Saturday, December 18, 2010

Another gem from the Chrome OS setup

Youtube comments, the pride of the internet.

Oh Google, you crack me up AND give me a free netbook to test out delicious Chrome OS before it's officially released? That's like eating a tasty fortune cookie, then the paper inside turns out to be a hundred dollar bill. Niceeee  :)

Of course, if our benevolent internet overlords really want to solve the black plague that is your average youtube comment, they could try:

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Google. Chrome OS netbook. Me. Free. Muhaha!

"Plug in to start the flow of electrons. Do not expose to rap music."

I less than three Google so much. It's been, what? Maybe two years since signing up for updates on their delicious soon-to-come operating system. The anticipation meter ("Come on, come onnnn!") got pretty damn high, but I'd say any amount of waiting is totes worth it when the end result is a free netbook with a shiny new bleeding edge Google OS.

...that came shipped in a box with schematics for a hamster-powered rocket engine!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Dog training in the wilderness

Camouflage, not just for cool kids or military ambushes; you can also use it to boggle the minds of doggies

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

I do not condone the cool crime of voter fraud

So, when voting today, I was reminded of how easy and painless it is. Show up at the right place, give my name, address, and birthday, and they let me help decide who rules the country (world? Universe?). Now, on one hand that's a good thing. You don't want to discourage voting. And with our history, we certainly need to avoid the slightest hint of "pass some test or criteria before you're allowed your vote".

However, it seems so easy to fake. My name and address are not ironclad secrets, and due to my love of presents and cake, I'm fool enough to actually TELL people my birthday.

Here's the way I see it: Certainly, one stolen vote wont be enough to make a difference. But in plenty of places, ~1,000 votes is probably significant. Now, if you're corrupt enough to rig votes, you're corrupt enough to whore your public office out for money. Would-be evil winners of these elections stand to make millions of dollars!

Now think about it. If 1,000 stolen votes could be worth $10,000,000, then 1 stolen vote is sellable for a cool $10k. Criminals commit gas station robberies for a fraction of that. And unlike the voting boothes, there are actual video cameras to catch your face at those stations!

Anyways, I am not advocating voter fraud! Just wonder why I've never shown up to vote and been told "sorry, you already did".

p.s. The other crime I don't advocate (goo.gl/Oc5f) but have always wondered about: That solid gold statue on top of the Mormon temple beside the Beltway. How come noone's ever heist'ed it? The cost of renting a helicopter and a chainsaw has got to be way less then what that amount of gold sells for.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Oh UM Campus Police...

Everyone in room got one except me. I went to this school baby, I bring mah stuffs with :)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Brains lie!

"Brains are survival engines, not truth detectors. If self-deception promotes fitness, the brain lies. Stops noticing— irrelevant things. Truth never matters. Only fitness. By now you don't experience the world as it exists at all. You experience a simulation built from assumptions. Shortcuts. Lies."

-Blindsight, Peter Watts









That and other videos that will keep you up at night wondering how your evil brain will screw you over next: http://viscog.beckman.uiuc.edu/djs_lab/demos.html

Except the dinosaurs, all was snagged from the Blindsight book, linked above. Seriously, go read it. Amazing, brain-warping stuff. Very Matrix-what-just-happened-to-the-world-I-thought-I-was-living-in'y

Sunday, September 26, 2010

When did Darth Vader get so good at persuasion?

I called Jon Robert's shirt's bluff by demanding he offer me cookies. He called MY bluff by breaking out a (mostly) uneaten pack of golden Oreos.

Luckily I outsmarted him using the Homer Simpson strategy: http://bit.ly/bKxs36

p.s. The golden kind of Oreo? WAY better then the original. Quit tempting my soul, forbidden cookie!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Alcatraz (3rd book), Brandon Sanderson

"Humans are funny things. From what I've seen, the more we agree with someone, the more we like listening to them. I've come up with a theory. I call it the macaroni and cheese philosophy of discourse.

I love macaroni and cheese. It's amazing. If they serve food in heaven, I'm certain mac and cheese graces each and every table. If someone wants to sit and talk to me about how good mac and cheese is, I'll talk to them for hours. However, if they want to talk about fish sticks, I generally stuff them in a cannon and launch them in the general direction of Norway.

That's the wrong reaction. I know what mac and cheese tastes like. Wouldn't it be more useful for me to talk to someone who likes something else? Maybe understanding what other people like about fish sticks could help me understand how they think.

A lot of the world doesn't think this way. In fact, a lot of people think that if they like mac and cheese rather than fish sticks, the best thing to do is ban fish sticks.

That would be a tragedy. If we let people do things like this, eventually we'd end up with only one thing to eat. And it probably wouldn't be mac and cheese or fish sticks. It'd probably be something that none of us likes to eat.

You want to be a better person? Go listen to someone you disagree with. Don't argue with them, just listen. It's remarkable what interesting things people will say if you take the time to not be a jerk."

