Friday, October 31, 2008

check scare

slashdot links to a nice little article telling the story of how an author has offered small checks to readers that find errors in his [technical] books. for reasons of check security [or lack there of] he is no longer doing checks.

based on that, these are my uninformed recomendations
1) don't use a checking account as a savings account
2) don't tie an overdraft from a checking account to a savings account
3) keep only what you need in the checking account
4) if you invested in getting rid of global poverty, you wouldn't have to worry about losing money in your checking account.

...oops had the throw that last one in there. i'm in global poverty this fall at school.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

I was browsing over at the google map directory and found a nice little tool that warrants much more playing with. is a tool to plot the horizon (and name the peaks) from a location of your choosing. you can account for the curvature of the earth, and will also predict how far you can see from a particular location which makes it an ideal tool if... say.... you wanted to build a communications tower. check it out, you'll be impressed.

after you have picked your point, be sure and turn on the 'visibilty cloak' so you can see where you can 'see' on the big map. so cool.

I took the time to add in the view from Mount Rose for a friend.

Saturday, October 25, 2008


White Castle

Some time ago I saw Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, a film that makes up for its lack of morals with increased laughs, and was totally convinced White Castle was a fictitious place. I was on business travel again this last week (Saint Louis this time) and we actually found one of these places.

Now picture with me the best fast food burger in existence (arguably In-n-Out here on the west coast) and prepare yourself as I did for the White Castle experience.

I should have known something was up, in-n-out is bright colors, happy, fast paced, where as White Castle is dull, drab, mundane, and slow (ok, it wasn't that slow, but the comparison sounds better). Burgers (without cheese) were 59-Cents or something, that too should have been a clue.

My coworker actually finished one, I could not (its only about 5 bites). I am convinced (and later told my wife) that dirt tastes better. When we returned the rental car across the street, we actually made a comment to the rental lot girl and she said "oh.. but did you get the ones with cheese? you have to have them with cheese, their the best that way". we politely informed her that no amount of cheese could have possibly made any difference and when we asked her if she had ever had in-n-out, she actually had the audacity to compare it to not being up to snuff with White Castle. wow.... to each their own.

If you ever run across a White Castle, just keep on moving. There is a nice little story of starting in 1916 with an iron griddle, and old shoe store, and a smashed meatball. to bad it looks different almost 100 years later, but still probably tastes about the same as a shoe store and a smashed meatball.

Friday, October 24, 2008 - image search

Visit and login (use for a nice 'trial' membership) - to link/upload an image and have this beast search 1,000,000,000 images and show you 'similar' images.

I tried it with an image on a corporate website that had an image that appeared doctored from stock photography, and what do you know. it was.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

biology diesel

man..I was just getting use to the idea of bio-diesel, now it looks like we are going to be turning to the biologists for our next form. you read it here first, i'm going to call it biology diesel. (sugar cane + yeast + gene splicing )


I don't watch TV, I Just watch internet, so I don't really see commercials any more. you'all have probably already seen this one, but if you haven't, here it is in the original sound. if you like this one, the bouncy ball one is pretty good too.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


yup.. windows may be MORE reliable than the last, but anything less than 100% is still rubish in my book. I have no idea if this is real or not. someone needs to fire up the internet time machine or find a really old copy of nt4 and see if its on there.

scripting languages

I'm starting to get a reputation at work for solving problems with the crudest of tools. i'm not sure if thats a good reputation or not. I hate the idea of smashing an ant with a freight train, in my opinion a smallish bus is more appropriate. I firmly believe that everyone has a super-computer on their desk and refuses to acknowladge the power we all have right in front of us. you do not need to spend more money and time to release the beast, just open up a comand shell.

I read an article over on slashdot about 6 new[ish] scripting languages (well, some are really compiled) and theres all kinds of fun things, like other languages that compile in java byte code (groove) and ones that take pride in being compact, with a slogan, do it in 1mb, not 200mb. (Rebol, its not in the list of 6, but in the worthy mention section)

Friday, October 10, 2008

FPU in your GPU with CUDA

I read a little summary over on toms hardware of the cuda interface to nvidia graphics cards. i was intrigued by a post over on gizmodo about the GPU being used by -russian- hackers to break WPA and WPA2.

if you don't want to read all of it, i'll summarize: for certain things, a GPU can be at least 10x faster than the CPU.


Melodyne is software I got very excited about. It allowed us to take source material from anywhere, in our case from the natural world, and turn it into MIDI control data that would allow us to manipulate musical instruments, so we could have birds playing cellos or horns, or the wind playing strings. This is what we did in the film Rabbit Proof Fence [aka. The Long Walk Home]. I still think there is a lot more that can be done with it.

Melodyne is a wonderful piece of software. It allows me to do things I'd always dreamed of.

Peter Gabriel

The music from the video is from ninadeli

Sunday, October 05, 2008

NAS backup

I was reading over on slashdot at some ideas for backup software, and it looks like bacula may be pretty high up there on the useful scale. I'm not sure if I could set it up to work on a network attached storage, but maybe we could set it up to mirror across some of the nerdytales computers? anyone interested? 500gb is what, $50 now?

Thursday, October 02, 2008

German Qwerty

Wikipedia has a nice little writeup on qwerty in which you can clearly see the trouble I had today when I went to use a 'laptop' from Germany. its close, but not close enough. check out the 'z', 'y', loss of the '+' and '-' (in the standard locations). you don't have any idea how much of the expanded characters you use in day to day windows navigation until you've tried to use one of these baby's.

couple that with my inexperience in vista (and office 2007), and the fact that vista lost the 'run' ability from the start menu, and hyperterminal is now missing in vista and that made for one exciting unusable computer. oh yeah, no com port either. its strange how modern machines become increasingly less useful.

The fact that the OS was in german was only a minor inconvenience given the rest of the problems I had with the machine, OS, and office.