Lest everyone think I'm a total Google Fanboy, I'd like to suggest a really, really simple tactic folks like Cyanogen can take to continue Android innovations while complying 100% with the licensing of Google's "experience" apps.
The crux of the issue is that, without the proper license, it is illegal for Android ROM developers to distribute these apps as part of their ROMs. It'd also be illegal for someone like me to host them myself so that people can simply install them after installing a custom ROM. "Ok," you might say. "Then how am I supposed to get these applications if it's not legal for anyone to give them to me?"
Ah, but there's the catch. There are organizations that are licensed to distribute them. T-Mobile, for instance, is probably the most widely-known, as all our phones will download updates containing the apps whenever a new Android release comes out. Usually there's a bit of detective work involved, though, in determining the URL for these updates. But you know who else is licensed to distribute them, and makes them extremely easy to find/download? HTC.
What would need to happen is that the user could themselves download the relevant firmware update file from HTC's website and save it on their SD card -- which is perfectly legal. The user could then update to a Google-free firmware from someone like Cyanogen. If this Google-free firmware update happened to check for the existence of the official Google-app-including firmware image as part of its setup procedure, and extracted the Google bits out of it, everyone could have the best of both worlds.
The ROM developer would not be distributing the apps. The organization that is distributing the apps is licensed to do so. Everyone wins.
I've noticed a new trend on Twitter lately, one which bothers me a great deal. I'd like to share my thoughts about it now so that you all can help nip it in the bud.
People have been 'retweet'ing pretty much since Twitter's inception; that is, they post something on their stream that they saw someone else post. The defacto standard format for doing this is to say 'rewteet' (or, more commonly, 'RT') followed by the username of the person who originated the message, then followed by the message. Like this:
RT @TeddTheodorLogan Remember the time I asked Missy to the prom?
Lately, however, people have been trying to popularize a new format for retweeting -- one which has been largely employed in the blogging world. This new method is to just post the message, followed by (via username). Like this:
The only thing I know for sure is that Joan of Arc is NOT Noah's wife...(via BillSPrestonEsq)
The problem with this is two-fold: firstly, it takes up more characters. More importantly, it's misusing the word 'via.'
See, what "(via so-and-so)" actually means, is "I heard about this content by way of so-and-so," and has been used for years to denote that the link I'm blogging about came to my attention because someone else blogged about it, and is designed to sort of give the person who found the content the credit. This is only used when you're linking to a story that's written by someone other than the person you heard about it from -- to give sort of 'scoop' credit to someone who found it before you did.
When you retweet, in almost every case, you are simply quoting the person who said something. You didn't hear it 'via' them. Your readers are hearing it 'via' YOU. (Granted, if you are retweeting a retweet, then 'via' could be properly used -- but you'd have to say it's 'via' the person who originally REtweeted it, rather than the person who tweeted it -- which is of no information to the reader.)
If you really don't like the 'RT username: message' format -- and for this I don't blame you; it's clumsy and non-intuitive -- I suggest you do it the same way people have been attributing quotes since the dawn of written language. Like this:
"Four score and seven BEERS ago..." -abrahamlincoln
With your help, perhaps this gross misunderstanding of the Latin language can be wiped from the face of twitter.
Know what bugs the crap out of me? The skateboard on the cover of INXS's album "Kick":
Pretty much everything about that skateboard bugs me. From the terrible comp job to the yellow Greg Proops face on it, it's just plain bad -- not to mention the fact that it's meant to look as if someone is actually riding it, somehow jumping to that position despite the fact that there's clearly no understanding of the mechanics of making a skateboard jump on the part of the artist.
Actually, now that I'm getting worked up, it ALSO bugs me that the logo text in the center of the cover is clearly pasted over-top of Michael Hutchence's hair, yet it's BEHIND The Hamburgler's hair, rubble rubble.
This cover is a travesty, and it offends me that someone actually got paid to make it.
So, rather than simply complain about it, I've decided to rectify the problems with it. From now on, please use this as the cover for INXS's Kick:
As you can see I've replaced the terrible skateboard with an actual action shot of a skater executing a kick-flip -- my little addition to making it relevant to the album's title -- and put the logo/title over-top of EVERYONE's hair. The design is still really awful, but at least the specific problems with it have been addressed.
If there's any work of art you'd like to see fixed, drop me a line and I'll see about fixing it for you.
I think I've stumbled across the solution to our problem of addiction to fuel of foreign origin and am going to share it with you now.
