Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Yay Technology!

Impressive Collection of Robots You Got There

Skynet Is Getting Closer to Achieving Their Goals

Windows 8 Consumer Preview

I would like to be writing this on a computer running the Windows 8 Consumer preview.  

Unfortunately, the upgrade from Windows 7 to 8 is taking roughly forever while connected to WiFi at my favorite corporate coffee shop with a thing for the color green.

Man, I Only Have 14 Hours to Spare

Shortly after taking the above screen capture, the preview installer decided to give up on the idea of estimating the time remaining entirely.  Then, just before I took a second screen capture, the installer decided that it lied before and adjusted its estimate up slightly.

Just Because the Calendar Added a 29th Day to February Does
Not Mean that You Will Have Time to Get Ahead on Any Projects

After asking one of the green apron people if she would mind staying a few minutes after closing time the following minor miracle occurred.

If you have a fast internet connection, you can download the preview of Windows 8 from Microsoft here.

Update 2/29/2012 11:42 p.m.: I did get Windows 8 running this evening.  Here are some of my initial reactions to the new version of Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system:
  • Don't bother installing the Windows 8 update unless you have a monitor that supports a resolution of at least 1024 x 768.  My netbook doesn't like anything above 1024 x 600 so I'll have to plug into an external monitor to access a lot of the new elements featured in the Metro interface.
  • The Metro interface that has drawn so much attention is actually really intuitive.  Having a scroll wheel on the mouse you're using makes it easy to slide back and forth across this interface.  Holding a left click and dragging the brightly colored rectangle and square icons allows you to quickly slide them around to move the ones you will use frequently all the way to the left where they belong.
  • Knowing some of the more popular Window shortcut keys will help. 
  • The Start button is gone. 
  • Clicking in the very bottom left will cause the Metro interface to pop up.
  • The top right and bottom right are also hot corners now and they bring up a menu of settings that remind me of the menu in the recent Unbuntu releases.
  • Finally, Windows 8 is not ready for people that just want everything to work yet.  The first thing I did was to download Firefox to replace the built-in Internet Explorer browser.  Oddly, Windows 8 didn't know what to do with a file with a .exe extension.  Weird.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Design a Better Parking Garage

As those of you who read the sidebar on this site know, the purpose of this blog is to share with the world advances in computing, technology, world affairs, the struggle of the middle class in America, famous authors, computer programming, well-designed things and anything I come across that makes me want to exclaim, "Why did I not know about this before?”

Today, I have one of those well-designed things to share.  Specifically, we’re going to take a look at the design of parking garages.  I typically associate parking garages with the original Deep Throat, stagnant air, the smell of hobo urine and generally the worst part of the shopping mall experience.

Thankfully, CraigRedman and Karl Maier produced a this colorful space to park your vehicles. 

 I Like the Entryway

Too Colorful for My Henry Fordesque Tastes

Vegas Baby!

What better place could there be to find a great example of how to build a parking garage than Las Vegas?

In January of 2012, I made the pilgrimage to what I like to think of as the happiest place on Earth, Las Vegas.  Specifically, I visited the Cosmopolitan, a relatively new casino located on the Las Vegas Strip.  

A lot of casinos in Vegas really push their valet parking service at the expense of their free parking lot.  In more simplistic terms they either make their free parking lot inconvenient relative to their casino floor.  Thankfully, the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas really extends the Vegas glamor to their guest parking lot. 

Below you can relive the wonder and excitement I experienced when entering their free guest parking garage.  

So Much Excitement!
I Can't Believe Hollywood Hasn't Offered Me a Job

Designing a better parking garage might not solve the problems of famine, endless wars taking place around the world or the serious lack of bare breasted young women preparing and delivering strawberry kiwi smoothies to me whenever I clap my hands.* 

[Drawing of me clapping goes here]
See, Nothin'

Still, at the very least parking garages are large blank canvases that could be opened up to artists.

When I was leaving the parking lot, I noticed a girl in her early twenties who held up her entire crew of four people so that she could point her fancy large body Nikon camera at the wall of the parking lot to snap a photo.  Seriously, I’m not making this up: the walls of the parking garage at the Cosmopolitan are photo worthy.  

