February 28, 2005

About Mozilla

Firefox 1.0.1

Wow. Firefox 1.0.1 is a great upgrade. If nothing else, ecto's ectoize bookmarklet now works. Faboo! But it also appears faster and cleaner. Thumbs up, everyone!

Posted by Ted Stevko at 03:58 PM | Comments (0)

February 27, 2005

EFF Review of Elgato's EyeTV 500

EFF: EFF's Review of Elgato's EyeTV 500 via Mobilewhack EFF's reviewed the Elgato EyeTV 500; I have to say, I had an EyeTV 200, and was sorely disappointed. For digital cable and dish, it basically has no tuning ability. So, unless you tune it yourself, it's no Tivo substitute. The best I could do was a IR blaster and Applescript, along with either the Elgato software or iCal as a trigger. On the other hand, if you can't get an HDTV tuner after 7/1, then the little problems are really small, aren't they?
Posted by Ted Stevko at 11:21 PM | Comments (0)

Atlanta Radio, and Beyond.

Via Metroblogging Atlanta, we find a very interesting link to Yes.net, which lists out the songs being played on one of Atlanta's only saving graces: Album 88, WRAS. It's Georgia State's radio station, and it definitely doesn't fit the profile for normal radio stations. Yes.net lists a little randomly, though, so be forewarned. If you're not around Atlanta, try checking out Radio Paradise, probably one of the best online radio stations around.

Posted by Ted Stevko at 11:05 PM | Comments (0)

Dumb Laws

Interesting trail staring at <a href="http://www.boingboing.net">Boingboing</a>, where we get this <a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/usa/story/0,12271,1425731,00.html">story about two Cornwall students breaking 45 dumb laws across the US</a>. They plan to criss-cross the US and breaking laws such as hiring a boat to go whale-hunting... in Utah.

They got most of their ideas off of <a href="http://www.dumblaws.com">Dumb Laws</a>, which has some interesting ones for where I live, <a href="http://www.dumblaws.com/laws.php?site=laws&cid=184&region=10">Georgia</a>. Turns out, I cant keep a donkey in the bathtub or tie a giraffe to a telephone pole. Nor can I carry a ice cream cone in my back pocket on a Sunday.

But naturally, in this state of corruption and greed, a state assemblyperson can't be ticketed for speeding while the assembly is in session... and considering their track record, I wouldn't be surprised if they were abusing this law.

Posted by Ted Stevko at 10:07 PM | Comments (0)

February 23, 2005

A Little More Technical Fun

Well, while everything else was going on, I upgraded to MovableType 3, which looks... dammit, great. It's good enough to lick, and that's annoying. Because then I have to finish that redesign I'm working on, which is really frustrating.

Anyway, if anything doesn't work, shout. You will be required to put in a username and password, but that's as it's been. I'm still getting several hundred bot hits a day, but that should go down some.

Posted by Ted Stevko at 07:35 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Computer-based Home Security System

HOW-TO: Turn your laptop into a home security system

Neat little ditty on turning a laptop into a security system. Especially targeted towards Mac users, but it's nice to see anyway.
Posted by Ted Stevko at 07:33 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 22, 2005

Mars Has LOTS of Water

Mars pictures reveal frozen sea

This probably won't even dent most people's consciousness, but this is HUGE. There was known to be water at the poles, but still -- this means that, first, if there was life on Mars, it would likely be somewhere around something like this. Life as we know it needs water, and the poles are cold for that sort of thing -- so this is an interesting idea.

Second is that, if there's no life there, we can still put a colony on Mars with less trouble than if it was pure desert. The area they're talking about holds somewhere around 360,000 cubic kilometers -- that's 360,000,000 cubic meters -- and using my handy calculator, that's 8,500,000,000,000 gallons of water approximately. Take that to 10% usable water, and you're still looking at 850 billion gallons, enough to keep a colony pretty OK for a while.

