Monday, December 31, 2007

Netscape: AOL Pulls the Plug In February

Poor Netscape looks like it is finally doomed to the bit archives. In February of '08 AOL is formally pulling the plug on the browser that started it all (Mosaic really did I guess, but Netscape was the first browser to hit the main stream).



You ruled the Internet till about version 4 Netscape, then marketing forces and good old Microsoft started to kill you. Your son, Firebox, will live on to avenge you.

Read more [HERE].

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Good Into Javascript OOP Tutorial

I'm pretty good at procedural Javascript, but I'm a little behind on object oriented Javascript. Some of my more recent client side projects could have really benefited from some JS OOP knowledge, so I decided I better bone up a little bit.

Anyway, here is a link to an old, but still very relevant, OOP Javascript tutorial. There are two parts, just toggle the 1/1 in the URL to 2/1 when you are done with teh first part.

http://www.sitepoint.com/article/oriented-programming-1/1

[Update 1/22/08]

Here is a pretty good ebook on Javascript-

http://eloquentjavascript.net/contents.html

Friday, December 21, 2007

Lame: Chinese Intelligence Works for the NSA

Pretty sad. Chinese intelligence set up a translation service company, and then used that company to contract NSA gigs translating NSA Chinese signals intercepts. This gave the Chinese a pretty clear view of what our capabilities are. Wonderful.

Read more [HERE].

Originally referenced on http://haftofthespear.com/

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Reason Number 4837 To Hate Safari

How come images will not upload correctly with freaken Safari? And then only on more recent versions?

A possible answer is here...

http://www.neurofuzzy.net/2006/07/09/safari-and-php-file-uploads-solved/

Yet another reason Safari sucks. Apple is slick, and the fearful as well as the new hip hop web developers who don't know any better, flock to Apple. I'm sorry, Apple sucks, always sucked, and still sucks. So does M$, but at least their crap works most of the time. Yes, I know younger developers will rail against IE6 because it isn't "standards compliant". True enough, but they forget IE6 was made when IE was pushing the standards, not trying to comply with them. DHTML? XMLHTTP? innerHTML? All that came from IE. The standards came after IE innovated the web to a point where all their web 2.0 stuff could work.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Merry Chrismas from the Electric Sheep Company!

The Electric Sheep company, one of the early hawkers of Second Life to fad prone corporate marketing types, gave 22 employees pink slips for Christmas.

Read more [HERE].

The article is from Second Life's Reuters bureau, which is run by Electric Sheep, so to be fair they are trying to be transparent I guess. My view is that Electric Sheep will survive, and actually are positioned to do well for the future as they expand into another arenas. Just the early experiments with corps in Second Life where just that, experiments that, as in my opinion Electric Sheep knew, where pretty doomed to failure. They took a lot of willing customers with big wallets for a ride. At the same time, both the customers, and Electric Sheep gained from the experience. Corps will be wiser as they invest in virtual enterprises, and Electric Sheep did learn valuable lessons that will be able to be transferred to other platforms. The big question is whether or not alternatives to Second Life will mature fast enough to keep Electric Sheep large enough to survive as is as virtual worlds develop.

GUID's in Classic ASP

I found a great article on generating and using GUID's in classic ASP here...

http://classicasp.aspfaq.com/general/how-do-i-generate-unique-guids-from-asp.html

All-in-all classicasp.aspfaq.com is a great resource for those of us who still support and develop with classic ASP.

Here is the function you need.

Function GetGuid()
Set TypeLib = CreateObject("Scriptlet.TypeLib")
GetGuid = Left(CStr(TypeLib.Guid), 38)
Set TypeLib = Nothing
End Function

Monday, December 17, 2007

Playing God: Scientist Hope to Create New Artificial Life Forms

Mankind is at it again, this time hoping to create completely new "artificial" life forms from scratch.

Read more [HERE].

Friday, December 14, 2007

Virtual Worlds... An Insight From Oscar Wilde

I've blogged a few times about virtual infidelity, gender bending, virtual sex, and all the sick and twisted stuff that goes on in Virtual Worlds like Second Life that I have observed people do.

I was watching a pretty far out video clip from http://www.goodfight.org/ on U2 and Satanism. Not sure if I would take every rock stars profession of being satanic at face value. I think many of them blab such nonsense because they are trying to be anti-conformist. But in a deeper, darker sense, they might, even though they don't realize it, give voice to what subconsciously they know they are really doing, and that is why I find the video interesting.

Anyway, there was a quote from Oscar Wild on the video clip that I think applies to virtual worlds.

Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth. ~Oscar Wilde

What do you do when your mask (avatar) is on?

The New Media Further Solidifies: Jackass 2.5 Set for Internet Release

This popped up on my radar today and I almost overlooked it. Upon further reflection though I realized this was significant. What am I talking about? A movie being released not direct to video...not direct to DVD...but direct to interent. I take this is a sign of things to come, though I predict we are really more like 8 years out on this then 2, but more an more of these type of releases will show up as time goes by.

Jackass 2.5 is being set for direct to internet release, a further sign of the new media's maturation.

Read more [HERE].

I found the link on www.drudgereport.com

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Bear Awakes: Last Minute CFE Talks Fail


Russia pulls out of the Conventional Forces Europe treaty.

Read more [HERE].

UK Accepts EU Treaty, Gives up 60 Veto Powers

The UK gave in and signed away much of its sovereignty to the greater EU recently. The Union Jack will never be the same.

Read on [HERE].

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Fear of Girls: Brutal

This is awesome, but it hits a little close to home.

If you have ever played D & D, check out the "Fear of Girls" videos [HERE].

USAF: It maybe isn't your daddy's air force, but it most likely is his plane.

An article provided by spacewar.com details the USAF's delima of having a lot of old planes flying around and not enough budgets to cover the cost of replacing them. This article is actually more optimistic then others I have read.

Read on [HERE].

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Classic ASP...is that Connection object or Recordset Object Closed?

To say some of the legacy code that I'm working is Sphagetti code would be an understatement, it is more like a pasta house. Include after include after include. To be honest, I actually like coding like that sometimes...I know, blasphemy to the OO crowd. But in many ways our site has grown out of control. Open connections, recordsets not being closed, yadda yadda yadda.

So I found this cool article
http://classicasp.aspfaq.com/components/how-do-i-determine-if-a-vbscript-based-object-exists.html

So, I have this include file that opens all these recordsets and command objects. On some pages these objects are closed, on others not. So a quick fix to make sure these objects were closed so the SQL server wasn't being killed and our server memory maxing out was something like this...


if isObject(someobj) then
if not (sombobj is nothing) then
if someobj.state = 1 then
someobj.close
end if
set someobj= nothing
end if
end if

This should pin things till the rewrite, or until I go through and really tiddy up the code. someobj can be either an ADODB recordset or an ADODB connection. For command objects just remove the if somebj.state if then and it should work.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Google's New Charting API: Pretty Cool



Google has released a free charting API to the world. You won't create uber beautiful charts like I've seen other 3rd party components create, but hey, it is free.

Check out the specs [HERE].

The green empire once again makes it hard to resist coming under their control.

Originally posted by www.ajaxian.com.

Lifespan of Worms Increased

This article from blog.wired.defense is actually pretty interesting. It talks about one DoD funded scientist that is doing some interesting experiments that have yielded significant life span increases in simple organisms, along with other possible ways to save wounded soldiers by putting them in a suspended animation state.

In the Bible you hear about people living to be 800 years old. Most Christians put that off as myth, others explain it with voodoo science. Maybe something along the lines of what this researcher is into, if the environment on earth was much different before the flood, might explain things.

Regardless, the article is worth a read.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

The NIE and Iran. About Face and Why

The latest National Intelligence Estimate did an about face and now says Iran isn't developing nukes. I don't buy it. I found the article below to be interesting, and unfortunately not suprising.

http://www.weeklystandard.com/weblogs/TWSFP/2007/12/nie_an_abrupt_aboutface.asp

Why can't we throw people who twist facts (whatever party flavor they be) in jail? What is this crap?

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Mike Huckabee

Well, a lot of my Christian friends are starting to fall in love with Mike Huckabee. He is a former pastor that stands up for a lot of moral issues that I and many Christian's think need to be stood up for. But over all I'm unimpressed.

