Monday, February 28, 2011

Portable GPS better than the car's built in one

Why (I think) owning a portable GPS device is often better than getting one built in to your next vehicle:
  • You can find a model you like versus the model that comes with the vehicle.
  • You can take it with you to navigate outside of the vehicle.
  • They're often cheaper to update with new maps. In fact, many GPS companies offer a one-time fee for lifetime updates.
  • The updates are usually available more often.
  • You can transfer them to another vehicle, whether it's your next car or a rental.
  • You're not stuck with it until you buy another vehicle.
  • It can be placed in the most appropriate (and easily seen) location in the vehicle. You can even set it up so that the navigator (passenger) can see it.

Don't be a hater, he's just a skater

Improv Everywhere.

I love these folks. It's like instant joy everywhere they go.

Sunday, February 27, 2011


The na music chart.

We makes our own internets!

I warned y'all that stuff like this was coming. Big Entertainment can huff and puff all they want now, we don't even need the internet to share media anymore.


Saturday, February 26, 2011

"I was super lonely..."

Where do superheroes go to find love? SuperHarmony, of course. It's where all sorts of exceptional men and women can be matched with their compatible, ordinary mate.

Be sure to watch the video.....

It's the Ganja... man

It looks like Ziggy Marley has created what I can only call the natural progression - a comic.


Lazy Teenage Superheroes

A short film made for a mere $300.


Thursday, February 24, 2011

The tea that's so insinuating

I love this 'Getting along with your co-workers' tea.

You never buy it for yourself, it's for a co-worker. Right? Am I right? And it's just a gift, you don't actually mean anything by it.

Get along tea. Not to be confused with oolong tea, which helps solve a totally different kind of problem.

Dear US: Regarding that $5.50 fee, I believe I'm already paying that and then some

I think I'll take a pass on your $5.50 fee for Canadians entering the US after seeing this.

Between the USA Transportation Tax ($32.04); the US Agriculture Fee ($4.92); the Air Travellers Security Charge ($12.10); the US Passenger Facility Charge ($4.42); the September 11 Security Fee ($2.46) and the USA Immigration User Fee ($6.88), I think we're stimulating the US economy enough, dontcha think? This turns a regular round trip flight to Seattle from $439 to $566 (per person).

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

"You're reaching more people"

Neil Gaiman explains why web piracy is good.

Smart people understand the power of sharing.

Francis Ford Coppola on 'stealing'

Here's part of an interview with Francis Ford Coppola that made me smile.

"I once found a little excerpt from Balzac. He speaks about a young writer who stole some of his prose. The thing that almost made me weep, he said, “I was so happy when this young person took from me.” Because that’s what we want. We want you to take from us. We want you, at first, to steal from us, because you can’t steal. You will take what we give you and you will put it in your own voice and that’s how you will find your voice.

And that’s how you begin. And then one day someone will steal from you. And Balzac said that in his book: It makes me so happy because it makes me immortal because I know that 200 years from now there will be people doing things that somehow I am part of. So the answer to your question is: Don’t worry about whether it’s appropriate to borrow or to take or do something like someone you admire because that’s only the first step and you have to take the first step."

Read the rest of the article here.

Welcome to Canada. An Information Age backwater.

Cory Doctorow tellin' it like it is.

It's his thoughts on usage based billing. Hint: He doesn't approve. Neither should you.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Not fair

It doesn't bug me that a former CEO of a publicly owned company used to make around $2.5 million per year in salary. It doesn't even bug me that he is getting a severance package of $4.6 million. Nor does it bug me that he manages to get this money after he had to resign amidst a scandal that basically involved flaunting the corporation's money (owned by taxpayers) with opulent parties. What bugs me is that a common soldier who earns a military pension after serving a long and difficult career can kiss their Canada Pension goodbye because of the meagre military pension they have earned.

We can't afford to give soldiers the Canada Pension money they have contributed toward their entire working life, but we can afford to give a millionaire a platinum hand job after they resign in disgrace.

But at least I'm not bitter. Nope.

You tell 'em Zach

Zach Wahls speaks to the Iowa House of Representatives about why they should not end civil unions.

