“Mattie Stevens, a young boy of the early 80’s, dreams of owning a Commodore 64. He sets out to convince everyone this is the perfect gift. But, along the way runs into opposition from his parents and everyone around him including old Santa Claus"
Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to participate in this year's Christmas special (A story for another time in itself...), but I know that a lot of hard work went into it, from FiT members and special guests, and that all that work really shows in the final production. Give it a listen and enjoy the geek humor, and if you enjoy this special, check the bottom of the post for links to previous FiT specials, some of which I did play a small part in. :)
Occasionally, I will go through the spam folder in my gmail account, just to make sure there's nothing in there that I actually want to see. It never fails that there's some subject line that makes me giggle, just a little. A few weeks ago, I had 6th grade flashbacks when I saw an email with the subject line "Read this email, or you're gay!".
Then, as if they figured out that it's 2009 and I'm not 11, the spammers upped the anty on me a week or so later, "Read this email, or catch a disease!".
I'm not exactly sure that kind of disease you can get from not reading an email. Maybe the email had the secret cure to swine flu, or safe sex tips. Either way, I didn't read it and thus far, no diseases! :)
The other day, after replying back and forth with someone for part of the morning, over lunch I got 4 error messages from the remote email server that my messages hadn't been delivered. The ones that had already been replied to.
That same night, the US Postal Service sent me an email to let me know that they had attempted to delivery my package, but couldn't, and so I would need to contact them about picking it up. That would be the package that in fact, was delivered that afternoon. It was delivered to the office, just like I had ordered it.
So what kinds of email follies have you seen lately? :)
Ever since I created my Gmail account as my name, I've gotten occasional emails that are not meant for me at all, but are meant for people with the same name. Now, I have no idea how other people are getting the impression that my name @ Gmail is this other person's email address, but it's been frequent enough to make me wonder.
Over the past couple of years, I've gotten flight confirmations from SFO, notes from an aunt, a copy of a HS kid's resume, and lately group emails from a group of Sununu supports rallying for his election.
Usually, I do send a reply letting them know they've got the wrong address. Do you?
Wonder what Google's advertising within Gmail thinks of all that? :)
Many of you techies out there probably already have seen the PC Weenies comic on-line. I admit to being a pretty avid follower of it myself. Today, Krishna shared that he's doing some artwork as a way to raise money for a friend of his who has been fighting cancer.
Yesterday I blogged about the idea of using the proceeds earned by commissioned guest-star strips for Cindy Randi?s fight against cancer. I wanted to make another option available.
For $50, I will create a custom piece of art (8.5? x 11?) featuring you and up to 3 PC Weenies characters of your choice. You will receive a high quality card stock print of the colored art, along with the original sketch (taken from my sketchbook) that was used to create the print. The money earned from these commissioned pieces will go towards Cindy (less printing and shipping costs).
So, if you're interested in getting a unique piece of artwork, or even in being a guest star in one of Krishna's strips, get over there this month and help out. I hear it makes a great gift too!
Over the weekend I updated my Macbook's version of Firefox to RC2 (now RC3) because FF 2 had become completely unstable. Now, less than a week from the planned release of firefox 3.0, it seems that I'm running into instability on a couple of other machines as well, at work.
It's almost like when something on your car breaks down 100 miles over the warranty mileage limit. FF 2 only has a few more days to cause problems before it gets replaced, so it's doing it everywhere!
To be fair, the fact that I've been doing quite a bit of video capture/encoding and not restarting the machine afterwards might really be the problem with the instability, but it's odd that only Firefox seems to actually crash on me.
Tuesday can't get here fast enough. I'll be contributing at least 4 downloads of the release version that day on different machines at home and work as part of the quest for the record number of downloads. ;)
Many of you know, I've long believed there's a time limit for how long someone can work at a help desk before suffering burn out. (This is true for most people, maybe not all, but I'd put the percent of people that this is true of in the high 90's!)
Today, when walking to my car I saw a very disheveled middle-aged man, who obviously hadn't had a change of clothes or shower in a few days, and he was talking. At first I thought perhaps he was on a cell phone, maybe even using Bluetooth, since his hands were empty. As I got closer, however, I and the 3-4 other people waiting on the light to cross the street could clearly see that he did, in fact, not have any sort of Bluetooth device in his ear, he was simply talking to no one.
"Type back slash, then ssrn. Hit enter, then Left shift and enter two more times. Yes, three enters, then shift three times..." (I'm paraphrasing...)
