Friday, April 29, 2011


Good Night Sweet Prince:

Engadget's staff is getting out of dodge before the AOL monster sucks all the life out of them.  Here is the link to the New York Times article so you know it's true.

In the mid-90s I thought to myself: Oh, wow it's one of those fancy new compact discs and IT HAS SOFTWARE ON IT THAT WILL LET ME CONNECT TO THE INTERNET!  OM god!

The greatest achievement of a company which knows how to 
bring the internet to your house but not what to do with it.

Sad Making: 

Here is a sad post by Matt about losing his AdSense account.

While I'm not into this whole blogging thing entirely for the money, it would be nice to earn a little something.  I'd be sad if the Google Adsense account I have were to suddenly be suspended as happened to Matt.  I've heard about this happening to other people as well.

So, What Do?: Selling my own ads directly to companies sounds like a lot of work and it would involve a lot of rejection.

I suppose I could add ads on this site from a company other than Google.  Instead of putting all of my eggs in one basket, I could add another basket.

"When god gives you lemons,
you find a new god."
(Above quote comes from the hilarious comedy troop PicnicFace and can be seen here.)


Google, I assure you that I am not engaged in any of the following:
  • Adult entertainment oriented products or services (all media types; internet, telephone, printed material, etc)
  • Escort services
  • Internet/mail order/telephone order pharmacies (where fulfillment of medication is performed with an internet or telephone consultation, absent a physical visit with a physician including re-importation of pharmaceuticals from foreign countries.)
  • Internet/mail order/telephone order firearm, weapon, cigarette or tobacco sales
  • Drug paraphernalia
  • Occult materials
  • Hate products
  • Lotteries, raffles, or gambling (including online gambling)
  • Collection agencies engaged in the collection of uncollectible debt as defined by the Associations
  • Credit repair agencies
  • Sports forecasting or odds making
  • Any merchant business model for products/services that are solely based on guaranteed "rebate", "refund" or "prize" associated with the sale of those products/services (especially those where the rebate or refund equals or exceeds the product/service purchase price or value)
At least not on this site.

TL;DR: Engadget's dead to me.  Plus, I ponder the potential loss of my AdSense account.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Update: Friday, August 5, 2011: Unfortunately, I just discovered that the website for this product,, has been taken down.  Apparently the group that promised to create this product was unable to do so, which is too bad because I would have gladly bought one of these.

Geeked About: 
Noteslate, an electronic tablet which transforms handwriting into digital images, intrigues me greatly.

At $99 plus shipping I could justify purchasing this device based on the amount of money it would potentially save me in paper notebooks and the amount of time it would save in terms of translating the notes I take in pen in those paper notebooks into text on a computer screen.  Even with a netbook I still find myself drawn to use a pen and notebook to jot down notes and sketches rather than inputing everything into the computer right as it comes out of me, which adds a step to my workflow.

The Noteslate will come with a pen shaped stylus that works as both a writing tool on the pointy end and an eraser on the other end, the way a pencil operates.

Kids, you can ask your parents to explain how these 
used to work in the days before we had computers

At $99 I would certainly want to keep this thing safe but I wouldn't feel so scared about losing or damaging it that I would have to keep it at home under lock and key at all times.

  • 760 x 1024 display
  • Ability to save out pages of notes as either .gif or .png files
  • Relatively low cost at $99 plus shipping
  • Low power consumption (no word yet on the number of hours per charge but it should be fairly high)
  • USB port and SD Card slot for transferring notes

I signed up for the Noteslate email alerts more than a month ago and I haven't received anything from them.  The blog on their site only has a single entry from February of 2011.  The command of the English language displayed by the creators of the site leaves a lot to be desired, e.g. "Thank you for all your support, feedback and talks about Noteslate tablet.  When we put our site online a few days ago we really wished this."  Yikes!  Hopefully, they are hard at work making this device a reality and English is their second (or third) language.  I read on the site that the release date is scheduled for June of 2011 but I'm not holding my breath.

The fact that I most likely won't be able to try this out in a store before purchasing it also concerns me.  I would like to make sure that the device is really responsive to input because I imagine that even a little bit of lag would seriously hurt the user experience.  Perhaps I'll wait until a few others review this thing before investing.

It looks cool anyway

You can check out the Noteslate website here.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Dead Movie Stars

Quote I Heard Recently:
“The ‘t’ is silent, as in Harlow.” Margot Asquith (1864-1945) to Jean Harlow, who had been mispronouncing her first name.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Improving Use of Computer Programs

Right now, spend a few minutes reviewing the keyboard shortcuts for each program you use regularly to speed up your workflow.  