He is the very proud son of two (wed) mothers.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Calgary snow removal versus Toronto

Data taken from The Calgary Journal
  • Average Municipal Taxes: Calgary - $989; Toronto - $2080
  • Snow control budget (per year): Calgary - $23m; Toronto - $80m
  • Service area: Calgary - 15000 lane km; Toronto - 14000 lane km
  • # of plows and salt trucks: Calgary - 225; Toronto - 800


The things some people get up to in their garages when they're bored is just not right. Like this "almost new" combination bookshelf / dresser being offered on kijiji. Even the IKEA furniture is going to tease this piece mercilessly: "You're not even twins - why are you stuck together?"

Don't do it people. You're just sentencing these items to perpetual torment.

The Practical Lexicon Episode 2

Episode 2 is in the can and posted online for your listening pleasure. For our second episode, Bernie and I talk about resumes.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Whistler XXS

Really nice tilt shift photography of the famous Whistler-Blackcomb area, the site of some events at Canada's Winter Olympics and an all around popular ski resort.

Tilt shift is a photography effect that makes life sized scenes look like miniature models.

The history of the computer from Karl's perspective

By the time I graduated high school, I had not yet seen a computer. My classmates might call me out on that, but even if I had seen one, I wouldn't know it if I tripped over it. That was 1978.

I never saw my first computer until 1983, four years into my military career. It wasn't even a computer really - it was a Teletype Corporation Model 40 telecommunications terminal (pictured). It was built with an architecture that would basically become the forerunner of the modern PC. I was troubleshooting this thing by chasing bits through registers in the CPU for crying out loud! This terminal contained a CPU spread out across two circuit boards, a circuit board containing just RAM memory, a video card, in I/O card.... The terminal had a typeface-on-a-belt impact printer, cassette tape drives for storage (no hard disk drive), a keyboard and a monochrome monitor. My next run in with a computer was in 1984, when I took journeyman technologist training, which included learning how to program an 8080 processor kit. I was looking around at my classmates to see if I was the only one totally not interested in this 'programming'. I was not.

My first desk-at-work related experience with computers was interesting. We had computers, but they were still not very affordable, so to access one you either had to be an officer, otherwise you went to a room set up as a resource centre to use a dozen or so shared systems with the rest of the organization. Our military was known for wringing decades of use out of the equipment we had obtained and computers weren't much different - at first. While our comms gear could be 1960s vintage (still in use in the 1980s), our computers were at least 5 years old. The first ones I had ever interacted with were IBM AT systems with 10MB removable hard drives. Because we were sharing the systems and security was the prime issue, we weren't allowed to store our files on the hard drive, instead we put all of our files on 5.25" floppy disks. This would have been the first time most of my colleagues had ever used a computer and we learned fast how to exploit the system's foibles and weaknesses. It took people a while to realize that when composing a document on the computer, even though you were saving the finished file on your floppy, a temporary copy was also being stored on the hard drive by the word processor. So needless to say, a lot of people got a thrill out of being able to read other peoples' documents. Over the next few years, the military started buying more computers as the price and size of the new ones fell. Soon, almost everyone had a PC at their desk, or at least access to one was much better.

We were weaned on DOS and Word Perfect 4.2 for DOS. Then along came various versions of Windows. Word Perfect was a fantastic word processing program throughout its evolution. Everybody liked it. Its biggest and most powerful feature was reveal codes. This feature let you see the formatting code behind the words, making editing and cleaning up the formatting of a document a total breeze. By the time Windows 95 arrived on the scene we inexplicably switched from Word Perfect to MS Office's Word software. No more reveal codes. We didn't like it at all. We wondered why the switch was made but soon found out through the grapevine what had happened. When the military went to make the bulk buy of Windows 95 for the thousands of computers in its inventory, Microsoft weaseled a deal to give them Windows for free if they'd agree to buy Office at a reduced price. Hard to argue with free. This is the kind of business practise that Microsoft would become famous for.

My introduction to the 'modern' PC happened around 1986, when colleagues started buying the new PC. The preferred systems at that time were 'clone' machines (not made by a particular brand name) where one could pick and choose the various parts. Processors were 80286 and there was often less than 1MB of RAM. That's not a typo - one megabyte. The operating system was MS-DOS and in order to maximize your computer experience, you needed to know how to do things like optimize and configure memory management using the DOS files autoexec.bat and config.sys. The hours we would put into optimizing those files, either manually or with the help of memory management utilities. Conventional memory, expanded memory, extended memory - oh my! BIOS settings... be glad we don't muck around in there anymore (save for the overclockers... losers)!

