Saturday, December 29, 2007

Analog vs. digital

My wife got me a good old-fashioned record player for Christmas (well, not old-fashioned, I guess, since I can evidently plug my iPod into it, but anyway...). I played a 45 I had of Patti Smith covering Lou Reed's Perfect Day. There's something about the sound an album produces - it's fuller, more there somehow. I then played the LP of Springsteen's Seeger Sessions (on 180 gram vinyl, a fat, heavy record) - at first it seemed like a different recording than the version I've listened to many times on CD. It's the same recording as the CD, but it seemed like Bruce was in the room.

Friday, December 28, 2007

No more Netscape

As reported all over the place, Netscape Navigator, the browser that made the web the Web, is kaput as of February 2008. I used Netscape until around the time AOL bought the company and started making a mess of things. These days, Firefox is my preferred browser, though I find myself using Safari a lot because it's just so fast. The last several versions of Navigator were really skinned versions of Firefox anyway, with a more confusing interface. It's a shame what happens when corporate interests get involved that have no idea what to do with a product.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Merry Christmas

May the spirit of this holiday season fill your heart, and may you find your way safely home.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

It's the Great Old Pumpkin

Just finished watching the classic It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, and it reminded me of the short story podcast on Escape Pod called The Great Old Pumpkin. It's a wonderful twist on the legend. Enjoy and have a Happy Halloween.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Woman takes hammer to Comcast

Are you sick of the inept, illiterate, uncaring, and incompetent fools that big business puts in front of you, under the guise of "customer service," to block you from dealing with their shenanigans while the corporate executives stuff their pockets with your cash and don't deliver? So was 75-year-old Mona "The Hammer" Shaw. Priceless.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Alice snubbed again

This is almost turning into an all Alice Cooper blog lately. Anyway, once again, Alice was left out of the nominees for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. There is no justice sometimes.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Alice Cooper setlist - Wilkes-Barre, PA, Sept. 18, 2007

Fantastic show at the Kirby Center. Here's the setlist, though there might be some out of order. If you have any corrections, drop a note in the comments.
  • It's Hot Tonight
  • No More Mr Nice Guy
  • Under My Wheels
  • I'm Eighteen
  • Is It My Body?
  • Woman Of Mass Distraction
  • Lost In America
  • Feed My Frankenstein
  • Be My Lover
  • Raped And Freezin'
  • Dirty Diamonds
  • Muscle Of Love
  • Desperado
  • Halo Of Flies (inc.Drum Solo)
  • Welcome To My Nightmare
  • Cold Ethyl
  • Only Women Bleed
  • Steven
  • Dead Babies
  • Ballad Of Dwight Fry
  • Medley: Devils Food - Killer - I Love The Dead
  • School's Out
Encore:
  • Billion Dollar Babies
  • Poison
  • Elected

Thursday, August 30, 2007

No coal-to-oil in Schuylkill County

A letter I just wrote to the Pottsville Republican, in response to their insipid editorial. I doubt they'll publish it, but we'll see:

Editor,

I'm writing in response to your editorial supporting the coal-to-oil plant. Maybe you haven't been paying attention, but the people of Schuylkill County have spoken: we do not want this impending environmental disaster in our backyards. Sure, we all want alternative energy sources, but not ones that seriously worsen the effects of global warming.

There's no need to rehash the multiple environmental issues this plant will create - that information is readily available on the website of Schuylkill Taxpayers Opposed to Pollution at www.ultradirtyfuels.com. The effects of global warming are all over the news - maybe you've heard of the little hurricane that flooded New Orleans or those melting polar ice caps. Do you think the thousands of tons of carbon dioxide that the plant will emit will help that problem or push it further towards the edge?

You can deny the science all you want, but the effects of global warming are so blatant it's practically a shout. To pretend this plant actually helps the environment by clearing away waste coal is so disingenuous as to be laughable. I fail to see what part of this you fail to understand. The only thing that remains unclear is whether you have the journalistic integrity to print an opposing view.

Daryl Davis
Ringtown, PA

Thursday, August 16, 2007

State of comics

There's an interesting essay on Salon called Comics fans, grow up!, excerpted from a book by Douglas Wolk. The author argues that comics readers continue to look for acceptance from the general public despite actually already receiving it, as evidenced by the strong showing of graphic novels in recent years and, presumably, the Hollywood success of Spider-Man, X-Men, etc., and the rise of Comic-Con. I don't know that, other than the big movies, comics themselves are on the mainstream radar as much as might be hoped for. Sales are still a fraction of previous heydays, and you still can't find many comics outside of specialty shops (ah, but for the return of the spinner rack!). Now, comics characters are big - in movies, cartoons, video games, etc. But the books are still a ways off from selling in the millions every month. How Marvel and DC failed to capitalize on the movie successes is a little perplexing.

Star with a comet's tail

NASA has a wonderful image of a star named Mira (after the Latin for "wonderful") with a tail 13 light-years long:


Full story (via Boing Boing)

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Vista Prevents Users Playing High-Def Content

As mentioned previously, Microsoft Vista's DRM issues are finally getting some semi-mainstream attention (if you can call a computer mag mainstream, but it is PC World...). At the same time, there are protests at the BBC [via /.] over content that's only playable in a Microsoft OS. Between DRM and vendor lock-in, big business will do what it can to get as much of your money as they can grab. Again, I believe in paying for your content, but media companies seem to want to skirt fair-use and make you pay for your legally purchased content over and over.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Rush and Stevie Nicks, Montage Mountain, June 29/30, 2007

Two concerts this weekend - Rush and Stevie Nicks. Rush was the better show, though Stevie Nicks had some great moments (Rhianna, Landslide, If Anyone Falls). We arrived at Rush a little late, due to terrible traffic, so I missed the first song, which was Limelight. Of all the songs to miss! That one's gonna haunt me.

