Thursday, September 30, 2010

Lamborghini Sesto Elemento: Angry Called, It Wants Its Car Back | Autopia |

From: Lamborghini Sesto Elemento: Angry Called, It Wants Its Car Back | Autopia |


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From this picture it is obvious that “Sesto Elemento” is Italian for “Baboon with exploded red anus.” Here’s a visual aide, courtesy of Wikipedia:


The similarities are striking.

I am having mixed feelings about this because I am one of those types that never outgrew his teenage obsession with Italian supercars. The problem is that I am right at that age when my back hurts just looking at those tiny cars (and for the record, I drove Mazda Miata roadsters for 5 years in a row and I never complained about back pain) but I am still a bit too young for the age where men run to a sports cars dealership the second they feel the middle-age crisis kick in. It’s like I can’t see myself driving one of these (especially here in DC where driving simply sucks) but I can’t stop from daydreaming about what it would feel like to let one of these rip open in my old neighborhood Autobahn (A6) from my years living in Germany.

Then I take a look at this angle of the car:


It looks too brutal. The Miura was a brutal car by any definition, but it was gracious. It is a car that looks fast even when parked, but this thing looks just annoying. And that thing in the back looks like a baboon’s ass.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

'Historic' broadcast of super HD from UK to Japan

From: BBC News - 'Historic' broadcast of super HD from UK to Japan


A gig by The Charlatans has been sent to Japan in a first-of-its-kind broadcast of Super Hi-Vision TV.

The technology, 16 times sharper than HDTV, has been developed by Japanese public broadcaster NHK.

The standard could be used on giant public viewing screens, some of which may be in place for the 2012 Olympics.

NHK hope to broadcast in Super Hi-Vision by 2020, although no television currently exists that can fully show off the 7680-by-4320 pixel signal.

The "full HD" currently available means a display of 1920 by 1080 pixels - one-fourth the number of pixels both vertically and horizontally.

I had such a hard time doing the basic math to compare this transmission to a normal 1080 signal that I had to make myself a visual aid:

super hi vision small

Notice that when you watch 720P on a 1080p TV, it is displayed at the same size as the 1080p signal, my comparison is showing the raw pixel counts. Basically, make a 4 x 4 grid of 1080p TVs and you got yourself the same resolution that was broadcast for this test. What I find fascinating is that the data stream is 24 GB/s, which is pretty damn impressive (to me at least) for a broadcast from the UK to Japan.

Here’s another chart, courtesy of Wikipedia, with most common resolution sizes in use, notice even the highest available resolution is still much smaller than Super Hi-Vision:


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Is ShopSavvy in Our Future? |

From: Is ShopSavvy in Our Future? |


ShopSavvy for BlackBerry

One of the little things that annoyed me about the Crackberry was that scanning barcodes sucked. It sucked hard. I say “sucked” because I eventually discovered that the Blackberry Messenger application has a live video barcode scanner that reads QR code barcodes nearly instantaneously. This means that the problem is software, not the device or the operating system. From this article I can tell that the ShopSavvy port to Blackberry will have a live video barcode scan. What I don’t understand is why other scanning apps can’t take advantage of the live video scanning from BBM. Is this because there is no API? How come something that is so basic is not being exploited? I would love to be able to scan things as I see them at stores to look up more information on them.

Slashdot Games Story | Game Reviewers Face Odd Bribery From Publishers

From: Slashdot Games Story | Game Reviewers Face Odd Bribery From Publishers

eldavojohn writes "You might be used to the idea that game reviewers receive games free and ahead of time, but Ars opens up a darker side to the mystery box. Like a $200 check from Dante's Inferno, reading, 'by cashing this check you succumb to avarice by hoarding filthy lucre, but by not cashing it, you waste it, and thereby surrender to prodigality.' Or how about a huge-ass sword from Darksiders. Or brass knuckles (illegal in some states) from the makers of Mafia II. Or rancid, rotting meat mixed with spent shell casings, teeth, broken glasses and dog tags from Bulletstorm. NCSoft gave out flight suits and trips to weightlessness. Nintendo apparently likes to send all manner of food, including elaborate cakes shaped as their consoles and games. Squeeballs sent a crate of stuffed animals. iPods from Activision and Zunes from Microsoft seem to be pretty tame bait for reviewers ... but there's one reason why this continues to happen: more news-starved review sites and blogs report on the extras and the publisher's game gets spread around just a wee bit more. Even if it is as freakish as bracelets from an insane asylum spattered with blood." I think we must be doing it wrong around here... we usually can't even get games before the release date, much less get free rotting meat.