Posted by Ted Stevko at 07:08 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

A Few Series 60 Notes

Got a couple of fun ones for anyone with a Symbian Series 60 phone. To start with, Rael pointed it out best at Mobilewhack: "Somewhere in the holiday lull, we missed this announcement going by. If we missed it, then you probably did too." In fact, I did: Nokia released Python for the Series 60 phones. Fab! now I don't have to go through a ton of gyrations to program my phone.

Then, if that weren't enough: Nokia and Macromedia release flash for the Series 60. Double fab! Now I can get decent graphics and even have a reason to use Flash. Coolness.

Finally, here's a really sweet app from Gizmodo -- a recorder for cell phone calls. Maybe it's not the coolest thing ever, but when you need it, it's fantastic.

Posted by Ted Stevko at 06:39 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Some Notes on Moveable Type

Well, with some luck and some perseverence, I seem to have cleaned a few things up. First, the index.rdf will work again; we've now got updated information in the RSS feed. Second, the main web page actually has stuff again. Not a lot, but there it is. :D

I found a few problems with MT, which I'm posting here in case anyone else runs across it. It seems that somewhere back in time, MT started by creating files as one account, and then ended up creating them later as another. Because of the vagrancies of this, the new updates were not killing off the older updates, and so the index.rdf was years old, while the index page was reverting to December 2004 for whatever reason.

Also of note: I had despammed sometime in 2004. Because some of the archive files were not getting rewritten, these pages were still full of spam, more's the pity. Even worse, though, I found entry pages for non-existant entries. Those contained a lot of spam (which is why I found them.) I'm going to do some watching out and see if these pages reappear, and will post if I find them. If this is the case, that's *bad* bad.

Other news: more entries will be appearing in the near future. An update to the interface is way, way overdue and will be getting done. And there might be an MT upgrade in the future, but no bets yet.

Posted by Ted Stevko at 05:09 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 15, 2005

Judge Allows Governor to Block Press Access

Wired News

To summarize, I turn to the article:

Ehrlich last fall barred state employees from talking to The Sun's State House bureau chief David Nitkin and columnist Michael Olesker. The governor said the two journalists were not objectively covering his administration. Ehrlich views the two metropolitan daily newspapers serving Maryland, The Sun and The Washington Post, as liberal and pro-Democratic.

The judge of this case agreed that it was OK:

"The right to publish news is expansive. However, the right does not carry with it the unrestrained right to gather information," the judge ruled.

I think that the phrase "free press" needs to be explained again. Free is "free as in freedom", which means exactly the unresrained right to gather information. And publish it, too.

Posted by Ted Stevko at 03:23 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Incredibly Bad Piece on Blogging

Blogging is all fun and games, until the boss finds out - Feb. 14, 2005

This article from CNN/Money tries to make a point -- possibly even a valid one -- by using facts not in evidence. Because I'm in a ticked-off mood tonight, and want to get on someone's case, I'm going to rant a little about the article attached.

Let's start out:

Mark Jen landed a dream job with Google Inc. in January. He was fired less than a month later. His infraction? He ran a Web log, where he freely gabbed about his impressions of life at the Mountain View, Calif.-based Internet search giant.

Actually, his infraction was not that he "gabbed about his impressions", but that he posted financial details about the company... which he posted a few days ago, plenty of time to correct. He did state that his blog was the direct cause, so there's a point in the favor of the article.

Except that's the only mention of Jen in the entire article. Bleah! If you bring up people and can't contact them, bring them up as footnotes, not as part of the lede.

Web logs, or blogs, the online personal diaries where big names and no names expound on everything from pets to presidents, are going mainstream. While still a relatively small piece of total online activity, blogging has caught on with affluent young adults. As Forrester Research analysts recently noted, blogging will become increasingly common as these consumers age.