One of the most promising forms of alternate fuel is biodiesel, in that it requires no significant investment to run in many of today's cars. There's one little problem with biodiesel, though: we can't possibly grow enough plant matter to supply all of our cars' consumptive needs. Even if we all became vegetarians and stopped farming cattle -- instead using all the plant matter we feed to them now to make biodiesel instead -- we wouldn't have enough. In addition, if we all stopped eating PLANTS as well as cattle, all the crops we grow now wouldn't be enough to power our cars either.
There are many different forms of local, renewable non-oil fuel that have been discussed, be they electric, solar, smug, hydrogen or a multitude of others. The problem with those is that there's no easy way to quickly convert existing cars to this new, untested fuel.
This means that if we're going to adopt one of these fuels for use in all our Escalades and Hummers, it's probably going to involve quitting oil "cold turkey," buying new alternate-energy-powered Escalades and Hummers. This is a significant hassle. A "deal-breaker," if I may. Americans are simply not going to want to get rid of their old Escalades and Hummers before their leases are up. This means that a hypothetical switchover will take years and years to complete in a best-case scenario, and more likely will never even begin at all.
It was while thinking of this problem that I stumbled suddenly upon my solution: cold turkey. Every Thanksgiving, billions of American households cook copious amounts of turkey, much of which never even gets eaten. I propose legislation both mandating a minimum size for Thanksgiving turkeys and limits on how much each person can consume, ensuring the maximum amount of leftovers.
Suddenly we have billions of pounds of turkey which can be rendered down into biodiesel to fuel our existing Hummers. You're welcome, America.
I recently learned that underground coal fires -- as depicted in the film "Silent Hill" -- release as much carbon into the atmosphere world-wide as do all the cars and light trucks in the United States. Since we know that all the cars and light trucks (SUVs) in the United States release DANGEROUS amounts into the atmosphere, threatening catastrophe like the one depicted in the film "The Day After Tomorrow," this is clearly a bad thing.
Firefighters in China recently put out one such coal fire (that had been burning for more than 50 years) at great expense and risk to the men involved, and several new ones have sprung up here in the States. This brings up an important issue: how much money, energy and manpower are we willing to commit to these efforts? Sure, we need to do whatever we can to stop Global Climate Change, but at what cost?
Like usual, I've come up with a solution to this problem. My plan will cost nothing, require no man-power, and will require literally no change in policy, behavior, or freedoms on the part of individuals. The plan is simple: we use water to put out the fires. The beauty of my plan is that as Earth's temperature increases the icecaps melt, raising sea levels, and thus bringing nearly endless supplies of saltwater to the coal fires where they'll be put out naturally. Then, because the fires are no longer emitting CO2, the water level will slowly raise back down, leaving us with mines containing both coal AND salt ripe for the taking.
This got me thinking, though. If it's possible to convert the CO2 emissions from industrial plants into baking soda, what's to stop the same process from converting the exhaust from the millions of vehicles on America's roads as well?
Remember when I suggested that we should be paving our roads white instead of black, so as to reflect more of the suns rays back out of the atmosphere? Well, having every car on the road leaving a fine dusting of white baking soda everywhere it goes seems like a pretty simple solution for the short term. This does cause a few problems, however: 1) the frequent overturned-vinegar-tanker incidents we have will suddenly be a lot more catastrophic, and 2) the amassing white powder might reflect TOO MUCH of the suns rays, putting us into a permanent winter. Hopefully these two problems will simply cancel each other out; when too much baking powder piles up, it will increase the frequency of vinegar tanker crashes, turning the baking powder back into CO2 where it can enter the atmosphere and encourage global warming. It's win/win, really.
I was thinking about global warming the other day, when I came up with what I believe to be an easy (but expensive) solution to our problems.
First, some background:
It is believed that ice ages are more likely to start as a result of cool summers than overly-cold winters. The theory being that snow falls in winter, then melts in summer/spring. If summer and spring are both cooler than normal, then the snow takes longer to melt, meaning more of the sun's rays are reflected off of it rather than helping to warm the ground. This results in continued cooler temperatures, which in turn encourages more snow fall. This sort of thing can snowball rather quickly resulting in year-round snow, meaning you'll have to bundle up.
If you take a peek at satellite photos of inhabited areas, you'll quickly notice that a very large percentage of the land-mass is covered by black heat-absorbing asphalt. I'm not going to claim that rampant asphalt use is responsible for our climate warming, but it certainly isn't helping. I was thinking that if we were to paint all the asphalt white it would reflect more sunlight away from the earth, thus lowering temperatures and fixing global warming once and for all. The only problem with this, though, is that if the 'snowball' theory actually works, this could result in another ice age pretty quickly.
