Thursday, August 31, 2006
Speaking of Google (Because We Were, You Know)
As if I needed more to read. As if I needed a reason to become even more tethered to my computer. As if Google hadn’t already provided me with all sorts of fun stuff to play with.
Now there are free downloads of public domain titles scanned from their original sources. That means a cool and wide variety of books that you can download whenever you realize that you have spent too much at Tattered Cover this month. Just as an example.
And speaking of examples, here’s an example of the stuff I’ve been downloading.
That’s from Nyasaland Under the Foreign Office by Hector Livingston Duff, published in 1906 by George Bell.
Oh, man, I’m loving this.
Download your own freakishly obscure books (and start peppering your own blog posts with snippets of the texts) by going to the Google Book Search. Click the “full view books” option and enjoy the world’s biggest library.
(Hat tip to the Google Blog.)
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Cool Tools: gDisk
Here’s another great moment for Open Source: take Gmail, add an easy application that allows you to up and download files to your account, and you suddenly have over two gigs of online storage. For Mac OS X users, that’s exactly what gDisk does in a reliable, small, free application that I’ve been using for some time to share files between my computers.
And it really is easy. Open the application, log in to your gMail account, create categories for the files that you will transfer, and drag-and-drop files to your little heart’s content. The categories that I’ve created are things like Invoices, Work Files, and 9/11 Tribute. Wherever I am and whatever computer I’m using, as long as I have an Internet connection, I have access to important files.
Very freakin’ cool.
PS- Still need an invitation to sign up for your own Gmail account? Leave a comment and be sure to use a real email address. I’ll send invitations until I run out.
Monday, August 28, 2006
Here are the components. Arrange them as you will.
Monday Night Football: Green Bay v/ Cincinnati
It’s just preseason.
Green Bay fans and Brett Favre might want to repeat that mantra a few times. And then a few times more.
The first half performance by the entire Packers team was hideous. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that the game was even a bit worse than that 34-7 halftime score might suggest. Turnovers didn’t help, poor defense didn’t help, and a generally inept offense that couldn’t buy yardage certainly didn’t help--but the truth is that one beautiful touchdown aside, Green Bay looked like they could be facing a season even worse than last year’s.
Cincinnati, in contrast, was sharp and aggressive in all phases of the game. Carson Palmer appears to be back in game shape and the Bengals--who scored on all of their first half possessions--looked like a disciplined, highly capable team. It would be shocking if they didn’t come out close to the top of their division this year.
So, Pack fans, repeat after me: “It’s only preseason.”
In other football news, how the hell is Jeff George coming back to the Raiders? Not only has he sat out the last few seasons, adding George is like adding hemlock to a team that’s swimming in arsenic. As skilled as he was--and he was a hell of a player--there is a reason that Jeff George has been employed by seven football teams: he has the kind of self-righteous personality that makes TO such a distraction to his team. Chris Mortensen wrote about George’s many deficiencies years back--I don’t think the situation has changed much.
That the Raiders are digging this deep for a quarterback shows how deeply disappointed they are with their current roster and just how desperate they must be in finding someone who will fit their team’s needs. George is unlikely to be the Raiders’ starter, but with the team picking up a guy who hasn’t thrown a pass in anger in something like five years, what is the message being sent to Andrew Walter and Marques Tuiasosopo? Let’s just say that it can’t be very heartening.
To Clarify: Jeff George, after being dumped by the Redskins back on 2001, signed contracts with both Seattle and Chicago, but didn’t actually play for either team.
Update: Does the rain delay with a little more than 9 minutes left in a 41-10 game signify God’s suggestion that there be a “mercy” rule for preseason games?
So, About That Murder Confession…
Apparently John Mark Karr didn’t kill JonBenet Ramsey, unless, of course, he had borrowed someone else’s DNA for the night. The only thing he seems to be guilty of is being so obsessive about a little girl’s murder that he internalized all the details and maybe started believing his own fantasies about killing her. Which is pretty disturbing if you ask me. I’m hoping he spends some quality time away from the rest of us because this guy is seriously broken. If I had to choose between him and Michael Jackson as a babysitter for the night, I’m really not sure who would come out ahead.
On the bright side, though, this is a development that should free up the part-time investigators and speculators for blaming the family once again.
And, hey, isn’t that nice for them?
Update: Jeff makes some good guesses as to how this whole story played out. Of course, he entirely misses the “Karr might have been borrowing someone else’s DNA” angle, which proves that you just can’t trust Goldstein to really analyze a story.
Another Update: The complete lack of surprise rolls along.
Sunday, August 27, 2006
So, I really like Tiger and his latest streak of wins. What a hell of a golfer; by the time he’s done it will be shocking if he isn’t recognized as the finest player of all time.
