Friday, March 31, 2006

Mechanic vs Heart Surgeon

A mechanic was removing a cylinder head from a motorcycle when he spotted a well-known heart surgeon in his shop. The mechanic shouted across the garage, "Hey Doc, can I ask you a question?" The surgeon walked over to where the mechanic was working on the bike.

The mechanic straightened up, wiped his hands on a rag and asked, "So Doc, look at this engine. I open its heart, take the valves out, repair any damage, and then put them back in, and when I finish, it works just like new. So, how come I get such a small salary and you get the really big bucks, when you and I are doing basically the same kind of work?"

The surgeon paused, smiled and leaned over, and whispered to the mechanic..................

"Try doing it with the engine running."

Obiwan.......... you're my only hope.....

This can't be real. Can it? Supposedly a leaked video from Lenovo (the company that bought out the PC division from IBM).

A lot of people trying to view this, so be patient - you may have to check it out later.

But I don't want to go faster Shania.......

A notorious drunk driver from the Ottawa area has been found not criminally responsible on his latest impaired driving charges because of a mental disorder that makes him believe female celebrities are controlling his actions. Matt Brownlee believed singer Shania Twain was helping him drive. He told psychiatrists that he knew the legal repercussions of his actions, but believed singer Shania Twain was helping him drive. The judge ruled that Brownlee was not criminally responsible for his actions because he suffers from delusions that celebrities such as Twain are communicating with him telepathically.

I knew there was a reason not to play Shania Twain music in my car.......... (or anywhere for that matter). What a control freak!

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Touched by fate........ ness............ icity

I've seen other bloggers talk about the people who've made a difference in their lives and I think that's cool. This is by no means an all-inclusive list, nor is it a complete one. You have to remember, old age leads to patchy memory - so....... you know. I've purposely left out family members and of course Darlene. Not because we have no memories, but because I don't quite feel as comfortable airing my laundry about them as other people. I'll be mentioning a different person each time I post. So here goes....People that have made an impact on my life (in no particular order):

David Devlin - we met serving punishment in the military together (unrelated events). David taught me that it's OK to be silly - even as an adult. He's the guy that brought out the missing karaoke tape at my wedding - much to my chagrine. Tom C and Doug Allen - deserve honourable mention for bringing that silliness back out later in life.

Third party solution for WordPerfect alumni

Remember the reveal codes feature in WordPerfect? WordPerfect made it easy to find out where your word processing document format was buggy by allowing you to see the hidden formatting code. This made it super easy to solve problems like removing phantom font attributes, fixing paragraph indents, etc. Not MS Word though. Finding format errors in a Word document is nothing short of brutal. Until now.

No - Microsoft didn't provide the solution - it can be had in a utility called CrossEyes.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Mmmmfffmmm mmmnnnnmmmfff!

NASA is working on a new technology that can recognize speech even when you silently just say the words to yourself.

Application of the technology is still years away, but holy crap!

Used once only....

Remember pong?

In case you haven't seen what's new lately in the world of computer gaming, these screen shots of upcoming games should give you an idea how far game design has come.

Simply incredible......

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Have you seen 'em?

A list of overlooked movies from the 1990's. I've seen 6; 18; 43; 46; 47; 50; 59; 67; 70; 84; 99; 100. I definately agree with 6 and 100.


I don't know how many of you have home theatre setups, but many of my tech-savvy friends are amazed that I (who buys most gadgets under the sun) have yet to splurge on surround-sound components. Yes, it's true - yours truly is still watching movies in good old-fashioned 'stereo'! What gives? For one thing - designed obsolescence. Every time I was ready to buy the next version of surround, something newer, better (and requiring more speakers) came out. When I developed my basement family room, I even thought ahead and pre-wired surround speaker outlets at the rear sides of the room - for 2 speakers. Obsolete! Second - price. Even to get a solid 5.1 surround setup now, I'd want 4 new speakers that match the sound of my original main 2 stereo speakers, which considering that they're 12+ years old, would be near impossible. So I'd want to spring for 6 new speakers. That quickly adds up. I have a better plan. The biggest problem with surround is speaker placement. It's very hard to achieve decent placement even in a perfect room. So a new design is emerging where all the speakers are contained in a long, wide strip that sits under (or over) your TV. It contains all the speakers needed to replicate surround, with techology embedded to throw the sound around you as if the speakers are scattered around the room. This is new (translation - expensive) technology, but I have a feeling it will catch on and drop in price. When it does, I'll be getting it.