So, my refined solution is to pave all our roads not with inexpensive asphalt, but with some sort of heat-responsive color change substance, meaning that while it is warm, the color will lighten, and when it's cold the color will darken. Perhaps something like this hyper-color shower tile?
I'm really upset at the state of our government, our society, and our citizens in general. People just can't seem to get along, meaning we get more stupid laws, which in turn cause more stupid problems.
After much thought on the subject, I've decided to take a page out of Alan Moore's playbook and do something about it. What would Alan Moore do? He'd create a supervillain who causes enough senseless loss of life to restore us to that "Sept. 12th" level of empathy, and then push us further, making us truly understand how our actions affect one another. Everyone won't be able to not love one another and treat eachother fairly, thus creating the perfect utopian dream we should all strive for.
With that in mind, I've formulated a plan to amass the country's honey bees and make them do my bidding. Soon the "epi pen" manufacturers will no longer be able to keep up with demand, meaning millions (billions??) will die at the sudden onslaught of bee attacks by this nefarious genius. (That's me.)
America (the world??) will once again unite under the banner of "we can't afford to fight amongst ourselves... let's join forces," working together to systematically eradicate the bees. They'll then realize that once all the bees are dead, we won't be able to grow much food. This will cause everyone to have to work together creating new innovative ways of pollinating crops (genetically-modified dragonflies??) in order to survive. This will of course come with its own set of problems (no "epi pen" for dragonfly venom??), requiring yet more cooperation, making the world even better.
As you can see, my plan is very well thought-out -- and, might I say, flawless. I'll finally be able to make a difference once and for all.
This is quite the unexpected blow, but I submit that Americans have a long-standing tradition of being unwilling to take certain jobs, and that this should have been expected. One might say that this country is founded on the idea that all men should be free to choose the jobs they don't want to do.
Unlike everyone else that's complaining about this issue, though, I have a solution. Instead of a single "War Czar," we just need to create a "Bureau of War" and staff it with the one group of people who have a long-standing tradition of accepting the jobs the rest of us Americans don't want to do: illegal Mexican immigrants.
This solves both the Czar problem and the immigration/amnesty problem, because all so-called "illegal" Mexican immigrants will now be government employees, entitling them to benefits like healthcare, taxation, and the always popular "not getting kicked out of the country." Having seven million "War Czars" ought to get things in Iraq nailed down at least seven million times faster than the single "War Czar" that we're currently unable to find, so this proposition wins all around.
Also: taking into account the popular sterotypes of both Mexicans and government workers, this pairing seems like a pretty good match to me.
All this "Peak Oil" hoopla lately has once again got me thinking a lot about alternate fuel sources. Whether or not civilization as we know it is about to radically shift, using less of our non-renewable resources just seems like a good idea, so I've been racking my brain to come up with viable alternatives.
Last June (on my birthday, apparently) I posted my first idea for a renewable fuel source, but it alone wasn't enough to make much of a dent and thus didn't get the attention I feel it deserved. I still stand by the idea -- I just feel it needs to be supplemented with additional renewable sources.
With that in mind, I'm now about to rock the world by combining three existing renewable fuel technologies into one super hybrid, using only one readily available renewable resource.
The main source of this hybrid power scheme is an extremely prevalent substance found nearly everywhere humans are present, one which we take great pains to eliminate from our daily lives. Yes, I'm talking about excrement -- or "poop," if scientific terms aren't your cup of tea.
"Sure," you might say, "there are people already generating methane from animal excrement and people generating steam power -- and, by extension, electricity -- from burning dried animal waste, so what's so 'world-rocking?'"
Well, my new technique allows for ethanol extraction as well as the aforementioned steam and methane. To see how wonderful a fuel source ethanol is, one needs only to take a look at the readily available, attractively priced fuel in Brazil.
Sure, opponents of ethanol-as-fuel tout the fact that even if we used all the corn we currently eat -- and therefore would no longer be able to consume -- for fuel production, we wouldn't be able to power all our cars. That's very true; growing additional corn would actually have a negative impact on the problem.
However, I've overcome this hurdle; my plan requires no additional corn to be grown, nor a reduction in the amount we eat. Wondering where the ethanol is coming from? Well, my new process extracts all the undigested kernels of corn you see nestled in your excrement for ethanol processing, allowing us to generate ethanol from it after we have eaten it.
