Archive for July, 2008

DRM: the misery continues

Posted: July 25, 2008 in Uncategorized

Yahoo is the latest company to hang their customers out to dry when it comes to downloaded files that are protected with DRM. They have just announced that they are shutting down their DRM authentication servers on Sept 30, just two months from now. Their advice: burn your protected music to optical discs before the shutdown, so that you can reload them on a new or upgraded PC.

Problem: in the paragraph preceding the suggestion to back up your music, they specifically state that if the music is transferred to another computer, or the operating system is upgraded, that there will be no server available to re-authenticate your digital music.

In other words, you are wasting money on optical discs and wasting your time backing up your digital music: with nothing to authenticate your music files, you will never listen to the music…which you paid for… ever again. And you thought Yahoo was stupid for not taking Microsoft’s buyout offer…

For those of you who purchased DRM music from Microsoft’s MSN Music service, you have been given a reprieve: they have reversed their decision, and will NOT shut down their authentication servers until 2011. So you have three more years to enjoy the music you paid for! YaY! Not to piss you off or anything, but I’ve got albums in my collection dating all the way back to the 1970’s, they sound better than your compressed music, and I can listen to them at any time for the rest of my life without anyone taking them away from me. Neener-neener.

Advertisements

No football player from Army had been drafted by an NFL team in over a decade, with the last Army draftee being the classic "Mr. Irrelevant". The Army has a policy that allows their players to enter the NFL draft, and Caleb Campbell was allowed to enter the draft "in good faith". However, the Dept. of Defense has a policy that nullifies Army policy, so the DoD refuses to release Campbell from his Army duties for a minimum of two years. What, the DoD simply decided that if they can’t draft kids, neither can anybody else?

Brett Favre wants to un-retire, but he apparently doesn’t want to play for the Packers. Now we find out he was using a company phone to repeatedly call a head coach from a divisional rival team, probably for a job interview. Favre obviously figured he would never get caught as long as he didn’t use email…

When you look at A-Rod, it seems that (other than his recent performance on the field) his life is falling apart around him: his wife is suing for a (potentially very nasty) divorce, he threw a party during the All-Star break of which not a single teammate stopped by for free booze, and now some guy wants a ton of money for a sex video he has of A-Rod getting it on with Madonna. Obviously in a fit of despair, A-Rod signed with a talent agency, and the agency said A-Rod was "one of the world’s most iconic athletes whose personality transcends sports." That’s probably one of the most creative ways of calling someone an asshole that I’ve ever heard…

Jeremy Shockey missed out on participating in the Super Bowl due to injury, then demanded for months to be traded to another team. The Giants granted his wish. Now Shockey has been found to have also publicly said, "If the team trades me, I promise you I’m going to make them pay. If I ever get a chance to play against a team that trades me, it’s not going to be a pretty sight." What would happen if Madonna didn’t want to sleep with him? Would he go on a ‘roid rampage?

Danica Patrick has been building a reputation of getting into other drivers’ faces and bitching them out, but none of the guys will let her get their goat cuz they’d be arrested if they punched her out. So she has decided to start picking on the other chicks instead…

The three dozen people who complained about seeing Janet Jackson’s nipple ring for nine-sixteenths of one second on the Super Bowl halftime show a few years ago are furious that a federal appeals court tossed the $550,000 fine levied against CBS. Yes, sore winners can be sore losers, too. Unfortunately, I was one of the very few in the nation who attended an SB party that didn’t have Tivo…

Whole house fan update

Posted: July 20, 2008 in Uncategorized
This actually works pretty well. The kid usually wakes us up around 7:30, and the house is about 74 degrees on the main level…I open doors/windows on each level, and about a half-hour later it’s 69 degrees (cooler on the lower level). We close up the house and shut down the fan around 9:30, and the main level gets as high as 80 degrees in the late afternoon, but that’s for a short time since the temps outside are starting to drop by then. About 6PM, we open up and crank the fan again, and even just the breeze thru the house makes it feel cooler. We can usually get the house into the low-70s before we go to bed. However, once the temp hits 74, the wife complains because with the wind-chill factor, it feels more like 70 degrees, so she grabs a blanket or sweatshirt.

During previous summers without the fans, the main level would be in the 80s soon after lunch. The bedroom would be in the 90s in the evening. And with all the windows and doors open, we could never get the temps to drop much. The summer is so much more tolerable now. The wife asked me last week if I thought we did the right thing spending the money on it, and then I reminded her that we normally slept on the pull-out couch downstairs cuz it was so hot in the bedroom at night.

The attic fan kicks in around 10AM most days, runs constantly into the late evening, and obviously helps a lot. So yeah, way less expensive than installing air conditioning, way less expensive to run than an air conditioner, and our house is relatively cooler overall throughout the day.

