Saturday, March 26

Stolen from CodePope's LiveJournal

I have this idea for small notes on which you can scribble accepted true propositions............ I'll call them Posit Notes.

Friday, March 25

Prankster Smuggles Art Into Top Museums

This story is awesome... also, check out his website (he goes by the name "Banksy") at his website.

Thursday, March 24

Now You, Too, Can Be a Comedian

Joke-e-oke (a parody of karaoke) is now capturing the imaginations of those who have always wanted to tell jokes in front of a crowd. If you're the type of person who is always quoting jokes to your friends, often to blank stares, this is the thing for you.

The story of how it came about is pretty interesting, as is the concept itself. To find out about it, read the article-- I'm done blogging for today.

Firefox Update

Firefox is now updated to version 1.0.2. If you're still running Firefox 1.0.1 or (God forbid) 1.0, update now! The changelog for this new version seems rather slim, and not quite as essential as the 1.0.1 upgrade was, but you can be sure that anything the Mozilla Foundation provides as an "official release" is worth installing.

Personalized Recommendations - Yahoo! Movies

This is an awesome new feature of Yahoo! (it's still in beta stage, but it's open to everyone). You can rate movies you've seen, and it will recommend other movies you'd probably like.

I used to have Netflix (yeah, we cancelled it - it was running our lives by sucking up *all* our free time), and the Yahoo! recommendation system looks a lot better than the one Netflix uses. I like that it's not tied to a service, and that it's got a more comprehensive index of movies. It recommends movies in the theaters, movies playing on your local TV stations (go to tv.yahoo.com to set your TV listings), and movies on DVD/VHS.

It can save movies in lists, such as "Movies I Own," "Favorite Rainy Day Movies," or any custom category you want to input yourself. I've only set up a "Movies I Want to See" list, and I'm busy trying to recreate my Netflix queue in there. Now I can just look at that list before I head out to Blockbuster instead of spending an hour browsing all the titles.

I haven't used it a whole lot yet, but after just a half-hour of ratings input this morning it already correctly predicted my three "must see next" movies in the theater: Robots, Hitch, and Miss Congeniality 2. The only problem is that it 'recommends' DVDs I've already seen and/or already have on my "Want to See" list. I can understand wanting to recommend movies that a user has already rated, but there should be a preference to "not recommend rated movies" and even to exclude recommendations of movies from individual lists.

Wednesday, March 23

Internet Information Overload

The link goes to a great article on Internet Information Overload (my own term). I've recently become aware that I've been monitoring way too much information on the Web, and I've decided to cut down and quit wasting time on things I don't need to know.

Do I really need to know all the *very* latest developments in Mac gaming and iPod hardware? No... so the MacCentral feed got chucked from my Bloglines subscription list. Do I really need to see all of the latest popular items, as bookmarked by the geeks who populate del.icio.us? Nope... there went the "del.icio.us popular" feed. I'll still use del.icio.us to store all of my own bookmarks, since it's great and it allows me to see my marked pages from any computer, but I don't need to immerse myself in "the geek subculture" quite so wholeheartedly.

When it comes to computers, I'm really not much more than a hobbyist. I've only built one Windows machine from scratch, and I haven't programmed anything since the silly list.bas BASIC thing a friend and I worked on in high school (it was a "password-protected" and "encoded" GWBASIC database we each made to list the girls we liked at the time).

I'm not a computer scientist. I'm not a Web programmer. I'm not a newshound. Why was I trying to fill my head with all of the latest information out there on all of these subjects? I'm a music theorist, and I'm headed to grad school soon (hopefully... I'm currently working on an application). I need to focus on the kinds of things that will help me in my future academic career. So lately I've been brushing up on Schenker's ideas about harmony and voice-leading and trying to review the German I took in college.

This isn't to say that computers will play no part in my future endeavors... I'm certain that they will. But I need to relegate hobbies to their rightful place on the side, and get to them when I have the time and energy. My Christianity, my wife, and my schoolwork need to take their rightful place in my life (in that order), and I need to stop playing around with stuff that is "just fun" but not eminently useful where I'm headed in life.

So here I go... the new, more dedicated me. You can even check my Bloglines public subscriptions (there's a link in the left sidebar and in the page header) and see that I'm not going to be making myself sift through quite so much stuff anymore. I'm making time for what's important.

Comic Alert!

You may have noticed the new "Comic Alert!" link on the left there. If you like to read comic strips (both syndicated and webcomics), this is the site for you. You can "subscribe" to various comics, and receive an email update once a day listing all your comics that have been updated. Or, like I do, you can use the custom RSS feed to be notified of new comics when they appear. You can see the comics to which I subscribe if you view my feeds on Bloglines (links appear both to the left and up top).

