Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Good Bye Second Campus

Two weeks ago I decided to do one last fly by of the Second Campus I helped develop in Second Life. I was responsible for the overall design of the campus, and I built out 2 of the 9 areas (the Greek area and the media lab).

So here is my last pass. In looking at the island I see a whole lot that could be done over. I ultimately wish they would kind of junk the current design and rebuild the thing from scratch. I am proud of the Greek area I built, the media lab was a decent idea but looks like pretty bad.

So, good bye to Second Campus. Onward and Upward.

The Politics of Decline

When I debate younger people about military spending, I'm almost always appalled at their ignorance about the current size of our military compared to the past. Young lefties often lament the money being spend on the war in particular and on the military in general.

Well, in actuality we are spending on the military less then 5% of our GDP, which is below cold war levels, and spending this while fighting numerous special operations wars in various parts of the globe as well as occupying two nations. The just is our military is much smaller today then it has been in the past, and we can afford a bigger one. I'm not saying we should afford a bigger military, just that historically we have always had a bigger military and somehow in the past we could afford it just fine. I wish much of the left's scrutiny about spending was evenly applied to domestic programs as well as national security and military related ones.

Anyway, another article references our decline. Right after Viet Nam we had a 1200 ship navy. Under Reagen that went down to 600. And the Clinton administration further reduced our navy to under 300 ships.

Read the article [HERE] and the quote is on page 2.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Exorcism or Crazy Grandpa Murdering His Grandaughter?

Once again, people prove to be wacko. The details are lacking, but here is what appears to be craziness disguised as spiritual warfare.

Read the not so detailed article [HERE].

I found the link on http://www.drudgereport.com/

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Someone Got it Right

Another UFO link from my clean up of an old computer backup, this one is a great link. I haven't read every page, but from the intro it looks good.

Check out the link [HERE].

As Mulder would say, "The Truth is Out There." Are you willing to accept the truth, who died so you could be free?

Remember Talisman?

Talisman was a cool fantasy board game that I played quiet a few times. If you used all the expansion sets it got a little tedious (average game could go on for most of the day) yet the artwork and game concept were awesome.

In going through my favorites archive I found a link that has the scoop about Talisman from the game's original author. I thought some of you retro gamers might enjoy this.

So [HERE] is the link.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Middle East Giants

My girlfriend and I for some reason got on the subject of giants. I think the thought train went something like us looking at the Second Life symbol, me remarking that the Indians would hold up their hands in "how" to shoe that they only had five fingers (unlike giants which allegedly had six), and then I went on thinking about giants as written about in the Bible.

Anyway, I did a quick search, and I found a pretty cool link. Note the site isn't an example of the latest web 2.0 techniques, but it does contain some interesting info, which to me is way more important then web bling.

Check out the site [HERE].

The Grim Reaper Cat of Death?

A cat can allegedly tell if patients at a hospice are going to die.

Check out the article [HERE].

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Northwest Airlines: Thumbs Down.

Ok, so I book a flight on orbitz on Northwest Airlines. I got an automated message saying my flight had been cancel do to "operational needs" and that I had been rescheduled to leave the following day, with an additional stop of course.

Well, that isn't going to work for me, so I call Orbitz, and I get some ESL person who politely informs me it is all on Northwest Airlines and they can do nothing. So Orbitz gets a thumbs sideways. So I go to the NWA website. It sucks, and after clicking around it failed to even display my reservation information after my first look. So I call the airlines, and after weaving through their automated help line I get in line for a real person. Then after about 5 minutes, I get bounced from talking to a live human to their automated customer survey.

Just as I'm about to unload, I get a nice, sorry this feature isn't available, and a disconnect.

So here is a big F U to NWA. Sorry for the good folks to work for them trying to make ends meet, but I won't use them again if I don't have to.

Classic ASP

I'm finding the asp server side equivalent to AJAX posting pretty useful these days. The article below is a great example of its usefulness. Scroll down.

Click [HERE] to read.

UFO's Miss Neighborhood Garage Sale Do to Intergallactic Time Foul Up?

[Update] or I could be gullable and these lights are either -

1) Flares

2) Kids playing a prank with video editing

UFO lights hover above a neighborhood and are photographed and witnessed by multiple people. Something is up.

Read more [HERE].

