you have. Don't have bread crumbs? Grind up some crackers. (I tried Tostitos once but the flavor was too strong and they are too salty)
salt - two good pinches should do it
Pepper - as much as you and whomever you're feeding would like.
Other spices and herbs - use ones that you like. I've been known to throw in a little garlic powder and a random choice of three mystery spice mixes with Emeril's picture on the front. (There's one called Rustic Rub - fill in your own off color joke here)
Some Salsa - hotness and volume to taste. I prefer something with lots of chunks. I have to use mild for the kids.
Two BIG table spoons of sour cream
Two handfuls of shredded cheese - I like the Kraft jack/cheddar mix.
Put all of that in a big bowl and mix it together. I use a big wooden spatula for this but some just use their hands.
Dump it into a 10x13 baking dish and form a blob of even thickness. Leave a little space around the edges.
Bake at 350° for about 45 minutes. Note: If you don't have any salsa you can use a decent spaghetti sauce. You want the flavors but also a little help with the color.
February 22, 2005
No doubt the whiners will take his allegations of torture while in the custody of Saudi Arabia as the unvarnished truth. No doubt that the Bush White House will be held responsible. I wonder which major media outlet will be the first to make an Abu Ghraib reference.
February 21, 2005
It took a few rounds, and turned out to be an interesting challenge, thanks to Victor and his seventeen pet rats. Thanks as well to everyone else who offered good suggestions. Tuning Spork may be saddened by this by mail-order brides, from China or otherwise, are not available on eBay. They have some silly rule about auctioning off people or something.
For our venerable leader and tireless battler of spam a gift. A first edition copy of Robert Heinlein's Tomorrow the Stars.
All I need now is a shipping address.
In this case, the town of New London Connecticut is seeking to take several properties in the Fort Trumbull area to facilitate a new private development centered around a research facility for Pfizer Pharmaceuticals. Unlike past instances where municipalities have used a claim of blight and redevelopment there is no complaint about the condition of the area. The town simply feels someone else can make better use of the property. In other words, someone else can put it to a use that will generate more tax revenue.
I would hope that before reaching a decision the members of the court would take the time to read and consider the relevant constitutional provision. That of course would be the Fifth Amendment.
...nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.What the court needs to look at closely is the question of what constitutes “public use.” Is it public use if the land taken is given over to another private owner? Will the public get to use the land once it has become the site of a Pfizer research center? More than likely the public will never set foot on the property. Publilc is public and private is private. A Pfizer research facility is hardly a public property.
If the standard of “public use” can be set so low as to be just increased tax revenue then where do you draw the line? How much additional tax revenue qualifies as a public use, or rather how little? Under this standard, what is to stop a contractor with connections at town hall from saying to his friends, you know that little cape on Elm Street? If you could take that for me I can convert it into a 4 bedroom colonial and you can get more taxes on the property.
The tax value of a proposed use of a property should not be part of determining the legitimacy of eminent domain. The Fifth Amendment sets forth the terms under which private property may be taken for public use. It sets the principles under which the government can convert private property to public property.
Filling the coffers at town hall is not “public use” it's public greed and invitation corruption and abuse, and a complete abrogation of the property rights of individuals.
UPDATE:More on the case from Neal Boortz.
February 20, 2005
Are you quite certain the end of the world is near?
Then take the Global Warming Test.
Test your knowledge and common sense in this simple 10-question test.
Caution: This section contains sound science, not media hype, and may therefore contain material not suitable for young people trying to get a good grade in political correctness.
I'll tell you up front, you cannot beat my score. A perfect 10 for 10. But I hope a lot of you can at least pull off a tie.
February 18, 2005
The Quest to buy a first edition of a Robert Heinlein on eBay for $50 is proving to be quite an interesting challenge. In round three I was bidding on The Menace From Earth I was sitting on the high bid at $35 until earlier today when the bid went up to $250. This is well beyond the budget. However, I suspect foul play. I checked the bid history and it does not reveal the bidding frenzy you would expect it took to get from $35 to $250. There were two bids of $250 placed 26 seconds apart.
Private auction - bidders' identities protected
Feb-17-05 20:36:46 PST
private auction - bidders' identities protected
Feb-17-05 20:36:20 PST
The fist bid of $250 would have pushed the high bid up to the next highest increment, in this case $36. The second bid of $250 would push the published high bid to $250. If you're unfamiliar with bidding on eBay see the explenation here. I suspect the seller may be trying to inflate the perceived value of the item.