The guy who runs the site is pretty cool, too; I emailed him recently about a small error in the parser that was scraping PvP, and he fixed it right away. He even added Spamusement at my request.

So go check it out! It even suggests new comics you might like based on your current favorites (taking your age and gender into account if you provide that information). All in all, an awesome site that earns its place in my RSS Hall of Fame. Or at least my blogroll.

Tuesday, March 22

Failure to list wishes can put a patient in medical limbo

I know we're all sick of hearing about the Terri Schiavo case, but here's my contribution: GET AN ADVANCE HEALTH CARE DIRECTIVE. As described in this article from the San Diego Union-Tribune, AHCDs completely relieve such a situation (i.e. incapacity to define your desires due to injury or medical issues) by defining who has the right to make such decisions in lieu of your ability to do so for yourself.

And don't wait "until you're older" to think about this: Terri was only 25 when she had the heart attack that has disabled her so radically for the past 15 years. Just put it down on paper and get it notarized. You don't have to hire a lawyer to draw up a document if you don't want to (unless you suspect there may be legal challenges should document need to be used at some point); just make your wishes known so that your family won't disagree so vehemently that they have to ask the President to intervene.

GET AN ADVANCE HEALTH CARE DIRECTIVE. Now.

Monday, March 21

Robots give their all in Botball

Middle- and high-school students tested their robotic and computer engineering prowess at a recent robotics competition held at the University of San Diego.

Sunday, March 20

Thursday, March 17

One more thing about that interview

There's another quote that struck me that I thought I'd put up here on my blog:

geeks are able to memorise almost any trivial fact, apart from the trivia of their own lives.

So, the trick is, tell a nearby geek the trivia of your life, and they'll remember it better than you do. And vice-versa.

Ha! That sounds so silly, but so true. My wife is a remember-everything type of person, and I'm *always* asking her what we have planned for the weekend. If it weren't for her (and my Palm Tungsten T2, which I've been using a lot more lately), I wouldn't have any clue what was going on in my own life.

Interview: father of "life hacks" Danny O'Brien : Lifehacker

This interview is great, and spot on for pinning down the geek subculture. It's rather long, so here are a few of my favorite quotes:

Incremental improvements in organising systems are, more often than not, just a black hole: a black hole that’s particularly tempting to geeks, because they’re so much more comfortable at constructing and optimising systems, rather than operating them.

Spot on! I need to stop tweaking my machine and just *use* it to get work done.
That said, I think we’re seeing a lot more applications that attempt to solve a small part of the problem, not the whole thing, and which work well together. Web applications work like that.

This reminds me of something I just said this morning (scroll down to my Ajax post).
(When questioned about *the* missing software application for getting things done): The one that stands out for me right now, just because it’s the only one mentioned in the original Life Hacks talk wishlist that hasn’t appeared in the last year, is an RSS feed generator. It’s tricky, but not impossible, to create an easy-to-use UI that would let you mark bits of a web page, and have those turn into the titles and items of an RSS feed. When new items appear, the app would attempt to spot them and fit them into the same template. It might get it wrong, but with more training it would get to the point where the RSS feed would work correctly (until someone redesigned the original Webpage).

Amen! I need an RSS creator! I need it now!

Woody Allen Reveals New Neurosis in New Movie

This flick looks really cool... I've particularly liked the Woody Allen films I've seen (though I've only seen a few), and this looks to be a very cerebral, but also pretty funny, look at life.

Aren't they all like that?

ajax: a new approach to web applications

I just heard about ajax (Asynchronous Javascript XML) yesterday, and I really like the direction in which this technology is going.

Well, I suppose it would be incorrect to say that I just heard about the new technology, as I've been using it in the form of gmail for nine months or so. I'll more correctly say that I learned about the *term* for this technology, and found a more detailed explanation of how it works.

Ever since I got gmail last June, I've been really impressed with the way it handles. The ability to update your info "on-the-fly" is great, and I knew it was doing something right here on my local machine instead of going to the server for every single action. The speed issue was the best part, and the current development of DHTML- and Ajax-based Web programming is an awesome step.

I'm not sure where exactly it's going, but I really like the synchronicity present in Ajax applications like gmail. I use between two and four computers every day (Mac and Windows in the office, Mac and Windows at home), and having the bulk of the application server-side means that I see my email in exactly the same state no matter the computer in front of which I'm currently sitting.

Now I'm just sitting back and waiting for the next cool Ajaz Web app to come to the surface! Maybe... Google Calendar? :)

We all know it's possible.

Wednesday, March 16

Welcome Lifehacker readers!

Here's an image of my site stats (March 15 is when I got linked in Lifehacker):



Welcome, everyone! Sit down, relax, take your shoes off...

And thanks to Gina for posting my survey that led you here in the first place.

