Saturday, July 31, 2010

Saturday Carnage

I shot this with my iPhone. Believe it or not, it's in real time and not sped up at all. I was captivated.

Two video clips edited together with iMovie.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Sketch Takes on the Boxx

I'm not a big fan of Hip Hop music (in fact, it's specifically outlawed in the Destructoville city charter), but I want to direct your attention to this well-written and insightful blog on the Houston Chronicle website written by my buddy, Jason.

97.9 KBXX's Hip Hop 4 HIV: Right Cause, Wrong Reward

This is Bellini at his best, and definitely worth the read for an eye-opening view into the world of Hip Hop (especially for all you parents out there).

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Dear REI, I Hate You.

Dear REI,

I was in your Willowbrook store last night with some buddies of mine and bought a tent, a hiking ground pad and a bunch of other stuff for my upcoming backpacking trip to Big Bend. I got pretty much exactly what I came for (and more). Damn you, REI! You've got such great stuff! Your shiny, beautiful camping gear makes the stuff I already have look like I got it at a garage sale in the projects. In Detroit. You have tents that are actually easy to put up and are freaking beautiful once they are. And I don't know how you did it, but you even managed to create something as mundane as a CAMP STOOL that I was lusting after. Sorry about licking the floor model, btw.

I hate you, REI.

Your employees were so helpful and friendly. Not only did your guy actually show me how to set up the tent I was looking at, but he later helped me pick just the right ground pad and bag liner, and cheerfully at that. Damn you, REI!

Even though I've been a member for years, they still told me about a way I could save 15% on my tent that didn't involve anything but signing up to receive e-mails from you. Try that at Target! Oh, no. THEY want you to open a Target credit account. But you.... you just want to be my special e-mail friend. Damn you, REI!

How is it that you can get me excited about SOCKS???? Do you pump a special scent into the store, or what? No? Well why, then, do I almost swoon every time I walk in? Huh? Explain THAT one!!!

I'm an Apple guy. I only have room for one brand in my life that I'm wildly, madly passionate about. I can't afford to have another love in my life. No, seriously. I don't make that much money. I've already committed to tithing to Apple. Quit trying to make me fall in love with all your great camping gadgets and cool gear. And quit trying to pretend that your employees actually enjoy working there. Come on. We all see through THAT ruse.

I hate you, REI, for making me want to spend my entire paycheck - every paycheck - in your store on things that would only make me get out in the world and be a better, more rounded person.

Well I'm not falling for it. I'm DONE with you! I refused to even step foot in your bicycle section! HA! Take THAT!!! And if you think I'm coming back any time soon, well you're just crazy!!! Quit begging - I won't be back for a loooooooong time. Or at least a week, when the camp stool that I ordered comes in. But not before! And I'm certainly not going to bring a wad of cash next time so I can buy one of those absolutely beautiful trail kits I spend a quality 12 minutes on the floor of your store with last night.

I hate you, REI. I didn't get up at 4:15 this morning because I was so excited about my new gear that I couldn't sleep. Okay, so maybe I did.

I hate you. I hope you rot in hell.

P.S. - Does that store scent come in a bottle?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

HEB Throwback

My New Want

I have a love/hate relationship with my mouse. When I got my new MacPro at work earlier in the year, it came with a new Magic Mouse, featuring a multi-touch top surface. It's great for most things, but horrible when working within page layout programs, such as InDesign or Quark. When working in those spaces, it's frustrating to have the canvas suddenly shift to the side. I've turned off that feature (which otherwise I like) to get around it. But then, what's the point of having the magic mouse if you can't take advantage of its multi-touch capabilities?

It also seems to really hate to play nicely with any mouse pad I put under it. It doesn't matter how busy or how spare the space is, the mouse suddenly jumps to the edge of the screen. A lot.

The Apple, sweet, wonderful Apple, unveils this today:

A huge trackpad. I've often wished that my Wacom tablet was a big trackpad, as well. I can't see replacing my Wacom with this, but I can definitely see replacing my mouse and putting this thing on my desk.

I can't wait to try one out.

And thanks again, Unca Steve.

Bent Over

I love going to concerts to see my favorite performers. But I absolutely HATE ordering tickets, and for one simple reason: Ticketmaster.

I'm going to see two shows this fall, Tom Petty and Rush. When I ordered my tickets I was astounded by all the nickel-and-diming that I was subjected to. Want the ability to print your ticket (and save Ticketmaster money on printing)? That'll be an extra $2.50. There's an order processing fee. There's a "convenience fee" - per ticket, no less. Hell, I'm surprised they don't charge you a fee just for looking for tickets on their website.

It's really frustrating. In fact, it was almost enough to make me just say "screw it" and not go see the shows. It's bad enough that the tickets for lawn seats were more expensive than I'd really expect lawn seats to be. But then I have to pay additional, hidden (and inconsistent from one show to the next) fees on top of that?