What amazes me most about the evolution of my relationship with computers is how the most intricate yet important things that consumed us as serious users managed to become non-issues almost overnight.

RAM was expensive back in the day. Upgrading a system to include more RAM (say, doubling from 1MB to 2MB) or buying a system with lots of RAM to start with was not a cheap task. Now, RAM is much less expensive and most systems come with more than enough for the average person. We don't worry about managing RAM like in the old days because there's no shortage of it in a modern computer anymore (and Windows manages it for us).

Video adapters were like the nitrous oxide canisters of the computer, you were always looking for the fastest chip set and the most video memory to open up the bottleneck between the CPU and your monitor. Now, even standard on-board (on the motherboard) graphics chip sets are offering performance levels unheard of before.

High quality monitors used to go for $1000+. Now you can rock a great monitor for less than $275.

We used to waste many hours toiling over proper hardware drivers for all of the computer's components and these always needed updating. How times have changed. I've updated one solitary device driver on my PC in a period of 7 years.

Peripherals have become so disposable that manufacturers don't even bother making drivers for many peripherals when the next major OS release comes out. I've had to abandon scanners, printers and Wi-Fi adapters thanks to recent Windows releases. I think they call this planned obsolescence.

There was a time when one of the predicted paths computers were going to take was the modular brick architecture. This would have manifested itself in the sense that the CPU would be in one brick, the video hardware in another, the hard drive(s) and CD/DVD drives each in their own bricks. All the parts would connect using a fast bus (like PCI-E) and would be replaced independently of the other parts. We almost got there with the advent of external USB hard drives and a few external sound cards, but now, the structure of computers seems to be headed in one direction.

Small. Everything done by touch. The iPad has revolutionized computing and we haven't even realized it yet because it caught us napping. With the iPad's release, the Kindle and other e-book readers became obsolete overnight. Why would you buy an e-book reader when you could get a device that can practically replace your entire desktop (and laptop) computer? My iPad came with me on my last vacation as my link to the world and my method of getting information about my surroundings. No keyboard or mouse - it's all touch. I'm playing this car racing game on my iPad and as I'm doing so, I come to the realization that all of the extra crap I used to have to worry about to enjoy my gaming experience has been rendered moot. I don't need a steering wheel - the iPad IS the steering wheel. My GPS device sleeps away in a cupboard while Google maps shows me how to get from point A to B and even tells me what buses/trains to take and when. I open a talking children's book app and it reads a classic story to my grand-daughter. When she touches the objects in the scene, it tells her what they are.

What's to come? I have a prediction. Interaction through eye movement. Our devices already have cameras. I believe that within a few years, we'll be seeing (pun intended) devices with the ability to track what we're looking at on the screen and execute tasks based on the manner of our gaze.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Longer but simpler to remember

The number of days it would take 100 cracking computers working in parallel, working through 20 billion guesses per second to crack an 8 character-long password using upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols (tR5$yV4#): 0.032 (46 minutes)

The number of days it would take 100 cracking computers working in parallel, working through 20 billion guesses per second to crack a 15 character-long password using upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols (jgT36@i*bZ%GBk2): 2,422,432 (6632 years)

The number of days it would take 100 cracking computers working in parallel, working through 20 billion guesses per second to crack a 20 character-long passphrase using just lower case letters (yotimingiseverything): 115,324,935,736 (315 million years)

Aren't I special?

I parked in the hybrid spot at IKEA today.

Yes.... I feel special.

There is no channel

In the future, everything is about the verbs repeat, transform, parameterize, visualize and simulate.

Why? Because computer code rules our culture and it will become even more ubiquitous. Bruce Sterling goes on for a long time setting up the evidence for his conclusion, but he explains to the staff of Vimeo (only one of the best video host sites on the internet today) how he thinks the world will be different in 25 years.

And there's nothing we can do about it.

They be funny

Could these gals be the next Flight of the Conchords?

I present to you - Garfunkel and Oates.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Car trivia

Name something you will no longer be able to get in a 2011 model vehicle.


OK, after giving everyone a chance to get the answer, I'm posting it in the comments.

