Monday, February 28, 2005

Blogging is God's way of letting you know...

Blogging is God's way of letting you know you have too much time on your hands. If you've slipped all the way into podcasting, you should very seriously think about getting a job. -Phil Yanov

Gary Brolsma - 2 Million "Numa Numa" Dances Later

Gary Brolsma chair danced to Numa Numa in front of his web cam and for giggles pasted it on a website late last year. Now he's a hit.

Today the NY Times asks:
The question remains why 2 million people would want to watch a doughy guy in glasses wave his arms around online to a Romanian pop song.

Answer: Because he was having fun, and that makes him fun to watch. Nemo saltat sobrius...

qv: NYTimes Article at Seattle PI
qv: Numa Numa Dance at NewGrounds

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Red Light Webcams = Big Money Bake Sale for Local Police Departments

The South Carolina legislature has under consideration a bill to allow internet webcams to issue tickets to motorists. The way I understand it, motion triggered webcams will be mounted at busy intersections, automatically issuing tickets and dropping them in the mail. Huh?

As I am quite experienced with the motion sensor that controls the light at the corner of my house, I can just imagine how this will turn out. Any vehicle with a roof mounted car flag, a Labrador Retriever's wagging tongue, or a hand waving five year old stopped at a red light can expect to have its picture taken by the automated system. The computer will then scan the picture for a license plate number, look up the registered owner's address in its database, print out a ticket, use its metal tongue to lick a stamp, and then mail the bill for up to $100 to the registered owner of the vehicle, who may have been home watching Judge Judy during the entire process. Won't he be surprised?!?

I can only guess that Red Light webcams sound like great money makers for local police departments. Every week these devices will issue thousands of dollars worth of tickets at the busiest intersections before the local constabulary have even left their desks. To cash strapped police departments, webcams are genius!

Since the tickets bear a maximum fine of just $100, a lot of people will pay the fine just to avoid trying to find parking at the courthouse. Others will pay rather than fight when they realize that their opponent, a Brownie Hawkeye camera equipped with an Ethernet jack will only be able to testify in binary protocol (the language of moisture evaporators, I've been told.)

If this measure is approved by the legislature, police departments across the state will be automatically issuing tickets all the while hoping that most people will, like good citizens, pay the fine rather than attempting to cross examine the Commodore 64 that has become the police department's newest officer and biggest moneymaker.

Me? I think I'll opt out of the system altogether. Anyone have a cardboard dealer tag I can borrow?

Saturday, February 26, 2005

I've started my own nation

I coudn't resist. Max Barry invited me to start my own nation, so I did. Follow the link to see how I am doing thus far.

qv: Nation States: The Holy Empire of Ben Malleus

Wonder Woman Returns To Your TV

Season's one and two of the 1970s TV show starring Lynda Carter are on DVD...
In your satin tights
Fighting for your rights
And the old Red, White, and Blue!...
Wonder Woman!

qv: Wonder Woman at Amazon

Friday, February 25, 2005

Start your own government! Today!

Future Tense's Jon Gordon interviews Max Barry about nationstates. Max Barry thought a funny, thought provoking website about building your own government would encourage people to buy his book, Jennifer Government. The website, however, has taken on a life of its own.

qv: Future Tense: Build your own country online
qv: www.nationstates.net

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Sky Blue

Blade Runner meets Akira. This is a great looking movie. It's in limited release. I guess I'll be looking for the DVD. You can preview the first 8 minutes of the film online. Wowie! tres cool.

qv: skybluethemovie.com
thanks Ken!

Monday, February 21, 2005

Jessica Havey of the Duhks mentions Handlebar in NPR interview

It's nice to hear a mention of Greenville's Handlebar in Melissa Block's NPR interview with the Duhks. They sound like a lot of fun. I wish I had been at the Handlebar to see them.
qv: NPR: The Duhks, a Tough Band to Pigeonhole

Panelists Decry Bush Science Policies

Bad news for rational thinkers:
The voice of science is being stifled in the Bush administration, with fewer scientists heard in policy discussions and money for research and advanced training being cut...

qv: RedNova: Panelists Decry Bush Science Policies

Sunday, February 20, 2005

The Ibis Tek Viper finally settles road rage disputes



Don't worry, the gun system is retractable for legal parking in neighborhoods with restrictions.
qv: Ibis Tek

Come here often? Brock Savage does...