*Female applicants interested in an exciting unpaid internship position with Clean Sheets and Dirty Girls which will prepare them for either the smoothie making or sex industry are encouraged to apply by leaving their contact information in the "Comments" section below.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Internet Video That's Worth Watching

Entertainment List

Internet video has, along with music, become one of my two favorite sections of the Entertainment List I keep.  One of the sources of quality internet based video is, which of course is also well known for their humorous writing and images.  Here is one video I came across recently, which I think is worth watching:

Urban Wolf

Someday I'll get around to publishing my entire Entertainment List on this site.  In the meantime, if you haven't already here is your chance to get yourself hooked on Urban Wolf:

I Approve of All 15 of The Urban Wolf Videos

Natalie Portman Gets an Oscar and This Girl Gets a Video on YouTube

Somewhere the author of Freakonomics could very well be writing an additional chapter for the next edition of his book by comparing the relative levels of income to the dancing ability of Natalie Portman and the woman in the following video:

American Cheerleaders Have Nothing on This Girl

I've been to several renditions of The Nutcracker but I've never seen a ballet performance as spectacular as the one this woman gives us.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Hip Hip Hooray, It's Valentine's Day

It's Time

Today we honor what I believe is a made up holiday designed to sell greeting cards, flowers and chocolate, which means it's the perfect time for this:

 Skipping ahead to 1:02 is perfectly acceptable

No, I was wrong- it's not the perfect time for this.

Time to Snuggle Up with the One You Love

In San Simeon, CA, which is right next to the famous Hearst Castle, the beaches are filled with elephant seals at this time of year.

Top: I like you.
Bottom: Get away from me!

Loud as heavy machinery and twice as ugly as anything at your zoo, the elephant seal is a creature that won't be winning any beauty contests but it's worth heading down to the beach to look at them if you happen to visit Hearst Castle.

Who Wants Diamonds and Gold When You Could Have Platinum?

A lot of people will be impressed to receive gold and diamonds today.

Meanwhile, according to the BBC, this guy found what he believes is three billion dollars worth of platinum.

I'm always skeptical of stories like this so I plan to keep track of this story to see if this guy really has found an amount of platinum that will seriously upset the world market for this precious metal.

Friday, February 10, 2012

What I Remember of the Super Bowl

What I Remember of the Super Bowl: Adriana Lima

She did not just one, but two Super Bowl ads in which she plays the role she was born to portray: a scorching hot woman.

I have no idea what product the advertisers who featured Adriana in the first of two ads featuring her are trying to sell.  Based on the photos all I can guess is that Ms. Lima was showing women everywhere how to look incredibly beautiful.  First, Adriana shows women the proper way to get dressed:

 A Lot of People Would Dress Before 
Being Filmed for an Appearance on National TV

Not That I'm Complaining.  
Seriously, Adriana, Take Your Time Getting Ready.

Gorgeous- Now if Only There Was a Way We Could See More of Your Chest

Adriana Lima also starred in another ad that ran during the Super Bowl for some other product I can't remember.  What did stick with me after watching these ads is just how hot Adriana Lima looks. 

That Will Do Nicely

Note to Self: Visit More Speedways

Apparently, Ms. Lima's prior work includes modeling for Victoria's Secret.  Further investigation into her past may be necessary.

My quest to find a woman with less than 18% body fat and a post-graduate science degree continues.

What I Remember of the Super Bowl: Madonna

I've never been so upset with Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson more than when this year's halftime entertainment, Madonna, took to the stage.  Madonna released her first album in 1983 took to the stage and began belting out "Vogue", her hit song, which was released 22 years ago.  

I don't hate Madonna.  I don't have another performer in mind that would do a better job headlining the Super Bowl halftime show.  What I do have is a desire not to have to justify why I enjoy the NFL to the people I interact with in real life.  Madonna, who didn't have enough breath in her lungs to sing all the words in her own songs, isn't helping me in this respect. 

What I Remember of the Super Bowl: Slacklining

Also during the halftime show a goofy looking guy bounced around on a loose tight rope, which I had to look up so as to avoid using an oxymoron when describing it.  Apparently, the name of the activity he was participating in is known as "Slacklining", which looks like a gymnastics event that is some sort of weird cross between the balance beam and the trampoline.  

There is a head slappingly dumb name for the character the guy bouncing around on the rope chose for himself.  According to this article, "His curly-haired, toga-wearing character was supposed to be a combination of Caesar and Socrates, the father of the philosophy of slacklining known as Slackrates, Lewis said. Or at least that was the plan."  Yes, you read that correctly, he went with the name "Slackrates".  We are all now dumber for having experienced this.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Love is in the Air Part 2

Something Borrowed

Anna Silk, the actress who plays the protagonist on the TV show Lost Girl on the SyFy channel, is the latest unattainable female to become the fixation of my romantic desires.  I'm listing Anna under the borrowed category because her character, Bo, is a succubus who borrows (OK, steals) the energy of the living.

 The Beautiful Anna Silk

The Boobtacular Anna Silk

Is it possible for a still image to suffer a wardrobe malfunction?

  Getting Closer

Here is the link to the official Lost Girl sub-domain on the SyFy Channel site.

Something Blue

Ksenia Solo finds herself in a tie with Anna Silk for the highly coveted role of being the latest female celebrity to capture my attention.

