Today I cleaned out the last of the "big" site feeds from my Bloglines subscription. You know the kinds I mean: the slashdots and diggs and boingboings and metafilters and reuters and CNNs, etc. I have so many "little" feeds to read that I find that the big prolific "professional" ones all just stack up unread anymore.
I've been finding that more and more of what I'm enjoying the consumption of is generated by people just like you. In fact, if you publish a blog (or comic or website or whatever) and you've ever left a comment here or have been in email contact with me, then it actually is you generating the content I enjoy.
See, I've had a long-standing policy of subscribing to any feed I find belonging to someone who took the time to make it obvious to me that they read my stuff. When I started subscribing indiscriminately, I wasn't sure how it was going to work out, but I'm very glad that I did. I've found so many really great things as a result that I no longer have time for the regular old "media-created" Internet.
I've now made the decision to limit my Internet reading time to only content created (or linked to) by individual people, which ought to prove interesting. If there's a great article on CNN, in theory I'll still see it -- despite not being subscribed to the feed -- because someone in my network of feeds will find it great enough to post about it.
So now comes a formal plea: if you read and enjoy any of my drivel, chances are I'll enjoy anything you post, so for heaven's sake, please let me know about it so that I can expand my network further. The easiest way would be to just post a comment, making sure to fill in the "website" field, but you can simply firstname.lastname@example.org me an email with your address if you'd rather.
Alternatively, if you don't currently post things on the internet, but do read stuff by other people that you think I'd be interested in, by all means let me know about them as well.
Thanks for helping to change my information consumption strategy.
Know those email recommendations Amazon frequently sends out informing you of a new item it thinks you will like because Hugh Jackman was somehow involved in its creation? ("You were recommended this item because come on, everybody loves Hugh Jackman.") I just got one informing me that there's a new "art house comedy" starring Hugh Jackman playing in select theaters around the country.
I'd been weary of Amazon's email recommendations for some time now -- honestly, those Hugh Jackman tube socks I bought were stiff and uncomfortable; I could practically see right through them -- but this new one pushed me over the top. The item advertised isn't even available on Amazon (not to mention the fact that it isn't even an "item" to begin with), but they're encouraging me to pay for it anyway? It was time for this to stop.
Being the straw that broke the camel's Jackman, this email finally convinced me to click on that "You don't want to get emails like this from us anymore? Just click here" link I always see. It (eventually) took me to a page where I could select the types of communication I want to receive. After deselecting every type, I noticed an additional checkbox that said "receive no email from Amazon." That being exactly the goal I was trying to accomplish, I quickly checked it and clicked Submit.
Here's what the next page said:
Your E-mail Notification Settings have been saved.
You will receive an e-mail confirming your choices.
I hate ordering things online. Waiting for tracking information and wondering when my shipment will arrive wreaks havoc with what little bit of patience I can claim to have -- which is less and less as anxiety takes its toll on me. I generally just wait until I can pick up whatever it is that I want at some physical location -- at a higher price, naturally.
Sure, this just puts the thing in my hands considerably later than if I had just ordered it and waited for its arrival in the first place, but my brain doesn't seem to understand that distinction.
What I'd like to see is a "surprise ordering" service where I can: create a wishlist of things I plan to purchase at some point, set a maximum (and minimum) monthly spending limit, and input my credit card information. This service would then periodically order things for me -- without telling me about it -- so that when a package arrives, I won't have been expecting it, getting all anxious.
Anyone feel like making this system for me? If so, just make sure you don't tell me about it until it is functional....
The 6 disc set is $69, but that gets you video of every speaker's talk plus extra bonus features.
If you found out about The Amazing Meeting from my now-defunct illicit podcast feed and feel like telling the folks at the JREF that, perhaps it might help them to realize the potential of actually podcasting TAM5 themselves. (Or, at the very least, not take legal action against people who were doing the work for them...)
Also, if you are planning to attend TAM5, it's even more important that you tell them how you heard about it.
I hate how unruly my hair gets when it gets long, but my goal was to get a good picture of me looking like Jesus. I don't really have a good reason for wanting to do this, it's just that every time I make drastic changes I wish I had documented it in some funny way before losing the ability to. I realize this is stupid, but I figure that it's as good a motivation for a hairstyle as any. Plus, it's a great excuse to be lazy in the "shaving" department.
It's just about time for a haircut, so I present to you my Jesus picture:
Juror parking lot #1 is made up entirely of exits. There is no actual way to get into the lot without driving past "Wrong Way" signs. Compounding matters is the fact that juror lot #1 shares a parking lot with the county jail, and is apparently where cops wash their police cruisers in the morning, so you're pretty much guaranteed to be observed in your traffic violation.
Jurors are required to arrive at 8:20 a.m. Being somewhat of an anxiety sufferer, I arrived at eight to ensure that I had enough time to wander around lost and stressed out before my deadline. The instructions in the literature sent with my summons, in the recording line I have to call every night, and on the Clark County jury information website say the Jury Assembly room is located on the first floor. After a few minutes wandering around I encountered another juror who had actually waited in the long "Pay Your Fines Here" line and ascertained that we have to go up one floor to get where we need to go.
