Friday, June 29, 2007

Sacrifices

So I got my phone. But I missed Man vs. Wild. Blargh!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Alternative tactics

Bush just sounded like he said "So I sent wolverines into Anbar."

I'm almost positive he said "more marines," but wouldn't that be freaking awesome? Rabid wolf-badgers running amok in the Middle East? I think the towel heads would listen then. Who wants wolverines?

Broadcast *journalism

Wow, CNN's on the ball today.

Now they're talking about the Senate shooting down the Immigration Reform Bill.

I believe the phrase the reporter used was "It was expected to go down in flames, and it has, by seven votes." (Emphasis mine)

Seven votes is hardly what I would call going down in flames, lady.

Affirmative Action, brilliantly fighting racism with more racism

Thank god. The Supreme Court decided today to wake up and smell the racism, denying schools the ability to take into account race when making enrollment decisions.

This was just ridiculous. The case brought before them was about some white kids not being able to enroll in a school because (and forgive me if I get the state wrong) Kentucky schools can only have between 15 and 50% of minorities enrolled.

Or something like that. All I know is there was some pretty biased anchoring on CNN International. Not reporting. The reporter was CNN's senior legal analyst or whatever. But the anchor was all interrupting the reporter and being like "Wow!" "Do you think this is a major setback to Affirmative Action in America?"

You mean that corrupt policy of fighting racism with... racism? Hey, it worked with fire, right? Oh wait, you fight fire with water, no matter what that old wives' tale says.

I'm sure AA was meant with the very best intentions. But it doesn't work. It's not even a very good stop gap measure.

As the justices said, the Constitution is color blind.

And then that Democratic judge was all up in Alito and whathisname's grill being like "word, yo, you fools ruined it."

I think the actual quote was closer to "Never before in the history of this court have so few done so much in so little time" or something.

Whatever, your honor. I agree with the Tories. Or are they Whigs? They wear wigs. Wait that's the UK...

Crap.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Of monkeys and monoliths

Our features editor just told me everytime she sees the iPhone commercials, she feels she has to have one.

This is a(n extremely nice) lady about my mom's age.

This is the Apple effect. The merging of elegant design, simplicity and just plain old damn coolness.

The subject came up this morning after I shot an e-mal to our Web editor. He and I were talking about how expensive we thought the plans for the phone would be. This morning, Apple and AT&T announced the plans, and they were actually very reasonable (if not borderline a steal when compared to similar smartphone plans).

He asked me about it then, particularly about the unlimited data plan (which is standard in every plan). It only makes sense AT&T would make the data end unlimited. The phone checks your e-mail (if you have POP) every whenever. But on top of that, the weather and stocks widgets update constantly, somewhat without your consent. People would be crying foul so loud you could hear it all over the world if they charged you for that.

And then the features editor turned to me and asked if I had one. I said I planned to get one Friday, and she asked if I would bring it in.

I promised I would Tuesday, the first weekday I'd be back in the office.

If this phone can gather this kind of reaction from a self-described "non gadget person," think how my insides are right now, on the eve of my mobile revolution. When every day Apple's PR genii release one more tidbit to the public.

It's excruciating.

So help me, if there's a huge line when I get to the mall at 3 p.m. Friday, I won't be liable (well maybe legally I will) for what I do.

Monday, June 25, 2007

The case of the $54m pants

That lawsuit an administrative judge in DC brought against his dry cleaner? The one where he sued for $54 million (AP say $67 million)? Yeah, he gets nothing.

Plus, he might lose his $96k-per-year job as a judge, aaand he might be responsible for hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees.

Was it worth it, Mr. Pearson?

From the article (my favorite line, by the way. Go Post writers):
A week later Soo Chung found what she said were the missing pants. But Pearson said they were not the pants he had left to be altered. Not only was the pattern different, but the pants proffered as his had of all things, cuffs. Only once in his adult life, he said, had he worn cuffed pants, and never, he suggested, would he have so defiled his treasured Hickey Freeman suits.
(Emphasis theirs) This guy's hilarious.

The up and down sides to Web-based news

The Washington Post has a big Cheney reader on their Web site today.

Big whoop. What really freaked me out was they put the accompanying double-audio-slideshow-multimedia extravaganza online last night.

So when I checked washingtonpost.com, there was a huge slideshow in the lede art spot that read "The Life and Career of Dick Cheney" and another one linked below it titled "Cheney's vice presidency."

It looked like the man had died. Seriously. I couldn't find an accompanying story. I thought he'd keeled over and they scrambled to get something together.