Ages ago I used to write for a now-defunct music reviews site. There was no pay, it was implied we were to keep whatever advance CDs we wrote about. Things went well until I started giving bad reviews to some high profile releases. The problem is that those advance CDs were free to my publisher, and I was giving out bad reviews. Bad reviews were punished by the publisher by cutting us off their advance releases list, so I was told to write “good” reviews so the publishers would continue to send out the free CDs. Needless to say, I left. To this date I have only reviewed things I own or have used.

This is the most basic flaw of the review system. You cannot trust a review that comes from a person that is held hostage by the thread of cutting off this supply of free merchandise. The only sites that survive are the established names that are big enough that the threat of disclosing this attempt at blackmailing the reviewers will bring bad press to the publisher that is attempting it. The small guy simply can’t survive in this kind of fight, so the next time you read a book or product review online, ask yourself this:

  • Did the reviewer purchase the product? This is very easy to check on Amazon because reviews from purchasers are clearly marked.
  • If the reviewer didn’t purchase the product, was it disclosed in the review? Was it a freebie? Or a lent copy of the item that must be returned to the source?
  • Is the reviewer only writing positive reviews? Go Take a look at and notice how some very high profile cameras barely rate over 60%. (Even before Amazon bought them) were a reliable source because you could count on them to show objective data to support their reviews. Want to see something funny? Go to metacritic, pick a popular game, then look at the sites that rate it very high. Now pick one of these sites and see how often they rate a game really high.

Justin Bieber Found To Be Cleverly Disguised 51-Year-Old Pedophile

Justin Bieber Found To Be Cleverly Disguised 51-Year-Old Pedophile

One ticket, aisle please. At least the trip is going to be interesting since now most of the writing staff of The Onion is going to be there too.

Minecraft walk around

This is my first Minecraft world.

Getting the video done was probably as much a pain in the ass as the first few hours I spent playing this game.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

We need to buy a few of these

I need at least two of these, my coworkers need them to help them survive the day. Any idea where I can buy these? We are willing to live with one that just has the shock setting, but it would be much nicer if we could get them with both buttons.


Media Loves Apple And Its Army Of Fans

From: Report: Media Loves Apple And Its Army Of Fans

Also, water is wet, sky is blue, cocaine is one hell of a drug.

The main reason that the media won’t STFU about Apple is because it drives traffic. Post something good about Apple? Lots of traffic. Post something really bad about Apple? Even more traffic.

The problem with Apple right now is that it is being covered as a mainstream company, and it isn’t. Apple is a niche company, which is more painfully apparent whenever something goes wrong and they fumble it, then the media coverage goes on as if this is a mainstream company, people feel hurt when Apple refuses to acknowledge wrong, etc. Because Apple is doing so well, everyone seems to forget that Apple is still not “mainstream” and doesn’t even have the kind of product line that you would expect from a mainstream company.

Imagine a company that makes jeans for skinny girls that is just too popular for its own good, it sells a gazillion more jeans than it should, and people won’t STFU about their jeans. But they are still selling only jeans for skinny girls, they are not selling for average shaped girls or overweight girls. Just because they are selling so much doesn’t make them a mainstream company, they would only be truly mainstream if they sold jeans that all girls of whatever shape and size could wear.

Same with Apple. Apple sells a microscopic line of desktop and mobile computers, two phone models, four media players and one table computer. They also sell a couple keyboards, mice and servers. That’s it. Compare that to how many different laptops Dell or Sony offer for sale at one given time. Or how many different camera models either Sony, Nikon or Canon sell. Hell, how about how many different cell phone models are being sold right now by either Nokia or Motorola?

