Saturday, December 30, 2006

Musical computers

If you are one crazy, music lovin', record makin' monkey (or are just curious about how a computer could help you with recording music) this link from PC Magazine might help. I haven't had a chance to read it thoroughly, so let me know what you think.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Is your degree worth what it cost?

Diploma mills have been around for some time, but with the emergence of internet they have come back with a vengence. The people that run these businesses, have become more clever and adept at concealing their true nature. This article may help you decide if the institution you are considering is more interested in your money than your education.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Steve at GRC (Gibson Research Corporation) has a page that generates pseudo-random strings of characters that can be used for passwords. GRC has been known for years as a security resource and generally credible website for learning about vulnerabilities and how to remedy them. I remember reading an article that Steve wrote about being attacked by someone who had taken offense at being characterized as a script kiddie (although Steve didn't remember making such an accusation). The DNS attacks caused him no small trouble and to me showed the basic problem with much of the networks and technology today. If someone has it in for you personally they may not be able to accomplish exactly what they want, but they can almost certainly accomplish things that you would rather them not. I don't like to bring up problems without solutions, but, unfortunately, for this problem there are no easy answers. Thicker defenses and mitigation of damage done is the best most people can accomplish. If you cannot confidently protect certain data, then you had better do your best to make sure that you can do without it, get it from multiple independent sources or somehow do without it for the time you think that someone might be able to deprive you of it.
Many people (myself included) have gotten used to using inovations in technology to do things not possible (or perhaps reasonable) ten years ago. We need to understand how to get by without these things for short term outages or more permanently. A more pedestrian example of this is the power outages that have affected the Seattle area in the past couple of weeks. People have become so dependent on consistent electrical power that over the period of a few days at least eight people have died due to an inability to cope without electricity. As a society we are moving toward a similar dependence on information. Just something to think about.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Free Open-Source On-The-Fly Encryption

TrueCrypt is another way to protect your data and actions from whomever is threatening you (remember, it isn't really paranoia if they are after you!). The biggest advantage I could see with a lot of this is protecting thumbdrives and other mobile media that you could accidentally leave behind in internet cafes and such. Those silly things are almost designed to be lost I think. Anyway, the worry I have with most of this stuff is that I will forget the codephrases or other access parameters and not be able to access my data.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Religious Freedom Catch 22

Perusing the news, I found this story on the New York high court's decision against Catholic Charities. Catholic Charities objects to providing contraception to its female employees, as the CC sees these avenues as sinful in alignment with the Catholic church. The court chose to see CC as more of a business than a religious institution, thus stripping them of legal protection for not providing employees with contraception. They said that it was not legal for CC to impose its beliefs on its non-Catholic employees. I contend that if CC attempted to restrict its hiring to only Catholic employees they would quickly be sued for discrimination. So what are their possibilities? The court was quoted as saying that they were attempting to protect the state's "interest in fostering equality between the sexes". Now perhaps I am just completely blind, but how exactly is forcing CC to provide contraception to its female employees "fostering equality between the sexes"?? Talk to me.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Judges under fire?

This NPR story caught my eye, or rather my ear. I was listening in the car when I heard this report concerning Proposition E in South Dakota. Now, I have to admit that although I listen to NPR, it is with a rather cautious attitude and suffice it to say that rather often I disagree with their opinions, but appreciate the news coverage. But this may be something that NPR and I can actually agree on.
Supposedly, there is a proposition on the ballot for the upcoming election in South Dakota that will allow people unhappy with their result in the judicial system to take their case before a board of jurors specifically chosen to listen to such cases. If the board finds that the person's case has merit and agrees that the person was treated unfairly, the person is then given the right to sue the judge in question for damages. This does not negate or overturn the judge's initial decision, but opens the judge up for civil lawsuits concerning professional decisions. This is bizzare. How many cases end up with at least one party, if not both, dissatisfied with the judge's decision? Also, there is no appeals process for this amendment. If the board finds in favor of the individual, the judge has no option but fight a lawsuit. I really can't see how this is a good idea. It seems to being gaining opposition from many angles. Businessmen, lawyers, farmers, educators and many others are coming out to speak against this movement. It does have its supporters, but I am guessing that at least some of its early support was gained by misrepresentation and subterfuge. Arguments like "Aren't you tired of crooked judges abusing the judiciary system at their own whims?" and "Do you believe that common people like yourself should be able to have some method of making sure judges don't kowtow to special interests and power groups?" that are followed with rousing assertions of "Then, my friend, you are FOR Prop E, which puts the power back into your hands and out of the hands of power mongering crooked judges!". I will freely admit that the previous situation is complete conjecture on my part and I have no basis for it other than my own experience with human nature, but I could easily see situations like that happening. But now, with it gaining exposure, Prop E is being seen for what it really is; a push by a minority of people unhappy with the current state of affairs to enable them to address their grievances at higher levels than needed and skip the systems built-in and very sensible protections. But, that is just my rambling $0.02, what do you think?