I'll take this roving paragraph one sentence at a time. First, "blogs" has entered Miriam-Webster 's dictionary, so identifying them as coming from the term "web logs" is like saying "telephone, coming from the Latin root tele- and -phono"; it's a pointless exercise. Calling blogging "diary writing" is pretty sure to piss off bloggers as demeaning. The "big names and no names expound on everything from pets to presidents": my, my. Sounds fantastic, but it's an illiteration with no solid grounding. If you're trying to say it's a growing trend, say "blogging is a trend gaining popularity in the US". Oh, and "going mainstream?" Dumb phrase, it's meaningless. First, because they've been mainstream for a while now -- pretty much since last year, when the presidential elections highlighted them.

Next, "While still a relatively small piece of total online activity" is very misleading. Let's skip the fact it's part of the pointness "this is a growing trend" thought alluded to in prior paragraphs. "Total online activity" is a fake statistic. There is no one definition of "total online activity", because "online activity" could mean a lot of things. "Online activity" sounds like it means "data run through the Internet", but could also mean "web sites that are available" or "number web sites requests". The data definition is closest to true, simply because blogs are web pages -- and web pages are (usually) small, in the 10-30kb range. (By comparison, P2P networks serve much larger files; most often upwards of 1 mb. 10,000 10k page requests gets overshadowed by 2 50mb requests on P2P sites.) The second and third possible definitons are hard to tell, as there's no solid way to tell either. There's no way for a web server to tell what's a blog and what's not, so telling the number, or how many page requests are made of weblogs, is difficult.

Whoops; almost forgot the "affluent young adults". No one has any statistics on this, so saying that it's only affluent young adults is a lie, but also, the sentence before says that it's "big names and no names". So it's either just yuppies, or it's everyone.

Finally, "As Forrester Research analysts recently noted, blogging will become increasingly common as these consumers age." I'm guessing that Forrester did research on it. But the paragraph is about proving that this is a trend *now*, not that it will be a trend later. Although this is good for what follows -- aiming towards proving that this will be as big a problem for companies and employees in the future as it is now -- it's not good in this paragraph, aiming towards establishing it as a growing trend now.

I'll skip a little and hit a lower paragraph:

Even though employee blogging ranks behind personal Internet and e-mail use at work, Google and other companies are starting to crack down.

Immediately after this comes 3 instances of employees being fired not for blogging at work, but for, in order, showing a picture of herself in company uniform, writing about company details, and taking a picture of something that they didn't like. None of them were blogging at work -- the last one, points that he was let go for a posting to his weblog, not for doing it at work. Know the facts.

In recent months Apple Computer has launched legal attacks against operators of at least three Internet sites -- not run by Apple employees -- that allegedly posted or linked to information that the Cupertino, Calif., maker of the iPod portable music player claims is proprietary.

This one I'm going to slap down hard: if they're not run by Apple employees, WHY BRING IT UP? Also, if you take a look, two of these were "rumor" sites, not really "blogs"; the third, a long-running news site -- mis-referenced (Powerpage.com is actually http://www.powerpage.org). All of these sites are attempting to be more professional, even applying for press credentials and such. So it's neither workplace related, nor blog related.

There's more, but my hands hurt. It's a poorly worded, badly researched article. CNN and Money should be ashamed.

Posted by Ted Stevko at 01:57 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 11, 2005

Update To The Cookie Story

Girls Get Donations In Colorado Cookie Case

You knew it was going to happen, but it's still nice to see it. To recap an earlier post, a judge fined two girls $900 for medical bills because they scared a neighbor woman by giving her cookies. Thanks to Kirsten for noticing the follow up: donations flowed in, enough money was given to cover the damages awarded by the judge.

Of course, the neighbor still doesn't get why they're being vilified, as evidenced by this quote:

"It's horrible, nobody has heard our side," said Herb Young [the neighbor's husband -- ed.], adding the couple has had to hire a lawyer. "I don't believe the girls meant for this to happen. But they could have prevented it from happening if they had just shut their mouths when they came out of (small claims) court. Now they are caught in something they can't control."