I arrived at 8:04 to a mostly full Jury Assembly room. Only 3 people arrived later than I did..
At 8:20, jurors were told that they have a 15-minute break to go purchase coffee, and that they should be sure to be back at 8:35, because "no one likes waiting."
At 8:40, when all the jurors who were there at 8:20 finally trickled back in, we were given a short presentation about what we should expect and told that a bailiff would be there to escort us to the courtoom shortly.
Between 8:40 and 11:00 a.m., we were told every few minutes that it would "only be a few more minutes."
At 11:00 we were told that for some reason, the trial that we'd be possibly picked to serve on was postponed, so we should all leave now.
Essentially I missed out on half a day's work so that I could sit in uncomfortable chairs playing Tetris for 3 hours. Allegedly the state will be paying me $3.33 per hour + mileage for the privilege, which I must confess is way more than I've ever been paid to play Tetris before.
Perhaps you've heard about the big debate among NASA scientists over whether we should continue spending money on sending humans to space or just focus entirely on robotic exploration instead. Opponents of mannedwomanned astronauted space flight say that sending humans into space costs too much and that we can't learn enough in the process, while proponents say that simply putting humans in space guarantees future interest in continued funding of space exploration. In short, both arguments are "all about the Benjamins."
I don't know about any of that, but I am very much opposed to sending robots into space at all. I'm sure that part of my opposition comes from the fact that I'm terrified of robots, but I don't see how anyone could not be, what with those huge teeth and powerful legs. I don't want to share too many details, but my fear of robots seems to stem from an incident at a holiday sporting event when I was four years old... sorry, I don't really like talking about that day.
In addition to being scary as hell, I feel that robots would serve as terrible ambassadors for humans to the extra-terrestrials they'll encounter during their explorations. Sure, like humans, robots reproduce at startling rates, destroy any new environment they decide to inhabit, and take carrots from other people's gardens with no apparentcguilt whatsoever, but do we really want the extra-terrestrials knowing we're like that? Sure -- if our long-term space exploration goals include being made into a nice stew with those ill-gotten carrots.
Then there's the fact that robots are smug, selfish creatures bent on world domination. If we continue sending robots off to explore space, what we'll get are huge colonies of them scattered all over the galaxy, reaping the rewards of whatever zero-gravity carrot farming knowledge they've gained without ever reporting back to us about it. They'd soon be floppy-eared masters of the galaxy on our dime, and I think we can all agree that that's no good.
No, it's clear to me that those puffy-tailed little fuckers need to stay here on Earth, if only to ensure our continued reign over the Final Frontier.
On Saturday afternoon, D and I went to Target to pick up a wrist brace to help alleviate her post-knee-surgery pain. While she was looking at braces, I wandered over to the videogame section, where I encountered three 30-something guys who were all wearing Bluetooth ear-dongle thingies. All showed signs of being socially inept (in addition, I mean, to the aforementioned Bluetooth ear dongles, which are a pretty good sign right there), such as improper use of their "outside voices," poor sharing skills ("lemme see that," yank!), and gratuitous use of the words "dude" and "awesome." In short, the socially inept can smell their own kind.
I couldn't tell whether they were all talking to each other, all having individual phone conversations, or all in one major conference call, but they were all talking the whole time. What I could tell, though, is that they all spent a lot of time with video games, and didn't have a lot of time left over for grooming or laundry.
While D was paying for her brace, I had the opportunity to see what they were buying. Here's the list:
One copy of World of Warcraft,
One large bottle of Tylenol P.M.,
One twelve pack of Zest brand bar bath soap.
I'm not sure what they had planned, but doesn't it sound like they were in for one heck of a Saturday night?
In an attempt to make my office a little more comfortable, I decided that I needed to somehow raise my laptop by about 4-5 inches. I started looking around for something suitable without much luck until inspiration hit me.
An SGI Indy is the perfect height. I particularly like the irony in the fastest workstation of its time being used only to boost up last year's model Compaq laptop to a more suitable height.
Thinking about the cost of purchasing water yesterday got my mind heading into directions it hasn't gone before. Like a cartoon lightbulb blinking alight above my head, an idea suddenly illuminated the dark empty parts of my brain as things suddenly became clear. (There are lots of those empty places, and they require lots of light, so this doesn't happen very frequently.)
Here was what my idea sounded like:
"I bet if there were some way to remove shipping costs from the equation -- like, for instance, with a network of pressurized tubes running to each home -- it would be possible to get the cost of water much, much lower than $0.89 for 20 ounces, while completely eliminating the need to lug heavy cases of water from the grocery store.
In addition to a lower cost, the 'cool factor' of having a receptacle that dispenses 20oz bottles of water from your sink would be a real benefit. I mean, it's not like the sink is doing anything for me now. How come nobody has thought of this before?"
