Dumbass of the Day

And in today’s episode of America’s Dumbest Criminals, we have a teenager who passses fake $20 bills in front of uniformed sheriff’s deputies. He and three of his buddies were arrested last night after trying to pass four fake $20 bills at various area gas stations.

Red FormanRed Forman Dumbass Rating: Hyde (Dumbass) Hyde (Dumbass) Hyde (Dumbass)

posted on 28 February 2005 at 1343humour1 commentstrackback

Headline of the Day

The BBC is at it again:

Boy killed by ‘giant snowball’

I don’t want to laugh, but the headline is just so Weekly World News that I can’t help it.

posted on 27 February 2005 at 2217humour0 commentstrackback

Revealed: Numa Numa Guy

The Grey Lady has found Numa Numa Guy. Er, well, he was found by a lot of people before today, but the article is an entertaining read on the drawbacks of Internet fame.

(original “Numa Numa” video clip)

posted on 26 February 2005 at 0318humour0 commentstrackback

Time-Wasting Link of the Day

Do not try to play this game if you have anything worthwhile to do for the next two hours.

posted on 24 February 2005 at 2125entertainment0 commentstrackback

Marketspeak of the Day

Excalibur Electronics makes this great-sounding product called the “Forever Flashlight,” which uses a magnet moving through a coil of wire to produce current (the Faraday principle) that charges an ultracapacitor, which in turn powers an LED.

Great in theory, pretty useless in practise. But ThinkGeek sells them nonetheless, and on their product page, titled “Forever Flashlight,” is this notice: “One-year warranty.”

posted on 24 February 2005 at 1736humour0 commentstrackback

Descartes On the Internet

From a Slashdot user channeling Descartes:

I can be googled, therefore I am.

posted on 24 February 2005 at 1718sci-tech0 commentstrackback

And the Immunity Goes to…

Quick! Someone call Jeff Probst! The Survivor immunity idol has been stolen and turned into a USB drive.

(via approximately every Mac news site in existence)

posted on 24 February 2005 at 1334computing0 commentstrackback

They Forgot One Important Feature

The MP-02-OTG media player book thing is a pretty cool device in its own right. However, I’m absolutely shocked that they didn’t build it in dark green with the title “Simulacra and Simulation” in gold leaf on its cover.

(via Gizmodo)

posted on 24 February 2005 at 1326computing0 commentstrackback

Public Service Announcement

There’s no story online yet, but WWMT is reporting that police have made one of the biggest crack busts in local history — nearly a pound was discovered during a routine traffic stop.

CLN would like to take this opportunity to remind viewers that the only safe (and legal) crack is Virtual Crack™.

We now return to your regularly scheduled blogging.

UPDATE: WWMT now has the story online.

posted on 24 February 2005 at 0447humour0 commentstrackback

What the Heck Was He Thinking?

I stuck this in sci-tech because it’s, well, sort of technological. But depending on your pain tolerance, it could just as easily be in humour.

A 22-year-old Dallas artist has pierced his nose and attached his glasses to the barbell. Key quote:

Sooy said the original model, constructed without nose pads, did cause problems.

“Without those, there was really nothing keeping them still, so they would kind of rotate around,” Sooy said. “If I looked down they would kind of fall out from my face and just kind of hang a little oddly. It was pretty disorienting.”

Ya think?

(via Lee via AIM)

posted on 23 February 2005 at 2321sci-tech0 commentstrackback

Dumbass of the Day

Common Sense Rule of Lawbreaking #385: When you’re in the process of committing one crime, you probably shouldn’t be carrying around large wads of cash you got from selling the methamphetamine you keep in your car. Because when you get caught, you’ll get busted for both.

Of course, if criminals had common sense, they probably wouldn’t be criminals, now would they?

Red FormanRed Forman Dumbass Rating: Bob (Dumbass) Bob (Dumbass)

posted on 20 February 2005 at 1437humour0 commentstrackback

At Least They’re Honest

The local CBS affiliate, WWMT, has, at long last, owned up to the difficulty in predicting the weather. From the latest RSS feed:

Weekend Winter Storm

- This is a tricky forecast.

WWMT 19/02/05 20:51

Good call.

posted on 19 February 2005 at 2125sci-tech0 commentstrackback

Why I Didn’t Become a Teacher

Because I just know I would have ended up like this guy.

