Saturday, May 29, 2004

Like to Read?

Although I primarily listen to audio books, sometimes not every book finds its way into an audio format (although nowadays, most do). Here's a new book club that sells you hardcovers for $9.95 each with free shipping (sales tax in NY,PA, and IN). That's a deal. Heck, most paperbacks cost that much or more nowadays. It works like Netflix - you populate your List with book choices and each month they send you the book at the top of your list. If you want to buy more books, then just pay another $9.95 and you get free shipping on that as well. The only catch I see - "sometimes are altered in size in order to save the members money". That is similar to what the LIterary Guild used to do (and may still do). Unless you are into collectibles, that really doesn't make a whit of difference.

Six Feet Under returns to HBO June 13th. If you haven't watched this show yet, you should. Some of the better work on TV. A portrait of the women, who are a large part of this series, is described in this article.

Watched the Last Samurai with Tom Cruise the other day. I'm not sure it got rave reviews, but I liked it - lots of actions, great scenery - just plain ol' good entertainment and about a subject most Americans would know little about. I know I wouldn't want to see on these dudes bearing down on me! Other movies I've enjoyed recently - Calendar Girls (older women posing nude for a fund raising project for their group - true story - funny and unusual), Something's Gotta Give with Nicholson and Keaton - both superb actors - good fun - it's hard to find a movie where Nicholson is bad. Next movie on my list - Osama This stunning film, the first to be made in a post-Taliban Afghanistan and inspired by a newspaper account read by director Siddiq Barmak, recounts the efforts of a family of women to survive under an oppressive regime. To eke out a meager living, they dress up their 12-year-old girl, Osama, as a boy so she can work. A talented cast of non-actors -- including Marina Golbahari and Zubaida Sahar -- adds integrity to the heartbreaking story. .

Photography - Digital
From a friend comes these two freebie programs, designed to reduce or eliminate noise in digital photos (often happens at higher film speeds or in low light situations). Check out Helicon's Noise Filter or the one by Imagenomic called Noiseware

Being a member of Blogger, I get the opportunity to beta test the new Google Email program. That's pretty cool, since it is a hot ticket apparently, even being auctioned off on Ebay. My initial reactions? Very fast, much faster than Yahoo or Hotmail. Pretty much like Google's search engine in respect to speed. The ads that are displayed on the sides of the email are not a bother at all, in fact they lead to some very interesting sites, so actually I welcome them. Yes, they scan your emails through robots to determine which ads to serve, but heck, ISPs scan your email for viruses, so not a big deal. One interesting aspect which I'm curious to see in action is the "threading" of conversations - however, nobody has answered any of the emails I've sent out, so I can't tell how the thread works! LOL Obviously, they were overwhelmed. You also have the ability to keytag emails, which they call "labeling". So you can assign various "labels" to emails and thus easily find them later through a search of a "label". Of course, you can also search for previous emails by simply typing in a word as it keeps a vast database of all the words you've used in your emails and can thus search on any word you might be looking for. Slick (Outlook Express will do the same thing) You get 1Gig of Email which should keep most people happy. You can delete your mail as you go along, but once deleted, it is gone for good. Archiving it, keeps it on Google's servers and allows you to retrieve any message. The "labeling" and "Search on keyword" attributes of the program pretty much do away with the need to create Folders to sort your email, although Filtering rules are available (a limit of 20). This is a lot like the Powermarks program I use to keep track of the thousands of bookmarked sites I have. A simple keyword search brings them forth, much faster than using the traditional browser bookmarking system. Powermarks offers a free trial, so check it out, as well.

Photos of the Day
Two panos (each shot consisting of 2 pics) of the flower gardens (work in progress) at the Fox Hill Inn and a picture of the sitting area at the goldfish pond. Seen to the left of the garden is a bocce court (the long green strip of grass), and bordering it on its outside edge is a new wildflower bed, just seeded. Click on the pictures for larger views.

Quote of the Day
"For three days after death hair and fingernails continue to grow but phone calls taper off."
Johnny Carson

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Photo of the Day
Work progresses on the Gazebo at Fox Hill Inn High on top of a mountain (3200'), the Inn and nearby cabins offer sweeping vistas. (Casio 3000EX - Pano - 3 photos stitched together)

Blogger Mania

Surely, this isn't a disease? Hmmm....maybe it is. ""It seems as if his laptop is glued to his legs 24/7," Ms. Matthews said of her husband." Obviously, we of the Blogger mind are sick puppies. But, if you're reading this, then your life must be as tiny as mine and that is quite comforting. LOL

Expression of the Day
SMS(Short Message Service) A text message service that enables short messages of generally no more than 140-160 characters in length to be sent and transmitted from a cellphone. SMS was introduced in the GSM system and later supported by all other digital-based mobile communications systems. Unlike paging, but similar to e-mail, short messages are stored and forwarded at SMS centers, which means you can retrieve your messages later if you are not immediately available to receive them. SMS messages travel to the cellphone over the system's control channel, which is separate and apart from the voice channel.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Photo of the Day
Foxglove - Currently blooming at Fox Hill Inn and Cabins. A tall plant (native to Great Britain) that has numerous thimble-shaped purple or white flowers and is the source of the drug digitalis (A pharmaceutical prepared from the seeds and dried leaves of the purple foxglove, Digitalis purpurea, and prescribed as a cardiac stimulant in the treatment of congestive heart failure and other disorders of the heart.) The throats of foxglove blossoms feature exotic blotches and a runway that guides bees to nectar and pollen. Carl Linneaus, a Swedish physician and botanist, named foxglove Digitalis because folklore said the tubular flowers were worn on the digits, or fingers, of fairies. Foxglove would not become widely used by physicians until 1870, when a French chemist isolated the active constituent and named it digitalin. This became the standard pharmacy drug until 1970, when a synthetic form, digitoxin, was produced.

(Casio 3000EX - Macro Mode - 1/155th @ f4.0 40mm ISO 100)

Quote of the Day
"Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines."
John Benfield

And from the Odd World
The fashion police won't be coming to Louisiana. State lawmakers refused to make it a crime to wear low-slung pants in public that expose "undergarments or ... any portion of the pubic hair, cleft of the buttocks or genitals."


Want to be hip at the beach while being cool and healthy too? Try Hippopotamus sweat. Not only is the sweat of the hippo a fetching shade of red that gradually turns to brown, it also acts as a sunscreen and has antibiotic properties, according to Japanese scientists writing in Nature science journal.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Photo of the Day

Roses and Dianthuses Taken in the Fox Hill Inn Gardens. Casio 3000EX 3.3 mp camera ; 1/435th @ f2.8 70mm Click on photo for larger view.

Thought we needed a touch of tranquility during all the stressful talk about war!

Are you keeping up with the Joneses? Avg salary in the US was $36K in 2002. Of course CEO's of big companies are making a tad bit more - they're averaging 12 million/year. Avg hourly wage of non-supervisory workers was $15.54 in March of 2004. For more stats, check out this page.

Monday, May 24, 2004

Get off the Roads! Bad Driver Approaching!

There's a terrible sense of dread filtering across America at the moment and it's not simply because of the continuing fear of terrorism and the fact that the nation is at war. It's more frightening than that. It grows out of the suspicion that we all may be passengers in a vehicle that has made a radically wrong turn and is barreling along a dark road, with its headlights off and with someone behind the wheel who may not know how to drive. Bob Herbert of the Times

Quote of the Day
"I don't deserve this award, but I have arthritis and I don't deserve that either."
Jack Benny