One day I'll post what I really think about UFO's. The just is that UFO's and the whole alien abduction deal have to do with heaven and hell, along with some government black projects, frauds, weather phenomena, crazy people, and more. I find it disturbing that alien symbols are working there way into the mainstream more and more. Are we being primed for something? You can scoff, if you take more then a cursory look past the wackos and easy discredits, things start getting...weird.

Javascript Error Logging

I love the relatively new try/catch availability in Javascript. Here is another way of capturing javascript errors. This isn't new to a lot of you, but I wanted to blog it so I don't forget it. This example just does an alert, but with a little ajax/ahah code you could easily post your error to some kind of log. Oh yeah, look for my ahah framework next month. Anyway, the example. If you comment out the alert code and set the return to true, this will also suppress javascript errors (hopefully letting your scripts continue to execute) as well.

function logError(sMsg, sUrl, sLine) {
alert("Error\n-------------\nMessage:"+ sMsg + "\nURL:" + sUrl + "\nLine:" + sLine);
return false;
window.onerror = logError;

To Fat to Fight?

A great article posted [HERE] on wired.

The just of it is...

"The National Research Council found that if the military had an enlistment standard of a 25 BMI [body mass index - the threshold for being medically overweight] , it could disqualify as many as 40 percent of young women... and 25 percent of young men."

Before all you Europeans start gathering your snottiness juices for some sort of comment, know that you are gaining on us. Pretty soon the entire western world will be a bunch of lardo's unless our societies change.

Badger Assault

You wake up one morning in Iraq and say, "Gee, what else could go wrong?" How about being attacked by giant Badgers.

View the video [HERE]. The SciFi channel's Manticore almost got it right :)

Another http://www.drudgereport.com/ post.

Lightning Stikes, Kills Pastor

Any hidden sins there fella? It would be tempting to think that, but I really do think that it was just this pastor's time to go. There is no evidence as yet to the contrary. And looking at things that way, when your time is up, your time is up. If this pastor really was preaching the Word and believing in who he preached, he is in good shape.

Read more about this bizarre story [HERE].

Story originally linked from www.drudgereport.com

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Old School: Wing Commander Animated Show

I was having a trip down memory lane today, so on a whim I looked up wing command on wikipedia.org. Wing Command was one of the best game franchises IMHO that was ever created. So I browsed, and low and behold there apparently was an animated series based on Wing Commander! I knew about the movie (which kinda blew...sorry to say) but I had never heard of the cartoon. Better yet, the wikipedia article referenced www.wcnews.com, where you can download episodes!

I haven't watched any yet, so I can't vouch for em, but you can access them [HERE].

Monday, July 23, 2007

All Your Ruby Belongs To Us

It looks like MS is working hard to pull in Ruby and Python developers. Iron Python and Iron Ruby are both in the works.

Check out the Iron Ruby announcement [HERE].

More on Iron Python [HERE].

Maybe with all this dynamic CLR stuff MS can give us Iron ASP, classic ASP with access to the .net framework classes. Now there would be something.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

UFO Story from My Archive

This one comes from WND.com from about a year ago. Just tossing old favorites/bookmarks and I thought I would add the link to my blog.

Check out the WND.com article [HERE].

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

[Update] Generation Chickenhawk

[Update] I've thought long and hard about this, and one thing bugs me. The same people who wish to hold conservatives accountable for talking about war but not participating in it, are also typically the kind of people who talk so much about caring for the troops but 1) haven't served, 2) typically support politicians who are anti military, 3) do not demonstrate any real love for our troops what so every with actions.

Again, I thought this was a great video because it calls into people to back up their ideological ramblings with action. The left needs to back there's up as well. Most left leaning politicians haven't convinced me that they truly care about American and Coalition troops. Are they giving their time, wealth, and energy in helping veterans or active duty troops? No. Then they should probably quit harping over and over again about the casualty levels and how they care so much.

Both sides need to back words with deeds. [/Update]

First of all, I would like to say that I'm a conservative, and generally I support the war in Iraq. But I have to say, I don't really think there is a whole lot of rhyme or reason to what we are doing over there. I think defeat would be disastrous for us...but at the same time I think victory in Iraq is unreachable. We would need an additional 200,000 troops and a whole lot more staying power then our current public will dictates. We would need to become more like Saddam to control Saddam's people. I don't think we are prepared to do that. I think we might have to go all the way to win as well, which would include invading Iran and possibly a few more countries. Are we prepared as a society to do that? I doubt it. So we will loose, or partially loose, or partially "win", and we will have another war without a decisive victory.