The article is so bad that it immediately takes a shot at how Microsoft and Google are languishing, which makes no sense whatsoever. Both Microsoft and Google are still making boatloads of cash, and neither of them are being subject to the media barrage that is aimed at Apple every time they do something that falls short of perfect.

Monday, September 27, 2010

'Sesame Street' Pulls Katy Perry Segment

From The Onion:


I don’t get it, she looks as if she was fully clothed, so what’s the big deal? It’s not like she waltzed-in wearing an S&M outfit or something inappropriate. Do these people realize that the average 5-year old couldn’t give a shit about Katy Perry’s cleavage? I saw the clip, and they don’t even bounce. If we were talking about D-size boobs bouncing all over the place and threatening to pop out of a dress, I would feel worried. But *that*? Somebody has too much free time to get offended about something like this.

New toy: FiiO Earphone amplifier

I am not getting any younger, and too many years of really bad heavy metal and too many years around loud industrial air conditioning units are really taking a toll on my hearing. Add to that a TV that for some really fucking stupid reason doesn’t have a legitimate earphone port (forcing me to use RCA line out to plug earphones into it) and decided it was time to look for some of that crap that old people use when their hearing stops working.

The solution is this really cool gadget made by FiiO. It’s built almost identically to an iPod shuffle. It has a rechargeable battery and the charger uses USB, which means I can charge it off my Xbox 360. The rear of the device has a spring-loaded clip you can use to secure it to your shirt/belt/whatever. Operation is extremely simple: one power button, rocker button for volume, and a slider to turn on or off the bass boost. The only LED in the device tells you if it is turned on and if it is charging.

As for the sound, it works extremely well for a $23 gadget, the only question is how well will the battery survive the recharge cycles. I am not even worried about the physical integrity of the device, it is a tiny metal box with plastic caps screwed at either end, I imagine it will be OK as long as I don’t run a car over it. Or PJ dunks it into the toilet, that kind of thing.



Saturday, September 25, 2010

Minecraft Fanmade Trailer


This video perfectly illustrates why Minecraft is so popular that some of its victims (myself included) prefer to call it MINECRACK.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Shoe Shine Saturday Photo Contest Sponsored by Kiwi Shoe Care | The Art of Manliness

From: Shoe Shine Saturday Photo Contest Sponsored by Kiwi Shoe Care | The Art of Manliness


My dad had a manly tradition that I fondly remember from my childhood. Maybe yours had the same one. One Saturday every month, my dad would pull out his wooden shoe polish kit packed with tins of KIWI shoe polish and take all his boots to the den to polish them. He usually watched In the Heat of the Night or a football game while he did it. He had a personal technique, as I’m sure most men do, to get that perfect shine. The warm smell of shoe polish and leather filled the entire room, and it would usually linger there for an hour after he finished.

The tradition in my house was a little different: it was a chore stuck on either myself or my kid brother. My dad was (and my brother is) a policeman, and he was a stickler for highly shined shoes until much later in his life when he had to switch to softer shoes that sadly never took a good shine. I spent a few years in the Army, where I became intimately acquainted with the nuisances of keeping these bastards looking like a mirror:


These are HH Jump Boots, which I always found to be a little easier to shine than their most famous cousins, the Corcoran Jump Boots. I spent too damn long of my youth trying to keep these spit-shined, but I recall a similar experience to the author’s: after a while you use that time to meditate on whatever is bothering you, since the task is pretty much mindless and mechanical.

And for the record: I sucked at it, I was terrible and could only get them shiny enough to pass an inspection (yes, they did look like a mirror, but only until you compared them with an older soldier’s pair of boots with a few years of polish in them). There were plenty of old timers around that had boots that looked like black glass, I have no idea how the hell they did it, but it was a completely different league.