(via Dave Barry)

posted on 18 February 2005 at 1758school0 commentstrackback

Funny Link of the Day

A parent’s primer to computer slang,” better known as “The Microsoft Guide to 13375p33|<.”

(via Daring Fireball’s Linked List)

posted on 18 February 2005 at 1457humour0 commentstrackback

It’s Here

Expect normal publication to resume within 24 hours.

I gotta hand it to Apple; I was only PowerBook-less for six days. If FedEx hadn’t screwed up on the outgoing shipment, it probably would have been four.

Now to migrate everything over to the new ‘Book…

posted on 17 February 2005 at 1212computing1 commentstrackback

w000000000000000000000000t!

That is all.

Oh, and entry #500.

posted on 17 February 2005 at 0157computing0 commentstrackback

New Goodies

No, the ‘Book isn’t here yet, but I did just get a very nice (wired) handsfree for my fone: the Belkin ActiFlex Boom Universal Hands-Free. I can highly recommend this excellent product, which cost me only $15 at OfficeMax. It has a lifetime warranty, and it beats the factory handsfree by a mile.

If you want to use one of these with a fone that has a proprietary handsfree connector, you’ll need an adapter. I picked up a Belkin adapter for the T616 from a link on Froogle for $8.50 shipped.

I’m rather less pleased with the Belkin case, which I’m tempted to return. It’s a nice leather case, but it doesn’t quite fit the fone, and as a result, the top 15-20 pixels of the screen get covered up. I’m not sure if it’s this specific case, or if the problem is endemic to the design. Expect a full report if/when I return this case and/or find anything better.

posted on 16 February 2005 at 1830sci-tech0 commentstrackback

The Importance of February 15th

Do you know what tomorrow is?

Yes, that’s right.

It’s the day all the chocolate in the entire United States goes on 50-percent-off clearance.

And I, for one, am definitely not above heading to Meijer and buying a bunch of half-price chocolate in pink, foil-covered, heart-shaped boxes.

Who’s with me?

posted on 15 February 2005 at 0056general1 commentstrackback

Two-For-Two, Sort Of

Asanté has given me an RMA number, and the router is going back. Unfortunately, they didn’t pick up the tab for shipping, so getting them to honour their warranty is going to cost me about $10. It doesn’t sound so bad on the surface, but remember, the darn thing was only $28 to begin with! Back on the plus side, though, it’s been working fine most of the day, with only one reset since I got up this morning. If it keeps behaving this well, I just might not bother.

posted on 09 February 2005 at 1802computing0 commentstrackback

E-mail as a Platform

Techdirt explains why I use Eudora:

People simply store information in their email, from contact information that was emailed to them to schedule information to purchase tracking from emailed receipts. Lots of people email messages to themselves, realizing that email is basically the best “permanent” filing system they have. That’s part of the reason why good email search is so important.

Though I don’t e-mail messages to myself — that’s what Stickies is for! — I cannot understate the importance of a good search feature in any e-mail client I use. I have about ten years’ worth of e-mail archives, and I search the last four to five years fairly regularly. I have yet to find a client other than Eudora that can handle the large archive volume and my searching needs. Eudora is ugly, it’s antiquated, it’s arcane, and I feel like I’m back on System 6 every time I use it…but damned if it isn’t the best mail client for people who use e-mail as a platform.

posted on 09 February 2005 at 1759computing0 commentstrackback

One Down, One to Go

After an hour and a half on the fone with Apple this morning, I now know some interesting bits of information.

First and foremost, one of these is in my very near future, courtesy of Apple and AppleCare.

Second, it seems that there is a “magic threshold” that initiates this process. If you have X repairs in Y months, your case automatically gets escalated to the Product Support Specialists, who are authorised to issue you an equivalent brand-new retail machine as a replacement. I suspect X to be either four or five and Y to be 12 based on the discussions I had with two different specialists. This may vary by product; I’ve been told that X for the logic board problems in iBooks is three.

Third, and I can’t stress this enough: Get AppleCare! This goes double for any product containing an LCD, as LCDs are extremely expensive to repair or replace, and it’s much more difficult to do the work yourself. I have more than recouped my $300 investment in AppleCare; essentially, I got a $2000 laptop, four new hard drives, a new fan, a new LCD backlight, and free shipping on all of it for $300. Problems like this, especially one after another, are very rare, but any one of those six major issues would have been more than $300 to have repaired on my own. Extended warranties from your credit card company and the like are wonderful, and in some cases much cheaper than AppleCare, but if you get a lemon that’s constantly in for repairs as Ti Cobb has been over the last three months, your credit card company (probably) isn’t going to buy you a new computer.

