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 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].

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Feds Nab the Yellow Submarine.

Yes, we all have heard that the yellow submarine sung about by the Beatles was something drug related. Well, it looks like the U.S. Navy busted the yellow submarine today, even though it was has been painted blue.

Read more [HERE].

Another one from

What Makes Success

I stumbled on a small video today that is worth taking a look at. It is just three minutes, and it hits on eight factors leading to success.

Check it out [HERE].

Always keep in mind though the words of the one who created it all, Jesus.

"What good does it do if a man gains the whole world but looses his soul?"

But still, whatever you do, you should do it with all your heart, ideally to glorify God who gave you the passion and the talents to do what you are doing in the first place. If you don't have a passion for what you are doing...maybe you should be doing something else. Something I struggle with at times.

More on Virtual Identities: Identity Bending and Freaks

I met my real life girl friend and most likely future wife on Second Life. I will always be thankful to the platform for that. But we have a really big problem here...or maybe we don't. To me it is, to others it is not. What's the problem? Identity Bending. It is one thing to enter a virtual world and maybe make an avatar a little more thin, a little more attractive, a little more stronger appearing, then how you appear in real life. But where does it end? Fifty year old men playing 19 year old women? So called "Age Play"? Furries? More importantly, what responsibilities do you have to let others know that you aren't as you appear? Are people deliberately deceiving others about who they are so they can fulfill their twisted fantasies? If so, do they have any accountability for this? Are they doing wrong? I think so.

Read this article on the Second Life Herald found [HERE] for a sad commentary on Identity Bending. It is just another nail in the coffin for me in my thoughts concerning Second Life.

Reading this article, and more importantly, reading the comments made in response to this article, just made me sick. Is Second Life just full of a bunch of closet homosexuals playing out their gender bending fantasies?

Groups are making valiant attempts to use Second Life. I do think there is validity to the argument that encountering someone in a virtual space brings a greater sense of presence then say having a 2D chat or a webx or net meeting. Virtual businesses are trying to wrap their heads around Second Life and use its potential. I hail these people, and I am one myself to a lesser degree. You see potential and are willing to be on the bleeding edge of technology adoption. But we are continuously failing in Second Life. Why?

Let's face it. The potential for serious use and even game use if Second Life is there, but not really close to what it needs to be for SL to fly. So we have this crappy virtual world where we can't do much except text and voice chat in small groups and animate our characters and listen to music. We can't really game or do game type activities due to lag and the crappy game engine.

So where does that leave Second Life as? A virtual stalking ground for social encounters. And it looks like the primary draw of Second Life is to homo's and pervs. This is why serious users (except maybe the fringe world of academia who have isolated "islands" in Second Life and less accountability for immediate results) are failing. The target demographic in Second Life, I really, really, hate to admit, is a bunch of pervs. Not all, there are many good people in Second Life trying to make the crappy virtual world into something akin to the mythical metaverse (And hats off to Linden Labs for making a low tech stab at making the aren't there but you are closer then anyone who had come before you). But based on my own experience it seems like over 70% of Second Life's denizens are there to live out their perverted secret fantasies. Is this something I want to be involved with? It is too bad, because I've had some great experiences in Second Life. I've met some great people there. And I've seen Second Life enable physically challenged people in RL to enjoy being fully functional in the virtual world. But Second Life is just too full of whack jobs for me. The more I read, the more people I encounter lately in second life, the more I get depressed and find myself logging in less and less. The initial attempts at making more activities to do in SL besides cybersex are mostly abandoned or have disappeared.

Maybe one day I'll take the queue and vanish like millions of others already have.

Russia's New UACV

The Russian's are in the UCAV game too.

Check out their first prototype [HERE].

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The New Flying Wing

This is a pretty cool video unearthed by the wired defense blogger guys of an an experimental flying wing aircraft. Note its is flying at a 45 degree angle. Pretty trippy.

Wired Defense article is [HERE].

Virtual Identities: A Tale of Deception and Murder

This one was made for TV. I don't want to spoil it for you, but lets just say there is a cool twist at the end. This article on wired is long, but worth the read. It was made for an ABC TV movie to capitalize on real or perceived Internet identity fears.