The other tradition that I remember is that for as long as I was in training in the Army, there was one constant chore that had to be performed religiously: the cleanup of black scuff marks from the floors. Every place I ever worked at, except one specific exception, had floors that were obviously designed to show every stupid little scuff mark. We would have to retouch the wax at least once a day, and strip with a buffing wheel and re-wax at least every few days. The exception? We had a whole building in Fort Gordon, Georgia that had no-wax, nonslip plastic flooring. And yes, we waxed the damn things too, but it showed a lot less scuffs than any other flooring I ran into for as long as I was a soldier.

For the first time since the wars started, more private military contractors than uniformed service members were killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Or if you're a glass-half-full sort, the military's plan to outsource casualties is working

From: (5646343) For the first time since the wars started, more private military contractors than uniformed service members were killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Or if you're a glass-half-full sort, the military's plan to outsource casualties is working

This is a bit too simplistic because a lot of these PMCs are probably very recent veterans, all this is doing is increase the monetary reward for even more danger and a lot less legal protection. How many of these PMCs left the service and immediately signed for PMC jobs? 

The same poor bastards are getting killed, only for a lot more money.

The problem here is that these people are still stuck doing the same job, and yes, for a lot more money, but they are not protected by the Geneva Convention. If you are running around armed to the teeth, and people are shooting at you, and you are not a cop or a soldier, what are you? If the prime motivator is money (that is, if you take out the obligation/duty carried by the oath of service) what is going to assure the company that their PMCs are going to toe the company line instead of allow themselves to be influenced by a higher bidder?

What I mean is that at least with a soldier, if he does the enemy’s bidding then he is treasonous, since he is violating the service oath. But what is the liability when a PMC for a company hired by country A is bribed by an entity that is not aligned with the interests of either the company or country A? It isn’t treason, since the oath is a commercial contract, so what is it? Breach of contract? Local legal liability if bribery is a crime? Is the PMC even within the local legal jurisdiction? Or would it be prosecuted as a crime in country A?

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There is a new drug craze that is decimating the geek ranks. Authorities and parental figures are oblivious about it! Please, keep your nerds away from Minecrack!

Alex Esoterica claims that you can “stop anytime you want,” but he LIES. And don’t be thrown off by the cheesy graphics, this is how it sneaks on you.

USS Enterprise (CVN-65) is 49 today

At least if counting from launch (not operational) date. The Big E is our first Nuclear carrier, and is expected to be decommissioned in 2013. If it does, it would have had served for 51 straight years. This is what a mobile piece of US sovereign soil looks like:


Here’s a handy size chart to try to visualize just how big it really is, courtesy of Wikipedia:


Enterprise compared to large ships and buildings:
USS Enterprise, 342 m
The Pentagon, 431 m
RMS Queen Mary 2, 345 m
Hindenburg, 245 m
Yamato, 263 m
Empire State Building, 443 m
Knock Nevis, ex-Seawise Giant, 458 m

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Struggling Blockbuster Eliminates Rental Fees

From: Struggling Blockbuster Eliminates Rental Fees | The Onion - America's Finest News Source

FT. LAUDERDALE, FL—Blockbuster, the flagging video-store giant that has recently resorted to eliminating late fees and waiving replacement fines for lost or damaged movies, announced Monday that it would also be doing away with its long-standing rental charges in an attempt to stay competitive in the ever-changing home-video business.

One of Blockbuster’s 39 Phoenix locations.

According to press releases, Blockbuster’s new nationwide program, "The End Of Fees," promoted using $7 million of the company’s last remaining $10 million, will eliminate all costs associated with DVD rentals as well as per-unit charges for its video games, snacks, carbonated drinks, gumball machines, promotional cardboard standees, and literally anything else a customer comes across at one of its thousands of nationwide locations.

It is really sad when it is impossible to figure out which part of an article from The Onion is real and which part is fake. What do you do with a company so big that has so little clue as to what is going on in its market of choice? Is there a corporate equivalent to shooting a wounded horse?

Flush it!

Two of us at the office already burned ourselves once this week due to our failure to do this:


Made with the Sgt. Foley Meme Generator.

Butterfly Effect meets The Terminator

From: Chaos : Savage Chickens – Cartoons on Sticky Notes by Doug Savage

Savage Chickens - Chaos

How come nobody figured this out until now?

