Sunday, January 29, 2006


It's in the Koran

Catchy little song. Hat tip National Review blog.

Friday, January 27, 2006


Reaching 128kbps audio bliss.

The results of a public 128kbps multiformat test have been posted. Compared with previous results, it looks like all CODECs are reach a level of high quality with minimal difference between each. The next stop is to achieve the same levels of quality at lower bitrates. HE-AACv2 it out and in the process of being refined. You can get HE-AACv2 in WinAmp 5.12. Winamp 5.2 currently in beta test. It should be bringing refinements to HE-AAC. Nero is also beta testing their AAC and hopefully have an update soon.

Thursday, January 26, 2006


Apple, Though shall do no evil.

Apple's Eminem ad copies a Lugz footwear commercial.

Apple ad copies The Postal Service music video. Dell, Intel's love partner for years, must be ecstatic about this commercial. Yea, the ad and music video has the same directors, but Apple did not and still hasn't sought licensing the material from the band.

The MacIntel is only 25% Faster than G5. Not 2x and 4x as Jobs claims.

iPod's design looks a lot like a 1954 radio. For a company claiming to be the origins of all that is cool, they seem to be copying a lot.

I am sure Steve has a message for me. Ah, I see. It's in the movie poster.


Netscape releases 8.1 browser.

Netscape releases an update to its browser. The new version adds RSS, a Security Center for the whole PC, Spyware & Adware protection for the whole PC, and nifty Profiles support. As always, it comes with the ability to switch between the Gecko and IE rendering engines. It a nice browser developed by a third party in Canada. AOL/TW nixed all of the Netscape development team.

Monday, January 23, 2006


Sounds of a Dying Hard Drive

Hitachi has posted a knowledge base article about the noises hard drives make when they die. At the end of the article are the wave files.

Head damage 4 sounds great! I think I have a new Windows startup sound. Imagine a techie's response walking near your computer as it starts up and hears that sound. Aaaaah!


The End of Personalized Menus

Hooray! The terrible idea of personalized menus is dead. Whenever I find personalized menus, I immediately turn it off.

The idea is flawed from the get go. Personalized menus are supposed to display frequently used functions and hide infrequent functions. The problem I have is the hiding of the infrequent functions. In order for something to be promoted to frequently accessed, you have to know it exists. How do you know it exists if it's being hidden?

Discovering an application's abilities is like an Easter egg hunt. Even after you performed your initial scan of what's available, which is an inconvenient process in itself, you are liable to forget your discoveries. The functions remain hidden. Out of sight; out of mind.

I am happy they are gone, but surprised it too this long for Microsoft to discover they don't work. Maybe the notion was hidden in a personalized menu.

Saturday, January 21, 2006


From the "What took so long?" Department

New Fuel Economy Rules Slap Hybrids Good to see we will start seeing some real numbers. This happened under George Bush? No way. I thought all he wanted to do was pollute the water and skies. ;-)

Friday, January 20, 2006


Poor Tom Cruise (Bonus: Free South Park episode!)

It looks like Tom Cruise has gone insane again blocking the airing of an episode of South Park, because it asks Tom Cruise to come out of the closet and makes fun of Scientology. He sure is protective of his image. Not sure if it's doing any good.

Watch this commercial-free South Park episode featuring Tom Cruise and John Travolta. It has an interesting explanation of Scientology.


Indoor Ski Resort in Desert

Here is a story on an indoor ski resort in Dubai. I guess if you can, why not? Impressive.


Another Cool Ad

Honda produced this ad with nothing but vocal effects. It's a cool watch. Convinces me to buy a Civic? Hmm, over a Mustang GT? No way! :-)

And don't miss the Gap ad if you haven't seen it.

Thursday, January 19, 2006


The Mind of Minolta Closes

First Nikon. Now Minolta. No more cameras for Minolta. This can only help the American icon of photography, Kodak, in its recovery efforts. The effects won't be immediate, but in due time. My preference in digital cameras is for Canon, but I'm rooting for the big K.