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Magicians, Lev Grossman

"If you find yourself becoming curious about the nature and origins of the magical powers you are slowly and very, very painfully cultivating, remember this famous anecdote about the English philosopher Bertrand Russell.

Russell once gave a public lecture on the structure of the universe. Afterward he was approached by a woman who told him that he was a very clever young man but much mistaken in his thinking, because everyone knew that the world was flat and sat on the back of a turtle.

When Russell asked her what the turtle was standing on, she replied, 'You're very clever, young man, very clever. But it's turtles all the way down!'"

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Golden Age, John C. Wright

"My efforts shall not cease, not while one second of my life remains. You are many, and I am alone. But I can speak for the spirit of mankind with a voice equal to your own. Truth does not become more or less true, wether those who know it are many or few. And it has never been masses or mobs who shaped destiny but single individuals, visionaries, innovators, who are scorned and isolated by the very masses who reap such benefit from their work. But such benefit is a side effect of our lonely work, not its main purpose. I will do what I must do even if none benefit from it. I will carry out my dream, no matter what the cost, no matter what the loss. This I shall do because my dream is sound and true and beautiful and right."

(p.s. This book & Orphans of Chaos are awesome. Go read them!)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Skywalk

Edit: stolen from Rachel Hall, before she could post. Revenge for laughing at my pain when diner signs cut open my finger.

Also, damn you tornado'y, tree-tipping power outage!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Do you ever have a dream where something either really sweet or lame happens, but it's not dream-magic'y or unusual? It's something that very well could have happened in real life. It just didn't; it only happened in your dream.

Except, the brain thinks it DID happen? There's never a point where you sit up and think "I have a new memory". It's just there in your memories like it really happened, sometimes for a day or two before you realize "wait, wtf?"

That crap happens to me all the time. For atleast the last 24 hours I've been a little down because Obama didn't win reelection, for example. I'm not trying to start a whole political convo thing. I'm just saying, that junk really happened. Then it unhappened. Stop screwing with my reality, brain!

p.s. Before that, last thing it happened with was some movie I'd really been waiting to see. Woke up looking forward to seeing it all day before suddenly realizing "sonofa.... I've still got weeks to wait!"

Monday, May 24, 2010

Jon Robert reveals the truth about my parentage

...and leaves voicemails with 30 second holes in the middle. Was he waiting for a response from the machine, or did he forget to push the End button, then forget he forgot and continue leaving the message?

WHOS PARENTS DON'T LOVE THEM 'CAUSE THEY'RE ADOPTED NOW, MEANY FACE!?

Thursday, May 6, 2010

About bad service rants

In a previous post I ranted about awful customer service (from Verizon).

A lot of times, people's first inclination in those situations is is to curse out whatever poor actual person they have on the phone with/in front of them. High emotions are understandable, but that solution is almost unforgivably wrong for two reasons:

    (b) The person you yell at is almost never going to be the one who caused the problem, or who has any power whatsoever to fix it in the future. Calling back will never get the same person you were just talking to. So any hapless sap you give an earful to will be apologizing for something they had nothing to do with!

    (a) They're human beings like anyone else. It would be like one of those scum-of-the-earth people who yell at or talk down to waitresses. Noone, whatever their profession, is below you. Just don't talk to them that way.


Anyways, all that said, the occasional need to vent comes up. And it's always good to let the world know of idiocy in general so it can be throughly mocked. Thank you internet =)

Tech Support Nightmares: Verizon

Every family is filled with self-proclaimed "not computer people". There is always one sacrificial lamb, or "computer person", or "computer lamb" as it were. For atleast 3 familys, I am that lamb. (http://xkcd.com/627/) ;)

Enter Verizon. For various reasons, our house is canceling Verizon, from whom we get the usual package of tv, phone, and internet. In a sane world, I would call Verizon one time, say "Sorry, we're canceling our Verizon relationship, please push the big red button", and be done.

The nightmare begins (http://www.southparkstudios.com/clips/103484): Turns out you must talk to a different person (in the same company) for each different type of service. Annoying, but fine, let's get on with it.

The pain really begins when each of those 3 departments ask what you want, then decide there's a specialty department WITHIN their department they need to transfer you to. I assume this setup is in place because that first group exists solely as a buffer layer; listen to complaints about how horrible all these transfers are, then transfer you... (hopefully) to the actual tech-trained people.

Well, alright. we're up to 6 people total, but ok. However EVERY ONE of those transfers ended with a dropped call. I'm not kidding. Atleast once per department, the transfer process actually hung up on me, leading to the pleasure of another call->hold->talk->transfer dance.

Now, for those 3 call backs, I pleaded with the person to avoid the hangup issue ("I know you didn't cause it, but please promise it doesn't happen this time"). 3 new transfers, which worked, bringing the total to 12 people for 1 issue. Are we done yet?

Nope! One of those transfers that "worked" DID get me to a real person, but it was the wrong person. Time for another transfer. Yet again (I s*** you not), the transfer was a dropped call. ANOTHER call->hold->talk->transfer dance brings the total to 14 people. For 1 issue. Yeah...