Sure, your excrement alone might not have much impact, but imagine if it was mixed in with that of all the people in your town. All that poop would have quite an impact indeed. With only minor changes to our municipal sewage treatment plants, we'd be able to start generating methane, steam-powered electricity, and ethanol from our excrement.
Rather than simply flushing this valuable resource into our nation's rivers, we could be generating surplus energy to supplement my already proposed reclamation system to push us even closer to total independence from petroleum.
Come on, America; let's "get our shit together" while we still can.
It's time for an update on a few things I posted about in the past.
First up, way back in December of '05, I posted about the state of Stephen Colbert's TVs, demanding they be fixed. I'm happy to report that Stephen listened, making sure his TVs were correctly formatted within a month of me posting that missive. There was no apology. Hey Stephen, I'm glad you took the required action, but an apology would have been nice. I'm putting you on notice until you do apologize.
Next up, we'll take a trip back to February '06, when I posted about how I just didn't see the big deal about the potential hubbub over Pluto's planetary status. Well, as you undoubtedly know, the demands I made in my post were eventually met -- like they almost always are -- and everything turned out OK. Except for the little detail about how everyone is completely freaked out. You'd think this was the end of the world or something, what with all the bloggers trying to come up with new Johnny Mneumonic devices ("Nestea™!! My Very Elderly Mother Served Us Nestea™.. How hard was that?") and generally lashing themselves over the pain and tribulations today's schoolchildren surely must be going through.
To that I say, "It isn't a big deal! Children in today's schools learn new things at least once a week; one more new thing to learn isn't going to cause them any troubles."
"Sure," you might reply. "That's all fine and dandy, but what about the books?? We'll have to make new ones! We can't have books with outdated info in them."
Well, my solution to that is simple. All we have to do is print up some of these stickers:
Then we just slap that puppy into any book that talks about the solar system. Problem solved.
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.
As an adult male raised both in the relatively puritanical United States and by Hollywood, I find myself thinking frequently of breasts.
(I must say, it's quite tempting to just stop there, but I do have a point so I guess I'll soldier on.)
Anyway, the other day I was thinking of breasts and came up with an ingenius idea that I hope will make me lots and lots of money.
So what's the problem with breast implants? I'd say it's the invasive and destructive method of insertion; you've got this big object outside the breast that you want to move inside the breast, so there's going to be scarring and pain and recovery time. Oh and everyone will notice that yesterday your boobs were much smaller.
So my idea came about by thinking of Luxy, an elderly rat who has a large mammary tumor. She looked for a while very much like she just suddenly sprouted a Dolly Parton sized boob on one side which had a very natural look and feel.
So my idea is to intentionally cultivate a tumor at a precise location inside of any breasts you want to make bigger; this will allow the breasts to grow "naturally" over time and not require any surgery. Worst case scenario is an injection of a "starter" cell, best case would just be some sort of "Boob Enhancing Ray" that gets waved over the boobs in question.
The only part I haven't been able to figure out yet is how to get them to stop growing. Really though, once you decide you want bigger boobs, do you really think you're going to suddenly be happy with them? No, I think people who get implants want progressively larger ones over time, so this will just save everyone a load of hassle.
At first I was doubtful whether anyone would intentionally put something scary and harmful into their body just to "improve" their appearance, but then I remembered that millions of surprised looking people use Botox. Once you've injected deadly food poisoning into your face, what's a little cancer in your boobs?
(18:10:39) me: know how they're planning a mission to Mars?
(18:10:44) rob: yeh..
(18:10:54) me: that seems like such a total waste of time and money to me.
(18:11:03) me: going to some other planet isn't going to help any of the problems we have here on Earth, most importantly being the coming energy crisis.
(18:11:19) me: I came up with a way we can harvest some energy by making a much more useful trip to a different heavenly body.
(18:11:26) rob: oh?
(18:11:33) me: we should send a mission to land on the SUN.
(18:11:48) rob: But, you can't land on the sun..
(18:11:55) me: well, of course not...
(18:11:59) me: but you CAN if you wait until it is NIGHT.
(18:12:11) rob: lol
(18:12:33) me: I figure, the astronauts can just pop some solar panels in with some nice long fireproof poles and run the cords back to earth.
(18:12:42) me: unlimited free energy.
(18:12:46) me: one thing though, they have to keep an eye on the alarm clock, make sure they're nowhere near that puppy when it comes up.
(18:13:04) rob: yeh, that shit could sting a bit