Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Special Kitty

I now present, for no reason what so ever, the web site of a Japanese woman (at least I pray it's a woman) who enjoys torturing her cats by dressing them up, enjoy!


It's not all bad though, she also feeds them better food than most of the people on the planet eat.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Web Gamer

A friend of mine (though he would deny it if asked) has written a pretty slick web game; I insist you play it, NOW!
http://kongregate.com/games/gigaplay/letter-boxed
My other posts about American political incompetence and/or Japanese food can wait for another day.

A pretty good game in a market segment which is dominated by knock-offs of games written in the early eighties. I'll note as well the hosting site (http://kongregate.com) is pretty ad free for a site that hosts a vast collection of web games.

The Dark Future of Corn

Dave Juday paints a bleak future in relation to ethanol:
It was amidst this upheaval in the commodities world that the Bush administration conceived and communicated the president’s blueprint to increase the renewable-fuels mandate by almost five-fold in a another five years — that is, a mandate of 35 billion gallons by 2017, instead of the 7.5 billion gallons by 2012 mandate. For some context, were this renewable-fuel mandate to be met by corn, it would require 12.5 billion bushels. The all time record U.S. corn crop was 11.7 billion bushels.
The hope is that people (i.e., the governing elite) will come to their senses before this goes any further, but...

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

W-I-P Software

I loved how Microsoft announced the availability of Vista (the product no one asked for**) back in November. This was only for their business licensed customers, but the joke was that the tools to automatically deploy Vista weren't even released yet, and since volume license customers have to have (I believe) at least ten licenses, the OS might as well not exist. Thankfully, three months later (i.e. yesterday) Microsoft finally released the enterprise management tools; this article sums it up nicely:
The tools seem late in coming, given that enterprises had access to Vista through volume licensing since Nov. 30. However, Michael Cherry, an analyst with Directions on Microsoft, said he's not surprised by the timing.
"I don't see the November release as anything other than Microsoft saying, 'See, we released it before the end of the year like we said,'" Cherry said.
Along with the tools comes the release of the server piece named 'KMS' that is required to track all the Vista installations in your enterprise and report them back to the M$ mothership. The alternate to using this product is to physically register each PC with M$ like the home versions, and this would probably get old by the time you reach desktop number 5,000 if you work at a place like GE. Earlier releases of this KMS product were only for the as of yet unreleased next-gen version of the Microsoft server OS that hasn't even made it out of the codename stage (i.e., "Longhorn"). A Microsoft goon later in the same article enlightens us to Microsoft's benevolence:
Microsoft released the KMS update because "customers requested support for Windows Server 2003," Boettcher said.
Imagine that, customers requesting a critical product that will run on software that actually exists! Microsoft is too kind to put up with these uppity customers.

How about a scoop of Office 2007? Microsoft had some fantastic deployment tools that allowed me to install/upgrade all the computers at my company without even leaving my desk. I guess M$ got gun-shy of too much success because they took that functionality out - THANKS A BUNCH. NP though, this web page has a link that promises to reveal the information I'm looking for (deployment via group policy with non-administrative users). Clicking on the link, of course, goes nowhere.

On the lighter side, I caught a Gamespot article on Duke Nukem Forever. A cosmic joke of sorts, I myself am convinced that the product as it exists is solely to test incoming interns. They have them throw some textures or models together to see what they can do, but I cannot believe the game is on some sort of formal development schedule. From the article:
"We tend to just do unconventional things in terms of PR," he [3D Realms president George Broussard and overall blow hard) said.
Unconventional I'll say. I can't wait for marketing classes to start teaching the advantages of the ten year video game development cycle.

*WIP = work in progress
**I went to a two MS presentations where they demo'd Vista. Both featured a demo of the voice activation software which still doesn't seem to work quite right; but while mulling over the features they covered particularly in the launch demo they talked for probably 15 minutes about the games in Vista, which are the same games since Windows 3.11, except for Minesweeper which comes with some new textures and sounds (not $200 worth though).