Grito de Lares

1868 Lares Revolutionay Flag

Image via Wikipedia

Wikipedia: Grito de Lares - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This is a cool event (to me) because this is my ancestral hometown. On September 23, 1868 Lares, Puerto Rico was declared a Republic, independent from Spanish rule. The rebellion was crushed immediately, but is still remembered mostly by college students too happy to take the day off (it isn’t an official holiday because the political elements that participated in the rebellion were later considered to be of the “evil doer” persuasion) and by delusional political types that want to turn Puerto Rico into a 1950s Cuba clone.

Even cooler is that literally everyone in my family has a 100% opposite political alignment to the types that supported the “Republic.”

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Tom And Jerry Theme Tune

Yup, stuck in my head. You’re welcome for the earworm.

Microsoft Says IE9 Beta Demand Overwhelming

From: Slashdot Technology Story | Microsoft Says IE9 Beta Demand Overwhelming

You know what else is overwhelming? The sickeningly sweet taste of Kool Aid. Oh yeah.

I will tell you this: I have been using it since it was released, and it has replaced Chrome Dev channel as my favorite browser. There is exactly ONE thing I can’t do in IE 9: edit my timesheets, and that is because my ASP for timesheets is kind of stupid when it comes to web programming, I am not even going to blame Microsoft for this one. Everything else runs great.

On a side note, I tried yesterday’s Firefox Minefield nightly, and somehow it keeps getting faster and faster, and that’s comparing it to nightlies from a week ago. It is unreal. Little by little Chrome is becoming the worse browser in the pack.

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Poll: 1 In 5 Americans Believe Obama Is A Cactus

From: Poll: 1 In 5 Americans Believe Obama Is A Cactus | The Onion - America's Finest News Source


A growing segment of the population believes the president is pollinated by moths and hummingbirds.

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Monday, September 20, 2010

Waffle House robbed at gunpoint. Suspects scattered, but police soon have them covered. High-speed chase ensues; speeds topped 100 mph. After their tires are diced by stop-sticks, the suspects are smothered by officers and chunked in jail

From: (5635296)

This is making me really hungry, and also makes me miss our midnight excursions to the Waffle House right outside Fort Gordon back in the early 90s. Worse, even if I were to make it to the closest one (at least two hours South of here), I don’t think I have the stomach lining needed to handle scattered, covered, topped, diced, smothered and chunked hash browns.

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This is a new bike drive train that does not rely on gears and chains, instead it uses a funny cam mechanism to move a system of pulleys and steel cables. I more or less understand the cam system, but I can’t figure out exactly how the wheel movement works. As for shifting, it is done by changing the position of the pulleys, which means an almost instant shift with no slippage, sort of a constantly variable transmission (CVT). What is left to see is if the cables are less prone to fall off the pulley system than a conventional chain falling off a normal bike.

Update: A commenter showed me prior art and a patent on a design that is basically identical in principle. I tried looking in the Stringbike website and I can’t find any claim as to the source for the design, but from what I see in the original inventors’ website they are actively licensing the patent.

Yup, it’s happened to me too


The variation that really kills me is when I am waiting to make a left turn from the main road, and the damn green car does that.

OK Go - White Knuckles - Official Video


This is for Karla.

Intel Threatens to Sue Anyone Who Uses HDCP Crack

From: Intel Threatens to Sue Anyone Who Uses HDCP Crack | Threat Level |


Here’s my uneducated guess, pulled straight out of my ass:

1. Oriental Electronics Emporium of China (a company of a company of a company owned by the PRC) reads about the crack, then has their crack team of reverse engineers make a chip to handle the HDCP crack.

2. OEEC turns this into a 15-cent chip that can be added to any DVD burner.

3. OEEC dumps this chip into their most affordable DVD burner deck, which can be bought here in the USA for about $69.

4. A week after they have sold the first hundred thousand, they leak to Slashdot that the OEEC 1000XR-HD can burn anything fed to it through HDMI. Yeah baby, pure digital copies.

