Friday, September 30


+ Lifehacker and kottke have been wondering why hotel wi-fi isn't free. kottke has some figures today.

But I've been thinking that the simple answer is: Everything I needed to know about economics I learned from Raising Arizona: It's not what you will pay, but what the market will bear. If the market will bear a fee for wi-fi, that's what they'll charge you, instead of just having it be a low-cost added draw.

+ Here's a story about a City High football player whose Dad played for West. I'm sure this is very bent of me, but I think I'd have a pretty hard time settling on that side of the river such that my kids went to City. Good school and all, just., you know, the history... ;-)

+ Paul says I've won based on my prediction that DeLay would go down. I'm not happy about being right about a case like this, in specific, but I do like being right ;-) (Just a little right, you know. Nothing major. Don't worry, I won't let in go to my head.)

+ BillH has a nice post linking to how to write your name in Elvish. Of course, the higher level would be to go to Now We Have All Got Elvish Names and then write your Elvish name in Elvish.

You might look a
t these pages and think 'These people are incredible geeks!' I don't disagree. I'm not up their level, but I do admire them ;-)

Let's see: writing 'Eruntalon' (I'm going with that one instead of 'Erufailon' because I read this article before the update and have been thinking in those terms since then).

OK, I've written it, but I can't post it right now. Maybe I'll do that later.

Looks like Ned is going letter for letter here (like with 'Eileen'), instead of phonetically, which I think would be best. Still, very interesting.

Looking around further, turns out some people have tatooed themselves thereby. Very, very interesting. Makes a tatoo sound better...

Thursday, September 29

Fwd: The future of computing

(Wherein I go on and on speculating about things I probably don't know enough about.)

(I started this over a month ago and kept thinking I was going to finish it. Guess not. So I'm kicking it out of the nest...)

(Didn't mean to have that 'Fwd:' in the title. Forwarded it from Gmail. But it's kind fo appropriate and cool (to me), so I'm leaving it :-)

The Black Dog mobile Linux computer looks cool. You have to have a PC to plug it into, so that's a limiting factor (v. a PDA that has a screen and input mechansim). I don't think at this stage you'd be better off with one of these than, say, a 4GB Palm LifeDrive (which has a screen and input mechanism, in addition to USB access). The Palm's about twice as much and doesn't have native Linux of biometrics, but it's got 8x the memory. No, the Black Dog seems like it's just for the hardcore right now.

However, this is the direction I see computing going. I predict my children will have a mobile computer the size of an iPod with some sick amount of memory, next generation Wi-Fi and Bluetooth (thus no need for USB, etc.), decent computing power, integrated music player, telephone and video/still camera. Depending on how robust Wi-Fi gets, we may not even have to tote our data with us. Next generation display might be projected on glasses or direct to your retina. Next generation after that might be holographic. Next generation input might be data 'gloves' (think Minority Report). Even tiny chips on your fingernails (or, *gasp* under the skin of your fingerpads) could do the trick here. We're talking PAN - Personal Area Network. The system could project heads-up buttons onto your 'display' (again, glasses or hologram). Minor force feedback in the gloves could give you subtle, no-look, tactile response. Being able to interact wirelessly (via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, etc.) with more robust systems when more/better processing power, speed, memory, input, display, etc. is needed will be critical. The whole thing could be powered/recharged mostly by the body, with backup solar and solid state batteries. Less mobile accessories would include a touchscreen display (roughly 8.5x11), video projector, compact sound system, printer. I also, as I predict, need to keep in mind innovations in the works in the areas of e-paper and flexible screens. Everyone could have a roll-screen and e-paper, if we can get those technologies going.

I did this much without googling. Googling reminded me of something else I think a lot about: data input and output. I think a lot about this because I'm lazy. What's the fastest and easiest way to input? Voice (unless you're a really good typist). What's the fastest way to consume data? Reading. We'll want (and should have) the option of inputting our data any way we want: voice, writing, typing, etc. Then we should be able to output it any way we want. More convenient to listen to something? No problem. On a plane and can't really 'talk' it? Type.

Now, after googling, some more resources:

The Bright Future of Mobile Computing
Projection Keyboard,10801,76656p4,00.html

The really interesting platform for mobile applications is the automobile. It has a big battery and the ability to generate electricity. It has space for all kinds of devices. People spend a lot of time in them. Look for in-car telematics to include GPS, data storage, docking for multiple types of handheld devices, hard-copy output and so on. All of this already exists in law enforcement -- and the new bus-based, 48-volt auto system standards will accelerate the vehicle telematics explosion. -- John Parkinson, chief technologist, Cap Gemini Ernst & Young U.S. LLC, Rosemont, Ill.

The killer device isn't a phone/PDA combo -- it's a GPRS/Wi-Fi combo card for whatever you want to plug it into and software that roams seamlessly across both networks. -- John Parkinson, chief technologist, Cap Gemini Ernst & Young U.S. LLC, Rosemont, Ill.

Could be - if there are enough good places to plug into...