Read it all [HERE]. Page three is where it gets good.

If you don't want to read the article, here is the skinny. Old guy pretends to be young marine in Iraq. Meets young girl online. Romance. Old dude's wife finds out, lets young girl know. Young girl finds solace in Old dude's younger friend. Old dude goes crazy, kills younger dude. Police investigate. Find out young girl was really an old fat mother of two.

Ah the tangled webs we weave.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Funny: Dwarf get His...You Know...Glued to a Vaccum

Sad that we laugh at other's misery...but I'm laughing. This guy kinda brought it on himself.

Read the sad tale [HERE] if you must.

Monday, August 20, 2007

An Example of Media Control: Iran shells villages in Iraq

It is significant to me what the American media chooses to pick up and what it chooses to ignore. It points to a cabal at worst at best an oligarchy of like minded media moguls who have incredible influence on what we hear, the context in which we hear it, and when we hear it. With the world wide web we see some gaps here in there in their control, as they don't move as a unified whole.

So what am I talking about? Iran shelling Iraq. Isn't this an act of war? Isn't this a significant event? It is, but our media overloads have decided that it would not be prudent to "stir up the masses" on this one. The story leaked...but why isn't Fox news, CNN, and for that matter the Comedy Channel picking up on this story? And when and if they do, will the story just be a quick blurb with a commentator saying something like "That's disturbing." Then quickly moving on the the Paris Hilton drama of the day?

Here is the story that I am referring to to use as a center point for my argument above. The BBC let it slip though...just like we heard a few rumblings of something going on with Turkey and Iraq...but not much traction. Why?

The article is [HERE].

History: CIS Style

Where back! An article about the new history guildelines for Russian schools would make Joe S. proud. More evidence that the Cold War II is on its way. This time a weakened U.S. will face an axis of powerful enemies while having fewer friends.

Read [HERE] to be depressed.

Forwarded to me by Jason Sinclair.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Second Life .Net User's Group Has Big Plans

Microsoft Developers and Second Life? We will see how it works out. But the .Net User's group in Second Life has big plans.

Check out the user's group in Second Life or the website [HERE] to get involved.

D & D Fourth Edition Announced

I'd say that from about 6th grade to 12th grade I played role playing games on average of about 20 hours a week. Then in college I realized that playing D & D, Space Master, Gamma World, Car Wars, etc... weren't really helping myself meet members of the opposite sex, so I curtailed my RPG'ing somewhat. But I still love to play when I can.

So, it was interesting to me that AD & D lives on, and there is a new 4rth edition coming out.

Here is a video teaser of what to expect.

And here is a slashdot'ed blog post with a little more info on likely and rumored rule changes. Check that out [HERE]

One of the things that D & D has been plagued by is the argument that D & D in particular and RPG's in general promote occultism and pagan world views. I sometimes struggle with that. Most of the arguments I hear are B.S., but this article brings up a few good points. I think RPG's, along with music, tv, new age philosophies, have all had a huge and I hate to admit generally negative impact on our culture.

But you decide, read Chick's take [HERE].

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Image Detection, JavaScript, Safari and InnerHTML

Another cross-browser DOM tip. Safari (at least versions =< 3.x) can't handle innerHTML operations until the page has loaded.

Another tip. I ran into a situation where I had to verify that an image existed remotely. Apparently the image tag supports the "onerror" method, so if the image doesn't load you can point your onerror to a javascript function to do something about the image not being available. Example <img onerror="myfunc();" src="some source" /> onerror must be lower case else earlier versions of IE won't pick it up.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Inserting a Null Value in SQL Server Through Enterprise Manager

I always freaken forget this, so I'm putting it here so I won't.

To add a null value to a column in SQL Server Enterprise Manager, just hit [CTRL] [0].

Thursday, August 16, 2007

US Schools Going Euro?

Check this out, U.S. high school freshmen having to pick majors?

Click [HERE] to read the slashdotted article.

Bad: U.S. Army Begining to Turn Its Back On Jesus

First of all, I do believe that the U.S. military should be secular in organization. But, troops, and those that support the troops, should be able to engage in any sort of religious activities they desire while not on official duty.

