Saturday, January 29, 2005

The Web is FUN

I've got a fresh selection of interesting links for your viewing pleasure:

Wired magazine has a great article on the story behind the success of Firefox.

A study was recently completed which was able to map the sexual network of an entire high school. While the article is interesting, the best part has to be the graphic showing the results. I have made my own version of said graphic with comments added.

Finally, I have a collection of two weathermen, both outstanding at what they do:

This poor guy, a first-time weatherman at a college television station, is so awkward and nervous that I cannot sit through this video in its entirety. It becomes physically painful to watch.

On the complete other side of the spectrum, we have Mark Mathis, former weatherman for a local Fox affiliate who was recently fired after going into rehab for alcoholism. Apparently, he had a sort of Howard Stern effect on television viewers - they either really loved him or really hated him, and people on both sides of the fence tuned in just to see what he would do next.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Cool Site

This site allows you to play any NES game you wish (as well as some Sega, Gameboy, and Arcade games) via your web-browser. Although there is no sound, its an interesting little walk down memory lane, and it sure beats trying to track down the ROMs on pirate sites. Enjoy!

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Good Times

Loveline, the syndicated radio show about sex, love, and anything else has been one of my favorites for years. Helmed by comedian Adam Carolla and Dr. Drew Pinsky, Loveline is one of the most interesting and entertaining shows - radio or otherwise, currently on the air. Thanks to Loveline I have learned more about psychology, human nature, and Adam Carolla's masturabatory habits than I could have from anywhere else.

While Dr. Drew plays the straight man with all the answers, Adam is the one who drives the show, using his lightning fast wit and keen sense of humor to make it both educational and entertaining. Adam's greatest talent is his ability to go on wild tangents and rants which can sometimes take the majority of the show to complete.

I now download episodes from the internet, which come with the commercials removed, making listening that much more enjoyable. One of my favorite websites devoted to the show is The Loveline Companion (it is temporarily down due to it exceeding its bandwidth limit) which contains message boards, clips, and links to FTP sites where one can find episodes online.

Another great Loveline website is the Loveline Database, which is a exhaustive collection of information on past episodes and guests.

I have collected some of my favorite clips from the past couple of years for your downloading pleasure:

Clip 1 - This first clip is with guest David Alan Grier, and is indicative of the style of the show. Some of the people who call in are total idiots, and the questions they ask really make me question the validity of the US educational system.

Clip 2 - This clip is probably one of the funniest moments in Loveline history. It is quite long, so hang in there - the payoff is more than worth it.

This is a flash cartoon that Michael Narren, one of the fans over at the Loveline Companion made, based on a recurring character that Adam has created. It uses an actual clip from the show for inspiration (the sound effects are added). Go to Michael's site for more of his flash creations.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

digg - I dig it

Most of you out there in cyberspace are aware of user-submitted news sites like Fark, where people submit links to the editors of the site - who then select the most interesting ones to actually post on the web. Don't get me wrong, I love these types of sites, but I don't like the fact that its the editors who decide what links to feature.

Enter digg, a site which combines the format of Fark with the magic of democracy. Users submit links, which are then posted to the site under a variety of different categories. People who find a link that they enjoy can essentially vote for it by "digging" the story. Links that make it to the front page are the ones which have the most digs in each category. Abuse is curtailed by requiring users to sign up if they want to actually participate in voting for and submitting stories.

Having just signed up for the site, my profile is not too prolific, but by viewing someone's profile you can see what links they have submitted and which ones they find interesting.

Check it out!

P.S. - Check out Neil's blog for the 3rd wrestling match.

Monday, January 17, 2005

New Year's Aftermath, cont.

Match 2 of the New Year's Wrestlefest is now up on Neil's blog: an epic battle between a Jewish cowboy and a Doctor whose mortal enemy happens to be cowboys of the Jewish persuasion. When I say epic I mean it, this match does not just simply goes on forever. Listen for Troy's (aka Dusty Rhodes, aka The American Dream) brilliant commentary during the event.

Friday, January 14, 2005

...Life is But A Game

In a recent article in Wired magazine, Daniel Terdiman highlights the bizarre effects gaming can have on one's life, particularly when the line between fantasy and reality becomes blurred. He describes several instances in which gamers have trouble separating real life from their games.

After many years of gaming, I have had my share of bizarre experiences.

The most vivid of these occurred last year, when I was living on campus - in dorms that happened to be right across from the baseball team's practice area. I had a couple of hours to kill in between classes and decided to play a couple of rounds of America's Army, the super-realistic FPS designed by the Army themselves as a recruiting tool for young, impressionable youths. Turning down the lights and donning my trusty headphones, I sat down, intent on killing some terrorist scum. Cut to several hours and many deaths later, I glanced at the clock and realized it was almost time for class. Hurrying out of the door into the blinding sunlight, I am startled by several loud, metallic bangs - one after another. Convinced that I am taking fire from a unknown location, I dove behind some cover and waited. Then it hit me - this is real life, those were aluminum bats hitting practice balls over in the batting cages, and I am an idiot. Glancing around to make sure that no one saw my masterful dive into the bushes, I hurried to class with my tail between my legs.