Ksenia has the kind of clear blue eyes that remind me of the ocean water in Cancun, the pleasing hues of Edvard Munch's "Starry Night" and the color of the water in Crater Lake.  Her beauty is the kind that makes otherwise rational men compose sonnets.  Were she to be kidnapped and held captive on an island more than a 1,000 ships would be launched to bring her home safely.  Ksenia is more than just a pretty face.  Unlike other female starlettes, who will remain nameless here, Ksenia is both strikingly beautiful and capable to delivering her lines with confidence and, when called for, the type of comedic timing and tone that seem to be drawn from a depth of experience beyond her years.  In short, Ksenia deserves to be included in the something blue category because of her eye color.   

The Lovely Ksenia Solo

"She has Beautiful Eyes and Her Hair Smells Like Cinnamon!"

Ladies, Please Note That the Arm Band Adds a 1/2 Point 
to Her Hotness on the Standard 1-10 Scale

The Full Length Gloves Also Add a 1/2 Point
Wearing Both at the Same Time Will Not Add a Full Point

Does the Bottom of that Dress Have to be Laced Up?
I'm Sure it Would Look Fine Without the Sides. 
I became convinced that the point of the show Lost Girl is for Anna Silk's character to show as much cleavage as possible while hooking up with as many people, both guys and girls, as possible.  Ksenia Solo's character seems intent on helping Anna with this mission.  I have no complaints about this premise.

After watching an episode and a half, I had to look up the plot of Lost Girl.  As it turns out, I wasn't missing much of the premise.  Anna Silk's character is a succubus, a supernatural creature that sucks the life out of the living, which, luckily enough for us viewers, is best done through physical contact.  I'm still not exactly sure what Ksenia Solo's character does other than look sexy- a role which she seems to have been born to play.

It's a Happy Day

Super Bowl 46 is today!  I don't have an interest in either the Patriots or the Giants so I will be rooting for a close, high-scoring game and funny commercials.

Not only is today a good day because we get to watch the game but it also means that my "wardrobe malfunction" comment above isn't horribly dated, it's actually timely since that phrase originated from a halftime incident that took place during Super Bowl XXXVIII.

Girl Scout Cookies

Adding to the celebratory atmosphere today, it's worth mentioning that this is also Girl Scout Cookie time!  Parents and daughters please note that I will not be answering the door during the game today.

TL;DR: Anna Silk and Ksenia Solo, the stars of the series Lost Girl, are smoking hot.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Love is in the Air

Valentine's Day happens to fall in the month of February and that's reason enough for me to roll with a wedding theme for this post.

Something Old

I would be willing to award ten points to anyone that builds a pair of these early roller skates today.

I was really hoping one of them would grind down a staircase railing.

Something New

In July of 2011, the Republic of South Sudan became the newest country on Earth when they split away from Sudan.  

From what I've read, conditions in South Sudan are dire. 

I did a little research on what I could do to help the people of South Sudan

The country has a newspaper callled The Citizen.  "Fighting Corruption and Dictatorship Everyday" reads their sub-heading.  I plan on keeping an eye on their website to stay informed about the issues facing the people of the South Sudan.

According to an article published in the New York Times about The Citizen, “Another reporter, Joseph Lagu Jackson, was a former child soldier and learned how to use an AK-47 at the age of 8; the news editor received death threats from the Arab rulers in the north when he was a radio journalist.”  Don’t we have an obligation to prevent people from being turned into soldiers at the age of 8?  Wouldn’t teaching these people to become journalists be far more productive than teaching them to kill one another?

At this point, I determined to do a little research into the logistics of sending material support to the people of South Sudan.

First, I checked with the U.S. State Department to be absolutely sure how Washington views the South Sudan to ensure I wouldn't be doing anything potentially unlawful by supporting the people of South Sudan.  According to a statement issued by the office of the Spokesperson for the U.S. State Department issued on July 8, 2011, "The United States stands with the people of both Sudan and South Sudan during this time of great hope and immense challenge. Our commitment extends beyond July 9, and we will continue to expand on our deeply-rooted partnership in the years ahead."  From what I've read nothing has significant changed in the attitude of the State Department since that time in regards to the South Sudan.

A quick search of the FedEx website indicated that they do not yet ship to any location inside of the South Sudan.  I found that one could use FedEx to ship to the city of Jimma in Western Ethopia, which is fairly close to the capitol of the South Sudan.  Unfortunately, to send a small box that weighs 80 pounds to Ethiopia using the least expensive method of shipping with FedEx would cost more than $5,200!

At this point I've given up on the idea of simply sending a care package.

That's All for Now

Tune in later when I wrap up this up with something borrowed and something blue.

TL;DR: I discovered that the reason that people living in developed nations do not simply ship books, medical supplies and other useful things to help the people of Africa is because it is wildly expensive to do so.