So it is sad for me to see that the U.S. Army is bowing to a few loud mouths and not allowing an evangelical group to send care packages (which have a Christian video game and Christian literature in them) to the troops. I believe this violates first amendments rights of both Army personnel who would like to receive the care packages, and the rights of the care package senders.

Read more about this [HERE].

More Evidence Of Media Bias

Here is a link, found again on, once again indicating a media bias.

Click [HERE] to review.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

As Predicted: Evolution Breaks Down, Here Come the Space Brothers

Slashdot picked up on an article describing the fact that life starting here on earth rather then somewhere else is about one trillion trillion. Of course, for atheist scientist, that must mean that life came from a comet(huh?). Pretty soon numerous folks will ditch the comet for UFO's and space aliens, just you watch.
Anyone remember God? Could He have played a factor?

The Slashdot post is [HERE].

Software Review: Googiespell - Thumbs Sideways

I spent a frustrating morning and afternoon trying to get Googiespell to work with the wysiwyg DHTML web editor TinyMCE.

Googiespell is a quick and dirty javascript api that allows you to spell check HTML elements using google's spell checking endpoint/api/webservice with just a few lines of code. The problem I ran into while using it is that Googiespell doesn't play nicely with HTML editors.

TinyMCE is one of the better wysiwyg web based rich text/HTML editors that I have found. It even works with most versions of Safari. It comes with a free spell checker php class and supports Aspell, google's spell check, and one other spelling engine. There is also on open source plugin that supports netspell for aspx pages. The problem is that I'm stuck with classic ASP at the moment so PHP and Netspell don't help me out much. I even tried using netspell concurrently with my asp pages and that didn't work either.

So I learned two things. One, just because a piece of software wows you initially doesn't mean it will suit your needs, my assumption that Googiespell would work with wysiwyg editors might cost me about $250 bucks (my company through down for the licensed version). So research carefully. Two, Googiespell doesn't work well with dhtml text editors, and that sucks!

Amir who wrote Googiespell has been responsive, and I really like Googiespell. But it isn't the end all spell checking solution so it gets a thumbs sideways.

Googiespell is [HERE].

TinyMCE is [HERE].

Freetextbox and Netspell are [HERE].

Biker Fails To Notice...That His Leg Had Been Severed

I've heard about this type of thing, but I thought occurrences of people loosing limbs while driving where all urban myths. Well, in Japan, apparently not.

Read about a poor office worker in Japan who felt pain but didn't realize his leg was missing [HERE].

Not So Upbeat "Simulations": A Comptroller Compares American's Future to The Fall of the Roman Empire

I got into a brief but interesting discussion today with some former coworkers about how moral values are important if America wants to survive. It seems I was on the same page as the Comptroller of the USA.

Read his comments [HERE].

Originally referenced on

Monday, August 13, 2007

Deleted Article or Part of the Conspiracy? Canadian X-Minister Waxes Weird About UFO's and America

This article was Slashdoted, but the original news article that it references was deleted from yahoo news. Conspiracy? I doubt it, but funny none-the-less.

The slashdot article is [HERE].

Friday, August 10, 2007

Rethinking Negativity About Virtual Worlds

First off, I am both a lover of and a pessimist of Second Life. I think it is a great first stab at a metaverse type of environment. It has a long way to go, and a lot of articles from Wired, the New York Times, etc... have recently been calling out Second Life, calling Second Life a pervert filled money sink of little or no "serious" value. I myself am pessimistic about SL, but let's step back a bit. Let's analyze some recent articles about virtual worlds in general and Second Life in particular headlines.

[HERE] is a link to my comments on virtual infidelity.

[HERE] is a link to how Ginko Fiancial went bankrupt in Second Life

[HERE] is a link to an article about a virtual/real life modeling contest hosted by Budwiser in Second Life.

So, let's take a 1000 foot view here. Where are we at with virtual worlds? Well, people are having cybersex, making money, going bankrupt, and starting modeling careers, hacking, selling real and virtual products, all within virtual environments (again mainly second life). If you saw this in 1980 you would think this was insanely futuristic and cool. I think we have a tendency to get down on the first generation virtual environments (actually more like the 4rth gen, but the 1st gen to gain some traction) not because they are failures but because we want MORE. MORE realism, MORE things to do, MORE ways to be entertained by them. Those who look at Second Life and other virtual worlds and turn away from them are turning away from them not because they are failed concepts, they just aren't feature complete. Skeptics critique virtual environments not because of what they can do, but what they are not yet able to do.
Something to think about before poo pooing the emerging virual environments.