Other, less embarrassing stories include:

  • Wondering if there is a redeemer on the top of Century Tower, because if campus was a map in Unreal Tournament 2004 that's obviously where they would have put it.
  • Thinking that the people direct-connecting on their NEXTELs are really Combine soldiers from Half-Life 2.
  • Looking down on the countryside from the window seat of a 727, thinking that I could have designed a much better city.
  • Scoping out good skateboarding spots... and wondering how many points I could rack up if I skated them in Tony Hawk Pro Skater.
  • Thinking that the church that I attend back home would make an awesome map in Counterstrike.
  • When playing Doom III in the middle of the night, my brother comes into my room and yells "ITS ONLY A GAME, YOU DON'T HAVE TO SCREAM SO MUCH!"

Ok, maybe less embarrassing is not the correct choice of words.

The Nail in the Coffin for TechTV

It's official... G4 is finally dropping the TechTV in their title, and have finally succeeded in eliminating any resemblance that it had with the channel they "acquired" in 2004. It's useless to spin my wheels complaining about what Comcast did to our beloved TechTV, so I will just end with a timely quote on the situation from Gabe over at Penny Arcade:

I think that the idea of a television channel that focuses on videogames and technology is an exciting one. Obviously there is a lot of potential for some quality shows on a channel like that. I think that’s why people dislike G4 so much. It’s not just because the stuff they make is so bad. There are plenty of bad television shows on every channel. It’s the fact that they are wasting all that potential, and that’s what is so disappointing.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

thebroken is Back!

Judging from recent posts on Leo, Dan, and Kevin's blogs, it looks as if thebroken is back!

For those who have no idea what I am talking about, thebroken is a side project of several current and former TechTV employees, and is a self-described "hacking videozine" focusing on the dark side of tech. The site hasn't been updated in many months and many believed it to be dead, so this announcement is wonderful news. Check them out, I highly recommend it.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

The New Year's Aftermath

My regular schedule of updating this blog over the Xmas break was shattered by the New Year's Wrestlefest which occurred nearly a week and a half ago. It has taken me this long to recover and to reestablish some sort of structure back into my life. Neil, the mastermind behind the whole debacle, has the first installment of wrestlefest coverage up on his site. After several hours of wrestling (no pun intended, har har) with cables and software we (mostly Neil) were able to digitize and edit video of the event, so make sure to check it out. The wrestlefest was one of those drunken ideas which seem funny at the time but which you know will never see the light of day. Amazingly, we managed to pull it off - all without serious injury or jail time (which is the real miracle of this story).

On a totally different note, my friend Temi who is in the Marine Corps and currently stationed in Okinawa, Japan has decided to start up a blog, and his first post goes hand in hand with my rant about television. Listen to him - He is black, ripped, and now able to kill human beings in hundreds of ways with just his bare hands.


For those of us into tech, the first two weeks of this year have been both heaven and hell. So many new tech gadgets, so little money! The Consumer Electronics Show (or CES) held January 6th-9th, is an annual trade show where electronics companies showcase their latest products. The sheer number of products that are previewed can become overwhelming, so thankfully the internet has come to the rescue! Both CNET and Engadget really went out of their way to cover the event.

The biggest news story to come out of CES was not on some groundbreaking product, but centered on Bill Gates' glitch-filled keynote address. During Gates' demonstration of the capabilities of the Windows Media Center software, the computer froze and crashed, leaving Conan O'Brien, Gates' co-host, to awkwardly joke, "Who is in charge of Microsoft anyway?" Later, a demonstration of a new Xbox game ended when the audience was faced with the dreaded blue screen of death.

This week, it is Apple's turn at the annual MacWorld Expo. Apple has an innate ability to create products that compel me to own them, and I thank God every day that I have a limited amount of disposable income, otherwise I would be literally drowning in a sea of electronics and peripherals all branded with that cute little apple logo. Today, Steve Jobs announced more products that continue to taunt me:

Now this is what I am talking about! Dubbed the MacMini, it is Apple's latest attempt to break into the entry-level computer market. Starting at $499, this headless CPU is a fully capable G4 with a 1.25Ghz processor, 40Gb hard drive, DVD/CD-R combo drive, 256 Mb of RAM, and is 100% pure sex. An upgraded version with a 1.42Ghz processor and an 80Gb hard drive is $599. All you need to do is plug in a monitor, keyboard, and mouse, and you are ready to venture into the fabled world of the Mac. This is a great device for a person who wants to take the Mac plunge but has been weary of dropping thousands of dollars on a product that he/she is unsure of, or the person who wants a second computer for their living room. I WANT ONE!

This is Apple's rumored flash-based music player, the iPod Shuffle. Smaller than a pack of gum, it comes in two flavors: 512Mb and 1Gb, and costs $99 and $149, respectively. It has a reported (rechargeable) battery life of 12 hours and can be used as a USB thumb drive. Why the "shuffle" title? Since it has no display, Apple envisions it to be loaded with random tracks from one's iTunes collection, allowing people to bring a small but different chunk of their music library with them every day. It is an interesting concept - the displays on similar flash based drives are often too small to even be worth including, and Apple is showing some major guts to do away with it. Unfortunately, Apple is late to the party, and is only now moving into a market which is on the verge of being rendered obsolete. I believe that HD based players are small and cheap enough to totally push flash based players out of the picture. It still looks cool as hell though.