Why?
  • Huckabee is from the establishment. The establishment is corrupt. Thus I don't really trust him. He has to prove to me he is the man. The one time I saw him in a debate, he didn't.
  • It is easy to stand up for moral issues. I applaud him for his conservative stances. But no where do I see on his issue page on his web site anything about stemming the outsourcing of our economy. After going to Detroit a few times, and seeing what it was and what it now is, I think raising tariffs is a huge deal. All the arguments I've heard against doing so are a bunch of crap that are now starting to be proven false. Our dollar is devaluating, and things are only going to get worse for Americans. All this crap about the benefits of outsourcing our economy are lies. The only thing we gain is a short term boost in our standard of living while we mortgage our futures. The rich gain hugely as they sell out the middle class and the poor. We see evidence of their massive gains in CEO pay increases vs. average pay increases for most workers. Moral issues are hugely important, but so is our way of life and our standard of living. I'm afraid I'm with the libs on this issue. I wish no ill will towards the rest of the world and I'm happy to see the standard of living of many countries increasing, but I'm against seeing this increase at our expense.

So I see Huckabee is a conservative rich boy from the elite class who because he has some moral fortitude misguidedly thinks he can toss his hat in the ring and fix things. I doubt that from his class perspective he can even identify all the problems that need to be fixed.

Next.

Ron Paul still has my vote, even though he is crazy.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Classic ASP: MARS

I've cleaning up a bunch of classic ASP code and basically I'm taking about 10 stored procs that execute in sequence on a page and just creating one uber stored proc that brings back multiple records sets (I didn't write the first version of the page). For future reference, since I always forget this, the syntax is...


Set myrecordsetobj=myrecordsetobj.NextRecordset()

No special stuff needed on the stored proc's end, just use multiple selects.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

In the last days they will be fierce...

I've heard people argue against this, but this is no surprise. Violent games makes people more violent, according to the University of Michigan.

Read more about that on Slashdot and its referenced article [HERE].


A great book on the subject is titled, "On Killing". I haven't finished reading it, but the author (whose name escapes me at the moment), a military guy, points to research that in the past people generally didn't like killing other people and tried to do their best to avoid it, even and sometimes especially in times of war. The basic premise is that the media is breaking that aversion down, but at a high psychological cost to the military personnel who kill more easily now. The aversion to killing is diminished, but not the deep psychological issues killing creates in those who commit it.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Pat Buckanan: Day of Reckoning.

I haven't read Pat Buchanan's new book "Day of Reckoning" yet, but it seems to be right on. I've talked politics with a lot of people, and may of the points he addresses as potential reasons why American will become unglued I've talked about before. In essence, unless there is a dramatic turn, America is screwed. Sounds like Pat nails it on the head.

Read more about Matt Drudge's initial comments on the book [HERE].

Birth-Pains before Jesus's Return: Natural Disasters up 4x in the last 20 Years

Another sign of the times is [HERE].

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Russia Widthdrawing from Arms Treaty on December 12th

Putin went from ally to seeker of former imperial glory pretty quickly. This somehow slipped by me. I'm not suprised considering our News Media.

"He [Putin] issued his stark message as Russia confirmed that it would pull out of a landmark arms limitation treaty on December 12. The Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) treaty was fundamental to ending the Cold War."


Nice. The post cold war peace didn't last long.

Another Reason to Stop Buying Chinese Goods

Access denied for the Ronald Reagan Strike Group to use Hong Kong as a port of call. Access denied for Chinese Communist to my bank account.

Read more [HERE].

Visual Studio 2008: First Impression

Well, I downloaded the Visual Studio 2008 Express version and played around with it very briefly yesterday. So far I haven't played with too many of the new features yet, but hopefully I'll get a chance to over the weekend. Here are some initial comments of mine.

The Good: The install was a breeze compared to Visual Studio 2005 Pro.

The Bad: I still have to support classic ASP applications, and it looks like the intellisense for classic ASP has pretty much been removed. Bummer.

The OK: I like that the .Net framework 3.5 integrates the AJAX framework out of the box. It looks like most of the interface is pretty much the same as Visual Studio 2005, so I won't be hunting for things all the time, which is nice.

Overall I like how Microsoft is giving away Visual Studio and SQL Server Express versions away for free.

Download copies for yourself -

http://www.microsoft.com/express

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Game Tap

My fiance just got me a subscription to Game Tap for my birthday. For the price of one video game and change, you get access to a library of over a thousand games for a year. In my opinion GameTap is a must have for gamers. I thought the games would be older, and there is a lot of older games there, but there are newer ones, like CIV IV and some newer FPS.

Don't take my word for it, check it out yourself. www.gametap.com

Image Onload Problems

I've written a few slide shows, and one of the things that bugs me is that the image.onload function seems to not be supported very well on numerous browsers. Here might be the culprit.



// evil:
var image = new Image();
image.src = 'image.jpg';
image.onload = function() {
// sometimes called
alert('image loaded');
};

// good:
var image = new Image();
image.onload = function() {
// always called
alert('image loaded');
};
image.src = 'image.jpg';


To be honest, I'm not sure if this works or not, especially in Safari 1.x and Opera, but I'll give it a shot. The only other work around I've seen is pretty complicated.

Thanks to http://www.thefutureoftheweb.com/blog/image-onload-isnt-being-called for posting this.

Desktop Tower Defense

Got a few hours, OK maybe a few days, to kill? Check out Desktop Tower Defense [HERE].

Basically you are defending two openings, and bad guys known as creeps slip through two other openings. You build various types of immobile gun walls to both channel and kill creeps. Pretty fun.

Chinese Communist Co-Opting US Websites

Check out this article [HERE] on slashdot about how Chinese are co-opting US websites. Another reason to start winding trade down with China. All we are doing is building up their economy which in turn is building up their military.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Why Mess with Photoshop: Rounded Corners Auto Generator

http://www.allcrunchy.com/ has a pretty cool auto generator for creating rounded corner divs. You have to download an image and paste some css and javascript on your page, but all and all this is pretty cool.

Check it out [HERE].

The Little Plane That Could: First Production T-38 Trainer Goes Into Retirement

This little plane, the T-38 supersonic trainer, has proven to be a very successful design that has been around for 45+ years. The first one ever to roll off the production line ended service recently after a career spanning from 1962 - 2007. You may have seen it flying close to an X-plane or monitoring a space shuttle as it landed. The humble plane probably trained hundred of pilots and numerous astronauts. Quiet a career.

Read more about the Talon [HERE].

Read more about the retirement ceremony for the first T-38 [HERE].

Monday, November 05, 2007

A Flaw in Moore's Law: Demand

Moore's Law is the observation that computer processing power tends to double every two years. This has seemed to hold true for the last 40 years or so, but I think that in the next couple of years, at least as far as home computers are concerned, Moore's Law will not hold true.

Here are 3 reasons why I think Moore's law will not hold up for Home Computers.

1) Home computers are becoming less and less the platform of choice for gaming. Consoles are now more popular then ever, and the PC gaming industry is feeling the punch. Does this mean PC games will go away? No, but it does mean that the bigger game developers will focus more and more on console game development, and PC gaming will become more of a niche thing (MMORPG, Indie developers). So, the need for PC's to have ever increasing processor and graphics power will not end, but it will slow.

2) Most home computer users use their computers to web surf, pirate music and movies, check email, instant message, and write a document every once in a while. We have approached a point now where operating systems and computer horsepower are more then enough to handle these tasks. Do consumers really need to update their computers every two or three years when their five year old machine is more then enough to handle these tasks? Probably not.

3) There are more and more internet enabled appliances that will compete with PC's for use for interent surfing, emailing, and instant messaging. These appliances are generally smaller and more connected through cellular networks then say a laptop, so these appliances are becoming more and more the communications medium of choice for younger people as opposed to PC's.

So these three factors, the slow down of the PC gaming industry, current PC's reaching the point where they can perform common task more then adequately fore the foreseeable future, and mobile devices competing with PC's as a communication device, all will create the perfect storm to slow down the home and to a lesser degree business demand for new personal computers. Thus we should see the investments in developing new processing power for PC's also slow somewhat, possibly making Moore's law no longer a law in the PC realm.

Apparently, the market slow down is already happening in Japan, which could be an indicator of a future global trend.

Read more about the PC market slow down in Japan [HERE].

Read more about Moore's law [HERE].

Friday, November 02, 2007

The Darling of the Left at it Again

Huego Chavez once again shows another reason to be admired by the left, this time by crushing protest.

Read more [HERE].

Monroe doctrine anyone?

Photo taken from www.drudgereport.com

Genetic Engineering: Super Mouse

Once again our scientist are toying with Pandora's genetic box. This story is about a genetically altered super mouse that lives longer, has more sex, runs faster, remains trim, and eats 60% more.