As if Marriage Didn't Have Enough Problems: Enter Virtual Infidelity

There is a great article on the Wall Street Journal about Virtual Infidelity. It shows that virtual worlds are having an impact on the real, and not always a good one. First it was AOL chat, now it is cyberbanging a cartoonish avatar. Moralist and ethicist will grapple with this for years when any three year old will tell you it is wrong.

As someone who met his current girlfriend/future wife on Second Life, I can see how easily it is to get tangled up in virtual relationships, especially if relationships in the real are troubled and the virtual augments/alternatives are plentiful.

I believe that what you do in your imagination, in a virtual simulation, in a game, what have you, all ultimately reflects on who you are on the inside. I also believe that we all well be held accountable for all our actions, regardless of the realm of acitivty, someday. This is something that troubles me as I've done things in virtual realms that I would never have done in the real, so I'm as guilty as anybody. The whisper of the world is that it doesn't matter, ignore that whisper, it does.

The article is [HERE].

Originally referenced at [HERE].

And no, the picture has nothing to do with my gf and I, just something I found randomly on the web for this post.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

One of the most annoying, pontificating, liberal bloggers is Jerome Armstrong. I think I've been to his blog twice, but I hear about it all the time. It is good to see him showing himself to be a corporate pawn like the people he rails against all the time.

Old Jerome got busted for endorsing buying stock in a company while taking money under the table to do so. Kind of like Cheney and Halliburton.
Note, I'm not endorsing the left or the right, just pointing out the hypocracy of someone who didn't live up to the ideology they were so found of shoving upon others.

Jerome, your legions of followers will soon forget about your hushed sleazy deal, but I won't, and I'll be sure to bring it up with my lefty friends every time they reference your blog rag.

Cha Ching!

Read more [HERE].

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Second Life:One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

This week Second Life gets voice. This is a great feature that makes the platform one small step closer to being used seriously by business. Yet key features, like moderated discussions, remain elusive. Linden promises these things in the near future, but Linden Lab's past track record on delivering promised features is pretty abysmal. Voice also takes away some of the anonymity of the platform, which will cause a certain percentage of SL's clientele to become less active in the SL universe.

So, although voice is a great small step, I'm still looking for
- Moderated voice discussion features
- An integrated web browser that supports at least flash video
- The ability to sync audio and video
- Less lag/more stability
- A client that auto updates, rather then me having to download a 30 meg file every week

So, good job Linden, I await the full promised package.

Also, I'm fairly behind on work this week, so the post will be pretty sparse, if anyone even reads this. I'll make up for it next week.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Did Russia Just Claim the North Pole?

Putin - "All your North Pole belongs to us."

Can they do that?

Read more [HERE].

Mobility Rodent Deterent

I found this one amusing. Wizzo is a new military technology adapted by one military supply unit to combat rodents.

The article is [HERE].

Funky Firefox

I noticed some strange behavior in Firefox. If you do a standard HTML select box, and set one of the options programmatically to selected on the server side before the select box is rendered (say with ASP or PHP) Firefox sometimes will ignore your select. If you copy the output code and create a standard HTML file out of it, the proper select option will then be selected. Weird.

The workaround is to set the option to <option value="myval" selected="true">some text</option>

Strange. Hope this helps someone out.

[Update] use checked="checked" for radio buttons (same problem)

Another Exorcism Gone Bad

Don't get me wrong, I'm a Christian, and I have a pretty fundamentalist view on the existence of demons and the occasional clash between the followers of Jesus and the forces of Darkness. It just seems lately that the forces of darkness have spun things around by having crazies under their control preform exorcisms on innocent people. Is this a campaign to discredit exorcism by the forces of darkness? Or just nut jobs doing what nut jobs do?

Probably both.

Read the latest crazy as exorcist story [HERE].

Original link was found on