RFID: The Future Is in the Chips

Wednesday, September 28

Tuesday and wednesday

+ Got my Gmail inbox down below 35. Yay me! :-)

+ We're finally back to highs in the 80s for the forseeable future, calling for a high of 76 on friday. What a relief!

+ Windows Is Offically Broken . Interesting take on the current state of Longhorn and reorg at M$.

+ kottke's got an old post on the sad state of health care in America with reference to Malcolm Gladwell.

We have many societal failures, including the ones he notes: health care and lack of preparedness for Katrina. The post-9/11 FEMA situation is inexcusable. And we really do suffer from 'robber barons' who take all they can get at the lowest tax rate possible.

But I'm just not convinced that bigger and more government is the answer. We still have the world's most robust economy which, while leaving some behind, does ultimately solve a lot of problems. Do I want to trade my society's foibles for Brussels-style bureaucracy and post-everything (Christianity, modernism, nation-state, etc.)? Nope. I sure would like better government and I think we need more accountability and citizen awareness/participation and more local action and decision making. Bureaucracy, while an inevitable result of our republican form of government, should be reigned in when possible, including starved of funds to some degree.

+ The new giant squid pix are pretty cool.

+ To-Done has 2 posts [1 2] on GTD with Google Desktop. Not much different than GTD with Gmail, except the added functionality of Google Desktop, integrated with Gmail, adds power.

+ We totally need more of these: fully enclosed phone booths without the phone (for cell users).

+ Did you see the 100 minute Bible? (via kottke)

+ More via kottke: Building a better screw. ITW has come up with 'threaded fasteners' that can cut their own threads, stay in where previous screws could not (eg, in slippery plastic), and more. The Tapcon for masonry and Sammy Super Screw for wood, steel, concrete and drywall.

+ If you've been with me in real life, you know I like to spin my pen. There's a webpage for pen spinning (of course). I do the 360 degree normal and reverse. May need to work on some of these others, though ;-)

+ They use a predictive market inside Google, similar to the Iowa Electronic Markets. Interesting. These things are cool. Remember when the Pentagon thought about doing a terrorism prediction market? That was a good idea that got shouted down by public opinion.

And now, finally, my Bloglines is down to zero, so time to shut it, and this, down. :-)

Monday, September 26

Monday morning football recap

The Hawks lost big, which was disappointing. My fantasy football teams lost big, which was also disappointing. The Vikings' win and Daunte's return to form helped take the sting out a little.

The Patriots/Steelers game was amazing. The Patriots just don't flinch. They can basically suck for 3 quarters (7 if you count the previous game), and then Brady will go perfect in the fourth quarter and Vinatieri will kick the game-winner. They drop guys to injuries like crazy and still keep winning. The Steelers were good, but not good enough.

File under some things never change: Dan Dierdorf is as painful to listen to as ever. Once in a while he'll say something good. Otherwise, he says mostly wrong or dumb things.

Philadelphia was also impressive as they gutted out a win, including Akers kicking the game-winner on (basically) one leg.

Friday, September 23

Everybody's workin' for the weekend

+ No chance to post yesterday. Busy with the aftermath of Christine rear-ending someone in the morning. That pretty-well tied up the rest of the day. Eveyone was fine, but the car is probably totalled. It'll be interesting to see what ensues. If you're a praying person, we'd appreciate your prayers. If you're a wealthy person, you know what to do (late model Dodge Grand Caravan ;-). The Lottery's up over 120 M$...

+ Hmm. Oklahoma City's going to host the NBA New Orleans Hornets this season. A little advice: make sure you don't have to keep them. George Shinn is a turkey of an owner. Better to have no team than his.

+ Way past due, so not much ado, but Mark has two very interesting articles I want to point out to you (they're all good, of course): Institutional Myopia at State [Department] and New Orleans: Lessons of a failed state...

Wednesday, late edition [but forgotten in 'Drafts' and not posted 'til friday :-(

+ Feds Want Cell Phone Ban for Teen Drivers. I think this is a good idea and politically inevitable. Heck, I fully expect the legal driving age to go up in the next 20 years.

+ Isn't that interesting... I get Word of the Day mostly for the etymologies. Today's word is 'capitulate'. I always assumed it meant something like 'to bow one's head' or 'to submit to someone else's head-ship', but it comes from 'to draw up terms or chapters' and 'chapters' comes from 'head' (like the heads of sections). Crazy. Fun with words...

+ One bad thing about posting from Gmail is that the formatting gets screwed up sometimes. Oh well. So, if you've noticed that, or you see the reposts in your feed reader, you know why...

+ One of the hazards of cleaning out your email inbox is you find totally old stuff that you are so lame for not doing before. Do you write it off to lameness and archive (or, more deriously, delete ;-), or do you own your lameness and do it anyway. You might see some of these lame, up to 8-month old items coming out in the future (insert obvious comparison to human gestation period here).