Monday, July 26, 2010

Brave New World

From AppleInsider:

The U.S. government on Monday announced new rules that make it officially legal for iPhone owners to "jailbreak" their device and run unauthorized third-party applications. In addition, it is now acceptable to unlock any cell phone for use on multiple carriers.

According to The Associated Press, the government approved a handful of new exemptions to a federal law that prevents the circumvention of technical measure that prevent users from accessing and modifying copyrighted works. The report noted that every three years, the Library of Congress' Copyright Office authorizes exemptions to ensure existing law does not prevent non-infringing use of copyrighted material.

In addition, another exemption was approved that would allow all cell phone users to unlock their device for use on an unapproved carrier. Currently, Apple's iPhone is available exclusively through AT&T, but unlocking it can allow for voice calls and EDGE data speeds on rival carrier T-Mobile.

Other exemptions announced Monday allow people to break protections on video games to investigate or correct security flaws; allow college professors, film students and documentary filmmakers to break copy protection measures on DVDs to embed clips for educational purposes, criticism, commentary and noncommercial videos; and allow computer owners to bypass the need for external security devices (dongles) if the hardware no longer works and cannot be replaced.

I'm not sure quite what this all means yet, but it feels like something big, exciting and yet terrible.

Elephants Aren't Enough

We took the kids to the circus in Houston yesterday (and had a great time). But while we were there, I noticed something that I found odd. Check out this short video:

Notice that there are several elephants performing in the center of the frame. Awesome. Now notice the ladies dancing on the sides of the arena. Why? Why would Ringling Brothers want to distract from the elephants? Why clutter up an already busy arena (notice all the support guys walking around) with even more visual noise? People actually come to the circus just to see the elephants, after all.

Shouldn't the fact that there are performing elephants be enough, for crying out loud? Perhaps little stuff like this is why a trip to the circus is like paying for two hours of sensory overload.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Micromanagement and Race Relations

From ABC News:

President Obama spoke to Shirley Sherrod, the USDA official who was ousted after a race flap, and expressed his "regret" over the events of this past week, the White House said this afternoon.

According to the White House, Obama "emphasized that [Agriculture] Secretary [Tom] Vilsack was sincere in his apology yesterday, and in his work to rid USDA of discrimination."

On Thursday morning Agriculture Department officials e-mailed Sherrod a specific job offer and today Obama told her he hoped she would take it.

Sherrod was offered a job tasked with settling lawsuits from minority farmers who say they were discriminated against in applying for farm loans. Vilsack on Wednesday said Sherrod was offered the job because she "has a unique set of skills trying to turn the page on our civil rights chapter which has been difficult."

Two questions:

1. When will Obama keep his nose out of state and local affairs, quit micromanaging and just mind the general running of the country? He had no business injecting himself into this matter. In fact, his involvement simply made this a much bigger mess than it had to be.

2. When will the race debate actually be over? The answer is when people of color - all colors - stop using race as an identifier and simply start treating people as people. By continually focusing on "black America" or "white America" people of all colors are doing a disservice to us all and to the eventual goal: a truly colorblind America. People should be judged by their capability and their character, not their skin color. It's no longer whites who are the primary keepers of racially-charged views and thinking. When everything is filtered through the lens of race, that's what makes one a racist. And by constantly crying foul on the supposed basis of race, it only furthers racial tension in this country. If those people would just let the past go and quit holding a grudge for slavery and civil injustices in the first half of last century, the better we will all be. I'm not saying that the people who lived through it should forget - quite the contrary. It has made them stronger and has made them who they are. But compared side by side, civil rights has come a hell of a long way from 1950 to 2010. And that's what's important - the present. The past is ugly, but the present and the future are a whole lot brighter, if only we would all let it be.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

SPOILER: Mad Men Season 4 Premier

From AdAge:

We may have thought we have some idea who this guy is; we don't. If that doesn't make any sense, it will after the scene when Don [spoiler redacted] a [spoiler redacted] who [spoiler redacted] and [six spoilers and four lewd characterizations redacted].

Brilliant. I can't wait.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Frickin' LASERS!

From CBS News:

The U.S. Navy has used a a laser weapon to shoot down four unmanned aerial vehicles in a test that rings up memories of Ronald Reagan's "Star Wars" missile defense shield in the 1980s.

The successful test of the Laser Weapon System off the coast of California was announced during the Farnborough International Air Show, which is taking place this week in England.

The technology, jointly developed with Raytheon, used industrial strength lasers, is more than just your run-of-the-mill PR exercise. In its write-up of the technology, Scientific American correctly notes that the shoot-down of the drones over water constitutes an advance over previous Raytheon tests which focused on static targets.

Hell, yeah...

Monday, July 19, 2010

Another One Bites the Dust

From Wired:

After a long and painful decline, Google has finally put the Nexus One phone out of its misery. After it has shifted the last batch of handsets, the search company will stop selling its first – and possibly last – Android handset.