Eventually I calmed down and assumed they just put it up to accompany an article tomorrow, but jeeze, Post, watch it.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

M. et Mme. Horting

Went to a wedding this weekend. Pics are up on Flickr. I didn't take many, as I look over them. In fact there are but five. Caitlin took more. If you're a member of Facebook, look her up and check them out.

I took this shot in the reception hall of The Inn at Chester Springs. Very nice ceremony held in a small 1904 corner-stoned Episcopalian church in Royersford.

Slow-sync flash nicely warmed the background, and created a more even exposure, while keeping the lovely Miss Heaney in focus and illuminated. There's something weird going on with her chin, but upon closer inspection, you can see it's just a product of the flash and the blurring of the background.

I still like it, it's my favorite of her so far :)

Friday, June 22, 2007

Sex and violence

I just read The Times' review of Evan Almighty.

Pretty much what I'd read from the AP (who gave it 1.5/5 stars), but I wanted to see for myself (not literally. I'm staying away from this movie).

But, the tagline made me laugh:
“Evan Almighty” is rated PG (Parental guidance suggested). It has some mildly naughty humor, but nowhere near as much sex or violence as the Book of Genesis.
Oh how true, AO Scott. Oh how true.

Although, shouldn't that be "sex nor violence?" Sorry, that was prickish of me.

Rich...for a day

So the CNet guys are reviewing a bunch of cars for something they call "CNet Car Tech," which is probably just a week -- or a couple days -- of car reviews. Like Shark Week, which, regrettably, is also looming on the horizon.

Anyway, they got their hands on a Rolls Royce Phantom III, and Crave, CNet's little-bro gadget Web log, posted a great slideshow of a day in the Rolls.

Highly recommended. I wish I could find someone to drive me around in a Rolls all day. :'(

More pompousness

I've opined about The Patriot-News before. How I like their design. Well, at least in print anyway. PennLive.com/Patriot-News leaves something... to be desired.

For solid Web design of a media site, well I could tell you to look no further than NYTimes.com, but everyone knows that. No no, dear reader. I would like you to check out Guardian Unlimited, The UK's Guardian's online version.

Great use of color. Great use of (or lake thereof) lines. Perfect use of serif and sans-serif fonts. The Times might have the best layout around, but Guardian Unlimited truly reinvents the paper for the Web. The Times actually looks like The Times, but guardian.co.uk, it's a whole new ball game.

Or would that be cricket?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Olde tyme style-e

So HUH. Wikipedia is freaking awesome.

Even Drager didn't know why articles ended with "-30-"

Apparently it's from the Civil War, when telegraph transmissions ended with "XXX" (Roman numeral 30). It's as simple as that.

Blows my mind.

Survivorman vs. wild

A bit more on Suvivorman and Man vs. Wild...

I really am at a loss to compare these shows. Each time I try, I only come up with, "Well, this one does this, but this one does this..."

E.g., In Survivorman, Les Stroud is alone. He carries "50 pounds of camera gear" around with him, sets up the shots and films, which (when you're in the Moab) is pretty impressive. In Man vs. Wild, Bear Grylls has at least two people you never see (cameraman and boom mic operator). I know, from watching a lot of the shows, they travel prepared, often with drysuits, mosquito suits, rafts, etc.

Point, Survivorman.

BUT Les Stroud knows he is going to be rescued in a week. He just has to survive that long. Bear Grylls has to get rescued, which could take a while (although he manages to do it in under a week every time.

Point, Man vs. Wild.

The shows are both really good, and each has its caveats. Les Stroud carries a satellite phone, presumable at the behest of whatever Canadian company produces the show. Bear Grylls wears a $5k Breitling Emergency watch, capable of transmitting a distress signal for 48 hours that can be picked up 100 miles away.

It's anyone's banana. All I'm saying is you all should watch both shows.

The great outdoors

I've become obsessed with survival shows on The Discovery Channel. I used to watch Survivorman, but it seems to be in a state of limbo (as, I think I read on his blog, the cameraman/star/host/creator films more segments). Now I'm all about Man vs. Wild.

It's not that I'm obsessed with the show. Rather, I'm obsessed with the premise of both shows. I cannot fathom that these guys get to go out and do this stuff for a living. I know, I know, it's dangerous crap. Bear Grylls is an ex-Commando (the SAS, the original commandos). He climbs down waterfalls. But still, it'd be cool.