The total was actually 2 people higher then that because one (and only one) of those support dudes refused to talk to anyone but the account holder, who had a female name. Me having all the account numbers, pass codes, and pieces of personal information did nothing. Hanging up and recalling to a different person-and-transfer solved that.

The icing on the cake in all this is that most of those calls involved the infamous talking to a machine before getting to a real person. For each of those, it's the same issue on the same account with the same account number. But it's 3 different departments times all the above headaches, and for each one a new chance to enter that SAME account number.

The best part of all? The very first thing EVERY person I talked to asked: "Hi, what's you're account number?" The machines do utterly nothing. Not a single thing you type is passed on to the person who eventually gets the call.

t(^.^t) Verizon.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Begal face!

It's mommy was over filing by a kitty cat. "Pay attention to meeeee!'

Friday, March 12, 2010

Facebook, Buzz, and Openness

I'm still not sure how to use this web journal thingy. I'm currently using it mostly as a random picture and comment uploader. I also occasionally use it to tests embedding Wave's, with the goal of writing ONE post, and having it appear in my Wave feed, my email feed, my Facebook, my Buzz, my Twitter, my whatever the hell all else. If a friend from one place comments, the comment is visible on all.

Which is why I'm loathe to write this here. I already made a post on FB, and writing the same thing here or on Wave or anywhere else suddenly splits the conversation threads in half, or into quarters, or worse. Oh well. I'll figure out the Wave Hosted Conversation thing later. For now, here's the posts:


(part 1) Facebook and Openness:

There are a lot of good things about FB, but one of the hugest *problems* is that it's not open. How often have you wanted to connect your FB updates and threads to your Wave account, or myspace page, or blog? How very very often have you wanted to link your FB pictures and your picasa/flikr/photobucket/whatever sites all in one place? Don't you hate having to upload everything individually or in small batches of 5 to FB, then manually tag every face in every picture, when you've ALREADY uploaded everything at once to picasa or flikr and those sites AUTOMATICALLY tagged all the faces for you at once?

However, FB isn't open. You can't do any of those things, because some fat executive guy twiddled his mustache and thought the old thought. The same thought MS lived by, the same one that the dieing phone companies are still clinging to with their divide-everything-up-and-charge-for-each-piece, charge-for-every-text, charge-for-every-little-minute: "the more we control them, the more money we can squeeze out of them."

Refusing openness is going down the evil empire path. You don't have to give your code to the world, that's your decision. But if the service you offer is to manage data for people (and that's what social sites are. Friend list data, picture data, status&conversation data), understand that that data belongs to the USERS, not to you. Keep that open or else die the same slow death the others are.

FB is locked down and hunkered in on itself, terrified that other wolves will come in and nibble away at even more of it's shrinking bit of territory. Like MS and Apple, they want their piece of the internet controlled completely by them. Stuff you post on there or pictures you upload belong to them, not you. It's their data, not yours.

If they wanna completely change the way FB looks even though it pisses you off and you can't find anything, they'll do it. If they wanna do the same thing AGAIN a couple months later, they'll do it again. If they want to stop you from connecting your FB stuff to all the stuff mentioned above, they'll do it.

----

(part 2) Facebook and Buzz and Openness:

http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/how_google_buzz_is_disruptive_open_data_standards.php

I think people kind of missed the point of Buzz. The two big news pieces were: (1) zomg FB competition!, and (2) zomg privacy invasion!

On the 2nd part, that's what the horde says anytime google does anything. They actually do the same thing anytime facebook does anything also. I remember viral status updates about FB posting your profile and pics to public searches. As usual, it was over-exagerated, and if there WERE concerns, they were EASILY changeable by checking/unchecking one or two boxes in some settings screen.

For the 1st part: it's not so much that FB's a big noble thing and google's like "let's take them down and steal their moneys!". More importantly, it wasn't "let's make yet another faction in ppl's online social groups and make it harder for them to track everything in one place". Their plan is the *opposite* of that.

So here's the point of all this: Google's push is for openness, and for the idea that people own their internet data. I've mentioned before that there's an entire team at Google who's only job is to make sure that if you want to, you can move all your friends/calendar events/emails/docs/anything out of Google at any time, to any other place or program you want. And you can just as easily move stuff back IN to google from those same places.

Buzz or Wave will eventually kill FB if things stay as they are, but that wasn't the point of either. The point is to let people have a space where they can post pictures, post statuses, and have thread conversations while being able to connect those things to ANY parts of the rest of the web they want.

You're sick of having some friends on FB, some on myspace, some only in email, and now some in Buzz? Well so is everyone else. It's easy to snap at Buzz for this situation since it's the newest player, but it's not the cause. The problem is every player that refuses to talk to any of the other players. Bring on an internet where I post one status, upload one picture, and the tags and comments and threads tied to those things are visible on every site I use all over the internet. FB friends, email friends, twitter friends, unite! ;)

Monday, February 8, 2010