Mophie Juice Pack Powerstation

While I was in California, I decided to treat myself to a new gadget since the Apple store in Calgary doesn't seem to carry it. In this case, I bought a Mophie Juice Pack Powerstation. It's basically a 3600mAh lithium battery pack that will recharge any device that can get its charge through a USB cable. The juice pack was designed to work with Apple iPhones, iPods and iPads, but it is compatible with pretty much any USB-charged device. It's as light as a feather but can charge at a rate of up to 4 times faster than typical USB connected batteries.

You can use either the iPhone/iPod or iPad wall charger adapter to refill the juice pack - the iPad one will do the job in less time because of output power. I topped up my iPhone which was down to about a half charge and the juice pack's LED indicators only budged from 6 lights (full) to 5, so this baby has lots of power in store. This little power station will be a regular traveller with me now.

CBS..... Can't Be Seen

Yet another example of why I have neither respect nor sympathy for the entertainment industry. A CBS website hosting a YouTube clip that has been removed due to a copyright claim from CBS.


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Hard to fathom

Am I the only person who is fascinated... no gobsmacked that as we look out into the universe, we're actually looking back in time hundreds, then thousands, then millions, then billions of years? This basically means that we only can see what has recently transpired in our immediate vicinity. The further out we look, the further away from current reality we step. Stuff could be happening all around us, but we'll never see it because it takes so long for the light to reach us.

The universe is a time machine in reverse.

Soap grater

I love this idea of replacing liquid hand soap (which wastes both water and plastic) with a soap grater.

That way you can use your favourite milled soap.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Ice bridge

There aren't many people that can say they've made use of an ice bridge. Especially within 60 km of a major metropolitan city. But At Oka Quebec, a mere 20km from where I grew up, there is an ice bridge every winter connecting Oka with Hudson, 2 kilometres across on the western shore of the Ottawa river. A ferry connects the two in summer, taking about 10 minutes assuming no waiting, but the drive across the ice only takes 3 minutes. To go around the long way through the west end of Montreal takes just about an hour - assuming no traffic - and is 61 kilometres.

Thanks to Randy for this link.

Ways to increase your fitness doing a sedentary job

Some of us end up in sedentary office jobs that don't give us the exercise we need to maintain any level of fitness. I present to you a list of things you can do to help burn a few more calories at work.
  • Send your print jobs to a printer on another floor or better still - another building if possible.
  • Resist the urge to use the elevator. If you traverse many floors to get to your office, wean yourself off of the elevator a few floors at a time - elevator to 18th floor, stairs to 21st.
  • If you use a motorized wheeled vehicle to get around the office, stop. No Segways or scooters allowed. (Handicapped people - have the IT or Engineering department modify the motorized wheelchair so that you can use arm and shoulder power to both propel yourself around and simultaneously recharge the battery!)
  • When arguing with your peers, incorporate calisthenics into your rant. Not only will it burn calories, but it will intimidate the people you're arguing with.
  • A large dose of fibre or laxative first thing in the morning is good for a few dashes to the lavatory.
  • When hosting meetings, have everyone stand. It will help keep the meeting short and indicate to people what a hard-ass you are.
  • When attending meetings, choose to stand. It will give off an air of superiority, like you're too important to settle in and stay for the duration.
  • When you park, choose a parking spot as far away from the door as possible. This will also allow you to gather your thoughts before anyone bugs you with inane questions.
  • If you have snacks at your desk, put them out before you go home. The cleaning staff will make sure you've got nothing left by morning.
  • Never stay seated at your desk for more than 40 minutes at a time. Leave the area and go for a brisk walk around the department. Bring a clipboard. Your demeanour will have everyone convinced you're on the warpath and they'll leave you alone. Those that happen to visit you at your desk will not find you - again.
  • Casual office sex may be risky, but it does burn a few calories. Use caution. Conference rooms may appear empty at the moment...
  • When the people on weight loss programs start discussing the points system, break out the giant iced pecan cinnamon bun and take one bite as you walk away. Only one bite though. Then organize two stand up meetings to help burn off those calories.
  • Turn the thermostat down at the office. Generating extra body heat to stay warm burns calories. There are some other benefits too. Such as keeping your glass of water cool longer. What did you think I was going to say? Gutter dwellers!
  • On a slow day, send a mass email out offering free tickets to the hockey game this weekend, then spend the rest of the day avoiding anyone who you know might be interested.
  • Casual office shoulder massages may be risky, but they could lead to casual office sex. (see above)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Consumer electronics purchasing advice

Having helped many clients with their technology purchases, use and troubleshooting, I feel a duty to warn my readers and the internet at large about the tricks technology salespeople use to connive you out of your money. Your mileage may vary.

