Archive for the Technology Category

Scribbling For Nickels

Posted in Technology on December 28, 2008 by darbydale

I was up last night, unable/unwilling to go to sleep, when I came across this article:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/28/weekinreview/28streitfeld.html?_r=1

Book publishing is falling apart?  That just seems surprising.

The article mentions that while many publishing houses have been able to rely on the steady sales of classics, this area has been on the decline for some time.  While it talks about the efficiency of a secondary market that trades in used books, it doesn’t mention that a lot of these books are available for free in an electronic format which must further cut into sales.

Anyway, as a guy who actively participates in this decline through http://www.paperbackswap.com, I feel a little guilty.  I don’t feel particularly bad for new and used bookstores, but I do worry about the effect on authors.  Now, ideally this would morph into some sort of system where you just pay authors directly for content.  That would actually be kind of cool.

Oh well.  My thoughts on the topic are fairly unsophisticated.  I’m sure my brighter counterparts can provide more insight on the topic.

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If you don’t use this, you’re an idiot.

Posted in Benjamins, Coffee, Genius, Technology with tags , on December 18, 2008 by lindendale
Do the right thing.

Do the right thing.

Bounty paper towels are the shit.  I spilled coffee all over my desk at work today and was frustrated to the point of cerebral hemorrhaging at the non-thirsty quality of the crap paper towels here.  They were paper alright, but there was nothing towel-like in their inability to absorb the approximately 3 ounces of coffee on my desk.  I used half a tree’s worth of paper pulp just for this stupid spill. 
Bounty would have done the job, damn skippy.  Sure, Bounty paper towels cost a little more than generic store brands.  But skimping on your paper towels is a false economy, because you have to use so many more.  I don’t know how they make Bounty paper towels so tough and absorbent.  Nanotechnology?  Ancient magicks?
Maybe they blend them with kitten intestines and coat them with ozone-depleting CFCs.  I don’t care.  They just work.
To my knowledge, Bounty is also superior to other brands like Scott’s or Brawny.  I have purchased Brawny — that lumber jack guy looks pretty tough  — but they are inferior.  That dude might shave with the edge of his axe, but he’s got nothing on Rosie the Waitress.  She’d have taken one Bounty sheet, sopped up my coffee, and served it back to me. 
You want this back in the cup or you just want to suck on the towel?

You want this back in the cup or you just want to suck on the towel?

So stop making a fool out of yourself in front of your family and house guests.  Buy Bounty paper towels.  That’s all I have to say on the matter.

Nine

Posted in Genius, Technology with tags , , , on December 4, 2008 by lindendale

That’s how many degrees Fahrenheit it is this morning in Milwaukee.  Coldest day since the end of February.  I don’t care what the white man says, that’s winter.

The good news is that I got to bust out my new Toro PowerCurve electric snow thrower last night.  Most people go gas-powered, but I was looking for lightweight and low-maintenance.  We only had like 4 inches, but it cut right through it.  I cleared the driveway in 20 minutes without hurting my back, and without pants.  I am looking to get it down to 15 minutes, although that will depend on the depth and quality of the snow.

This is not me.  I do not wear purple.

This is not me. I do not wear purple.

Did you that I have over two words for snow?  Slushy, fluffy, and snowbally.

This is What the Internet is All About

Posted in Culture, Genius, Technology with tags , , on February 29, 2008 by lindendale

Ladies and gentlemen. I give you “The Mall Ninja.”

This is a collection of posts by the elusive Gecko45 lovingly curated by the folks at Lonely Machines. A sample:

Gecko45 writes:

quote:Originally posted by SPECOPS:
I don’t claim to be a “tough guy”, but I have earned respect from my co-workers in a “tough” field. You guys are the ones that jumped on Gecko for wanting a good duty gun, now who are the tough guys behind the keyboards???

I agree wholeheartedly, why must every remonstration to remain a law-abiding citizen, so that we do not find it necessary to take you out, be seen as a threat. If a kid picks up a candy bar and runs, you give him a warning before you cuff him. Same with those mindless teenyboppers who go to the Hickory Farms store, and then take double samples of fruitcake and cheeselog, you warn them that they will be charged with a felony(grand theft), and that if they attempt to fight and run, they will be, unfortunately, first tazered, and if they continue to resist violently with intent to maim, then wounded. Fortunately, wounding fire to suppress teenage kleptomaniacs is relatively easy, they all run in straight lines, and a hit in the knee will be relatively simple from the second floor. But they all get a warning first, we do not simply shoot shoplifters unless they resist violently. Buttstroking those who attempt to injure me is another story. Consider this your warning, HKsissy, because we’ll aim for center if you get dangerous or violent on our patrols. You do not understand how difficult our job is, or you would be grateful for this warning you have been given-whether you are on SPECOPS’s turf, or on mine, you will not repeat not act up with iniquity.

Here’s some more:

PRK writes:

You guys laugh. Mall security saved my tender butt. Mom let me go to the men’s room aloen. The guy from electronics came in. He lured me into the stall. I hadn’t seen a Gameboy before. These two guys came right in with no warning. They dragged him off. Years laater I figured this out. I could of been a victim.


