Friday, April 30, 2010

Governor Perry Rejects Obama's High-risk Insurance Pools

From the Houston Chronicle:

Gov. Rick Perry told federal officials Friday that Texas would not participate in health insurance pools for high risk individuals that are being set up under the new national health care law.

Perry, citing some of the same reasons he used to pull out of the Race to the Top education funding grant program in January, said there are not enough health care rules to guide the states. He also said he believes the $5 billion Congress set aside to set up pools in all 50 states for four years is inadequate.

“Most experts believe this amount to be insufficient. In the coming years, state officials could be forced to reduce health coverage, raise premiums or ask state taxpayers to pay for these high-risk pools once federal funds run dry,” Perry said in his letter to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

Perry said the state also does not know what the rules for these pools will be in the future.

“As we've seen in federal education and stimulus programs, the administration is again asking the states to commit to a program without knowing the rules of engagement,” Perry said.

The state already runs a high-risk pool for health insurance for those who find it difficult to get coverage elsewhere. The pool reported that in 2008 it covered about 26,000 Texans and paid out about $265 million in medical and pharmacy benefits.

The federal funding would have expanded the program to cover more people. According to HHS, Texas' share of federal funding likely would have been about $493 million.

Ariz. Gov Signs Bill Revising New Immigration Law

From Fox News:

Gov. Jan Brewer on Friday signed a follow-on bill approved by Arizona legislators that make revisions to the state's sweeping law against illegal immigration -- changes she says should quell concerns that the measure will lead to racial profiling.

The follow-on bill signed by Brewer makes a number of changes that she said should lay to rest concerns of opponents.

The changes include one strengthening restrictions against using race or ethnicity as the basis for questioning by police and inserts those same restrictions in other parts of the law.

Another change states that immigration-status questions would follow a law enforcement officer's stopping, detaining or arresting a person while enforcing another law. The earlier law had referred to a "contact" with police.

Another change specifies that possible violations of local civil ordinances can trigger questioning on immigration status.


I still bet that doesn't shut you up, Michael, even though this is what we were saying was the true intent of the law along. "Know a little something about the issues" indeed.

This was never about race or color. It was always about giving the state of Arizona the ability to step up and enforce laws that are already in effect where the Federal government has failed.

Way to kick a man while he's down



Don't you think I feel bad enough that I just accidentally burned down the place? You've got to fine me, too?

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Asteroids the source of Earth's water, NASA suggests

From the UK Register:

NASA scientists have provided tantalising evidence that Earth's oceans may have originated in space, supplied by water-packed asteroids which deposited their loads in terminal collisions with our ancient planet.

However, data captured by the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility in Hawaii confirm the continued presence of surface water ice on 24 Themis, suggesting that as it sublimates into space, it's replenished by a sub-surface reservoir.

Don Yeomans, manager of NASA's Near-Earth Object Program Office, said: "For a long time the thinking was that you couldn't find a cup's worth of water in the entire asteroid belt. Today we know you not only could quench your thirst, but you just might be able to fill up every pool on Earth - and then some."


Wait just a second. Isn't the Earth's surface something like 71 percent water? That's a lot of water to come from asteroids.

I call a big BS on this. For one, if this were true, where are these giant meteor craters that were left when all these water-carrying asteroids hit? You'd think there would be some left, right? After all, water (and rock) is pretty darn heavy. They wouldn't have just pulverized when they hit the ground.

Also, saying that there's enough water on asteroids to fill every pool on Earth is nice, but there's a whole lot more water on Earth than that. And let's say some water was brought by asteroids. Are we to conclude that the rest of the water just grew? We know we can't create water out of nothing (if we could we would have a solution to water pollution and drought and a number of other things).

And then what about places on Earth where water seeps from the ground, like in springs and rivers and such?

There's a whole lot here that doesn't make any sense at all. Sound a lot like some "scientist's" pipe dream to me.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Floppy is Dead! Eh... Who Cares?


From v3.co.uk:

Sony has announced that it will halt sales of all 3.5 inch floppies in Japan by March 2011. Japan is one of the few countries where the storage medium is still available from Sony.

The move will come nearly 30 years after Sony produced its first line of 3.5in floppy disks. Most global shipments had already been halted, but the company had continued to offer the disks in Japan where the format had a larger user base.


I haven't used a floppy disk in almost twelve years. The closest I've come was when I used to use a Zip Drive (remember those?) to transfer files around. I actually outgrew floppy disks in college when I had my comic strip, Tales from the Dorm Side, in the college newspaper. Each disk would only hold one strip, and that was if it was a compressed JPEG. It quickly became a headache to turn in multiple disks that editors had a bad habit of misplacing. Digital delivery over the network or via e-mail soon became my delivery method of choice.

In fact, the very first computer I ever purchased, a "Yosemite" Mac G3 didn't even have an option to add one. This was around the time that Apple released the original iMac sans floppy drive, which caused quite a disturbance in the force at the time.

And frankly, I'm surprised that Japan - which in my mind, at least, is technologically more advanced than the US - was still using them.

I'll always love the sound that the 3.5 inch floppy made when it was loading or copying, though. It takes me back to my days of playing SimCity and F-19 Strike Eagle (and Leisure Suit Larry, to be honest) in high school. Farewell old floppy friend. I can't say you'll be missed.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Farmville Maker Rakes in More Than $1 Million Per Day

From BusinessInsider:
Zynga makes its money getting users addicted to games such as Farmville and Fishville, and then selling them "virtual goods" that make those games easier.

The games are also made easier when a player can get another Facebook friend to sign up and build his or her own farm. This introduces an element of social pressure which makes the games more addictive and more viral.

The secret to Farmville’s popularity is neither gameplay nor aesthetics. Farmville is popular because in entangles users in a web of social obligations. When users log into Facebook, they are reminded that their neighbors have sent them gifts, posted bonuses on their walls, and helped with each others’ farms. In turn, they are obligated to return the courtesies. As the French sociologist Marcel Mauss tells us, gifts are never free: they bind the giver and receiver in a loop of reciprocity. It is rude to refuse a gift, and ruder still to not return the kindness.[11] We play Farmville, then, because we are trying to be good to one another. We play Farmville because we are polite, cultivated people.


I don't play Farmville on Facebook, but I know a lot of people who do and readily admit to being addicted to it. I never knew it cost money to play, though.

Flashback: One Year Ago Today, Swine Flue Discovered

From CNN:

A year ago, scientists from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that they had discovered a new flu strain that was sickening the young and healthy.

The initial clamor for the H1N1 vaccine resulted in hours-long lines at some clinics and health departments. But as the supply increased over the fall, the demand waned, and skeptics questioned its safety. So far, 162.5 million doses of the vaccine have been made available in the United States.

A year later, the flu seems to have largely faded from the public consciousness.