There is more to the keyboard than Ctrl/ Cmd + c and Crtl/ Cmd + v.

Updated on 5/4/12with the following

In Windows XP 

Windows Key + L - Locks your computer immediately.  Do this before you leave your computer to make it more difficult for anyone else to access the information on it.

CTRL while dragging an item - Copies the selected item

SHIFT+DELETE - Delete the selected item permanently without placing the item in the Recycle Bin

CTRL+RIGHT ARROW - Move the insertion point to the beginning of the next word
CTRL+LEFT ARROW - Move the insertion point to the beginning of the previous word
CTRL+DOWN ARROW - Move the insertion point to the beginning of the next paragraph
CTRL+UP ARROW - Move the insertion point to the beginning of the previous paragraph

CTRL+SHIFT+TAB Move backward through the tabs

SHIFT+TAB Move backward through the options

ALT+Underlined letter - Perform the corresponding command or select the corresponding option (lol what?)

Windows Logo+BREAK - Display the System Properties dialog box

Windows Logo+M - Minimize all of the windows, a.k.a. the "this pornography is for my viewing pleasure only key"

Windows Logo+SHIFT+M - Restore the minimized windows, a.k.a. the "time to get back to the action key"

Windows Logo+M -  Minimize all of the windows, a.k.a. the second time you come back near my computer during personal time and I have to press this again.

Windows Logo+SHIFT+M - Restores the minimized windows again.

 There will not be a third press of these keys.  If you come back twice, personal time becomes a group activity and your participation, while not mandatory, is strongly encouraged.  Unless otherwise agreed upon, the safe word is always "safe word" because it is the easiest thing to remember and those two words always connote an end to bizarre sexual practices.  Seriously, why does anyone use any combination of words other than "safe word" to mean "this is getting too weird or it actually hurts and I want it stop right now".

Window 7+

Renaming Multiple Files with Windows Explorer
  • Select a large number of files
  • Press F2.
  • Type the new name and press "Enter".

Creating a New Folder in Windows Explorer

  • Ctrl+Shift+N

Zoom In

  • Windows key and +
  • Windows and - keys at the same time to zoom back out.

 Shift+Right-Click Enhances Send to Menu

THINK about the keyboard people!  

F1 - Known as "The Virgil Key" or the "Don't Panic Key" for all of you who know anything about Dante's Inferno or Douglas Adam's Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy this key is your guide.  Pressing F1 will bring up the help menu and allow you to read and learn about a program for yourself.  I can't do it all for you people.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Functions of My Computer

My computer has replaced:
  • Newspaper purchase/ subscription
  • Buying CDs and DVDs
  • TV (except during major sporting events especially since the January 2011 crackdown on sites broadcasting pirated feeds of cable broadcasts, or so I've been told.  I still have cable but what I mean is that I could get by without it with all the video content available for free online.)
  • Books (except brand new works which can still be had through the library and frankly I get distracted when trying to read anything that isn't intensely compelling using the computer.  When I have the internet at my fingertips I typically don't stick to reading anything too dense for long.)
  • Asking for directions
  • Maps (My old AAA maps have become informative wall art)
  • Other Entertainment of any other kind (although it hasn't stopped me from spending a lot of money on other forms of entertainment)
  • A Calendar
  • An Address Book or contact list
  • A Camera (Technically, I have one built-in to my netbook although I do still use a Canon 6 megapixel digital camera and my cellphone camera)
  • Any other source for a weather report
  • A notebook and pen (although I find them useful still when my laptop is out of power and there is no outlet, I want to sketch something quickly, I need to take down information somewhere a laptop would not be convenient to operate, etc.)
  • A phone by using Skype (although those around me still insist on using cellphone and landline technology so I pay more than I think is reasonable for a sort-of-smart phone service plan)
  • A magazine subscription of any kind
I thought about all of this while walking through an Office Max recently.  I came across a whole aisle of leather, vinyl and paper planers, organizers, address books and notebooks in all sorts of sizes and colors.  What stuck me was just how worthless these things are to anyone that knows how to use a computer.  Google's Calendar, Apple's iCal, the contacts feature inside of Gmail, and any of the huge number of word processing applications available have rendered all of these things obsolete.  

I figure keeping a list of the things my computer does will help me avoid redundancy in my future purchases.