+ Here's one from January: I totally owe DJ DeNeo a shout out for hooking me up with the 'Smells like booty' (Nirvana v. Destiny's Child) mashup I was wanting but couldn't find. There's nothing quite like 'Bootylicious' sung to 'Smells like Teen Spirit'. As I said before, my favorite mashup that page is his edit of DJ Prince's 'Hey we will rock ya' (Outkast v. Queen). On his second page I really like Kylie's Toxic Milkshake. 'Slow Usher is also interesting if you like either of those songs. Check him out.

+ Played a little bit today with What Should I Read Next? Didn't take me long to get to the end of their list, but it was fun.

Wednesday, September 21

What song goes with wednesday?

+ Man, have I ever been on fire lately, weblog-wise. Plus, I got my Gmail inbox down to 45 and my Bloglines below 20. I am a pure machine. Wonder if that will change now that my family's back from Disney? ;-)

+ '
Dell Inc, the world's largest direct computer seller, on Tuesday launched a new flash-memory digital music player designed to compete with the iPod Shuffle.' Which Apple will phase out in favor of the kickin' nano, so an Apple fighter it ain't. Still, it's a pretty good product at a pretty good price point. Dell should probably have a dog in that fight.

+ Here's something you don't see very often: Baylor at the top of the Big 12 and Oklahoma at the bottom. Of course, Baylor has had total cream puffs so far...

+ Hmmm. Which online to do application to use? Ta-da? Voo2doo?
GTD TiddlyWiki? (no, because it's not hosted) GTD with Gmail? Tudu lists? I'm tempted by this last one for 2 reasons. 1. I like the look and feel, and 2. That's how I write 'tudu' when I'm writing notes, commonly appended with 'tuda'. Voo2doo looks the most powerful. But I'm already living in Gmail. We'll see...

Confession: I have checked out GTD from the library. But I promise not to do it. I might modify it (the first step being SIMPLIFY!), but I do like to read about it, so I'll take the no-cost plunge. I really like reading about productivity WAY MORE than being productive.

Insert 'I told you so' by Macon here ;-)

+ Everytime I listen to a book on tape I think 'I want to do that!' (read them). So I've subscribed to the LibriVox weblog and hope to read a chapter for them soon.

+ I keep watching for that last high in the 90s day in the 7 day outtlook and it keeps pushing back. Back to friday now. I'm melting...

+ Tom on the N Korea baloney:

It's not just the rest of the world that's already begun discounting the remainder of the Bush Administration. Now, the State Department is doing it as well. This process will only pick up momentum in coming months, as the world plans increasingly for what comes after Bush.

This agreement simply says the Bush Administration is passing on these goals in the second administration, and everybody in Asia is more than willing to go along with it on this, because over time all of their situations improve while our strategic position deteriorates.

Remember Tom's maxim on China: the longer we wait to lock in with them strategically (ie, something like a Pacific NATO), the higher the price will be for us because they will have gained all the more leverage, especially economically.

Tom digest

+ Tom's review of a great Op-Ed on China and what our posture should be toward her

+ Reasons why we haven't 'lost' the GWOT, Iraq, or Afghanistan (and I don't really want to rekindle last week's debate in all its glory. New or different comments are welcome)

+ Canadian oil sands and the myth of the 'peak'

+ A post where the title expresses something that is self-evident and poignant once I see it and think for a second, but hadn't thought of before: The Latinization of the American farm

+ Sensible take on Katrina:

Interesting how Mississippi, which just like LA has high African-American population, seems to do so much better on all fronts. Less bad stuff, more and faster good stuff. People will claim race, and I don't doubt some truth to it. But I watched FLA handle three hurricans last year, and I don't remember cries of racism or neglect or corruption there. Pretty amazing response really (been down there many times in last 12 months). I mean, the more you read on this, the more the problem seems to be LA and the Big Easy itself. Yes, a lot of African-Americans live there and they bore the worst, but their fatal mistake doesn't seem to be their skin color, just the choice of the home state.

Tuesday, September 20

From the readers

+ John commented on one of the Katrina posts that the governmental consequences may be similar to those in following the Kobe earthquake. I asked him to elaborate and he responded with an email that should be a post in itself. So here it is!

Tomiichi Murayama's government was an unstable coalition to start with so its defeat at the ballot box 12 months after the quake probably wasn't that surprising. The government was damned for not being able to mount an effect response and for hampering efforts by people who were trying to.

One thing I didn't realise was that it was only two months after the quake when the Tokyo subway was hit with sarin gas. Not a good year to be the prime minister of Japan.