Saturday, September 30, 2006

time management

This is a great group of ideas on how to effectively mangage time in a business environment. Not all the ideas are applicable to all situations, but something to think about is the fact that there is a very good chance that there is someone out there doing more than you do with less than you have on a regular basis. No need to be offended, just find out how they do it differently and see if that method will work for you. It will not always be something you can or will want to incorporate, it is something to consider.

Exo-Suits and Super Powers

I have only been able to find articles that link back to the Live Science article... which makes me somewhat uneasy. It would have been nice to find some other method of verification. I don't really think it is fake, but even yahoo news linked back to LS instead of quoting a more original source. Oh well, anyway, this is a suit being pioneered by engineers in Japan. The implications of this suit are facinating. Although I wonder how much of this will come to fruition and how much of it will go the way of the House of Tomorrow; being made obsolete by superior tech not yet invisioned before the original tech (the powered suit) is fully realized.

Wild animal powers

While browsing I will run across pages like this one on the top ten "senses" that animals have that humans do not. While most of them are not actually senses we do not possess, but merely aspects of the senses we do have but are unable to access; it is still interesting to read. The main site looks like a fun resource to peruse as well. And speaking of all things geeky... has anyone seen the new Mars photos? They are supposed to be quite spectacular.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Test your geographic knowledge

This is a flash powered site that tests your knowledge of South American geography. My first try was less than impressive (somewhere around 54%). See how you do and let me know. The parent page is Which has a great deal of educational resources. The page that I found all this on was It has numerous resources and quizzes. Enjoy!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Facts on Gun Control

Just Facts page on gun control caught my eye earlier today. There is a lot of good information there and it seems to be organized with little to no bias (although I see an agenda, which to me is not the same thing). I have my opinions obviously, but it is interesting to see other view points. On an academic note, it is good to see how someone can organized facts without adding opinion and still make a convincing argument, all without looking like they are making an argument. Hope that makes sense.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

NATO Basic Documents: The North Atlantic Treaty

You knew, like so much other stuff on the internet, that this had to be out there somewhere. I hadn't really considered it until I ran across the NATO website a few days ago. It is really a much simpler document than I had realized. You look at how things are written these days and it is really a pleasant suprise to see this concept contained so neatly. Of course, I still haven't read it fully yet. But luckily I have read the Constitution and Bill of Rights recently enough to be mocked by my peers. Some people.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Unlimited E-mail Addresses

If you have a Gmail account a post a Modern Day Alchemist may have something interesting for you. Did you know you can "use Gmail Generate Unlimited E-mail Addresses"? Yessireebob. I wasn't sure what they meant by it, but basically it is a method of having gmail sort your mail automatically. Pretty slick really; I may give it a spin. Let me know if you want a Gmail address. As far as I know it is still invite only, but the invites are free and basically limitless. Cheers.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Best bat

This is probably the best shot I had last night. I don't know if I will get any good shots tonight or for awhile. It is raining something fierce around these parts and work may keep me busy enough for a few days so that I don't feel like trying to get any new pics. Hope you enjoy these.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Ooooo, Bats!

We have been helping out a neighbor of ours while she is out for the weekend by filling her bat/hummingbird feeder. I had no idea they would drain it every night, but with them being so active, I thought I would try to get a couple of shots. I ended up taking quite a few. Hopefully, these are two of the better ones. I also had some that ghosted b/c I tried to use a low light setting. The flash actually worked better. The low light pics were clear, but the bats were all see through. Maybe I will include one of those on another post.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Archbishop Rowan Williams