Anyway, I'm planning on going camping the last(ish. no calendar handy and I'm lazy) weekend in July. So I'm getting all my gear out. Tracking down my Swiss Army knife (Victorinox, thank you. Not that faker Wenger), trying to find my survival knife. Getting lists of what I need to bring from the lake (tent, saw, stove).

I must say I'm excited. The last time I was camping Caitlin and I were in Montreal. And that wasn't like relax-in-the-woods camping, that was camping and seeing Montreal. Which was awesome. But there's something to be said for waking up, hiking around the woods, gathering firewood, cooking hot dogs for crackerbarrel. Tying your food in a tree. Lashing stick together to make a washstand.

I miss it. When I was in Boy Scouts, those first two years, we camped every weekend in Oct and November, and then again in spring. It was awesome. I've since outgrown my sleeping bag from then. And my hiking boots. I don't need a bag or boots for this trip, as I suspect it's going to be a lot about alcohol and not a lot about nature. But it's all good. I'm looking forward to it either way. Sharpening my knife, going over my first-aid kit. Testing to see if I can stick a Nalgene on a campfire to boil water (that should be interesting -- I've always wanted to know. And Nalgene promotes their Lexan can "boil and freeze liquids," so here goes nothing).

I wish I had their jobs though, the adventure outdoorsmen. Or just that I went on more camping trips.

There are only so many years all these knots can stay in my head before they get bumped out by some Jeopardy trivia! I think I've already forgotten quite a few.

Also, Bear Grylls is a North Face fan, so I'm obligated to watch the show just for that. Too bad Discovery is stupid with iTunes (they put like five shows on, none that anyone watches). These shows would be great references for camping and hiking outings in the future.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Lavender Festival

Caitlin and I went to the Lavender Festival down in Fairfield toady. As festivals go, it was actually very nice. Not at all like the Apple Blossom Festival which was -- no offense -- a bunch of rednecks hanging around listening to "country rock" bands. Not my cuppa.

But the Lavender Festival was more laid back. I liked it.

Anyway, pics are up on Flickr. Check 'em out.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Pickin' on...

So the York Dispatch had an article in their paper today -- their A1 strip, actually -- breaking it down, cost-by-cost, to see what's cheaper for a Yorker: an MLB Baltimore Oriole's game or a minor-league York Revolution game. ("Do the math: Revs game cheaper all around")

What?? Are you serious? Of course it's cheaper to stay in your own county and watch a minor league ball game.

That's like saying "Hey, listening to this CD of Led Zeppelin at home is cheaper than going to an Aerosmith concert!"

And I picked that example very carefully, mind you.

Sheesh. "They" are cutting our newshole all the time, and you fill it with that?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Weekend at the lake

Pics are up on Flickr of my impromptu "vacation" weekend at the lake.

It was a good time. I miss it up there. All the woods, no farms, sunlight making leaves glow bright green and the sound of jet skis and boats in the background, chopping over wakes. Waves splashing on the shore and old rusty docks creaking.

I miss my childhood.


But I like having a lake to visit on the weekends.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Dear sir or madman

Hahahahaha. I do loves me the tongue-in-cheek.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Didn't you know? I follow tennis

Yay Federer won.

I envy you, Ms. Dargis. I envy your words

Now this is a film review.

I mean, I know we read Times reviews in class, but Jesus. After eight months of subsisting on AP reviews from the wire, this thing reads like chocolate. Slightly melted chocolate.

You don't have to chew, just sort of massage it with your tongue and it'll go down like butter -- like buddah.

My favorite line? Probably:
Many of the casino scenes in this “Ocean’s” look as softly burnished as gold ingots, as if they had been dipped in a 24-karat finishing bath. Perhaps in homage to the mid-1960s Jean-Luc Godard or just because the results look so extraordinary, Mr. Soderbergh occasionally saturates the image with an iridescent red that makes everything inside the frame look as if it were gently vibrating. At other times, he floods the image with a piercing blue that summons up twilight on the Côte d’Azur.
I think I like it because, even though I've only seen the trailer, I know exactly what Manohla Dargis means.

I was hurt by the AP's review of Ocean's Thirteen. But now I'm as excited for it as when I first saw the trailer. That deep, Manchurian red, the subtle, Asian gong at the end. The tinging of Eastern musical instruments. Mmmmmm.

How can you go wrong with Evil Al Pacino? When his weathered voice rasps, and his acting takes you closer, leaning toward the screen as if he's really there in front of you. And his name is Willy Banks? Classic Hollywood name. "Runyon-style," whatever that means. I'm stoopid when it comes to some of The Times' stuff :(.