Fourth: the AppleCare that you get with a new Mac is great, but in my experience, nearly worthless. I can count on one hand the number of problems I and friends of mine have had with Mac hardware in the first year of ownership that were not eventually covered by a massive REA program. (Side note: never buy the first revision of anything, from anybody.) Of course, you don’t pay for it, either. The point here is that the argument “But Macs are really reliable, so I don’t need AppleCare past what Apple gives me” is specious at best. See “Third,” above. Problems crop up after that first year runs out, and they get more and more likely the closer you get to the three-year limit.

Finally, it absolutely sucks to live in the state of Florida, where AppleCare is illegal thanks to a boneheaded law intended to protect Granny’s savings from unscrupulous extended-warranty salesdroids. If you live in Florida, I feel very sorry for you.

Now, off to call Asanté. Let’s see if I can go two-for-two.

posted on 09 February 2005 at 1407computing3 commentstrackback

Headline of the Day

From the BBC, as usual:

Microsoft releases bumper patches

For your Microsoft Car™, duh.

posted on 09 February 2005 at 1323humour0 commentstrackback

The Place Where Electronics Go to Die™

I would have posted this at 0530, when it actually happened, but I couldn’t (see below).

It’s official. My house has become the Place Where Electronics Come to Die™.

I was awakened at the unholy hour of 0527 this morning by a sound that resembled the dying gasps of my rather loud, and of late very ineffective, alarm clock choking on a lifetime pack-a-day habit and a couple old gym socks.

Fortunately, it wasn’t my alarm clock, which I shortly remembered was still set for 0900. (Yes, I need a job. If you know anyone hiring pilots/flight instructors, please get in touch with me.)

Unfortunately, it was my hard drive. In my PowerBook. The fifth such device to grace^H^H^H^H^Hdefile the innards of Ti Cobb since he was new, and the fourth such device to fail just since last June.

Ti Cobb’s trackpad died very suddenly Monday night, and I was putting off getting anything done about it until I had time to be without my computer for another week, but the fifth — I want to emphasise this for the benefit of anyone from Apple who might be reading — hard disk failure, and fourth in three months, is going to force the date up a bit. To, say, today. Well, tomorrow, really, because Apple doesn’t let AppleCare policyholders request a repair box on-line. Instead, we’re required to wait until everyone on the California coast can drag themselves out of bed, which by my figuring is another…3 hours and 18 minutes. So perhaps Airborne can get the box today after all.

Now, I alluded to why I couldn’t post this when it actually happened.

Ah yes, the router. I reviewed what was, at the time, a fairly wonderful little router from Asanté for the February issue of ATPM, and I stand by everything I said in that review. Except for this:

A word of advice: make sure to check for a firmware update on Asanté’s support page right away. There are a lot of routers in the retail channel with the older G1.0 firmware, and AppleTalk support (according to Asanté) requires G1.1 or later. Use the cross-platform Web-based installer to upgrade to G1.2; the Mac-based installer only goes up to G1.1 at this time.

I would like to officially revise that paragraph to read as follows:

DO NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES WHATSOEVER, EVEN SO MUCH AS LOOK AT THE FIRMWARE UPGRADE PAGE IN THE UPDATER ONCE YOU HAVE SUCCESSFULLY UPGRADED TO VERSION 1.1 OF THE FIRMWARE. There are multiple and numerous reports on Asanté’s support forums of the version 1.2 firmware update causing a horrible, horrible freezing problem, whereby the router requires its power supply be unceremoniously yanked and left to think about what it’s done for 30 seconds or so. This wouldn’t be so bad, except this godawful firmware requires this be done every 30 minutes or less in normal usage! There have been no — zero, zip, zilch, nada, none, or, in the immortal words of Jack Miller, “Captain Goose Egg and his trusty sidekick Nothing Boy” — reports of anyone solving the problem by reverting to an earlier firmware revision (yep, tried, that, didn’t work for me either), so FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS HOLY, WHATEVER YOU DO, ONCE YOU HAVE A SATISFACTORY INSTALL OF G1.1, LEAVE IT THE HECK ALONE!

The good news is that Asanté is perfectly willing to give me a new router, as this one is under warranty and their Official Forum Guy™ has already declared it dead. The bad news, of course, is this will likely require I do without a working wireless connection for a few days. Not a big deal, but it also means I’m going to have to drag the busted Netgear out of storage so that there will be an Internet connection here in the interim.