But I really don’t like Jaegermeister. Which, I’m pretty sure means I’m getting old, but doesn’t get its own link.
I also don’t like Nasrallah, leader of Hezbollah. I mean, I’ve never really liked the guy, but the “I wouldn’t have committed an act of war if I would ever have imagined it would lead to, you know, war” argument really pushes me over the edge. Idiot.
I’m not sure that I like what this might mean for oil prices in the near future.
I really like the Rocky Mountain Blogger Bash. Which probably goes without saying. It also probably goes without saying that I dig conservative women. Although, frankly, the libertarian and liberal women are pretty cool, too.
I’m also pretty fond of Mark Lanegan. But I wish he’d put out a new album because I really don’t like waiting.
Patience might be your virtue, but it certainly isn’t mine.
I sure as hell don’t feel particularly fond toward Iran right now.
And American tourists who whine about American tourists just exhibit a special kind of arrogance that leaves them looking far worse that the “ugly Americans” that they skewer with their words.
I like the Broncos. I’ll like them even better if they win today.
Friday, August 25, 2006
He Walked the Line. In Proper Shoes.
Which, I think, is what you really need to know about patriots like the Redneck Goldstein.
That and something about bolo ties…
Check out the budding new media star in all his glory. Then imagine him with a six pack, a few shots, and an even more passionate desire to argue the relative merits of the bolo tie. And there’s your snapshot of a blogger bash.
Thursday, August 24, 2006
Brand New Site (Still in the Original Wrapper)
Blogger Bash regular, regular blogger, and all-around irregular guy, Wheels, has his own new domain and blog.
Drop by, say “hi”, and tell him that work is overrated. Real contentment will come from writing more. Or, if you happen to be in the neighborhood, drop by tomorrow night’s Rocky Mountain Blogger Bash and tell him in person.
An Undeserved Suspension
Does it make sense that a man who teaches geography might use flags displayed in a classroom as a way to aid and supplement his lessons? Sure does. Does it make sense that that man should then be suspended for refusing to remove the flags because they might violate state law against displaying foreign flags in public buildings? Sure doesn’t. Yet, a teacher, Eric Hamlin, was suspended here in Colorado just for that reason after his principal, convinced that the display violated Colorado law, ordered the flags to be removed.
Firstly, the principal that ordered the removal of the flags was wrong: Colorado state law allows temporary displays of foreign flags for educational purposes. Secondly, kids should be introduced to the flags of the world and the symbolism that informs their designs.
Hamlin was actually suspended for insubordination--for refusing a reasonable request from a superior. It is debatable whether this was a reasonable request, but there is little question in my mind that Hamlin didn’t earn a suspension (and potential firing) for using foreign flags as teaching aids. There may be other problems with the content of Hamlin’s classes and previous disciplinary issues that influenced the principal’s decisions. The details in the Rocky, though, don’t appear to support the suspension.
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Just an Observation
Am I the only one that has been watching developments with Iran who has started to think that Iran wants to provoke a war with the United States? Seriously. I can’t understand actually wanting to start a war with the United States, but it really does seem to be the path that Iran has taken.
So, in the spirit of diplomacy and wanting to avoid the bloodshed that would come, I offer a few bits of advice to the citizens of Iran in hopes of avoiding what seems to be nearly inevitable.
Just a little advice between friends.
Update: More about Iran.
And Kevin Drum’s take is predictably different. While I have a bad feeling about the next pair of elections (at least in reference to national security issues), the left’s continued inability to face up to the very real threats of the world continues to encourage the belief that they will find a way to destroy their opportunity to play a little catch up. Let’s be honest, it’s what they do.
To clarify: I’m not kidding about not wanting to see bombs falling on Iran. The world will be (as Dorkafork points out in the comments) a much more dangerous place, though, if Iran manages to produce nuclear weapons. Anyone who believes that American security interests in the Middle East will be well served by an aggressive, arrogant Iran has a distinctly different view or our interests than I do. Anyone who fails to understand that a nuclear Iran will be even more open and vicious in destabilizing neighboring Iraq is simply blind.
People like Kevin Drum, though, really don’t seem to think there’s any urgency to the issue.
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Why iPods Continue to Rule Their Market
One of the things that keeps iPods at the front of the pack when it comes to stand-alone, personal MP3 players is the incredible array of third party products available for the things. When you walk into a store looking for players and add-ons, you’d be forgiven for thinking that there wasn’t anything other than the iPod on the market. Not only does Apple make a ton of money on the licensing of official iPod third party gear, but the iPod benefits from having such robust outside development.
And if I had sprang for the big ol’ video iPod instead of the Nano that currently goes traveling and working out with me, I would be getting the iFlip--an extremely cool piece of kit from Memorex--as soon as it hits the market.