I don't care what Lee wants to see tomorrow night. Pirates of the Caribbean will have to wait. I want to see Danny Ocean.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

To whom it may concern, re: Paris Hilton

An open letter to MSNBC, The York Daily Record, and any other news outlet (besides E! News and TV Guide Network):

Stop covering Paris Hilton. This is ridiculous. MSNBC, I'm looking at you. Having a "Paris Day X" special is not only ridiculous, but it makes you seem like idiots. Buffoons who don't know what news is.

You're embarassing yourself. You're embarassing Paris Hilton (which, I guess is your point? How mature and journalistic). You're embarassing me.

Find some real news. I don't care if Paris Hilton is cold, needs more blankets, and cries in jail.

NO ONE DOES

My thoughts on the iPhone (seriously, no drooling, a good look at why Apple made the right decisions)

No one cares, but I'll post this anyway, because I've read many heated debates in forums and other places on the Interwebs. And while none of those people will read this entry, well, dammit, they should.

But, if you really don't care, just skip the entry.

AT&T
Every Verizon and Sprint customer who's also an Apple fanboyperson is either bawling their eyes out, or angrily whittling away at the self control of fellow commenters. They don't like that AT&T got the iPhone.

More specifically, they don't like that Apple -- who is pretty good about open-sourced stuff -- built a handset for AT&T, and only AT&T. But they're just being ignorant American asses. Apple built a handset for every cellular carrier in the world minus Sprint and Verizon.

Tough noogies that your provider uses technology not in sync with the rest of the world.

So all you T-Mobile customers out there, well, OK, you have a right to complain. T-Mobile's service is great, their prices are low, and in the over-a-year I've been with them they haven't dicked me around at all -- in fact they've provided excellent customer service. I'm sad to leave them.

But T-Mobile isn't a U.S. company. I'm sure you'll get an iPhone when Europe does.

GSM
This is kind of subsection b). to the above section. Those same Verizon customers are whining about why Apple didn't build a CDMA version of the phone.

Well, if you were about to enter the mobile phone business, would you want a phone that might flop in the U.S. but do well internationally, or a phone that might flop in the U.S. and that's it?

Really, the simple answer to this is the SIM. The little white wafer-thin card in the back of every phone (OK, so I think Cingular cards are orange and blue). Well, every GSM phone, anyway.

That card is the subscriber identity module. Put it in a phone, and, well, you know how this works.

With CDMA (Verizon) and TDMA (Sprint), the phone is the SIM. The whole phone. How is that better? Change carriers and you have to dump your phone.

No wonder Verizon offers customers a free phone upgrade every two years. Customers can't just buy a new phone and use it.

So again, Apple's making their phone for the world, not just the U.S.

NON-REMOVABLE BATTERY
OK. So this isn't the norm. You can pretty much remove the battery of anything in existence, except an iPod.

But, I can see the thinking behind this. The phone, I'm almost sure, runs two batteries. One for the smartphone stuff and one for the iPod stuff.

So do you really want Bubba Frat Bro. opening the back of his phone and not knowing which batt to replace? It's way too complicated for the demographic Apple hopes latches onto the phone.

Sure, it might be a pain to take the phone in to an Apple store or AT&T store, but I bet you anything they'll be able to take it in the back and pop in a new batt (if recent rumors about providing an "iPhone experience" to customers are true).

Well, I think that's it for now. I would thank you for letting me vent, but dammit, it's my site, I'll do what I want (cue '80s music).

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Canon fodder

Ah the mark of a professional. Beautiful fluorite crystal, sharp designs and usability. Just better than Nikon.

Plus, they're easily identifiable in a crowd.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

In a suprise move, Apple debuts iPhone launch date during 60 minutes

...Mickey Rooney was pissed. Apparently no one told him?

Oh wait, I mean Andy Rooney. Riiiiiiight.

Well, it's official. I'll be getting a new mobile phone from AT&T June 29.

Now to check my calendar. I hope to god I don't have court that day. If all goes well, I can be at the AT&T store when it opens, get my phone and go into work. Unless the store only opens at 8. That sucks. I bet they do. Stupid AT&T, haven't you heard of 24/7? What's up with that?

Friday, June 01, 2007

LOLSchroedinger's cat

I have to admit, I'm a fan of LOL-stuff. LOLcatz, Fark's LOLpresidents, etc.

Part of the reason I find the LOLpresidents so funny is it is, at times, very high-brow humor. So is this recent LOLcat:


Thought I'd pass that on

I find it annoying that...

Vehicle Identification Numbers (VINs) are alphanumeric, and therefore not numbers at all.