SPECOPS writes:Thanks to all that have been supporting us here on this board. Your kind comments and genuine appreciation almost bring tears to my eyes. I especially want to thank the little boy who wrote about his tramatic experience in that men’s bathroom. It took a lot of guts to talk about that on a public forum. You are a brave, brave person. You appear to have what it takes for a career in my field, please contact me when you are 18, I can get you in started on a high intensity training program and hopefully get you started as an apprentice by the age of 21.Unfortunately I can not take credit for your courageous story. There are many stories like yours, I have personally saved the ass-virginity of several young boys in my days. But there are many brave men like myself out there who risk their lives daily, so that boys like yourself can live a normal heterosexual life.

__________________________________________________

This reminds me of a blog that dates back to 1997 (before they were called blogs and were just websites) that a guy kept about his Redneck Neighbor. I think he did it to keep from either killing himself or his neighbor. Very funny.

Amazing Breakthroughs of the 21st Century (an occasional column)

Posted in Breakthroughs of the 21st Century, Technology with tags , on February 15, 2008 by lindendale

Netflix Watch Now

If you are like me, you are usually disappointed by technological advances. Maybe it’ s my fault. I don’t think I’m jaded, I just think that my expectations may have been too high. I can’t believe we don’t have moon bases. Why isn’t my car powered by nuclear fusion? Why doesn’t it fly?!

But every now and then something comes along that just works right and let’s you do something you couldn’t do before.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Netflix’s new on-demand internet video service. If you have a Netflix subscription and a machine with broadband internet access, you’re in business. All I had to do was download a small file to update my Windows Media Player (you have to use Internet Explorer 6 or higher, but that’s a minor point). Within a few minutes, I was watching “Planet Terror” in high-quality, full-screen glory.

There are about 7,000 movies and TV shows currently available, so it’s not like everything is there, but the instant feature is real. It’s instant. You click on it and boom it starts downloading. You will have to wait about 30 seconds for the video to buffer, but then you are watching. If you can’t wait 30 seconds, there is something wrong with you. It takes a lot longer than that to get a DVD to start playing. You can pause it too.

Lindendale thinks you all should check it out and report back.

netflix_watchnow.jpg

Things Suck

Posted in Culture, Technology on January 23, 2008 by lindendale

Check out the article in Wired about Things that Suck. Lots of things suck, baby. Big time.

An example:

Why Things Suck: DVD Sound

By Lucas Graves Email 01.18.08 | 6:00 PM

The dvd player spread faster than any other consumer technology in history (yes, including cell phones). That’s because the digital video disc is a better medium for viewing movies at home than its predecessors, VHS and 8-mm celluloid. But the wee silver platters have one great failing: Why, 12 years into the DVD age, is the sound still so gosh-darn, infuriatingly inconsistent?! You know the drill: You want to sink back into Mr. La-Z-Boy and enjoy the film, but instead you’re perched on the edge of your seat, nervously clutching the remote, because the volume fluctuates violently and unpredictably between whispery dialog and window-rattling special effects.

What gives? Basically, DVDs are just too lifelike for the living room. Their dynamic range — the continuum of sound levels they’re capable of reproducing — is more like the real world, where exploding cars and hails of gunfire really are a lot louder than casual conversation. We expect earsplitting music and effects in a movie theater, but at home we have cranky cohabitants to worry about, so we turn down the volume. Presto: Every actor ends up mumbling like Marlon Brando. To make matters worse, a lot of people either don’t have surround sound or don’t set it up properly, which tends to mute the center channel — the one that carries most of the dialog. Happily, many DVD players can compress the dynamic range, either by trimming the audio peaks or enhancing the frequency range in which dialog commonly occurs. Or you can down-sample surround sound into stereo. It’s all right there in the user’s manual.

What are you all hating on right now?

Hyper-Sub: I’m so getting one of these.

Posted in Maritime Law, Technology on January 10, 2008 by lindendale

hyper-sub.jpg

It’s 2008, and there are still no flying cars, which I am more than a little annoyed about. But now this hybrid surface boat/submersible, the Marion Hyper-Sub, has just finished prototype testing. Here are the specs:

General/Dimensions

  • Seating Capacity (cabin): 4, plus pilot
  • Overall Length: 34�
  • Total Beam/Width: 13�6�
  • Height (keel to top of cabin): 6�10�
  • Height with Arch/Spoiler: 8�6�
  • Draft: 24� (saltwater)
  • Dry Weight: 29,300 lbs

Surface Performance

  • Surface Powerplant: Twin 440 horsepower inboard Yanmar diesels
  • Fuel Capacity: 262.5 gallons, variable displacement cells
  • Out Drives: Arneson ASD-10, surface piercing props, 3,400 ft.-lbs. torque
  • Navigational Aids: GPS, chart plotting, radar, forward and downward sensing sonar, autopilot

Dive Performance

  • Submerged Propulsion: electric over hydraulic
  • Twin main hydraulic thrusters, 60 hp maximum
  • Bow and stern steering thrusters
  • Air Capacity: 2,000 std. cu. ft.
  • Air Recharge: Twin 5,000 psi SCBA compressors
  • Battery load: 2 AGM-type battery banks storing 13kWh (135Ah @ 96VDC).

I don’t know if the twin 440-HP diesels are going to get it done for me. But otherwise, damn. There is some video footage of testing on their site. The music is super cheesy.

I wonder how this vehicle will be classified?  Is it a boat or a sub? I guess that’s really a question of maritime law.

You know who already has one of these? Baby Teddy.