After a big launch back in January, the Nexus One went into decline. It was sold only through Google's own web-store, and the lack-of a hands-on, try-before-you-buy option kept this online store a "a niche channel for early adopters", according toGoogle.

Good riddance. I'm so tired of hearing about how great and what an iPhone killer the nexus one was (supposed to be).

Political test, amended

- If a Republican feels he isn't earning enough, he works harder, attempts more education, and/or starts job-hunting for a better-paying job.
- A Democrat orders the minimum wage to be raised, (and reflexively prices many low-skilled workers out of the job market.)

Thanks to Matt for the addition.

The Political Test

If a Republican doesn't like guns, he doesn’t buy one.
If a Democrat doesn't like guns, he wants all guns outlawed.

If a Republican is a vegetarian, he doesn’t eat meat.
If a Democrat is a vegetarian, he wants all meat products banned for everyone.

If a Republican is homosexual, he quietly leads his life.
If a Democrat is homosexual, he demands legislated respect.

If a Republican is down-and-out, he thinks about how to better his situation.
A Democrat wonders who is going to take care of him.

If a Republican doesn't like a talk show host, he switches channels.
Democrats demand that those they don't like be shut down.

If a Republican is a non-believer, he doesn't go to church.
A Democrat non-believer wants any mention of God and religion silenced.

If a Republican decides he needs health care, he goes about shopping for it, or may choose a job that provides it.
A Democrat demands that the rest of us pay for his.

Thanks to my Grandma for passing this along.

So Closing Businesses Doesn't Create Jobs?

From Bloomberg:

The Obama administration’s request that General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group LLC accelerate the closing of U.S. dealerships probably was unnecessary and may have added to unemployment, a government watchdog said today.

No shit. Which government genius thought that forcing businesses to close down - and fire their employees - wouldn't add to more unemployed people?

Can we please have an election already?

White iPhone: Your Great, Great, Great Granson's Phone

From AppleInsider:

Details of the manufacturing difficulties Apple has faced in producing the white version of the iPhone 4 have been detailed in a new report, which suggests supply will be extremely limited when the devices launch later this month.

The alleged problems were revealed this week by Chinese-language newspaper 21st Century Business Herald, which said that the manufacturing issues come from a factory in China known as Lens Technology. A worker with the company's quality control department said that the company is still trying to work out the right balance of paint thickness and opacity, in order to ensure the panel allows enough space for the digitizer overlay, but also gives the level of white that Apple expects the product to have.

Industry sources also indicated that each machine owned by Lens Technology can only cut three iPhone 4 glass covers per hour. The report said that the company's current production capacity can only meet half of Apple's demand for the iPhone 4.

I'm not great with the math, but after some quick figgerin' I come up with 72 iPhones a day. The black iPhone has sold 3 million units in just three weeks. It would take 41,667 days - or 114 years - at the current rate just to match what's already been sold.

I'm pretty sure some of the tech will be outdated by then.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Super Sammy

It's somehow comforting to know that my old Superman costume and cape are still around and being put to good use!

Thanks to Trent for sending this in.

Saturday, July 17, 2010


Rookys from James Pharaon on Vimeo.

Friday, July 16, 2010

The iPhone 4 Antenna Song

HP Teams Up with... Communists?

From AdAge:

Hewlett-Packard is finding unusual comrades -- members of China's Communist Youth League -- to help expand its business in rural China.

"Rural China represents a huge market, about 700 million people and already today, about 100 million of them are online. They have access to the internet and engage. The rest are non-internet users, but they are still a huge opportunity," said Robin Seow, Beijing-based marketing director for HP's Personal Systems Group in China.

Regardless of the profits... Seriously, HP? You actually thought it would be a good idea to team up with the Communist Youth League? Were the Black Panthers, the KKK and the Hitler Youth busy?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Images of VJ Day

VJ Day, Honolulu Hawaii, August 14, 1945 from Richard Sullivan on Vimeo.

You and Your Johnson

Thanks to Ron for sharing.

Open Letter to Senator Chuck Schumer

Senator Schumer,

Following your Open Letter to Apple regarding the iPhone 4 reception issue, I have only one thing to say in reply.


I applaud you, sir (if I may call you that), for being a headline-grabbing media whore and firing off a knee-jerk reaction to an issue that isn't even apparently a widespread issue at all. I further laud you for requesting that Apple do something that it's already been doing with every iPhone sold in the past three years- offering free software updates to add new features and fix issues. Way to make it look as if the inevitable OS 4.0.1 software patch was your idea. That was a stroke of genius!

I thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to worry about something that really doesn't affect Congress at all. It sure was pretty damn nice of you to take it upon yourself to use your office and position to shed some additional light on this matter - oh, wait.... there's nothing actually new in your letter, is there? - and to try to push your weight around to once again force a private corporation to do what the government says is best.