Is this the next step past burn out? Do you just wander down the street giving out technical instructions to no one in particular? Or did he have some new-fangled Bluetooth device that I couldn't even see hidden in the part of his pants that was rolled up revealing his calf? :)
I wonder if anyone got video of him? Maybe I'll search YouTube...
I own one, and I think there's some use to it in terms of doing some light workouts on between gym days, or as a way to do some stretching and warm up before heading the the gym or another workout. Still, this cracked me up when I saw it! (h/t to Veronica Belmont on Friendfeed)
This morning, my wife was hosting a bridal shower/brunch at our house, so I needed to occupy myself away from the house for a couple of hours. Given the gray, cruddy weather, my options were somewhat limited, but I had read a number of positive reviews of Shine a Light, the Martin Scorcese filmed Rolling Stones concert flick, so I figured that was about as entertaining a way to spend the time as any.
I was completely blown away. I know, as they've aged the Stones have become a bit of a parody of themselves in their public appearances, so it's easy to forget that these guys are a great rock and roll band at the end of the day. This film reminds us that on stage, even at 60 years old, the Stones still put on a show that is better and full of more energy than most bands out there today.
Not only that, but there are some great lines in the footage of old interviews. Pretty much everyone laughed out loud, for example, at footage of a very young Mick Jagger being asked about being together for 2 years now and how long he saw it continuing, then responding "I never thought we'd make it two years, but I figure maybe we're set for another year or so".
Anyway, I highly recommend going to see this, and reminding yourself, or learning for the first time for some of you younger folks, just how great a rock and roll show the Stones can still put on!
Besides, if you don't think watching Ron Wood, Keith Richards and Buddy Guy on the big screen in surround sound trading licks on Champagne and Reefer is worth the price of admission all by itself, well then I fear you have no soul.
My subscription to the print edition of your magazine ran out about a year ago. I didn't overlook it, I didn't just forget to renew it, I made a conscious decision not to renew. (Mostly because just about everything I read in it, I had already seen online somewhere beforehand.)
I could forgive your assumption that maybe I had overlooked it the first time you sent me a notice to that effect, many months ago. I understand that you hate to lose subscribers, and want to make sure. I even appreciated the fact that you were willing to keep sending me a copy of the magazine the next month, just so I could see what I'd be missing one last time, again with a letter to that effect. It seemed a bit desperate, but I understand this is a desperate time for print media, especially tech media.
When the same notices came to my house 3 months later, I laughed at your desperation. It wasn't a nice thing to do, I know, and I'm sorry.
At the 6 month mark, I thought to myself, wow, why would anyone continue to pay for this magazine when they never actually stopped sending it to me?
We're at almost the 12 month mark now, and wouldn't you know it, guess what was in my mail over the weekend? That's right, this months issue of PC World, again with the stipulation that you were giving me one "last chance" to see what I was missing. This would be, I believe, my 6th "last" chance.
I think we've moved past desperation and straight into stalking. It's creepy to think that a magazine I dumped a year ago, still manages to find it's way to my front door almost every month. If you were an ex-girlfriend, I'd probably have to have a restraining order by now, and, frankly, I'm a tad insulted that you continue to think that I'm actually dumb enough to have overlooked all of these pleas to renew my subscription. Do you think so little of your readers?
Let's just agree to go our separate ways, before someone has to get hurt, ok? Can we do that, or will I have to resort to more drastic measures to protect my home?
Douglas Welch started the project, and has asked all the fellow Friends in Tech to pitch in and help out with the Wish Book Holiday Podcast. Here's what Douglas has in mind:
* Visit The Wish Book site * Find a toy or other object that you remember from your childhood * Tell us a story about the toy or object * In the end, the stories don't have to be based on the catalogs. Tell us your favorite personal holiday story is fine, too
Try to include the following information in your recording:
* Your Name and Home Town Location i.e. Douglas E. Welch from New London, Ohio * The catalog and page where you found you item (So that others can see a picture of it) * Your story
Your story can be whatever you wish -- a real-time discussion with siblings, "hey do you remember that? Didn't you leave that out in the rain?" to amore structured "I remember this..." type of story. Let yourself go! Tell us what made this item so special to you. If I receive enough submissions for The Wish Book, I will create a daily podcast running from Thanksgiving Day through until Christmas or New Years.