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Snow

Nor being old enough to remember the wretched midwest winters of the '70s (you know, when our favored elite was proclaiming the next ice age) and not being travled enough to have been to snowy mountains, this marks the most snow I've ever personally witnessed:
If you look carefully in the top center you can make out the grill of my non-functional truck in that snow drift.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

More J-Pop

I want to say that my mom got this for me last Christmas, but I can't recall, apologies:

It sells for the rather inexpensive price of $21.98 despite the fact that its listed as an [IMPORT]. Compare this price to another imported Hikaru Utada which sells for $44.49. Once I got the album I found out the reason why: it’s imported alright...from Thailand. It's a score though since it's the same music as the Japanese album, just inferior album art which I won't be able to see anyway as it collects dust on a shelf (the music long since having been 'ripped').

That does remind me of the first time I had a Japanese beer in the States. It proudly stated IMPORTED on the front, but only by looking at the small, 4 point font on the bottom, back of the can would you learn that it was imported from Canada.

Secondly, check out this find:

I found this sitting in a crate of used CDs in a glorified pawn shop in Cleveland (i.e., it’s probably ‘hot’). Attesting to the fact that this the real deal is the price of 3,000 Yen (~$30) on the rear album jacket (as in printed on the jacket, not a retail sticker?!?), though Amazon Japan appears to be selling it for $20. I'm not familiar with the artist in anyway, but it's the typical over-sugary J-Pop bilge that's made quite a bit more palatable because of the incomprehensible dialect used for the vocals. On a different note the albums title, Chou-fleur, appears to be French for Cauliflower. Nothing says sweet and romantic like Cauliflower!

Saturday, February 03, 2007

PANIC!

Mr. Kendall points out a tidbit from the WSJ:
The city of Boston is furious and talking about throwing every legal brick it can find at Turner Broadcasting's Cartoon Network. As well it might: Lawsuits and criminal prosecutions, after all, are the only response when you've made an ass of yourself as thoroughly as Boston has.
....
For that matter, the problem could be traced farther back to LAPD chief Daryl Gates, who formed the first SWAT team in the late 1960s and thus began the militarization of public safety. Remember when heavily equipped SWAT officers gathered in massive force outside Columbine High while the killers went about their deadly business of assassinating their school chums? Contrast this with the actions of two Canadian police officers in last year's Montreal school shootings: They didn't wait for NATO to mobilize but went into the school cafeteria and confronted the assailant and shot him.
Ah, but isn't it all about symbolism over substance on the important issues of the day? Many would think I'm sure: "who would be so dumb as to find such acts by the government appealing?" I point however to the picture below that I took at the Cleveland airport a year or two ago:


click to view large


There are a couple things in there that should probably not be brought onto the plane (the fake sticks of dynamite in particular) but there are also many things that I see that I can't help but think "you know, even every passenger was a terrorist wielding such a 'weapon' they still wouldn't be able to take over the plane" (A dart? A cake knife?, etc.). However, when I took the picture a woman (of course) yelled "WHY WOULD YOU TAKE A PICTURE OF SUCH A THING?!?!?" I calmly said that this is living proof of what government employees consider work "I'm amazed that people would be so dumb as to try and sneak such stuff onto a plane".

I her knew the tone though: "THEY'RE ONLY TRYING TO PROTECT US!!!!!". This type of person is not only all to ready to forgive Boston for their overzealousness, but probably actively supports their actions. Nothing short of a police state (a pretend, ineffective one would do just fine) would sedate their fear of their fellow man. Why they wouldn't harbor at least a little mistrust of the men running the 'police state' escapes me.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Feb Links

I can't believe I've never linked to Jonah Golberg's overrought piece on the movie Groundhog Day:
When I set out to write this article, I thought it'd be fun to do a quirky homage to an offbeat flick, one I think is brilliant as both comedy and moral philosophy. But while doing what I intended to be cursory research — how much reporting do you need for a review of a twelve-year-old movie that plays constantly on cable? — I discovered that I wasn't alone in my interest.


On a different note, here's an old bit of mine that mentions black history month, recently re-edited to make it slightly more comprehensible.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Global Warming

A little slice of that global warming apocalypse would be nice right about now...