And thanks for looking out for the millions of us who have bought the iPhone 4 under false pretenses. It's quite obvious that we're all deeply distraught at having purchased such a broken, crappy product that promised one thing and ended up delivering something completely different than what we were promised. Kinda like TARP, bailouts and Obamacare, I guess. But then, I'm sure you're working really hard on an open letter to the president and Congress at this very moment. Most important matters first, of course.

And finally, we all appreciate you jumping the gun on this by a day and assuming that Apple isn't going to do the right thing and address the issue in its press conference tomorrow. I mean, if Steve Jobs takes the stage tomorrow and just stands there and gives everyone the ol' middle finger and says "tough luck, suckers," then you might have a case. But be a pal, will you, and wait until the press conference tomorrow like everyone else and, you know, actually see what the man has to say before firing off a half-cocked open letter.

I hope that all this hand-wringing over the iPhone 4 hasn't taken too much time out of your oversight of the affairs of the country, such as defending our sovereignty and our borders. If it has, just take that time out of the time needed to read the next bill that crosses your desk for a vote. What's that? You don't actually read them, anyway? Oh, I see. Well, just tack that time onto your next recess then. I know you take those. Frequently.

Thanks again for all your hard work and service to humanity in tackling this issue. I'm sure none of use would be alive today without you.



Quote of the Day...

From TechCrunch:

The iPhone 4 antenna issue is a scar on a beautiful woman. You don’t break up with the woman because of it, you work around it because of her other attributes. She might even put on some coverup (the bumper) so you don’t even notice it. And some may not even notice it at all.

The iPhone Antenna Issue

A coworker is thinking about getting an iPhone. Actually, she's been "thinking about it" for over two years. She decided to get one after seeing mine a couple of years ago, but decided instead to get a crappy Samsung iPhone look-alike that barely works. I told her so. Repeatedly.

But now she's up for an upgrade again and has decided that she wants the iPhone again. But all she can talk about - or anyone in the office that doesn't have an iPhone - is what they've been hearing on the news about the reception issues.

Let me state for the record - bluntly - that I think the media is making a big deal out of this because it's Apple's first misstep in years. As a long-time Apple fan, I remember well the days when you couldn't read an article about Apple without the word "beleaguered" being inserted first before their name. In the heady days of Windows 98 and XP, Apple was the media's favorite whipping boy. And then came the iPod. It became trendy and sexy and made Apple the media darling again. Then came the iPhone and it seemed as if Apple could do no wrong. Then came the iPhone 4 and there were reports that reception sucked due to a design flaw. And the media began piling on and piling on and piling on. And soon all the other awesome things about the iPhone 4 became drowned out in the noise.

But here's the thing - both Kristi and I have an iPhone 4. I've tried repeatedly to get the signal to drop the way it has been reported, and I simply can't get it to do it. And furthermore, my iPhone 4 has better reception than any of our other previous versions of iPhone (we've owned every version except the 3G).

The issues some people are having are, I'm sure, real. But they're hardly widespread. The people having the issues seem to be having them in already weak 3G signal areas. And the same people don't even seem to be able to repeat the signal drop issue in other places. It only happens in some places to some people.

But due to the echo chamber of "the iPhone 4 sucks" news, Apple now seems to have a full-blown PR nightmare on its hands. Up until now there hasn't been any indication that it has hurt sales at all. But I think we're at that tipping point. So Apple is having a press conference tomorrow to address the issues. But short of a full-out admission of guilt, a recall and a public lynching of Jonny Ive, I don't think the media will be satisfied. They smell blood and they're in full pounce mode. And it's sad, really, because this story has been blown completely out of proportion.

And also for the record... the only issue I'm having with my iPhone 4 is that the proximity sensor on the front of the phone isn't as sensitive as in previous versions. I've hung up on a couple of calls and keep hitting the keypad keys with my cheek. That's flat-out annoying. But that's probably also an easy software fix for Apple. Is it enough for me to downgrade or to get another phone? Not on your life.

So my advice for my coworker is this: get your iPhone 4. If Apple odes recall the phone, you'll be fine and you'll get a new phone. If they release a software patch that solves some of the issues, all you have to do is plug your phone into your computer and apply the update. And even if nothing is solved, you'll still have the best phone on the market. But trust me... this will get solved in a hurry.

Kindle... sort of.

This morning I clicked over to Amazon. On the front page they've always got a huge image of their Kindle reading device front and center. But not this morning.

I can't tell you how mind-blowingly huge that it. It would be like Microsoft pushing Office for Mac on the front page of its website.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Back and Front

I found something somewhat annoying this morning as I was looking through photos I took with my iPhone 4 and uploaded to Flickr.

It seems that the phone adds a meta tag to the images that shows up in the comments filed on Flickr that indicates whether the shot was taken with the front camera or the back. What I find annoying is that I don't usually like to put comments on my photo pages unless a photo needs clarification or if it's a great story. But now I have to spend time removing all these unwanted tags.