No Need to Stew: A Few Tips to Cope With Life's Annoyances

An interesting study in 'miniature rebellion' efforts practiced by the masses used to minimize life's annoyances, including Mitch Altman's TV-B-Gone device that can switch off televisions in public places.

If you're asked to provide personal information to read this article, go to bugmenot (mentioned in the article) to find a publicly shared login that won't require you to divulge your details.

Microsoft Internet Explorer 7.0 Details Begin to Leak

More details on the forthcoming 'IE 7.0.'

Big Whoop.

As I said before, here, everybody who actually cares about the proposed improvements to IE is already using Firefox (or maybe Safari or Opera). However, the introduction of tabs to IE may excite people to the tabbed-browsing meme, and hopefully Microsoft implements it so poorly that users go looking for a better adaptation and find Firefox instead.

Tuesday, March 15

Japan's Hitachi Wheels Out Fast-Moving Humanoid

And technology marches on yet again.

But I'm still wondering when I'll get to see R. Daneel Olivaw...

'Lord of the Rings' to Take to Stage as Musical

Cool. LOTR as a musical. Another must-see-if-I-ever-get-the-chance show.

I don't see how anybody can be upset about songs being included in a production of LOTR... songs are all over the place even in the books!

Monday, March 14

Monty Python Comes to Broadway with Musical 'Spamalot'

If I lived anywhere near New York, I'd definitely go see this...

Saturday, March 12

Wired 9.12: The Geek Syndrome

I found this article (published back in December 2001) to be very interesting, partially because I have suspected myself of having at least some degree of Asperger's Syndrome since I first heard about it a year or so ago.

When I was a kid, I remember my mom always telling me to be more outgoing... especially trying to develop my ability to sustain eye contact. I'm still not very good at maintaining an eye-to-eye gaze when conversing, especially if I don't know the person to whom I'm speaking very well.

I keep seeing myself whenever I read articles about Asperger's. I'm very technically minded, picking out patterns in everything from music theory and notation (my chosen field) to the oft-misunderstood "behavior" of computers. I keep very much to myself, both in the office and at social gatherings. While I sometimes I wish I were more a part of the social circle, I don't really find myself looking for more companionship than that which I've already developed.

I hope to go, eventually, into the world of professional academia, where eccentricity and single-mindedness are the norm. I always found myself much more at home with professors then with fellow students when I was in college. Fanatic attention to detail and specificity in definition are what make up a good theorist, so I eagerly look forward to the time in which I can "come into my own," so to speak, and use my gifts to the utmost.

Update (3/15/05): I don't claim to have any sort of "clinical" case of AS, and I mean no offense to those who do. As I understand it, Asperger's is a syndrome, defined by a common collection of symptoms and not by any sort of chemical imbalance that would indicate a disorder. I only claim to exhibit AS to a limited degree, based on noticing some of the commonly accepted symptoms in myself.

Friday, March 11

Hanover Tech Fair Reveals Tomorrow's Hit Gadgets

The recent technology fair in Germany has introduced us to some new gadgets. I wouldn't call any of them Earth-shattering (seriously, who needs a diamond-encrusted MP3 player?), but it's nice to see visible evidence of technology marching on.

GTi - MacMini

Awesome! This guy is adding a Mac Mini to his car - putting the power button on the dashboard, using a touchscreen monitor also built into the dashboard... way cool. The post to which I've linked, plus a few of the following posts, detail his adventure. It doesn't even seem like posts about this amazing computer-car are finished. Keep looking at this site and dream about what it would be like to make this stuff.

Wednesday, March 9

Personal reference

I'm putting this here for personal reference, though it may be of interest to some:

You can access an RSS feed to track UPS purchases through the following URL (insert the tracking number in place of the X's):

http://tamboli.cx/scrapers/upstrack.cgi?track=XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Texas Instruments Sees Telephony Driving Internet

Yes, VoIP is on the rise. But I don't need it. I don't make long-distance calls from a landline, ever... in fact, I don't even have long-distance service on my home telephone. My wife and I call everyone on our cellular phones. It's cool that technology is advancing for landline telephony, but I, frankly, don't see the point.

Tuesday, March 8

How Many Names Hath God?

A humorous epic detailing the many names God has taken for himself (and, possibly, a few names God hasn't actually used but in which the writer found comedic effect).

White House admits first blogger to news briefing

Wow... blogging is finally starting to be taken seriously.

Well, only if the blogger takes his or her blog seriously.

BRaaaaap, Dweeeeebl, Plong.

(I don't take my blog seriously. Not at all. I just regurgitate news and sites of interest, anyway.)

Sunday, March 6

EyeWitness to History

Firsthand accounts of historical events, compiled and displayed on one convenient website.