In a suprising (to me anyway) Archbishop Rowan Williams (Archbishop of Canterbury) has restated his understanding of homosexuality in the church. The Telegraph reported the changes today. Basically, if I understand to situation correctly, the Archbishop is contending that homosexuals are welcome in the church, but a practicing lifestyle is incompatible with the church's doctrine. This makes sense if homosexuality is viewed as a sin, which the Anglican Church (or at least the conservative elements) contends is the truth. The church in its proper role should always welcome sinners (after all, we are all sinners); but try to help people live the life of Christ, to which, unrepentant sin is incompatible. We should not distinguish one sin from another. In this light, all sins are equal; adultery, violence, alcoholism are some things that some of us are tempted with on a regular basis. It is not a sin to be tempted, but it is a sin to give in to that temptation. Let me know what you think.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Treehugger: Wal-Mart Aims To Sell 100 Million Compact Fluorescents In One Year

I thought this was something to think about. Wal-Mart Aims To Sell 100 Million Compact Fluorescents In One Year. The plan is to reduce energy consumption by turning Americans on to Compact Fluorescent (CF) bulbs. Treehugger's readers bash Wal-mart for this effort which is why I am including some other address to balance out the vitriol spewing haters. I swear some people are just not happy, you hang 'em with a new rope and all they do is whine, whine, whine. The other sites are and . I am not sure how those will come out, so I will also list them like this FAST company report and Walmart's own release. What is your opinion?

3D Software - Bryce for FREE

Yeah, I didn't believe this either when I first saw it. But after checking it through a couple of sources, I saw that it was legit. DAZ is out and out giving away Bryce 5! But as with seen-on-tv offers, this is for a limited time only. Hurry hurry hurray! Make something cool and then give it too the world. Later.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Battles of Xerxes I

Dig those crazy Spartans! With a historically documented lack of regard for their own safety they managed to hold off a far numerically superior enemy (a.k.a. the Persians) at Battle of Thermopylae. Most historians agree that regardless of the actual numbers invovled the Spartans (and their lesser known allies) had a pretty good idea of how well they would come out of all this. Interestingly though, had a Greek farmer not sold his countymen out and showed the Persians a way around the Spartan defensive postions, the Greeks could have done a lot more damage. I can't believe that the Persians wouldn't have gotten wise eventually and looked around for something else. I mean really... "Gee Boss, we keep attacking them at that one little spot and getting our collective rears handed to us... maybe we oughta look at some alternatives, whaddaya think?" Who knows, maybe the Persians didn't regularly refer to Xerxes I as "Boss".

Saturday, August 19, 2006 - Programming Tutorials: C++ Made Easy and C Made Easy

C++ Made Easy and C Made Easy is what this set of tutorials claims. So far using it with Bloodshed Dev C++ compiler, has been easy and instructive. I will look forward to seeing how it works as I continue my efforts to learn another language (again).

Sunday, August 13, 2006


It has just been a free-for-all on new words lately. Have you ever heard of this term? I knew such things were used, but had no idea what they were called. Those kooky folks at Carnegie-Mellon have done it again. I want to visit that place some day. Yeah, I realize how big a goofball that makes me!

Ain't Got Time to Blog

No link this time, just something I read in another blog (titled Ain't Got Time to Blog and hence the name of this post) and thought I would try. Evidently a book meme (I didn't know such things existed, but still trying to get a good handle on the whole "meme" concept and current usage, not that it is all that hard I figure, just haven't set down to look at it. In this context, it seems to be something to pass around and get thoughts moving.)
Anyway, the idea is to:

1. Chose the book closest to you at the moment.
2. Open to page 123
3. Find the 3rd sentence
4. Post in your blog (plus the instructions)
5. Don't choose the book, just pick up the one closest to you.

Evidently, this is from some guy named Jonathan Sterne. So here we go...

"Often jurors hear impressive-sounding testimony about what appears to be scientifically valid proof, and they conclude-incorrectly-that it establishes the defendant's guilt."
Lee Strobel, The Case for Faith, MI: Zondervan, 2000.

That is the third sentence, unless I am not supposed to count the half sentence that started the page. Either way, it seems like a good one.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

And you thought it was just a pound sign

Octothorp Press has written an explanation and history of that symbol that has become so useful on people's cell phones. Who knew stuff like this had a name? Well, actually I suspected it might, but had no idea what it would be. :)

Saturday, April 15, 2006

It Takes A Church...: Holy Saturday: The Christian Life in Miniature

The opening essay is odd. I haven't really encountered such an idea before. It took me a couple of reads to process it, but in the end, although the essay still seems odd to me the writers ideas on Holy Saturday: The Christian Life in Miniature were truly interesting. It will be imagery that will stay with me for some time and I am sure I will repeat (probably w/o proper credit to the author, apologies in advance) many times. Thanks Tod.