Wow. Hard to believe it was only one year ago.

Apollo 11 Liftoff in Slow Motion

Amazing. This was shot at 500 frames per second. And I found myself holding my breath as the rocket took off and seemed to just hang in the air.

Apollo 11 Saturn V Launch (HD) Camera E-8 from Mark Gray on Vimeo.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Stormtrooper 365

A truly amazing and funny Flickr set featuring Stormtrooper action figures (and some amazing photography). A few of my favorites:












Mucho kudos to Matt for sending this!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Maybe Dinosaurs Are The Real Problem

From Discovery News:

A sudden change in the Atlantic Gulf Stream, which new research has linked to the mass extinction of dinosaurs, may happen again, many scientists fear.
Wait. Hold the phone. All of my adult life, I've been told that a meteor hitting the Earth caused the dinosaurs to die out. They even found the place in the Gulf of Mexico where the meteor hit!

A popular theory concerning the extinction of dinosaurs is that a sudden, external event, such as an asteroid hit or volcano eruption, led to the dino demise. But new research, published in Nature Geoscience and the journal Geology, argues climate was more to blame. The research determined that the greenhouse climate of the Cretaceous period experienced a sudden drop in global temperatures.
Oh, okay. Wait. So global cooling caused the dinosaurs to die out?

Hold the phone. I'm confused. So the Earth was really crazy hot millions of years ago? It's probably because of all the Dinosaurs using incandescent lightbulbs and driving around in SUVs. So then they all got Priuses and started being concerned about their carbon footprint and the Earth cooled, killing them all? Bummer.

It's estimated that the first big Cretaceous temperature drop occurred 137 million years ago and caused ocean temperatures to plummet to as low as 4 degrees centigrade. It is hard to imagine such a dramatic ocean cooling now, given global warming, but climate change is believed to cause extreme shifts of all kinds, from harsher than normal storms to this type of major ocean temperature shift.
Sure. It's hard to imagine now, given global warming... Wait. So then the Earth wasn't crazy hot when the dinosaurs lived? Like, hotter then it is now so that the whole Earth was like one big jungle? Or maybe it was just normal hot, kinda like a refreshing spring day,and then BOOM! it got cooler and the dinosaurs all died? I'm confused. Even if it wasn't CRAZY hot - even if it was just NORMAL hot like it is now - the Earth still cooled somehow enough to kill off all the dinosaurs, right? So Even if it was normal hot, then it's completely possible, right? And if it was crazy hot - like hotter then it is now - and it happened and killed off all the dinosaurs, then even with "global warming" it would still be possible, right? I mean, if it happened, it happened. And the very first paragraph of the story said scientists are afraid it might happen again, right? So what's all this nonsense about "...given global warming..."?

Price said, "At certain times in the geological past, the world has been dominated by greenhouse conditions with elevated CO2 levels and warm Polar Regions, and hence, these are seen as analogues of future global climate."

“But this research suggests that for short periods of time, the Earth plunged back to colder temperatures, which not only poses interesting questions in terms of how the dinosaurs might have coped, but also over the nature of climate change itself.”
So climate change happened by itself without humans millions of years ago? Several times? Wow. The way everybody is freaking out, you'd think it was brand new and never happened before. Ever.

One thing that I've noticed:warming seems to be tied somehow to dinosaurs. I mean, it was really warm when dinosaurs lived. Now we use dinosaur bones and such to fuel all kinds of things and make petroleum and plastics and whatnot, right? So maybe dinosaurs just naturally make things warm.

Stupid, confusing dinosaurs.

Thanks to Melissa B. for passing this along.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Is it Correct to Label Obama a Socialist?

From Commentary Magazine:

But is it correct, as an objective matter, to call Obama’s agenda “socialist”? That depends on what one means by socialism. The term has so many associations and has been used to describe so many divergent political and economic approaches that the only meaning sure to garner consensus is an assertive statism applied in the larger cause of “equality,” usually through redistributive economic policies that involve a bias toward taking an intrusive and domineering role in the workings of the private sector. One might also apply another yardstick: an ambivalence, even antipathy, for democracy when democracy proves inconvenient.1 With this understanding as a vague guideline, the answer is certainly, Yes, Obama’s agenda is socialist in a broad sense. The Obama administration may not have planned on seizing the means of automobile production or asserting managerial control over Wall Street. But when faced with the choice, it did both. Obama did explicitly plan on imposing a massive restructuring of one-sixth of the U.S. economy through the use of state fiat—and he is beginning to do precisely that.

Obama has, on numerous occasions, placed himself within the progressive intellectual and political tradition going back to Theodore Roosevelt and running through Franklin Roosevelt. With a few exceptions, the progressive political agenda has always been to argue for piecemeal reforms, not instant transformative change—but reforms that always expand the size, scope, and authority of the state. This approach has numerous benefits. For starters, it’s more realistic tactically. By concentrating on the notion of reform rather than revolution, progressives can work to attract both ideologues of the Left and moderates at the same time. This allows moderates to be seduced by their own rhetoric about the virtues of a specific reform as an end in itself. Meanwhile, more sophisticated ideologues understand that they are supporting a camel’s-nose strategy. In an unguarded moment during the health-care debate in 2009, Representative Barney Frank confessed that he saw the “public option,” the supposedly limited program that would have given the federal government a direct role as an insurer in competition with private insurers, as merely a way station to a single-payer system in which the government is the sole provider of health care. In his September 2009 joint-session address to Congress on health care, President Obama insisted that “I am not the first President to take up this cause, but I am determined to be the last.” Six months later, when he got the health-care bill he wanted, he insisted that it was only a critical “first step” to overhauling the system. Arthur Schlesinger Jr. was one of the relatively few self-described moderates who both understood the tactic and supported it. “There seems no inherent obstacle,” Schlesinger wrote in 1947, “to the gradual advance of socialism in the United States through a series of New Deals.”

Hobbies for Designers



Thanks to Andrew for sending this along.

Ideas Matter More Than Platitudes

Rush Limbaugh in the Wall Street Journal:

Now the liberals run the government and they're using their power to implement their radical agenda. Mr. Obama and his party believe that the election of November 2008 entitled them to make permanent, "transformational" changes to our society. In just 16 months they've added more than $2 trillion to the national debt, essentially nationalized the health-care system, the student-loan industry, and have their sights set on draconian cap-and-trade regulations on carbon emissions and amnesty for illegal aliens.

Had President Obama campaigned on this agenda, he wouldn't have garnered 30% of the popular vote.


You know, this is absolutely true. Instead of any sort of specific ideas, Obama campaigned on glittering generalities and hope and change and other great touchy-feely buzzwords without having to really outline any of his actual agenda.

Now we're starting to realize just how big a smokescreen that was.

What Would Happen if Microsoft Designed US Currency?