Read more [HERE].

Once Again, Media is Reported Biased to the Left

Again and again the main stream media in the U.S. has been PROVEN to favor the left.


[HERE] is another article indicating such.


This makes me laugh because liberal love to pretend they live in a world where it is them, the tragic revolutionary underdogs, against the man. Often times liberals are the man but they are so blinded that they can't see it.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Photoshop: Rounded Corners


For some reason I always freaken forget this. I'm using an ancient version of Photoshop (7), though I'm eyeing CS 3 and I will probably break down and purchase it this year. I do a lot of simple image manipulation, but I always seem to forget how to make rounded corners. So for reference, hit the U key, set the feathering to about about 15 pix, and then draw your rounded rectangle. Then go back to the square select bool, set the feathering back to zero, and grab and crop your rounded corners. Simple, but I always forget, so here it is for reference.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Pretty Cool

My mother forwarded me this, it is a pretty creative.


Animator vs. Animation by *alanbecker on deviantART

The Office Does Second Life

In contrast to Electric Sheep's romanticized and non realistic version of Second Life for CSI:NY, NBC's The Office included Second Life in an episode last week as well. The Office used Second Life just as it is for their plot line rather then trying to romanticize or misrepresent what Second Life is all about like CSI:NY's plot line did. I think The Office used Second Life to much greater success though their effort was less hyped.

Read more and compare the two approaches [HERE].

CSI:NY and Second Life Tank

In case you didn't know, CSI:NY decided to do an episode dealing with Second Life. I don't watch the show (though I love the original CSI series based in Las Vegas), but I hope the normal episodes are much better then the Second Life one, which the 10 minutes of it I saw were painful to watch. Electric Sheep, a company that hawks the buggy Second Life program as the next internet to big corporate clients, convinced CBS to setup a massive Second Life presence to tie into the CSI:NY Second Life episode.

Well the effort tanked. The snake oil salesmen at Electric Sheep failed to capture any sort of significant user presence with their 440 (yes 440) CSI:NY Second Life Sims. The Second Life Herald reports that CBS shut down 408 out of 440 CSI:NY Second Life Sims (Virtual Islands). Virtual layoffs abound.

I understand the Electric Sheep's enthusiasm, but they knew better.

Read more [HERE].

And below is another promo video.


P.S. One thing the video above states that I didn't know is that Electric Sheep is owned now by CBS. Interesting. Those guys at Electric Sheep have been bought out, and just like the silicon pirates of the internet in the 90ies they will all ditch before people get a clue that virtual worlds need to be developed out more (especially Second Life) before they hit the prime time. Oh well, good for them.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Programmable Matter


This is wild. My Father forwarded this one to me, a request by a DoD agency to begin researching "programmable matter". Apparently some pretty smart people think this is feasible. The future is here...just a while ago I believe I blogged on teleportation. I guess they have teleported molecules small distances, and I also read about a successful light bending technique used for invisibility the other day. The technology is in its very early stages, but on a molecular level they have succeeded in a "2-D" invisibility screen in front of particles.

So now we have on the horizon faster then light communication and computation, teleportation, invisibility, electromagnetic screens/armor, and now programmable matter.

Looks like Scotty one day will be able to whip up some Scottish meal out of thin air in the mess hall of the future.
Read more about the solicitation for RND in programmable matter [HERE].

Thursday, October 25, 2007

CSI:NY Boon to Second Life's....Sex Industry?


This is awesome. The Second Life Herald reveals that a bunch of porn vendors in Second Life are using the CSI:NY keyword to direct searchers to their various venues.


If you haven't heard, CSI:NY just had an episode where they hunted a killer both in "Real Life" as well as "Second Life". So, it is reasonable to think that after seeing the show, a bunch of people might be interested in checking out Second Life, and more specifically Electric Sheep's (I company that does a lot of Second Life stuff) CSI:NY areas. Well, looks like the Second Life porno industry thought a little bit ahead of CSI and Electric Sheep.

I'm kind of sick of hearing about Electric Sheep and Millions of Us. Good for them that they are riding a wave. Yet they are snake oil salesmen. Second Life has potential, but it isn't the metaverse, and these guys know that, yet they are selling it to big corporate clients as it is such, which is dishonest. I'm glad the porno folks hijacked one of ES's projects in a small way. This makes me grin.


Read more [HERE].

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Robot Chicken's Spoof of the 300.

Robot Chicken did a spoof of the 300 that is pretty funny. It is entitled, in blood of course, 1776.

Check it out.

Dennis Kucinich: Next Stop Atlantis?


Well, it looks like now that Dennis is back from Syria, maybe his UFO riding ascended masters can direct his next trip.

Read more about Dennis and the claims of a close family friend, a crazy UFO lady, about Dennis's close encounter [HERE].


Well Dennis, as much as I am making fun of you, life is stranger then we think. If you did see a UFO, you are in trouble Bro. As the same things moving the UFO's about are the same things that Jesus cast out of people back in the day. More on that later.

Space Heats Up: China to Test Sat Killer Tech

Yes, our good friends the Chinese, with most favored nation status, are once again plotting to eliminate our military's hi tech advantages. What our rich trading capital moving elitist friends here at home and in Europe once again fail to realize is that China is a communist dictatorship. Helping China's economy will produce a really strong communist dictatorship, not a European style democracy. But that myth is pushed so certain groups of people can live the dream of obtaining wealth in China. More on that later.

Remember, 10% of all of Walmart's purchases today will fund you grandchildren's death tomorrow! What a deal!

Read about China's "peaceful" moon mission [HERE].

Monday, October 22, 2007

CSI NY's Second Life Episode

It looks like CSI New York is going to do an episode relating to Second Life. From watching the trailer below it looks like the CSI version of Second Life is a little more cooler then the real one. If you have been "in world" you will know what I mean.

Anyway, check out the trailer.



And check out CSI New York on Wednesday October 24rth.

New Life for the .45

It looks like Transformational Defences Industries, Inc is offering a new submachine gun for law enforcement and special operations forces based on the .45 round.



The new submachine gun has a new blowback system that could potentially be used to reduce blowback in other weapons as well.


Read more [HERE].

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Jews Advised to Leave Iran


Why am I not seeing this on the main stream news? Libs not wanting to flame the fires of war? Who gives them the right to filter my news?

Anyway, Jews are being advised to leave Iran "without delay". We are going to end up going to war. And not because of Bush's policy blunders in Iraq. It will be because Ahmadinejad, or however you spell that fool's name, if crazy, and he will just keep on pushing things.

Pray for the people in Iran, that their oppressive, terrorist exporting government would go.

Read more [HERE].

The Age of Robotics

Ok, I'll be the first to do it. This century, the 21st century, will be known as the age of robotics. I am reading more and more articles about UCAV's (Unmanned Combat Air Vehicles), UAV's (Unmanned Air Vehicles), USV's (Unmanned submersible vehicles), and on and on. And we are only in the first decade. So me, as a wanna be historian, I declare this century to be the age of robotics. And, I will begin focusing this blog a little bit more on robotics then I have been.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Video Lessons I've Learned

Hi, I'm fairly new to online video, but here are a few tips that I've painfully learned dealing with three projects. The first project was video composting 3D footage, the next was a composite of a lecture and slides, and the third was recording a seminar. I will combine lessons from all three.

Before You Shoot
  • If you are shooting live video, think about placing your camera where you can get as much of a straight on shot as you can. Sounds like common sense, but sometimes due to various factors you won't be able to do a straight on shot of say a screen. If you can't, try to get the media that will be displayed on the screen and composite that back in over the trapezoided screen you will film.
  • Talk to the lighting guys. When people are talking and there is no slides or video being presented, have the light guys up the lights as much as possible. True, you don't want to have the lights going up and down all the time, so this might take a little bit of pre planning and coordination.
  • Think about your workflow. Video rendering is very time consuming, so run a few small test end to end of extracting to video from the camera to final screen presentation. It is good to work out kinks before timelines are established. Get a good realistic feal for how long things will take, then use 2.5x that amount of time for an estimate of completion.

If you are rending digital video, here are a few tips.

  • If you are using programs like 3D Max, Max likes to crash sometimes. Render your output as images rather then video, so if Max crashes at frame 700, you can pick up rendering again at frame 700. If your rendering is taking 2 minutes a frame, you will be saving yourself quiet a bit of time. Editors like Adobe Premier allow you to drag and drop folders of images in the timeline.
  • Only render the parts of scenes that are changing. In Max, there is a setting (it has been about two years so I'm a little foggy as to where) where you can have Max just render a small section of the screen. If you render one frame as a background, Max will render the full frames, but only update the part of the frame that you are worried about. Again, a huge time saver if render speeds are low.