The Rush setlist (courtesy cygweb):
  • Limelight
  • Digital Man
  • Entre Nous
  • Mission
  • Freewill
  • The Main Monkey Business
  • The Larger Bowl
  • Secret Touch
  • Circumstances
  • Between The Wheels
  • Dreamline

Intermission

  • Far Cry
  • Workin’ Them Angels
  • Armor And Sword
  • Spindrift
  • The Way The Wind Blows
  • Subdivisions
  • Natural Science
  • Witch Hunt
  • Malignant Narcissism
  • Drum Solo
  • Hope
  • Summertime Blues
  • The Spirit of Radio
  • Tom Sawyer

Encore:

  • One Little Victory
  • A Passage to Bangkok
  • YYZ
Stevie Nicks was chatty, with lengthy intros at a few spots (it was, after all, a retrospective tour, she reminded us, in support of her Crystal Visions release). Here's an approximate setlist:
  • Stand Back
  • Enchanted
  • If Anyone Falls
  • Rhiannon
  • Dreams
  • Sorcerer
  • Gold Dust Woman
  • I Need To Know (yes, the Tom Petty song)
  • Landslide
  • How Still My Love
  • Edge of Seventeen
Encore:
  • Rock and Roll
  • Beauty and the Beast (not sure on this one, so if you were there and have a correction, drop it in the comments)

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Vista and content protection

If you're a tech geek like me and you haven't read A Cost Analysis of Windows Vista Content Protection (also known as the Vista suicide note paper), you should (or, if you read far too much and want an easier method of absorbing it, again like me, Cory Doctorow, of Boing Boing fame, released it as a podcast).

I'd like to make clear that I despise piracy - you should pay for your content when required, despite how you feel about the RIAA or whatever moral justification you might come up with. Content creators deserve to get paid when they follow a distribution model that expects payment.

But Windows Vista appears to expend inordinate overhead to prevent copying, even if copyright law specifically allows for it under fair use provisions. And since pirates inevitably find ways around DRM protections fairly quickly anyway, the net effect is denying non-technical home users their fair-use rights, while adding ridiculous CPU overhead to the operating system's normal operations (if I want excessive CPU usage, I'll install Norton or McAfee; sigh).

Monday, April 23, 2007

Get out your tinfoil hats

I don't know why this isn't stop-the-presses, we-interrupt-this-program, our-top-story-tonight news - maybe it's the whole X-Files feel of it. Anyway, honey bees are disappearing and nobody knows why. Maybe it's cell phone frequencies zapping their little brains. Maybe aliens are abducting bees for the honey farms on Tralfamadore. Maybe it's simply a beehole in the space-time continuum. So speculate away. Where are Scully and Mulder when we need them?

Thursday, April 12, 2007

So it goes.

Kurt Vonnegut has passed on. He has been my favorite writer for many years and a huge influence. I'm actually currently reading God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, a novel that reminded me why I love his work so much. In the book,our protagonist, Eliot Rosewater, is a man born into affluence who prefers helping common people as opposed to living in wretched excess, and he's the one people consider insane. Imagine that.

This is really sad news. The man brought us such classics about the human condition:

And so many others. Sigh. First Hunter Thompson, and now Kurt Vonnegut.

God Bless You, Mr. Vonnegut.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Geography of religion

This is an interesting animation showing a geographical history of religion for the last five-thousand years. Note that it's a spatial representation; it might be interesting to determine a way to show the same data with the numbers represented (I guess some kind of an area diagram plotted over time, but I don't know if you can show the two views simultaneously; I'm thinking something along the lines of Tufte's famous chart showing Napolean's march into Russia in the War of 1812). Anyway, interesting presentation.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Alex Toth Model Sheets

The ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive has some nice Alex Toth Model Sheets, including Herculoids and some things I haven't seen before. Toth had a very crisp, clean style, which I guess made him a natural for animation design. Via Boing Boing.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Sunday, January 28, 2007

"Which SF writer are you" meme

A meme I stumbled across thanks to Boing Boing determines which SF writer you are. I was hoping for Heinlein, or maybe Burroughs. Guess I'll need to look into this guy:


I am:

Hal Clement (Harry C. Stubbs)

A quiet and underrated master of "hard science" fiction who, among other things, foresaw integrated circuits back in the 1940s.

Which science fiction writer are you?

Monday, January 08, 2007

Alice Cooper still not inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Van Halen, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, R.E.M., the Ronettes and Patti Smith. But no Alice Cooper. Sigh. He's gonna be so pissed.

Link (via Digg).

Friday, January 05, 2007

Social Security billions could go to illegal aliens

Via Digg: About to become law is an agreement allowing illegal aliens to get Social Security benefits after only 18 months of employment in the U.S., further burdening a system on the brink of collapse. U.S. citizens must show 10 years, or 40 quarters of job history, to collect benefits.

read more | digg story