They might as well. It can't get any uglier than this.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Obama's Wall Street Speech

Some nuggets from the turn of a speech by President Obama earlier today:

One of the most significant contributors to this recession was a financial crisis as dire as any we've known in generations. And that crisis was born of a failure of responsibility -- from Wall Street to Washington -- that brought down many of the world's largest financial firms and nearly dragged our economy into a second Great Depression.
It was a second Great Depression now? Gee, now that was some quick revisionism. Just a day or two ago, it was still being referred to as the "Great Recession." I'm not sure that what we went through could really be categorized as a Great Depression. According to Webster's Dictionary a depression is "a long and severe recession in an economy or market." By all indicators, the recession really began in earnest in fall 2008 and the recovery began in March or April 2009. By July 2009 economists were declaring that a recovery had begun. In any case, a six month dip could hardly be categorized as a Depression. And as I write this, the market has recovered to 11134 after dipping to around 6,000 just over a year ago.

One of the most significant contributors to this recession was a financial crisis as dire as any we've known in generations. And that crisis was born of a failure of responsibility -- from Wall Street to Washington -- that brought down many of the world's largest financial firms and nearly dragged our economy into a second Great Depression.
Oh, it was a failure of responsibility, all right. But let's include the American public in that, as well. Buying on credit without being able to repay their debts was a huge cause as well. That failure of personal responsibility, enabled and encouraged by Washington policies and lack of a good fiscal leadership in the running of the country's finances, is a yolk around the necks of both the public and the government.

Some on Wall Street forgot that behind every dollar traded or leveraged, there is family looking to buy a house, pay for an education, open a business, or save for retirement. What happens here has real consequences across our country
.Some in Washington (most, in fact) have forgotten the same thing. Behind every dollar collected in taxes or spent in the form of bailouts there is a family who's money is being spent without their consent - a family who won't be able to afford to buy that house or afford to pay for an education or open a business or save for retirement. Interesting that all of these areas mentioned are areas where the government has recently usurped private industry to gain more control over people's lives.

That's why these reforms are designed to respect legitimate activities but prevent reckless risk taking. And that's why we want to ensure that financial products like standardized derivatives are traded in the open, in full view of businesses, investors, and those charged with oversight.
You've got a lot of damn nerve, Mr. Obama in preaching about transparency and openness with your back-room deals and closed-door sessions despite promises to the contrary. Also, who defines what is "reckless risk taking?" Isn't using the term "reckless" rather, well, "reckless?"

Third, this plan would enact the strongest consumer financial protections ever. This is absolutely necessary. Because this financial crisis wasn't just the result of decisions made in the executive suites on Wall Street; it was also the result of decisions made around kitchen tables across America, by folks taking on mortgages and credit cards and auto loans. And while it's true that many Americans took on financial obligations they knew -- or should have known -- they could not afford, millions of others were, frankly, duped. They were misled by deceptive terms and conditions, buried deep in the fine print.
Finally, an ounce of truth (but followed by a giant helping of bullshit.) Duped? Really? Where are the mortgage lenders being put on trial? You would think that all the people who were ..ehem... duped would be breaking down the doors of their mortgage companies, no? you'd think there would be some high profile Enron-like trilas going on somewhere, right? I don't seem to recall any.

That's why we need to give consumers more protection and power in our financial system. This is not about stifling competition or innovation.
Denying a charge that hasn't even been levied yet. That's never a good sign.

That will mean more choices for consumers, more opportunities for businesses, and more stability in our financial system. And unless your business model depends on bilking people, there is little to fear from these new rules.
Now I'm scared shitless. "These aren't the droids you're looking for. Move along."

Finally, these Wall Street reforms will give shareholders new power in the financial system. They'll get a say on pay: a voice with respect to the salaries and bonuses awarded to top executives. And the SEC will have the authority to give shareholders more say in corporate elections, so that investors and pension holders have a stronger role in determining who manages the companies in which they've placed their savings.
Damn it, Barack! Quit telling people in private industry what they can and can't make!

Now, Americans don't begrudge anybody for success when that success is earned.
That's not what you just said, Barry. Damn it, man. Concentrate and get your shit together!!! Your doubletalk is starting to piss me off.

But when we read in the past about enormous executive bonuses at firms even as they were relying on assistance from taxpayers, it offended our fundamental values.
No, what offended our fundamental values was that companies were given bailouts in the first place, dipshit. Companies do not have the right not to fail if they are not run properly, aren't producing a product the people want or aren't treating their customers with respect. You let that company fail and a new leader emerges with a better product, better service. That's the way it's always worked. Sure, a giant company coming down would be painful for a lot of people, but even old trees have to make way for newer trees.

I will say this, though, since companies did get bailouts. Companies that got even a dime of bailout money should give NO bonuses - to anyone - until their loan has been repaid. After that, it's game on again.

I have laid out a set of Wall Street reforms. These are reforms that would put an end to taxpayer bailouts; that would bring complex financial dealings out of the shadows; that would protect consumers; and that would give shareholders more power in the financial system. But we also need reform in Washington. And the debate over these changes is a perfect example.
You effing hypocite. After spending trillions of dolars in bailout money, don't pretend now that you're suddenly morally opposed to bailouts. If you want to "put an end to taxpayer bailouts" then just don't give out any more bailouts. The doubletalk in this speech is simply dizzying.

But I believe we can and must put this kind of cynical politics aside. That's why I am here today. We will not always see eye to eye. We will not always agree. But that does not mean we have to choose between two extremes. We do not have to choose between markets unfettered by even modest protections against crisis, and markets stymied by onerous rules that suppress enterprise and innovation. That's a false choice. And we need no more proof than the crisis we've just been through.
But isn't more regulation exactly what you're proposing?

A whole lot of talk, not a whole lot of substance. But watch out. Obama has become notorious for saying one thing and doing the exact opposite. And the fact that he felt the need to assure Wall Street several time in this speech that he means them no harm should give them cause to be collectively crapping their pants right about now.

Can we just have an election, already?

Seen on the Road Today

Hulu fears ABC iPad app could hurt its $9.95 subscription plans

From AppleInsider:

Online streaming service Hulu is expected to introduce a $9.95-per-month subscription plan on May 24, but the company reportedly fears a free streaming application from ABC for the iPad could undermine its efforts.
No shit, Sherlock.

So let me get this straight... I can watch Hulu on my laptop or desktop computer for free, but Hulu wants me to pay $10 a month for the privilege of watching their shows with ads on my iPad? And furthermore, Hulu made Boxee remove its service from the Apple TV because it said that Hulu was only intended for computing devices. Isn't that what the iPad is?

"But the iPad doesn't have Flash and so all the code had to be re-written and Hulu has to recoup that expense somehow!"

Horse hockey. Hulu has yet to turn a profit, and they were going to need to port their stuff to HTML5 soon anyway as Flash becomes more and more unpopular. Besides, ABC's site is in Flash, and they're offering their stuff for free via their iPad app. However, if the Hulu app offered ad-free shows, I'd consider it. I probably would't pay $10 a month, but I'd consider it, at least.

What drives me nuts is that companies are so eager to "grow their revenue streams" and protect their profits (as if they are entitled to make a certain amount of profit a year) that they completely disregard what their customers want, and then usually cry and point fingers at the same customers for complaining when they won't pay another $10 a month for something they're already likely paying for for in cable or satellite subscriptions and for which the networks are already getting profits from in the form of advertising.

I love the ABC iPad app, and I'm glad it's free. Kristi and I love watching the ABC app while we lay in bed at night. And the fact that it's not a battery drainer like Hulu on the laptop is is a nice plus.

Free is how TV ought to be, subsidized by advertising. Hulu is stupid for not wanting as many people as possible to watch its shows on any device. Those extra views are gold to advertisers.

Obama Lays Out Demands for Regulating Government Power

President Obama is traveling to the shadow of the Washington Memorial on Thursday to counter what he calls "the furious efforts of industry lobbyists" trying to weaken or kill new governmental regulations that he says are needed to stave off a second Revolutionary War.

As the Senate debates how to rewrite rules governing the Congress and the President, Mr. Obama will lay out the elements he insists must be in any legislation to get his signature. Among them are more taxpayer protections, limits on the size of government and the amount of taxes and other fees it may impose, reforms on Congressional compensation and greater transparency for controversial governmental procedures known as earmarks.


Sound too good to be true? It is. This is how the original story from the NYTimes read:

Obama Lays Out Demands for Regulating Financial Industry

President Obama is traveling to the shadow of Wall Street on Thursday to counter what he calls "the furious efforts of industry lobbyists" trying to weaken or kill new financial regulations that he says are needed to stave off a second Great Depression.

As the Senate debates how to rewrite rules governing the financial industry, Mr. Obama will lay out the elements he insists must be in any legislation to get his signature. Among them are more consumer protections, limits on the size of banks and the risks they can take, reforms on executive compensation and greater transparency for controversial securities known as derivatives.


Perhaps Obama and the Congress should consider the former before they attempt the latter.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Tom Petty Houston Show Rescheduled, Mojo Release Date

The Tom Petty show originally scheduled for May has been rescheduled for September 24 (the day before the Rush concert I'll be attending). From TomPetty.com:

Due to a delay in the arrival of Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers’ new album Mojo, it was announced today that the first 10 dates of the 2010 summer tour will be rescheduled in September and October.

The album will be released on Reprise Records on June 15. The band sincerely regrets any inconvenience caused and hope fans can make the rescheduled dates which are listed below.


Don't forget to pre-order Mojo from Amazon here for only $12.99.

And if you're wondering why I'm so excited about Mojo, consider this:

The first thing that hits you about MOJO is that the spirit of the Mudcrutch sessions has carried on with the Heartbreakers. This is the sound of a band playing together in a room - not a studio - facing each other, all singing and playing at the same time. The music is alive, with no overdubs or studio trickery. What you hear is what they created on the spot at that time.

Tom Petty says, “With this album, I want to show other people what I hear with the band. MOJO is where the band lives when it’s playing for itself.”

Health Care Reform from the Christian Perspective

Jay W. Richards, Ph.D in an article in Relevant Magazine:

Ms. Murray and I agree that this is a relevant moral issue for Christians, but let’s take just the idea that health care for all is a fundamental right. What does this mean? Each of us has the right not to be deprived by either the state or other people of life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, lawfully acquired property and the like. By extension, I have the right not to be deprived of care that could extend or improve my life. So do you. But that does not give you or me the right to force someone else to provide me with food, land, a house, or health care—all of which are scarce resources. Nor do I have a right to delegate such coercive power to a governmental authority. If I did, then that would mean I have the right to violate the rights of others, which I don’t.


Brilliantly put.

Happy San Jacinto Day!


On this day 174 years ago in a field near Lynchburg, Sam Houston's Texan army whooped the living crap out of the Mexican army under Santa Anna and Texas was born.

It's a great day to be a Texan, folks.

Happy Birthday, Dad!


_MG_4080

Have a great day!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Amazing Edge Detection Tool in Photoshop CS5



Wow. This is going to change my workflow.

The Intriguing Story of the Lost Next-gen iPhone

Amazing story of how it all went down at Gizmodo. And luckily (at least as of a few days ago) the dude that lost the phone still had his job... and his life.

Eighty Percent

Horrible story full of all the wrong conclusions from the Associated Press:

Public confidence in government is at one of the lowest points in a half century, according to a survey from the Pew Research Center. Nearly 8 in 10 Americans say they don't trust the federal government and have little faith it can solve America's ills, the survey found.


Of course the government can't solve our problems. Our government creates our problems and is our problem.

This anti-government feeling has driven the tea party movement, reflected in fierce protests this past week.

Fierce? Name one city where there was a riot or a death or cars or buildings burned at a tea party. "Spirited" would be a better descriptor here.

Majorities in the survey call Washington too big and too powerful, and say it's interfering too much in state and local matters. The public is split over whether the government should be responsible for dealing with critical problems or scaled back to reduce its power, presumably in favor of personal responsibility.

About half say they want a smaller government with fewer services, compared with roughly 40 percent who want a bigger government providing more. The public was evenly divided on those questions long before Obama was elected. Still, a majority supported the Obama administration exerting greater control over the economy during the recession.

What a load of crap. The conclusion of the second paragraph doesn't support the findings of the first paragraph at all. If we, as a people, want government to back out of our lives then why would would we want bigger government and who, exactly, supported Obama's brand of government "spend us out of debt" economics?

The survey found that Obama's policies were partly to blame for a rise in distrustful, anti-government views. In his first year in office, the president orchestrated a government takeover of Detroit automakers, secured a $787 billion stimulus package and pushed to overhaul the health care system.

Yeah, but it has a lot more to do with the constant encroachment of the government into our lives that just never seems to stop. Taxes. Fees. Regulations. Guidelines. Mandates. Laws. Forced certifications. Forced buying of certain products. It just keeps growing. It's not just about Obama and it's not just about Congress and it's not about George Bush.

But the poll also identified a combination of factors that contributed to the electorate's hostility: the recession that Obama inherited from President George W. Bush; a dispirited public; and anger with Congress and politicians of all political leanings.
Dammit, AP! Listen! It's freaking not about George Bush!!!! Quit whipping that dead horse already!!!! Oh, and beeteedub, Bush didn't cause the recession - the Congress did by mandating that lenders had to loan money to people that couldn't repay it and stupid people in the US did by buying more house than they could afford on credit. People not being able to repay those loans - you know, the Mortgage Crisis - caused a lending and credit crisis and that caused the market to drop and that caused the recession.

"This should be a wake-up call. Both sides are guilty," said Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo. She pointed to "nonsense" that goes on during campaigns that leads to "promises made but not promises kept." Still, she added: "Distrust of government is an all-American activity. It's something we do as Americans and there's nothing wrong with it."
Memo to politicians: quit making promises to get elected. Promise to balance the budget and keep us safe from outside forces, not from ourselves, and be done with it. Quit promising the moon. That's how you're making all this worse.

Morons.

Confirmation



From Gizmodo.

Monday, April 19, 2010

iPad Camera Kit


The day one of my biggest problems with the iPad bit the dust was the day I found out that you could, with a connector kit, upload photos directly from your camera into the iPad. At the time, I wondered how it would work and whether it would be able to handle RAW files.

Today, this from Apple.com:

With the iPad Camera Connection Kit, it's incredibly easy to download photos from your digital camera to your iPad so you can view them on the gorgeous iPad display and share them with family and friends.

The kit includes two connectors, each with a different interface:
The Camera Connector features a USB interface. Just plug it into the dock connector port on your iPad, then attach your digital camera or iPhone using a USB cable (not included).

Use the SD Card Reader to import photos directly from your camera's SD card. Connect it to your iPad, then insert your digital camera's SD card into the slot.

After you make the connection, your iPad automatically opens the Photos app, which lets you choose which pictures to import, then organizes the selected photos into albums. When you sync iPad to your PC or Mac, the photos on your iPad are added to your computer's photo library.

iPad and the Camera Connection Kit support standard photo formats, including JPEG and RAW.

That answers my question. Also, kudos to Apple for including both connectors in the kit and not selling them separately.

However, when I went into an Apple store over the weekend, one of the employees told me that the kit, which was supposed to be available on launch day, was still not in. As of this writing, the Apple Store still lists 2-3 weeks for shipping. Odd.

Like Dissecting an Alien

What's the first thing that usually happens in the movies when an alien species arrives on Earth and is captured? Right - cut it open and see what's inside!

That's just what Gizmodo did to a found (apparently) prototype next-gen iPhone over the weekend. First, some background...

The phone was apparently found on the floor of a San Jose bar. It looked like an iPhone 3G S, but upon closer inspection, it turned out that it was an unknown iPhone-like device complete with Apple branding that was hiding inside a case that made it look like an iPhone 3G S! How awesome is that??!!?? At the time it was found, it was still working, but it has since been "killed" remotely by, well, someone.

Pretty interesting stuff, no? But it gets better. The form factor is different than current iPhones and its components seem to have been shifted around some (the SIM card is on the side now, for instance). It has two cameras, including a front-facing camera that seems to suggest that the next version will support some sort of video conferencing. It also has two clunky-looing round buttons on the side that seem to be positioned as volume adjustment buttons. Weird, huh? Maybe not, considering that one of the most asked-for features of the iPhone since it debuted is a hardware shutter for the camera app.

What I find interesting is that it takes some design cues from the new iPad. Gone are the chrome bevel around the front that has been there since iPhone 1.0. And the curved back is now flat, as well. In fact, it looks vaguely familiar to something... Oh yeah. It looks very similar to the form factor I predicted (and mocked up) lone year ago in a piece title "The Next, Next iPhone." Turns out I was right yet again.

What is incredibly convincing that this is, in fact, the real deal is what they found when they cracked it open. Little bitty, teeny-tiny tech like Apple uses (much of it Apple-branded) and some components that are completely new that no one has ever seen before. I'm sure it was just like dissecting an alien from the future. If someone constructed this thing using existing - and custom - iPhone components, made it work and put as much detail into it as this thing has, then someone has a looooooooot of expertise and time on their hands. And Apple seriously needs to find them and hire them. But as it is, I suspect that instead someone is so getting fired today over this.

I can't wait to see from Steve himself in a few weeks if this thing is legit. My money says that it is.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Subjugation On All Fronts

From the UK Guardian:

In the US, the MPAA and RIAA (American equivalents of the MPA and the BPI) just submitted comments to the American Intellectual Property Czar, Victoria Espinel, laying out their proposal for IP enforcement. They want us all to install spyware on our computers that deletes material that it identifies as infringing. They want our networks censored by national firewalls (U2's Bono also called for this in a New York Times editorial, averring that if the Chinese could control dissident information with censorware, our own governments could deploy similar technology to keep infringement at bay). They want border-searches of laptops, personal media players and thumb-drives.

Elements of this agenda are also on display (or rather, in hiding) in the secret Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, a treaty being drafted between a member's club of rich nations. They've turned their back on the United Nations to negotiate in private, without having to contend with journalists or public interest groups. By their own admission, they intend to impose this treaty on poor countries as a condition of ongoing trade, and in the US, the Obama administration has announced its intention to pass ACTA without Congressional debate.

I'm not such a techno-triumphalist that I believe that the free and open internet will solve all our socio-economic problems. But I am enough of a techno-pessimist to believe that baking surveillance, control and censorship into the very fabric of our networks, devices and laws is the absolute road to dictatorial hell.

Chekhov wrote that a gun on the mantelpiece in act one is sure to go off by act three. The entertainment industry's blinkered pursuit of its own narrow goals has the potential to redesign our technology to be the perfect tools and excuses for oppression.


Remember when music was about free expression and beauty? Ironic that it's the music companies that are killing it.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

American Heroes Are Ticked Off at Obama


Three of our country's most famous astronauts, Neil Armstrong, Jim Lovell and Gene Cernan, have written an open letter to President Obama. It's not often that these men speak publicly (especially in the case of Armstrong), and it's even more rare that they take an open stand for or against something. So it's worth taking notice when they do.
From MSNBC:

The United States entered into the challenge of space exploration under President Eisenhower’s first term, however, it was the Soviet Union who excelled in those early years. Under the bold vision of Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon, and with the overwhelming approval of the American people, we rapidly closed the gap in the final third; of the 20th century, and became the world leader in space exploration.

America’s space accomplishments earned the respect and admiration of the world. Science probes were unlocking the secrets of the cosmos; space technology was providing instantaneous worldwide communication; orbital sentinels were helping man understand the vagaries of nature. Above all else, the people around the world were inspired by the human exploration of space and the expanding of man’s frontier. It suggested that what had been thought to be impossible was now within reach. Students were inspired to prepare themselves to be a part of this new age. No government program in modern history has been so effective in motivating the young to do “what has never been done before.”

World leadership in space was not achieved easily. In the first half-century of the space age, our country made a significant financial investment, thousands of Americans dedicated themselves to the effort, and some gave their lives to achieve the dream of a nation. In the latter part of the first half century of the space age, Americans and their international partners focused primarily on exploiting the near frontiers of space with the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station.

As a result of the tragic loss of the Space Shuttle Columbia in 2003, it was concluded that our space policy required a new strategic vision. Extensive studies and analysis led to this new mandate: meet our existing commitments, return to our exploration roots, return to the moon, and prepare to venture further outward to the asteroids and to Mars. The program was named "Constellation." In the ensuing years, this plan was endorsed by two Presidents of different parties and approved by both Democratic and Republican congresses.

The Columbia Accident Board had given NASA a number of recommendations fundamental to the Constellation architecture which were duly incorporated. The Ares rocket family was patterned after the Von Braun Modular concept so essential to the success of the Saturn 1B and the Saturn 5. A number of components in the Ares 1 rocket would become the foundation of the very large heavy lift Ares V, thus reducing the total development costs substantially. After the Ares 1 becomes operational, the only major new components necessary for the Ares V would be the larger propellant tanks to support the heavy lift requirements.

The design and the production of the flight components and infrastructure to implement this vision was well underway. Detailed planning of all the major sectors of the program had begun. Enthusiasm within NASA and throughout the country was very high.

When President Obama recently released his budget for NASA, he proposed a slight increase in total funding, substantial research and technology development, an extension of the International Space Station operation until 2020, long range planning for a new but undefined heavy lift rocket and significant funding for the development of commercial access to low earth orbit.

Although some of these proposals have merit, the accompanying decision to cancel the Constellation program, its Ares 1 and Ares V rockets, and the Orion spacecraft, is devastating.

America’s only path to low Earth orbit and the International Space Station will now be subject to an agreement with Russia to purchase space on their Soyuz (at a price of over 50 million dollars per seat with significant increases expected in the near future) until we have the capacity to provide transportation for ourselves. The availability of a commercial transport to orbit as envisioned in the President’s proposal cannot be predicted with any certainty, but is likely to take substantially longer and be more expensive than we would hope.

It appears that we will have wasted our current $10-plus billion investment in Constellation and, equally importantly, we will have lost the many years required to recreate the equivalent of what we will have discarded.

For The United States, the leading space faring nation for nearly half a century, to be without carriage to low Earth orbit and with no human exploration capability to go beyond Earth orbit for an indeterminate time into the future, destines our nation to become one of second or even third rate stature. While the President's plan envisages humans traveling away from Earth and perhaps toward Mars at some time in the future, the lack of developed rockets and spacecraft will assure that ability will not be available for many years.

Without the skill and experience that actual spacecraft operation provides, the USA is far too likely to be on a long downhill slide to mediocrity. America must decide if it wishes to remain a leader in space. If it does, we should institute a program which will give us the very best chance of achieving that goal.

Neil Armstrong
Commander, Apollo 11

James Lovell
Commander, Apollo 13

Eugene Cernan
Commander, Apollo 17


Thanks to Matt for the heads up.

Tea Parties and Americans: The Left Just Doesn't Get It


From a NYTimes New Alert:

The fierce animosity that Tea Party supporters harbor toward Washington and President Obama in particular is rooted in deep pessimism about the direction of the country and the conviction that the policies of the Obama administration are disproportionately directed at helping the poor rather than the middle class or the rich, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.


Bull crap.

The media just doesn't get it. I can't speak for everyone, but let me tell you why I (and the people I spoke to there) went to the tea party last year: government intrusion and reckless, unaccountable spending. That's it. We're simply tired of the government looking at us as cattle - as a food source. They see us not as people, but as a power base and, as a whole, they've stopped listening to us. Congress and the president has decided that they know better than we do how to run our daily lives and how our money should be spent. The concept of individual liberty is completely lost to them.

They have no problem with lying to us about how badly we need a stimulus package RIGHT NOW or else the entire economy will collapse. Then we find out that all kinds of other crap has been included into the bill that was supposedly all about the economy and that the trillions of dollars that were spent - that we didn't have - went to wasteful projects and people and places that didn't even exist. And then came the health care bill, which is fraught with all the same kinds of nastiness.

But is it about so-called class? Not at all. Why must everything be about class or race to liberals? Why must everything be a damn game? It's simply about standing up for individual liberty and accountability in government! How much more simple can I put it? I want liberty for people of all races and of all backgrounds and of all so-called "classes," not just the middle class or the rich. That's ludicrous. The left and the media think that because the people who are most likely to attend a tea party are middle class and skew toward upper middle class that we only are there to help the people who are there.

What utter nonsense.

The reason they see it that way is because that's how they view politics: help those who support you or are like-minded and step on everyone else. But that's not how conservatives (or even most Republicans) view things. Because we have a message of personal accountability and hard work, not government hand-outs and state-run coddling programs people (and by people, I mean people on the left) think that we're these cold, heartless animals who are only out for ourselves and who don't care about the poor or people who are down on their luck. Again, that's simply not true. We just have a vastly different view of how things should be fixed. Instead of taxing everyone so that the government can dole out checks and food like some sort of giant teet, we think that charity should come from charities and churches and private foundations and from the goodness of people's hearts. There are times when people are down and just need some assistance. Cool. Fine. I understand that. Then that's where a government safety net should come in, but it should only provide just enough so that people don't starve while they're out there trying to get back on their feet. It should be a limited time assistance, not a perpetual system of dependence as it is now. People should not make their living by sitting at home waiting on a welfare check to come, but there are millions that do. And somehow, the liberals have removed the shame in that - in accepting something for nothing and relying on someone else to take care of you.

There's an old saying: "give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he'll eat for a lifetime." That pretty much sums up the conservative philosophy.

What strikes me is how different the news alert at the top is from the news story that it links to:
Tea Party supporters are wealthier and more well-educated than the general public, and are no more or less afraid of falling into a lower socioeconomic class, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.

The 18 percent of Americans who identify themselves as Tea Party supporters tend to be Republican, white, male, married and older than 45.

I sincerely doubt that only 18 percent of Americans are tea party supporters. Perhaps it was in the phrasing of the poll question. Had the question asked something like "do you identify with the concepts of government accountability, lower taxes and more individual liberty?" instead of something like "are you a Tea Party supporter?" the results would have been a whole lot higher. I don't identify myself as a Tea Party supporter. I'm a conservative who attended a tea party to show my support for conservative philosophy and to protest my government's willful and deliberate ignoring of my liberties. The whole "Tea Party" thing has taken on the tone of a third party, and I don't support that. What I support is making the Republican party conservative again and holding the Republicans to the standard we elected them on.

They hold more conservative views on a range of issues than Republicans generally. They are also more likely to describe themselves as “very conservative” and President Obama as “very liberal.”

And while most Republicans say they are “dissatisfied” with Washington, Tea Party supporters are more likely to classify themselves as “angry.”

Not angry as in unruly mob "angry," but angry as in "I've finally had all I can swallow, so I'm going to take a little time off of work to make my voice heard" angry.

Their responses are like the general public’s in many ways. Most describe the amount they paid in taxes this year as “fair.”

Uh, no. Flat out wrong. A huge part of the catalyst behind some in the tea party movement was unfair and extraordinarily high taxes.

Most send their children to public schools.

True. So? Is the New York Times arguing that because we support smaller government that we don't support education or that we shouldn't be sending our kids to public schools?
A plurality do not think Sarah Palin is qualified to be president,

I'm one of those who thinks that Sarah Palin is a fad and shouldn't be held up as some kind of savior of the Republican party. What Sarah Palin is - and represents - is a refreshingly unabashed conservative voice on the national scene that we haven't heard in a long time. But she's not the best candidate for president, no. I'm not going to go so far as to ay she's not qualified.

and, despite their push for smaller government, they think that Social Security and Medicare are worth the cost to taxpayers.

Horse crap. Only people who don't pay attention think that, and the story already established that those who attend tea parties are far more likely to pay attention to politics.

They actually are just as likely as Americans as a whole to have returned their census forms, though some conservative leaders have urged a boycott.
What the crap does the census have to do with anything? I've never heard any "conservative leader" say to not return your census form. What I've heard is that people shouldn't have to fill out all the crazy demographic and personal information that the government asks for on them because such information is only used to gerrymander congressional districts and attempt to justify social spending programs. What they've urged is to say "there are four people living in my house and our household income is X." And that's it. The government doesn't need to know what race I am in order to serve me. If we're to truly live in a "colorblind society," then race shouldn't matter at all.

They are more likely than the general public, and Republicans, to say that too much has been made of the problems facing black people.

See my previous comments. Race shouldn't matter. If people are having problems, it shouldn't matter what race they are - that's extraneous to the situation- just find a way to solve the problem, not how to capitalize on it.

And some other nuggets from way, way down in the story:
They are far more pessimistic than Americans in general about the economy. More than 90 percent of Tea Party supporters think the country is headed in the wrong direction, compared with about 60 percent of the general public.

Nearly 9 in 10 disapprove of the job Mr. Obama is doing over all, and about the same percentage fault his handling of major issues: health care, the economy and the federal budget deficit. Ninety-two percent believe Mr. Obama is moving the country toward socialism, an opinion shared by more than half of the general public.

And nearly three-quarters of those who favor smaller government said they would prefer it even if it meant spending on domestic programs would be cut.


And finally:

Some defended being on Social Security while fighting big government by saying that since they had paid into the system, they deserved the benefits.

Others could not explain the contradiction.
What contradiction? We expect to get what we paid for. Now, I don't expect to get a dime of Social Security benefits, but there was an entire generation or two before mine that were promised benefits and were sold on the concept of Social Security as their retirement income. That's what the government promised them. So I don't begrudge those people for expecting the money back that they paid into the system. What I think is ludicrous is anyone who still expects that after seeing Social Security not pay off and seeing people not able to get by on their Social Security benefits. I think Social Security should be overhauled drastically or done away with completely (with the aforementioned previous generation in mind). But, that's a post for another day.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Last Three Minutes

An amazing, beautiful short film shot entirely with the Canon 5D Mark II

"The Last 3 Minutes" From Shane Hurlbut, ASC from Shane Hurlbut, ASC on Vimeo.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Peep Show

Every year after Easter, some of my friends at work and I have a Peep-eating contest. You know Peeps - those little marshmallow birds or bunnies in fluorescent da-glo colors? Yeah, those.

Yesterday was our annual Peep Eating Contest. The reigning champion, Tony, couldn't participate due to some diet restrictions this year, so the competitors were me, Matt and Jolie. Sherri looked on (sometimes in horror) and took photos.

Each competitor had a bag of five Peeps. The first one to eat all their Peeps was the winner. Sound easy? You try it sometime.







In the end, Jolie won, barely beating Matt and smoking me by a full Peep.



She won the Official Peep-Eating Contest Trophy, a giant stuffed Peep! Congratulations, Jolie!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

My iPhone is Now Obsolete

Apple today held a special event on the Apple campus in Cupertino to announce the iPhone OS 4.0. I haven't watched the event yet (I've read a summary of what was announced), but one of the highlight features is multi-tasking on the phone.

So I clicked over to Apple.com to see if the video had been posted yet and noticed the following:

iPhone OS 4 Compatibility
iPhone OS 4 will work with iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, and the second- and third-generation iPod touch this summer, and with iPad in the fall. Not all features are compatible with all devices. For example, multitasking is available only with iPhone 3GS and the third-generation iPod touch (32GB and 64GB models from late 2009).

I still have an original iPhone (with the aluminum backing), and it's not on the list of compatible devices. So it looks like my phone has been abandoned on the software platform. It's been a good three-year run.

The Best iPad Review I've Seen Yet

I don't always agree with John Gruber at Daring Fireball, but I always enjoy reading his blog and his insightful take on Apple and tech. And his take on the iPad is simply amazing. I've been reading a lot about the iPad for weeks now, and a lot of reviews since buying one this weekend, and I've yet to see anything that comes close to the substance of Gruber's piece.

I would include excerpts, but I'd just end up copying most of the article. So check it out here. Great work, John, and thanks.

Abilene Christian Publishes First Student iPad Newspaper

From TUAW:

A day after Steve Jobs unveiled the iPad, Dr. Cheryl Bacon, chair of Abilene Christian University's Department of Journalism and Mass Communication vowed that the student newspaper would be the first to make it to the iPad. This week, ACU has accomplished that goal.

The Optimist is a nearly century-old student newspaper publication of the JMC Network, the student media operation at Abilene Christian University. The iPad edition of The Optimist is a dynamically updating version of the print edition with multi-touch photo slide shows, content selectors, updated ACU Wildcat sports scores, and coolest of all, access to five years worth of Optimist archives all right from the iPad.


Kudos to Dr. Bacon and ACU for such forward thinking. I hope the Houstonian at Sam Houston State follows suit.

Rush Announces "Time Machine" Tour


Rush has announced that they will be touring this summer! (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) Rush has long been one of my favorite bands.

From the press release e-mail:
The "Time Machine Tour" is an evening with Rush, where they will perform their classics, give a taste of the future – and for the first time ever – feature the Moving Pictures album live in its entirety.


"Moving Pictures in it entirety" made me gasp out loud. That. Is. Going. To. Be. Flat. Out. AWESOME!!! When they did 2112 a couple of tours ago, it was amazing.

The Houston show is scheduled for September 25 at the Cynthia Woods. I plan on being there. Anybody else want to go (except Kristi, who actually slept through a Rush show once)?

Thanks to John T. for sending this!

47% Pay No Taxes

From Yahoo Finance:

Tax Day is a dreaded deadline for millions, but for nearly half of U.S. households it's simply somebody else's problem.