I like clean page with images on it. I don't want to junk it up with a lot of extraneous crap.

Damn it, Apple. When did you become Microsoft?

You Stay Classy, Michelle...

From Yahoo News:

U.S. First lady Michelle Obama flashes two thumbs-up to the crowd, as she is introduced by Panama City Beach Mayor Gayle Oberst, on Panama City Beach, Florida July 12, 2010. Obama visited the area to show support for the people and businesses impacted by the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

What? She didn't have a dress with a dead bird print on it?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Ice Cream: FAIL!

Thanks to Matt, I think...

Lazy, Spoiled, Stupid People vs. Apple

From AppleInsider:

Anyone who ever bought an iPhone on AT&T is now part of a class-action lawsuit taking aim at both the wireless carrier and Apple for their exclusive contract.

The lawsuit, filed in 2007, accuses both the iPhone maker and AT&T of illegally exerting a monopoly over iPhone customers. It alleges that iPhone users are forced to stay with AT&T after their two-year contract expires, because neither AT&T nor Apple will unlock the iPhone for use on another carrier, such as T-Mobile.

You have got to be kidding me with this, right? A company can't even choose who they want their business partners to be anymore? I seem to recall buying several phones over the years - especially from Sprint - that would only work on their network. Or how about phones purchased from Verizon? They have a completely different type of cell service altogether, which means that their phones only work on their network.

What a waste of time.

Monday, July 12, 2010

I'd Be Thrilled, Personally

Thanks to Matt.

Blockheaded Blockbuster

From Yahoo News:

Blockbuster was the national leader in the video rental business for nearly two decades. Now it is contemplating Chapter 11 to eliminate debt. The company lost $65 million last quarter. Its revenue continues to fall rapidly as firms such as Redbox and NetFlix (Nasdaq: NFLX - News) siphon off its revenue. Blockbuster has more than 6,000 stores, so it is hard to imagine that the company could disappear. But, there is some precedent, even if it is on a smaller scale. Blockbuster rival Movie Gallery said in February that it would close all of its 2,400 U.S. stores. Blockbuster's model of renting movies through physical locations has been destroyed by cable and satellite video on demand, DVDs via mail and dispensing machines. Blockbuster may still be around as a company that has movie kiosks and a small mail and Internet-delivered content business. But its brick and-mortar business is dead.

Wrong. Cable and satellite didn't kill Blockbuster. And for that matter, neither did Netflix or Redbox. Blockbuster killed Blockbuster. Blockbuster grew to prominence with cable as a competitor, and satellite offers little real choice. "727 channels, and nothing's on... " Since way before Netflix or Redbox, Blockbuster's overpriced rental structure and its abusive (and confusing) late policies are what killed Blockbuster. Had they simply lowered their prices across the board - not with a half-hearted "some things are a dollar and some things aren't" model they tried a couple of years ago - and simply did away with late fees, they would still be the industry leader. Redbox's success is a direct result of people actively boycotting Blockbuster's prices.

I don't buy the notion that people are done with brick-and-mortars, either. After all, people still have to physically get in the car and drive to the nearest Redbox. But people are willing to do it because the price is right. With Blockbuster's overwhelming selection advantage, imagine what kind of business they would be doing if they would simply adopt Redbox's pricing model.

Competing on price isn't easy. But if you're going to compete on something other than price, you'd better have something that people will pay extra for. An in-stock guarantee, for instance. Or a by-mail order system. Or a digital delivery system. Or rent one-get one free. Or something.

But no. Blockbuster said "we're Blockbuster. This is the way we do things. This is the way we price our movies. Take it or leave it."

And people have been leaving it in droves. RIP, Blockbuster. I won't miss feeling beaten up every time I walked out of one of your stores.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Tax the Tan 'til There Ain't No Tan No More

From the Washington Post:

One of the less-publicized measures in the new health-care law, the tax imposes a 10 percent surcharge on the use of ultraviolet indoor tanning beds.

Supporters -- including the Obama administration, congressional Democrats and dermatologists -- have argued that the tax will raise an estimated $2.7 billion toward the cost of expanding health coverage to the uninsured, while discouraging a practice that increases the risk of skin cancer by as much as threefold in frequent users, according to scientific research.

Explain this to me, please: if you raise the cost (tax) of something, it reduces demand, right? And according to the article, one of the justifications for the new "tan-tax" is to discourage the practice. So if people stop tanning, how, exactly, is that supposed to raise $2.7 billion to fund Obamacare?

These clowns never cease to amaze me. I'm not an economist, but even I can see the gaping holes in this plan. When the money fails to come in, they're going to have to "find funding elsewhere," meaning either raising more taxes or, more probably, placing a fee on something like internet usage (something that almost everyone uses and, honestly, would be really, really hard to live without). It's inescapable.