For starters, a salesperson can spot a technophobe a mile away. They prey upon consumer ignorance and uncertainty. When you go to the store not having any specific selections in mind, I caution you to never buy on the first visit. The first visit should be for scouting the intended product only, unless all research is already complete and decisions are made. Don't fall for "You had better buy now, the sale ends today." Even if the sale does end today, that's still not a good enough reason to buy something you don't know if you want or need.

Salespeople will attempt to dazzle you with their knowledge of the technology. In some cases they know their stuff, but that doesn't mean that everything they say is truth or even relevant. They may be pushing you toward a certain model for many reasons, but seldom is it because it is in fact the best choice for your needs. They should be able to explain in simple terms why their recommendation should be trusted and if you cannot understand their explanation, run away. If you don't understand the technology very well, it is a good idea to bring a trusted friend for moral support. You are less likely to be coerced when there are more of you, especially if you agree beforehand on a plan. If this is the scouting visit, take notes and leave to evaluate your options. If you stay in the store to consider, the sales staff know a purchase is likely with just a little more motivation on their part. Also, if you still feel the same about your preferred choice in 24 hours, it is much more likely you have made the right choice. In other words - avoid the impulse buy. If you have nobody to help you evaluate your candidate product, take advantage of internet review sites like epinions, or just do a search on the make and model with the added word 'review' in your search terms. You'll likely find dozens if not hundreds of sites with real consumer feedback on what you're contemplating.

Another thing to consider when evaluating candidate products are the added cost of necessary consumables. By this I refer to things like toner or ink for printers, batteries for portable devices, and so forth. For example, a $70 printer may seem like a great deal, but if the replacement cartridges only last a couple of months and cost $80, then you really didn't save any money.

If you have done your research and are coming to the store with a brand and model in mind, stick with the plan. Don't fall for "I can't seem to find any in stock. Why not try this more expensive model instead." If they have none of what you want, ask if they can call other outlets to check their stock or try a competing store. Never accept a suggested alternative without more research (away from the store). Maybe they are pushing a model that isn't selling well. Why isn't it selling? Is it last year's model? Is there a known flaw with this model? Is it a less popular colour?

Once a purchase is imminent, this is when the salesperson usually goes into high sales gear. Because it's not the product that makes the store the most money, it's everything else. So they will try to add cables, or toner or ink, or cases or whatever accessory can be added to the bill. Those are the money makers.

Then there's the extended warranty. Or consumer protection insurance. Or product replacement plan. Whatever they're calling it these days. Cheap enough to sound worthwhile - but is it? The plan will be touted using words like "If the product fails for any reason, even normal wear and tear, we will replace it for free." Then they'll paint a horrific picture of the alternative - you'll have to send the product back to the manufacturer yourself, at your own expense. You may never see your product again - devices get lost in transit all the time. Products tend to go bad as soon as the warranty expires. If you don't get the extra protection, alien robot attack drones will find your device via the internet and remotely disable the thing in the middle of the night for crying out loud!

Here are my thoughts on extended warranties. Let's assume the device breaks in one year. If the store actually honours the extra warranty, if they don't find a loophole to weasel their way out of it, they'll give you a replacement product alright. You'll get whatever is on the shelf at that time, that they deem of the same value as your original product. It probably will not be the same product - models rarely stay on the shelf for more than 9 months before a new model comes out. It may not even be what you want or need and you know what? They don't care. By the way, it's all in the fine print and you certainly won't read it before you agree to buy the protection. Even if you did, you'd need a lawyer to understand it. Long story short - skip the extended warranty. But wait. They might not even tell you about it and slip it onto the bill anyway. I've seen it done and the poor consumer didn't even realize it had happened until they got home and looked at the receipt. Or if they did notice, they were too intimidated (or lazy) to go back and insist it be refunded.

Caveat emptor.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

What a difference 20 years makes

This picture was taken in 1990 ( a mere 20 years ago) of a city that now looks nothing like this. Today the same city is totally modern and this same view is crammed with modern skyscrapers.