Check out the website for all the info if you're interested in participating. I'm going to be looking through the catalogs this week to try and get a good story recorded and sent over to Douglas, I hope you'll consider it too!
This may have been one of the greatest pranks ever pulled between high school rivals.
Unfortunately, the kid who masterminded the whole thing, while a folk hero to his classmates at Hilliard Davidson, has been suspended for it by school administrators. Still, I think the organizational skills and pure creativity of the plan speak well for his future workplace skills...
While there we got a tour of the grounds and of the radio telescopes in use there, including the GBT, about 17 million pounds of telescope power, and the Reber telescope, which you can learn more about here:
Some of the interesting things about Green Bank that I learned on the tour, the town is in a "radio-quiet zone" to minimize interference with the radio waves. It was chosen because the surrounding mountains block most electrical interference, but to help even more, there's no cell phone service within a 60 mile radius, they use all diesel powered vehicles to work onsite, since spark plugs cause interference. In fact, they have a fleet of vehicles that are over 30 years old that they use more often than the newer ones. Even the diesel versions of newer pickups, for example, have plenty of electronics in them that can cause interference. They have 2 microwaves on the entire base, and they are both encased in lead boxes. You are only allowed to use digital cameras from the main building site. On the tour, they take you right down to the big telescope, but if you want photos, you better have a film camera. We took some digital photos from a distance, and purchased a disposable film camera at the gift shop to get some close up photos, which we don't currently have yet. It's very interesting, they do a demonstration at the start of the tour, where they put any digital camera the group happens to have with them inside a Faraday cage, and show you how much interference is caused. They also do a cool demonstration with liquid nitrogen, showing you what happens to the air molecules inside a balloon when exposed to liquid nitrogen, before loading you up in the bus for the trip down to the site.
There are other, smaller, telescopes on site as well, including one involved in the SETI project, and one currently being used by MIT researchers, remotely from Cambridge.
One other interesting side note. On the site, they have a display of the solar system with flags for each planet spaced out relative to how the planets are spaced. So, as you enter there's the Sun, Mercury, Venus, Mars and Earth all relatively close together, then the other planets show up way down the road in due course. Due to recent events, of course, Pluto is no longer considered a planet, so while the flag is still in it's place to represent Pluto, it flies at half-mast. :)
Anyway, if anyone finds themselves in the area of Pocahontas County, WV, which has a number of nice state and national parks, and good skiing in the winter, I'd highly recommend stopping in and taking the tour.
Who else is filling out NCAA brackets tonight? Who do you have winning the whole thing? Who's your darkhorse?
I'm entered in three pools this year, so far, and I've got three different national champs picked. Given my recent history in this regard I figure I should cover my bases. Of course, given that recent history I should probably go ahead and apologize now to all of you rooting for Kansas, U.C.L.A. or Georgetown for ruining any chance they might have had of actually winning the whole thing.
You might have noticed that I don't have the Buckeyes in any of my pools. I actually have them losing the same game in all three, in the Elite Eight to Texas A&M. I just don't think they'll be able to win that matchup in San Antonio. It's going to be too much of a home court advantage. I hope I'm wrong, but I wasn't willing to put anything on the line for it. Of course if A&M loses before they even get to San Antonio, then all bets are off, and I think OSU makes it to the Final Four, maybe even to the Championship Game.
Should get pretty quiet around the help desk when the games tip off around noon tomorrow. It's amazing how many people find an excuse to be out of the office. *L*
So Angela and I scored some passes to the premiere of Zodiac earlier this week. It was a pretty good, intense, dramatic kind of movie. But I felt like something was missing. See, towards the end of the movie Jake Gyllenhaal's character becomes completely obsessed with finding out who the Zodiac Killer is, and "solving the puzzle". So much so that there's a scene in his house, after his wife and kids have left him where he's sitting on the floor completely surrounded by case files, and boxes of research, and she comes back and tells him she can't let the kids see him like this, that he needs to end this.
If Jake would have looked at her and said "I don't know how to quit this", I would have fallen out of my chair with laughter and declared it the greatest movie ever made. Alas, they stuck with the script and continued along the dramatic path without the comedic interruption.
Yeah, there's probably a reason I don't write movies... :)
After seeing this post at USA Today about retro commercials on YouTube, and following all the comments and checking out the commercials, I can only come to one conclusion. I need to spend more time hanging around YouTube.
Yeah, I totally grew up seeing that Mount Airy Lodge commercial all the time too, it's awesome! :)