Actually, that's not entirely true. There's one way out: vote out the Democrats in November. All of them.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Memo to Everyone Who Has a Blog

People hate it when they click on your blog and are sitting there reading and suddenly, out of nowhere, music starts playing. Even if it's awesome music or completely beautiful music or music everyone likes. And ten times out of ten the music is turned up all the way on the site, so it comes through blaring unexpectedly.

And then there's the mad scramble to find where the sound is coming from to turn it off. And most times, the music is located in a tiny little plugin on the very bottom or way down on the side of the page. Meanwhile, everyone in my department or my house, wherever I happen to be clicking to your blog from, is getting really annoyed - but not as annoyed as I am - that I have this damn music playing at full volume.

I know you think it's cute and that it adds personality to your site, but please take the damn music or video off your site that plays automatically. At the very least, make it so that people have to make the decision to turn it on. But please don't shove it down our throats while we're trying to read about your kids or your dog or your weekend at the lake.

Oh, and your blog background is annoying, too.

Designers Have a Sick Sense of Humor

Shannon (the secretary) has lost her cat and has asked David (the graphic designer) to help with a lost poster. This is their email correspondence...

I opened the screen door yesterday and my cat got out and has been missing since then so I was wondering if you are not to busy you could make a poster for me. It has to be A4 and I will photocopy it and put it around my suburb this afternoon.

This is the only photo of her I have she answers to the name Missy and is black and white and about 8 months old. missing on Harper street and my phone number.
Thanks Shan.


David Thorne
Date: Monday 21 June 2010 9.26am
To: Shannon Walkley
Subject: Re: Poster

Dear Shannon,

That is shocking news. Luckily I was sitting down when I read your email and not half way up a ladder or tree. How are you holding up? I am surprised you managed to attend work at all what with thinking about Missy out there cold, frightened and alone... possibly lying on the side of the road, her back legs squashed by a vehicle, calling out "Shannon, where are you?"
Although I have two clients expecting completed work this afternoon, I will, of course, drop everything and do whatever it takes to facilitate the speedy return of Missy.

Regards, David.


Shannon Walkley
Date: Monday 21 June 2010 9.37am
To: David Thorne
Subject: Re: Re: Poster

yeah ok thanks. I know you dont like cats but I am really worried about mine. I have to leave at 1pm today.


David Thorne
Date: Monday 21 June 2010 10.17am
To: Shannon Walkley
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Poster

Dear Shannon,

I never said I don't like cats. Once, having been invited to a party, I went clothes shopping beforehand and bought a pair of expensive G-Star boots. They were two sizes too small but I wanted them so badly I figured I could just wear them without socks and cut my toenails very short. As the party was only a few blocks from my place, I decided to walk. After the first block, I lost all feeling in my feet. Arriving at the party, I stumbled into a guy named Steven, spilling Malibu & coke onto his white Wham 'Choose Life' t-shirt, and he punched me. An hour or so after the incident, Steven sat down in a chair already occupied by a cat. The surprised cat clawed and snarled causing Steven to leap out of the chair, slip on a rug and strike his forehead onto the corner of a speaker; resulting in a two inch open gash. In its shock, the cat also defecated, leaving Steven with a foul stain down the back of his beige cargo pants. I liked that cat.

Attached poster as requested.

Regards, David.


Shannon Walkley
Date: Monday 21 June 2010 10.24am
To: David Thorne
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Poster

yeah thats not what I was looking for at all. it looks like a movie and how come the photo of Missy is so small?


David Thorne
Date: Monday 21 June 2010 10.28am
To: Shannon Walkley
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Poster

Dear Shannon,

It's a design thing. The cat is lost in the negative space.
Regards, David.


Shannon Walkley
Date: Monday 21 June 2010 10.33am
To: David Thorne
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Poster

Thats just stupid. Can you do it properly please? I am extremely emotional over this and was up all night in tears. you seem to think it is funny. Can you make the photo bigger please and fix the text and do it in colour please. Thanks.

David Thorne
Date: Monday 21 June 2010 10.46am
To: Shannon Walkley
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Poster

Dear Shannon,

Having worked with designers for a few years now, I would have assumed you understood, despite our vague suggestions otherwise, we do not welcome constructive criticism. I don't come downstairs and tell you how to send text messages, log onto Facebook and look out of the window. I am willing to overlook this faux pas due to you no doubt being preoccupied with thoughts of Missy attempting to make her way home across busy intersections or being trapped in a drain as it slowly fills with water. I spent three days down a well once but that was just for fun.

I have amended and attached the poster as per your instructions.
Regards, David.


Shannon Walkley
Date: Monday 21 June 2010 10.59am
To: David Thorne
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Poster

This is worse than the other one. can you make it so it shows the whole photo of Missy and delete the stupid text that says missing missy off it? I just want it to say Lost.


