Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Dust Houses

I thought this was cool. ]

This Columbian artist Maria Adelaida Lopez, who cleaned houses while she went to college, creates houses covered with the cruft from full vacuum cleaner bags. Odd looking, I know, but I really liked the one here. It reminds me so much of a haunted house.

Link to Art MoCo article.
Link to artist's site.


Sunday, November 20, 2005

80% of California? Really?

I was surfing artichokes.org, looking for recipes, and found a very interesting fact. "Approximately 80% of the state's total acreage lies within Monterey County."

Well, they say you learn something new every day.


Saturday, November 19, 2005

Sony makes good?

Whoa. Sony is now not only offering to exchange XCP/rootkit enabled CDs for non-XCP-enabled ones (not necessarily DRM-free, just XCP-free, but I digress...) but they'll give you MP3's off all the songs on the CD when you do the exchange. I really am kinda shocked.

Exchange details are here.

You can exchange your SONY BMG compact discs (CDs) containing XCP content protection software for replacement versions of the same CD(s) without the XCP software. Please confirm that your CD(s) is among the titles and versions listed below and then select from the list the titles of the CD(s) you wish to exchange. Then click “continue.”

In the page that follows, you will be asked to provide the shipping information in the United States to which you would like to have the replacement CD sent. In addition, you will have the option of selecting whether you would like to receive MP3 files of the title(s) in addition to your replacement CD(s).


Friday, November 18, 2005

Yay for Amazon!!

Major kudos to an Amazon.com for doingg the right thing. Not only are the Sony CDs they sell labelled with warnings about content protection, but they've gone a step beyond Sony's request that XPC-cursed CDs be pulled from the shelves, but Amazon is actually refunding anyone's purchase of one of these CDs, opened or not. This is a fantastic thing for them to do, and all in the name of doing the right thing by their customers. Offering to exchange customer's XCP-crippled CDs for real CDs is a good step, but Sony should have been the one pushing this refund solution from the start. Stupid company.

Amazon.com: Manhattan Symphonie [SONY XCP CONTENT/COPY-PROTECTED CD]: Music: Dexter Gordon: "This Sony CD includes XCP digital rights management (DRM) software. Due to security concerns raised about the use of CDs containing this software on PCs, Sony has asked Amazon.com to remove all unsold CDs with XCP software from our store. If you have purchased this CD from Amazon.com, you may return it for a full refund regardless of whether the CD is opened or unopened, following our normal returns process. Simply indicate that the CD is 'defective' as the reason for return."

Original topic thread found on BoingBoing.


Thursday, November 17, 2005

Presentation Zen

I found a great presentation blog that I wanted to share. It's Presentation Zen, and it's got a great outlook on how (and more importantly how not to) do effective presentations and visuals. Go check it out.

A few more links from there:This little bit was copied gratuitiously from Wabi-Sabi Part II, because I though it so perfect and appropriate and releveant:

From this table below, how many of the ideas can you apply to the design and use of visuals or to the planning and delivery of your presentations?

Wabi Sabi

Tech Slick
Nature focused


Allows things to age





In the moment

The whole

Open and unresolved




Tolerates ambiguity








Soft edges













Technology focused


Strives for eternal youth

Bold and obvious



Conformity and sameness

Future oriented

Separated into parts

Works toward closure




Intolerance of ambiguity

Black and white



Square and measured




Hard edges














Wednesday, November 16, 2005

USATODAY.com - Senate votes to ban torture of terrorism detainees

From USATODAY.com - Senate votes to ban torture of terrorism detainees: "Another provision passed this month would ban cruel and inhuman treatment of prisoners and establishes the Army Field Manual as the governmentwide guide for all interrogations. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., the sponsor, was tortured during the more than five years he spent in a North Vietnamese prison during the Vietnam War.

Bush has said repeatedly that the United States does not torture prisoners. He opposes the measure because he says it would limit interrogators' ability to get information from terrorism suspects, and he has threatened to veto the defense bill if it includes that amendment."