Where Electronics Go to Die™.

Thank God for backups. And OWC’s rock-solid-reliable FireWire hard drives. (Furiously knocking on wood lest this long-out-of-warranty backup drive go next…)

posted on 09 February 2005 at 0654computing0 commentstrackback

Watch Out for Blue Tits

From the BBC:

Blue tit boom ‘may cause crisis’

Many blue tits will be looking for a … home this spring.
A … boom among … blue tits could cause [a] housing crisis in 2005, according to … experts.

Data collected … showed 2004 was a productive year for blue tits, many of whom will now be looking for their first homes.

But natural … sites, such as … buildings, vanish as … houses are repaired.

According to … data, blue tits have an average of just over seven chicks per nest….

It is thought that the average blue tit … will eat about 10,000 invertebrates.

The BTO says that encouraging blue tits … in the garden could provide an ecologically friendly form of pest control.

No word if booby populations are experiencing a similar boom.

I think I speak for everyone when I say, “Nice tits!”

(via Dave Barry)

posted on 08 February 2005 at 0748humour0 commentstrackback

The Law of Unintended Consequences Strikes Again

Wanita Young, professional persecutor of well-meaning cookie bakers everywhere, is finding the attention from her little tantrum too much to bear:

This has turned into quite a fiasco. It’s something that never should have happened, and it’s just devastating. My phone hasn’t stopped ringing. My life has been threatened, and I’ll probably have to move out of town.

To which I can only think to reply: duh. What the hell did you expect would happen, you heartless, selfish bitch? You sued two teenage girls for anonymously leaving cookies on your doorstep in a random act of kindness. You deserve everything that happens to you as a result.

A side note: the Denver Post is having way too much fun with these headlines:

Red FormanRed Forman Dumbass Rating: Eric (Dumbass) Eric (Dumbass) Eric (Dumbass)

posted on 08 February 2005 at 0637general0 commentstrackback

Quick, Get the Viagra!

Some people have waaaaaay too much time on their hands. Probably not safe for work, but then again, shouldn’t you be working instead of reading this blog?

posted on 08 February 2005 at 0605humour0 commentstrackback

Bug? Or Intended Behaviour?

Perhaps someone more knowledgeable about Movable Type can answer this one.

I’ve used MT’s MTCalendarIfToday tag to make the entry for the current day on the calendar over there in the sidebar highlighted with a light red background. Unfortunately, it appears as though MT doesn’t actually automatically rebuild the index at midnight each day. Thus, 07 January (in that case, since I added the code on the 7th) stays highlighted as “today” until I either add an entry or rebuild the index.

Anyone know of a way around this problem?

posted on 08 February 2005 at 0105meta3 commentstrackback

New Archives Page

Inspired by Lee’s great archives page, I’ve finished up the one I’ve been meaning to work on for a long time. If you’re looking for something I said more than a week or two ago, you’ll find it at the new Master Archives Index.

For those of you wondering what Movable Type template tags I used, just shoot me an e-mail and I’ll toss you the relevant template. It’s amazing how little it takes to generate that enormous page.

posted on 06 February 2005 at 0242meta0 commentstrackback

Looking Back on Two Smoke-Free Years

The City of New York banned smoking in all indoor public places on 30 March, 2003. Almost two years after the ban went into effect, the New York Times is looking at the effects of the ban:

Asked last week what he thought of the now two-year-old ban, [James McBratney, president of the Staten Island Restaurant and Tavern Association,] sounded changed. “I have to admit,” he said sheepishly, “I’ve seen no falloff in business in either establishment.” He went on to describe what he once considered unimaginable: Customers actually seem to like it, and so does he.

[A] vast majority of bar and restaurant patrons interviewed last week, including self-described hard-core smokers, said they were surprised to find themselves pleased with cleaner air, cheaper dry-cleaning bills and a new social order created by the ban.

Kudos to New York City for having the cojones to keep this ban in place and enforce it. I’m sure the bar scene smells much better now, and this has been an inspiration to other areas as well — Boston has enacted a city-wide ban, Philadelphia’s city council is considering one now, and that heart of tobacco production in the United States, Virginia, has enacted a state-wide ban. Australia, Italy, and Ireland have also followed suit. Hopefully this portends a new attitude toward smoking in public: if you want to screw up your body, do it on your own time, on your own property, and leave the rest of us out of it!

posted on 05 February 2005 at 2034general1 commentstrackback

iPod is to Music as Mac mini is to ________?