Glenfiddich is looking for a way to separate themselves from the "glen" pack of 31 different single malt scotches vying for the dollars of drinkers of real scotch. The prints ads are hip, cool, and swinging... and they all lead to brocksavage.com

Phil Yanov, Wedding Photographer

I've put up a new web page with some of my recent wedding photography. Most of the actual albums are the same ones I posted last year and the year before, but the Welch Bennett album is all new.
qv: Phil Yanov Wedding Photography Samples

Saturday, February 19, 2005

New Project Page: Baby Yanov

I started a baby info page. It is posted primarily for the out of towners. It might only last until we decide on a name. (Then it will move.)

qv: http://baby.yanov.com

Friday, February 18, 2005

Google Fight -- Does it prove John Lennon was right?

Nifty website GoogleFight lets you enter two search words and then it stages a fight between them where the one with most Google "hits" wins. It's very cute.

qv: GoogleFight: Jesus v. Beatles

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Reality War Gaming

The Kuma War game site uses real news, events, and eyewitness accounts to make their episodic war game scenarios as real as possible. The military actually gives them intel and environmental information and then pays Kuma to have military personnel play the scenarios and explore alternate tactics.

Kuma War CEO Keith Halper discusses his innovation: the intersection of episodic content delivery (like TV shows) and online gaming (like SIMS online) at IT Conversations.

Click the title of this blog entry to hear MP3 audio or use Ipodder to have this RSS feed delivered as a podcast.
qv: ITConversations: Keith Halper: Reality Games: The Next Revolution

Dubya 'splains Social Security

George Bush "explains" his Social Security plan in Florida:
Question: ... how is it the new plan is going to fix that problem?

THE PRESIDENT: Because the -- all which is on the table begins to address the big cost drivers. For example, how benefits are calculate, for example, is on the table; whether or not benefits rise based upon wage increases or price increases. There's a series of parts of the formula that are being considered. And when you couple that, those different cost drivers, affecting those -- changing those with personal accounts, the idea is to get what has been promised more likely to be -- or closer delivered to what has been promised.

Does that make any sense to you? It's kind of muddled. Look, there's a series of things that cause the -- like, for example, benefits are calculated based upon the increase of wages, as opposed to the increase of prices. Some have suggested that we calculate -- the benefits will rise based upon inflation, as opposed to wage increases. There is a reform that would help solve the red if that were put into effect. In other words, how fast benefits grow, how fast the promised benefits grow, if those -- if that growth is affected, it will help on the red.

Makes you proud, doesn't it? Read the full session press release on the White House website.
qv: White House: President Discusses Strengthening Social Security

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Vonage Calls Being Blocked By Competitors

We mentioned some time back that national VoIP providers are at risk for having their service blocked because they do not own the last mile of cable. It turns out that Vonage is now having trouble with an access provider and has called the FCC to help.

From Reuters:
According to a source familiar with the dispute, Vonage has told Federal Communications Commission officials that it has evidence an Internet service provider owned by a telephone company has been blocking its service, affecting a couple of hundred customers.

qv: Reuters: Vonage Complains to FCC of Calls Being Blocked

Monday, February 14, 2005

Google's Doodler gives GMail heart...

GMail got doodled up for Valentines day.

qv: Toronto Star : Doodling with the Google logo
qv: Google's GMail

China, Inc. : How the Rise of the Next Superpower Affects America and the World

Ted C. Fishman via NPR:
American consumers have saved far more by purchasing cheap Chinese-made goods than they have from Bush administration tax cuts.

qv: NPR: Book Takes Look at 'China, Inc.'