    Monday, April 18, 2011

    Chitlins, Whisky and Skirt

    I want you to take one hand and cover your genitals because I'm going to be throwing a lot of stuff out there in this post and I don't want anyone getting hurt.   When you're ready, use your free hand to scroll down and view my latest notes:
    • Always keep a notebook and a pen beside your bed.  I'm often amazed at how many thoughts come rushing to mind the moment after I put my head on the pillow.  Usually these thoughts are of things I should do tomorrow morning or should have done that day.

      Right now I'm using about two dozen blank index cards stapled together at one end with a BIC ball point pen clipped to them as my bedside notebook.  Not classy I realize but moleskins are expensive.
      The vertical lines are supposed to be staples
      The horizontal thing is supposed to be pen clipped to the index cards
      If I enrolled, I might be the first person in history to fail out of art school.

      Oh, and if you're going to have a notebook next to your bed you need to have a lamp that you can turn on and off while in bed so that you can see the notes you're taking.   
    • The Hermes website is incredibly well done. Their site is rich in content, impressively animated and, in short, is a fantastic example of the type of user experience that all brands should strive for.  You can spend time "traveling the world of Hermes", as they say..

      Might there be a phallic symbol at work here?

    • Computer Magic: If you happen to be running Windows XP, you might  try: CTRL + ALT + (arrow keys) for fun.  Heed Douglas Adam's advice: Don't Panic.  I'm sure you're smart enough to realize that CTRL + ALT + Up Arrow will get things back to normal.
    • Wall outlets with built-in USB plugs make me happy.  I hope to see more of them.

      I'd put it in there.

    • Sectec Astronomy” is the name of the phony business that turns out to be an anagram for “Too Many Secrets” also “My Socrates Notes” and “Monterrey Bay” in the movie Sneakers.  This would be a clever reference to toss into future fiction writing

      Look Bob, we really can find semen everywhere in your house!

    • Sounds like Nostalgia: Chitlins, Whisky and Skirt” is the name of the band that originally performed “Increased Chances”, the haunting tune with twisted lyrics that plays in the famed Full Throttle game from Lucas Arts.  Here is the song on YouTube:

    I imagine that the genre of this song could, perhaps, be described as Serial Killer Country.  

    • Adding metal/ wire mesh to make opaque doors on the front of a bookcase or cabinet might look good
    • Fundraising for the National Monuments in Washington, DC is interesting, e.g. the fact that the WWII Memorial was a joint effort of Senator Dole and Fred Smith, CEO and founder of FedEx (and a military supporter by all  accounts) is interesting to me.

    Transportation money can buy a lot of fountains

    • Quote I saw recently: “If you are not seated at the table, you're on the menu.”  

    Seed of an Idea: Websites could provide a rating system on the home page to describe the level of objectionable material in their content.

    The rating system I propose could be humorous, i.e. this site is not suitable for your Mother, anyone over the age of 18 (or something actually funny) or it could be done in a more serious way with just a breakdown of the ages the material would be appropriate for.  

    If you're going to create a rating system for comedic effect, be specific.  A number of websites have already adopted the Not Safe for Work (NSRW) label but this only lumps all objectionable content into one great big pile.  As anyone that has been online for any length of time knows, the depth of images, text and video depicting porn and gore stretches downward from bare butts and paper cuts near the surface to the most depraved things imaginable waiting at the depths of a massive underground cavern that is constantly being filled with this material like the nuclear waste storage facility America keeps putting off building.  I'd suggest that trying to more accurate in labeling content.  For example, NSFW Unless Your Co-workers are:
    • Appreciative of the female body
    • Stoners
    • Known for their wandering eyes when joining others using the urinals
    • Not squeamish at the sight of blood
    • Also into animal sacrifice
    If someone is going to be serious about setting up such as system, the rating systems used on video games and films could be used as a starting point.  Also, there are already a number of different services out there that keep children from visiting sites with objectionable content which would be good to research.

    Here in America I've heard some radio stations bleep out the word "sex" in Rhianna's "S&M" song.  While visiting Europe, I saw full front nudity during a TV commercial.  Working out a serious international content rating system that takes into account the widely varying mores around the world would take some effort.   

    If you happen to be the one that nurtures this seed of an idea and comes up with a globally recognized standard for rating content based on reading this post, be sure to send me a check or at least give me an honorary position on your Board of Directors.

    TL;DR: It's tough for me to summarize random thoughts.  You might try skimming the words in bold.

    You may now safely continue to browse the internet with both hands.