David Thorne
Date: Monday 21 June 2010 11.14am
To: Shannon Walkley
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Poster


Shannon Walkley
Date: Monday 21 June 2010 11.21am
To: David Thorne
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Poster

yeah can you do the poster or not? I just want a photo and the word lost and the telephone number and when and where she was lost and her name. Not like a movie poster or anything stupid. I have to leave early today. If it was your cat I would help you. Thanks.


David Thorne
Date: Monday 21 June 2010 11.32am
To: Shannon Walkley
Subject: Awww

Dear Shannon,

I don't have a cat. I once agreed to look after a friend's cat for a week but after he dropped it off at my apartment and explained the concept of kitty litter, I kept the cat in a closed cardboard box in the shed and forgot about it. If I wanted to feed something and clean faeces, I wouldn't have put my mother in that home after her stroke. A week later, when my friend came to collect his cat, I pretended that I was not home and mailed the box to him. Apparently I failed to put enough stamps on the package and he had to collect it from the post office and pay eighteen dollars. He still goes on about that sometimes, people need to learn to let go.
I have attached the amended version of your poster as per your detailed instructions.

Regards, David.

Shannon Walkley
Date: Monday 21 June 2010 11.47am
To: David Thorne
Subject: Re: Awww

Thats not my cat. where did you get that picture from? That cat is orange. I gave you a photo of my cat.


David Thorne
Date: Monday 21 June 2010 11.58am
To: Shannon Walkley
Subject: Re: Re: Awww

I know, but that one is cute. As Missy has quite possibly met any one of several violent ends, it is possible you might get a better cat out of this. If anybody calls and says "I haven't seen your orange cat but I did find a black and white one with its hind legs run over by a car, do you want it?" you can politely decline and save yourself a costly veterinarian bill.

I knew someone who had a basset hound that had its hind legs removed after an accident and it had to walk around with one of those little buggies with wheels. If it had been my dog I would have asked for all its legs to be removed and replaced with wheels and had a remote control installed. I could charge neighbourhood kids for rides and enter it in races. If I did the same with a horse I could drive it to work. I would call it Steven.
Regards, David.


Shannon Walkley
Date: Monday 21 June 2010 12.07pm
To: David Thorne
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Awww

Please just use the photo I gave you.


From: David Thorne
Date: Monday 21 June 2010 12.22pm
To: Shannon Walkley
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Awww

Shannon Walkley
Date: Monday 21 June 2010 12.34pm
To: David Thorne
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Awww

I didnt say there was a reward. I dont have $2000 dollars. What did you even put that there for? Apart from that it is perfect can you please remove the reward bit. Thanks Shan.


From: David Thorne
Date: Monday 21 June 2010 12.42pm
To: Shannon Walkley
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Awww


Shannon Walkley
Date: Monday 21 June 2010 12.51pm
To: David Thorne
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Awww

Can you just please take the reward bit off altogether? I have to leave in ten minutes and I still have to make photocopies of it.

David Thorne
Date: Monday 21 June 2010 12.56pm
To: Shannon Walkley
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Awww


Shannon Walkley
Date: Monday 21 June 2010 1.03pm
To: David Thorne
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Awww

Fine. That will have to do.

Huge thanks to Flinta for passing this on...

Smell Like Bruce

From BoingBoing:

Bruce Willis cologne? It's true. Now you can smell just like Bruce Willis (hopefully not the sweaty Bruce in the Die Hard movies, though).

I wonder who thought this would be a good idea. And now? Not ten or fifteen years ago when (let's be honest) he was at his prime?

I love one of the comments: "I'll keep my eye on Big Lots in the next few months and pick this up cheap."


Big thanks to Matt.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Muslims .... In ..... Space.... Space ..... Space....

From Fox News:

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said in a recent interview that his "foremost" mission as the head of America's space exploration agency is to improve relations with the Muslim world.

Though international diplomacy would seem well outside NASA's orbit, Bolden said in an interview with Al Jazeera that strengthening those ties was among the top tasks President Obama assigned him. He said better interaction with the Muslim world would ultimately advance space travel.

"When I became the NASA administrator -- or before I became the NASA administrator -- he charged me with three things. One was he wanted me to help re-inspire children to want to get into science and math, he wanted me to expand our international relationships, and third, and perhaps foremost, he wanted me to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science ... and math and engineering," Bolden said in the interview.

Makes complete sense, right? Better interaction with the Muslim world will, of course, advance space travel. I mean, MIddle Eastern countries are known for their space programs, and we have so much to learn before we can finally join the space race. Oh, wait. Strike that. Switch it around.

It's pretty obvious that Obama's directive to Bolden is meant to further their technology and bring them into the "space club." What's in it for us? That's not clear, but my guess is absolutely nothing.

But my main gripe is... why single out the Muslim world? Why not aid the Hispanic world or the Asian world or the Jewish world or the Buddhist world? This seems like a blatantly cherry-picked target. And for Obama to tell Bolden that it was his prime directive? It not only smacks of favoritism, but also of vested interest. This from a president who keeps claiming that he isn't Muslim.