General Tips

  • Generally you are talking about three steps. Getting source video, composting and editing source video, rendering an output video. Often times you will need a fourth step for web video, rendering to Flash (although youTube is an option worth checking out, they do it for you). Generally with the exception of the composting and editing phase, you want to be doing something else productive while these steps are taking place as each of these phases takes anywhere from 1/4 to 3/4 the time of the desired length of your end video. So depending on your hardware setup, you definitely want one machine available for you to work on other projects while the other machine(s) are trudging along.
  • Expect problems. Don't get frustrated. Just start again.
  • On low end cameras like mine, you end up pulling the video off of a tape in a lossy format. You can bring some of the color back when editing. The more you manipulate your video, the more color and detail will be lossed. You can use different codec's like DivX, but generally you want to keep your video as lossless as possible until you generate for the final presentation layer. Use a lossless codec like Lagarith. Unfortunately that means you will need a lot of disk space.
  • Make sure interleave each frame is checked. It will take a bit longer to render things, but the height in quality is worth it.
  • If you are outputting for the web, remember that most video will come off your camera slightly rectangular at a .9 height to width ratio at (720 x 480). Usually for my final render if I'm going to the web after the edits are done I go to square pixels and then cut the size down to 320x240 or 640x480. I might drop the frame rate down by half to if I'm low on disk space or time. The Flash video encoder seems to do a better job at making things a little less choppy if you set a custom video frame rate when encoding then the video software I've used (Vegas and Adobe Premier Pro 2). But if the extended render time is a big hit and the slight improvement in quality isn't that big a deal, render your final output at half NTSC.

Encoding for Flash

  • I've had pretty good luck in filming at NTSC speeds (29.97 fps, or something like that) and then halving that (14.xxx fps) when I'm encoding to Flash. For 320x240, 300 kb a sec seems to always do the trick. You might be able to go down lower if you don't have a lot of red colors nor a lot of movement. Maybe run a few quick test (in Flash itself you don't have to encode the whole video when importing, just import a chunk, render, test, adjust).
  • For Audio, I've used Stereo 16kbs. You might want to buff that up to 32kbs, which might in turn cause you to buff up your streaming a little over 300kbs.

Well, most of these tips are commons sense, but it is good to be reminded of them.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Burning John Paul says hi from the Grave?


I really, really doubt it, but the flames do sort of match the old Pope's bent over stance. Would you really want a pope saying hi from the grave as a burning figure? What, catholics don't believe in hell anymore?

Anyway, [HERE] is the article.
As the first commentor on the article states,
When someone gets in there and shakes his hand, that would be a story, this makes all concerned look idiotic.

- Peter, London

Originally posted on http://www.drudgereport.com/

Friday, October 12, 2007

Classic ADO Constants

Just so I have 'em in one place.

' Microsoft ADO
'
' Copyright (c) 1996-1998 Microsoft Corporation.
'
'
'
' ADO constants include file for VBScript
'
'--------------------------------------------------------------------

'---- CursorTypeEnum Values ----
Const adOpenForwardOnly = 0
Const adOpenKeyset = 1
Const adOpenDynamic = 2
Const adOpenStatic = 3

'---- CursorOptionEnum Values ----
Const adHoldRecords = &H00000100
Const adMovePrevious = &H00000200
Const adAddNew = &H01000400
Const adDelete = &H01000800
Const adUpdate = &H01008000
Const adBookmark = &H00002000
Const adApproxPosition = &H00004000
Const adUpdateBatch = &H00010000
Const adResync = &H00020000
Const adNotify = &H00040000
Const adFind = &H00080000
Const adSeek = &H00400000
Const adIndex = &H00800000

'---- LockTypeEnum Values ----
Const adLockReadOnly = 1
Const adLockPessimistic = 2
Const adLockOptimistic = 3
Const adLockBatchOptimistic = 4

'---- ExecuteOptionEnum Values ----
Const adAsyncExecute = &H00000010
Const adAsyncFetch = &H00000020
Const adAsyncFetchNonBlocking = &H00000040
Const adExecuteNoRecords = &H00000080
Const adExecuteStream = &H00000400

'---- ConnectOptionEnum Values ----
Const adAsyncConnect = &H00000010

'---- ObjectStateEnum Values ----
Const adStateClosed = &H00000000
Const adStateOpen = &H00000001
Const adStateConnecting = &H00000002
Const adStateExecuting = &H00000004
Const adStateFetching = &H00000008

'---- CursorLocationEnum Values ----
Const adUseServer = 2
Const adUseClient = 3

'---- DataTypeEnum Values ----
Const adEmpty = 0
Const adTinyInt = 16
Const adSmallInt = 2
Const adInteger = 3
Const adBigInt = 20
Const adUnsignedTinyInt = 17
Const adUnsignedSmallInt = 18
Const adUnsignedInt = 19
Const adUnsignedBigInt = 21
Const adSingle = 4
Const adDouble = 5
Const adCurrency = 6
Const adDecimal = 14
Const adNumeric = 131
Const adBoolean = 11
Const adError = 10
Const adUserDefined = 132
Const adVariant = 12
Const adIDispatch = 9
Const adIUnknown = 13
Const adGUID = 72
Const adDate = 7
Const adDBDate = 133
Const adDBTime = 134
Const adDBTimeStamp = 135
Const adBSTR = 8
Const adChar = 129
Const adVarChar = 200
Const adLongVarChar = 201
Const adWChar = 130
Const adVarWChar = 202
Const adLongVarWChar = 203
Const adBinary = 128
Const adVarBinary = 204
Const adLongVarBinary = 205
Const adChapter = 136
Const adFileTime = 64
Const adPropVariant = 138
Const adVarNumeric = 139
Const adArray = &H2000

'---- FieldAttributeEnum Values ----
Const adFldMayDefer = &H00000002
Const adFldUpdatable = &H00000004
Const adFldUnknownUpdatable = &H00000008
Const adFldFixed = &H00000010
Const adFldIsNullable = &H00000020
Const adFldMayBeNull = &H00000040
Const adFldLong = &H00000080
Const adFldRowID = &H00000100
Const adFldRowVersion = &H00000200
Const adFldCacheDeferred = &H00001000
Const adFldIsChapter = &H00002000
Const adFldNegativeScale = &H00004000
Const adFldKeyColumn = &H00008000
Const adFldIsRowURL = &H00010000
Const adFldIsDefaultStream = &H00020000
Const adFldIsCollection = &H00040000

'---- EditModeEnum Values ----
Const adEditNone = &H0000
Const adEditInProgress = &H0001
Const adEditAdd = &H0002
Const adEditDelete = &H0004

'---- RecordStatusEnum Values ----
Const adRecOK = &H0000000
Const adRecNew = &H0000001
Const adRecModified = &H0000002
Const adRecDeleted = &H0000004
Const adRecUnmodified = &H0000008
Const adRecInvalid = &H0000010
Const adRecMultipleChanges = &H0000040
Const adRecPendingChanges = &H0000080
Const adRecCanceled = &H0000100
Const adRecCantRelease = &H0000400
Const adRecConcurrencyViolation = &H0000800
Const adRecIntegrityViolation = &H0001000
Const adRecMaxChangesExceeded = &H0002000
Const adRecObjectOpen = &H0004000
Const adRecOutOfMemory = &H0008000
Const adRecPermissionDenied = &H0010000
Const adRecSchemaViolation = &H0020000
Const adRecDBDeleted = &H0040000

'---- GetRowsOptionEnum Values ----
Const adGetRowsRest = -1

'---- PositionEnum Values ----
Const adPosUnknown = -1
Const adPosBOF = -2
Const adPosEOF = -3

'---- BookmarkEnum Values ----
Const adBookmarkCurrent = 0
Const adBookmarkFirst = 1
Const adBookmarkLast = 2

'---- MarshalOptionsEnum Values ----
Const adMarshalAll = 0
Const adMarshalModifiedOnly = 1

'---- AffectEnum Values ----
Const adAffectCurrent = 1
Const adAffectGroup = 2
Const adAffectAllChapters = 4

'---- ResyncEnum Values ----
Const adResyncUnderlyingValues = 1
Const adResyncAllValues = 2