Think back to the first time you heard someone say, “Yeah, but that won’t work with my iPod” about an online music service, like Napster, or BuyMusic, or Rhapsody. Think about how important iPod compatibility is for a music store right now, with 10 million iPods out there in the world, and with the iPod commanding some 75 percent of market share.

Now, insert “Mac mini” for “iPod” and fast-forward yourself to May 2007.

Makes for a rather tantalising thought experiment, doesn’t it?

posted on 05 February 2005 at 0210computing0 commentstrackback

Google Cracks Security Through Obscurity

When it rains, it pours. I’m getting a lot of use out of Red and his cadre of dumbasses lately. Here’s another one for you.

Johns Hopkins officials have a bit of a problem on their hands after a student discovered that her J-CARD (a student debit card at Johns Hopkins) data was available to anyone who searched Google.

Dennis O’Shea, Executive Director of Communications and Public Affairs:

The file was in a very obscure place. You would have had to gone looking for them [sic]

(via Techdirt via The Raw Feed)

Red FormanRed Forman Dumbass Rating: Eric (Dumbass) Eric (Dumbass) Eric (Dumbass) Eric (Dumbass)

posted on 04 February 2005 at 2100sci-tech0 commentstrackback

Shame, Shame, Shame

Wanita Renea Young, you should be ashamed of yourself. You sued two teenage girls for anonymously leaving cookies on your doorstep.

I sure hope nobody in your neighbourhood plans on trick-or-treating on Halloween, you sorry waste of humanity.

(via Dave Barry)

To the judge who failed to throw this suit out of court:

Red FormanRed Forman Dumbass Rating: Hyde (Dumbass) Hyde (Dumbass)

posted on 04 February 2005 at 1812general0 commentstrackback

iPod Shuffle Pr0n

Now starring as the centerfold in this month’s Playgeek is the iPod Shuffle.

(via Gizmodo)

posted on 04 February 2005 at 1517humour0 commentstrackback

Uncool HTML Trick

To go along with the last entry, I give you a typical news story on WOOD-TV.

View the HTML source.

Note the horrifying beauty of six — yes, six — nested P tags. Immerse yourself in the appalling grandeur of four nested tables.

Then ask yourself one question:

Why?

posted on 04 February 2005 at 1431computing0 commentstrackback

Cool HTML/CSS Trick

What Douglas Bowman has done with his photoblog navigation is simply amazing. Mouse over the main image to see a really cool trick, executed entirely with some very creative CSS.

(via the Retrophisch)

posted on 04 February 2005 at 0317computing0 commentstrackback

Dumbass of the Day

I was remarking to a buddy the other day that it’s been too long since we had one of these, and Kirk Marvel must have heard me. He was arrested in Iowa, where he had parked in front of a county jail, with an active meth lab and a stash of pot in his car, and gone to sleep.

(via Jalopnik)

Red FormanRed Forman Dumbass Rating: Kelso (Dumbass) Kelso (Dumbass) Kelso (Dumbass) Kelso (Dumbass)

posted on 03 February 2005 at 2326humour0 commentstrackback

My PowerBook Has a Theme Song

It’s “A Laptop Like You,” by Jonathan Coulton.

He also has several other songs that are not entirely geeky, and I highly recommend them.

(via MacMinute via CNET via Chris Holland via The Apple Blog. Whew!)

posted on 01 February 2005 at 2021computing1 commentstrackback

This Year’s Christmas List

If anyone who happens to be doing Christmas shopping for me sees this, I’m adding the MiG-29 Instrument Panel Clock to the list.

Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaase.

posted on 01 February 2005 at 0203sci-tech0 commentstrackback

Check Those Pillows

You wouldn’t want to be sleeping with a snake.

Australia, where the incident occurred, is home to nine of the world’s ten most poisonous snakes, a list that includes the tiger snake.

(via Dave Barry)

posted on 01 February 2005 at 0144general0 commentstrackback

Another Cool Google Trick

Searching Google by File Extension:

Ever want to search the web for an Excel spreadsheet checkbook? Easy. Type filetype:xls checkbook into the search box at Google.

Oh, the nefarious purposes this could be put to.

posted on 01 February 2005 at 0116computing0 commentstrackback