5. OEEC sells a million copies of the OEEC 1000XR-HD.

6. Wired reviews the OEEC 1000XR-HD, they call it a piece of shit but it is good enough if you just want to use it to “legally back up” your owned content.

7. OEEC announces a cheaper version, the OEEC 1000XR2-HD, which will sell for $49 and be offered for sale worldwide.

8. The powers that be finally go around to check their email, where they find the warnings sent to them right as the slashdot article came online. EVERYONE PANIC.

9. The powers that be try to DMCA OEEC, who tells them to respectfully go fuck themselves.

10. The powers that be complain to the US Department of State due to unfair trade practices by OEEC.

11. The US Department of State trade mission to the People’s Republic of China starts to complain about OEEC’s unfair practices. The lead negotiator for the PRC raises his eyebrows, which makes an aide to place a call to their Walmart contact, who starts making phone calls. Before the sentence is finished, his blackberry buzzes: “Drop the OEEC complaint. We can’t have the Chinese pissed off at Walmart over a god damn DVD burner.”

And there you have it. All it takes is for one company to develop this chip, and the whole thing collapses. By the time anyone can do anything about it, the device has been sold in every country in the world that stands to make a profit from pirating digital content. This is why the DMCA doesn’t work.

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The Moron Manifesto

The moron in question takes offense that a bunch of students chanted “USA USA” at a football game, which could be seen as offensive to Muslims:

From: Block-I chant portrays ‘neither patriotism nor remembrance’ | The Daily Illini

The observance at Saturday’s football game was no different. A moment of silence was followed by a military airplane flyover; in between, Block-I students chanted “USA, USA.” This was neither patriotism nor remembrance in any justifiable sense, but politicization, militarism, propaganda and bellicosity. The University is a public institution that encompasses the political views of all, not just the most (falsely) “patriotic.” Athletic planners should cease such exploitation for political purposes. They might at least consider how most Muslim students, American or otherwise, would respond to this nativist display; or better, Muslims and others that live their lives under the threat of our planes, drones and soldiers.

It looks like one of them “cry me a fucking river” situations I keep hearing about. What the moron can’t grok is that this is an American university, on US soil, where citizens of that country are doing nothing more than cheering the name of their country. Do we really need to turn this into a political/hate statement? Is it now wrong to be proud to be an American? What comes next? Are we going to stop singing the Star Spangled Banner because it offends the English?

El Ateneo


Words give us light

This is “El Ateneo,” a bookstore in Buenos Aires, located at a former theater.

Sunday, September 19, 2010



This is in reply to Karla’s earlier post.

I *heart* Night Gallery

I imagine this will only work for you if you have a Hulu Plus account (Netflix streaming doesn’t offer it), but it was too good to not share.

Voice Recognition Elevator - ELEVEN!

This is pretty similar to every experience I have had with voice recognition software, these simply can’t cut through my Puerto Rican accent.

Flying with the fastest birds on the planet: Peregrine Falcon & Goshawk


It is almost impossible to comprehend how the Goshawk can zip through dense woods so fast.

Facebook Is Secretly Building A Phone

From: Facebook Is Secretly Building A Phone

Facebook is building a mobile phone, says a source who has knowledge of the project. Or rather, they’re building the software for the phone and working with a third party to actually build the hardware. Which is exactly what Apple and everyone else does, too.



In the words of the immortal Ron White, “you can’t fix stupid.”

Lightsynth's History

From: Lightsynth's History


I typed RUN – and was completely blown away. It was a pure jaw-on-the-floor moment. As I've already mentioned, the same program in BASIC took a few seconds to run - you could see the characters appearing one after another in sequence as they were POKEd into screen memory. But when I typed RUN, here...

...all of the characters appeared on the screen at once. Instantly. They were just THERE. The same program that the PET took several lazy seconds to complete in BASIC ran in less time than you could measure in machine language. It was as good as instantaneous. Machine language had to be at least a thousand times faster than BASIC.

If you are a programmer you owe it to yourself to read this fascinating essay. It brought back memories (not many of them good) of my struggles with medieval computing systems like the Tandy Color Computer 2, the TRS-80 and the VAX 11/750.