'---- CompareEnum Values ----
Const adCompareLessThan = 0
Const adCompareEqual = 1
Const adCompareGreaterThan = 2
Const adCompareNotEqual = 3
Const adCompareNotComparable = 4

'---- FilterGroupEnum Values ----
Const adFilterNone = 0
Const adFilterPendingRecords = 1
Const adFilterAffectedRecords = 2
Const adFilterFetchedRecords = 3
Const adFilterConflictingRecords = 5

'---- SearchDirectionEnum Values ----
Const adSearchForward = 1
Const adSearchBackward = -1

'---- PersistFormatEnum Values ----
Const adPersistADTG = 0
Const adPersistXML = 1

'---- StringFormatEnum Values ----
Const adClipString = 2

'---- ConnectPromptEnum Values ----
Const adPromptAlways = 1
Const adPromptComplete = 2
Const adPromptCompleteRequired = 3
Const adPromptNever = 4

'---- ConnectModeEnum Values ----
Const adModeUnknown = 0
Const adModeRead = 1
Const adModeWrite = 2
Const adModeReadWrite = 3
Const adModeShareDenyRead = 4
Const adModeShareDenyWrite = 8
Const adModeShareExclusive = &Hc
Const adModeShareDenyNone = &H10
Const adModeRecursive = &H400000

'---- RecordCreateOptionsEnum Values ----
Const adCreateCollection = &H00002000
Const adCreateStructDoc = &H80000000
Const adCreateNonCollection = &H00000000
Const adOpenIfExists = &H02000000
Const adCreateOverwrite = &H04000000
Const adFailIfNotExists = -1

'---- RecordOpenOptionsEnum Values ----
Const adOpenRecordUnspecified = -1
Const adOpenOutput = &H00800000
Const adOpenAsync = &H00001000
Const adDelayFetchStream = &H00004000
Const adDelayFetchFields = &H00008000
Const adOpenExecuteCommand = &H00010000

'---- IsolationLevelEnum Values ----
Const adXactUnspecified = &Hffffffff
Const adXactChaos = &H00000010
Const adXactReadUncommitted = &H00000100
Const adXactBrowse = &H00000100
Const adXactCursorStability = &H00001000
Const adXactReadCommitted = &H00001000
Const adXactRepeatableRead = &H00010000
Const adXactSerializable = &H00100000
Const adXactIsolated = &H00100000

'---- XactAttributeEnum Values ----
Const adXactCommitRetaining = &H00020000
Const adXactAbortRetaining = &H00040000

'---- PropertyAttributesEnum Values ----
Const adPropNotSupported = &H0000
Const adPropRequired = &H0001
Const adPropOptional = &H0002
Const adPropRead = &H0200
Const adPropWrite = &H0400

'---- ErrorValueEnum Values ----
Const adErrProviderFailed = &Hbb8
Const adErrInvalidArgument = &Hbb9
Const adErrOpeningFile = &Hbba
Const adErrReadFile = &Hbbb
Const adErrWriteFile = &Hbbc
Const adErrNoCurrentRecord = &Hbcd
Const adErrIllegalOperation = &Hc93
Const adErrCantChangeProvider = &Hc94
Const adErrInTransaction = &Hcae
Const adErrFeatureNotAvailable = &Hcb3
Const adErrItemNotFound = &Hcc1
Const adErrObjectInCollection = &Hd27
Const adErrObjectNotSet = &Hd5c
Const adErrDataConversion = &Hd5d
Const adErrObjectClosed = &He78
Const adErrObjectOpen = &He79
Const adErrProviderNotFound = &He7a
Const adErrBoundToCommand = &He7b
Const adErrInvalidParamInfo = &He7c
Const adErrInvalidConnection = &He7d
Const adErrNotReentrant = &He7e
Const adErrStillExecuting = &He7f
Const adErrOperationCancelled = &He80
Const adErrStillConnecting = &He81
Const adErrInvalidTransaction = &He82
Const adErrUnsafeOperation = &He84
Const adwrnSecurityDialog = &He85
Const adwrnSecurityDialogHeader = &He86
Const adErrIntegrityViolation = &He87
Const adErrPermissionDenied = &He88
Const adErrDataOverflow = &He89
Const adErrSchemaViolation = &He8a
Const adErrSignMismatch = &He8b
Const adErrCantConvertvalue = &He8c
Const adErrCantCreate = &He8d
Const adErrColumnNotOnThisRow = &He8e
Const adErrURLIntegrViolSetColumns = &He8f
Const adErrURLDoesNotExist = &He8f

Const adErrTreePermissionDenied = &He90
Const adErrInvalidURL = &He91
Const adErrResourceLocked = &He92
Const adErrResourceExists = &He93
Const adErrCannotComplete = &He94
Const adErrVolumeNotFound = &He95
Const adErrOutOfSpace = &He96
Const adErrResourceOutOfScope = &He97
Const adErrUnavailable = &He98
Const adErrURLNamedRowDoesNotExist = &He99
Const adErrDelResOutOfScope = &He9a
Const adErrPropInvalidColumn = &He9b
Const adErrPropInvalidOption = &He9c
Const adErrPropInvalidValue = &He9d
Const adErrPropConflicting = &He9e
Const adErrPropNotAllSettable = &He9f
Const adErrPropNotSet = &Hea0
Const adErrPropNotSettable = &Hea1
Const adErrPropNotSupported = &Hea2
Const adErrCatalogNotSet = &Hea3
Const adErrCantChangeConnection = &Hea4
Const adErrFieldsUpdateFailed = &Hea5
Const adErrDenyNotSupported = &Hea6
Const adErrDenyTypeNotSupported = &Hea7

'---- ParameterAttributesEnum Values ----
Const adParamSigned = &H0010
Const adParamNullable = &H0040
Const adParamLong = &H0080

'---- ParameterDirectionEnum Values ----
Const adParamUnknown = &H0000
Const adParamInput = &H0001
Const adParamOutput = &H0002
Const adParamInputOutput = &H0003
Const adParamReturnValue = &H0004

'---- CommandTypeEnum Values ----
Const adCmdUnknown = &H0008
Const adCmdText = &H0001
Const adCmdTable = &H0002
Const adCmdStoredProc = &H0004
Const adCmdFile = &H0100
Const adCmdTableDirect = &H0200

'---- EventStatusEnum Values ----
Const adStatusOK = &H0000001
Const adStatusErrorsOccurred = &H0000002
Const adStatusCantDeny = &H0000003
Const adStatusCancel = &H0000004
Const adStatusUnwantedEvent = &H0000005

'---- EventReasonEnum Values ----
Const adRsnAddNew = 1
Const adRsnDelete = 2
Const adRsnUpdate = 3
Const adRsnUndoUpdate = 4
Const adRsnUndoAddNew = 5
Const adRsnUndoDelete = 6
Const adRsnRequery = 7
Const adRsnResynch = 8
Const adRsnClose = 9
Const adRsnMove = 10
Const adRsnFirstChange = 11
Const adRsnMoveFirst = 12
Const adRsnMoveNext = 13
Const adRsnMovePrevious = 14
Const adRsnMoveLast = 15

'---- SchemaEnum Values ----
Const adSchemaProviderSpecific = -1
Const adSchemaAsserts = 0
Const adSchemaCatalogs = 1
Const adSchemaCharacterSets = 2
Const adSchemaCollations = 3
Const adSchemaColumns = 4
Const adSchemaCheckConstraints = 5
Const adSchemaConstraintColumnUsage = 6
Const adSchemaConstraintTableUsage = 7
Const adSchemaKeyColumnUsage = 8
Const adSchemaReferentialConstraints = 9
Const adSchemaTableConstraints = 10
Const adSchemaColumnsDomainUsage = 11
Const adSchemaIndexes = 12
Const adSchemaColumnPrivileges = 13
Const adSchemaTablePrivileges = 14
Const adSchemaUsagePrivileges = 15
Const adSchemaProcedures = 16
Const adSchemaSchemata = 17
Const adSchemaSQLLanguages = 18
Const adSchemaStatistics = 19
Const adSchemaTables = 20
Const adSchemaTranslations = 21
Const adSchemaProviderTypes = 22
Const adSchemaViews = 23
Const adSchemaViewColumnUsage = 24
Const adSchemaViewTableUsage = 25
Const adSchemaProcedureParameters = 26
Const adSchemaForeignKeys = 27
Const adSchemaPrimaryKeys = 28
Const adSchemaProcedureColumns = 29
Const adSchemaDBInfoKeywords = 30
Const adSchemaDBInfoLiterals = 31
Const adSchemaCubes = 32
Const adSchemaDimensions = 33
Const adSchemaHierarchies = 34
Const adSchemaLevels = 35
Const adSchemaMeasures = 36
Const adSchemaProperties = 37
Const adSchemaMembers = 38
Const adSchemaTrustees = 39
Const adSchemaFunctions = 40
Const adSchemaActions = 41
Const adSchemaCommands = 42
Const adSchemaSets = 43