Do you know what city this is?

Firefly easter egg

Nathan Fillion, who plays Malcolm Reynolds in Firefly, is a huge Star Wars fan. So the props folks (it is rumoured) planted a Hans Solo in Carbonite figure into the set for each episode.

Evidence here by the steely eyed Amy Ratcliffe. You can see Solo at the top right of the picture.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Best tweet in 2011 so far

I may be a little late with this, so sue me. I've been away.

Where's the rust? Where's the grime?

When you're in California, something slowly begins to stand out if you're from a place with real winter. No, it's not the clothing, or the palm trees. It's not the tans.

It's the fact that every car is shiny and clean. Permanently it seems.

Cultural differences

I was watching American TV while in San Diego and Darlene and I saw a Wendy's commercial where these two guys are discussing the food they're eating and one asks the other what it tastes like. The other guy responds by slapping him really hard. We looked at each other and went, "Wow. Is this what advertising has come to?"

Back in Canada, I just happened to catch what I thought was the same commercial, but the guy answering didn't slap the other guy. He used one of those canned air horns. It was then that I realized how much less violent we are in Canada. It even plays out in our advertising.

Assuming the slap ad doesn't exist here....

What is this obsession with the birthers?

Darlene and I were driven to the San Diego airport on Friday by a guy who revealed that he was not in favour of Canadian-style health care. "You can't force Americans to buy something they don't want." He also went on about Obama's missing birth certificate - not the one that has been on display from Hawaii (that's an easily obtained fake) - the mystery missing one that proves he wasn't born in the US. "He used to be a constitution lawyer, so he knows the loopholes."


New milestone - 7500 blog posts

I'm a little late on this announcement, but White Noise blog just passed 7500 posts.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Back from San Diego

Darlene and I are just back from our first visit to San Diego. So here's the story.

We really wanted to go to Mexico, but Darlene has some very specific bed needs and Mexican hotels don't quite meet those needs. Tempurpedic's site to the rescue! They list all hotels that feature memory foam mattresses. This is how we found Tower 23 in Pacific Beach, north of downtown San Diego. San Diego is also known for having the most perfect weather in the US. Perfect weather, comfortable beds, modern hotel, on the beach..... who am I to argue?

So we escaped the blizzard in Calgary on Monday and 3 hours later were greeted by sun and warmth. A quick shuttle ride to the hotel and what a pleasant sight awaited us at Tower 23. Check the Facebook pictures, the view was spectacular. Beach for many miles in each direction, a walking path along the water for miles in each direction and plenty of eateries and shops within walking distance.

We rented a car, which wasn't absolutely necessary, as there is public transit, but it doesn't run very often or get you where you're going very quickly. Car was the best way to get around. We never encountered traffic jams, all parking was free (except downtown, but we stayed away from there by car). Seriously - free parking! With the freedom of having the car, we were able to cruise up to Escondido, tour around La Jolla (the Beverly Hills of San Diego) and head to Old Town, where we hopped a tourist trolley to check out the sights nearer to downtown. Although we had planned to disembark the trolley to check out a few sights, we realized that the places we wanted to see deserved a proper, longer visit to do them justice. So we promised on our next trip back here to check out Balboa Park and the Zoo, Coronado and a few other places. But we did get out to Point Loma where the cliff-side ocean and city views were out of this world.

The culinary highlight for me was a visit to the often Yelp'ed about Filippi's Pizza Grotto. Their pizza was superb. Funny how real Italians know how to make great pizza. They could teach some pizza chains a thing or two. Like - don't be afraid to use some tomato sauce! Damn that pizza was saucy.

The weather did end up being perfect (for February). Only Tuesday was cool and we used that day to shop. Every other day was sunny, warm (about 19C), dry, with cool clear evenings. If you know me, you are aware of my love for the sound of the surf, and I got to hear it a lot.

The week went by too fast, but hear me now, we'll be back.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

White Noise takes a vacation

They say that San Diego has the most perfect weather in the United States.

I'll let you know. Your roving blogger will bring you a full report upon his return.

That's a picture from the hotel we're staying at, mere steps from the ocean. I look forward to falling asleep to the sound of the surf.

How the world has changed in 10 years


The number on the left is the 2000 number. The number on the right is the 2010 number.