Finally finished F.E.A.R.

Posted: July 19, 2008 in Uncategorized
Excellent game, and quite difficult to make it with decent health and
armor on Moderate Difficulty (I never go with "easy"). On the last
series of checkpoints, I lost all weapons except a sidearm…even
though I had access to shotguns and other weapons (before losing them
again), I ended up going exclusively with the sidearm, since I only had
to take out ghouls. I guess the last couple of checkpoints were too
simplistic because of that, although I needed to constantly save game
cuz I thought I needed as much health and armor as I could retain
(didn’t realize how close I was to the end), so I ended the game with
160 health, 100 armor, and half the amount of sidearm bullets I could
carry.

Probably the best feature was "reflex time", which was extremely
cool…sometimes wish I had used it more often. However, a cool attack
feature I never utilized was melee, although I was a recipient of melee
numerous times.

Finding out who I was at the end of the game was so much of a surprise, I didn’t think I was correct. Had to hit the wiki page just to be sure.

It reminded me of the original Half-Life, and how much fun and
"creepiness" I had with that game. Except that F.E.A.R. had a much
better soundscape to lure you in. And some scenes were really kinda
disturbing, stuff I’ve never expected from a game…movies, sure, but
not games.

Might try out the multiplayer next. Or perhaps I should just move on to the next game, there are so many more I want to play…

Who is Rev. Jesse Jackson?

Posted: July 16, 2008 in Uncategorized
It’s a fair question. When I was a kid in the 70’s, Jackson was an influential black leader, and many thought he might have a shot at becoming President some day. He tried and failed to do just that in the 80’s, but overall he was still well-regarded within both the black community and in politics.

Fast-forward to 2004: Bill Cosby decided that the black community needed to do more for themselves…actually, Bill decided the black community needed a solid kick in the pants and get the boot stuck. Cosby said things like the following:
"(Men)…stop beating up your women because you can’t find a job, because you didn’t want to get an education and now you’re (earning) minimum wage."
"…your dirty laundry gets out of school at 2:30 every day, it’s cursing
and calling each other n—— as they’re walking up and down the
street. They think they’re hip. They can’t read;
they can’t write. They’re laughing and giggling, and they’re going
nowhere."

"I can’t even talk the way these people talk, ‘Why you ain’t,’ ‘Where
you is’ … and I blamed the kid until I heard the mother talk."

"And then I heard the father talk … Everybody knows it’s important to
speak English except these knuckleheads. You can’t be a doctor with
that kind of crap coming out of your mouth."

Wow. No one before or since has ever had the balls to talk down to blacks like that. Not on a public stage, anyway.

The good Reverend completely backed up Mr. Cosby, saying,
"Bill is saying let’s fight the right fight, let’s level the playing
field. Drunk people can’t do that. Illiterate people
can’t do that."

Fast-forward to 2008: Democratic Presidential nominee Barack Obama went to some black churches and gave speeches about morality. He’s certainly not going to be a complete a-hole about it, and talk the same way Bill Cosby did…c’mon, he’s a presidential candidate! He has to deliver a leveled, well-thought speech that isn’t so damning and insulting that it alienates potential voters.

The good Reverend completely abandoned Mr. Obama, saying that Barack was "talking down to black people" and that he was telling them "how to behave", and then said, "I want to cut his nuts off."

Then we find out today that the good Reverend reportedly used the dreaded n-word to describe blacks in general…a word he has publicly called out to be "banned".

So, who is Rev. Jesse Jackson?

My guess is that he’s a pissed-off, bitter old man because he isn’t the first black presidential nominee. Or maybe he’s just a two-faced jerk…politicians are so hard to figure out sometimes…

In any case, Jackson probably isn’t on Obama’s short-list for VP…

Not looking good for Bud…

Posted: July 14, 2008 in Uncategorized

As you may have heard, Anheuser-Busch ignored the advice they got from a much more savvy company, Yahoo, and took the buyout offer. CNN.com posted a quick poll: will you stop drinking Bud? Over 200K have voted so far, and the results are…

…that most people don’t like drinking carbonated dishwater.

An airliner suffered significant damage to its nose cone during a flight. A retired pilot sez the plane was likely hit by a bird…as opposed to the other way around, which is far more likely, so this one’s multiple choice…

  • "Goose 5, Goose 5, bogey detected in restricted airspace, flying at 300 knots. Goose 1 thru 4 already ineffective, take out its nose, over."
  • Falcon: "Great shot, kid, that was one in a million!"
  • If God had meant for birds to fly, he would have…um…nevermind.
  • Captain: "I had to swerve multiple times before I hit him. Hey, I only had a couple of beers…no, I’m not carrying a sidearm…"