The guy who wrote this blog and filmed this stint is an asshole. Yet he brings up a good point. Can you be for the war and not participate in it? I've grappled with that myself, and toned down my rhetoric as I'm not the one fighting and dying in Iraq. This guys film brings that point home as he interviews a bunch of college republicans. All are for the war...none of them are fighting in it.

At the same time, I don't think this guy's sample is representative. A lot of conservatives did answer the call and have gone and fought, some of them dying or coming home forever changed.

I think this video is a good reality check for those of us conservatives who advocate military action yet have not served. We should temper our voices knowing we aren't paying the price for our ideological decisions. That doesn't mean are points are wrong, but it does call us into accountability for those points. If we are going to advocate war, do we have the balls to fight? If not, maybe we should temper our voices, and leave the conservative point making to those who have fought and have earned the right to speak.

The link to the video is [Here].

And by the way, I don't believe in peace at any price, and I do believe that war is sometimes a valid solution. Just I think conservatives forget that war comes with a heavy price to those who fight it. That is why I blogged this guy's video, as a reality check.

Thumbs Down: Adobe Premier Elements 2.0

I decided to do a little video editing today, so I dusted off my legit copy of Adobe Premiere Elements 2.0. I used Adobe Premier 1.x professionally and although it had its quirks I liked it and found it a useful tool.
Premier Elements 2.0, unless you are outputting your video as an Mpeg, sucks. What sucks worse is that there is no reason for this other than Adobe intentionally dumbing down the junior varsity version of Premier in the hopes that you will upgrade to the Pro version, which I bet is quiet capable.
As I type this, I'm using Acid 6 to re-encode my video because it does a better job the Premier Elements.
I hope 3 is better, but I'll never know.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Wireless USB?

Another wireless standard hits the market. Hopefully it will have greater range then blue tooth and be without all the legal problems.

Check out the article [HERE].

[Re-edit] Worms from the Sky?

Crud, looks like I shanked this one. I copied the wrong url into the [HERE] spot and now I can't find the link. Oh well, essentially the just of the story was that there was a water spout that must of sucked up the worms, then the spout dissipated and rained worms everywhere. Fortean, but explainable.
[Original Post]
I've heard stories about it raining frogs and blood. [Broken Link] is a recent example that sometimes strange things do rain from the sky.

The Dawn of The UCAV

AP News is reporting that the new "Reaper" Unmanned Combat Air Vehicles will be deployed to Iraq.
"The Air Force's 432nd Wing, a UAV unit formally established on May 1, is to eventually fly 60 Reapers and 160 Predators. The numbers to be assigned to Iraq and Afghanistan will be classified."
The dawn of the UCAV is here. Though the Reaper has a primary role of air to ground combat, we will see air to air combat aircraft in the near future...if we don't already have classified aircraft with that capability. Pretty Sci-Fi, when is Sky Net going to determine that humans are a threat?
link to specific article is [HERE].

Sunday, July 15, 2007

You Know You Live With Hicks When...

You see people wearing these. This is possibly the coolest thing I've seen, camouflage kilts. I saw someone wearing one at the Saline Celtic Festival...all I can say is awesome.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Hell Hound? No it is Wendy the Super Whippet. Don't Mess with Wendy

No, this isn't the John from Gold's gym, it is Wendy the whippet. A little Gene defect created Wendy. Some egghead in a dark lab somewhere is taking note...
Read the story [HERE].
I found a link to this story on http://www.drudgereport.com/

The Internet in 1994

I found this link on Dig posted by mklopez. Check out this internet promotional video from 1994.

Or Watch it [HERE] on youtube.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Big Business's Latest Sketchy Fad

In our automated society I've notice one area of life that is becoming less automated...cancelling something.
I recently tried to cancel my Rhapsody account. I like Rhapsody, but I thought rather then paying $15 a month for access I would flip that around and put that $15 into actually buying music. So I go to Rhapsody.com to cancel...and after about 15 minutes of searchinf finally get to a website where I can cancel Rhapsody by calling a number. So I do, and I get some guy in India with a bad accent giving me a sales pitch to stay with Rhapsody. After another 10 minutes of my life wasted, I finally got Rhapsody cancelled.
I also cancelled a few web sites from crystaltech.com recently. It used to be that if you wanted to cancel an account you could do it from there web interface. Now you have to call a number. So I did...and after three re-routes and 25 minutes of my life wasted the accounts are cancelled.
What I sense is kind of a growing trend among businesses to increase the pain of cancelling services so that less users will drop. I hope it works for 'em, because it is a giant deal breaker for me for recommending a service to others. I hope the little MBA sh*ts that are running the numbers make sure to have a column for people like me who get pissed off when they both can't enter into or leave a service freely.