So I have moved on to another book - skipping the next offering from the same seller for now. We'll see how eBay responds to my report.
I have the current high bid (and the first bid) on Tomorrow the Stars. $2.99 with 2 days 22 hours to go. The full description is below the fold.UPDATE:1 day 19 hours remaining. Current bid $26.50. more...
And yet tobacco, which has no medicinal value and has/will kill a lot more people than Celebrex ever will, is sold over the counter with a simple warning printed on the side.
Perhaps the FDA needs to establish a new level of “approved” status for drugs. Allow them to be prescribed if the patient signs a statement to the effect that they understand the potential side effects and are willing to accept the risk in order to get the benefit. I'm sure the medical profession won't object to the revenue generated by the regular visits to monitor the situation.
The problem is that the process is not driven by science and logic but by politics and public opinion. Or rather in this case public hysteria. One bit of bad news about a medicine and the media whips up a headline driven shit storm of idiocy. There are people out there who believe that if you take a Celebrex, you will have a heart attack and die. They don't read enough of the coverage to understand that it is a potential risk for some people taking the drug over the long term. Further since none of the people with their panties in a bunch are likely to ever need the drug they have no conception of the benefit side of the equation.
This decision should not be made politically by people who will not be effected one way or the other. Give people the information they need about a drug to make an informed decision and let them decide. There's even a name for doing it this way: we call it Freedom.
Read Ted's post and pay particular attention to the last line.
February 17, 2005
Rachel has a brief post noting how the burden of doing her taxes is impacting her blog. One of her problems is of course the payroll tax for Social Security and its burden on the self employed. I agree fully with this part
I'm 32! I'm screwed! The baby boomers will suck every last dollar out of the entire system and leave the next generation JACK. Thanks, boomers! Fucking it up for everybody since the 1950s! Love ya!!Unless something is done there will be nothing left. Personally, I consider the money I've put into the SS system to be gone. I'm 42 and if there is anything left in Social Security when I retire I will see that as found money. It is not part of my plans for retirement income.
But there is part of the picture that Rachel gets wrong. And wrong in a way that is part of the reason that the system exists as it does.
Doing extra work because taxes are due in two months and I'm self-employed and you know what that means. Punishment for the folks who don't work for someone else, that's right, the delightful and stunningly enlightened “self-employment tax”, which, for those of you who don't know, means I pay the full 15.3% of social security and Medicare taxes, whereas if you work for someone else like a good, obedient American, you only have to pay half of that and your employer pays the rest. How nice for you, yes? Suck it.Newsflash Rachel, that employer pays half thing is just a little smoke and mirrors the government uses so that only the relatively small percentage of self-employed people know how fully they are getting screwed.
To put it simply, you are both the employer and the employee. Both halves of the payroll tax reduce the dollars in your pocket. It's no different if you're working for someone else. Both halves of the payroll tax reduce the dollars in your pocket. It's just that half of it is taken before it ever gets there. Where do you suppose the employer gets the half of the tax they pay? They just pay you less and send the difference to FICA.
And yeah, it sucks.
With just over 10 hours remaining I have been outbid on Assignment Eternity. The current bid is $56.00.
I am moving on to The Menace From Earth. I have the high bid at $35 (reserve not met) with 3 days and 10 hours remaining.
(Note: This quest will continue until successful, but I promise I will post about other things too.)
February 16, 2005
Completely missed my 1st Muniversary. January 8 marked the anniversary of the day I officially left Blogspot and became Munuvian.
February 15, 2005
The Pixy Misa Token Of Gratitude eBay Quest continues with another Heinlein first edition Assignment In Eternity.
My current high bid is 33.52, the auction reserve has not been met. There are currently 2 days and 8 Hours remaining in this auction.
Hardcover Book in ORIGINAL DUSTJACKET! This is the TRUE FIRST EDITION/ 1st PRINTING OF THIS CLASSIC HEINLEIN NOVEL! The $3.00 price is intact on the jacket. The stated 'First Edition' is on the copyright page. The condition of this rare and valuable treasure is incredible. ONE OF THE BEST YOU WILL SEE IN CONDITION! The jacket has only light rubbing and a touch of wear as shown. The book boards are square with a tight binding. The boards and inside pages are very clean and in excellent condition.The Number of The Beast - Illustrated, Tomorrow The Stars, Rocket Ship Galileo, The Menace From Earth, and Red Planet
Published by: Fantasy Press, 1953.
February 11, 2005
Taking Victor's suggestion as a starting point, the first bid has been placed and I am currently the high bidder for a 1948 edition of Robert Heinlein's Beyond the Horizon.