Saturday, March 5

"How Firefox Works"

If you're not using Firefox already, this article might "show you the light," so to speak. Also, if you're using Firefox (or Phoenix, or Firebird), but you're not yet at 1.0.1, go here and download the newest version. 1.0.1 fixes a vulnerability that allowed malicious hackers to possibly allow a seemingly-innocent URL to show in the browser's Address Bar (www.ebay.com, or www.paypal.com, perhaps) while showing their own content in the browser window. It doesn't seem that anybody actually exploited this vulnerability, but since there is such a large base of open-source developers working on the project I'm sure one of the throng just ran across the problem and developed a fix that added the ".1" to Firefox's already-popular "1.0" release.

In case you didn't take time to actually read the article to which I've linked in this post's header, realize that Firefox has a built-in popup blocker, has a tabbed interface, and is completely customizable. Seriously, anyone who wants to maintain a secure computer (especially on Windows, but Firefox can be used by nearly everyone) needs to be using this Web browser. In fact, I got one of the guys in the Sales center to start using it at work a few days ago, and he's thanked me repeatedly for the fact that his old, decrepit computer (Windows 98, or possibly even 95; I'm not sure) runs so much more smoothly now when he's browsing Web sites. Since he's generally the guy who makes flight and hotel reservations for everyone who's traveling, he's on the Web a lot.

Even if you're not on the Web a lot, get Firefox anyway. You'll really be glad that you did.

Friday, March 4

Blog change

Once again, I'm putting article links in the post headings instead of just saying "Link" down at the bottom of each post. The reason is that I'm using a new site tracker (MyBlogLog.com) to see what links people click when they come to my blog. If all the links clicked say "Link," it won't do me a heck of a lot of good in finding out what interests people when they view my blog.

So now you have to click the post headings again to go to sites about which I make comments here...

(I know that was an awkward sentence, but I'm not changing it. Nyah!)

Trolley, bus 'don't go' where folks live, work

This is Southern California. No kidding people would rather drive their cars than use public transportation.

Governor pushes 'reform agenda' amid noisy contention

"We're accurately describing what the initiative does," said Lockyer spokesman Nathan Barankin. "They don't like it. Well, that's tough."

Thursday, March 3

SLEEPTRACKER

This is almost comical... wear the watch to bed, and it monitors your sleeping patterns. Give it a range of times in which to wake you, and it will wait until you are the closest to naturally waking up (i.e. sleeping lightest) before sounding an alarm to wake you.

It promises no more groggy mornings, but at $149.00 I think its main feature is pocketbook drain.

Biometric Pen

Sign a piece of paper with this USB pen instead of typing your username and password...

Looks cool to the gadget geek in me, but Mr. Practical Finger-Wagger says, "Silly gadget geek! How in the world will this ever be useful for the home user?" But the fact that this is apparently in use in some banks in the UK shows that this is not designed solely as a consumer device.

ESRB offers new E10+ game rating

Interesting... Not particularly relevant to my particular station in life, though.

Neighborly card play

A San Diego group has created a series of cards that you can use to (at least semi-) tactfully tell your neighbors to water their lawn, keep the nopise down at night, etc. Some of the messages are actually kind of funny.

Wednesday, March 2

I Guess it *Would've* Been Cool...

Global Solo Flight Attempt Runs Into Fuel Trouble

The Tiger is Coming!

Apple's new OSX 10.4 (codenamed "Tiger") will be on display at the Bio-IT world conference this May. There's no word whether the OS will actually be shipping yet as the latest announcement from Mr. Jobs still only states "first half of 2005," but he's running out of time to make good on that promise...

Homer Simpson: Made in Korea

Apparently, the actual animation and drawings used in "The Simpsons" come from a workshop in Seoul, South Korea. This is interesting to me because I work in music publishing, and quite a few of our projects have the engraving (music typesetting) done in the Philippines in what I think are similar conditions.

Tuesday, March 1

Bill Gates to Receive Honorary UK Knighthood

This is just silly...

Sony Ericsson Unveils New Phones, One Has Walkman

I haven't looked into these new phones too closely yet, but Sony Ericsson seems to be doing a great job keeping up with the flow of technological advancement.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available by emailing the author (use the link above).




The Geek Code desperately needs updating, but in any case here's mine (as of 2010-02-28):

-----BEGIN GEEK CODE BLOCK-----
Version: 3.12
GIT/MU d+(-) s:+>: a C++> ULXB++++$ L+++ M++ w--() !O !V P+ E---
W+++ N o++ K? PS PE++ Y+ PGP t !5 X- R- tv+@ b++ DI++++ D--- e*++
h--- r+++ y+++ G+
------END GEEK CODE BLOCK------


If you really care about knowing what that all means, you either know the code already, or you can get it decoded for you here.