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Internet Tutors from India Aid U.S. Children

This is a revolutionary idea. It looks like someone is developing a model for true knowledge transfer. This may be the best hope yet for fixing what is wrong with the American educational system.

From NPR:
It's a new form of outsourcing: teachers in India are tutoring American children in math over the Internet. The Delhi-based company Career Launcher is one example: It contracts with a U.S. company to provide extra tutoring. The market has expanded since the passage of the No Child Left Behind Act.

qv: NPR: Internet Tutors from India Aid U.S. Kids with Math

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Happy New Year - (Chinese New Year)



February 9th marks the beginning of the year of the Rooster, and Google has a cute Holiday logo to celebrate the event.
qv: Google Holiday Logo Collection

Waffle Houses Near Me...



When you have a hankering for simple fare, there is no place like the Waffle House. (And what a great way to show off the capabilities of Google Maps!)

qv: Google Map: Waffle House restaurant's near me.

Google Maps - Is there anything Google can't do better?

Google has release a new product into the Beta stream... Google Maps. Google maps feature dragable, zoomable maps, with a great looking interface and dropped shadows. It looks so good you wonder how they can do it in a browser.

It has all of the expected features in that you can find a pizza parlor near your house and you can get directions to and from just about anywhere. They have even included a handy "link to this page" feature.

qv: Stax Restaurants near me
qv: Tour of Google Maps features

Sunday, February 06, 2005

No wombat trollops for me...

My horoscope for this week from CrazyHoroscopes.com:
If life is getting boring then, try a new experience. Fill your refrigerator with quicksand this Friday and lock yourself inside it. You will soon meet the elephant who lives there. His name is Icabod and he will take you to his homeland where you will see lots of nice things including a rotating gnome called Bob and a clay porcupine called Adrian. Beware of the dancing wombat trollops, as they might cause leprosy if you talk to them.

qv: CrazyHoroscopes.com

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Slovak urinates his way to freedom

...we are delighted to report that a Slovak man trapped in his car by an avalanche urinated his way to freedom...

qv: The Register

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Bill Doesn't Love Us Anymore

Bill Gates launched his new search engine service today. On the front page of MSN.com, he strikes a Peter Norton-esque pose and offers us personal assurances that MSN search is more precise and more powerful than before. He also wants us to try his new desktop file search program designed to compete with Google's Desktop Search. What Bill does not mention in his letter is that if you want to use his new desktop search, install his search bar, or even try his video search, you must first be running his Internet Explorer. Sorry, Bill.

In the days when Microsoft was young and Bill was King, he could ask us to use his software and we would. Bill brought us standards, and Bill crushed his competitors by delivering software that served our needs. He gave us better spreadsheets, easier word-processing, and successively friendlier and more powerful operating systems. Sure, he didn't always succeed, but he was always trying. He kept working at it until we were delighted. Somewhere along the way, however, Bill lost interest in us. Bill got a little older. He became hard of hearing. His software started gaining weight. Bill became complacent and stopped trying to delight us. He started trying to figure out how he might satisfy us with the absolute least amount of effort. He lost interest in us and we in him.


01 February 2005

Dear Bill,

I am so happy for you and your new search engine. I hope it does well for you. I can't tell you how it pains me to write this, but I won't be able to use it. I have decided that I am not going to run Internet Explorer anymore. It doesn't feel safe.

Every day I hear more stories of how people have given up Internet Explorer for Firefox, so I know I am not alone in this decision. While others may have been jealous of your success or afraid of your market dominance, I have never been troubled by them. You have helped create an industry, and I have always appreciated your contributions.

I shifted to Firefox in a moment of frustration. After spending two days wrestling with your biggest OS update ever and finally getting it installed, I loaded a news website and found out that yet another critical security warning had been issued for IE. That was the last straw. I switched.

I have been happy with my new browser. I like its speed. I like the tabbed interface. I like that it stopped blocked popups the day I loaded it without having to load yet another piece of software. I am once again delighted to use my computer.

Again, I hope you do well with your new offering. I just wanted you to know that you will have to do it without me.

-PY