Many more stats at the link.


"So the basic idea is, each planet you see is the size it would appear in the sky if it shared an orbit with the moon, 380,000 km from earth. I created this video in After Effects, and because of certain technical considerations had to keep the field of view at 62 degrees. That means the foreground element is not precisely to scale. I realized this after the fact and may update the video at some point in the future. All planets are to correct scale with one another in any case."

Saturday, February 05, 2011

"For all I know, you could be wearing my wife's hair right now"

Darlene and I just finished watching a movie I had recorded off of The Movie Network and she liked it so much, she wants me to buy it.

The movie is New York, I Love You. It's a bunch of shorts by different people strung together with a common thread. Not only is the acting wonderful and the story refreshing, you'll spend the whole movie going "Hey! Isn't that.....?"

Things men do that drive their women crazy...

... and the men just don't understand why.

Sorting laundry, sometimes a wayward sock ends up in the next load. This drives women nuts. Never mind that the second sock will eventually get washed and will meet its partner again. They must always be washed together.

When emptying the dishwasher, some things are very dry and can be put away immediately. Other items are eligible for a phase of the task known as 'air drying'. Those items will end up being put away by the woman. Not because the man won't do it, but because the woman can't stand to see dishes air drying.

Some 'jobs around the house' will wait a long time to get done. Women call this procrastination. Men call it prioritizing.

Readers, feel free to add to this......

Something not quite right

I would like to get my reader's thoughts on this 1952 ad for Philip Morris cigarettes, starring Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz.

Aside from the fact that these two actors are being used to promote smokes (very common back in the day), is there anything about this ad that stands out for any of you?

Please chime in using the comments.

Friday, February 04, 2011

A film deserving of the ultimate big screen

Vimeo is such a treasure trove of quality, mind boggling videos by ordinary people with enormous talent. This video is but one of the many shorts that either brought a smile to my face or a tear to my eye (or both).

I won't give away the premise, you have to see it for yourself.

People who get paid to touch your junk

This could be the best Venn diagram of the year.

MapCrunch 7


Can you correctly name this country?

Can ya?


Are hints needed?

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Take a right on pie icks

If you ever drive to Quebec with a GPS device, try to leave it in English mode. Its attempts to pronounce the French street names will leave you in hysterics.

(Idea stolen from my friend Randy V)

What do parties, MRI scanners and rockets have in common?

They all use helium. Did you know we're running out of Helium? It took 4.7 billion years for nature to make what helium we have and we're likely to use it all up within 100 years.

That won't just make parties suck either.

I remember when I first read the article, all I could think was that the deniers would be all over this story.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Welcome home dear....

Imagine coming home from work to this. What fun! (No... this wasn't me)

In case the note is hard to read in the picture:

Welcome home from work!

Two things:

1. This gun w/ ammo is yours.
2. I have one too and your [sic] under attack as of now.

Use the force, kid

Many thanks to my friend Carla for showing me this video.

Check out that last expression...

The many moods of Batman.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Actual news headlines from today and my curt responses

Dog taught to sniff out early stage colorectal cancer - so the next time a dog sniffs my crotch, I'm going to ask "Hey boy! Is everything OK down there?"

Justin Bieber misses 'ice caps' when he's away from home - in related news, a new world record for world's smallest violin is set yet again.

City roads turn into skating rink - Carcapades tickets are $20 at the box office.

Suspects steal Viagra from southeast pharmacy - police say they should be easy to spot.

AHS apologizes to man beaten at Children's Hospital - "we're sorry you look like a homeless guy".

Harper, Obama to meet at White House - Obama asks if Steve can bring some of that 'poutine' he keeps hearing about.

A history of doom and gloom predictions from the entertainment industry

  • Radio will kill the recording industry.
  • Records will kill the music industry.
  • 8 tracks will kill the music industry.
  • Cassette tapes will kill the recording industry.
  • VCRs will bankrupt Hollywood.
  • Compact Discs will be the downfall of the recording industry.
  • DVDs. Oh no!
  • Digital downloads will wipe us out if you don't give us money.
The future:
  • We must control the internet or it will be the downfall of the entertainment industry.
  • Outlaw hard drives before they kill the entertainment industry.
  • Memory implants will kill the music industry.
  • Singing in groups will kill the music industry.
  • The aliens will kill the recording industry.