Meanwhile, for people looking for the cheapest way to upgrade your existing stereo speaker system, I have one word - subwoofer. I bought a 'quality' sub to augment my existing Paradigm speakers and let me tell you, it's like night and day. Music sounds rich and full and movie soundtracks shine with all the bombastic bass you could ever hope for. Of course a sub is not practical for everyone - especially if you have neighbours and not much sound insulation between you.

Monday, March 27, 2006

I loves me some Green technology.....

I hope this catches on. A solar powered housing development is springing up in Okotoks, just south of Calgary. The energy is captured and stored in underground tanks. It has the potential to save 90% off participants' heating bills.

Am I Good.......or am I evil................

I haven't stolen enough from Bits & Pieces today, so why stop now.....?

Careful what you name your website............

This was so funny, I couldn't stop shaking long enough to copy the whole post - so just check it out for yourself......

Nooo.... I want to go 'clubbing' at a pub...

I'm really trying to wrap my head around the whole 'seal hunt' issue. Best as I understand it, there are a lot of seals out there. 6 million at last count. That's triple the population from the 1970's. (Gee - maybe that's were all the damned cod are going.....) So the problem most people have is the supposed inhumane way the seals are killed. What I'd like to know then - is why aren't these same people protesting outside slaughterhouses too?

Yay! A new burger joint to try.....

So they opened a new hamburger joint in Calgary - Fatburger. They started in LA in the 50's and have spread out across NA over the years. Being relatively fond of the hamburger sandwich, I decided to give these fatboys a try.

I had the regular ol' Fatburger with cheese, some onion rings and a drink. Darlene had a hot dog and fries and a strawberry shake. She did not like her hot dog, but then again, Darlene likes the European variety of weiner, not the reddish, all-beef ones. The shake was yummy - made from real ice cream. My burger was pretty good. I still like Lick's burgers the best, but until they come out West, my access to them is limited. The fries were typical (not home fries). The onion rings were good, but holy Tums tablets Batman - they were greasy. I guess we're getting old, because our stomachs just can't handle the grease anymore.

For those of you who can still handle greasy food - Fatburger shouldn't disappoint. There's only one in Calgary for now, but they plan on a few more in the next 3-5 years.

Sunday, March 26, 2006


A real dog does the best Scooby impression I've seen - ever.

"Ruh roh.......... Rooby raught on ramera again........."

Thanks to Bits & Pieces

How to correctly pour ketchup

Get the full technical gobble-dee-gook here.

Never say I don't provide useful information.....

The meaning of dense

Population of Tokyo metropolitan area - 32 million. That's basically everyone in Canada...... in one city. I'll let you mull that over for a few minutes.......

"I know everything!"

In 1999, Ben Stiller created a pilot that Fox television passed over, called Heat Vision and Jack. Jack Austin, an astronaut who through a bizarre space accident becomes super-smart during sunlight hours, is played by Jack Black. His sidekick, Heat Vision, is his buddy melded with a motorcycle (don't ask - you'll see how it happened), voiced by Owen Wilson. It's cheesy. It's goofy. But come on - it stars Jack Black!

I had not been able to locate the pilot episode on the Internets - until now mah freends. Behold - Heat Vision and Jack. Bring popcorn.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Alright then, who said this?

Again, I ask that you use your thinking caps rather than the Internets. Who said:

Acting is all about honesty.
If you can fake that, you've got it made.

The tide is high and I'm holding on......

I've always been fascinated by the global warming issue. In particular, how so many scientists can establish that global warming exists - then other scientists can dismiss the pro-warming crowd as quacks. Doesn't that strike people as a little odd? I can think of no other example of a scientific theory that simultaneously has a group that supports it unwaveringly, while another group discounts the phenomenon as a hoax. A group that probably is very well funded by the same governments who don't 'believe' in global warming. Don't worry folks, it's just a coincidence. Someday, we'll find out who's right.

For what it's worth - if it turns out global warming is real and something really bad happens that destroys whole cities or whatever, I vote the naysayers 'off the island'............

Meanwhile, here's a cute, but pertinent message from Blue Man Group - of all people.

Friday, March 24, 2006

To think.... I could be kissing contraband!

I heard on the radio the other morning that the most common item shop-lifted from stores is..... lipstick.

Ladies! Shame on you...... Frankly, I'm shocked. Bewildered. Appalled even.

Barter me this.....