At first I was thinking that using air to move the bottles along the pipes would be the way to go (you've seen this system in action at your bank's drive-thru), but the more I thought about it, I decided that water might be a more efficient medium to move the bottles from place to place.
I'm not sure who to talk to to get this to happen, but I think a network of pressurized, water-filled tubes to whoosh bottles of water from place to place really needs to become reality, if only to help those of us with bad backs drink more while suffering less pain.
Hey! Now that I think about it, I think there are currently pressurized water-filled tubes running to my house that are sitting there unused! That seems like a good place to start, so I'm going to call around to see who is in charge of them and what would be involved in modifying them.
On the way to work the other day I stopped at a convenience store to pick up a couple bottles each of Vault and water. Inexplicably, the 20oz bottles of Vault were $0.59, while same-sized bottles of water were a whopping $0.89, which is at least $0.10 more each. This seemed really strange to me, considering that Vault is like 95% water, meaning that at the very least, it should be 95% of the cost of the pure water, plus the cost of the remaining 5% ingredients.
The only explanation I can come up with is that somehow, the remaining 5% of Vault's ingredients actually incur a negative cost, making it cheaper in the long run.
As strange as this seems, it does actually explain all the unpronounceable mystery ingredients present in everything you buy; my guess is someone* is paying companies to include them. Imagine how much money an enterprising individual could make marketing a beverage that contains only those negative cost ingredients. They'd be rich for sure.
Keep your eyes peeled for new Alistair Hoel®'s brand Sodium Benzoate and Erythorbic Acid Coolers™, in both Potassium Citrate and Carob Bean Gum flavored varieties.
*: This "someone" is most likely the government. After all, sodium benzoate is a well-known mind-control drug.
A couple days ago I was listening to Australia's fine science show (which is aptly entitled "The Science Show") when a snake expert dropped a bombshell. He casually mentioned that snakes have two penises (penii?). He also mentioned that in regard to the usage of penises (penii?), some snakes are apparently "left-handed", others are "right-handed", and still others just use whichever of the two is most convenient at any given time. He didn't specify whether or not they can use both simultaneously. (Note to self: check the Internet for snake threesomes.)
That was the coolest thing I've ever heard, but within minutes I was blown away yet again. The snake expert mentioned that the male snake's kidneys exude some sort of chemical at the end of the ejaculatory process which finds its way into the female snake's vagina before hardening into an impenetrable plug. This prevents any other snakes from having sex with this particular female until the male's semen has had time to fully fertilize all her eggs.
It's been a while since I've played with <a href="http://flock.com">Flock</a>, so I'm checking it out again.Â So far all the complaints I had before seem to be resolved, and most firefox extensions seem to be available for Flock.Â This is a test of the built-in blog edtitor.
I've owned a PSP for a little over a year now, having decided at purchase time that it was the portable gaming system for me. I decided that for the following reasons:
1) Homebrew capability without the need for any 'modchip' or third-party add-on hardware.
2) Awesome games like "SOCOM" and "Grand Theft Auto" -- none of the crap Nintendo has been putting out for years.
3) The ability to play movies without some kind of add-on.
4) The dead sexiness of that shiny black device.
Last January I had a 25% off coupon for Toys 'R' Us that applied to hardware, so I picked up a Nintendo Gameboy DS thinking that I would hate it but be able to sell it for a profit if I did. I think it was about 2 days later that Nintendo started talking about the new 'Lite' version that would be coming out, thus killing any chance of profit. In any case, I spent all my time with the new PSP games that I picked up with said coupon and didn't even look at the DS until a week or so ago, thinking it was stupid and not as cool as the PSP.
I was wrong.
The following are the reasons why the DS is better than the PSP and is therefore the portable gaming system for me:
1) "The crap Nintendo has been putting out for years" turns out to be exactly the type of game I am interested in playing. Other than many hours spent playing "SOCOM" over the Internet and the occasional bit of "Virtua Tennis", none of the PSP games I have hold much interest for me anymore when I'm out and about -- which is the time I'm most interested in gaming. There aren't any new games out that I'm interested in for the PSP, but 5 minutes at the store turned up tons of DS games that interest me. (Puzzley games and games to make my brain work, mainly.)
2) I've played movies on my PSP a total of zero times due to the fact that it only plays special discs you have to buy or specially crafted MPEG-4 files. Crafting said MPEG-4 files takes way too long and is way too much effort.
3) Sexy isn't as important as fun to be with.
4) The third-party add-on to enable homebrew is very reasonably priced. In fact, owning a DS is still pretty much half the cost of a PSP even after adding that cost, not to mention that games for the DS are cheaper.
I'm now looking forward to picking up the DS Lite, because it is both fun to be with and sexy.
I've been thinking a lot about Adobe/PDF since the recent flap between them and Microsoft. Particularly about how Adobe's efforts to make PDF into a ubiquitous format have been largely defeated by the awfulness of every version of their Acrobat PDF viewing software. Seriously, Acrobat sucks.
This line of thinking got me thinking about the name "Adobe" as well. I seriously can't think of a more appropriate name for them to have taken than that of a building material composed primarily of shit.