'---- FieldStatusEnum Values ----
Const adFieldOK = 0
Const adFieldCantConvertValue = 2
Const adFieldIsNull = 3
Const adFieldTruncated = 4
Const adFieldSignMismatch = 5
Const adFieldDataOverflow = 6
Const adFieldCantCreate = 7
Const adFieldUnavailable = 8
Const adFieldPermissionDenied = 9
Const adFieldIntegrityViolation = 10
Const adFieldSchemaViolation = 11
Const adFieldBadStatus = 12
Const adFieldDefault = 13
Const adFieldIgnore = 15
Const adFieldDoesNotExist = 16
Const adFieldInvalidURL = 17
Const adFieldResourceLocked = 18
Const adFieldResourceExists = 19
Const adFieldCannotComplete = 20
Const adFieldVolumeNotFound = 21
Const adFieldOutOfSpace = 22
Const adFieldCannotDeleteSource = 23
Const adFieldReadOnly = 24
Const adFieldResourceOutOfScope = 25
Const adFieldAlreadyExists = 26
Const adFieldPendingInsert = &H10000
Const adFieldPendingDelete = &H20000
Const adFieldPendingChange = &H40000
Const adFieldPendingUnknown = &H80000
Const adFieldPendingUnknownDelete = &H100000

'---- SeekEnum Values ----
Const adSeekFirstEQ = &H1
Const adSeekLastEQ = &H2
Const adSeekAfterEQ = &H4
Const adSeekAfter = &H8
Const adSeekBeforeEQ = &H10
Const adSeekBefore = &H20

'---- ADCPROP_UPDATECRITERIA_ENUM Values ----
Const adCriteriaKey = 0
Const adCriteriaAllCols = 1
Const adCriteriaUpdCols = 2
Const adCriteriaTimeStamp = 3

'---- ADCPROP_ASYNCTHREADPRIORITY_ENUM Values ----
Const adPriorityLowest = 1
Const adPriorityBelowNormal = 2
Const adPriorityNormal = 3
Const adPriorityAboveNormal = 4
Const adPriorityHighest = 5

'---- ADCPROP_AUTORECALC_ENUM Values ----
Const adRecalcUpFront = 0
Const adRecalcAlways = 1

'---- ADCPROP_UPDATERESYNC_ENUM Values ----

'---- ADCPROP_UPDATERESYNC_ENUM Values ----

'---- MoveRecordOptionsEnum Values ----
Const adMoveUnspecified = -1
Const adMoveOverWrite = 1
Const adMoveDontUpdateLinks = 2
Const adMoveAllowEmulation = 4

'---- CopyRecordOptionsEnum Values ----
Const adCopyUnspecified = -1
Const adCopyOverWrite = 1
Const adCopyAllowEmulation = 4
Const adCopyNonRecursive = 2

'---- StreamTypeEnum Values ----
Const adTypeBinary = 1
Const adTypeText = 2

'---- LineSeparatorEnum Values ----
Const adLF = 10
Const adCR = 13
Const adCRLF = -1

'---- StreamOpenOptionsEnum Values ----
Const adOpenStreamUnspecified = -1
Const adOpenStreamAsync = 1
Const adOpenStreamFromRecord = 4

'---- StreamWriteEnum Values ----
Const adWriteChar = 0
Const adWriteLine = 1

'---- SaveOptionsEnum Values ----
Const adSaveCreateNotExist = 1
Const adSaveCreateOverWrite = 2

'---- FieldEnum Values ----
Const adDefaultStream = -1
Const adRecordURL = -2

'---- StreamReadEnum Values ----
Const adReadAll = -1
Const adReadLine = -2

'---- RecordTypeEnum Values ----
Const adSimpleRecord = 0
Const adCollectionRecord = 1
Const adStructDoc = 2

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Good But Not Enough: Gates Increases The Army's Size Max By 65,000

http://www.spacewar.com/ reports that Defense Secretary Robert Gates rose the maximum troop level ceiling for the Army in 2010 by 65,000.

Considering the U.S. Army has a Teeth to Tail ratio of about 12:1, that equates to about 1 combat regiment, or about a third of a division. A good start, but far from sufficient. The initial Quadrennial Defense Review under Bush senior suggested that we have a standing Army of about 12 divisions. For political reasons Clinton brought that down to below 10, with many of those divisions failing to meet the Army's top rating for readiness. So, if that QDR was really non partisan, we are still about 2 1/2 divisions short of where we need to be to even think about occupying a country right.

I fear we will pummel Iran, and they will hit back, and then we will not have enough troops to really deal with a big war, and the edges of American Global Security arrangements will start fraying giving rise to all sorts of problems (North Korea making moves, Russia becoming more aggressive, loss of value in the U.S. dollar, just to name a few bad things we face). Stuff that we are seeing now, just on a bigger and more dangerous scale.

Read more about Gates's plan [HERE].

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Cool But Scary: Insect Sized UAV's Spotted in New York


It looks like the Man already has insect sized UAV's and is testing them out on the streets of New York, if [this] wired article is to be believed.


Awesomely cool, unless you are one of those civil rights freaks that is worried that it is becoming easier for the government to constantly survey it's citizens, from where you web surf, to how they spend their money, what they watch on TV, and now real time video surveillance. What's to worry about? Actually much, not so much now, but down the road. Like it or not, we are headed to and in many ways are already in a surveillance society. Watch your data shadow...but make sure you have one, because if you don't that comes up too.


It is good to see the guys at the wired defense blog are blogging about something interesting instead of their usual whining about Blackwater.

Protecting Images on a Web Site

Ultimately, anything that displays on a digital screen can be copied, but here are a few tips that I picked up for protecting images on a website.

1) Use javascript right click disablers. I won't list the code here, but do a search on web sites like dynamic drive and they are pretty easy to find.

2) Wrap images in anchor <a> tags. Even if the don't point anywhere, it will stop people from dragging images off your site to the desktop.

3) Put your image as a background of a div or place another div over your image. This also prevents right click and drag.

4) You can use an overlapping div with a see through image as water mark to protect people from screen shotting images (or at least if they do they will have to get rid of the water mark somehow).

5) Lastly, and this is the technique that I'm working on right now, is to use AJAX to dynamically load javascript that in turn dynamically loads image URL's. This will cause the image URL's to not show up in your view source.

Some webmasters go so far as to use stenography/cryptography techniques to embed a digital signature into images as well, so that if images are copied the digital signature will give the thief away. A good idea, but once images are even slightly edited, that signature goes away so I think this might be going a bit far.

Ultimately, there is no full proof way to protect images, but using any one or a combination of the above five methods will cut down on image loss and make your users who want to post photo galleries on sites that you run feel more secure about their images. For legal reasons though, as well as setting realistic limitations, I would make users understand that nothing is full proof.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Rumor: Russian Staff at Iranian Nuclear Site Scram in a Hurry

Debka.com reports that some Russian nuclear techs working in Iran left in a hurry. This hasn't been confirmed by any other source, but if it is true, Debka.com speculates that trouble could be coming.

Read more [HERE].

Jihadist Pick Hillary


Yep, our islamo-fascist friends want Hillary to be our president in '08.

Read more [HERE].

Saturday, October 06, 2007

640 Gig Flash Drive?

4sysops reports that a Utah based startup (yes...Utah) will release 640 gig flash memory drives next year. They will be about 100x more expensive then conventional hard drives when they initially come out, but expect that price to drop.

I'd say we are about 5 years out before flash memory drives become standard.

Read more [HERE].

Pentagon BS: National Guard Unit Gets No Benefits

Bean counters in Washington decided to extend a Minnesota National Guard unit's tour to 729 days, 1 day short of the 730 days required for the National Guard unit's members to receive additional GI benefits. The unit's 729 day deployment, however, was one of the longest deployments of any unit in Iraq.

So, some people are calling B.S. on this, and so am I. It is not helpful to the war effort when bull sh*t like this pops up. The Bush administration needs to act speedily to correct this.

Read more [HERE].

Awesome List of Free and Free Trial Online RPG's

Check out this list of completely free and free trial rpg's.

The list is [HERE].