All the Pretty Boys (and Girls)

Christopher Lee (You probably know him from Lord of the Rings as the Saruman the White Wizard gone bad.) says Hollywood is obsessed with finding good looking young actors rather than good actors. I would agree. It's irritating because it gives the silver screen a homogenous feel. We need some good ugly actors! What will we do when Steve Buscemi retires?

The bad habits of the music industry are spreading into Hollywood. The music industry began manufacturing bands by first picking artists based on looks. Whatever musical flaws exist can be worked over with a professional song writer and a digital mixer. It's no so easy for Hollywood. You can only throw so much special FX around an actor to makeup for or bury poor acting.

A recent conversation topic I raised, before Christopher Lee uttered his words, was about how ugly men have a better chance making it in Hollywood than less-than-pretty women. My theory is because women movie watchers are more forgiving of shall we say "flawed looks" whereas men movie watchers are not so forgiving of women actresses. Women with less than stellar looks have to work harder at acting than men to overcome visual prejudice. It's a shame it is this way because there are some really good actors and actresses who are not hotties, but are overlooked by Hollywood.


Nagin and the Chocolate City.

By now, you heard or read about Mayor Nagin the Great's comments about New Orleans needing to remain a "chocolate city" and is the target of God's wrath. We'll overlook the fact if a conservative or republican said such a thing, the accusations of religiously zealotry would fly. I found the following poster funny.

Ann Coulter provides hilarious commentary on the event amongst other things.

In true American fashion, someone has already begun selling t-shirts.

Sunday, January 15, 2006


Who said Rubik's cube is dead?

CNet has an interesting story on a Rubik's cube competition in San Francisco. There were blind fold and one-handed contests. Amazing stuff. Only one guy solved the 5x5. Make sure to watch the video and see the pictures.

Friday, January 13, 2006


Katrina Storm Surge Analysis

Here is an interesting analysis of a picture making rounds on the internet. During and post-Katrina pictures provided.


Those Nifty Video Card Features

nVidia and ATI have been bombarding the market with a new term for every new feature. There are so many features of video cards these days that it's like its own language. Tom's Hardware has a good article illustrating what each of these features means. Unlike other articles full of explanation, Tom's is full of A/B comparison images.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006


Louisiana resident files recall petition against Gov. Blanco

HOOOOOOOOOORAAAAYYYYYYY! Louisiana, please don't let me down. Next, "Mayor" Nagin.


Nice round up of the 2006 Detroit Auto Show

A lot of nice cars coming. The new Camaro sounds interesting. When? When? When?

Monday, January 09, 2006


O'Reilly Gives Letterman the Smack Down

Bill O'Reilly lost me late June 2004 when he was changing profile in an attempt to get Dan Rather's seat, IMO. However, he made a great appearance on David Letterman's show. Certainly better than Rush Limbaugh's appearance. It was obvious O'Reilly went into the show prepared, and Letterman did not. Letterman did not even know if O'Reilly had children. O'Reilly responded with not only knowing Letterman has a child, but his age. Letterman's "60% of what you say is crap" was a poor and feeble response.

Friday, January 06, 2006


Nano-ITX: That's small!

VIA introduces the Nano-ITX board. That is really small. A board size comparison chart is provided in the article.


Wrightspeed Electric Supercar Ride (0-60 in 3 seconds)

I want one. Looks like fun.

Thursday, January 05, 2006


BabelFish reaches Yahoo Messenger

There is now software which can translate IM messages sent via Yahoo Messenger. Slick.


It's not November, but let's talk JFK assassination.

I saw this video of the Zapruder film stabilized and with enhanced color and began following this thread. The enhanced Zapruder film is the clearest and smoothest version of the film I've seen. You can clearly see Kennedy grab his throat right after the road sign passes and when the fatal shot hits Kennedy.

Other JFK assassination material:
John F. Kennedy assassination - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Free video, vintage and new, of the JFK assassination and investigation. Interesting stuff to watch.

A recent story (1/4/06) hypothesizing on an assassination carried out by the Cubans. If only Cotton Hill got his job done...

