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Blah for 2004.03


With April Fool’s Day just around the corner (OK, it’s tomorrow), here’s a little prank I thought up. You know those car alarms that can be activated by bumping or shaking the car? Well the other day I was wondering how sensitive they are. I was wondering if they could be set off by something like a vibrating beeper. If they could, then a funny idea would be to tape a beeper to somebody’s car (with one of those motion-sensitive alarms), and then keep calling the beeper’s number after every time the person turns off the alarm.

Also, since we’re talking about April Fool’s Day, I did a quick search on the history of the day. One interesting result from states that the idea goes back to the changing of the Julian Calendar (when New Year’s was celebrated on April 1st) for the Gregorian Calendar (which celebrates New Year’s on Januaryst). The idea is that people who didn’t accept (or know about) the new calendar, and who still celebrated New Year’s on April 1st were the “fools”.


When I first posted my blah yesterday, I didn’t notice that I accidently typed “I’m suck a slacker” instead of “I’m such a slacker”. After Judy noticed for me and I corrected it, I decided to do a Google search to see how common (or uncommon) a mistake this was. As it turns out, there are a handful of people who are “suck a slacker”s.


So I’m now in week 5 of this easy 8-week night class which I thought would give me extra free time (because the class is so easy) to redesign my site. And how’s the progress of this redesign?

Sigh, I’m such a slacker.


I hope that we’ll have clear skies for the next few days, because I sure do want to see “five planets visible to the naked eye... at the same time in the evening”.


I could rant, but I’ll keep this simple.

DVDs are a non-linear data storage format. This means that, unlike VCR tapes, I don’t need to fast-forward or rewind to get the the exact part of the movie I want to see. Likewise, I shouldn’t have to fast-forward to get past the previews at the beginning of a movie (I should simply be able to hit the Menu button to get past them and start watching the movie). I say “should” because some recent DVDs we’ve seen force you to either fast-forward or sit through other movie previews before you even get to the menu to start the movie. This is just wrong.


Looking at the bookshelf.
You know what I like to collect?
No... dust.
Well, that’s a fine collection you’ve got.


Call me old, but I don’t get this text messaging. I mean, it takes so long to scroll through the letters, and the buttons are so small... If you’re using a phone, why not just call the person?


Sometimes our computer behaviors carry over into our real life. For example, with Mozilla, when I see a banner ad on a Web site, I can right-click on it and “Block Images from this Server” so that I don’t have to see any future banner ads that come from the same Web server. Over time, the amount of banner ads I see are far fewer than without this great feature.

However... I now sometimes find myself wanting to right-click and “Block Images from this Magazine Page”, which of course is not an option.


Call my crazy (many do), but I think that a sitcom with Jerry and Colby (from Survivor) as ex-spouses would be interesting.


Ready for lots of reading (but also lots of comedy)? Then check out: Things My Girlfriend and I Have Argued About.


Decades and centuries from now, historians will look back at a Constitutional amendment to ban gay marriages with the same amusement that we today look back at the 18th Amendment (the Prohibition of Intoxicating Liquors amendment).


Our hearts mourn for those lost in the bombings in Spain. It’s becoming a sadder and sadder world when people feel they need to kill as many innocent people as they can in order to express their views, their grievances, or their hatred.


Here’s some news articles to ponder....

“Russian Inventor Patents Space-Ads Device”: Great, just what we need. Now we won’t even be able to gaze at the stars in the nightime sky without being distracted by advertisements. When the hell will humanity’s greed end?

“Teens Pledging Sex Abstinence Often Fail-Study”: How do you like that. Conservatives—religious nuts—don’t want their children to learn about sex. They don’t want them to know that sex exists. Just ignore it—abstain from it—until you’re married. So, what happens then when these kids get caught up in the moment with their raging hormones? They get pregnant. They get sexually transmited diseases. Well, at least the kids didn’t have to deal with the shock, shame, and immorality of learning how to put a condom on.


Mark Fiore is a genius of political Flash-cartoons. Make sure you check out his latest: Recovery.

Also, in “Code is Food”, Matthew Mullenweg makes some very good arguments for Web standards, and helps to put into words some of the reasons why I fuss over them.


Why do they make a point of saying “touchscreen” on the “I Voted” sticker? Who are they trying to convince?

“I Voted” sticker.

Also, I didn’t notice when I voted, but I wonder if the staff at the voting areas clean the touchscreens? Otherwise, could you basically get a rough estimate of how the election is going just by seeing where the most fingerprints are?


Happy Birthday to my loving wife, Judy.


One million dollars must not be much. Already over the last two seasons of Survivor, three people have voluntarily left the game. That and Colby’s time of almost giving away the money by going to tribal council with someone more popular than himself, and it really seems like one million dollars is not a large enough prize anymore.


You haven’t seen it all until you’ve seen an ad for Scoop da Poo, LLC on the fence around the track at the local high school.


Tonight I had the privilege of using a Dell keyboard (attached to a model “Optiplex GX270” Dell computer, if that helps anyone know what type of keyboard I’m talking about). Well let me just say that it wasn’t a pleasure. My hands and fingers now are feeling a little sore from having to shove down the keys with each keystroke.

If you haven’t already heard the story, here’s my abridged version. The reason keyboards use the QWERTY layout (q, w, e, r, t, and y are the first letters in the upper left) is because they inherited it from typewriters. When typewriters were first invented, they had their keys in a layout that made it quick an easy to type. However, typists were soon typing so fast that the hammers (imprinting the letters upon the paper) would keep jamming. So what did the typewriter manufacturers do? Rather than improve the speed of the hammers to keep up with the speed of the typists, the typewriter manufacturers decided to slow down the typists. They created the QWERTY layout, moving common keys (such as “e” out from under the natural finger positions, thereby making typing fractions of seconds slower, and thus reducing jams.

I think Dell has now taken a cue from this story. Perhaps there's something wrong with their keyboards, with the rate they transmit data to the computers? So rather than fix this problem, they made the keys harder to press down, and have thus reduced the speed of typists like myself.