I suppose there could be extenuating circumstances, but instead of pointing out those circumstances, they blame the girls for not "shutting their mouth". Nothing says "I'm a good person" like blaming kids for your misfortune.

Posted by Ted Stevko at 01:10 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 10, 2005

Tea Never Was Too Common In The US...

CNN.com - Attorney general seeks ban on church's tea - Feb 10, 2005

Alberto Gonzales, in a show of what his run at being top persecutor will be like, is trying to stop a tea that a religious group is using as part of its' services, because it's a hallucinogen.

The number of members in the church in the US? 140.

Posted by Ted Stevko at 06:48 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Two Words

Salon.com News | Virginia is for lovers, but not underpants

Virginia is trying to press a $50 fine for showing your underpants in public. There's a two word solution for this: Go commando.

Posted by Ted Stevko at 12:05 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 09, 2005

Bush On Racism

CNN.com - Bush calls for end of racism - Feb 9, 2005

I wouldn't normally blog this -- it's really just a filler article on a topic with way too much wind and too little substance, much like calling for the end of poverty and hunger.

But two things caught my eye though. First, Bush is not calling for the US to try and eradicate racism. He said instead, "...we cannot carry the message of freedom and the baggage of bigotry at the same time." Bush is not exactly one to be talking about the "baggage of bigotry" (nor am I). Dismissing the problems that bigotry causes by calling it "baggage" is flippant at best.

The second thing was the last sentence in the article.

Bush has met three times with the [Congressional Black Caucus] since taking office.

Hmm.. I'm thinking someone at CNN's getting a might testy.

Posted by Ted Stevko at 07:13 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Small is Beautiful

Cringley talks in this column about small and cheap computers, and points to a *really* interesting platform, Gumstix. It's an incredibly small platform with expansion boards... like CF, USB and ethernet capabilities.

Posted by Ted Stevko at 05:02 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 07, 2005

Interesting Note...

The New York Times > Technology > Smaller Than a Pushpin, More Powerful Than a PC

Microsoft is planning on using dual PowerPCs in their next Xbox.

In its next version of the Xbox, Microsoft plans to shift from using Pentium chips from Intel to a PowerPC microprocessor from I.B.M. The chip will have two PowerPC processor cores, but it will not be as radically new as the I.B.M. Cell design [the new chip that this article is about -- ed.] that Sony plans to use, said one executive who is familiar with the Microsoft project.
Posted by Ted Stevko at 10:22 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Cuddly Menace

The Cuddly Menace

Another bit of fun, just for this Monday morning; the "My Little Golden Book About Zogg", rife with pastel cherubs and instructions on what Zogg will do when he gets to Earth.

Posted by Ted Stevko at 10:18 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


erasing.org / I Ate iPod Shuffle

Finer free-verse, I have rarely read. Hit this for a chuckle.

Posted by Ted Stevko at 10:14 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 06, 2005

Best News All Week

CNN.com - Cheney: 'I will not run' for president - Feb 6, 2005

A minor note of happiness: Cheney won't run. Of course, it probably has more to do with the fact that he's scandal-ridden enough to guarantee a loss. What with Enron, Halliburton, questionable practices with Iraq post-Gulf I and pre-Gulf II, we're looking at a Teddy Kennedy-esque Republican.

Posted by Ted Stevko at 02:45 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 05, 2005

Debate Bulge Redux

The Emperor's New Hump

Fair.org's article above brings back up the "bulge" on Bush's jacket during the 2004 Presidential Debates, and then points out that The New York Times killed the piece.

Frankly, they should have. And it's really a good thing. How do you prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Bush had a wire on during the Presidential elections? Either someone who's seen the wire comes forward, or someone presents proof. Few people get to see the president as is; seeing the Shrub with a wire on is pretty unlikely. And proof is just as unlikely; no one would get near enough to investigate the bulge.