Here are a few relevant links:

+ Paul sent me three editorials from the Wall Street Journal on the airline situation. (He worked hard at it, too, because of the email address change). Thanks, Paul!  Please comment, Paul (and everyone else). My thoughts:
  • 1st, Coffee, Tea or Bankruptcy by Robert Crandall (former CEO of American)
    • the 'legacy' carriers may have changed a lot, but not enough
    • he blames government regulation, unions, and lack of investment in infrastructure
    • he complains that carriers should be allowed to be more radical in Chapter 11
    • finally here he gets to the market: carriers could sell off some of their assets
    • he blames management for dumb labor deals
    • 'the U.S. badly needs a vibrant, growing and successful aviation industry'.
      • True. Don't we all...
  • Come Fly With Congress (WSJ Editorial staff)
    • Pensions: bad
    • Hopeful that Northwest and Delta coordinated so they could merge.
  • For U.S. Airlines, a Shakeout Runs Into Heavy Turbulence
    • Why is the air market so jacked up? they ask
    • Airlines in bankruptcy continue to fly so competitors can't raise prices.
      • Now we're getting somewhere...
    • They can't lay people off.
      • This is a problem.
    • We're travelling more and paying less (inflation-adjusted) than in the past.
      • At the expense of tax-payer subsidized airlines, which is a problem. Allow me to go libertarian for just a minute: Cut those taxes. Quit subsidizing. Let the market go to work and let people decide how to spend their 'rebate' relative to air travel. Let the system adjust itself.
    • "There's nothing wrong here," says Severin Borenstein of the University of California at Berkeley, an economist who studies the dynamics of airline deregulation. "From a consumer perspective, prices are low. Levels of service rebounded quite nicely after 9/11. There's no sign of inadequate investment. We should stop worrying and learn to love bankruptcy, which is simply the transfer of assets from equity holders to debt holders."
      • In my mind, that adds up to little likely change soon (barring something drastic). Oh well.

Tuesday, late edition

+ Challenging the conventional wisdom on acne - guest logger over at Freakonomics. I had a lot of acne growing up, went to a dermatologist, had 'surgery', took tetracyclene (which really trashed my stomach), applied prescription creams. I want to remember this stuff for my kids. Short answer on best treatment: diet and topical cream.

+ Since they afflicted me with the song, I'm going to pass on the pain to you: The bonnie, bonnie banks of Loch Lomond.

+ Did you notice I cleaned up my sidebar? I've been meaning to do it for a while. I'd really like to do a complete redesign, but not enough to actually sit down and do it ;-) In the middle of this process, flirting with same-sizing my promo buttons, i discovered standard width on these babies is 88 pixels. Who knew?

+ Have you heard that new Honda Civic commercial? I say 'heard' because I heard it from the office and said 'What commercial has The Postal Service's 'Silhouettes'? And I knew that song because I am a very hip guy ;-) 'Such Great Heights' is probably my favorite song these days.

+ They announced the plan for the new Vikings stadium today. Pedestrian level shot . 'Aerial' shot. It's a pretty extensive complex with a mall, outdoor winter sports facility, hotel, etc. The stadium will be in Blaine, in Anoka County.

I'm stuck between 1. Being opposed to public money for professional sports and 2. Being a Vikings fan and this looking like a pretty cool stadium. What to do? Log it!

Hush, hush...

Though you didn't demand opinions of today's headline stories! ;-)

+ North Korea rocks nuclear deal. Didn't take long for last night's prediction to come true. Repeat after me: politically bankrupt regime.

+ Simon Weisenthal died today. This article is very complimentary, while the criticism section of Wikipedia is pretty harsh. Don't know which is right. Don't really care. The task of bringing Nazis to justice was very important. Weisenthal's stance (justice, not revenge) was certainly the right one, whether he agrandized himself or not.

+ Natural gas, crude pull back from Monday's highs. Will gas go back up now that we're looking at Rita? U.S. stocks on the rise ahead of Fed decision. The economy continues to chug along. That's a good thing. But are we paying shareholders (including 401K holders, etc) on the backs of gas prices that especially hit hard on low and middle income working people?

+ Airlines to Test Cell-Phone Service. Good thing I don't travel frequently, because being crammed into coach with people talking on their cell phones sounds like a nightmare to me.

+ Apple CEO Nixes ITunes Price Hike

[I]f they want to raise the prices it just means they're getting a little greedy.

+ Stunned Vikings Vow to Be Better This Week. Just why are the Vikings so bad right now? Everyone wants to say because Moss is gone. Maybe, especially since Daunte doesn't have someone to just throw it at if nothing else opens up. Even if Moss didn't catch 'em, it kept Daunte from holding the ball too long and getting sacked or fumbling. 8 interceptions? Oy.

A big part is the injury of Matt Birk and the lack of cohesion on the O-line. Can't have an offense without it.

And something I haven't seen anyone else mention is the loss of O-Coordinator Scott Linehan. He wasn't the greatest, but there was continuity there.

All in all, it's a bad time for the Vikes to be announcing their new stadium deal: 'Hey, don't you wanna' pay for our stinky team!?!'

It could be worse: I could have actually wasted some of my life watching those games. ;-)

Monday, September 19

Cynical news filter

While I'm waiting for the coffee to brew, I'll give you a few news stories that I don't think will pan out as their PR people are saying:

+ North Korea nuclear accord reached. I hope rather than believe that Kim will do what he says. Odds: 1:15

+ NASA Planning Moon Launch for 2018. Chances this will actually cost 104 B$ (if it actually happens (and that's not even to mention by 2018)): 1:infinity

+ Home Runs Down - Steroid Testing the Reason? Chances steroid testing is not part of the reason? Come on...

Stop the presses!

It's International Talk Like a Pirate Day and I almost missed it! Arrrrrr!

(Thanks for the heads-up, Brad.)

Just another manic...

+ Another strange football weekend. About the only bright spot for me was a minor win by Iowa. The Vikings got drummed again and Mike Tice could get fired any minute. The Panthers, who got beat by the lowly (?) Saints last week, handled the Super Bowl Champs. I like the Pats, but I'm happy for the Panthers. Chicago found some offense and destroyed the favored Lions. Indianapolis won with defense. Tennessee scored 25 on Baltimore's vaunted D. Strange.

+ This is really old, but also pretty funny: McSweeney's Klingon Fairy Tales (via kottke)

+ Once upon a time, kottke has a remaindered link that said:

NYC's best off-the-menu items from an Eater contest. The winning entry? Spaghetti Bolognese at Peter Luger.

And it sat in my Bloglines for a LONG time. The hunble reason was I wanted to (conceptually) link it to that part in the kitchen in Big Night when Primero is talking about Spaghetti Bolognese that he had one time, and it was so good that you taste and 'You die! You have to die! You cannot live!' I always liked that scene. And now I've shared it.

+ And, relatedly, I've got my Bloglines down under 20 again. I'm coming for you next, Gmail!

Sunday, September 18

I am so cool! (you know, in a geeky sort of way ;-)

I've been using and enjoying the PocketMod, right? I've been enjoying it enough to want to have a no-frills cover. So I looked at some of the Hipster PDA covers out there and saw one made out of duct tape (and a PocketMod cover like that, too). Then I got to thinking: clear packing tape. Then I can make myself a semi-permament cover using the PocketMod template itself. I'll put the designated 'cover' page on the front and the 2005 calendar on the back. But I want my sturdy cover to be a little bigger than the Mod, so I'll put those templates in the 'back' and '6' position, respectively. Then I can leave some space on the outsidesn when I fold it..

As I start to fold, it occurs to me that I could make pockets in this thing if i wanted to! pockets on the bottom (like a standard folder) or side wraparound pockets (like the dust jacket on a hardback book). I'm going without pockets on my first one. If you go without pockets, there are lots of options for permanent content on the inside of your cover, too, depending on how you fold it (but I'm not doing that this time).

Suggest for version 0.1.1: for a better fold along the spine, tape vertically ;-)

Saturday and Sunday

+ Checked out the first Astro City graphic novel from the library. It was good. It's inspired by the golden and silver age comics. One of the good things about that is there's nothing in there Wil can't look at or read. I have to screen almost every comic book he looks at. I'm all for the dark and gritty, mature comics. But there aren't enought superhero comic books around for kids these days.

On the other hand, do I want to trouble with introducing a new universe (read: crowded city) of heroes? Not sure...

+ Update on web productivity

Copied (ctrl-a) my 5 pages of links into emails to myself at Gmail and archived. Have Carl's Gmail indexer running in the system tray (couldn't get the new Google Desktop to index my Gmail like it was supposed to. Maybe later.) Added Firefox extension Amazing Webpage Emailer for pages I find at home but outside of Bloglines (or digest links from Bloglines when I want to index the whole page). Opted not to install the extensions that cache all your surfing or are robust scrapbooks. Turned Palm Desktop back on just for the occasional reminder. Still thinking about online to do lists and best places to put them. Not sure it's Gmail. Don't think I want to go all the way to GTD with Gmail.

Uninstalled Amazing Webpage Emailer (not worth it to me). I'll just stick with my ctrl-a into a new email sent to myself and archived for that kind of storage.

+ Mark has an interesting post on open source intelligence.

+ Well I'll be dog-goned. Micro$oft AntiSypware found 5 pretty bad items on my system. I take back some of the bad things I've said about M$. You might want to try it. I'm fairly diligent with my security and still got stung.

+ The pride of Lexington, SC (where Christine and I work): Matthew Anderson! Saw his name in SI for representing the US in the World Cyber Games. His game is Warcraft 3 [ Google search]. Plain Google search turns up that he's on the Dean's List at Clemson. Also a kid from Polk City, IA (you know - it's a suburb of Ankeny ;-) - Josh Sievers playing Counter-Strike. But that's quite a ways away from IC, so Josh isn't getting top billing in this sub-post. ;-)

+ Saw, for the first time today, the title of Chris Rock's new show, Everybody Hates Chris. The very title makes me laugh. That man is funny.

Friday, September 16

Thursday and Friday

+ Listening to the radio on the way home yesterday I had a very strong desire to rant against bureaucracy. Terry criticized bureaucracy last week in a comment and I defended it as a necessary evil in a follow up email to him. But to hear about the 9/11 Commission meeting to decry inaction the same day that the first Katrina Hearings are held is enough to drive me crazy!

In that vein, I'm very frustrated by the current condition of the airline industry. Are we just going to keep subsidizing and bailing these antiquated businesses out? Help 'em out, but make 'em change. Let's put the market to work on this thing. We obviously have too much capacity for what people are really willing to pay. If we had real prices you'd see a lot less business and pleasure travel. Would that be the end of the world? Do we want taxpayer-subsidized air travel instead? Agghh!

+ If you've eaten around me, you know I like to eat meat. Still, Steve had a very convincing comparison of human anatomy with other herbivores .

+ Rave for the iPod nano.

+ Brad reports a request by a Christian reporter to, since he's an out-of-the-mainstream wacko, excommunicate Pat Robertson from news reports. Sound good to me.

+ Best dictionary website EVER!

+ Number of the beast comparers, start your engines!

[Beginning] in 2007, every baby born in the Netherlands will receive a Citizens Service Number and will have an electronic dossier opened in a central database. This will allow Dutch authorities to track each citizen from cradle to grave.

Productivity on the web update

Well, I did finally decide to switch from using as my primary bookmark repository, moving to emailing posts from Bloglines to my Gmail account. Did you know there's an 'email this' link in every post in Bloglines? For feeds with the whole post (v. digests) that means I'm emailing the whole post to myself where I can search it in Gmail or from Google Desktop (where it's already indexed). Very little need for tags that way. All of the content's in there. I haven't really used it yet (ie, to search), but it seems an elegant system, no? :-)

I obviously didn't have many subscribers to my feed because no one has written in to complain about the fall off ;-)

Another system I thought about using was the Greasemonkey script to change Bloglines' links to include 'Post in'. But I ultimately decided on this way.

Wednesday, September 14


+ Christine's family lived in Louisana for a lot of years. Their opinion of the political apparatus down there in the home of Huey Long is very low. So how about this idea: build some kind of accountability into funds for rebuilding New Orleans. I'm not saying funds for clean-up or relief, but if the nation is going to invest in rebuilding New Orleans, which has some special geographical challenges and a checkered political history, let's build in some simple accountability.

+ Samsung's new 16GB flash chip will only add to the burgeoning of small electronic devices that can carry lots of data. You can already project an iPod nano jumping from the current entry point of 2GB to an entry point of 16GB in about a year's time. That puts it in the neighborhood of it's bigger, more expensive, hard drive-based brothers. Good for us, good for Samsung.

+ Matt has a humble links post today where everything is interesting: online board game, new VW with a USB port for music [!], and Google's new Blog Search. Check it out.

+ defective yeti on the confirmation hearings' treatment of Batman v. Wolverine. My friend, Ethan, and I continue to have this debate.

Monday, September 12

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday!

(said in a 'monster truck' voice)

+ Remember my concerns about Apple's iPod naming conventions? Macon commented that he was concerned, and defective yeti weighed in with his own commentary (only click through if you want to laugh (be sure to read the fine print)).

+ via Matt Haughey (and other places), a very effective and poignant gallery of first-hand photos from New Orleans .

+ What a crazy football weekend. Talk about parity in the NFL: many of the teams that made the playoffs last year lost to teams that did not yesterday. The Vikings stunk. The Hawks got pummelled by Iowa State, which I found pretty disappointing. And my fantasy football team did pretty bad (led by Daunte). Ugh.

Saturday, September 10

twinlog update

twinlog now has an Atom feed, and Christine, especially, has been updating pretty regularly. You might want to check it out and/or subscribe.

Friday, September 9


+ Cool link via Brad on building your own straw-wall house for $20,000.

+ Macon, Paul and Jaq all participated in the music posting.

+ I really like the iPod nano and may get one around Xmas/b'day time. However, I feel compelled to note that the 'mini' was actually smaller than the 'nano', contrary to the literal definitions.

+ Did you see the backpack that can generate electricity while you walk? The coolest part (figuratively and literally) is that it can save soldiers 20 pounds of weight. Soon we will all be able to generate a small amount of power through means like these to power out Personal Area Networks (seriously).

+ The PocketMod is a cool, little, customizable, paper, pocket-sized PDA. You get 8 pages from one normal sheet of paper and a little folding and cutting. Cool! I'm experimenting with it a little. Christine thought mine was very cool and wanted one of her own. I could see printing one of these a week. Might be nice to have a little case for it, in that case ;-). The next step would be to make your own, especially if you had stuff you wanted to print regularly, or to re-order and print, like priorities and whatnot. Of course, there are templates around to print your own Hipster PDA, DIY Planner, etc. But part of the attraction here is the simplicity.

+ An article about the U of I steam tunnels. We used to do a little steam tunnel spelunking. I even made a map of them, once. I'll tell you what: it's really hot in there in the summer!

Thursday, September 8

Monday (not posted until Thursday pm. sheesh)

+ Blessedly cool this morning. 68 right now. Finally, a break in the heat.

+ Boy, Iowa kicked the fool out of Ball State on saturday, 56-0. We'll see how they do against Iowa State this saturday. Hopefully with both Oklahoma :-( and Miami :-) losing, we'll jump up a couple of places in the polls. Ball State was weak, no doubt, and they had a bunch of suspensions to boot. Miami played a much tougher opponent. But we'll take it.

+ President Bush has modified his appointment of Roberts to Chief. Given that Roberts is only 50 and I'm sure the Boomers, in their eternal self-absorption, will find a way to live forever (not least of all to plague us Xers), this could be the final Chief Justice (partially kidding). It'll be interesting to see if O'Connor's nominated replacement will be a woman and/or minority. Is AG Gonzalez in the running?

+ Did you see that the US national team secured a World Cup berth with their 2-0 defeat of Mexico in Columbus? Whoppee!

Tuesday, September 6

Friday (posted monday)

+ The best thing I've heard so far on Katrina was the mayor of Charleston, SC last night on NPR talking about how they rebuilt following Hugo. Very instructive.

+ In that vein, Tom has a new post on Katrina where he offhandedly mentions dusting off his Y2K work. Bet there'd be a lot of useful stuff in there...

Friday, September 2

1989 redux

Update: Jason pointed out in the comments that I don't follow directions very well, i.e. I didn't underline any favorites. I thought underlines were missing, but didn't follow through.Now they're there.

David's got a post where you:

1) Go to and, in the search box provided, enter the year you graduated high school.
2) From the search results, click the link for the top 100 songs of that year.
3) With the resulting list:
a) bold the songs you like [for my part, I'm going to define 'like' as 'i'd listen to it if it came on the radio and not change the channel]
b) strike through the ones you hate [i'm changing this one to 'make red']
c) underline your favorite
d) and ignore the ones you don't remember/don't care about.

If you look at David's list, I left my comments on hsi year and picks.

I'm going to add a few comments to mine, too (of course). Away we go:

The Top 100 Songs of 1989

1. Look Away, Chicago
2. My Prerogative, Bobby Brown

3. Every Rose Has Its Thorn, Poison

4. Straight Up, Paula Abdul

I don't love it, but I do have a soft spot for the original, pre-American Idol Paula
5. Miss You Much, Janet Jackson
6. Cold Hearted, Paula Abdul
7. Wind Beneath My Wings, Bette Midler
8. Girl You Know Its True, Milli Vanilli

My freshman-year roommate listened to this album every night before he went to bed for about a month. And I still don't hate it. Can you believe that?
9. Baby, I Love Your Way/Freebird, Will To Power
10. Giving You The Best That I Got, Anita Baker
11. Right Here Waiting, Richard Marx
12. Waiting For A Star To Fall, Boy Meets Girl

13. Lost In Your Eyes, Debbie Gibson
14. Don't Wanna Lose You, Gloria Estefan
15. Heaven, Warrant
16. Girl I'm Gonna Miss You, Milli Vanilli
17. The Look, Roxette 18. She Drives Me Crazy, Fine Young Cannibals
19. On Our Own, Bobby Brown 20. Two Hearts, Phil Collins 21. Blame It On The Rain, Milli Vanilli 22. Listen To Your Heart, Roxette
23. I'll Be There For You, Bon Jovi

24. If You Don't Know Me By Now, Simply Red

25. Like A Prayer, Madonna

26. I'll Be Loving You (Forever), New Kids On The Block
27. How Can I Fall?, Breathe
Yes, I know: I'm a sap.
28. Baby Don't Forget My Number, Milli Vanilli
29. Toy Solider, Martika
30. Forever Your Girl, Paula Abdul
31. The Living Years, Mike and the Mechanics
Not a fan, but Silent Running = good.
32. Eternal Flame, The Bangles
33. Wild Thing, Tone Loc
34. When I See You Smile, Bad English
35. If I Could Turn Back Time, Cher
36. Buffalo Stance, Neneh Cherry
37. When I'm With You, Sheriff
38. Don't Rush Me, Taylor Dayne
39. Born To Be My Baby, Bon Jovi
40. Good Thing, Fine Young Cannibals
41. The Lover In Me, Sheena Easton
42. Bust A Move, Young M.C.
43. Once Bitten, Twice Shy, Great White
I don't hate it, but it's a bad song.
44. Batdance, Prince
Went to see the movie once a week the first four weeks it was out, including standing in line opening night.
45. Rock On, Michael Damian
46. Real Love, Jody Watley
47. Love Shack, B-52's
Some great lines 'everyone's linin' up just to get down' and 'wearin' next to nothin' cuz it's hot as an oven'. And I like 'Roam' even better.
48. Every Little Step, Bobby Brown
49. Hangin' Tough, New Kids On The Block
50. My Heart Can't Tell You No, Rod Stewart
I don't know this song, but have a policy of hating everything by Rod Stewart.
51. So Alive, Love and Rockets
52. You Got It (The Right Stuff), New Kids On The Block
53. Armageddon It, Def Leppard
54. Satisfied, Richard Marx
55. Express Yourself, Madonna
One of my favorite Madonna songs. Girl power.
56. I Like It, Dino
57. Soldier Of Love, Donny Osmond
Oh, wow. I'd forgotten this song and how terrible it is. Ugh. Worst lyrics ever.
58. Sowing The Seeds Of Love, Tears For Fears
59. Cherish, Madonna,
Love this one, too.
60. When The Children Cry, White Lion
61. 18 And Life, Skid Row
62. I Don't Want Your Love, Duran Duran
63. Second Chances, .38 Special
64. The Way You Love Me, Karyn White
65. Funky Cold Medina, Tone Loc
66. In Your Room, Bangles
67. Miss You Like Crazy, Natalie Cole
68. Love Song, Cure
69. Secret Rendezvous, Karyn White
70. Angel Eyes, Jeff Healey Band
71. Patience, Guns N' Roses
72. Walk On Water, Eddie Money
73. Cover Girl, New Kids On The Block
74. Welcome To The Jungle, Guns N' Roses
How can you not?
75. Shower Me With Your Love, Surface
76. Stand, R.E.M.
77. Close My Eyes Forever, Lita Ford
78. All This Time, Tiffany
79. After All, Cher and Peter Cetera
80. Roni, Bobby Brown
81. Love In An Elevator, Aerosmith
82. Lay Your Hands On Me, Bon Jovi
83. The Promise, When In Rome
84. What I Am, Edie Brickell and The New Bohemians
85. I Remember Holding You, Boys Club
86. Paradise City, Guns N' Roses
87. I Wanna Have Some Fun, Samantha Fox
88. She Wants To Dance With Me, Rick Astley
89. Dreamin', Vanessa Williams
90. It's No Crime, Babyface
91. Poison, Alice Cooper
92. This Time I Know It's For Real, Donna Summer
93. Smooth Criminal, Michael Jackson
94. Heaven Help Me, Deon Estus
95. Rock Wit'cha, Bobby Brown
96. Thinking Of You, Sa-fire
97. What You Don't Know, Expose
98. Surrender To Me, Ann Wilson and Robin Zander
99. The End Of The Innocence, Don Henley
100. Keep On Movin', Soul II Soul

Since Jason and I graduated together, I'd love to see him pick this up. Bet he hated a lot of the songs in here. ;-)

Update: Jason came through for me, and I found his comments to be very funny.

Thursday, September 1

Dialogue on the war, Day 3

How many men can say they have so many friends who disagree with them so strongly? ;-)


Strong words. I was getting ready to read you the Riot Act, but I cooled off and this morning realized that you had not actually gone so far as to call me and those who think like me 'stupid' or 'assinine', so I'll dial down my response.

The war and its grounds may be 'stupid'. Something (possibly) good about the Bush Administration (and you know I'm no big fan): they fought back. We might eventually see international repercussions if we continue to go unilateral, but we're not close to that yet. The economy and debt service by foreign countries (esp. China) continue apace. Support for the war is slipping and I worry that the price of gas and the devastation of Katrina will further erode support for sticking it out in Iraq and trying to get to an acceptable outcome.

I don't want any life to be wasted. Out government must be as judicious as possible in the commitment of American troops. But, we have an all-volunteer force. If people don't want to be deployed by their Commander-In-Chief, in conjunction with the Congress, then they shouldn't sign up.

Jaq and John

You can choose to totally disregard Hitchens, but I find many of his points to be valid.

Subsequent attacks have occurred, but they have been much smaller in scale than the attacks of 9/11. Yes, Al Qaeda is, famously, a network, but I think the scope of their activity has been limited.

The situation in Iraq has certainly given terrorists ammunition. It may also have given them to think that they have a greater chance of dying in their activities than they did before. Sure, some are suicide bombers, but most are not, and none of their potential recruits are yet.


+ Great Scott! Tom mentioned me!

So what I did in the acknowledgements of [Blueprint for Action] was simply to thank the blogosphere and my readership in aggregate, citing by name only those whose frequency level was so high that they became distinct personalities in my mind (Safranski, Lutas, Lotus and Meade).

I haven't been contributing intellectual rigor like those three other guys, but I have been contributing proofreading! ;-)

+ Here's an idea for a post for you: Who do you refuse to talk to/deal with? Google v., Kottke v. I have threatened to boycott kottke. Got any?

+ Dilbert's got a pretty funny series going on air travel and cannibalism.

+ I used to say, growing up, that Iowa City is the cultural capitol of  the US (per capita). I might back off that a little these days, but it doesn't really surprise me that one of the leading mashup djs hails from there. I have come across his work before and particularly recommend No One Takes Your Freedom and Brazil is Full of Love. (If you'd like a laugh (or more), go to his About Me page and reload (as many times as you care to) to see who he identifies himself with. It features, among other things, lots of scary plastic surgery.)