I completely commend Congress for getting this ammendment passed and attached to the defense bill. I personally think that torture under any circumstances is wrong. To believe otherwise brings us down to the level of the terrorists. We have to take the high ground and do the right thing. I completely fail to comprehend Bush's statement: if, as he says, we do not torture prisoners, how would this bill limit interrogators' ability to get information? Can someone please explain this to me, because I just don't get it.

Stupid administration.


Sony is dead to me.

Ah, it's sad. Sony did a bad thing, in that they released a few dozen CDs with a fairly aggressive DRM scheme (First4Internet XCP) that not only prevents you from using the content (music) that you just paid for, but installs some fairly insidious software, akin to rootkits used by hackers to gain control of your PC at a very low level, to hide the existance and assure the irremovability of their DRM. As if installing software on users PCs that they didn't want, that removes functionality they had before they tried to listen to that CD wasn't bad enough, they (like most large companies seem to) denied that any sort of problems existed. If you wanted to remove the DRM & rootkit that hid it, you had to contact Sony twice, and the installer left your machine with bigger security holes than it had before you uninstalled it. It was also discovered that the DRM/rootkit sent network packets back to Sony on a regular basis, something Sony assured everyone that it didn't do. When faced with this, Sony said that while yes, it does phone home, we ignore what it sends back so it's all the same, right? Sony continues to stall, not apologizing for the damage done by their uninvited software, and not releasing an begnign uninstaller.

Not that my purchases alone will make a difference, but Sony's on my bad-guy list from now on. No Sony A/V hardware. No Sony/BMG music. So Sony Playstation. I have, and will continue to, support vendors who don't treat me like I'm a criminal from the get-go. When I buy content, it's mine to do with (within the law) as I please. I get to decide what that is, not the company that made it. If I want to listen to it on my iPod in the car, or load it on my phone to be a ringtone, then that's my business. Companies need to learn that getting in the way of that will only make me (and a few million other cusomers) mad. And mad customers don't buy your stuff.


Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Pub Quiz


Okay, I only scored 180. I didn't know some of the science ones I should have, and I got some of the culture and history ones right that I probably shouldn't have. Go give it a try and share your scores!


The New Monogamy - Marriage With Benefits

From an Em & Lo column at the New York Magazine The New Monogamy - Marriage With Benefits: "For much of human history, monogamy (or, at least, presumed monogamy) has been the default setting for long-term love. Hack the system, goes the theory, refuse to forsake all others, open the door even a crack—and the whole relationship will crash. Any dissenters have been pathologized as delusional idealists or worse. But now a new generation of couples is employing a kind of homeopathic hypothesis: that a tiny injection of adventure will ward off the urge to stray further—as long as it’s all on the table and up for discussion. (And just as with homeopathy, a healthy percentage of the population considers this premise bunk.)"

Intersting premise. Not anything I'm about to go jumping into, but thought provoking. I'll post more here after I've mulled it over for a bit.


Originally found at BoingBoing.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

As seen in Harry Potter 6: The Half-Blood Prince

gormless (British informal) Adjective: lacking intelligence and vitality

So, that begs the question: can one be gormful? How about gormed?


Thursday, November 10, 2005

Fashion hack: avoid wallet butt bulge - Lifehacker

Fashion hack: avoid wallet butt bulge - Lifehacker

A silly, but important thread over at one of my regular reads talks about wallet-bulge on guys, and how it ruins the topography. My $.02, (since I don't have commenting rights over there... hint-hint!) is this: go with a really slimmed down money clip in the front pocket. I use one that allows me a cash clip, an outside-visible clear pocket for my license, and inside spots for 4 cards, plus I use the foldy space in between for receipts. No wallet bulge. No painful butt from sitting cock-eyed for long periods. No scrambling for 'where'd I put that card...' again. Other useful, but seldom-used cards (library, video store, etc.) stay bundled in the car for easy access.


Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Goodnight and Good Luck

Susie and I went and saw this over the weekend, and what a great movie it was!! All the actors did a wonderful job, and it left me with more questions about the whole McCarthey era hearings than it answered. But it was a very good snapshot at one particular part of that era. Murrow was a great journalist - it's a serious pitty that there aren't news organizations with that kind of backbone these days.

But that's another post.


Tuesday, November 01, 2005



I love my OCD border collie. (And my darling wife who took this picture.)

-B Posted by Picasa