French Students Learn about Geography Using A PlayStation

Check out an article [HERE] about how French educators are making use of the Playstation and an educational platform.

Second Life Real World Mashup? I Think Not

Here is an interesting article from the secondlifeherald.com that in turn sites another article about the possibility of a Second Life/Real World mashup similar to google earth.

The skinny is this - I don't thinks so.

More evidence that Second Life will be just a footnote in history, an interesting and influential one, but a footnote none the less.

The article is [HERE].

The Death of SecondCampus.com

Back about a year ago the VP of my old job stumbled onto Second Life. Another web developer that I worked with did a write up of it. At first I looked at it and thought Second Life was lame, and I couldn't believe that people would spend money to own virtual land there. At the same time my old company was going through a lot of changes, and I was kind of looking for a niche where I could be protected from my aggressive co-workers.

Well, I started playing around with Second Life. It turned out to be a wild, somewhat dark experience. Yet I saw potential there. The beginnings of what could be a virtual environment that could be used to possibly bridge the gap between ground university training and online education. I was excited. Initially my boss gave me the thumbs up, then later tried to take the whole thing away from me, then relented and let me develop out a virtual campus in Second Life.

I initially wanted things all to myself, and saw myself as more of a manager of in-game subcontractors then dealing with my co-workers. But I relented, and for some reason decided not to be greedy and allow the full team to be involved. This turned out to be a huge mistake, as I didn't really have the power to direct the team, and they all looked at the project as kind of a fun joke, which really frustrated me.

Anyways, I had dreams of grandeur. I mastered the Linden API and started developing a web application where students could create avatars, events would be managed, test would be administered, in-game out-of-game web communication between the web site and Second Life would happen. Secondcampus.com was created and the guts of the web application were ready to go.

But as I started, I was dogged by other projects that I didn't want nor care about, co-workers who had hidden agendas and ego's that I couldn't nor wanted to manage, a corporate shake up, and a slow willingness by my educational company to use the virtual campus that we created.

In the end I decided to jump ship and take a web development job that was 100% telecommute that would allow me to move closer to my girlfriend. I made a hasty exit from my company but I left the keys to my Second Life kingdom behind me so others could take the reigns if they so desired.

Nothing happened. I checked sadly ever so often to see if anyone had done anything with our island. Nada. Then one of my former co-workers contacted me about not being able to post a blog on the old second campus blog site. I told him how again, and it the process removed myself completely from accessing the blog. Then I waited. He posted, another self glorifying post about how this developer had done something with a technology similar to second life. Then nothing. The whole exercise was so this developer could shout to the world his greatness, then his interest in keeping the blog going died.

Then the same developer contacted me about Second Campus. I though again maybe some activity. Nope, he just needed some web space to host a video that they had put together about the virtual campus. The video didn't really say much, just some fly by's. Again, another look what I did, not real interest in development.

I had given my company info about how to transfer the domain over, but no interest occurred until later. Well tonight the last step was taken, the secondcampus.com domain name is transferred, but my company elected not to keep the web host, so as of tomorrow SecondCampus.com will most likely be, along with my dreams of the virtual classroom, a memory.

Monday, July 09, 2007

SQL Table to Comma Delimted String

I always wondered how to turn the results of a SQL query INTO a delimited string. On a whim I did a google search today and found out how. The technique actually isn't that complex.

Check out how by clicking [HERE].

Here is a primitive example of how it is done from the above page.

DECLARE @p_str VARCHAR(1000)
SET @p_str = ''

SELECT @p_str = @p_str + ',' + CAST(productid AS VARCHAR(6))
FROM [order details]
WHERE orderid = @p_order_id

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

It's a Car...No It's a Boat...Wait, It's Both?

This is just plain cool. Some NZ company came up with a car that turns into a boat that turns into a car. I guess the Military is looking into them now.

Check out the company's website [HERE].

Dig the eighties theme music in the videos.

The Plot Thickens...

Another so called deathbed alien confession...real, hoaxed, or a psyop? This one comes from the dude who originally released the press release at Roswell in '47 saying the aliens had crashed. Allegedly he confessed all, sealed his confession till his death, and now that he is croaked his confession has made it out into the wild.

Read more [HERE].