Here's something funky. This guy from Montreal puts a red paper clip on his website and sets a goal to trade up to a house within a year. The year's up in July and so far he's traded up to a contract for 80+ hours at the Metalworks recording studio in Toronto.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Throw them out to rot

Now this is the kind of recycling whose time has come - food containers made from corn resin that biodegrade within 60 days in your compost bin. Not suitable for hot food, but at $120 for 500 x 32oz containers (with lids), who cares!

It's all about changing behavior

For some people it's very hard to lose weight. I for one do not believe in most diets for the simple reason that they force people to eat things they never would have dreamed of eating in the first place. They also suffer from rebound - where if you go off the diet, you're hosed and will put all the weight back on in no time flat.

I came across these weight loss tips and they look very reasonable in that they can work alone or in combination with each other - but more importantly try to change your behavior, rather than what you eat.

I'm so proud to wear this mystery logo....

File this under 'witty'. Get clothes with the logo already pixelated (like they do when people appear on TV). Now you'll be free to appear anywhere, even on TV and not have to worry about anyone being offended by your logo......

You can find anything....continued

Yet another example. Into airline flight attendant uniforms. Coming right up....

Pictured: Quantas uniform 1985-1993.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Look ma................ no disks!

Now this could have a huge impact on the future of the computer - no more hard drives.

Samsung has created a 32GB NAND Flash-based hard disk drive replacement unit, that it claims can access data three times faster than a hard drive can. The unit consumes just five per cent of the energy it takes to run a hard drive.

I'm not pretending I like you........

A new study indicates that repressing your feelings can be very bad for your health.

Psychologists at Frankfurt University said the fake friendliness led to depression, stress and a lowering of the immune system itself, which in turn can trigger more serious ailments.

Although it really goes against our cultural norms, I've always believed that holding back the truth and supressing your feelings was bad........

But I just don't care anymore.
No, YOU shut up!
No, YOU!
I know you are - but what am I?

They're insane! Run for your lives!

If and when the aliens finally do land, there are 3 people I hope the aliens do NOT meet first:

Howie Mandel - Carrot-Top - Robin Williams

Can you picture it? The aliens would be looking at each other, then whisper in each others' ears: 'Get back in the ship - don't look back - just go!'

Celebrity dream visit

A few people have asked me which celebrity I'd like to spend a day with. There are a few, but at the top of my list would be John Travolta. Why? He seems like a genuinely nice guy and I would want to take advantage of the fact that he flies his own aircraft. So that I could fly with him. So that's my choice.

If John wasn't available, I'd have to go with Tom Hanks for the nice guy factor.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

More motivation!

A whole whack of posters here.

Got the blues?

Then give the desktopblues soundboard a try. Create your own blues tune. You don't have to wait for one sound to finish before pressing another button. Should keep some people entertained for 90 seconds or so..........

What do YOU want?

I've said this before - but it's been a while. If there's a topic you'd like me to speak on, just let me know. The best way to do that of course is to send me a message via email, which you can do by looking at my profile, then clicking on 'Email' under 'Contact'.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Cat herders

I saw this commercial a long time ago. It's a commercial for EDS (the IT support company). It's very cute.

Live via 'Sad'ellite.....

If you weren't convinced that Celine Dion needs to be stopped - here's more proof: Celine does Madonna. Not to be viewed near meal-time.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

MTV? Much? Whatever...............

Recently I've been seeing TV ads heralding the coming of MTV (To Canada? To regular cable? To your local cellular provider?). "The drought ends 21.03.06" All I can say is whoopdie-friggin'-do! Hear me now or listen to me later - the video channels have devolved into nothing more than a medium for cell phone advertising and acne cream. Puh-lease! Listen up Moses Znaimer. I don't want contests. I don't want movies or musicals about Elvis. No game shows. No VJ competitions. No reality shows about fans becoming their idol for a day. No cooking tips. No Top 10 countdown of the same stuff we just finished showing you in the last 30 minutes. No awards shows.

Just put together the kind of avante-garde music channel that showcases the music. 24 hours a day of non-stop, not-fit-for-pop-radio, new music, electronica, soul, jazz, alternative rock, classic rock, ambient, funk..... Life altering MUSIC! [waving hands frantically in the air above my head]

Nobody home?