    Saturday, April 16, 2011

    Artist Wil Freeborn

    New Artist on My Radar:
    Wil Freeborn has a number of good looking colored sketches on his site which is here.  Here is a link to his online store which sells two different sizes of a book he published of his work.  Below are examples of his work, which I particularly like:

    Wednesday, April 13, 2011

    Customer Service Representatives and the Sad State of Music

    This makes me wish it was still Friday:

    Girls, Rebecca Black is laughing at you- not good

    This creative response video with guys that sounds like Macho Man Randy Savage is here:

    Also, whenever you find yourself dealing with a customer service representative, you would be wise to always get their:
    • Full name:
    • Or first name and employee number:
    • Direct Dial:
    Don't be afraid to ask them for their:
    • Supervisor's Name:
    • Physical Address:

    Monday, April 11, 2011

    Source of Inspiring Photos

    Source of Inspiration:

    Photos of the inside of hotels can be incredibly inspiring.  Below are samples:

    There are lights made to resemble stars above the indoor pool at 
    The Observatory Hotel in Sydney, Australia

    The view bar at the Hotel Le Bristol in Paris, France

    Two Shots of the Pool at the Sandy Bridge Hotel in St. James, Barbados

    Inside a Room at the Four Seasons George V in Paris,
    which has a great mural and a cool oversized curtain rod used
    to hang drapes around a bed.  Still, I'm not thrilled by the 
    I Love Lucy style separate beds.

    Ever since the first time I watched Bad Boys II
    all I've ever wanted are little angels looking down on me
    and now if I stay at this suite at the Four Seasons in 
    Florence I can have them.

    Looking at these images makes me want to make more money and travel.

    Saturday, April 9, 2011


    Grotesque: An article about real cannibals:

    If your carving room is cool enough you can 
    safely cut off hunks of human sushi for up to 72 hours.
    After that you'll want to cook the meat throughly
    ...or so I'm told.

    Thursday, April 7, 2011

    This Email From the White House Upsets Me

    I like to stay current with politics.  What the Administration is up to is of great interest to me, which is why I'm on the email list for the White House.  On March 31, 2011 I received the email below.  I've posted my responses below that.

    The White House, Washington

    Good afternoon,

    Surprised at how much it cost last time you filled up your gas tank? You're not alone. Millions of families and businesses across the country are feeling the pinch of rising gas prices.

    Here's the thing: as long as our economy relies on oil and as demand in countries like China and India continues to grow, we'll be subject to these kinds of spikes in gas prices.

    We've been down this road before -- just three years ago, gas prices rose to their highest level ever. There was no quick fix to lower prices then, just as there isn't one now.

    For decades, politicians here in Washington have talked a lot about the dangers of our dependence on foreign oil, but this talk hasn't always been met with action. And today, Americans pay a price for that inaction every time they fill up their tanks.

    Yesterday, we unveiled a Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future that sets a goal of reducing our imports of foreign oil. By 2025 -- a little more than a decade from now -- we will have cut that reliance by one-third.

    Learn more about the Blueprint and watch President Obama's speech on energy security:

    In his speech yesterday, President Obama outlined his plan to secure our energy future by developing and securing America's energy resources, bringing energy costs down for consumers, and innovating our way to a clean energy future.

    • Increase domestic energy production. Last year, American oil production reached its highest level since 2003. And, because we can't just drill our way out of this crisis, we're reducing our dependence on oil by increasing fuel efficiency and increasing our production of natural gas and biofuels.
    • Reduce demand for oil. Transportation is responsible for 70 percent of our petroleum consumption, so one of the quickest and easiest ways to reduce our dependence on foreign oil is to make transportation more efficient.  That's why, in April of last year, the Obama Administration established a groundbreaking national fuel efficiency standard for cars and trucks that will save us 1.8 billion barrels of oil and save consumers thousands of dollars. We're also making investments in electric vehicles and the advanced batteries that power them to ensure that high-quality, fuel-efficient cars and trucks are built right here in America.
    • Increase production of clean energy. In his State of the Union address, President Obama set a goal that by 2035, 80 percent of our electricity should come from clean energy sources including renewables like wind and solar, nuclear energy, efficient natural gas, and clean coal.

    The concepts are straightforward, but the execution will be challenging. In order to make this happen, Republicans and Democrats in Congress must find common ground for a responsible and effective energy policy.

    But no matter your views on this issue, I think we can all agree that the United States simply can't afford to leave this challenge for future generations to solve.


    David Plouffe
    Senior Advisor to the President

    P.S. Check out our new Advise the Advisor video featuring Secretary of Energy Steven Chu and give us your feedback on how we can meet the President's goal of reducing imports of oil by one-third in a little over a decade:


    The White House • 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW • Washington, DC 20500 • 202-456-1111

    I've heard all of this before.  In fact, I keep hearing the same stuff coming from our current President and past Presidents about our need to rid ourselves of our dependence on foreign oil.  Before I was born, President Jimmy Carter installed solar panels on top of the White House in recognition of the fact that we can't depend on Middle East to meet our energy demands forever.  What upsets me is that we don't really mean anything the White House announced above.  As nearly as I can tell we're not actually doing anything to rid ourselves of our dependence on foreign oil.  

