Friday, May 07, 2004

College Grades?

Grade Inflation - is an A really an A anymore? What's your opinion? Read an essay by Michael Berube, a Professor of Literature at Penn State.

Christian Pop Culture here to stay? Looks like it. Religious-themed T-shirts, posters for Christian rock concerts, signs promoting traveling evangelists and billboards preaching sexual abstinence don't just dot the landscape; they are the landscape, especially in the smaller towns and cities. Christian pop culture seems, at times, to be all the pop culture such underdog places have, at least in any local, grass-roots sense. Big TV, big music and big film, by clustering in the nation's glitziest ZIP codes and focusing -- almost exclusively, at times -- on the lives and loves of affluent young singles, have left vast swaths of the country to the preacher-folk, who've seized the day by slicking up their acts. It's no wonder that some are now ready for prime time. .... The flame is an old one; only the fuel is new. And there's still plenty of it. Expect it to burn on.

Riding into Falluja - take a short ride with the Marines and get a taste of another hell hole. Think this is about the time I'd be asking for a city desk beat.

Always liked to learn the meaning behind certain expressions, so thought I'd occasionally include an Expression of the Day.

Expression of the Day
Dead as a Doornail Also, dead as a dodo or herring. Totally or assuredly dead; also finished. For example, The cop announced that the body in the dumpster was dead as a doornail, or The radicalism she professed in her adolescence is now dead as a dodo, or The Equal Rights Amendment appears to be dead as a herring. The first, oldest, and most common of these similes, all of which can be applied literally to persons or, more often today, to issues, involves doornail, dating from about 1350. Its meaning is disputed but most likely it referred to the costly metal nails hammered into the outer doors of the wealthy (most people used the much cheaper wooden pegs), which were clinched on the inside of the door and therefore were “dead,” that is, could not be used again. Dead as a herring dates from the 16th century and no doubt alludes to the bad smell this dead fish gives off, making its death quite obvious. Dead as a dodo, referring to the extinct bird, dates from the early 1900s.

Quote of the Day
"When I do good, I feel good; when I do bad, I feel bad, and that is my religion."
Abraham Lincoln

Thursday, May 06, 2004

Super Shoe!

Got a mere $250? Then I've got the shoe for you! Battery powered sensors, microprocessors,electric motors - who knew running could be such fun? Each second, a sensor in the heel can take up to 20,000 readings and the embedded electronic brain can make 10,000 calculations, directing a tiny electric motor to change the shoe. The goal is to make the shoe adjust to changing conditions and the runner's particular style while in use. Now if they would just invent one that when you slip it on , it cures you of all your illnesses while you are wearing it, whether it be rheumatoid arthritis,diabetes, or whatever. Seems like they could send a charge through you that would revitalize the immune system - Heck, I'd shell out $250 for that!

Maybe this should be entitled Politics and Christian Fundamentalism? Check out this article from Britain's Guardian newspaper. Spooky is the word.

Abuse in Iraq
If you want to get a rather depressing view of what has been going on in Iraq, check out Seymour Hersh's article in the New Yorker. Rough stuff in this article

Word of the Day
preternatural \pree-tuhr-NACH-uhr-uhl; -NACH-ruhl\, adjective: 1. Existing outside of nature; differing from the natural; nonnatural. 2. Surpassing the usual or normal; extraordinary; abnormal.3. Beyond or outside ordinary experience; inexplicable by ordinary means. Usage: But at other times, Bobby Jones, Stroke of Genius is dead, solid perfect, especially its first half-hour tracing Jones' sickly childhood and his preternatural affection for the game.

Quote of the Day
"The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn."
Alvin Toffler

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

More Photography Tools

Nikon Coolwalker
Nikon has come out with a nifty little 30Gig device for transferring your photos when out in the field, so that you can keep shooting with your CFII cards (also SD cards with an adapter). Read about it on the Photography Blog. It can hold up to 10,000 6mp JPG pics. Will handle jpg, tiff and Nikon's RAW formats. Price hasn't been announced yet in the States or I don't believe it has. (Supposedly MSRP in Great Britain will be £399, which translates into about $715 US. Whew!) You could print right to a printer out in the field, utilizing its PictBridge technology. And you can plug it into a TV and use the remote that comes with it to have a neat slide show. Sounds nice - just not so sure about that price, but then I'm sure if I put it on my Xmas Wish list, my brothers will cobble the money together to get me one. What a family!

Website of the Day
A Faster,Better Behaved XP (Want to figure out something about the XP operating system? A good place to look)

Quote of the Day
"We hate some persons because we do not know them; and we will not know them because we hate them."
Charles Caleb Colton

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Watch out for the Sasser Worm

Tech security experts always tell you to never open email attachments without a confirmation from the email sender. That's because executables sent in the mail as attachments are usually used by viruses and worm to spread to other users. The latest worm to be released, Sasser, is an exception. It doesn't spread through email.

Sasser spreads by attacking a flaw in Microsoft Windows XP and 2000's Local Security Authority Subsystem Service (LSASS). Windows systems that have applied Microsoft Windows Update patch 835732 are protected against the Sasser worm. Sasser essentially looks for a port vulnerability on a randomly generated IP address. When it finds an opening, it overflows a buffer in LSASS.EXE. Sasser then uses FTP and connects back to the originating computer to download a copy of the worm.

According to early reports, the original Sasser worm was slow moving. Howver, new variants of Sasser have been released, and the infection rate is accelerating. The key to stopping Sasser infections to to update Windows and to use a firewall to block Sasser traffic.

For the full article, go here For those of you who don't have a firewall, looks like you had better head to ZoneAlarm and get the freebie one there. And you had better go to Windows Update and install any Critical Updates, in case you haven't done that in awhile. You can get to Windows Update by clicking on Tools and Windows Update in Internet Explorer. This is considered a Level 4 - Severe threat by Symantec (makers of Norton Anti-Virus). Also make sure your virus definitions are up to date. If you have no idea what any of this means, you'd better go find a computer friend, before your system is compromised.

Sunday, May 02, 2004

i9900 Arrives!

The long awaited Canon i9900 inkjet , delivering borderless 13x19 prints has arrived. It can knock one of those out in just 3 minutes. 8 ink tanks (they added red and green to the usual 6) . 2 picoliter droplets. Requires Service Pack 1 for Windows XP to utilize the high speed usb 2.0 interface. You can get it delivered from Page Computers for $437. (Retail is $499 + shipping). You can also get it for a similar price if you get it from and use the 2% savings you would get from being a member of Ebates. Please leave a comment if you need to know my shipping address, as you will probably be eager to send me one as a gift.

Recently enjoyed "Kill Bill" and "Master and Commander" on DVD. Both with awesome surround sound (I was actually ducking this nasty fly that I couldn't seem to find during "Kill Bill", when I finally realized it was coming out of the speaker just behind me - now that was pretty funny). Kill Bill was smack full of action and loaded with lots of good "spraying blood" scenes - typical Quentin Tarintino . The lovely Uma Thurman was so very cool in this movie. Russell Crowe was good in Master and Commander, although I missed the fabulous old English accent of Patrick Tull in the audiobook version. Great action scenes though - totally deafening with cannonballs crashing all around you at close range.

Camera Review
Another review of the D70 from Nikon. Gallery of Photos with the D70.

WebSites of the Day
Photography Blog
Digital Outback Photo

Quote of the Day
"It matters not whether you win or lose; what matters is whether I win or lose."
Darrin Weinberg