About 47 percent will pay no federal income taxes at all for 2009.

The result is a tax system that exempts almost half the country from paying for programs that benefit everyone, including national defense, public safety, infrastructure and education. It is a system in which the top 10 percent of earners -- households making an average of $366,400 in 2006 -- paid about 73 percent of the income taxes collected by the federal government.

The bottom 40 percent, on average, make a profit from the federal income tax, meaning they get more money in tax credits than they would otherwise owe in taxes. For those people, the government sends them a payment.


Expecting someone else to pay for goods and service that you use is ridiculous and unsustainable, but for almost 50% of Americans now it seems to be reality. Sickening.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

iPad spotted ... in 2006

Check out this screen shot from the Pixar short "Lifted" from 2006. Doesn't that look remarkably like an iPad?



Pixar is well known for putting Easter Eggs, or hidden things, in its movies and shorts, including characters from movies it hasn't yet released. Only upon watching the films later do you actually realize "hey! That was Nemo in Boo's room!"

I don't think the form factor for the iPhone had been decided yet in 2006, much less the iPad, but wouldn't it be funny if it had and Pixar had slipped this out in plain sight four years ago without anyone noticing until now? I bet John Lasseter and Steve Jobs had a huge laugh over that one!

There's a new tablet computer at our house...

A few weeks ago, I ordered a tablet computer for the Pharaon household. So I was really, really excited when the package arrived yesterday.

As I opened the box, I envisioned all the fun we would have using this great little device. Think of the knowledge it would impart to the kids! The hours spent playing games! This beautiful little touch-activated wonder has voice output, a nice digital display and weighs in at around one pound. Amazing technology!!!!

I surprised Kayci with it last night after dinner, and she took to the intuitive interface immediately. For the next hour or so, she explored the apps and played games and had an awesome time until it was time for bed.

Noble thougt it was cool, and laughed at the funny sounds it made as he carried it around by it's big orange handle. Huh? That's right - orange handle. What? Oh, you thought I was talking about a different tablet computer.

Sorry. I was talking about Kayci's new Speak & Spell, an awesome little device that I spent countless hours with as a kid. I bought one on eBay. Check it out:






_MG_5821

_MG_5824

_MG_5823

Monday, April 5, 2010

Ah, Spring...

_MG_5794

_MG_5808

_MG_5818

_MG_5817

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Licking an iPad



Oh, you saw that?

Friday, April 2, 2010

Further Thoughts on the iPad


As the release date of the iPad draws near, a revelation has occurred to me: I really want one. This, after I changed my mind about my initial thoughts on it.

But you see, that's just it. It's a want. I think of the iPad as I did the MacBook Air. It's a curiosity. It's cool. It's hip and people will stop and ask me about it when I'm out in public with it. But I don't need it.

I need a Mac. A Mac is built for creating. It's got power and style and it's easy to use. And with design, video and photography projects, that's what I need. But an iPad isn't built to create. It's built to consume. It's built to view photos, not manipulate them. It's built to watch video, not edit it. It's built to read books, not write them. It's built to view web sites, not create it. At the very heart of what I do every day, I'm a creator. I create things. I manipulate things. And I need something more flexible.

That's not to say that an iPad in the house wouldn't be put to good use. It would be perfect for Kristi's daily work on the web. It would be great for the kids on car trips. And it would be a nice machine to watch TV on in bed. But it's none of those things are things that we can't live without. And unlike the iPhone, we won't be first-day adopters.

The iPhone was, and is, very much a need. Kristi commutes to Houston sometimes, and often needs internet, mail and map capabilities in addition to the need to make phone calls. At the time that the iPhone was released, about the only option for those things was on a Blackberry. But the difference between a Blackberry and an iPhone is night and day. Now granted, she can have all those things with a 3G-equipped iPad. But why would we spend an additional amount every month to duplicate the same things she has in her pocket, only in a larger form factor? It'd be a waste of money.

So I'm sure that I'll make the trek to the Austin Apple store on Saturday to at least touch and hold an iPad. I'm really, really curious. But I don't plan on coming home with one. Not yet, at least.

Confusing, Pessimistic Job Market Reporting

From the NY Times:

The unemployment rate held steady at 9.7 percent, the Labor
Department said, but it is expected to worsen later this year
as discouraged workers re-enter the labor force.


I don't understand. If discouraged workers are re-entering the labor force (getting jobs, in other words), isn't that a good thing? Then why would the NY Times use the word "worsten" to describe people getting jobs? Shouldn't unemployment be looked at as a negative and people re-entering the labor force be seen as improving the unemployment rate?

Seems awfully backwards and pessimistic to me, as well as poorly written.

Unicorn... It's What's For Dinner!


From Think Geek:

Radiant Farms Canned Unicorn Meat Specifications:

- Limited availability
- 14 ounces of delicious unicorn meat, canned for your convenience
- Imported from a small independent cannery in County Meath, Ireland
- Crunchy horn bits in every bite - an excellent source of Calcium
- Tastes like rotisserie chicken but with a hint of marshmallow sweetness
- Easily spreadable for sandwiches, hors d'oeuvres, and more
- Sparkly meat lends the unmistakable air of class and sophistication to your parties
- Unlike other meats, unicorn fat is polyunsaturated and lowers your LDL cholesterol
- Not yet approved by the USDA or FDA, but the nuns have eaten it for centuries and they're healthy as horses

There's a recipe there for Savory Unicorn & Heirloom Tomato Bruchetta Recipe that sounds amazing! Check it out!!!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Academy Award Winning Movie Trailer



They even remembered to use Trajan at the end. Perfect.

Why Cirque de Soleil Performers Aren't Welcome at Chuck E. Cheese

Being the father of a son very much like myself, I'm quite sure something like this is going to happen someday. Kudos to the mother for not trying to use the claw to pull the kid out...

Biology Explained

The Manliest Way to Cook Bacon ... EVER!

... with a machine gun.



You need bacon, tin foil, a 7.62mm German Rheinmetall MG 3 machine gun from the 1950s, and around 200 rounds of ammunition. Simply wrap the bacon around the barrel, and fire away.

From Eater National.

Click through to the original Reddit post and see the best comment I've ever seen on a blog post: "Your identity is no longer secret on the internet. Anyone can look up "awesome" in the dictionary and see your picture."

Major thanks to Matt for sharing this!

Wow. Photoshop CS5 ROCKS!!!!

Gas Prices, Redux

Gas jumped overnight to $2.74 here in Brenham. A year and a half ago, I kicked off this very blog with a rant about gas prices when they hit $2.55. So here we are again headed toward $3.00 per gallon gas this summer.

What I want to know is this: where are all those shrill libs who wailed for eight years about how gas prices were so high because George Bush was lining the pockets of his buddies in the oil industry? Still think that's the case, nutballs?