I came across this design for a sticker to place on your iPod (Shuffle) that is meant to indicate to others whether you wish to be disturbed while you listen to your Shuffle. One goes on the front and the other on the back - I presume you flip it over to indicate one way or the other. This brings up an interesting topic for discussion in that it offers a solution to a social problem that may not even be valid in the first place. I can't speak for everyone, but I have never really looked at someone with earbuds in their head as a sign that they don't want to be spoken to. I probably wouldn't engage them in meaningless chat, but if I felt they could be trusted to offer directions, etc. I wouldn't hesitate to ask. Heck, at work, I see people wearing earbuds all day and it doesn't affect my urge to talk to them.

How about my readers?

Finally some meaningful data

The Canadian music industry's own data seems to suggest that sharing music on the Internet doesn't really affect music purchases after all....

...the survey asked why people bought less. Only 10% of respondents cited the availability of music downloads. Instead, people cited a long list of alternatives that have nothing to do with downloading including price (16%), nothing of interest (14%), lack of time (13%), collection is big enough (9%), don't buy (7%), listen to radio (7%), change in tastes (6%), no CD player (3%), have an MP3 player (2%), lack of opportunity to buy (2%), watch more tv (2%), age (1%), only buy what I like (1%). Simply put, P2P simply is not a major factor behind decisions to buy less music...

Thanks to Michael Geist.

Funniest thing read on a blog this week...

"Today I saw a guy in a "Rage Against The Machine" t-shirt angrily slapping the side of an ATM."

Found on Defective Yeti

Saturday, March 18, 2006

At long last - I have found thee.......

I've owned a laptop for 2.5 years, but never got around to buying a proper case for it. It was never really a problem, I rarely take it anywhere (go figure), and the hand-me-down leather bag a co-worker gave me sort of did the job. So I thought it was time to get laptop a jacket. I was very fussy. One of the things I don't like about most laptop cases is that they try to be too much. I don't want places to put papers and discs and business cards and staplers. I want a nice, padded case for the laptop and enough room for the mouse and pad, AC adapter / cord, a Cat 5 network cable and the Wireless G PC-Card. That's it.

I found the perfect case. It's soft, but well padded. It sits vertically, so you place the laptop in sideways from the top. There are 4 zippered pouches around the outside edge, 2 on the top corners and 2 on the sides. They are the perfect size for the things I mentioned. No more, no less. The only thing I found lacking is a handle for carrying in your hand, but the shoulder carry is comfortable, considering how small the case is. Quaint Army green colour. $60 at Best Buy. (Canada)

Cool................ it's a brand name!

Something's just not right about this razor............. Can you spot what it is? More about this item here.

How do they get away with this?

Here's something that really ticks me off the more I hear of the real story. Calgary's downtown is not very parking friendly. But that's on purpose. The City wants you to take public transit to the downtown core and I have to admit - it's not excruciatingly bad getting you there. But outside of the core, relying on transit to get you to work is a bad option when cross-city bus rides could take 2 hours (versus a 30-40 minute drive). So most places provide enough parking spots for their employees to park. Unless you work for Foothills Medical Center. More on this rant in the comments....

Vader lives again!

I can hear the Star Wars fans rejoicing already. George Lucas has committed to writing a TV series (as yet unnamed) of around 100 episodes. The timeline is the missing span of 20 years between episodes III and IV of the movies.

Will this show be written solely for a young audience or will it try to attract an older fanbase as well? I for one want no more Jar Jar type characters. There's fun characters - and then there's over the top.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Is Linux better than Windows?

I was answering the question above on and as I was posting it, I thought "I bet other people would like to read this too":

"The advantage of Windows is that you won't have any trouble finding software to run on Windows, especially games. All hardware manufacturers make device drivers for Windows. More people are familiar with Windows. More corporations have Windows on their desktops. More people know how to make Windows work.

But Linux has come a long way. Linux is still free, yet comes with a lot of features that I find are easier to figure out than the Windows counterpart; great web browsers (yes, more than one, usually); a free Office replacement that is quite compatible with Microsoft's offering; and tons of free utilities. Linux supports a vast pool of hardware now. I installed Ubuntu Linux on my HP laptop and it had no issues whatsoever - even setting up networking was simple. Linux has fewer (exploited) security vulnerabilities. Linux has no arrangements with the entertainment industry, so it has no crippling DRM in it's software. But Linux is most known for its stability. I've seen Linux run for over a year on a PC without needing a reboot.

I like Ubuntu the best of all the flavours of Linux that I've tried. It's best feature is that it has built-in access to an online software repository, that contains only software that has been tested to work with Ubuntu. So if the program you're looking for isn't bundled with Ubuntu, you can see if it exists and then download it.

