December 2008


moarnow

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. But why want to imitate something totally without any merit? And, why so many imitators? I’m talking about the explosion of ” *chan.org ” boards all over the internet now. One of the first (and most notable) is 4chan.org. Though the home of the “Anon” group and odd cat photos, it’s still truly the bottom of the internet. It has made news several times for its total lack of anything socially redeemable- part of what makes it so enjoyable.

I didn’t say that. (more…)

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mao

NOTE: The following piece is not a history lesson, so no sleeping. It’s an editorial. Yelling is allowed.

Communism

Contrary to recent events, the communist system actually does work. It works all over the world, to varying degrees. Even the US dabbled with the WPA in the 30’s (an inherently communist organization). The problem with communism is scale: the larger you grow an individual communist population unit (a village, to state, to an entire country), the resulting government bureaucracy necessary to administer the system grows EXPONENTIALLY with the population, and not proportionally as one would think. Soon the segment of the population needed just to administer and check the non-governmental population outgrows the resources generated by that non-governmental population, and the system fails from lack of resources. This mass increase of government personnel leads to the mass increase of central government power. Anytime this happens, the possibility of corruption and totalitarianism will always increase.  That amount of power in one body will always lead to problems. Think: USSR. From Stalin to Khrushchev, the USSR has devolved into an off form of fascism that controlled everyone. Also, large-scale communism breeds an odd sense of non-ownership that strips the population of a sense of worth. Why repair a thing, if it’s not yours to repair? Why not steal if you’re not stealing from someone? If everyone owns it, no one owns it. After years of that type of sentiment, it would be completely understandable if a society were to crumble under the weight of its own apathy. (more…)

panasonWhy does it seem like everything is getting harder to use? DVD recorders that can’t actually record anything because they’re built without TV tuners; Web media players that need aftermarket firmware installed before they can access the web (Linksys!?!); Computers running MS Windows (any version) quickly becomes the pinnacle of pain of all cluster-fuck technology 10 minutes after turning it on! God forbid you attempt to install a remote starter in your car! Discovering you have an IC-chipped-key can force you into becoming a bona-fide con-artist if you have to convince your local dealership to supply the needed parts. Then you need to get an electronics degree just to figure it out. Days are gone when “some assembly required” was the worst thing we could encounter as consumers.

I’ve been using a Panasonic DMR-ES15 DVD recorder for automatic recording of TV shows while I’m away. I’ve owned a few recorders over the years or varying quality. This Panasonic seems to have the best balance of intuitive interface and high compatibility, but there’s a big problem. Although the Panasonic is a good name, this Panasonic DVD deck series seems to destroy DVD+RW’s & RAM’s at an alarming rate. So much so that I stopped using RAM disks because these are just too expensive to keep destroying. (more…)

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College fraternities are odd institutions steeped in tradition and history that seemingly have no purpose. Nevertheless, former students harbor deep loyalties to these groups, regardless of their actual usefulness. Fond memories aside, fraternities do have a history of crazy, sometimes dangerous, hazing traditions. It’s usually not criminal. But, that’s just the states. How about adding a little murder to the tradition?  (more…)

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A recent trip to Niagara Falls gave us the opportunity to pick-up some new souvenirs, including a cheap “CANADA” umbrella.  Actually, it was a purchase of necessity, as we were caught on the strip about a half-mile from the car when it began to pour one day. Unfortunately, the cheap plastic handle only lasted until we reached the car when it self destructed.  She looked at me and expected me to fix it. Junk is junk, I told her. Nothing much I could do. But, she loves that stupid umbrella. So, I started from scratch. (more…)

10_4_inch_digital_photo_frame

A 10″ digital photo frame for $100.00 refurbished? This seemed like a steal from a local reseller. Actually is was a bargain-bin store, but so what? This could easily be 50 dollars more somewhere else. Too good to be true?

It definitely has some problems, but it has some surprises as well. My version of this frame has a nice antique-wood style that matches the rest of my home well (nice change from what’s flooding the market now). The 4:3 format LCD picture (not the wasteful widescreen format) is bright, hi-res, and clear. My 2GB model has lots of storage space. It even handles almost all types of flash media and has a high-speed USB interface. I think the only 2 I won’t do is XD (Olympus crap) and Micro drives (which nobody uses anyway). It does pictures, music, movies, like a tiny computer. Actually, I think this frame has more processing power than my 1st laptop. (more…)

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1st-gen CR-V’s were never exactly power monsters in the first place. The few people who did race these SUV wannabe’s swapped out the stock engines with Civic racing engines (Yes- it’s just a civic engine), keeping original CRV trannies (which are actually pretty cool). The stock Civic engine don’t put-out much torque in the first place. With twice the vehicle wrapped around it, the CRV ended-up with terrible pickup. I remember buying a new battery for mine at Autozone. The guy behind the counter couldn’t believe the tiny battery I was buying was for my car. He wanted to see under the hood himself just to make sure.

I was sick of taking minutes to pass trucks. I was sick of traveling on the highway in 2nd-gear on cold days (well, actually it was 3rd of 4th gear on the CRV). These things just didn’t have enough power for high-speed travel. Oddly, mine had enough torque to pull out cars stuck in snow drifts in the winter, and go up any crazy hill or ditch I sent it into. For something with the ground clearance of the average sedan, it sure thinks it’s some sort of dune-buggy. But what to do about the highway? I didn’t need much boost- just enough to keep the automatic transmission happy on the freeway (with maybe a little extra for passing). (more…)

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