10 Magic Tricks Revealed

Here is a link to 1o videos on how to perform simple magic tricks.

Read more [HERE].

The Beautiful People: Turns Out Aren't So Beautiful

Here is a great link to that shows what the Hollywood icons really look like.

Read more [HERE].

Media Bias: Military Analyst Resigns Due to Leftie Slant

This is old, but still worth noting. Ken Allard bails MS NBC due to the networks leftie bias.

Read more [HERE].

UFO Archive: Chicago Airport

This was an UFO interesting sighting because it was reported by multiple witnesses.

Read more [HERE].

Friday, October 05, 2007

Simpsonize Yourself!

A friend of mine from work just found this site, http://www.simpsonizeme.com, which is kind of neat. Upload a photo and see how you would in the world of the Simpsons.

Brought to you by Burger King (Do I get any money for saying that? Reference Idiocracy...the funnest movie I've seen in a long time).

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Target Targetted.


I guess there is a big class action lawsuit against Target for not making its site accessible to blind people. The American Disabilities Act may apply here. To me, they are a private company, and it is a technology issue, not a disabilities issue. Companies have limited budgets, and to make web pages viewable to all technologies take time and money. Is it discrimination that maybe some pages on Target's website don't work in Safari 1.2? Is that Mac hating? Is Mac hating a crime?

Anyway, decide for yourself by reading more [HERE].

For that matter, do blind people really shop at Target? Should target have audio readers so as you walk by each item an audio player yells out what the item is? This is ridiculous. The lawyers here, if they expect to be paid and are not doing this out of the kindness of their hearts, as well as the Berkley student who brought on the law suit, should be forced to renounce their citizenship and get out. We don't need people abusing the legal system here, and they are just adding more dead weight to our society.

UC Berkley Post Lectures on YouTube

Interesting...UC Berkley put up a 300 hours of video taped lectures on youtube.

Check tem out [HERE].

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Beating up Straw Men

I'm in Chicago in a Hotel room, and for whatever reason I flipped on the tube and caught the Saturday, 9/29/07 Tim Russet MSNBC show. The topic was a debate between two authors, Christopher Hitchens who just wrote an anti religious book and a Christian dude that wrote a Christian book called The American Gospel.

Firstly, I love Hitchens. I think he has a sharp mind and I like a lot of what he has to say. I thought compared to the Christian dude that was doing a sad job of defending Jesus Hitchens was his mental superior. Yet I felt bad for Hitchens, because he is fighting against God and he is blind.

Hitchens is basically saying the there is no God and religion is anti progressive. The sad thing is that the two are not linked, where I think in Hitchen's mind they are. I bet if I picked up Hitchens's new book I would agree with 90% of Hitchens's criticisms of religion. Religion is ultimately man's attempt to pervert the truth of God for his own agenda. Maybe humans aren't comfortable with the fact that they can't earn their own salvation. Man tries to develop a system so that man can earn God's favor and differentiate himself from his fellow men. Hitchens sees the insanity of this, and tasks his sharp mind with picking religion apart.

Yet I wish Hitchens would watch himself on Tim Russet. He makes statements like “Humans seem to be designed to worship.” Why Chris? That is just one example of a few on the show where I think if Hitchens stepped outside of his anti religious dogma and really pondered the philosophical questions he himself brings up he might realize that the existence of God, not necessarily as man defines them, seems to be the best explanation for things such as right and wrong, the reason for being, where we all come from and why are we here.

Hitchens brought up an interesting point that actually really scared me when I took it a different direction then Chris did. He talked about if there was a really all knowing God, he would feel like he would be under 100% mental surveillance, and would have no privacy, and would feel obligated to just sit around worshiping God like God was some North Norean dictator. The sad and beautiful thing is in a sense Chris is right on. All our thoughts, actions, motivations, deeds, what have you, are constantly recorded and will one day be judged. Chris rightly assessed that for Chris this would go badly. In fact for all of us it will go badly. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” We all fail. We are all hell bound. That is why Jesus, the triune God, stepped into human flesh and came down and paid the price for all sin that was or ever will be committed by all humans that have ever existed or ever will. He asks us simply to believe that Jesus did this, and to allow Jesus to live in our hearts so that even though we will still sin, Jesus will begin to transform us in ways that we can't do ourself to live our lives “more abundantly”, lives in fellowship with God and away from things that displease God. But even if we do fall, Jesus says that He will “never forsake us or leave us” since we are new creatures in God's eyes and our spiritual selves have been “born again”.

Christopher Hitchens is right though in assuming that God's presence would completely ruin our ability to choose right or wrong. So God hides his presence from us. You don't see God Chris because God loves you enough to hide His presence from you so that you will have the freedom to choose to be saved or choose to live in willful ignorance of God. Don't get me wrong, creation declares that there is a God and God will hold all men accountable for that knowledge (see Romans chapter 1). Those who respond to this knowledge God will draw to Himself and they will know that Jesus is their savior and become born again.

But Chris, you and I are in the same boat in a lot of ways. I'm a Christian, who believes that Jesus is the only way of Salvation (John 14:6), but yet I am in willful, knowing sin right now. After the initial guilt it got easier because there was no immediate feedback. Romans 2:4-5, 2 Peter 3:9 talk about God not being slack in his promise of judgment, but is patient with us, not willing that we should perish but that we should repent. Chris, I hope your war against God is really just your road into his loving arms, and I hope my sinful journey is just a temporal thing. If not, we both might be in serious trouble, where we wind up facing a Holy God who will hold us to account for everything wrong that we have done. Jesus save us and we ask from mercy and not judgment.


I will be praying for you Hitchens, other Christians please pray for me.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Media Manipulation By The Left

Both sides are guilty of this, but since most of the media is left leaning, they tend to put themselves on a pedistool and try to show that they have better ethics then the right.

Of course, that isn't so. And [HERE] is an example.

In fact, the left tends to by, IMHO, more corrupt and less ethical then the right.

But, neither right now meet the standard that we need to have a government that is free enough from big interest to make the hard choices that this country needs for its long term prosperity.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Another Virtual World: Something Maybe To Watch

Amoung the anounced vaporware products that claim to be the next big thing on the virtual world horizion is MetaPlace. Maybe worth keeping an eye on.

http://www.metaplace.com

Ruby on Steel

I haven't had time to play with Ruby on Rails, which is a programming framework which is all the rage right now, and I may never get around to it as by the time I do the next rage might be here. But for those of you have heard and like Ruby, but are stuck in a windows environment, this link might be for you.

Meet Ruby on Steel, Ruby on Rails development in MS Visual Studio 2005.

Read more [HERE].

Friday, September 21, 2007

Rolemaster: Thumbs Sideways

Before I left Phoenix I walked into a Bookman's used books in Mesa and to my suprise they had the entire Rolemaster Standard Rules System available used for about 60 bucks. I used to own the first version of Rolemaster and Spacemaster, and I really liked the games (especially Space Master) so I bought the books.

Well, I finally got a chance to mess with new (but not newest) version of pen and pencil RGP Rolemaster last night. I started rolling up a character, just to mess around, and one thing dawned on me.

If you had never before played Rolemaster, let alone another role playing game, you would be absolutely lost trying to wade your way through "chart master". I knew roughly what I was doing, but as a beginner or experienced RPG'er who is new to Role Master, I would have been lost.

So, as a product review, I'm going to have to give my beloved Rolemaster a thumbs sideways. Why?

1) It is to complex in general.
2) Hard to get rolling as a beginner.
3) A lot of time needs to be spent as a GM getting a campaign setup (more then in other games).

On the plus side, Role Master is
1) More "realistic" then other RPG Fantasy games.
2) Provides a better combat system that is descriptive and more dangerous then most RPG's.

So, if you are a die hard RPG fan, pick up Role Master. If you haven't played it before, you might want to invest in AD & D or another fantasy RPG. I think it is awesome that I.C.E (the parent company of Rolemaster and Spacemaster) lives on in some capacity, and I encourage die hards to support ICE by buying their products. But the rest of you, I'd advise leaving "Rule Master" on the shelf.
1) Has

Dark Tower Online

Remember good old Dark Tower? I still lament the demise of my tower. It stopped working about 10 years ago, but I still have all the game pieces and parts so one day the tower can fixed and the glory of Dark Tower the board game can return.

Until then, you can get your Dark Tower fix by going [HERE].

Thanks Wakefield family, whoever you are!

Cold War Secret Revealed: Meet the A-12, The SR-71's Older but Smaller Brother

Pretty cool, I wasn't aware that these existed.