Wednesday, January 04, 2006


AOL Pictures Promotion

JUST IN! AOL is offering 100 free 4x6 photos. That's a great deal. Keep in mind it's a one use coupon. You pay shipping or maybe taxes. Find a 100 photos and get printing.


Digital Prints: Retail vs. In Home

I think this story goes well with my previous entry about printing digital photos outside the home. Out of the home printing is rising because retail is coming down in price, and the printer manufacturers continue their strategy of trying to get their money back through overpriced inks. Add to this the fact manufacturers are locking consumers into OEM ink by using smart cartridges, it seems the Canons, Epsons, and HPs are working hard to push consumers away. The answer is simple: Charge a reasonable price for the printer and ink. If this reduces profits, augment with professional print services. HP has a head start with SnapFish.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006


How Dry I Am

The Dallas-Fort Worth (or Fort Worth-Dallas for Fort Wortherners) and surrounding areas are continuing their drought. No rain in the forecast. Electronic highway signs post warnings about extreme fire danger.

Here's an old but valid map showing the areas affected...

This site has some interesting fly over photos showing fires around Dallas. His primary web site has cool photos of storms in the great plains area, so check them out too.

CBS11, a local news station, has a slideshow of the burns.


DoCopenhagen: Top 50 Music Videos Of 2005

Music videos that are actually interesting to watch. Great time killer. :0)


Correction: Unreal Tournament 2007 will not launch with PlayStation 3

Unreal Tournament 2007 will not be a launch title, but it will be a PC title first. :-)


Twice as many Catholics killed in 2005

On the surface, this looks like an ordinary story about deaths around the world. But it is really saying a couple of things.

Notice the countries listed. I don't see any middle eastern countries. Here are a few reasons why. Pick the one you like.

1. The middle east is really a peaceful place. It's a cosmopolitan of faiths, and everyone is happy as long as the United States butts out.

2. Non-Muslim faiths have already received their beat down. Life as a dhimmi ain't so bad.

3. Deaths for the faith in the middle east aren't counted as to not offend Muslims.

The other thing I notice is the continued accuracy of Mike Judge's comedy. Look how many deaths occurred in South American countries. It seems the clergy in South America need to become armed and trained like King of the Hill's Monsignor Martinez.


Tour of VW Plant

This is a tour of a very nice VW plant. Contrast with the images of dreary, closed-in assembly lines in Detroit. Almost makes me want to buy a VW, but does looking good mean the cars are really good? Worth a look I guess.

Monday, January 02, 2006


The Strangeness of PC Magazine Reviews

I was looking to read some information about Nero 7's MPEG-4 support and found PC Magazine's review of it. I find two strange items about this review.

They give Nero 7 an overall 4 out of 5 star rating. They also give CD Creator 4 out of 5 stars. Scroll down the reviews till you see the sub-category ratings. I assume the sum of these ratings contribute to the overall rating.

When you compare PC Magazine's Nero and CD Creator ratings breakdown, they give CD Creator the edge. Yet, both packages score the same overall score. Huh? Nero scored lower, sometimes a full point lower, than CD Creator in a number of categories. How could they be rated the same? PC Magazine, please explain.

They also say Nero's MPEG-4 video implementation is proprietary. I am not sure what they are referring to. From what I've read, Nero can produce standards compliant MPEG-4 video.

I came upon this while doing work to compare the latest DivX and Nero 7 Ultra. Dr. DivX is now open source, but the encoder it uses is not. DivX's latest web site makes things confusing. From what I can tell, you still have to buy the DivX CODEC to encode video. DivX Pro comes with a six month trial. That is a long trial, but I believe it is to provide the CODEC virtually free because the trial renews upon a new release. As long as a new release comes at least every six months, you're covered.

DivX has been bragging about their 6.1 CODEC and its speed, but I don't see it. Its fast, but not as fast as Nero 7. DivX 6.1 does take advantage of dual cores, but not to their full potential. Nero 7 does. Nero 7 is faster. I give no opinion on which has better quality at this point. At this point, I am leaning towards Nero 7 for DVD library archiving as it is easier to work with and is fast.

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