Hardcover Book in ORIGINAL DUSTJACKET! A great collector's item from one of the greatest science fiction writers of all time! Heinlein was one of the most influential authors in the science fiction genre. He developed new themes, new techniques and approaches. He became the first science fiction writer to break into major general magazines in the late 1940s with true, undisguised science fiction, and the first bestselling novel-length science fiction in the 1960s. The major themes of his work were social: radical individualism, libertarianism, religion, the relationship between physical and emotional love, and speculation about unorthodox social and family relationships.I don't have a realistic level of hope for this one though. With a little more than two days remaining my high bid is $48.50. So there is no room in the $50 budget to go back if I get out bid. But there are more offerings in this category, as well as a lot of possibilities for Ted's suggestion of an anime cell. My only difficulty there is I would be a very uneducated shopper. I know next to nothing about anime and could wind up buy utter dreck for too much money.
The jacket on this book has edge wear with rubbing and some foxing. The book is square with a tight binding with clean boards and pages.
Published by: Grosset And Dunlap, 1948.
UPDATE: 2 hours 37 minutes remaining and I still have the high bid. I expect to still have the high bid for about 2 hours 35 minutes.
UPDATE: 48 minutes to go. Still have the high bid.
UPDATE: 22 minutes to go. Still have the high bid.
UPDATE: 10 minutes to go. Still have the high bid. Almost starting to believe.
UPDATE: 5 minutes to go. Still have the high bid. If I'm going to lose it's going to happen soon.
UPDATE: 3 minutes 51 seconds. I have been outbid. As expected the bid is over the pre-established budget. A new item will be chosen and the Pixy Misa Token Of Gratitude eBay Quest will continue tomorrow.
1) What was your first computer?
The family started with a Commodore 64, I was in high school at the time. I did the usual idiotic basic programming that every kid with a 64 did, and I used it to write my first editorial for my college newspaper. We didn't have a printer so I wrote it on the 64 then copied it by hand. The paper didn't have computers, so I banged it out on a typewriter and handed it off to they typesetter who typed it again. Wow. Technology was making me efficient.
The first computer I bought with my own money was a Tandy 1000. I moved up to writing with WordStar, and obsessed over a text based adventure game called Amnesia. I wrote lots of really crappy really juvenile short stories on that system.
Then I got a job a place that had Macs. I was home. My first Mac was the Portable. Apple's 15 pound precourser for the PowerBook. Not intended as a laptop but as a desktop you could easily take with you. (An idea whose time never quite came.) I still have it. I think it even still runs. It was eventually replaced by a Mac Performa that in its day made the Portable look like the Commodore, but that now seems not much better than the Tandy. It is still in use in my daughters room, though without internet access since it it doesn't have ethernet capability.
The current system is the ill fated G4 Cube. A very capable machine that suited, and still suits, my performance and space needs in a home computer. Though a Mini might do both better. These days I do pretty much everything on my work system. The company bought me a 17“ G4 PowerBook. It's up to the task most of the time, but it kind of struggles when I start pushing around 500MB PhotoShop files.
2) What is the worst thing you ever encountered dealing with a computer?
I have been lucky not to have had any real disasters with my personal systems. There was the one time I was writing an epic short story on the Tandy, with the music blaring, a few cold beers and a thunderstorm raging outside. It was a moment of manic creativity. Let's just say there as no auto-save feature in those days and leave it at that. When the college paper finally got computers there was the day smoke started pouring out of the back of one of the CRTs of the Compugraphics system. Or the day our basement offices flooded and the $20k image setter was in 3 inches of water. Luckily there were no electronics in the bottom 3 inches. At that job where I discovered Macs we did have system go nuts in the process of running a back-up. This resulted in scrambling the hard drive and the back-up and the manual recreation of 6 months of accounting data.
3) What is your favorite piece of software?
This may be the hardest question of the three. I make my living using Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. I'd have to label that as more of a love hate kind of relationship. I'm not sure if an operating system counts under this question but I am quite fond of OS X. I would rank Apple's Safari browser near the top also. But I would have to say my favorite is the program I'm using now. A nifty $18 piece of shareware called Ecto that is an excellent blogging client for MacOSX and Windows, supporting a wide range of weblog systems, such as Blogger, Blojsom, Drupal, MovableType, Nucleus, TypePad, WordPress, and more.
I realize that I could have done this in three quick sentences that answered the basic questions but where's the fun in that?
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