Read more [HERE].

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Viet Nam type B.S. in Iraq


The military has invested lots of money in small UAV's to give troops in the field better eyes on the local battlefield. Apparently, due to red tape, many of these expensive little UAV's sit on the shelves.

This is from the wired defense blog, which after thinking about things they kind of disappoint me. The preponderance of their articles are somewhat negative. This article is worth referencing because things need to be corrected, but basically the wired defense blogger guys are a bunch of leftie hacks who know a little bit about defense that are just looking for any way they can poke sarcasm at the U.S. Military. Even when they report on something good, it is usually wrapped in sarcasm. So they get a big f*ck you. But they do reference interesting things sometimes, so I'll keep reading.

Read more [HERE].

Anti Matter Powered X-Ray Laser


I remember in the 80ies hearing about the possible future development of Anti-Matter bombs as a super alternative to using nukes. Now, it looks like anti-matter is once again on the table as a power source for lasers. Pretty wild. Still in the theoretical realm...or is it?

Read more [HERE].

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Meteor Causes Sickness

I saw a few blips of this on my RSS feeds yesterday and today. A meteor his somewhere in South America, and apparently spewed forth some kind of murky substance that made a bunch of people sick. At least it wasn't a bunch of organic goo that eats people, but kinda freaky none the less.

Read about the incident [HERE].


[Update]. So what made the people sick? Who knows...so let's just call it "Mass Hysteria" or "Mass Hypnosis". Typical scientific B.S. that you hear when science doesn't understand what is going on. Read the lame explanation of the meteorite sickness [HERE].

Monday, September 17, 2007

Robert Jordan Passes On...Leaving the Wheel of Time Series Still Spinning


First off, I thought Robert Jordan wrote excellent Conan books. They were small (about 300 pages) and not meant to be taken too seriously. When I saw the Wheel of Time series begin by Jordan back in 1990 I was glad Jordan was writing his own stuff in a fantasy world of his own creation, but after seeing the thickness of the first book in the series I wisely decided to hold off. The Wheel of Time series came out right when I thought publishers were really pushing their authors to write the mega epic series novels. Nothing wrong with that, as long as the story and vision is grand enough to warrant it. I think publishers where more out to hook and gouge rather then to epically entertain. Even though I loved Jordan's Conan books, I had a feeling that no fantasy series justified 12 1200 page books to tell its story.

Well, it looks like Robert Jordan died before completing the 12th book in the series. My thoughts go out to his family, and the world looses another great author, but I'm really glad I didn't get caught up in reading those series of books... I'm sure they have their moments, but the lesson learned here, and I've seen it time and time again whether it be the author looses interest, the publisher pulls the plug, what have you, don't get bogged down in non-semi stand alone fiction series.
An author who pulls off writing fantasy novels that are all linked together but are stand alone reads is Raymond R. Feist.

Read more about Robert Jordan's passing [HERE].

Monday, September 10, 2007

Ugly Websites That Sell

I love http://www.drudgereport.com/. Apparently a lot of very successful websites, like craig's list, google, and others are very successful without being "pretty". Why? Apparently many people love substance over form, functionality over flash. A good thing to remember when developing websites. People buy products and services, not necessarily web technology.

KISS...Keep It Simple Stupid.

Read more [HERE].

Linked off of Amir's blog [HERE].

Friday, September 07, 2007

Wiggler Communications: Now a Reality


As soon as I heard about quantum entanglement, I thought to myself, wow, that is the ultimate communications technology. In my sci fi roleplaying worlds there were things like "Wiggler Communications" and "Multi Band Wiggle Coms". Essentially parts of atoms that were quantum entangled could be separated by vast distances. Since manipulating one part of the atom would effect the other part instantly, regardless of the distance, I figured this would facilitate faster then light communications.

Well, it looks like the bright folks at the University of Michigan are hard at work making a quantum communicator of sorts. They have a way to go, but they are on the right path.

I both slap myself on the back for recognizing this potential as well as slap myself in the face for being to stupid to even come close to being able to attempt this myself. Both my parents are hard core scientist, I know the genes are there, but Dungeons and Dragons killed my interest in science as well as my social life growing up. Oh well. Hats off to U of Michigan, some local boys and gals doing good.

Read the slashdotted article [HERE]

More on Virtual Relationships

Apparently I have a growing fascination with what I will call "the blur", where virtual worlds collide with the real. Part of that fascination is how we will behave as human beings in these worlds. I consider human nature to be pretty dark, so I'm pretty sure all sorts of interesting psychological ramifications, few of them good, will arise as people hide their identities, cheat on their spouses, claim sin as not sin as long as it is virtual, etc... I see a growing field of study here that will touch upon multiple disciplines.

And along those lines, here is an article from wired that deals with the fact that relationships are relationships, even if they are "virtual", and those relationships affect our actions in the real world.

Click [HERE] to read the article.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Creating a Box in Photoshop

Not much going on today (at least not triggering my interest) so I'll toss out a link to a great Photoshop tutorial on how to make a product box.

Read the tutorial [HERE].

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Seal Boy Makes His Unclassified Debut

Well, not quite. I'm sure in some deep dark labs somewhere on the globe this has been worked on since the '70ies, but it is now just coming to public in the form of "chimera" human/animal hybrid embryos. Our scientist are playing Dr. Moreau in public now, at least in the U.K. anyway. Of course, it is all for our "good".


Read more [HERE].
Originally found on http://www.drudgereport.com/

Friday, August 31, 2007

Amazon to Sell Non-DRM Protected MP3's


Well, it is a slow day as far as things happening, plus work is keeping me exceptionally busy this week, so my offering today is meager, and one you probably have already heard before.

Cnet confirms reports that Amazon.com is going to enter the MP3 market, and if I am correct they are going to sell non-DRM protected MP3's. Cool. I really liked Rhapsody, but the download, burn to a CD, then RIP cycle got old fast. I'm willing to pay for my media, just don't make it a pain in the rear for me to manipulate it when I can within 5 minutes find a DRM free hacked copy of a song on the internet. Hopefully Amazon will get it right.

Read more [HERE].

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Iraqi WMD's

It looks like a small sample of an Iraqi chemical warfare agent that had been removed from Iraq by our good friends at the U.N. "in the last decade" turned up in the U.N.'s New York offices.

Would that mean that it was retrieved in '97? I thought Iraq's WMD's had all been destroyed before then? No?

Read more [HERE].

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Cat Lady

Here she is...I thought this was computer animation...nope, it is real.




and the musical

Anyone Want to Go Into The Bottled Water Business?

I've got a hose...let's run it through a filter and sell it in plastic bottles as "Le Wa-tur"

Read more about the sad state of the bottled water industry [HERE].

AeroGel: Meet the New Armor and Insulator of the Future.

This stuff is amazing.

Read more about it from Wired's defense blog [HERE].

IVS for Second Life

It looks like Second Life is going to implement some sort of identity verification system (ISV) in the game, and from the blog post below it sounds pretty hard core. If you read through some of my other post about Second Life and Identity Bending it will not be hard to see that I like this. Yet the whole "cross checking with other public databases" seems a tad on the Orwellian side.

Hopefully this ISV will kill a lot of the 50 year old dudes playing 18 year old chicks type of activities that are way common in Second Life. But what the Lindens may find out is that the population of the game might drop by about 50% once they have the ISV in place. I'm cool with that (bu bye freaks), but will the Lindens be with a significant loss of freak revenue?


Well, the ISV is in infant beta stages, let's see if the perv lobby will get together and muster up enough political strength to mute the ISV from having any real usefulness. Hopefully not.
Anyway, read more [HERE].

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

More Media Control Revealed

A senator recently made the headlines for getting busted trolling for sex in a public restroom in a Minneapolis airport. Now that the story is out liberal bloggers are having all sorts of fun with it, as they probably should have.

But that isn't what interest me here. What interest me here is that the arrest happened THREE months ago. You mean to tell me no news outlets got wind of it until a week ago? Doubtful.

If the story was discovered and suppressed, just like bad news suppressed about other politicians, it shows that there is an element of filtering going on about what we see and when we see it. I don't like that. I want data, not fast food information. This also shows that this filtering is broad and deap in the established American and perhaps global press.

Editor and Publisher elaborates on that point [HERE].

Friday, August 24, 2007

Allegid "Scientific" Theory for Out of Body Experiences

Interesting article. Even more interesting is that allegidly out of body experiences affect 1 in 10 people. Which is a greater number then I thought.

Read the article [HERE].