Saturday, August 19, 2006
Welcome to the World
Kelley has a baby. Welcome to the little one and congratulations to Kelley and her husband.
Crappy Poetry Corner: Snakes on a Train?
Snakes on a train?
While snakes that crawl
on the plain in the rain
rarely manage to cause me pain,
it’s Snakes on a Plane
that leave me insane
and wish that the writer would abstain
from writing without first engaging
his little brain.
Thursday, August 17, 2006
Design Tips for Designers Who Design Stuff, Number 1
Design Tip #1: On Chemically Enhanced Design Techniques
Do not design when drunk or otherwise chemically over stimulated. The designs are uneven, attention to detail stinks, and you run a serious risk of extra chunky bits in your keyboard.
No one like chunky bits on their keyboard.
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
Die, Spammer! Die! Die! Die!
I’ve always wondered what kind of a utility spammers use to hit trackbacks and comments on blogs. I’m guessing that if I do a little digging here I just might find out.
I really don’t like spammers. The fact that there attempts almost never get through anymore doesn’t change the fact that spam assaults came close to closing out the site on a number of occasions.
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
Late Night Question
I was reading this story about a group of men shot for cowardice and a question came into my mind: when was it that our society lost its taste for self-preservation?
Don’t think that I am saying that there are no heroes or brave men and women any more; I’m talking about the culture of the West. When did we start believing that our way of life wasn’t worth preserving against people like the Islamofascists that seem relentless in their pursuit of our destruction? When did we start believing that it wasn’t a long commitment to fight against enemies like those petty tyrants in Iran and (formerly) Iraq who facilitated violence against Americans?
Was it when we decided that we couldn’t judge others simply because their “culture” is different from our own? Because, at that moment, we relinquished internally our own willingness to say that one path is better--righteous and good--than its opposite. We became willing to despise ourselves for racial, religious, or sexual intolerance while refusing to pass judgment on entire societies that, in the most violent possible terms, won’t accept diversity of almost any kind. Self-criticism and a devotion to a very classically liberal sense of societal progress are the reasons that the West actually managed to make its way out of the dark ages while a huge portion of the Arab world still lives in a stagnant society where the very idea of liberalism is equated with sin and corruption.
Sunday, August 13, 2006
Yeah, That Sounds Like Me
Heheh. Yeah, I have that effect on women. And men. And, occasionally, small children and animals.
It’s tough bein’ me…
None of which changes the fact that this:
Is one of the finest headlines to grace a news site ever.
Friday, August 11, 2006
100 Doses: A Long-Term Cure for American Idol, Part 3
Chris Whitley - “Scrapyard Lullaby”
“Scrapyard Lullaby” is an intimate song filled with warm tones and quiet beauty. It’s the opening of Dirt Floor, a 28 minute album that was famously recorded in a shack in Vermont over the course of a single day and it has an earthy feel of rural America. A taste of country blues that isn’t entirely representative of Whitley’s wildly varied musical career, it is nonetheless a perfect song from a near-perfect album.
Whitley died last year and left behind an uneven catalog of powerful music and career risks. Choosing a song to share from this album was tremendously difficult; between “Balpeen Hammer”, “Indian Summer”, and “Scrapyard Lullaby” I had three songs that were all worthy. “Scrapyard” won me over because of the poetry of the lyrics.
Somehow, it seems fitting that he would sing a song about sifting through the refuse and ruin to find life’s treasures.
Enjoy Chris Whitley’s “Scrapyard Lullaby. (The file is gone, baby. Gone.)
The Previous Posts
Thursday, August 10, 2006
Thoughts on Lieberman
If I were holding another Indeedathon, I would probably start it off with Macomber’s latest.
The Lieberman race was a shock to me. From my point of view, at least, the man served his constituents well. He is a reliably left-of-center voice on a wide range of social and economic issues, he has never done anything in my memory to disgrace himself or his state, and he has always been one of the calmer voices in politics. Certainly, he isn’t the most charismatic man and he isn’t the photogenic, but he has served honorably.
He lost because he believes that Israel has a right to defend herself and he believes that the US should have a national security agenda focused on destroying terrorism abroad. For this I have seen him slandered for his faith, called a racist, and his supporters painted with the same brush.*
I’m not particularly upset that he lost, though. The truth is that he doesn’t represent me and I don’t get to vote for or against the guy; my opinion only counts from a distance. If the people of Connecticut decide that Senator Lieberman isn’t the right guy to represent their interests, then it is their right to make that call.
It does offer a hell of a commentary on the direction the party of Nancy Pelosi, Howard Dean, and Michael Moore is heading, though.
Lieberman could still end up winning the election--although I wouldn’t be surprised if the clone “Sore Loserman” campaign from the netroots side push him into an even more embarassing loss. Whatever happens, though, the gloating from the far left is going to be awfully irritating for the next few months.
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