Not sure who the Strategy Page is run by or what agenda they have, but this article succinctly points out an interesting characteristic of recent media coverage. Just glanced at it, not sure why it is called Attrition.

Bird of Paradise

Bird of Paradise is a blog I have tried to keep an eye on for awhile now. Admittedly I am not doing a very good job, but I have a lot on my plate, so cut me some slack. :) Anyway, the author posted an article (
Immigration LinkBack) about immigration and the current debate going on in the States. I looked through his suggestions and thought they had merit. He wasn't just spewing hate or preaching unreasonable suggestions (i.e. "Send em all home tomorrow!") the gradual change with amnesty but eventual repercussions seems rather sound.

Google Moon - Lunar Landing Sites

As a part of their "Copernicus Initiative" Google has now added Google Moon - Lunar Landing Sites to their Google Earth software/stuff/thingy. It doesn't have much at this point since imagery of Ye Olde Lunar surface is rather sparse, but maybe it will get better sometime soon. Richard Whatshisname might send up a satellite if he can figure out a way to make money with it. :)

Friday, April 07, 2006

February 2, 2006 Rainbow at Elam Bend (McFall, Missouri)

These are some almost too good to be true pictures of Missouri. Rainbow at Elam Bend (McFall, Missouri) is a page on a website dedicated to MO photos. The pics took a loooong time to load on my computer, but I have a slow connection. Enjoy.

Friday, March 31, 2006

Ken Shamrock - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I was trolling through Wikipedia the other day and found some pages covering combatives. One of them had a link to this page on Ken Shamrock. There were others on the Gracie's, but Ken's picture looked cooler, so I figured I would post that link. BTW, I had no idea that "shrimping" was a bona fide technique... I always thought is was just East Texas Pigmy slang. Learn something new everyday.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Howstuffworks "How Sushi Works"

I had no idea that Sushi "Worked". I suppose they did that to keep up with the "How Stuff Works" motif, but it is still odd. Anyway, followed a link to How Stuff Works (gee wonder where I found that) and saw an article on sushi. Me personally I am a bigger fan of Kim Bap myself.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

MemeStreams | What questions are you asking yourself?

I am not even sure what all is on this site (called Memestreams), but I stumbled across this area, which had some thought provoking information. So provoke a thought or two. MemeStreams | What questions are you asking yourself?

Sunday, March 05, 2006

The $39 Experiment: Asking Random Companies for Free Stuff

I was going to ask how people get ideas like "The $39 Experiment: Asking Random Companies for Free Stuff", but then I read the second paragraph of the site.

How This Started
I was sitting around one day, skimming through a pile of bills that I needed to pay. I looked over at a new, unopened roll of stamps that I had sitting in front of me, and I thought to myself, "$39... for a roll of stamps? Geez... You can't get much for $39 nowadays. Or can you...?"

The results have not been shocking, but mildly amusing.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Special Report from PC Magazine: Maximum Security: 94 Essential Tips for Staying Safe

Maximum Security is a PC Magazine article about how to make sure your PC is as safe as possible. It appears (I have only looked at the first couple of pages) to have some good advice on techniques for locking down. More importantly it also has ideas on software solutions with links to the appropriate sights. Some might consider the information here to be obvious, but the fact that computers fall prey to attacks every day means that this information can bear repeating. Hope it shows you something new.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Bird of Paradise

Babies are from Heaven, is a post from a new blog I stumbled across the other day. I am not sure what all this guy says or stands for, but this post for sure caught my eye. If the trackback doesn't work, you should still be able to get to and maybe search from there. Let me know what you think.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Atomic Blast Photos

Surfing around bought me to this site. I would give credit where due if I had a shred of an idea of how I came by this page. Unfortunately that has been lost for all time. So with out further ado, Atomic Blast Photos. You gotta love some of the research done by scientist for pictures like this.

crabfu steam toys

Crabfu steam toys is a site dedicated to this fellow's hobby of steam powered RC toys. I wish I had this much dedication to a hobby sometimes. I barely manage to start a hobby usually. Much less carry one to completion. Thought it was odd, so of course in my little universe, that counts as worth sharing. Enjoy.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Binary Counting

I had mentioned the idea of Binary Counting using your fingers to a friend. Since he thought it was a cool as I did and I hadn't posted in years I figured this was as good a place as any to start back up again. There are a number of cool ideas at this site.