It's not that I have a problem with Muslims (my father and half my family is) per se, but it's the targeting I have a problem with. This is also the first time I can recall the United States showing favoritism to a specific religion. In the past, we've helped countries and regions, such as England or Europe. I find it wholly inappropriate for the United States to favor one religion over another around the world. Where are is "separation of Church and State" crowd now?

And one other thing that grated on me from this article...

"The NASA administrator was in the Middle East last month marking the one-year anniversary since Obama delivered an address to Muslim nations in Cairo."

He was overseas to commemorate the one year anniversary of an Obama speech? Are you freaking kidding me? What in the world is the director of NASA doing commemorating a speech outside of the United States? This is after our space program was cut earlier in the year due to funding issues. Hey, Bolden - stay here in the U.S. and apply the tens of thousands of dollars you just spent to go to the Middle East to commemorate a speech - one that was offensive to many Americans, at that - and apply that money toward R&D on new rockets.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Wrong. Just wrong.

Photoshop (badly) much?

My, my. That's some crazy blue water.

Friday, July 2, 2010

All Wrong

I haven't experienced (or even been able to duplicate) the "grip of death" issue that the media seems to be fixating on regarding the iPhone 4. But people nonetheless have been wailing and gnashing their teeth over it.

From Apple:
We have discovered the cause of this dramatic drop in bars, and it is both simple and surprising.

Upon investigation, we were stunned to find that the formula we use to calculate how many bars of signal strength to display is totally wrong. Our formula, in many instances, mistakenly displays 2 more bars than it should for a given signal strength. For example, we sometimes display 4 bars when we should be displaying as few as 2 bars. Users observing a drop of several bars when they grip their iPhone in a certain way are most likely in an area with very weak signal strength, but they don’t know it because we are erroneously displaying 4 or 5 bars. Their big drop in bars is because their high bars were never real in the first place.

That means that testing of the iPhone 4's built-in antennae is completely unreliable. If prototype units were tested using the faulty algorithm, then we have no idea - to this day - if a phone which has its antenna as part of the phone's design gets any better or worse reception than other phones. When Apple engineers were walking around looking at cell reception on the phone, the information they were looking at was completely useless.

Shocking (and somewhat disheartening) admission from Apple.

Hot Tub Time Machine

On a whim, Kristi and I rented Hot Tub Time Machine last night. She loves John Cusack and I love stupid movies, so we thought it would be perfect. Just based on the title and the trailer, our expectations weren't very high. It looks like one of those movies where all the funny parts are in the trailer. But we were pleasantly surprised. It was actually a pretty good movie.

It had a lot of laugh-out-loud moments and a lot of great throw away lines and subtle jokes. I suspect that watching it again would be just as entertaining. It's one of those movies where you just don't catch everything the first time.

But the best part is that Hot Tub Time Machine doesn't take itself seriously at all. It knows its premise is stupid and its characters are wonderfully flawed.

It is IN NO WAY safe for kids to watch. Lots of language, drug references, sex and nudity. I can't really say that it's good clean fun. But it's a lot of fun. If The Wedding Singer, Back to the Future and Superbad had a baby, this would be it. And its soundtrack is awesome, too, with '80s tracks all over the board from heavy metal to pop (or pretty much the kinds of music you would have heard mashed together on the same radio station back in the '80s.)

It's got the Destructo seal of approval©. I highly recommend it.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Another One Bites The Dust

From AdAge:

In what may be one of the fastest launch-to-failure paths ever taken by a major marketer, Microsoft's Kin, the company's first phone product, is being discontinued just six weeks after its May 13 launch.

The Kin One was priced at $49.99 while the Kin Two was a full $99.99 after their respective $100 rebates, coupled with a mandatory $30 monthly service fee that many consumers resisted. MarketWatch first reported that Microsoft only sold 500 phones during Kin's first six weeks, a figure that Microsoft representatives would not confirm or deny. Even a last-minute price slash on June 24, knocking $20 off the Kin One and $50 off Kin Two, appeared to be too little too late.

The Kin's failure echoes Microsoft's other expensive grab for Apple's share -- the Zune, which in 2006 tried to steal a hefty portion of the iPod's overwhelming command of the MP3 market. After nearly $30 million in measured media during its first nine months, the music player only mustered a 2.2% share of the MP3 market, according to NPD.

Microsoft's Windows mobile operating system has been steadily losing share and in first quarter powered only 6.8% of smartphones sold, according to Gartner, behind Symbian, Research in Motion, Apple and Android. That's down from 10.2% for the year-earlier quarter.

Microsoft's Windows 7 phone is expected to launch in the fourth quarter of this year.

Is it just me, or does the word "thud" seem to describe everything in the post-Bill Gates era at Microsoft?