I still find Windows more suitable for my day-to-day use, but that's heavily biased from my 20+ years of Windows use. If it wasn't for my favourite games and very specific programs, I would have no gripes about switching to Linux permanently. I continue to suggest Linux as an alternative to my clients who are fed up with Windows and fit into the right demographic. One last thing I love about Linux - certain distributions come in a Live CD version. Put the CD in your drive, reboot and watch Linux run right from a CD-ROM for demo purposes, without affecting your Windows installation. Now that's cool. "

It's gouging time again!

Well - gasoline prices are up again and it puts me in the mindset to rant about the gouging we get from the oil companies.

They claim that the reason they don't lower the price of gasoline immediately following a drop in oil prices is that they've already bought massive quantities of higher priced oil, which must be refined first. Once the expensive oil is processed, the price of gasoline will eventually come down. OK, so then why is it that as soon as oil prices go up - the price of gasoline follows almost immediately? What - you ran out of the cheap oil so quickly? Come on! We're not that dumb. Or maybe we are....

Talk faster! FASTER!!

One of my admitted faults is the fact that I sometimes don't let other people finish their sentences before I start talking myself. I know it's impolite - most of the time I don't even realize I'm doing it until it's too late. The I try to calm myself down and let the other person finish before I get my next two cents in.

So, thinking about this trait, I tried to determine if I've exhibited this behavior for a long time. I don't recall being like this my whole life, so I tried to figure out at what point did this begin. Then it dawned on me. Telephone Banking. When I pay my bills, I do so by phone. This service allows me to interrupt the voice menu and just press the number of the action I want to do next. It seems this activity is conditioning me to be impatient. "Yeah yeah - pay a bill! Come on, come on - from chequing! Not tomorrow - today!" Telephone banking (and every other service I use with an automated switchboard) has made it possible for me to shortcut the normal communications rhythm and get right to the next point. Now it seems that rhythm is spilling over into my person to person conversations.

Stupid technology!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Map geek

I must not be an average male, because I usually don't stubbornly neglect to ask for directions when I'm lost. In fact, I think my unnatural fascination with maps has led to a practise of always checking out where I'm going on a map before venturing to a new destination - even if it's in my own city. Heck, before Darlene and I went to Newport Beach last summer, I had the place scoped out via Google Maps' satellite photos. I knew I was getting near the hotel even before I had it in sight. I can honestly say I have spent at the very least, 20 minutes a week gawking at Google Maps. If I'm preparing for a trip - up that to at least 90 minutes a week. Is that normal?

Two billboards that certainly belong together........

10 Peeves Dogs have about humans:

1. Blaming your farts on me... not funny at all.
2. Yelling at me for barking.. ummm - I'm a dog, remember?
3. Taking me for a walk, then not letting me check stuff out. Exactly who is this walk for anyway?
4. So you it when I balance food on my nose, huh? Watch what happens next time you put your hand there.....
5. Any haircut that involves bows or ribbons. Now you know why we chew your stuff up when you're not home.
6. The sleight of hand, fake fetch throw. You fooled a dog! What a proud moment for humankind.
7. You take me to the vet for "the big snip", then act surprised when I freak out every time we go back.
8. So I sniff the crotches of your guests - sorry, I haven't quite mastered the handshake yet.
9. Dog sweaters. I'm guessing you haven't noticed the fur.
10. You put food on the coffee table right at my eye level and then expect me to ignore it. Are you cruel?

You'll be making a hard left........

".....all the phone lines are frozen solid....."

You've heard of the awful scams that come out of Nigeria et al. Now read the story as a scam-baiter naming themselves (I love this) Ingmar Bergman, from Sweden plays along and begins to turn the tables. Priceless. It's a long read, so get yourself a nice cup'a coffee or your favourite beverage and enjoy.........


To appreciate this, you'd either have to be very silly, in a very silly mood, or a young child. Or me.

Heidi: I think Jessica might find this funny. You might thank me later or threaten to injure me in some way - I'm not sure which......

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

When computer geeks get hitched

Signs poorly translated into English

"Refund!" -- "Caution," as translated into Italian on a "wet floor" sign in an Italian McDonald's.

Heh. That's pretty funny when you think about it. More here.

OK......... who said this?

All marriages are dangerous. Marriage is the unsuccessful attempt to make something lasting out of an incident.

Try not to use the Internet to find the answer.......

While we're on the Simpson's thing.......

Listen to this guy do the Simpson's opening theme on acoustic guitar. That's some mad playin' yo! Super Mario theme by the same dude here.