    Blueprints are Great if You Follow Them
    I highly doubt that by 2025 our use of foreign oil will really cut by 1/3.  My educated guess- America's consumption of foreign oil will be significantly higher than it is today, not less.

    Biofuels Kill Poor People
    While it's great for agribusiness in this country, fuel from corn is not a solution for our energy problems.  In fact, our increased use of biofuels is driving up the price of corn and in turn causing people in the developing world to starve.  You don't mess with a man's ability to buy tortillas when he can't afford anything else.

    Natural Gas is Shaky at Best
    Natural Gas is OK except for the "unexplained" earthquakes that occur in regions that had not previously had earthquakes which accompany the underground blasting needed to go after natural gas reserves.

    Increasing Fuel Efficiency in Cars
    The big auto makers in Detroit will ignore the new legislation regarding increasing the fuel efficiency of our vehicles.  They will simply argue that they can't build such vehicles the way they did when California passed higher efficiency standards.  Unless we're willing to impose serious financial penalties for noncompliance against the auto makers, this won't help.  Given the massive bailouts given to Chrysler and GM, I highly doubt that we will actually enforce these new regulations.

    Wind and Solar
    These technologies should be no-brainers for America to immediately implement in large scale.  I'm sickened by the number of planned power generation plants I've heard of being scrapped because they will ruin the view or the natural beauty of wherever.  I'm looking straight at you Senator Dianne Feinstein.  You think the view of the dessert is more important than producing solar energy- the cleanest type of energy possible?  I don't like this.  Also, the idea that the rich East Coast dwellers will have their view of the ocean ruined by off-shore wind farms disgusts me.  

    We need to immediately invest heavily in wind and solar energy production.

    I'm willing to be realistic about our energy demands and admit that there is probably a need for more energy production from nuclear plants in America.  Still I seem to recall there being some news about the problems of nuclear energy production coming out of Japan...

    Let's try to limit the amount of nuclear energy production we're getting ourselves into.

    I can't believe the White House used the term "clean coal"!  There is no such thing.  


    Sunday, April 3, 2011

    Electrified Sword Fighting, A Chalkboard in Marakesh and Why I Won't be Dealing with Anymore

    Electrified sword fighting:

    Thank you Internet!
    Do want:
    Somehow the manufacturer is correct in labeling these handmade containers as both retro and modern:
    Reminds me of the labels for the chips at Chipotle

    I see chalkboards:

    Both of the above are from Sarah

    I think these workstation pod things are painted in chalkboard paint.  
    You can judge for yourself here.

    Bob Parsons, CEO of, is a Total Dick:

    I will be moving all of my domain names from to another registrar as a result of seeing CEO Bob Parsons gleefully kill an elephant.  

    Here is the original (graphic) video:

    Skip to 2:05 for the shooting
    Around 2:30 the butchering begins

    If CBS and other mainstream media organizations had not covered this so extensively and included quotes from Parsons I would think this was some terribly conceived promotional stunt.  Unbelievably, the graphic version of the video was actually posted by Parsons on the official site.

    I called GoDaddy's 800 number to ask if this was some kind of sick April Fool's joke.  Their rep. assured me that the video is real and that "there is a lot more information posted about this on our website".  I replied that I had read quite a bit of what Parsons had to say and added that I found it offensive.  I said that I was disgusted at ever having done business with to which the rep. replied "Is there anything else I can help you with?" 

    George Orwell/ Eric Blair wrote a very good short story on this subject entitled "Shooting an Elephant".  In his account, the elephant poses an immediate danger to human life.  The elephant is in musk and is stampeding through a populated area putting humans in real danger of being trampled. You can read the full text of this very well written and rightfully famous autobiographical account here.

    In Parson's case the elephant is endangering the food supply of people and does not pose an immediate threat to human life.  Non-lethal means could have been used to keep the elephants away from the farmer's field.  In other words, Bob Parsons is a big game hunter masquerading as some savior of poor African people.

    Alternatives to GoDaddy:
    Network Solutions is way too expensive, as you can see if you squint hard enough at the price list below:

    TL;DR: Fuck and fuck their CEO Bob Parsons.  Oh and you should watch the less than 30 second long electrified sword fighting video above.