The bulge is suspicious, and I'd even bet that it was a wire. But I'd never collect, because I can't prove it. So putting it into the paper -- any paper -- is a mistake unless further proof could be made available. That's the point of the paper: print *facts*, not *allegations*. Print what you know and can prove.

Posted by Ted Stevko at 10:05 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

History Teaches Me

Max Schmeling Bio from Sporting Life
andMax Schmeling bio from elsewhere

Few things are simple and pat. Occam's Razor works for solutions, not history. When I was growing up, all I got of Joe Brown was that he did his part during WWII by defeating Max Schmeling, the German heavyweight champion. Barely registered a blip.

And now, now I find I was wrong. Only after his death, this week, at 99. Schmeling wasn't a Nazi party member, hid his Jewish neighbor's kids and got them out of Germany, gave money to Joe Brown later in life, and even paid for Joe Brown's funeral.

Last time I listen to a history teacher.

Posted by Ted Stevko at 09:44 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


CNN.com - Girls sued for delivering cookies - Feb 4, 2005

It's the little things that count. For example, take gifts. It's not the big or expensive ones that you remember; it's the little ones. A special gift you just mentined, a memento, a hug. (One I treasure was a gag gift from my parents at Christmas (living in Florida) to me (going to college in chilly St. Louis): a beach in a bag. Sand, seashells, and blue-dyed water. Kept it while the liquid dried out and the seashells became sand. )

And then, there's doing nice things for your neighbor. When I was young, we knew your neighbors. We didn't like all of them, but we knew them. Even as late as the mid-90s, it was common to know at least one or two well enough to invite them into your home. Now, neighborhoods are like ghost towns at night; no one talking, no one visiting. We're all lessened by this practice.

It gets worse when I see news stories like the one above.

According to the story, two girls gave away some cookies to their neighbors, and one of them was "so startled" by "'shadowy figures' outside the house banging on the door" at 10:30 at night, she had to go to the hospital.

Young said the teenagers showed "very poor judgment". "The victory wasn't sweet," Young said. "I'm not gloating about it. I just hope the girls learned a lesson."

Ahh... yeah. The *girls* need to learn a lesson.

Mind you, the sentence imposed was $900 for the woman's medical bills, something the parents of the kids had already offered prior to court. The woman declined, saying the apologies were not sincere, nor in person.

Yeah. Just keep saying, "the kids needed to learn a lesson", and eventually, you'll believe it. In the dark corners of your room, locked behind triple-bolted doors, and hidden away from humanity, you'll believe it.

Posted by Ted Stevko at 09:11 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 01, 2005

Mac OS X Parallax Board Of Education Stamp Programming App


And as we're looking around the net and talking about Parallax Board Of Education kits... here's a Basic Stamp programming application for Parallax's serial and USB boards. Pretty spiffy!

Posted by Ted Stevko at 09:23 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

A Hilarious Prank

Making Light: Atlanta Nights and PublishAmerica

Before this, I hadn't heard of "PublishAmerica". Now, I'm probably never going to forget them. PublishAmerica is a "vanity press", a press that an author pays in order to publish the author's book. PublishAmerica claims it's not a vanity press, though, and this has been a huge thorn in a lot of people's sides... including a number of authors. These authors produced "Atlanta Nights", a book of such astonishingly bad writing, that I, as a neophyte writer, cringed constantly with the few samples I've seen.

Jim McDonald wrote about the whole story on how this came about , and it's well worth a read through it.

Posted by Ted Stevko at 09:05 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

M&M Candy Sorter

M&M Sorter

All over the internet today: M&M candy sorter. Based on the BOE (Board Of Education) system from Parallax, you can buy from Parallax your own automatic M&M Candy Sorter.

It's actually pretty cool.... which just goes to show how amazinlgy sick I am.

Posted by Ted Stevko at 08:29 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack