Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Apple Removes Head From Ass?

According to rumor mill Think Secret, Apple will drop a sub-$500 Mac bomb at Expo! (A monitor-less Mac for $499 US)

Now, my initial reaction is "No way" for no other reason than because it's too good to be true. If it is true, I'm buying one. Every other Mac fan who has been demanding exactly this machine since the debut of the iMac in '98 had better buy one too.

My guess would be that the specs on the machine will be comparable to the eMac's current specs (1.25GHz, 256Mb, 40Gb, ComboDrive) since the eMac is way overdue for a revision, and this would explain why perfectly: The eMac gets revved and the headless-iMac will have the same specs as the old eMac, but for $200 less.

Supposedly, this product is meant to pull in PC-wielding iPod owners, which makes sense to me. I sure hope it works.

2004-12-28 14:55 C&T

Monday, December 27, 2004

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

I went to see The Life Aquatic (click for a review) on Sunday and the movie left me... Puzzled, I guess. Although, that really isn't the right word. It's a movie that sticks in your brain kind of like a bit of chewy candy you get stuck in your teeth and have to pick at for a bit before you can get it out.

After some thought, I'd have to call the movie eccentric, just as you would call the character of Steve Zissou. While some movies try to be purposely bizarre and come off like a bad acid trip, "The Life Aquatic" reminds me of some of the eccentric people I have known who don't quite qualify as crazy but nonetheless behave in rather strange ways and are mostly oblivious to how queer and funny their behavior seems to more balanced individuals.

In the review linked above, the reviewer says "The pirate subplot, which has the Belafonte crew engaged in rescuing a kidnapped crewmember, doesn't fit because it's handled as serious business. And the pursuit of Blanchett by the male leads doesn't work." But in my view, if you look at the film as embodying the eccentricity of Zissou and his crew, the juxtaposition of the serious pirate subplot with the general zaniness of the remainder of the film does fit and the pursuit of Blanchett works on a different level.

Viewing "The Life Aquatic" may not be a major life event, but I'd have to say that it is definitely worth seeing, if for no other reason than to sample the film's unique flavor.

2004-12-26 17:32 C&T

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Mecha on a Budget

Can you build a working Mecha on a shoe-string budget? According to Cnet, there's a guy in Alaska who's trying with a project called Neogentronyx. Read the article entitled Giant robots in the backyard.

2004-12-22 16:35 C&T

Tuesday, December 21, 2004


Lots of people have come up with alternate calendars, but the C&T calendar is the first one I can really get behind. The press release is worth reading too. It would be fun to try extending the Linux date/time libraries to support the C&T calendar as an option.

Also related to date and time, I'm going to try to get used to writing them according to the ISO 8601 Standard and learn to keep track of time in GMT.

Lastly, should I ever have a job that would allow me to work anytime of day I choose, I'd like to try living the 28 hour day.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

iTunes Music Store Sales

Apple has announced that the iTunes Music Store has sold 200 Million songs since the service was launched. Using the sales numbers Apple has periodically released since the beginning, I've charted their total songs sold over time.

(Click to see the full-size version)

I'll update this in the future as Apple releases more numbers. My guess would be that they will reach 250 Million downloads by late January.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Fuck the South?

Check out this rant entitled Fuck the South. Now, I'm not a Democrat and I didn't vote for Kerry, but I have to say that this is one of the best political rants I've ever read. Be sure to read some of the articles linked throughout the text. They really lend a degree of coherence to the rant.

If anyone finds a worthy rant against the blue states, I'd love to see it. About the only time I can agree with the Democrats and Republicans is when they rant against each other.

Open Source Free Space Optics

The resent Slashdot post about gEDA also reminded me of the Ronja project (Reasonable Optical Near Joint Access) which is what we call a free space optics wireless communications technology.

This DIY project allows for 10Mb full-duplex communication wirelessly up to 1.4km. I've always wanted to try it, but I don't have any friends in range to try it with.

Mechanical Lego Computers?

Some enterprising soul has created mechanical Boolean logic devices using Lego. Hypothetically, you could create a simple computer using many thousands of these, although it would be incredibly slow, cost an outrageous amount of money, and take up an awful lot of space. Of course, the relative imprecision of Lego bricks also would render the whole thing completely useless since the gears would bind up on the first operation.

Now, I always say that the two best reasons for doing anything are "because I can" and "because you said I couldn't," so I'm going to say that it's impossible to build a working mechanical Lego computer and patiently wait for someone to do just that.

Moon Colonization is Possible!

A researcher from South Africa has found a way to extract oxygen from moon rocks. This oxygen can be applied to many uses: making rocket propellant, breathable air, water, etc. This is a key technology which will make moon colonization possible.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Hydrogen Cars Still A Long Way Off

Popular Science's article Warning: The Hydrogen Economy May Be More Distant Than It Appears goes into excellent detail explaining why we won't be driving hydrogen powered cars anytime soon.

Monday, December 13, 2004

The "Too many Christmas lights" Guys

Ok, first there is the reigning champion, Alek Komarnitsky of Colorado. And then there's this guy from Australia. What makes these guys so awesome is not just the number of lights but the fact that their rigs are computer controlled.

Sadly, the smallest side of my house is the one which faces the street, so I'll never be able to really compete with these guys until I buy a different house. However, next year I'm definitely going to have to do some computer control. Not sure if I'll go so far as to have web-control though. I guess we'll have to wait and see.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

'Brainwave' Cap

Although this isn't really all that new of an idea, the BBC reports 'Brainwave' cap controls computer. The biggest thing is that it's non-invasive, while many current BMI devices involve implanting electrodes in the brain.

"Brain activity produces electrical signals that can be read by electrodes. Complex algorithms then translate those signals into instructions to direct the computer."

This passage has me wondering what kind of hardware is required to do this processing and how much electrical power the thing consumes, with regards to the possible portability of the system.

Corporate Illiteracy

Check out "What corporate America can't build: A sentence," over on I'd say that it's unbelievable, but I see exceptionally poor writing every day.

Here's a quote:
"E-mail has just erupted like a weed, and instead of considering what to say when they write, people now just let thoughts drool out onto the screen," Hogan said. "It has companies at their wits' end."

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Three Cheers For Hardee's!

In an age of "Fat Taxes," where the cruise ship operaters are having problems with broken chairs, and the airlines complain about the fuel costs of flying American pigs through the sky... Leave it to Hardee's to play Edgar Friendly: they've released a new 1420 calorie Monster Thickburger!

It looks a bit rich for my blood, but I'm all for it. If Hardee's CEO says he wants the chain "to be known as the place for big, juicy, decadent burgers," so be it. I'll stick with Jack in the Box's Ultimate Cheeseburger with "only" 945 calories.

Monday, December 06, 2004


Found the blog of Shaun Attwood while blog surfing. Prison really sucks.

IBM making plans to buy Apple?

The Register posits the original rumor in "Apple of IBM's eye?" and LowEndMac provides some additional analysis of the rumor.

Over the years there have been so many "Company X is buying Apple" rumors that I find it pretty hard to believe this one but this is the first that actually seems like a good idea. I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

Friday, December 03, 2004


My DSL at home is broken. SBC is sending someone out on Sunday, but I doubt it'll be working before Monday evening at the earliest. This means that I have to go the whole weekend without Internet access!

This really sucks! :(

Thursday, December 02, 2004

readun's fur dem smart folks!

Reason's De Omnibus Disputandum discusses the lazy and rather dim-witted nature of our legislative branch.

The fact that our congressmen so rarely read the laws they vote on is a complete outrage. Maybe we could covertly slip a clause into another monster bill requiring every member of the House and Senate to be present for a complete reading of a bill before it could be voted on? That might help keep the lying bastards semi-honest...

Then again, they would probably just change the law the moment it was discovered.

How Google Works

This ZDnet article, The magic that makes Google tick, is one the most detailed discriptions of the tech side of Google I've ever read. You probably never thought there was this much behind such a visually simple website.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

New Spacecraft For Russia?

The Energia Rocket and Space Corporation, the organization that has built all of Russia's Soyuz Spacecraft has announced their plan for a Soyuz successor, called "Kliper". However, funding has yet to be approved and the cost may be beyond Russia's ability to pay.

Some pictures of a full size mockup can be viewed here.